FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Gov. Tony Knowles is inviting governors from the midwestern states to meet with him in Columbus, Ohio, next month for discussions about the possibility of bringing Alaska natural gas to the region.
The Midwest has seen some steep increases in its natural gas prices recently.
Along with being governor of a gas-rich state, Knowles chairs the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. Invitations to the meeting are expected to go out this week.
''This plan is not predicated on any specific pipeline projects,'' Knowles' spokesman Bob King said. ''It's actually to look at ways that Alaska's tremendous supply can address growing needs, growing demand for natural gas in domestic as well as international markets.''
The conference would be wide-ranging, King said, and not based on the construction of a Prudhoe Bay-to-Valdez gas line.
Voters in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, the North Slope Borough and city of Valdez have created a port authority to help build a natural gas pipeline.
Mayor Hank Hove of the Fairbanks North Star Borough supports the planned meeting.
''I think that's an appropriate thing to do,'' Hove told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. ''He (Knowles) should make them aware that Alaska has the ability to solve some of their problems.''
Hove said he has not spoken with Knowles about the meeting, but noted that rising fuel costs have created an environment that could benefit a number of states.
Members of the Alaska Gasline Port Authority have started to look into supplying the Lower 48 with Alaska gas, Hove said.
Port authority members spent three days in Houston last week, meeting with gas producers and exporters, the mayor said. The window for gas production still is scheduled for late 2005, he said, but no contracts or agreements have been signed.
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