Alaska may just be a pipeline contractor's dream With the state legislature debating TransCanada Corp.'s plan to build a 1,715-mile pipeline to ship North Slope gas, to the Lower 48, rivals BP Plc and ConocoPhillips continue developing a rival plan. Both plans would follow roughly the same path to a hub in Alberta and then to the U.S. The TransCanada plan has a $31 billion price tag on it and would deliver up to 4 billion cubic feet per day to the energy thirsty Lower 48. Now, Gov. Sarah Palin has lifted the curtain on a third new pipeline. This proposed line would be a public private, joint venture between the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority and Enstar Natural Gas Co. This pipe would run 450 miles from the Cook Inlet basin to Fairbanks and then extend to Anchorage and other Alaska markets. That's the key for the proposed $3 billion project, Palin says in a statement posted on her website. While we have publicly been focusing our efforts on AGIA (Alaska Gasline Inducement Act) and our overland gas route to Canada and the Lower 48, we have also been working on an in-state gasline that can swiftly address the needs of Interior and Southcentral Alaskans while we continue our progress on AGIA,” Palin says. “It is time to bring together the tremendous resources we have in this state to build an in-state gasline that delivers an affordable and reliable supply of natural gas to Southcentral and Interior Alaskans, targeting delivery within the next five years. This project will also be designed to spur exploration and development of new natural gas resources within the Cook Inlet and Copper River basins, and provide a long-term supply of natural gas for Southcentral and Interior Alaska.” The in-state gas pipeline project could move approximately 460 million cubic feet of gas per day, about twice Alaskans’ current daily gas use, and could see gas flowing as early as 2013 to residential and commercial customers, Palin says. The opportunity to open up Cook Inlet with a pipeline could be just the right incentive to lure companies back into the basin, says Alaska Deputy Commissioner of Natural Resources Marty Rutherford. He says there may be a 50-year supply of gas down in the Cook Inlet. Palin says the state could contribute up to $500 million for the TransCanada project. With its coffers swollen from oil and gas royalties revenue, putting some money forward for the smaller project wouldn't be a problem. Stay tuned. More to come. There are more wild cards in this game than on any table in Vegas. –John A. Sullivan, News Editor, Oil and Gas Investor, www.OilandGasInvestor.com, jsullivan@hartenergy.com