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Engineering Confession

I am a Civil Engineer and apparently this sort of project is supposed to get me excited…

BP and Conoco will initially spend $600 million in the next three years to drum up support for the project, seek state and federal approval, and secure gas supplies for the pipeline.

BP and Conoco said the project would be the largest-ever private sector construction project in North America. The project, which would include a $5 billion gas-processing facility on the North Slope, would cost about $30 billion and take at least 10 years to complete.

At a time when both energy prices and construction costs are soaring, the endeavor would dwarf the 800 mile trans-Alaska oil pipeline, a momentous project completed in 1977 and that brought jobs and revenue to Alaska. As oil production from the Prudhoe Bay field declines, Alaskans are hoping that natural gas will take over from oil.

2 Oil Firms Plan Alaska Gas Pipeline – New York Times

Sure, the US needs to do something about it’s reliance on natural gas imports, but is this really the answer? At over 3500 miles (if it ever got built to it’s complete length) from Alaska to Chicago, this seems to be a high risk venture in so many ways, but with the price of fuels increasing rapidly, who knows, it might be worth it from a business perspective?

btw – it doesn’t get me excited.

Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

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