Foothills Pipe Lines Alaska Inc. said it has signed an agreement with the state on behalf of the Alaskan Northwest Natural Gas Transportation Co. partnership to complete review of the partnership's previously filed right of way lease application for the construction and operation of the Alaska Highway pipeline.
Foothills said July 18 that U.S. and Canadian law has designated Alaskan Northwest Natural Gas Transportation Co., the partnership of Foothills and TransCanada PipeLines, to construct and operate the Alaska portion of the Alaska Highway pipeline, and Foothills and its affiliates to construct and operate the Canadian portion of the pipeline.
"This agreement is an important step in completing our land position for this project," said Foothills Vice President John Ellwood. "Together with the 400 miles of right of way we have on federal lands in Alaska and our extensive right of way in Canada, we are in an excellent position to expedite the building of the pipeline."
Bill Britt, Alaska's Gas Pipeline Coordinator, signed the MOU on behalf of the state. The terms of the agreement call for the Alaskan Northwest Natural Gas Transportation Co. partnership to reimburse the state for the cost of processing the right of way application.
"I look forward to continuing to work with Foothills on the gas pipeline application," Britt said.
Ellwood said the continuation of the right of way application review, together with existing permits and U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and National Energy Board of Canada certificates, underlie the timing advantage enjoyed by foothills and its shareholder companies, Westcoast Energy and TransCanada PipeLines.
"One thing that everyone in Washington and Anchorage agrees on," said Ellwood, "is that getting North Slope gas to the Lower 48 is a priority, and our approved route along the Alaska Highway through Canada can deliver that gas two-three years earlier than any greenfield project."
Foothills said that since 1982, when the original right of way application was put on hold due to low commodity prices, the company has continued to do considerable work to keep the application in a state of readiness in order to expedite the building of the pipeline.
"We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to advance this project and that has enhanced our ability to deliver Alaska gas to the Lower 48," Ellwood said.