FAIRBANKS - The Alaska Gasline Port Authority is backing a split of the proposed natural gas pipeline from the North Slope with one spur going to the Lower 48 and the other to Valdez.
Growing U.S. demand for natural gas spurred the change, an official said. The group previously promoted only a North Slope-to-Valdez route for the line, which could be the biggest Alaska construction project in years.
"We've changed the whole thing (so) that it's almost a menu," said Hank Hove, Fairbanks North Star Borough mayor and chairman of the Alaska Gasline Port Authority. Hove made his comments Wednesday at a meeting sponsored by the Fairbanks Industrial Development Corp.
Hove said it makes sense to split the line at Delta Junction and send natural gas to the Lower 48 through Canada pipelines. Valdez is still in the picture because there is a demand for Alaska gas in the Asian market, he said.
The port authority, formed by voters of the Fairbanks North Star and North Slope boroughs and the city of Valdez, offers a federal tax exemption to any companies willing to construct the pipeline. The exemption could cut $3 billion from startup costs.
Hove criticized a proposed Arctic Coast route that would take North Slope natural gas offshore to the Mackenzie River in the Yukon Territory. The pipeline would connect to the natural gas infrastructure in Calgary.