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Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell (R) signed a bill (S.B. 138) that positions the state as a partial owner of a liquid natural gas pipeline that stakeholders have been trying to build since the 1960s, and advances the project into a preliminary engineering and design phase. The proposed 800-mile pipeline would connect a gas treatment plant on the North Slope to a liquefaction plant in Nikiski, where the natural gas would be prepared for shipment, likely to Asia.

The project’s estimated cost is upward of $45 billion. BP, ConocoPhillips and Exxon each get a 25 percent share in the project; TransCanada will get a cut of the state’s quarter-share for serving as the state’s bank. Lawmakers likely will revisit the measure next year, when they are presented with more legislation to advance the project.

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