Monthly Archives: January 2010

Plan B, if the Big Line fails

There is no doubt that the long-desired pipeline to carry gas from Alaska, through Canada, to the Lower 48 — the so-called “Big Line” — is in significant trouble.

To be sure, the Parnell administration has attempted to convince Alaskans otherwise to justify the state government’s continued $500 million subsidy of TransCanada’s project under the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act. However, the observations of as diverse a group as the highly respected Potential Gas Committee, the federal Energy Information Administration and long-time and widely regarded consultant (sometimes to the Alaska government) Daniel Yergin clearly demonstrate the gravity of the situation.

In a November article in The Wall Street Journal that summarized the effects of what Yergin terms the shale gas “revolution,” he concluded, “[a]t current levels of demand, the U.S. has about 90 years of proven and potential supply — a number that is bound to go up as more and more shale gas is found.” Against those numbers, is it realistic to think that producers will risk the $25 billion to $30 billion necessary to build an Arctic pipeline to attempt to penetrate an already oversupplied Lower 48 market? Not really. Continue reading