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Dallas, TX — Exxon Mobil & TransCanada are working on a partnership on a proposed natural gas pipeline from Alaska’s North Slope to the Lower 48, according to a news report in the Houston Chronicle filed Wednesday evening. Meanwhile, Governor Palin was in Texas on Wednesday, meeting with ExxonMobile.
Recently, ExxonMobile, a North Slope producer & TransCanada, which was awarded an exclusive state license sanctioning the gas pipeline under the AK Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA). A producer-partner could be critical for TransCanada. Some critics of the AGIA license have said TransCanada might not secure financing without a partner with gas reserves to feed into the line. But national media outlet Politico reported June 5 that Palin would hold meetings in Washington, D.C., & in Texas on natural resource issues.

Sen. Gene Therriault, R-North Pole, said he’s sensed something brewing and wouldn’t be surprised to hear of an Exxon-TransCanada partnership. “The details, though, I’m waiting to find out just like anyone else,” he said. TransCanada is moving toward an open season on the estimated $40 billion project, when producers would commit to sending gas down the line. “If they have struck a deal with a potential shipper, that is all positive movement,” Therriault said.
Exxon is the operator on Point Thomson, which contains resources considered critical to the success of a natural gas pipeline. The state Department of Natural Resources pulled Exxon’s permits last year, citing failure to make progress. Several permits were re-instated in January. ExxonMobile controls about a third of the reserves at Point Thomson. BP and ConocoPhillips hold most of the remainder & are partners in a separate endeavor to build a similar natural gas pipeline, called Denali. The governor made first public mention of big pipeline news last weekend, speaking in NY.

“My administration, we’ve introduced, with protections for Alaska, free-market competition — imagine that today, free-market competition — to move our trillions and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas into these hungry markets in the Lower 48,” Palin said in a speech. “We continue to see great progress on this project ... It’s promising news that we get to announce very shortly. I can’t wait until you hear about this progress, very shortly.”

Exxon and TransCanada say they have reached a deal to work on an Alaska natural gas pipeline.

The announcment said in part:
"TransCanada Alaska Company, LLC and subsidiaries of Foothills Pipe Lines Ltd. will remain the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA) licensees and TransCanada will continue as the primary point of contact with the State of Alaska and the general public for this project." "As TransCanada and ExxonMobil work together with the goal of successfully advancing a pipeline project, the AGIA contract obligations of TransCanada to the State remain unaffected."

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