The Fairbanks North Star Borough has awarded a contract to investigate expansion of local natural gas distribution. The $430,000 bid award to Northern Economics is for a two-fold study.
Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins says the company is charged with looking into the means, and effects of, getting natural gas to more Fairbanks residents.
The state legislature provided half a million dollars to the borough for the study. The projects could bring North Slope natural gas to Fairbanks. Golden Valley Electric Association and Flint Hills refinery are looking at trucking in North Slope gas. Fairbanks Natural Gas is pursuing a similar project. FNG currently trucks Cook Inlet gas to Fairbanks, supplying over a thousand customers on a limited piping network in the city. Getting North Slope gas via truck or pipeline would open up the potential for larger volumes of gas and more people heating with the less polluting fuel. Borough Assembly Presiding Officer Diane Hutchison says the study will look at the economics of getting gas to consumers outside the most developed part of the borough.
Hutchsion and Mayor Hopkins say once the cost of an expanded local distribution system is known, the figure can be taken to the legislature for possible state funding during the upcoming session.
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