- Associated Press - Thursday, September 10, 2015

PALMER, Alaska (AP) - There could be more delays for the Alaska liquefied natural gas project as backers consider a larger diameter pipeline.

A joint House and Senate Resources Committee met in Palmer on Wednesday to discuss the proposed $45 billion to $65 billion LNG Project. At the meeting, the project manager said switching from a 42-inch pipe to a 48-inch pipe could increase the costs, KTVA-TV reported.

In a June 8 letter to producers, Gov. Bill Walker asked them to look at a 48-inch pipeline to accommodate more gas in the future, the Alaska Journal of Commerce reported at the time.

Years of research have gone into the smaller pipe and investigating the larger size could set the project back some.

“The sooner we know that number the better. We’re talking about a 6- to 8-month delay,” said state Sen. Anna MacKinnon, R-Eagle River. “Under the previous administration, those delays were costing hundreds of millions of dollars a month as we waited to make those decisions, with interests accumulated and the state, at least to my knowledge, doesn’t know where the state is coming up with our share of the money as of today.”

The LNG project has Alaska Gasline Development Corp., ExxonMobil Alaska, BP Alaska, ConocoPhillips Alaska and TransCanada and the state of Alaska as project partners.

ExxonMobil has already voted to put in its portion of the cost researching the larger pipe option. Other partners have two weeks to decide if they will do the same.

“Working hard on something is one thing, expectations of when it’s gonna be done is another,” said state Sen. Charlie Huggins, R-Wasilla. “So I’m not trying to bite at you, I’m a little frustrated because we seem to be all over the place, like a shotgun. Boom. We just shoot and pellets hit all over the place.”

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Information from: KTVA-TV, https://www.ktva.com

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