The US state of Alaska has received five natural gas pipeline applications, including one unexpected bid from a Chinese energy titan.

The state also received an alternative proposal from Conoco Phillips that didn’t meet the state’s application criteria. The other two oil giants operating on the North Slope, BP and Exxon Mobil, submitted nothing.

Gov. Sarah Palin said at a news conference. “This is such an exciting day for Alaska and really an exciting time for America”.

The process of picking a winner is expected to take some months. Even after that, actual construction of a multibillion-dollar gas line is no guarantee.

Applications submitted came from Sinopec ZPEB; TransCanada; Alaska Natural Gasline Development Authority; AEnergia LLC; and Alaska Gasline Port Authority.