Alaska Natural Gas Pipelines: Interaction of the Natural Gas and Steel Markets [November 2, 2006]   [open pdf - 362KB]

"In 1976 Congress approved legislation to establish the regulatory framework for building a pipeline to bring natural gas from the Alaska North Slope to the lower 48 states (Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Act, 15 U.S.C. § 719 et seq.). Despite the rich deposits of natural gas and the success of the Alaska oil pipeline, the Alaska segment of a gas pipeline has never been started. To encourage its development, Congress passed in 2004 and the President signed into law the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline Act (Division C of P.L. 108-324), which includes a federal loan guarantee of as much as $18 billion. Since then, the North Slope producers and the state of Alaska have been in extensive negotiations on building a gas pipeline. Under a provision of the 2004 law, as no application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the pipeline had been received 18 months after passage of the law, the Department of Energy on April 13, 2006, began a study on alternative approaches to the construction and operation of an Alaska natural gas transportation system. […] The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) estimates that 3 to 5 million tons of steel could be required, but states that sufficient capacity can be readily developed in North America for manufacturing the necessary steel pipe. P.L. 108-324 contains a 'sense of Congress' resolution that North American steel should be used in the project. ExxonMobil Corporation, one of the three developers of Alaska North Slope oil and gas, has, however, announced an agreement with two Japanese companies to commercialize a new type of highstrength steel that could reduce Alaska pipeline costs."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL33716
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