The Yukon government has delivered another blow to an “over-the-top” natural gas pipeline by releasing an engineering study that contends the costs of an offshore pipeline under the Beaufort Sea “are not well understood because numerous unknowns exist.”
Commissioned by the Yukon Economic Development Department, the study was conducted by PFL Inc. Consultants in Calgary and Wolf Island Engineering in Whitehorse.
Economic Development Minister Scott Kent said the conclusions support the Yukon's hard-line against going over-the-top, which he insisted is not a viable option “because too many complex technical and other issues remain unresolved.”
He said the need to get Arctic gas to market is too pressing to explore solutions to the concerns raised by an over-the-top pipeline.
Kent said now is the time to act to ensure northern gas gains a “foothold that promotes market growth and consumer confidence.”
The Economic Development Department said the engineering report establishes that an offshore pipeline could get bogged down by lengthy construction delays and heavy cost overruns, while risking operational reliability and posing environmental risks.
Kent said the report will be used by the Yukon in its discussions with other governments and non-governmental organizations including gas producers and pipeline companies.
“It will help us prepare for the regulatory role we will assume if the Alaska Highway pipeline route is chosen,” he said.
The report, which covers technical issues, construction costs and uncertainties related to both the over-the-top and Alaska Highway alternatives, is posted on www.economicdevelopment.gov.yk.ca