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Correction: In-state Pipeline story

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 21, 2012 at 4:04 pm •  Published: December 21, 2012

"That to us is a major milestone," Richards said.

The projected cost remains roughly the same — $7.7 billion, a figure planners acknowledge could vary up or down by 30 percent.

Richard said the AGDC with "optimal" state funding of $400 million by the end of 2014 would refine that figure, conduct an open season to gauge interest by shippers and advance the project to the "sanctioning stage" where a decision is made to move forward with a builder and operator.

Gov. Sean Parnell last week proposed a fraction of that — $25 million for an in-state pipeline and $25 million for a large-diameter line envisioned by his predecessor, Gov. Sarah Palin, under the Alaska Gas Inducement Act.

Under that law, competing projects such as AGDC's cannot exceed 500 million standard cubic feet per day.

House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, and Rep. Mike Hawker, R-Anchorage, have pushed legislation to move the in-state pipeline to a decision point. Chenault said during a break Thursday that he will advocate for more funding than the governor has recommended.

"I would like to see enough to get this project through to sanction," he said. "The longer we drag it out the more likely the cost will go up and we'll just kill it by not addressing needs of the project."

Ultimately, he said, the line size will be determined by the economics. If buyers indicate they want 2 billion cubic feet of gas, and suppliers can provide it, a pipeline of that size will be built. But he also wants numbers for a smaller project.

"Right now it's a lot of talk," Chenault said. "So until we get to a point where we have a project on the table, it's all talk."