Below is the press release that Gov. Sean Parnell sent out about the Alaska LNG Project’s request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, to begin the process to officially file for the natural gas project. The release also says that the state entered into an MOU with Japan.
The Japanese MOU doesn’t mean all that much. MOUs come and MOUs go. However, if played right, it could be used by Parnell to help inoculate himself against candidate Bill Walker’s accusations that Parnell is allowing the producers to control the fate and the market for Alaska’s natural gas. Don’t, however, hold your breath.
The pre-FERC filing is more substantial, and at the very least indicates that the companies still see a market for Alaska LNG, said Larry Persily, the Federal Coordinator for an Alaska North Slope natural gas pipeline.
However, we’ve been here before. Two projects in the last four or so years have also been through the pre-FERC application process, and both gave up before they got to full FERC because the gas market in the lower 48 tanked.
Neither of those projects were LNG projects and both of them had the Lower 48 as the market. And also, neither of them cost at least $60 billion.
According to Persily’s press release, (read that here), the companies said in the pre-filing that construction would start in 2018-2019 and operations could begin 2024-2025.
Here’s how Persily described the process:
The development team has started preliminary front-end engineering and design work, with a decision anticipated late next year whether to proceed to full engineering, design and permitting. The preliminary work is estimated at $500 million, with full engineering, design and permitting estimated to cost $2 billion-plus…Project teams already have begun gathering the volumes of baseline environmental and other data that FERC regulations require under the National Environmental Policy Act. This includes information on soils, vegetation, wetlands, fish, wildlife, geologic hazards, air and water quality, cultural and archaeological sites, subsistence activities, expected economic impacts and other ways the project will affect Alaska and its residents.
Here’s Parnell’s press release:
Governor Sean Parnell today welcomed news that the Alaska LNG Project reached another milestone with its formal request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to begin the pre-file process for the natural gas project. In doing so, the project triggers FERC’s National Environmental Policy Act permitting process.
Governor Parnell also announced today the State of Alaska and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation regarding the Alaska LNG Project and other natural resource development opportunities in Alaska.
“This agreement is yet another key milestone in the State’s rapid advancement of the commercialization of our world-class North Slope natural gas resources – to Alaskans first and then to markets beyond,” said Governor Parnell, noting that Japan is the world’s largest importer of LNG.
Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Balash and METI Agency for Natural Resources and Energy Commissioner Takayuki Ueda signed the agreement on Sept. 8 in Tokyo.
“It is an extremely positive development that the government agency that sets Japan’s energy policy and works closely with Japan’s utility market has taken a strong interest in the Alaska LNG Project and the State’s overall natural resources portfolio,” Balash said.
The Alaska LNG Project is a consortium of the three major North Slope producers, pipeline builder TransCanada Corp., and the State of Alaska.
The project formally entered the Pre-Front End Engineering and Design (Pre-FEED) stage in July, during which the Alaska LNG Project is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on design and engineering and creating hundreds of jobs. Also during this stage, the producers and the State are beginning to engage the LNG sales market. In August Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz exempted the project from a rule that has slowed the approvals for Lower 48 LNG export projects.
The memorandum with METI is part of the State’s ongoing efforts to engage the LNG markets in Asia, and it builds upon an existing agreement the State signed with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) in January. JBIC is a public financial institution that plays a critical role in financing and securing Japan’s LNG imports.
Contact Amanda Coyne at email@example.com