Walker issues ultimatum to oil companies on pipeline project
JUNEAU — Gov. Bill Walker has issued an ultimatum to the state’s three oil company partners on the proposed $55 billion North Slope gas pipeline, threatening unspecified action if key agreements aren’t reached by the end of the legislative session.
Walker, in a letter sent to the companies last week and released publicly Wednesday, said he’s growing “increasingly concerned” with the slow progress developing project contracts and agreements that he wants finished by the end of the session in April.
“If the parties do not reach alignment on these important contracts and issues, then I will have no other choice but to consider other options for commercializing Alaska’s gas,” he said in the letter, dated Jan. 18 and addressed to executives at BP, ConocoPhillips, and ExxonMobil.
Since he was elected governor in 2014, Walker’s relationship with the oil companies has been tumultuous. Walker, a former oil and gas attorney, has also battled with lawmakers over the state’s framework for the pipeline project originally set up by his predecessor, Gov. Sean Parnell, with the help of Parnell’s allies in the Legislature.