Understanding Alaska: Resources

The Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline

The proposed Alaska natural gas pipeline to carry North Slope gas to market is one of the hottest topics in Alaska today. What route the pipeline will follow, how it will be financed, who will own it, and what role the state government might take in advancing the project had not yet been decided in early 2008. The issues surrounding the proposed pipeline are complex and hard for the average person to sort out.

In November 2005 the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) hosted a public forum on the gas pipeline, bringing together representatives of all the groups with current pipeline proposals, as well as the state government. All the groups made presentations, which we’re posting here. ISER itself prepared a short paper, summarizing some of the main public policy issues; that’s posted here as well.

More than two years have now passed since ISER's 2005 forum on the gas pipeline. In 2005, then-governor Frank Murkowski had negotiated a tentative contract with the North Slope producers, to try to encourage pipeline construction through special fiscal terms. The state legislature did not approve that contract. But in 2007, with the support of current governor Sarah Palin, the legislature passed the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA).That act set new terms for pipeline proposals. In early 2008, the state had received one proposal it said met the terms of AGIA, but others with alternative proposals were still trying to persuade the state government to consider their proposals. Although the 2005 pipeline proposals are now out of date, much of the material posted here--discussing issues surrounding the gas pipeline--remains relevant. We want to emphasize that ISER itself does not advocate any pipeline proposals or specific public policies related to an Alaska natural gas pipeline.