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May 20, 2005 --- Vol. 11, No. 47May 2005

FERC to discuss pending order on Alaska gas pipeline rules

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is set to take up a pending order May 25 on proposed open season rules for an Alaska natural pipeline.html'>gas pipeline project. The commission issued a notice May 18 of its intention to hold a daylong public meeting to consider numerous items, including a certificate for “regulations governing the conduct of open seasons for Alaska natural gas transmission projects.” The commission’s May 25 agenda can be accessed on the Web at http://www.ferc.gov/EventCalendar/Files/20050518191903-CA05-25-005.pdf

The pending order follows a notice from the commission April 11 that it would consider several rehearing requests it received in March to change certain aspects of proposed open season rules that it issued Feb. 9 for a gas pipeline project. If it took no action within 30 days, FERC said that meant it denied the requests for rehearing, a FERC spokesman said May 19.

Open seasons are held whenever a pipeline is built to allow gas producers and shippers to identify each other, demonstrate interest in the pipeline and reach agreement with regulators on costs, tariffs and other considerations. FERC’s regulations will govern how all parties will participate in the Alaska gas pipeline project.

Alaska’s major gas producers, ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc., BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., ExxonMobil Production Co. Inc., Chevron, pipeline company Enbridge Inc. and the State of Alaska objected to various aspects of the proposed rules and filed requests for rehearing in March.

Independent Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and the Alaska Legislature’s Legislative Budget & Audit Committee also filed comments in support of the proposed rules and in late March also filed answers with the commission in which they argued that there was no need to grant most of the rehearing requests.

FERC developed the proposed open season rules during the winter after receiving a mandate from Congress last fall to expedite federal permitting of an Alaska natural gas pipeline project.

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