Governor Sarah Palin has requested a conference call this week with the CEO's of the major oil companies playing a role in the potential development of Alaska's natural gas pipeline.
The requested participants include Tony Hayward from BP, James Mulva from ConocoPhillips, Rex Tillerson from Exxon along with others. According to my source, no one knows exactly what the purpose of the call is, but some have never the less speculated.
Last week in her address to the nation, Palin stepped far over the line of truthiness (thanks Steven Colbert) when she told the country, "I fought to bring about the largest private-sector infrastructure project in North American history. And when that deal was struck, we began a nearly forty billion dollar natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence."
Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact the state has done little more to move the gas pipeline forward over the last twenty months than to grant a Canadian company $500 million to push paperwork with no guarantee a pipeline will be built.
Anchorage Daily News reporter Wesley Loy reported last month;
Palin said in her press conference that the state never before had commitments to build this line. Now we do. That's incorrect.
TransCanada has not promised to actually build the gas line, one of the state's grandest and most frustrated economic development dreams.
The state license, awarded under the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act, or AGIA, which the Legislature passed at Palin's request last year, is not a construction contract and does not guarantee a pipeline will be built."
Since becoming Alaska's governor in December of 2006, Palin's administration has had a very combative relationship with the oil & gas industry in Alaska and has ignored any attempts to communicate with them on development issues.
When the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA) was introduced and passed by the legislature in 2007, the administration refused to entertain suggestions from the producers to make the process more commercially viable. At the end of the day the state had crafted a proposal that ignored all legal and fiscal realities.
So instead of negotiating with the producers, the administration said they'd rely on public and share holder pressure to force three of the largest oil companies in the world to commit to paying for the most expensive privately financed project in the history of the United States.
Even United State Senator Ted Stevens raised serious concerns about the process back in March saying; "financing terms won't be set by the legislature, the governor or the Congress. They're going to be set by the people who manage the money."
Today, the state has awarded a $500 million inducement and exclusive rights to TransCanada, while their CEO is on record as saying that they cannot order one piece of steel pipe without first gaining the financial support from the oil companies. "Nothing goes ahead unless Exxon is happy with it," CEO Hal Kvisle told the Toronto Globe and Mail in August.
So what could the agenda be on this requested phone call by Governor Palin?