Official: Alaska Eying Equity Stake In Pipeline

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska official said Monday the state is looking at taking a multibillion-dollar equity stake in a major natural gas pipeline project as a way to protect its interests and help make the long-hoped-for project a reality.

Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Balash said Gov. Sean Parnell's administration views a potential equity stake of 20 percent to 30 percent favorably. But he said any level of participation would depend on legislative buy-in and the terms the companies pursuing the project are willing to accept.

Assuming the project costs $45 billion — a figure at the lower end of the range previously announced by the companies — the state would be looking at $9 billion to $13.5 billion for a stake of 20 to 30-percent .

Balash said he's hoping that range narrows significantly over time as the idea gets more scrutiny.

The option stems from a report commissioned by the state to see how Alaska could protect its royalty interest and ensure it receives the maximum value possible for its natural gas.

The North Slope's three major players — Exxon Mobil Corp., BP and ConocoPhillips — are working with TransCanada Corp. to advance a liquefied natural gas project that would be capable of overseas exports.

The proposed line would run 800 miles from the slope to south-central Alaska and could cost from $45 billion to more than $65 billion. The companies haven't committed to building it and have repeatedly said they needed competitive, predictable and durable terms on oil and gas taxes and royalties.


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