Criticism mounts for call to truck liquefied natural gas to Fairbanks

From The Fairbanks Daily Newsminer, Thursday, July 29, 2010:

A plan to transfer Fairbanks Natural Gas LLC from private to public ownership and truck liquefied natural gas to Fairbanks from the North Slope is doomed, according to an Alaska Gasline Port Authority board member.

Board member Merrick Peirce wrote in an e-mail that the assumption behind the $250 million business deal — that crude oil prices will continue to rise — is flawed because more crude oil production is coming online in Iraq, increasing the world’s supply.

In interviews, other port authority board members defended the plan and refuted Peirce’s claims. They said the proposal, to be financed with bonds, provides the best possibility of quickly lowering energy prices in Fairbanks.

Decades of talk about building a natural gas pipeline have yet to produce results. “We have not given up on the pipeline,” said Dave Cobb, Valdez Councilman and vice chairman of the port authority governing board. “That is still our No. 1 priority, but you have to do something in the interim.”

The port authority is a partnership between the Fairbanks borough and the city of Valdez that was created to build a gas pipeline to Valdez. Peirce offered his criticism in an e-mail to the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly, which tonight considers a resolution to accept the authority’s proposed purchase of Fairbanks Natural Gas. The assembly also will consider an ordinance that would require a public vote to broaden the port authority’s mission statement before it goes ahead with the trucking plan.

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