Skeptical: Valdez wary of gasline announcements
ASAP, HB4, ANGDA, AGDC, AGPA, AGIA making Alaskans tune out
With the numerous competing natural gas projects in Alaska, Valdez officials - and its newly hired media relations partner Walsh Sheppard - do have their work cut out for them when it comes to promoting Port Valdez as Alaska’s best and only choice for the terminus for a natural gas pipeline. It is indeed time Valdez “turn up the volume.”
The longest-standing proposed project that is active is the All-Alaska Gasline Port Authority (AGPA) which the Valdez Star refers to as the Port Authority. Its plan builds a large diameter natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to Port Valdez. The plan calls for an LNG (liquid natural gas) facility to bring natural gas and other resources to market for Alaskans and export by way of ship to Asian markets. The Port Authority is backed by the City of Valdez, the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Delta Junction, the Copper Basin Chamber of Commerce and many other municipal governments along the Richardson Highway. Numerous studies already conducted by industry analysts have shown the Port Authority’s project, to use popular jargon, is pretty sweet. And not just for Valdez, but brings great benefit to Alaska in general when compared to competing projects. Check them out at www.allalaskagasline.com
That’s why many Alaskans were left scratching their heads last week when the Alaska legislature and Gov. Sean Parnell loudly touted various gas development projects. The Alaska House held hearings on HB4, which is a competing instate gasline project, while at the same time Gov. Sean Parnell attempted to create a media frenzy when TransCanada and Alaska’s oil producers announced “alignment” on AGIA.
None of the projects currently backed by the legislature or Parnell, as of yet, maximize the state’s natural gas resources in terms of state revenue or provide low cost energy for the greatest number of Alaskan communities.
The competing gasline projects - and the excessive number of acronyms - have left many Alaskans confused. Ironically, most if not all of the competing projects have hijacked the moniker “all-Alaska.”
While not all Alaskans are tuning out - the clamor for cheaper energy among Alaska voters is loud and clear - the similar names and excessive acronyms and competing interests could stand clarification.
As the Alaska House presented its bill, HB4, which spells out terms to build a large diameter natural gas-only (no liquids such as propane) pipeline from the North Slope to Cook Inlet, it is also using the tagline ASAP, short for “Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline.”
HB4 is further complicated by the fact that it will be administered by the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, AGDC. AGDC was created by the legislature in 2010 for the purpose of developing a so-called bullet line, a small-diameter natural gas pipeline to Cook Inlet. Under HB4, the state-owned corporation changes its mission to control a larger in-state natural gas line.
To confuse matters further, HB4, as written, calls for ANGDA, the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority, to become a subsidiary of AGDC.
ANGDA was created by a 2002 ballot initiative – and it was passed overwhelmingly by Alaska voters for the express purpose of developing a large diameter liquid natural gas (LNG) project from the North Slope to Valdez.
Since its creation, critics say ANGDA - and its mission - have often been hijacked, underfunded and/or manipulated by competing political interests of several Alaska governors.
Before ANGDA, AGPA, the Alaska Gasline Port Authority was created by voters in the Arctic North Slope Borough, Fairbanks North Star Borough, and Valdez. The Port Authority was created and voter approved with the express purpose of building – or causing to be built – an LNG pipeline from the North Slope to Port Valdez, for in-state use and export.
In 2006, then-governor Sarah Palin created legislation called AGIA, the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act.
Valdez Star file photo
Potential gas buyers from Hawaii, as well as Asian countries, came to the LNG Summit the City of Valdez hosted late last summer.
AGIA was a competition-based contract with Alaska that awarded the winning bidder $100s of millions in state funding to study an LNG export project.
AGPA, the Port Authority, relied on industry partners it has kept confidential when preparing its AGIA bid. At the time, the Port Authority cried foul when the state rejected its application as incomplete and awarded the contract to TransCanada. The Port Authority, while refusing to name names, claimed its industry partners pulled a double-cross, and refused to release the full proposal, which caused it to be incomplete.
The two entities later worked together to consider Port Valdez as a terminus for export when natural gas markets in the Lower 48 became glutted with gas from fracking.
The Port Authority – and its Valdez supporters -are the only project still standing after decades of competing proposals, most of which have faded in the dust.