State House Speaker Mike Chenault – a Republican from Nikiski – is renewing his push for a small diameter in-state gas line with a new bill that streamlines previous legislation. House Bill 9 combines three bills that passed the house last year, but not the Senate. It gives the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation more funding and more authority to develop a small diameter pipeline that would bring gas to Southcentral Alaska. He says Alaska’s goal should still be a large gas pipeline for export, but the state can’t wait indefinitely for that to happen.
“This is not about picking a winner. This is about getting gas to Alaskans,” Chenault said.
He says allowing the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation to move ahead on a small line will be invaluable even if a large export project is built. Anchorage Republican Mike Hawker helped Speaker Chenault write the bill. He says the legislation does not compete with the state’s framework to build an export gas line- the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act, or AGIA.
“This legislation allows AGDC to be both compatible and sympathetic with the AGIA process. We frankly hope all these people come together, start working together and move the largest possible project forward,” Hawker said.
The gas would likely come from the North Slope, but the bill allows flexibility in case a major gas find is discovered in another part of the state. There has been skepticism that an in-state line could provide gas to Alaskans at a reasonable cost. But Hawker says preliminary studies on the price Alaskans would eventually pay are promising.
“Those initial tariff estimates were quite viable for getting gas to Alaska. In fact I think some of us were really quite surprised at how efficient and effectively it appeared this pipeline project could be developed,” Hawker said.
The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation is working with a timeline that would have the first gas flowing in the fall of 2018.
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