Proponents of a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to Southcentral Alaska say their plans are compatible with Cook Inlet exploration.
The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation and Alaska Gasline Port Authority are working on plans for in-state natural gas pipelines that could meet energy demands in Southcentral. Shortfalls are projected in coming years.
The state Legislature commissioned an exploration into such a project in 2010. AGDC announced its plan for the Alaska Standalone Gas Pipeline in July. At the same time, the Alaska Gasline Port Authority announced a separate plan for a natural gas line, called the All-Alaska Gasline Project. The two projects have different capacities and different routes, but a similar goal: delivering more gas to Alaska's population center.
And both projects say that enhanced Cook Inlet production would not reduce the feasibility of their efforts.
A series of natural gas discoveries in the inlet would be a bridge for the region, until a pipeline could bring more gas to the area, said Michael Rocereta, the ASAP project's commercial manager, at a Wednesday Chamber of Commerce luncheon about the ASAP line.
AGPA's Bill Walker said in an interview last week that he is optimistic about recent developments in the inlet, including the successful lease sale and companies that have acquired jack-up rigs.
"I'm very excited about the renewed activity in the Cook Inlet basin," Walker said.
And more gas for a variety of uses could mean a resurgence of industrial use, as well.
Walker said he hoped a pipeline could help keep the Nikiski liquified natural gas plant owned by ConocoPhillips and Marathon in production.
And Rocereta said it was a possibility that certain gas products could make their way to the central Peninsula. There likely wouldn't be enough ethane for a plastics facility, but propane and butane could be sent south if there was a use for them, he said.
Just how much gas will come out of the inlet is yet to be determined.
A recent United States Geological Survey boosted the estimated Cook Inlet reserves significantly.
But Rocereta said that estimate just shows potential resources, not proven reserves. The difference, he said, is that essentially the resources are what could be there. Reserves have a higher degree of certainty.