Alaskan Pipeline Project

By Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor | November 2008 Vol. 63 No. 11

Palmer says TransCanada wants to be fully ready to enter pre filing, and will file its application after its open season next spring. Post open season is when pre filing activities normally begin, he adds. Palmer states that TC expects to file a construction application in 2012. In the FERC letter to Denali approving its pre filing application, the agency noted that Denali plans to file its construction application in 2011. So it is not clear, despite FERC’s warnings, that it will have to consider the two applications simultaneously.

Rather, FERC may be concerned that it will have to act on Denali’s application without the benefit of having TC’s to compare it to. Conversely, Denali may be in a bit of a rush since the state of Alaska has blessed the TransCanada project, certifying it under the state’s Alaska Gas Line Inducement Act. It not only receives the political imprimatur of the state, but also $500 million in state funds for use during the pre filing process.

FERC stated in its “Sixth Report to Congress on the Progress Made in Licensing and Constructing the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline,” published at the end of August, that Alaska’s blessing of the TransCanada proposal would not give TC an advantage as far as FERC’s consideration of a construction certificate, which, again, will only be granted to one of the bidders. The report’s conclusion noted: “It is not unusual or detrimental at this stage that two projects are preceding forward.” But it went on to say, “We continue to seriously caution that reviewing multiple projects throughout the complete federal regulatory process would greatly challenge the Commission staff, the other agencies on the federal interagency team, and state agencies. We believe it to be in the public interest to avoid the consequences of a prolonged, duplicative regulatory review in a competitive situation . . .”