Sunday, October 5, 2008

Companies spend millions mapping gas line route

By Amanda Bohman (Fairbanks NewsMiner) (LINK)

Published Saturday, October 4, 2008

FAIRBANKS — The two companies competing to build a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to Alberta, Canada, are spending tens of millions of dollars as they continue efforts to map a route in time to start lining up customers in 2010.

Denali — The Alaska Gas Pipeline is backed by two major oil producers, BP and ConocoPhillips. TransCanada, a pipeline company based in Calgary, Alberta, is developing its gas line project in coordination with the state of Alaska. Which project prevails depends on federal regulators and market conditions years from now. Gas isn’t expected to flow before 2018.

TransCanada is doing similar work.

Tony Palmer, TransCanada’s vice president for Alaska Development, said his company has done aerial photography of the Alaska portions of the route and documented the Canadian section on special 360-degree video.

The company has hired an environmental planner for the Alaska section, Palmer said.

TransCanada also is in the midst of hiring companies to complete geotechnical and terrain mapping of the route as well as engineering and design for a gas treatment plant at Prudhoe Bay, Palmer said.

“The bulk of our field work will be completed in the spring or summer of 2009,” he said.

Palmer estimated TransCanada will have spent $84 million by 2010, when it will try to line up customers. TransCanada has agreed to conditions set by the state, which has promised to reimburse about half of that money.

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