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Last spring, I wrote a column praising a then-largely unknown governor from Alaska for her initiative to move forward a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to distribution hubs in Alberta, Canada, from which it could be marketed to the Lower 48 (World Oil, May 2008, p. 33). That initiative, the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA), selected Calgary-based pipe builder TransCanada to develop the $30 billion, 4-Bcfd pipeline to the tune of up to $500 million in state subsidies, and spawned a copycat pipeline project by North Slope producers ConocoPhillips and BP.
Since then, Gov. Sarah Palin has become something more of a household name, and the pipeline project she touted as her main accomplishment while running as the Republican nominee for US vice president faces an increasingly uncertain future.
The economic downturn has made it hard for either TransCanada or Denali, as the ConocoPhillips-BP initiative is called, to find investors willing to put large sums of money into such a long-term project,
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