JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The companies pursuing a major natural gas project in Alaska released new details of the effort Friday, satisfying the first in a new series of benchmarks laid out by Gov. Sean Parnell.
"So the good news today, and it's very good news, it's the first time in our state's natural gas history that the companies who can build, fill and operate a large diameter pipeline have together selected a pipeline concept," he told a group in Fairbanks.
Parnell, in his State of the State address last month, said he wanted to know by Friday details including the size of the pipe, daily volume of gas, updates on the gas treatment and liquefaction plants and the number of off-take points to allow for gas to be used in-state, for Alaskans energy needs.
Exxon Mobil Production Co., BP Alaska, ConocoPhillips Alaska and TransCanada Corp., responded to each request in a letter to Parnell. They said they were looking at a 42-inch diameter pipeline that would carry up to 3½ billion cubic feet of gas a day and would have five off-takes along the route.
The gas treatment plant would be on the North Slope, and the footprint of the liquefaction plant would be 400 to 600 acres. There was no word on where the terminus might be.
Parnell last year set an initial round of benchmarks aimed at jolting alive the seemingly stalled project. The North Slope's three major players — Exxon Mobil, BP and ConocoPhillips — and TransCanada agreed to pursue a liquefied natural gas project that would be capable of overseas exports, and in October released some details along with a timeline for work and decision-making on what a project that could cost more than $65 billion.
In their letter, the companies reiterated their desire for a "competitive, predictable and durable oil and gas fiscal environment." They said that "will be required for a project of this unprecedented scale, complexity and cost, to compete in global energy markets."
That is one of the issues the companies have said they want addressed by the end of the next phase, which would include preliminary engineering and a financing plan.
Parnell's next benchmarks are for the companies to finalize an agreement to move into that next stage by spring and to have a full summer of field work. Once those are met, "the project will finally move at the speed that Alaskans demand and our future requires," he told the Fairbanks group.