Murkowski to address joint session on gas pipeline progress

Posted: Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Gov. Frank Murkowski will appear before a joint session of the Legislature on Wednesday to talk about the state's plans to reach a deal on a natural gas pipeline.

"Given the importance of this particular issue, it makes sense to have a briefing for them in an open session," said press secretary John Manly. "Nobody has to complain there's closed-door meetings going on."

Murkowski, who is scheduled to appear at 11 a.m., will speak for about 20 minutes before taking questions from lawmakers, Manly said.

Alaska has been trying to generate interest in a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope for decades, and Murkowski made the project a top priority when he entered office in 2002.

Last month, two groups submitted stranded gas applications to begin negotiations with the state over financial terms of such a project.

MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. of Des Moines, Iowa, its subsidiary, Alaska Gas Transmission Co., and a consortium of Alaska Native corporations filed their application Jan. 22.

A proposal from the three major oil producers with rights to North Slope natural gas, ConocoPhillips, BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. and Exxon Mobil Corp., surfaced a day later.

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