So what’s the big emergency?
There will only be one multi-billion dollar gas line built in Alaska in the next twenty years. Even the Producers have recognized this. But the Legislature is poised to pass House Bill 4 (HB4) any day now, which would invest $400 million in the ASAP gas line and empower the AGDC to make development decisions behind closed doors. If that happens, the ASAP line will gain unstoppable momentum, essentially shutting down all other gas line projects.
The ASAP line will not bring energy to all Alaskans, and even the ones it would serve will see an increase in their cost of energy. The ASAP line will not earn sufficient income to pay for the project or to fund future state programs. If the ASAP line is the one gas line we wind up with, we will lose our only reasonable opportunity to ensure future funding for critical state programs and to bring affordable energy to all Alaskans. This catastrophe could occur any day now unless ordinary Alaskans immediately intervene by letting their representatives (especially their Senators) in Juneau know that HB4 is dangerous and must be defeated.
What’s so important about a gas line?
The answer boils down to two simple ideas: Affordable energy and economic security.
For more than three decades, Alaska’s economy has been built around North Slope crude oil. As the crude supply in Prudhoe Bay declines, Alaska needs to begin developing other resources to replace the taxes and royalties from crude oil production. Offshore drilling in the Arctic will take place in federal waters, meaning Alaska will see limited economic benefit. Meanwhile, approximately 35 trillion cubic feet of natural gas sits ready for development in existing North Slope fields. Without a gas line, there’s no way to get that gas to market.
At the same time, communities around the state struggle with skyrocketing energy costs. A gas line that includes natural gas liquids will provide opportunities to deliver cleaner, lower-cost energy to many rural communities—not just the population centers along the pipeline route.
Will building a gas pipeline discourage production of crude oil?
On the contrary, building a large-volume gas line is one of the best ways to ensure more oil goes into the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. With a high-volume gas pipeline in place to ensure natural gas has a way to get to a profitable market, North Slope producers can explore freely without the risk of finding “stranded” gas. Two pipelines—one for crude oil, one for natural gas—provides a dual stream of revenue for the state.
What is MVP?
The Maximum Volume Pipeline (MVP) Plan calls for an 800-mile, 48-inch natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to tidewater in Southcentral Alaska. Learn more about the MVP Plan.
What’s the difference between MVP and the All-Alaska Gas Line?
MVP is the All-Alaska Gas Line. When voters went to the polls in 2002 and authorized the institution of the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority (ANGDA), they directed the state to build, operate and maintain a gas pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to tidewater on Prince William Sound. MVP, the champion for all Alaskans, is the only pipeline plan capable of fulfilling that voter mandate. There's only one difference between the voter-mandated all-Alaska line and the MVP all-Alaska line: The MVP Plan allows for the gas line to terminate in either Prince William Sound or Cook Inlet.
Why is it important to act now on MVP?
If TransCanada and the producers were to begin immediate construction of a large-volume pipeline to tidewater, that would be cause for celebration; however, they have made it clear that they will consider building a gas line only when such a project is a good financial decision for themselves. But the timing of this project is critical because it depends on the global demand for natural gas. Alaska must take control of its own destiny and begin construction of a gas line now in order to take advantage of ripe international markets. What is important is not who builds the pipeline, but when the pipeline is built and that the right pipeline is built.
Doesn’t AGIA prevent the state from pursuing other pipeline plans? Won’t ending the AGIA agreement cost the state a lot of money?
Yes and no. In order to pursue the MVP Plan, the State of Alaska will need to exercise the due diligence clause in its license agreement with TransCanada. However, the AGIA agreement also provides for arbitration should either the state or TransCanada decide the project is uneconomic. While there is a risk that an arbitrator could require the state to pay a penalty to TransCanada, in the long run, the benefits offered by the MVP Plan far outweigh any cost that may be associated with terminating the AGIA license.
Is MVP supported by Republicans or Democrats?
Both, as well as independents and members of third parties. The MVP, or all-Alaska, Plan has enjoyed broad support for decades. In addition to many contemporary Republicans, Democrats, and independents, the plan has been promoted by legendary Alaska statesmen from a variety of political ideologies, including Govs. Bill Egan, Jay Hammond, and Wally Hickel and U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens. MVP supporters are young and old, sourdoughs and cheechakos, liberal, conservative, moderate, and everything in between. The one thing they have in common? They believe all Alaskans should benefit from Alaska’s natural gas future.
Who’s behind MVP?
While the MVP name is new, the plan is not. The state-owned gas pipeline is a dream held by many Alaskans. The project itself is backed by the Alaska Gasline Port Authority and supported by the more than 138,000 Alaskans who voted for it, and this campaign is being presented and funded by the City of Valdez.
Why does the City of Valdez care about this issue?
As the terminus for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, Valdez has been in the middle of the gas line discussion for decades. As a result, we have developed a unique understanding of all the issues involved, and we know firsthand just how important the RIGHT gas pipeline could be for the entire state.
So when we learned that some members of the Legislature were trying to push through a bill (HB4) that would develop the wrong gasline (ASAP) at the expense of the one Alaska desperately needs (MVP), we decided that someone needed to stand up and “sound the alarm."
While we are residents of Valdez, we are first and foremost Alaskans and we believe MVP is the best option available for ensuring Alaska’s future economic security while bringing affordable energy to everyone in the state, no matter which community they call home.
Sure, we would love to be the site for the MVP terminus, but we realize there are other tidewater communities that offer benefits of their own. If the builders of such a project were to ultimately decide on another location for the terminus, we would be disappointed, but would not object. We know that if the MVP project can be built instead of the inferior ASAP project, then EVERYONE will benefit (including Valdez).