Alaskan officials agreed with one of three oil companies to build natural gas pipeline

Alaskan officials agreed to key terms of a contract with one of three oil companies negotiating to build a 2,100-mile (3370-kilometer) natural gas pipeline from Alaska through Canada and into the Midwest U.S.

ConocoPhillips agreed to provide Alaska with a fair share of the revenues, access to the gas and job preferences for Alaskans on the pipeline, among other demands, said Gov. Frank Murkowski.

Terms of the agreement with ConocoPhillips won't be released because negotiations are continuing with BP and Exxon Mobil, Murkowski said.

The pipeline would be the largest construction project ever undertaken in North America, Murkowski said.

ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and BP applied as a group early last year to negotiate fiscal arrangements to build the $24 billion (Ђ19.98 billion) pipeline. Alaska would contribute $4 billion (Ђ3.33 billion) and the Legislature would have final say on the contract.

After a contract is secured with the state, a regulatory process in Canada still must be defined and technology to reduce capital costs must be identified, the producers say.

The pipeline envisioned by producers would take a decade to build. The line would initially ship 4.5 billion cubic feet of gas per day, reported AP.

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