December 03, 2007 --- Vol. 13, No. 95December 2007

AEnergia principals not new to Alaska gas line

One of the five proposals the State of Alaska received by the Nov. 30 deadline to build a natural gas pipeline from Alaska’s North Slope to local and Outside markets under the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act came from AEnergia, a recently formed Alaska limited liability corporation with a Sacramento, Calif., address. While the LLC might be new, its members have been working on getting a gas pipeline built since 2001under the name of GSS/TC.

But the experience of AEnergia’s members with an Alaska gas line proposal dates back much further than that. During the original effort to build an Alaska natural gas pipeline in the late 1970s and early 1980s AEnergia core members were most of the senior and staff-level personnel working for the consulting firms that provided the earth sciences design expertise.

AEnergia executive Bill Burkhard told Petroleum News in 2003 that by “project’s end, we had completed about 70 percent of the alignment geology, 50 percent of the surface and groundwater hydrology, 30 percent of the geotechnical engineering including thermal modeling and climatology, and a substantial portion of the environmental work.”

In 1982, after the project was terminated, “we went on to further our careers with other firms,” he said. “Although we moved to positions throughout the West and Midwest, several of us kept in touch because of the strong relationships built during our ‘pipeline’ days. … We’ve wanted to see a North Slope gas line built for 30 years.”

Burkhard and his associates contacted their previous employers “to see if there would be any possibility of continuing work” on the latest proposal for a gas line. “We discovered they had essentially moved on and had no apparent interest in pursuing the work again,” he said. So, in the fall of 2001, Burkhard reassembled the “core group” and created “a new team to pursue the earth sciences design work should a pipeline project actually start up again.”

GSS joint ventured with Taber Consultants, becoming GSS/TC, “for business support and project management expertise.” Burkhard said Taber is “one of California’s oldest geotechnical firms.”

Burkhard told Petroleum News this past weekend that since 2001 he has “met personally with Williams, BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, JPO, DNR, a few different commissioners, Bechtel and WorleyParsons. (Among others), I’ve had conversations on the phone with Fluor, Gulf Interstate, Michael Baker, Parsons, Duke Energy, Alaska Gasline Port Authority, TransCanada and Ken Thompson.” His goal has been “to get the pipeline going.”

Although Burkhard was unwilling to provide details about AEnergia’s AGIA proposal until the Palin administration’s review was complete, he did say AEnergia’s proposed pipeline would go from the North Slope to Calgary’s AECO hub where the gas would be distributed to the Lower 48 through existing infrastructure, and that AEnergia’s proposal would “support an ancillary project to Kenai or Valdez,” including an LNG project.

Burkhard also said that if AEnergia’s proposal gets a green light from the State of Alaska, the company would begin fieldwork by April or May.

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