ANCHORAGE -

The Alaska House of Representatives passed SB138, 36-4, Sunday night, establishing a partnership between the state and private sector for eventual construction of a natural gas pipeline.

The deal puts the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation in charge of the project, which would span from the North Slope to Kenai. 

The bill passed in the senate last month, and heads to Gov. Sean Parnell’s desk for his signature.

“AGDC will now lead the state’s participation in this exciting LNG export project, while continuing to advance ASAP (Alaska Stand Alone Project), the smaller in-state alternative,” said AGDC President Dan Fauske in a press release Sunday.

Exxon-Mobil, BP, Conoco-Phillips, and TransCanada would all own a share of the line.  The state of Alaska also owns a 25% share of TransCanada’s portion of the line. 

Opponents of the legislation say that if the project  fails, the state would have too much financial responsibility for TransCanada’s share of the project.

"We've heard from other speakers about how few of these projects go forward, and one of the reasons that happens is that there are cost overruns,” said Rep. Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage).

Rep. Tarr says she's skeptical of an estimate by state consultants that Alaska will make $4 billion in profits from exporting natural gas.

"The administration and our consultants have made a fairly darn good case to us that state ownership is the way to go,” said Rep. Dan Saddler (R-Eagle River).   

The project would also include several “off take” points to provide natural gas to Alaskans around the state.

The project now moves into the Pre-FEED (Pre-Front End Engineering and Design) phase to further refine the cost and engineering aspects of the project.

Construction could start in 2019, and be completed by 2023.