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Vol. 12, No. 23 Week of June 10, 2007
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

RCA sets Nuiqsut gas line hearing; Northstar certificates transferred

The Regulatory Commission of Alaska has scheduled a June 20 hearing for a natural gas pipeline serving Nuiqsut on the North Slope in response to an application by the North Slope Borough for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to operate the line.

In May the commission granted the borough a certificate to operate the natural gas distribution system in Nuiqsut as a utility (see story “Gas distribution for Nuiqsut approved” in May 20, 2007, issue of Petroleum News). But because the state right-of-way lease for the pipeline requires that it be operated as a common carrier, pipeline regulation was required, which requires a hearing.

The commission said the borough would provide testimony at the hearing “to support a finding that it is willing and able to own and operate the common carrier gas pipeline.”

Pipeline certificates at Northstar transferred

In an unrelated order the commission has granted approval of a transfer of certificates of public convenience and necessity for the Northstar oil and gas pipelines from BP Transportation (Alaska) Inc. to Northstar Pipeline Co.

BP Transportation owns 98.5772 percent of Northstar Pipeline and Murphy Exploration (Alaska) owns 1.4228 percent, ownership interests which match working interest ownerships in the Northstar unit. By transferring pipeline ownership to Northstar Pipeline, pipeline interests will reflect working interest in the unit.

Murphy contributed financially to construction of the pipelines, but at the time applications for certificates were filed and granted, the companies “had not been able to successfully negotiate an agreement for the ownership and operation of the pipelines,” the commission said. The companies told the commission the companies reached a comprehensive settlement of the issues between them on May 11, 2006, “including an agreement that the pipeline be owned by a new limited liability company, NPC.”

Under the LLC agreement, BP Transportation and its affiliates will continue to operate the pipelines.

—Kristen Nelson



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