The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

 
 

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

DC gets earful on gasline to Valdez

Premium Asian markets ripe for export AGPA says

 


Whoever gets to Japan first wins.

That was the message Bill Walker, attorney and spokesman for the Alaska Gasline Port Authority brought back from Washington DC after spending several days in the capital city where he was able –for the first time – to grab the national spotlight to tout the benefits of building a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to Valdez for export to Asia.

“It was rewarding yet frustrating,” Walker said Friday afternoon in a phone interview regarding the symposium.

It was just one of many steps the Port Authority is taking to continue its struggle to develop Alaska’s natural gas.

Walker and the members of the Port Authority have been rowing against the tide of Alaska politics for over a decade in its voter mandated efforts to build “or cause to be built” a natural gas pipeline to Valdez. From Valdez, Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) can be shipped anywhere in the world that has a receiving terminal.

The ever expanding Asian markets are the premium customers sought by just about every country in the world that has natural gas reserves. Much of Asia’s natural gas is brokered through Japan, and the Port Authority has had an ongoing relationship with Mitsubishi, one of the country’s top importers of energy.

“The message was ‘we have all this gas, we’re ready to go,’” Walker said.

Walker gave a presentation on the recent WoodMackenzie report that stated Alaskan natural gas could beat other world-wide projects price-wise in the global race to fill increasing demand of natural gas in Asia.

The summit – a gathering of some of the world’s heavy hitters in the world energy markets – gave Walker a chance to compare the all-Alaska natural gas line with representatives from the other proposed export projects.

“LNG out of Alaska is a no brainer,” Walker said, noting much of the discussions during the summit centered around problems with dry shale gas, which energy insiders in the Lower 48 are hoping to market to Asia. “I was trying to point out we don’t have any of the problems they have.”

The WoodMac report, which was commissioned by the Port Authority with funds supplied by the City of Valdez, compares the projected price of exported LNG from Valdez with other world-wide projects.

The Gorgon LNG project out of Western Australia would sell for a projected $8.75 per mmbtu according to the WoodMac report. Export from Valdez could beat that at $8.50 per mmbtu.

Others came in considerably higher. LNG to Asia from the Kitimat, the LNG project out of British Columbia, Canada, came in at $11.76 mmbtu.

Alaska also has an advantage over competing projects due to the fact the state has been exporting natural gas to Japan from Cook Inlet since the late 1960s.

“We’ve been doing it over 40 years,” Walker said.

Photo courtesy of Merrick Peirce

Bill Walker during the presentation on exporting natural gas from Alaska under the plan of the Alaska Gasline Port Authority. Walker appeared before natural gas industry insiders at the North America Gas Summit in Washington DC last week.

Before speaking at the DC summit, Walker spent time in Norway as part of a policy tour made up of Alaskan officials. Walker says Alaska can learn a lot from Norway, a leading exporter in fossil fuels. Especially Norway’s philosophy of state ownership in addition to partnership with industry.

“You couldn’t be further away from Japan but they’re doing it,” Walker said. “We are an owner state and we have to act like an owner.”

Walker was referring to the Alaska constitution which says Alaskans own the state’s natural resources and as such, they should be developed for the maximum benefit of Alaskans.

“I am encouraged,” Walker said, “because I have a lot of faith in Alaskans in general.”

Walker will discuss current Port Authority issues, explain why he feels the state can and should back out of AGIA and more this Friday morning on Coffee Break. The show airs live on KCHU 770 AM, October 14, at 9 a.m.

 

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