Alaska gas pipeline gets Conoco, BP, perhaps Exxon on board
The world of oil and gas pipelines has long seen its share of hopes and letdowns, and prospects to get Alaska's massive gas reserves to market are on their way up. ConocoPhillips and BP announced last week they would bid on the pipeline, and perhaps Exxon Mobil would join it, The New York Times reports.
Alaska holds 35 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, much of it on its Northern Slope, home to its major oil producing fields. But oil production -- i.e. state revenues -- is decreasing while the economics of natural gas improves, which is why BP and Conoco executives said they're into the Alaska gas line now.
Before the new governor, Sarah Palin, took office in 2006, negotiations were ongoing for the gas line. But Palin criticized it as a bad shake for Alaskans and started a new pipeline process. TransCanada has proposed a pipeline plan as well.
Both will make or break in an upcoming "open season," where a prospective pipeline lines up shippers as a means of raising investment for the project.
The United States will increase its natural gas consumption as demand for energy increases, as does the concern for more polluting energy sources such as coal. Infrastructure investment is a major cost and concern, and although a pipeline from Alaska would only satisfy about 7 percent of demand, it would cut from alternative investment in import terminals.
The pipeline, dubbed Denali, would cost $30 billion as it snakes from Alaska's north, through Canada and into Chicago. It is likely to face challenges from TransCanada, as well as regulatory issues in both the United States and Canada.
Nabucco gets boost with Turkmenistan pledge
EU officials said they've received what the fledgling pipeline project needed most -- a dedicated supply -- from Turkmenistan during a recent meeting.
"For the first time, we have a concrete volume for Nabucco which comes from Turkmenistan alone," said a spokeswoman for Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU commissioner for external relations, the BBC reports.
Nabucco is a project aimed at sending 31 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe as its consumers attempt to diversify from its growing Russian reliance. Russia is also pushing for pipeline projects, such as South Stream, which would diversify the routes through which the gas it controls flows to Europe.
Turkmenistan has agreed to supply a Russian project as well, and questions remain as to who will build the Nabucco pipeline and what other sources of gas will be dedicated to it.
Indian official in Pakistan next week to move on two pipeline deals
Murli Deora, the petroleum minister of India, has reconfirmed his visit next week to Islamabad to pick up the pieces of the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline that faltered amidst a row between the two countries and Pakistan's internal political strife.
Deora will also announce its formal partnership in the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline, the Business Standard reports.
"We will meet Pakistan after the TAPI pipeline meeting for resolving the issue of what fee needs to be paid to Pakistan for the gas that passes through that country through the pipeline from Iran," Deora said.
The India-Pakistan dispute over transit fees for the so-called Peace Pipeline carrying Iranian natural gas to Pakistan and on to India led to a standstill last year. India is believed to be pressured by the United States as a way to force Iran over its nuclear program. Washington also supports the TAPI pipeline.
As the political upheaval in Pakistan boiled until it was likely a new government would be elected, India decided to wait until restarting talks.
"We were waiting for the elections in Pakistan to be over. Now that is over, we can take the pipeline project forward," he said.