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State, Exxon hope to settle lease dispute

Posted: March 10, 2011 - 10:20am

JUNEAU — The state of Alaska is hopeful it can settle a long-running dispute over leases that could be key to advancing a major natural gas pipeline.

Department of Law spokesman Bill McAllister says talks continue toward settling litigation over the North Slope’s Point Thomson gas fields. While he says the state’s hopeful it can resolve the matter, he gave no timetable for when that may happen.

David Eglinton, a spokesman for Exxon Mobil Corp., says progress is being made toward settlement but additional work remains. He wouldn’t elaborate.

Talks have been underway, in earnest, since last year.

The dispute stems from the state pulling leases it believes energy companies held on to for too long without developing.

If talks fall through, the state Supreme Court is expected to take up the issue.

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