October 28, 2005
Murkowski made the comments to Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton and Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman Thursday during an Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.
"There is a great deal of frustration that we haven't been able to get at least two of the three major producers to come online with a project," Murkowski said. "We in this country have said that we want Alaska's natural gas. We in the Congress have said that we want it and we are willing to put tax payer dollars toward helping with incentives. And so, we're at this situation where because we can't establish that the gas is going to be available in the short term, we look off-shore. We look to Qatar, to Indonesia, we look overseas and sign 25 year contracts and set up LNG siting facilities to receive the imports."
"But what else are we doing here in this country? I get very nervous about quests to meet short terms goals if we aren't making long term commitments to develop gas here," said Murkowski.
She said, "Press reports note that the Governor of Alaska and his administration have come to an agreement with Conoco Philips, one of the three major procurers in the State, for agreement on a gas line. Exxon and B.P. have not yet come to the table, are not yet participating. We know that we can't even discuss the issue of a natural gas pipeline in front of our legislature until we've got the producers who are willing to make it happen."
Murkowski said, "Last year, in Congress, we moved forward with some fiscal incentives at the federal level to try and get this project going. What do we have to do to move this project further?"
Secretary Norton replied that she and other cabinet officials have had conversations urging the oil and gas companies to move forward with the pipeline. "We've emphasized the importance to the country of having that pipeline constructed. At this point it is largely in the hand of those negotiations and we're waiting for a proposal to emerge. The federal government would then be taking action to handle that proposal."
Secretary Bodman responded that, "These companies are showing record profits, they're doing very well and it's time for them to demonstrate to the American public that they're going to be responsible in running our collective energy business - in running our country's energy business."
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