JUNEAU (AP) -- A Fairbanks economic research firm was hired by a joint legislative committee to research North Slope natural gas issues.
Northern Economic Research Associates was granted a $168,000 contract by the Joint Committee on Natural Gas Pipelines. The contract runs until June 30.
''Natural gas represents an important new phase of Alaska's petroleum and petrochemical industry, and it is important that we have expert advice on how the state should proceed in pursuit of new opportunities,'' said Sen. John Torgerson, R-Kasilof, who chairs the joint committee.
Northern will advise the committee on various proposals to construct natural gas pipelines to the Lower 48, he said.
Alaska's oil industry is currently studying two proposals to ship about 37 trillion cubic feet of North Slope natural gas to the Outside.
One would involve a gasline through northern Canada and another would bisect Alaska generally following the trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline and the Alaska Highway.
State officials favor the all-Alaska route and have lobbied heavily for it's selection.
There is also interest in constructing a facility to liquefy natural gas for export.
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