Parnell the Optimist

Governor Parnell says he’s still optimistic about the completion of a gas line from the North Slope to North American markets.  He said he’s been meeting with companies that could use the project – and he says he doesn’t see any reason for changing the statutory terms at this point.

The governor discounts recent reports of too much natural gas available in the lower forty eight  — and he doesn’t accept speculation that new shale gas finds and increased Liquefied Natural Gas imports could foreshadow the end of hopes for getting Alaska’s gas to market.    He says he anticipates a successful industry response to both the state’s AGIA project – and the B-P and Conoco Phillips Denali pipeline — when they go before possible shippers next year in what is called the Open Season.

It’s easy to throw out sound bites that this isn’t going to work,  But unless you’re in those chairs or in these chairs on the state side working with experts on what can work,  it’s hard for me to give that line any credence.  So I’m upbeat about our prospects.

Parnell says getting complete acceptance of the project in next year’s open season, however is unlikely.  He measures success by seeing which shippers bid with specific conditions attached that could be met.

When a company or companies show up at open season and say we’ll put our gas in subject to certain conditions, that opens up the opportunity fo those companies to negotiate with the pipeline company over terms.  Frankly, would the state like to see an open season with no conditions,  of course, but that doesn’t happen in the real world and I wouldn’t want to set that expectation.

He says the oil companies he has talked with still say they want fiscal certainty – a stable tax regime – in place before they will participate in the Open Season.  However, he says he’s offering “economic stability” instead.  He’s not ready to open the subject, but is ready to listen to their ideas.  The companies have not yet asked for any specific statutory changes on the project or on taxes.


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