Transmission, Distribution, & Refining
Conceptual Engineering/Socioeconomic Impact Study—Alaska Spur Pipeline

DE-AM26-05NT42653

Goal
The goal of this project is to provide current information pertaining to the potential construction of a primarily buried spur pipeline that would bring gas from a proposed Alaska North Slope (ANS) gas line to South Central and Interior Alaska. The study is intended to provide comparative information for each of two currently proposed spur pipeline routes.

Performers
ASRC Constructors, Inc.
Michael Baker Jr., Inc.
NORSTAR Pipeline Company 
Anchorage, AK

Results
Work on this project has been completed. Researchers have successfully investigated and documented comparative information for the two proposed spur pipeline routes. Public release of the project final report is pending.

Benefits
The work performed serves to provide a source of comparative information on potential engineering, cost, and socioeconomic impacts associated with currently proposed routes for a spur pipeline to supply gas from the ANS Pipeline to South Central and Interior Alaska. This information will be able to be used in the evaluation of the feasibility, costs and level of effort that could be required to implement such a spur pipeline, as well as serving as a basis for additional comparison of the potential routes should a project sponsor decide to move forward with implementation of a spur pipeline.

Background
Currently, over 225 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas is consumed each year in South Central Alaska. Of the 225 Bcf 36.3% is consumed by LNG exports, 24.9% by ammonia-urea production, 15.5% by power generation, 12.8% by gas utilities, and 10.5% by other uses. However, new gas discoveries feeding this area of Alaska over the last 20 years have been few and relatively small. Unless North Slope gas can be delivered to South Central Alaska, dwindling Cook Inlet gas reserves may cause certain industries to curtail operations and the price of natural gas for utility uses such as electric generation and home heating to rise precipitously.

With growing momentum for the construction of a natural gas pipeline to transport gas from Alaska’s North Slope to markets in Canada and the U.S. Lower 48 states (ANS Pipeline), there is a need to evaluate information related to potential routing, cost, and various other factors related to the construction and operation of a spur pipeline that would bring a portion of the North Slope natural gas from the main pipeline to South Central and Interior Alaska. The study being conducted under this effort assumes that the ANS Pipeline will be constructed in the next decade and that this pipeline will be routed, in part, from the North Slope to Fairbanks, then along the Alaska Highway through Delta Junction to Tok Junction, AK.

In particular, this effort looks at information directly related to the potential route for a spur pipeline between the ANS Pipeline and South Central Alaska. The study investigates two potential routes. The first route extends directly from Fairbanks along the Parks Highway, terminating in Wasilla with a tie-in to existing ENSTAR distribution pipelines, a distance of about 325 miles (Fairbanks Spur). The second route begins in Delta Junction, proceeds to Glennallen and ends near Palmer, a distance of about 290 miles (Delta Junction Spur).

Summary
The study undertaken has investigated and documented information for comparing the two proposed spur pipeline routes, including:

  • Estimation of required pipeline size required to deliver gas from the ANS Pipeline to South Central Alaska;
  • Evaluation of pipeline compression requirements for different gas demand scenarios;
  • Evaluation of spur pipeline design and engineering considerations for the specific conditions anticipated;
  • Evaluation of potential spur pipeline rights-of-way (ROW) routing concerns—including description of route characteristics and definition of land ownership—due to environmental, social, and engineering issues;
  • Evaluation of potential permitting requirements associated with specific pipeline routes;
  • Selection of recommended specific corridors for the pipeline within each route, based on engineering, permitting, ROW, and cost considerations;
  • Evaluation of costs associated with the potential spur pipeline, including capital costs for pipeline and compression infrastructure, as well as operation and maintenance costs for multiple gas demand scenarios;
  • Estimation of anticipated spur pipeline tariffs and gas transportation costs for multiple gas demand scenarios;
  • Estimation of delivered price of gas to the South Central Alaska market via a spur pipeline for multiple gas demand scenarios;
  • Evaluation of the potential social and economic impacts that the building and operation of such a pipeline might have on the Alaska communities affected by it;
  • Development of an outline for some of the types of public outreach that could be considered should a sponsor decide to eventually implement a spur pipeline; and
  • Incorporation of research findings into a draft report detailing the study and the information generated.

Current Status (April 2009)
Work under this effort is complete. The final report and all appendicies can be downloaded from ftp://ftp.netl.doe.gov/pub/SpurLine/

Funding
This project was funded under a 2005 DOE solicitation. The initial award was made in September 2005.

Project Start Date: September 29, 2005 
Project End Date: January 29, 2007

Anticipated DOE Contribution: $2,037,944

Contact Information
NETL – Richard Baker (richard.baker@netl.doe.gov or 304-285-4714) 
ASRC Constructors, Inc. – Patrick Knox (patrick.knox@aci.asrc.com or 907-339-6469)

Additional Information:

The final report and all appendicies can be downloaded from  ftp://ftp.netl.doe.gov/pub/SpurLine/.

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