North Slope Natural Gas could be in Anchorage’s future. On Tuesday, the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation released the results of a year-long study that shows a project – independent of the gasline from the Slope to markets in Canada and the lower 48 – that could be delivering gas to Alaska customers in 2019, at a cost only a little higher than what customers are now paying. The corporation was set up by the legislature last year. CEO Dan Fauske says the project is large, but it can be done. He says the plan shows how the stand-alone pipeline would deliver gas to Anchorage users at $9.63 a million BTU’s. That compares to the current $8.85 price. Fairbanks’ prices would fall under the plan – from $23 now charged to $10.45 under the new project. Fauske says he expected the study to show costs would be much higher. And the viable price makes the project something to pursue.
Fauske says he still supports continuing with work on a pipeline to North American markets as a revenue source for the state. The smaller line is something Alaska can do on its own to assure energy source for its own residents. The plan estimates the overall cost of the project at seven and a half Billion dollars. And Fauske says the legislature should give serious consideration to owning the line – but not operating it, primarily because it would pay less to borrow the capital than it would take to build the project.
Fauske says with new oil and gas discoveries recently made in Cook Inlet, there is enough gas in the system to last until the project is complete. However, predicting economic and social chaos in Anchorage and Fairbanks if those places were to go dark, he recognizes that there is no time to spare. He said getting power to a half million Alaskans is the goal of the line.