RCA delays Interior gas decision
State regulators are delaying their decision about Interior gas providers until December.
The Regulatory Commission of Alaska is currently considering similar and separate requests from Fairbanks Natural Gas LLC and the Interior Alaska Natural Gas Utility to provide gas service to North Pole, Eielson Air Force Base and the surrounding area.
The privately held Fairbanks Natural Gas is looking to expand its existing service area while the municipal Interior Alaska Natural Gas Utility is seeking a new certificate.
While the original timeline called for a decision by October, state law allows the RCA to extend a timeline if all the parties to the case agree to the delay. Following a multiday hearing on the matter, the RCA decided it needed more time to make its final decision.
The decision is important for the larger Interior Energy Project, a state-backed effort to truck North Slope liquefied natural gas into the Interior by late 2015. The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority — the lead agency for the project — needs to know which entity will be receiving the gas. AIDEA told Petroleum News that it awaits the decision, but that the delay would not impact the timeline of the project.
In an editorial in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in early October, Gov. Sean Parnell said that the issues being discussed in the RCA case “deserve significant, but prompt consideration. For the sake of Interior Alaskans’ skyrocketing energy bills, the process cannot be drawn out. If it is, the overall success of the project could be at stake.”