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July 18, 2002 --- Vol. 8, No. 73July 2002

Bush warms to gasline incentives

Rep. Don Young, Sen. Ted Stevens and Sen. Frank Murkowski met at the White House today to discuss financial incentives for a North Slope gas line with U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, Larry Lindsay, senior economic advisor to the president, and other Bush administration officials.

Going into the meeting, a White House official described it as preliminary to meetings of the House-Senate conference committee on H.R. 4. The joint committee will decide the fate of gas price floor tax incentive measures for the pipeline, as contained in the Senate version of the energy bill.

A Murkowski spokesman confirmed that parties to the meeting had contacted North Slope gas owners for suggestions on incentives to help spur construction of the line. He said today’s meeting is an opportunity for the administration and the Alaska delegation to review and discuss ideas for incentives.

It is unlikely that the meeting will produce a precise administration strategy for gasline incentives, but it will provide food for thought as the administration does so, according to the White House and Murkowski’s office.

At a press conference yesterday, Murkowski said the president was “already warm” to the idea of financial assistance to the gas line. However, it’s too early yet to say the administration is “on board” with any gas line incentive plan, Murkowski’s spokesman told PNA this morning.

BP asked by White House to suggest alternatives to gas price floor

Ken Konrad, BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc.’s senior vice president for Alaska gas, told PNA that the Bush administration has asked BP to come up with “alternatives” to the gas price floor mechanism.

“There’s an active dialogue going on in Washington. We all agree on the need for federal legislation. … The gas price floor is one possible answer. But there might be others. … As good policymakers, they are looking for something that can gain more uniform support,” Konrad said, alluding to the opposition from various members of Congress, Canada and Exxon Mobil Corp. to a gas price floor tax incentive.

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