Calls Arctic Gas Key to Long-term U.S. Energy Security
December 03, 2004
Speaking to the American Conference Institute at its Alaska Gas Pipeline symposium, Murkowski said Alaska's 35 trillion cubic feet of gas, a 300 percent spike in gas prices, recent federal legislative victories and ongoing state efforts are combining to make the long hoped-for gasline a reality.
"The Alaska natural gas pipeline will provide 50 years or more of secure supplies that will provide all Americans with a degree of stability they could never achieve thorough a complete dependence on imported gas," Murkowski said.
Other key conference speakers included Yukon Territory Premier Dennis Fentie and U.S. Department of Energy Undersecretary Mark Maddos. The conference topics also included sessions on recent U.S. federal energy legislation, U.S. and Canadian gas markets and possible alternatives to the gasline. Governor Murkowski also discussed the natural gas pipeline and the Alaska Railroad extension corridor with Premier Fentie during a morning meeting.
In his address, Murkowski credited Alaska's Congressional Delegation for winning passage of critical federal gasline support, including loan guarantees, tax credits, expedited judicial review and other incentives. He also said his administration is exploring innovative approaches to encourage gasline construction, such as taking an equity position and assuming shippers' risk for its share of the gas reserves.
The governor also said he is working to encourage development of both oil and gas by reforming state permitting, improving transportation infrastructure and extending the season for exploration on Arctic tundra.
Murkowski's address is part of his ongoing effort to provide job opportunities for Alaskans, generate revenue to the state and secure energy sources to the nation by building a natural gas pipeline. The pipeline is expected to employ tens of thousands of Alaskans and generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the state.
The administration is negotiating with the producers group which includes ConocoPhillips, BP and Exxon, and also with TransCanada. These two groups have applied to negotiate tax and royalty conditions of a gasline under the Stranded Gas Act. The governor is also talking with MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority, the Alaska Gasline Port Authority, Embridge and Calpine outside the framework of the Stranded Gas Act.
The governor said he hopes to present a final contract the Legislature to consider for approval during the legislative session that starts in January.
The governor also updated the audience on the current progress toward opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil development.
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