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Rep. Miller Calls for Facts on Getting Cook Inlet Gas to Fairbanks

If gas is there, it could be the cheapest, fastest way to lower Fairbanks energy costs

JUNEAU – Today, Representative Bob Miller (D-Fairbanks) introduced legislation (HB 308) to study the potential for meeting Fairbanks and Interior energy needs by building a small-diameter natural gas pipeline from Cook Inlet to Fairbanks.

“If there’s as much gas there as some think, a small pipeline from Cook Inlet to Fairbanks could be the cheapest, fastest long-term solution for lowing energy costs in Fairbanks,” said Rep. Miller. “But we won’t know unless we do our homework first.”

Recently, Furie Operating Alaska, formerly Escopeta, claimed it had discovered potentially three trillion cubic feet of natural gas in Cook Inlet, and Buccaneer Energy is beginning oil and gas exploration in the inlet with a second jack-up rig this summer. Should Furie verify its discovery, there could be enough of a Cook Inlet gas supply to support both Southcentral and Fairbanks for about 15 years. 

“We need to answer the hard questions now so, if the gas and the economics are there, we can get the gas to Fairbanks as soon as possible,” said Rep. Miller.

There are many potential benefits for Alaska from a Cook Inlet to Fairbanks natural gas pipeline. The shorter distance and potentially smaller volume would make it cheaper and faster to build than an in-state gasline from the North Slope. If a large-diameter export line is ever built from the North Slope, the line could be reversed and used as a spur line to Southcentral. In that way, it would not only not compete with a larger line, but it could also moderately improve the economics of a larger project. A line from Cook Inlet to Fairbanks would also provide a stable and significant market for the oil and gas producers and explorers Alaska has worked so hard to attract to Cook Inlet.

“There are still many, many unanswered questions about the potential of getting Cook Inlet gas to Fairbanks,” said Rep. Miller, “but the potential benefits are so great that we cannot afford to ignore it as an option until we get more information.”

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