Republican Bill Walker today (Wednesday) staked out his turf in next year’s race for the governor’s office – he wants to put a stop to the current state-sanctioned gas line development project, known as AGIA.
Saying the AGIA process is “fatally flawed” he criticized the Parnell administration for underestimating the impact that shale gas will have on the North American market’s demand for North Slope gas.
Shale gas is here to stay. It’s not a blip, not a bump on the market. It’s here to stay. Companies and countries around the world are changing their philosophies, certainly in Canada, as a result of shale gas.
In a report to legislators last week, the Parnell administration praised the work now underway on the AGIA pipeline – especially since Exxon-Mobil has begun working on it. Gasline Coordinator Mark Meyers said at the time that the state was looking at projected conditions ten years from now, not current prices and supplies.
Walker proposes several steps to successfully take gas to market. He has long been a proponent of an All-Alaska gas line to Valdez that would ship to off-shore markets as Liquefied Natural Gas. And he says the first step toward that is to opt out of AGIA.
As governor, I would take steps to end the AGIA process. And retake control of Alaska’s future. Retake control of that process. AGIA has provisions that allows for that and I would exercise those options first thing.
He would then take steps to begin financing of a state-owned pipeline, giving North Slope leaseholders the option of shipping their gas south or selling gas to buyers at the wellhead. He would then recognize that the market for Alaska’s gas is international. He openly admits that the management of the gas line project is the reason he’s in the race for governor.
He says the rest of the world has changed – import LNG facilities are turning around completely so they can ship excess gas to international markets. And yet, he says, Alaska is not changing its old marketing plan. Private business must react to an change with the market, and Alaska is making what he says is a huge mistake.
The opportunity provides fiscal certainty to the risk-takers on the project. What about our fiscal certainty? What about Alaska’s fiscal certainty? What about our future? So, those decisions about how our resources are used and exported need to be made by us. By Alaskans.
Walker acknowledges that the state risks paying damages to TransCanada if it opts out of the AGIA license currently in force. However, he says the risk of losing the entire North Slope gas market is worse than those damages.