NEWS BULLETIN

September 07, 2001 --- Vol. 7, No. 112September 2001

Producers clarify statements, going back to try to lower costs

Rumors that the Alaska Gas Producers Pipeline Team had paid a visit to Alaska’s Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C. this week to tell them the Alaska Highway gas line route was no longer an option are not true, Curtis Thayer, spokesman for the North Slope producers, told PNA this morning.

“Nothing has changed. Neither pipeline route is economic at this point,” Thayer said. “We have not chosen one route over the other. … Preliminary estimates show the northern route is $2 billion cheaper.

So why are representatives from the producers gas team meeting with the staffs of Alaska’s Congressional delegation? Prior to Congress’ one-month recess the gas producers team gave Alaska’s delegation a draft piece of legislation that would expedite the regulatory review process for a gas pipeline from the North Slope to the Lower 48. Members of the producers gas team are in Washington, D.C. now meeting with Congressional staff members, Thayer said, to discuss that legislation.

The producers are “not wedded” to the language in the draft, he said. “The legislation is neutral; it does not specify a route nor does it specify that our three North Slope producers have to be the ones to benefit from the legislation. Anyone can build a pipeline from the North Slope to the Lower 48 with this legislation.”

Thayer did confirm that the gas producers team would close down its study if a route was legislated by the U.S. Congress: “Our project study is not justified if a route is mandated. … we need to keep our options open.”

The producers gas team is “going back and looking at all the numbers – variations in size of pipe, etcetera – to try to bring the costs of the project down. … We’re double checking all our figures,” Thayer said.

AMEC sets record straight on gasline project

British contractor AMEC sent a letter to Energy Day yesterday, clarifying statements made by AMEC Chief Executive Officer Peter Mason and reported in the Sept. 3 edition of the London-based newspaper.

In the article, Mason was quoted as saying AMEC believed it was “a leading bidder" for what Energy Day described as “engineering and design work on a potential US$20 billion pipeline to deliver Alaskan gas to energy-hungry markets in the Lower 48.” (See PNA’s Sept. 4 news bulletin.)

The newspaper reported that Mason said AMEC was completing an environmental and social impact study for Canadian regulatory agencies along with a C$75 million study by Mackenzie Delta gas owners — Imperial Oil, ExxonMobil Canada, Shell Canada and Conoco Canada — to develop Arctic gas.

The article did not say which route, Alaska Highway or Mackenzie, Mason expected to be developed first.

In a Sept. 6 email to Energy Day, AMEC spokesman Nick Welsh said the firm’s client — the Alaska Gas Producers Pipeline Team — had expressed concern that the article may have conveyed inaccurate information.

“The work currently under way” by AMEC for the North Slope gas owners “is confined to environmental studies for the Canadian portion of the two possible routes,” Welsh said. “There are a number of other contractors who have also been retained to carry out the technical feasibility studies.”

He also referred to the last paragraph of the Energy Day article, which said one route alternative, the Mackenzie route, “will link to local gas fields.” Welsh said, “I understand from our client that this has not yet been decided.”


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