The Alaska LNG project team continues its work on mapping out a pipeline route for the proposed 800-mile North Slope natural gas pipeline south to Cook Inlet.
The project teams reported they have made multiple adjustments to the pipeline route since filing the first draft route with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in February 2015. They are looking for the best path for the pipeline to move North Slope gas across the state to reach the liquefaction plant in Nikiski. The project is in undergoing engineering and design, working toward a late-summer 2016 FERC application. The federal agency regulates LNG plant construction and operations, and will prepare the project’s environmental impact statement.
The pipeline execution team reported they would like to keep the 42-inch-diameter, high-pressure gas line at least 200 feet away from the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, particularly to allow gas line construction equipment to maneuver a safe distance from the above ground oil line. But some pinch points will require closer spacing.
The entire EIS process takes several years. Under Alaska LNG’s current schedule, the project sponsors will submit their second draft of environmental reports to FERC in early 2016, followed by the final reports and full application to FERC by summer 2016. That second set of draft reports will include details on potential construction and operations impacts on the environment and communities, along with possible measures to lessen those impacts. The first drafts, filed with FERC in February, reported on existing land, water, wildlife and community statistics and conditions — the baseline conditions— and did not include potential impacts.
If the work stays on schedule, the project team anticipates FEFC would issue its draft EIS in 2017 and a final EIS and project approval by fall 2018, setting the stage for an investment decision by the partners late 2018 or early 2019. Construction could take five years.
The entire project carries a price tag of $45 - $60 billion. It would be a massive project for the State of Alaska, whose GDP is ~$45 billion.