Friday, August 3, 2012

TransCanada again solicits interest, includes LNG export project

Tim Bradner
Alaska Journal of Commerce

TransCanada Corp. is holding a non-binding solicitation of interest in an Alaska gas pipeline and liquefied natural gas project, the company announced July 30. Indications of interest in shipping gas will take place from Aug. 31 through Sept. 14.

TransCanada is soliciting interest in both a land pipeline to Canada or an Alaska pipeline to an LNG export project in the latest solicitation. An open season held in 2010 did not result in enough interest to move forward with a project, which at that time involved a main focus on an overland pipeline from the Alaska North Slope to Alberta but also included the option of a pipeline to an LNG project.

“The solicitation of interest is being conducted to identify parties potentially interested in making future capacity commitments on a pipeline system from the Alaska North Slope to a gas liquefaction terminal at a tidewater location in southcentral Alaska or to an interconnection point near the border of British Columbia and Alberta in Canada,” according to the TransCanada statement.

The solicitation is being done under the company’s contract with the state of Alaska to work on a major gas project. Contract terms require TransCanada to solicit interest from potential gas shippers every two years.

In other gas pipeline developments, state Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan told a state legislative committee on July 30 that major North Slope producers appear on track to provide details of a plan for a large-diameter pipeline and LNG export project to Gov. Sean Parnell by Sept. 30.

Sullivan said significant progress has been made on the gas project in the last year.

“A year ago things were’nt looking so good. Denali (a BP-ConocoPhillips pipeline project) had folded, the three major North Slope producers were not aligned, and the ground had shifted in the (Lower 48) market,” due to shale gas, Sullivan said. “Now we have alignment among the three producers and the companies working together on a single project. The governor led the shift from the Lower 48 to the Pacific Rim. We’re not ‘there’ yet, but we’ve made significant progress.”

In a related development, Sullivan said the companies and the state-owned Alaska Gasline Development Corp., or AGDC, which is working on a small-diameter “in-state” gas pipeline, are also expected to have completed their assessment of how they can combine activities of the two projects by Sept. 30, Sullivan said.

Dan Fauske, CEO of AGDC, told the legislators that he expects to receive a final environmental impact statement, or EIS, for his project in September. ADGC is working on a 737-mile, 24-inch pipeline from the North Slope to Southcentral Alaska that would deliver gas for consumer and local commercial and industrial customers.

Sullivan said that if enough progress is shown on the LNG proposal by the end of September, the governor will proceed with a plan to submit gas pipeline fiscal legislation to state lawmakers in 2013. A more detailed plan for the LNG and pipeline project is also expected by early spring, he said.

TransCanada’s project, which includes ExxonMobil Corp., involves a proposed large-diameter pipeline built from the North Slope along the existing Trans Alaska Pipeline System corridor through Interior Alaska. If the land pipeline were built, it would leave the TAPS corridor at Delta, east of Fairbanks, and follow the Alaska Highway to British Columbia and Alberta.

The LNG options would involve the gas line following TAPS all the way to Valdez or a route south to the Anchorage and Kenai Peninsula, where ConocoPhillips now operates an LNG plant.

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