Integrated energy majors BP and ConocoPhillips have combined resources to begin the construction of the Denali Alaska gas pipeline, which is expected to move approximately four billion cubic feet of natural gas per day to North American markets.

The project seeks to combine the financial strength, Arctic experience and technical resources of the two integrated energy companies. BP and ConocoPhillips plan to spend $600 million to reach the first major project milestone, an open season, commencing before the 2010-yearend.

Following a successful open season, the partners intend to obtain Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and National Energy Board (NEB) certification and move forward with project construction.

The project consists of a gas treatment plant on Alaska’s North Slope and a large-diameter pipeline that travels over 700 miles through Alaska, and then into Canada through the Yukon Territory and British Columbia to Alberta.

The companies noted that, should it be required to transport gas from Alberta, the project will also include a large diameter pipeline from Alberta to the US. BP and ConocoPhillips will seek other equity partners, including pipeline companies, who can add value to the project and help manage the risks involved.

The companies have already assigned staff to the joint project team which will be ramping up over the coming months. A new project headquarters in Anchorage, Alaska, is expected to be identified and a new company formed to manage the project.