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Parnell confirms deal on Point Thomson gas leases

Alaska gov confirms deal on Point Thomson gas leases to clear way for major pipeline project By The Associated Press

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) ' Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell says a settlement has been reached in the long-running dispute over leases on the Point Thomson gas fields, clearing the way for progress on a major pipeline project.

Parnell confirmed the settlement with BP PLC, Exxon Mobil Corp. and ConocoPhillips and other companies Friday. He had set an end-of-quarter deadline for the major North Slope players to coalesce behind a project that would move liquefied natural gas to market. The end of the quarter is Saturday.

Parnell said the companies also have agreed to work together toward a pipeline.

A major obstacle was lack of a resolution after the state began pulling leases it believes energy companies have held for too long without developing.

The leases are seen as critical to the fortunes of a gas pipeline, long-sought by Alaskans as a way to shore up revenues amid declining oil production, create jobs and provide a reliable source of energy.

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