SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Agia equation really can add up
By Sen. Kim Elton


August 09, 2008

Does 1+1=1?

When it comes to the gasline, hopefully so. A week ago, the legislature actually added one to one to enhance getting to one. We figured the TransCanada highway gasline project plus the ConocoPhillips/BP project makes it more likely we get one pipeline that delivers natural gas from the North Slope to North American markets.

Issuing a license to the TransCanada project and tossing it into the equation with the CP/BP project makes it more likely we get one pipe because both are committed to moving forward even though we all know they won't both be built. Having two projects to get one pipe means neither project can afford to lollygag. Having two projects moving forward means both will be less likely to try and leverage more from unnecessary concessions from Alaska (a la the Murkowski stranded gas proposal from two years ago) for a project that most now believe is very viable economically.

Keeping both TransCanada and CP/BP in the game for the hoped-for sum of one pipe most likely results in one of four outcomes: 1) TransCanada will build the pipe; 2) CP/BP will build the pipe; 3) CP/BP and TransCanada get together to build a pipe; or 4) there will be no pipe in the next decade or so. Giving a license to TransCanada minimizes the #4 outcome, enhances the #3 outcome, and still pushes forward the #1 and #2 outcomes.

So, overall, what the legislature did by issuing the AGIA license to TransCanada is a net positive. But there are a whole bunch of challenges ahead--both economic and political. Despite post-AGIA euphoria, the work on this is not done for any of the parties. Not by a longshot.

It will take a lot of math--beginning, perhaps, with 1+1=1

About: Sen. Kim Elton (D) is a member of the Alaska Legislature representing Juneau.

Received August 08, 2008 - Published August 09, 2008


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