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ASAP Project makes design chages, requires supplemental statement

Posted: August 28, 2014 - 8:32pm

While the Alaska LNG Project has taken the spotlight lately, the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline Project, another proposed natural gas project, is still in the works.

Due to some changes made after the 2012 ASAP Project design, a supplemental environmental impact statement is necessary to move forward. A 2012 environmental impact statement that was previously completed based on the original design will be used as the foundation for the supplemental statement, which will focus on project changes.

Project officials are hosting public meetings throughout the state about the project and the supplemental statement. Ann Southam, program director with third-party contractor Environmental Resources Management of Alaska, gave a presentation about the project and the design changes to a room populated primarily by other project officials at the Quality Inn in Kenai on Wednesday.

“Some of the benefits that have come from the redesign of … components of the project is it is reducing costs and risks somewhat for the overall environmental and social and economic impacts,” Southam said.

Changes to the project include: shortening the length of the pipeline, widening the diameter of the pipe, lowering the operating pressure, changing gas composition from enriched gas to lean gas, reducing support facilities and making modifications to the West Dock Causeway at Prudhoe Bay.

Southam said work to West Dock was included to be able to bring in pre-built modules for the gas conditioning facility. Dredging will be done along with some widening of the dock and installing of a temporary bridge and valves and barges.

“West Dock is new,” said Kalb Stevenson, environmental leader for the ASAP Project. “There will be some dredging and disposing of material but one of the things we do to mitigate against that is to have … almost all of that activity occur in the winter so we’ll be coming through the ice which gives us a longer time period and a little more stability to dig all of that out.”

Miles Baker, vice president of external affairs and government relations for the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., said shortening and straightening the line as well as reducing the number of compressor stations and removing the straddle plant and extraction facility reduces the environmental footprint of the project.

The Development Corp. is the sponsoring agency of the proposed ASAP Project. According to the current design, the project proposes construction of a 727-mile, 36-inch diameter, 1,480 pounds-per-square-inch pressure pipeline for utility grade lean gas for in-state markets. The pipeline will be buried except for fault and elevated stream crossings. The project would include a natural gas conditioning facility near Prudhoe Bay and connect with ENSTAR’s distribution system, terminating near Big Lake. A 29-mile branch-off line to Fairbanks is also included in the project design. Construction is estimated to take three years and cost about $8 billion.

The Development Corp. is currently participating in advancing both the ASAP Project and the Alaska LNG Project, which proposes an 800-mile 42-inch liquefied natural gas pipeline from a Prudhoe Bay gas treatment plant to an LNG facility in Nikiski. Alaska LNG is expected to be constructed in five to six years and has a price tag of $45 to $65 billion.

The Legislature has funded both the ASAP Project and Alaska LNG through fiscal year 2015. At the upcoming session, discussion about the projects is expected, Baker said.

“The idea is to pick the one that is in the best long-term interest of the state,” Baker said. “And people have different interpretations of what that means but trying to get energy to Alaskans, maximize the value of the resource, create jobs, economic development. We just don’t know enough yet really about either project to make an either or decision yet.”

Officials with the ASAP Project are about halfway done with their public meetings, but citizens can also comment on the project at asapeis.com; asapeiscomments@usace.army.mil; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, CEPOA-RD, Mary Romero, P.O. Box 6898, JBER, AK 99506-0898. The comment period ends on Oct. 14.

The next public input period will be in the spring of 2015 when the draft of the supplemental statement is complete. The final supplemental statement is scheduled to be complete in the fall of 2015.

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at kaylee.osowski@peninsulaclarion.com.

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