Headlamp – Friends in high places for Alaska LNG.

Ship to shore – nevermore? With new icebreaking tankers hauling liquefied natural gas off Russia’s frozen coasts, some observers say Alaska should consider eliminating the pricey pipeline in the $43 billion Alaska LNG project and ship the product straight off the North Slope. Others say that’s a poor idea. Savings from eliminating Alaska LNG’s $8 billion, 800-mile pipeline, which would deliver North Slope gas to warmer Nikiski for liquefaction and shipment, would quickly vanish with acquisitions of icebreakers, specialized Arctic facilities and high operational costs, they say. “Why can’t people just let this go?” said Larry Persily, former federal coordinator for Alaska gasline projects under President Barack Obama. But technology has improved and sea ice has thinned, and North Slope LNG exports should be closely examined, said Mead Treadwell, former chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission and former lieutenant governor.

Friends in high places for Alaska LNG. President Trump is credited with helping advance Alaska’s long sought gas pipeline project. Alaska Gasline Development Corporation president Keith Meyer told the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce yesterday that Trump administration goals dovetail with selling North Slope gas to Asia. “We’re really getting a good reception in Washington and it’s largely because we have a project that fits very well with the administration goals of trade and infrastructure and energy export,” Meyer said. Meyer says AGDC is spending a lot of time in Washington working with Whitehouse and agency officials on the estimated 43 billion dollar Alaska gas line project. “And so we sort of, when we’re in Washington, brand this as America’s large energy infrastructure project,” Meyer said. Meyer credits President Trump’s relationship with Chinese president Xi JinPing with helping grow interest in Alaska gas, pointing specifically to an April 2017 meeting. “In that meeting at Mar-a-Lago, Florida, President Trump, because of the work we’d done in Washington, mentioned Alaska LNG,” Meyer said.

Donlin listens to community. Residents met with state regulators in Bethel’s Cultural Center last night to discuss water and waste management at the proposed Donlin Gold Mine. Officials from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) organized the meeting after drafting two of the dozens of permits that Donlin Gold will need. Both would regulate how the mine disposes of dangerous chemicals and other waste, and the DEC wants to hear from the public before finalizing its decision. One permit would allow 4,500 gallons per minute of treated wastewater to be dumped into Crooked Creek, and lays out the levels of contamination that would be allowed in the water. The other would regulate the pools and piles where other waste from the mine would be stored. The draft permits also specify how that waste would be monitored.

First Reads:

Alaska gas line backers reject idea of North Slope LNG exports by tanker
Anchorage Daily News, Alex DeMarban, January 24, 2018

Head of Gasline Corporation says Trump is helping push project forward
Alaska Public Media, Dan Bross, January 24, 2018

Passions Run High At Meeting On Donlin Gold Water Management
KYUK Public Media, Teresa Cotsirilos, January 25, 2018