Energy Dept Moves Forward on Loan Guarantees for Pipeline

Department of Energy will publish a Notice of Inquiry in the Federal Register seeking public comment on an $18 billion loan guarantee program to encourage construction of a pipeline that will bring Alaskan natural gas to the continental United States. The pipeline will provide access to Alaska's 35 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves and would be a major step forward in meeting America's growing energy needs and reducing our dependence on foreign sources of energy. It would also fulfill the Bush Administration's policy to bring Alaska's natural gas reserves to market.

"Further developing our domestic energy supply is a key priority of the President's National Energy Policy," Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman said. "When the Alaska pipeline is fully operational, it will have the potential to add nearly 2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas each year to our supply, which would help to further stabilize prices."

Natural gas serves six of every 10 American households, about 62 million homes, and is used to generate about 16 percent of the nation's electric power. Natural gas also is indispensable as a feedstock for fertilizer and chemical manufacturers. In recent years, rising demand and limited increases in supply have resulted in high natural gas prices that affected residential and industrial users across the economy.

The Notice requests public comment on the loan guarantee program and on specific issues about how the program should be administered. No final decision has been made on whether regulations to implement the loan guarantee program are needed. The comment period closes on July 26, 2005.

Company: U.S. Department of Energy more info
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