HOUSTON (Dow Jones)
Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) is ready to work with the State of Alaska and the three companies that have competing projects to build a pipeline to bring natural gas from Alaska to the lower 48 U.S. states, the company said Thursday.
"We are ready to work with the state, TransCanada, ConocoPhillips and BP to move forward one of the largest and most complex projects ever undertaken in the United States," spokeswoman Margaret Ross said.
The company also said a successful natural gas project will require the support of all three major producers - Exxon, BP PLC (BP) and ConocoPhillips (COP) - and the state of Alaska.
ConocoPhillips and BP announced in April that they will work together to build a pipeline referred to as "Denali - the Alaska Gas Pipeline," that could move about 4 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day from Alaska's North Slope to the rest of the U.S.
However, a competing proposal from Canada's biggest pipeline company, TransCanada Corp. (TRP), gained secured support from Alaska's Senate Friday. The company will likely need its rivals' support to go ahead with the pipeline, but the swing factor is Exxon, which owns the most gas leases on Alaska's North Slope. TransCanada's chief executive underscored that point earlier this week, when he told the Globe and Mail that "nothing goes ahead until Exxon is happy with it."
However, the U.S. major hasn't backed either project and has remained tightlipped in the media.
Alaska's government also rejected an earlier bid from ConocoPhillips in January.
Copyright (c) 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.