May 03, 2002 --- Vol. 8, No. 50May 2002

No industry interest in Norton Basin

The Minerals Management Service said today that there is no current industry interest in its proposed North Basin oil and gas lease sale.

The agency's first call for information for the area closed April 22.

"We didn't expect much interest from companies at this time," said MMS Regional Director John Goll. "This first call for information got the idea of a small focused sale out to the companies. I hope that they will consider the area and its needs and how working in Norton Sound might work into upcoming exploration plans."

MMS said areas off Western Alaska are largely unexplored and have no infrastructure to support oil and gas exploration. The agency believes the area "may contain substantial natural gas resources" which could be used by local communities and also exported.

Nome, St. Lawrence Island and Yukon Delta communities are interested in new energy sources, the agency said.

MMS said this special interest process is a first for Alaska. The call requested that industry nominate small, very specific areas where they would commit to explore.

MMS said since there was no industry interest this year, it would defer the sale for a year and reissue the call. Although only one round of leasing would occur in this five-year program, MMS said it would continue to issue a call during through 2007 until there is sufficient interest.

Economic researchers tout benefits for Canada of Alaska Highway gasline

A gas pipeline along the Alaska Highway could pump C$31.4- billion (US$20 billion) into the Canadian economy over the next 24 years and generate up to C$28 billion ($US$18 billion) in government revenues, says a study by Ottawa-based economic researcher Informetrica Ltd.

The study, funded by the Yukon government, said the territory's own GDP would soar by an average 30 percent based on Informetrica's projected cost of C$13.6 billion (US$8.7 billion)to build and operate the pipeline across Canada.

It said an average 6,600 jobs per year would be created in Canada through the peak planning and construction years from 2002 to 2012.

For the 24 years covered by the study, there would be 165,000 person-years of employment in Ontario and Quebec, the center of Canada's steel and equipment manufacturing; 68,000 person-years in British Columbia and 45,000 person-years in Alberta.

Informetrica estimates the highway route would be economically viable with gas prices at US$3 per thousand cubic feet.

Yukon Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Scott Kent said the findings demonstrate the strength of the project for all of Canada, not just the Yukon and Alaska.

He said a highway pipeline could delay, without killing, a standalone Mackenzie Valley line, arguing that Canada would be best served if both proceeded.

A separate study released earlier this year by the Northwest Territories government calculated the Mackenzie pipeline would inject C$77 billion (US$49 billion) into Canada's GDP, including the value of royalties for gas shipped on the system, and create 157,000 person-years of employment.

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