Companies ask to stop gas pipeline permitting

PHOTO/Courtesy City of Dillingham
ANCHORAGE -- A group of pipeline builders has asked the state to stop the permitting process for a natural gas pipeline to the Lower 48, saying they cannot move ahead until producers of Alaska’s vast gas reserves commit to the estimated $20 billion project.

Foothills Pipe Lines Alaska Inc. asked the Alaska Gas Pipeline Office in Anchorage to stop processing an application to run the gas line across state land and along the Alaska Highway.

With no project to permit, some Gas Pipeline Office employees could face layoffs as the agency prepares to shut down this summer in reaction to the news, said Bill Britt, the agency coordinator.

The announcement May 28 comes a month after three companies with rights to produce most of the North Slope’s proven gas reserves of 35 trillion cubic feet concluded the project does not make financial sense at the moment.

Phillips Alaska Inc., BP and ExxonMobil Production Co. are awaiting the outcome of federal legislation that could sweeten the project, including tax breaks.

Until the producers commit, Foothills and its partners do not have a pipeline to build.

-- The Associated Press

06/02/2002 - 8:00pm