Headlamp – AGDC’s Meyer disses Alaska press in China.

AGDC’s Meyer disses Alaska press in China. Alaska’s sputtering and stalling natural gas pipeline project appears to roaring forward again no matter what the media might be reporting. Just weeks after Alaska Gov. Bill Walker told the Alaska Resource Development Council that he thought the $45 billion to $65 billion project “doubtful,” the governor’s natural-gas czar has suggested to the Chinese the project is on the way to the start of construction in 2019. Xinhua, the official press agency for the People’s Republic of China, on Sunday reported that Keith Meyer, the president of the state-owned Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, “dismissed a recent local Alaskan newspaper report which quoted Governor Walker as saying that Alaska will not put more money into promoting the LNG project until firm commitments are made by customers.”   Xinhua writers Yang Shilong and Zhou Xiaozheng went on to quote Meyer – Walker’s half-million-dollar LNG promoter – saying “the project is full steam ahead. The governor indicated we are expecting market agreements before the end of next year before asking for more money from the state. However, we fully expect to have customer commitments and also will be engaging strategic partners. “The project will keep moving without question. Unfortunately, the Alaskan press misinterpreted the governor, which is quite common here in Alaska.”

The fast track to success. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I) first grasped the dramatic changes in store for his state under the Trump administration when he attended an inaugural event early this year. As Walker and his wife began to leave a late-night reception, they bumped into Ryan Zinke, whom President Trump had already selected to head the Interior Department. As Walker recalled at a recent business forum, “We were introduced, and [Zinke] said, ‘You’re the governor of Alaska?’ And I said, ‘Yes I am.’” “He grabbed my hand and said, ‘You’re going to love me.’” During the previous eight years, Alaska state officials and oil industry executives had been in a virtual cold war with Washington over the Obama administration’s land preservation policies in the Frontier State. Now they have high hopes that Trump’s pro-drilling approach to federal land management will trigger a North Slope oil revival that could help stimulate Alaska’s failing economy, which has been ravaged by low crude prices. The administration has already fast-tracked three big oil projects in northern Alaska.

No sleep lost over electric cars. Alaska’s economy is powered by oil. So are the vast majority of cars and trucks worldwide. But globally, the market for electric vehicles is growing. So as more people move away from gasoline powered cars, the big players in the oil industry have started to pay attention — and that includes Alaska. On a recent weekend, nearly 70 electric vehicles were lined up in a bare parking lot near downtown Juneau. It’s the city’s annual electric vehicle fair. The 1980’s song “Electric Avenue” is playing in the background. John Cooper is here showing off his two EVs. And he’s proud to say he was one of Juneau’s early adopters. He invites me inside his fully-electric sedan and pops the keys in the ignition. Cooper says there are plenty of charging stations in Juneau. Range anxiety isn’t an issue. He says the convenience of owning an electric car was a big selling point. “When you’re on the way to work, your car is [at] full [charge],” Cooper said. “And it’s an incredible feeling to get in the car — like, the whole time we’ve been talking — this car has been on and idling.” It’s quiet because there’s no rumble of a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine. Not too long ago, electric vehicles weren’t commercially available. But over the span of about five years, the number of EVs has reached into the millions worldwide. That’s still only a tiny fraction of cars on the road. Even so, oil companies and Alaska state economist Neal Fried are paying attention. “Does it keep me up at night? Not too often,” Fried said. “But it’s not just a thought experiment by any means.”

First Reads:

Trump’s energy focus raises hopes in Alaska
E&E News, Margaret Kriz Hobson, September 26, 2017

How much could electric vehicles put the brakes on Alaska’s oil economy?
KTOO Public Media, Elizabeth Jenkins and Elizabeth Harball, September 25, 2017

AK’s got gas
Craig Medred Blog, Craig Medred, September 25, 2017