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Alaska Turned Down Exxon Mobil's Offer

Saying that it couldn't trust the Exxon Mobil to develop a field that holds enough gas to meet almost two years of U.S. residential demand, Alaska turned down Exxon Mobil Corp.'s $1.3 billion plan for a North Slope natural-gas project

Saying that it couldn't trust the Exxon Mobil to develop a field that holds enough gas to meet almost two years of U.S. residential demand, Alaska turned down Exxon Mobil Corp.'s $1.3 billion plan for a North Slope natural-gas project.

The proposal to begin production of reserves that have lain dormant since their discovery in the 1970s isn't in the "best interests" of the state, Alaska Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Irwin said today in an e-mailed statement. The plan would have involved assessment and design work at the Point Thomson field without any actual commitment to pump gas, he said.

Irving-based Exxon Mobil, the world's largest energy company, submitted the plan in February after Gov. Sarah Palin's administration moved to evict the company and its partners from the field 50 miles east of Prudhoe Bay because of decades of inaction.

Exxon Mobil, the world's largest energy company, plans to appeal and ``pursue all alternatives to protect our rights to develop these resources,'' spokeswoman Margaret Ross said in an e-mailed statement. Today's decision will result in years of court battles, Ross said in the statement.

Exxon Mobil and partners Chevron, BP and ConocoPhillips have said they were hamstrung by the lack of a pipeline to carry the gas to markets in the lower 48 states.