FERC may have to carve out a special set of rules if it wants to bring Arctic gas south to the lower-48.
Bruce W. Radford is editor-in-chief for Public Utilities Fortnightly.
When President Bush signed the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline Act of 2004, forcing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the first time to set formal rules to cover capacity solicitations and subscriptions for a new pipeline, one might have thought that North Slope gas was on the fast track.
Nevertheless, with all the special provisions that Congress has added to the bill, the reality may prove otherwise.
At a minimum, FERC could find it difficult to put together a logical process for planning and certifying the pipeline without reneging on one or more of its most favored policies on pricing and service. In the worst case, the state of Alaska could decide to frustrate the process if it feels that FERC or the project sponsors are not doing enough to protect its local interest.
And all of that is because of the unusual and special provisions that Congress has added to the law.