Stevens thinks the state should compete in growing liquefied natural gas markets along the Pacific Rim. He points out that demand for gas in the Lower 48 is expected to drop in the coming years, while the Asian market has a gap to fill.
"Let's move ahead," Stevens said. "We don't need any more open seasons, we don't any more periods for analysis -- we need an emphasis on getting the job done."
But state lawmakers say he's just another naysayer who's trying to pull the plug on the AGIA project.
"You know, you can not change your mind every day about how you are going to build a gas line," said Rep. Les Gara. "We've set on a course, it makes sense, we are closer than we've ever been to building a gas line, and when people say, ‘No, let's do this instead' every single week, you lose all the credibility in the world."
Bud Fackrell, the president of the Denali pipeline project, acknowledges the volatile market in the Lower 48, but says the group will have a better idea of what customers want after AGIA's open season.
"Our objective is to try to monetize the gas," Fackrell said. "Our plan is through a big pipeline, but there are some things that are outside our control. One of them is what is the market going to be in the Lower 48."
Stevens says he's not speaking on anyone's behalf, but is looking to change minds. He says there's been a lot of talk already about options for a natural-gas pipeline, but now is the time to do something about it.
"To build a gas line will be the largest project underway in Alaska -- in the United States if it's undertaken," Stevens said. "It will represent Alaska's contribution to job creation and economic recovery in our nation."
Gov. Sean Parnell's spokesperson, Sharon Leighow, says the state is staying on course.
"An in-state gas pipeline remains a priority of the Parnell administration," Leighow said in a statement. "We continue to believe that a pipeline to bring gas to the Lower 48 is the best and fastest way to develop Alaska's North Slope gas resources for the benefit of all Alaskans. An LNG plant at Valdez remains an option at the upcoming open season."
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