DOE authorizes LNG exports to FTA countries

  • By Molly Dischner
  • Friday, November 21, 2014 5:49pm
  • News

ANCHORAGE — The U.S. Department of Energy will allow the proposed Alaska LNG Project to export liquefied natural gas from the North Slope to free trade agreement countries, but the project is still waiting for permission to export to non-FTA countries.

The primary market for Alaska LNG exports is the non-FTA countries, such as Japan, China and India, although a project could also send some LNG to South Korea, which is an FTA country.

The export decision came shortly after the Nov. 17 comment deadline for Alaska LNG’s application to export North Slope LNG. The project partners have asked to export 20 million metric tons of LNG per year for 30 years. The DOE received 27 comments during the submission period; of those, 22 were supportive of the proposed project, according to the federal coordinator’s office.

BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, TransCanada Corp. and the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., a state entity, are partners in the Alaska LNG project, which includes an 800-mile pipeline, an LNG plant at Nikiski, and a major gas processing plant on the North Slope. The project began its pre-filing process with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in September.

Alaska’s congressional delegation applauded the approval Nov. 21.

“This FTA license is good news for Alaska, but by law it had to be approved. The real test is the non-FTA license,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski said in a formal statement. “I am watching the process carefully to ensure there are no unnecessary delays in approving exports to Japan and other non-FTA countries. I have said from the beginning that DOE should continue to consider Alaska gas exports on their own separate track — as they always have.”

Rep. Don Young agreed.

“Restricting the ability to export LNG would effectively kill the dream of constructing a natural gas pipeline, something we Alaskans have worked on for years,” Young said in a formal statement. “Today’s announcement by the DOE is a positive step in the right direction and moves us closer to bringing our state’s tremendous resources to market. Not only would this project add much needed revenue to the state and provide well paying jobs, it could also provide the Alaskan people access to more affordable energy. As this process moves forward, I remain committed to ensuring red-tape and federal roadblocks don’t stand in the way.”

Sen. Mark Begich also noted that the project, if completed, could have a positive impact on the economy.

“This is great news for Alaska’s economy and another step forward for a project that will create thousands of Alaska jobs, keep heating and energy prices down, and boost state revenues,” Begich said in a formal statement. “Thanks to (Energy) Secretary Moniz for coming to Alaska with me this summer to hear from affected Alaskans firsthand – I hope for more good news soon and will keep pushing for a smooth permitting process in the future.”

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