All of these options (See BP’s description) have evolved from the intense competition among the gas titans of the late 1960s-early 70s (See 1976 project map, left, and 2001 project map, right).
The “Northern Route” project (ARC, Ltd., now defunct), would take ANS gas about 325 miles east, via a pipeline buried 15′ in the sea bottom, combine it with Mackenzie Delta gas, moving all the gas to southern markets in the U.S. and Canada. Arctic Gas’ original route would have been buried onshore through the area now known as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, then designated only as a “Range”. This is the shortest route, attractive to investors but not supported by most Alaskans, even though it could have provided the State’s citizens with highter tax and royalty payments resulted from lower wellhead costs/higher wellhead value. It was supported by NWT leaders and many leaders in both the U.S. and Canada continue to hold out hope for this most efficient of the Arctic gas transportation systems. Enbridge has a ‘Canadian’ option, as well (See this concept evolve via news reports, beginning late May 2001.)
The “Southern”, or “Highway Route” project (Alaska Natural Gas Transportation System, “ANGTS”, promoted by Foothills Pipe Lines, Ltd., later owned by , TransCanada Pipelines, LP., and Westcoast Gas Transmission Co), and now owned by TransCanada (and supported by Exxon), would move ANS gas down the TAPS right of way to Fairbanks, then on a buried pipeline route south, roughly paralleling the Alaska Highway, as would the Denali Project supported by ConocoPhillips and British Petroleum. Both TransCanada and Denali embody major components of the “Alcan Pipeline” proposal of the 70s. Both plan to conduct “open seasons” in 2010.
The Alaskan Gas Producers Pipeline Team, in April 2001, formally announced a $75 million feasibility study of the Southern and Northern routes and named initial contractors. Ultimately, the producers spent more than $125 million on the study.
Four LNG concepts (now all on hold), would pipe ANS gas to various South-central Alaska tidewater locations, would convert the gas to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG, -260 degrees F.), load it onto tankers bound for Asia or southern markets, re-gassify it on the other end for customer distribution. (Refer to Terminus Group(Photo-upper left: Kenai Mayor Dale Bagley of the Terminus Group trades notes with Phillips executive, Mark Ireland at PacCom Conference, 2/14/01), Yukon Pacific Corp(Photo-lower right: Author introduces YPC Vice Chairman John Horn at PacCom Conference, 2/14/01), North Foreland Project, and the PortAuthority.) While these projects mostly envision sales to Asian countries, they generally emulate the “El Paso All Alaskan Pipeline” proposal technology which in the 1970s targeted the California/displacement market, with support from many Alaskans including, most conspicuously, former Governors William A. Egan and Walter J. Hickel–and OMAR (Organization for the Management of Alaska’s Resources, forerunner of today’s Resource Development Council for Alaska.) (Photo-r, Ward Whitmore-l, Yukon Pacific, 2002)
Several companies support various “Gas to Liquids” (GTL) projects. Unlike LNG or natural gas, GTL could be moved in “batches” through an oil pipeline. There are many other differences, explained on the ANGTL proponent site, and BP’s excellent summary. GTL technology was not proven, or at least discussed, in the 70s though oil pipeline transport of ‘heavy ends’ or propanes, butanes, etc., was.