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Issue Summaries

 Alaskan Natural Gas 

Background

Alaska holds enormous amounts of natural gas—approximately 250 Tcf, or enough to support all of the United States current natural gas needs for more than a decade. The existence of very significant deposits of natural gas in Alaska has been acknowledged for decades. In fact, proved natural gas reserves at a single site—Prudhoe Bay on the North Slope of Alaska—exceed 35 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). In addition to the reserves at Prudhoe Bay, however, there are known conventional gas reserves throughout the state, as well as large deposits of coalbed methane.

Although the potential for Alaska to be a principal supplier of gas to the lower-48 states has been discussed since the early 1970s, there is still no transportation system in place to move this gas to market. Various routes and modes of transportation have been considered (including both pipeline and LNG options). Environmental issues have been extensively studied and addressed, and they are not considered to be an overwhelming obstacle to a transportation project. Support within the state for the construction of a transportation system is very strong: Alaska has initiated a process by which proposals for pipeline construction can be solicited. The primary hurdle to construction is economic rather than environmental. A pipeline would cost roughly $26 billion to construct and take roughly 10 years to complete.

AGA Viewpoint

Alaskan natural gas could provide U.S. consumers with seven or eight percent of their total gas consumption for many decades. It would help ease supply concerns and also contribute to a reduction in price levels and price volatility. AGA supports any viable means of moving that gas southward as expeditiously as possible. In light of the huge costs and risks associated with an Alaskan transportation project, AGA has supported reasonable incentives to sponsors to move a project forward.

AGA Contact: Chris McGill, (202) 824-7132, cmcgill@aga.org 

 

 
 

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