updated 1/23/2004 11:45:53 AM ET 2004-01-23T16:45:53

Three companies emerged Thursday with a proposal to build a 745-mile natural gas pipeline from Alaska’s North Slope to the border with Canada’s Yukon Territory.

Company officials estimate the pipeline would cost $6.3 billion. It would connect with a proposed companion pipeline at the Alaska-Yukon border to bring the gas to systems in Canada and the United States.

More than 35 trillion cubic feet of natural gas has been stranded at its North Slope source for decades.

MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., of Des Moines Iowa, and its subsidiary, MEHC Alaska Gas Transmission Co., along with a consortium of Alaska Native corporations, filed applications to build the pipeline with the Alaska Department of Revenue.

MidAmerican is 80 percent owned by multibillionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Major oil producers BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil Corp. filed a joint application earlier this month for a pipeline that would extend from the North Slope to Chicago.

“We are happy to consider ideas and involvement from any party that can share risk and add value to a project like this,” said BP spokesman Daren Beaudo.

The applications are the first steps in contract negotiations with Alaska over royalties and taxes.

David Sokol, MidAmerican chairman and chief executive officer, said construction on the 48-inch diameter, North Slope-Yukon pipeline could begin in late 2006 or early 2007 and be finished in 2010.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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