Beginning in September of this year, a formal dialogue began between a Japanese bank and Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources. The topic of this conversation: liquid natural gas (LNG).
Included in this conversation: an enormous LNG project that could be equivalent to creating another Trans Alaska Pipeline. An agreement was signed by Alaska’s Commissioner of Natural Resources, Dan Sullivan, and the Managing Director of the Japanese Bank of International Cooperation, Koichi Yajima (Alex Demarban, www.alaskadispatch.com). There are several options being thrown around for new Alaska LNG production, and the biggest one would cost upwards $65 billion.
For years Alaska has maintained a close export-relationship with its north Pacific neighbor Japan, and the love is indeed felt. And it’s not just the exportation of Alaska’s clean, cold water and high quality, sushi-grade seafood. According to Sullivan, “Alaska has supplied LNG to Japan for more than 40 years and has an unmatched record of reliability” (alaskadispatch.com). The Japanese bank interested in financing the potential LNG project in the 49th State already actively invests in international oil and gas projects.
One project that is apparently losing steam in Alaska (partly due to lack of financing interest elsewhere as well as discrepancies between land lease-holders) is the Trans Canada pipeline. Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, BP and pipeline builder Trans Canada are studying this project. This would be an 800 mile pipeline beginning on the North Slope, bringing gas to a LNG production facility on the Kenai Peninsula, and shipping that LNG abroad.
It is known that overall oil production in the state is decreasing. Japan is experiencing an energy problem and the demand for it is outpacing actual supplies. Natural resources are not forever. There is greater urgency now within the local Alaskan government and energy circles to finalize plans for exploration and development of a new energy resource.
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Photo courtesy LNG News