By Whitney Wolff–Members of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation met with residents of Talkeetna and Trapper Creek on September 14th at Su Valley High, to present a project update of the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline. The pipeline project, known by its acronym “ASAP”, or “the bullet line”, would run 737 miles from Prudhoe Bay to Big Lake and deliver natural gas to Fairbanks and the greater Anchorage area. The 24 inch diameter pipeline would have the capacity to transport 500 million standard cubic feet of natural gas per day with a project completion date of late 2018.
The route of the pipeline, mandated by the Alaska Legislature to follow current state rights-of-way, would follow the Trans Alaska Pipeline System and Dalton Highway corridors to Livengood, northwest of Fairbanks. The ASAP route joins the Parks Highway corridor west of Fairbanks near Nenana. The Fairbanks Lateral connection would tie into the mainline at mile 458 and run a 12 inch diameter line for 35 miles east to Fairbanks. The mainline would continue south to to the Cook Inlet NGL Extraction Facility at the pipeline terminus near Big Lake. The project will feature a 70 acre gas conditioning facility and compressor station at Prudhoe Bay and a second compressor station south of Coldfoot. The buried pipeline would operate at a maximum pressure of 2,500 psi generated by gas-turbine centrifugal compressors.
The history of the proposed project dates to 2010 when the Legislature passed House Bill 369 mandating the development of an in state natural gas line and establishing the Joint In-State Gasline Development Team. Currently led by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation and itʼs subsidiary the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, the official project plan was completed July 1st , 2011. The plan consists of a detailed project schedule and can be viewed on line at www.gasline.us.com
Representatives from the AGDC reviewed the needs addressed by the project, which focus primarily on off-setting projected shortages in the Cook Inlet gas fields. These developed fields are declining and currently supply much of Southcentral Alaska with electricity and heating. Stimulating existing and new business development were also discussed including mining, oil and gas, and other industry that could benefit from the project.
A dozen local residents participated in a question and answer session following a power point presentation. Questions ranged from infrastructure, to the estimated 7.5 billion dollar cost, and the option for local communities to tie into the mainline. Safety issues were addressed such as shut off protocol and thicker pipe use in urban or developed areas. Concerns were raised that the state seems to lack a neutral body of experts to oversee what some considered an excess of large state funded energy projects. The relationship between the ASAP and other pipeline projects was also a main topic. The Alaska Pipeline Project sponsored by the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act is focused on exporting North Slope gas through a large diameter pipeline and has bearing on all other state gas line projects by capping their diameter to 24 inches. The ASAP is independent of interstate projects and envisioned by the legislature to be easier to complete and thus able to meet more urgent energy needs of Alaskans.