(In U.S. dollars unless noted)
CALGARY, Alberta, June 17 (Reuters) - Billionaire oil investor T. Boone Pickens said on Wednesday he doubts a $26 billion natural gas pipeline from Alaska will be built any time soon as abundant new shale gas supplies reduce the need for the expensive project.
Pickens, who is promoting a plan to boost investment in wind power and natural gas to cut U.S. oil imports, said at a Calgary appearance that he sees little need for Alaskan gas given massive shale gas discoveries in the Barnett shale play in Texas and elsewhere.
“All the proven gas on the Arctic coast is 39 (trillion cubic feet). That’s not as much as you have in the Barnett shale,” Pickens said at a Calgary speech. “I don’t think a pipeline from Alaska through Canada to the lower-48 makes sense.”
TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO) has the state of Alaska’s support to build a massive pipeline from Alaska’s Aortic coast to Alberta, where the gas would move onto existing lines.
TransCanada’s plan was boosted last week when Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N), one of three major Alaska producers, signed on as a partner to the project.
Still, with the Barnett shale containing as much as 50 trillion cubic feet of gas, and new plays in Louisiana, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, British Columbia and elsewhere showing the potential to be even bigger, the need for an Alaska line is questionable, Pickens said.
“I don’t think that pipeline gets built right now,” he said. “I don’t think the pipeline will be built for 10 to 15 years.” (Reporting by Scott Haggett; Editing by Frank McGurty)