The current media coverage and legislative debate on oil taxation and a secret gas pipeline contract with the three major oil producers ignore the fundamental question that needs answering before we make any gas pipeline deal: "Is Alaska's Gas Stranded?"
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Alaska's North Slope gas is not stranded according to Alaska's Stranded Gas Development Act; it is not stranded according to highly qualified ex-officials of the Department of Natural Resources intimately involved in the gas pipeline negotiations up until their departure in November; it is not stranded according to the economic analysis of Econ One Research (the nationally recognized firm hired by the legislature to decipher the technical and financial information surrounding this debate). Alaska's gas is not stranded according to the findings of the Alaska Gas Port Authority and the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority (Report to the People, 2004).
More importantly to me, my own common sense tells me it's not stranded; how can our gas be stranded if Sempra was ready, willing and able to develop and market Alaska's gas in April 2005, if Warren Buffett, through MidAmerican, was willing to purchase the gas from the big three producers and build an independent pipeline? How can it be stranded if TransCanada is still willing to develop that gas and construct the gas pipeline without the caveats demanded by the big three?