Governor Sarah Palin’s May 17th Compass response to recent criticisms regarding AGIA is simply specious. Factual support was glaringly absent.
Nothing Governor Sarah Palin wrote gave any indication whatsoever of the Palin Administration having any start date on construction for the AGIA line, much less an in-state line to the Anchorage area. Her statements were all too familiar.
Remember former Governor Frank Murkowski’s assertions of a ‘contract’ to build a pipeline to the Midwest? That turned out to be nothing but a PR ploy and wishful thinking. Now, Sarah is telling us that she is ‘keeping all options’ open.
Unfortunately, those options are AGIA and an as yet undetermined route for a 24 inch bullet line to south central, which will not be completed until the production in Cook Inlet has dropped beyond keeping Chugach Electric’s natural gas turbines running all year. At some point, if a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope does not deliver natural gas to south central by, say 2012, a decision will have to be made whether we heat homes with that gas or use the gas to provide electricity. There will not be enough natural gas to both provide power and heat homes.
A bullet line from the North Slope is essential to keep south central Alaska in heat and power.
Then candidate Sarah Palin supported an all-Alaska route for a natural gas pipeline during the campaign. I wrote about her position on that matter, and in support of the all-Alaska pipeline route to Valdez. Why did she change her position after taking office?
Why, in the face of all the negative commentary on her part regarding Frank Murkowski’s pipeline proposal during her gubernatorial campaign, did Sarah Palin go with AGIA? AGIA is a dead end. No different than Knowles’ or Murkowski’s large diameter pipe dreams.
Impacting this situation are new drilling technologies and strategies that have tripled the production from the massive shale natural gas deposits in the lower 48.
Why would the oil companies invest $25 billion to $50 billion to build a big pipeline when they could put the money to better use improving production technologies for the shale deposits and plugging that production into existing domestic natural gas distribution systems already in place in the lower 48?
With increasing shale deposit production, and the increase in receiving capacity for LNG in the U.S. to 4.5 bcf per day, where does Alaska natural gas fit into the domestic U.S. market?
Answer: it does not.
We missed the proverbial boat.
It does not take a genius to figure out that AGIA is now a dead end.
Yet, Alaska could have had a pipeline transporting natural gas to Valdez down the TAPS corridor and to the world market by LNG tanker within this decade, had Sarah followed through with her support of an all-Alaska option for moving our natural gas to market.
Unfortunately, Gov. Sarah Palin has joined her predecessors in their predilection towards the colonial economic model of raping Alaska’s resources though extraction without any in-state value added use of gas liquids contained in the North Slope deposits. Neither AGIA nor Conoco-Phillips Denali Project has any provisions for using Alaska’s gas liquids in-state. Under both AGIA and Denali, the gas liquids all go to the Canadians, with those jobs and infrastructure lost to Alaska.
The 2 bcf/day pipeline down TAPS to Valdez with a spur to Palmer from Glennallen would eliminate all of the uncertainties and controversy surrounding the viability of AGIA and which route is best for a spur line. Provision for in-state use of the liquids would also make this a truly value added resource development project. This is a project that could be built within 5 years.
ANGDA was created to manage exactly this sort of project.
Gone out of Sarah Palin’s vocabulary is much of what she campaigned on. In its place is vagary and specious promises all too familiar from the Murkowski days. In this regard, she has become what she replaced.
Face it Sarah, AGIA is dead.