Alaska might give up on North Slope gas pipeline, LNG export terminal
Tim Bradner, S & P Global Platts, February 28, 2019
The new CEO of Alaska’s state gas corporation told legislators Thursday he is prepared to shut down the project and return unused funds to the state treasury if customers or investors do not appear in the next few months. Joe Dubler was named in January as CEO of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. by Governor Mike Dunleavy. Dubler told a state Senate budget subcommittee that Dunleavy wants an evaluation of the viability of the $43 billion Alaska LNG Project. Despite marketing efforts and about $1 billion spent in recent years on engineering and environmental work, the project has not attracted customers and faces increasing competition from other LNG projects. That includes a Shell-led project in British Columbia that would export LNG to the same Asian markets Alaska is targeting.
AGDC’s Response: FERC’s comprehensive analysis of Alaska LNG now includes more than 150,000 pages of environmental and engineering data, including responses to more than 1,700 FERC queries submitted since AGDC initiated this permitting process twenty-two months ago. Previous FERC scheduling changes accelerated the permitting calendar, and we believe that today’s revision does not affect the prospects for Alaska LNG. We look forward to working with FERC to complete this process and obtain the permits required to bring Alaska’s North Slope natural gas to market.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, chaired a hearing yesterday where International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Dr. Fatih Birol testified about his agency’s perspective on global energy markets. IEA, which was founded in 1974, now includes 30 member countries and is a leader on global energy policy and analysis. “I see a huge opportunity for U.S. LNG, having a major market share in Asia, especially in replacing inefficient coal plants because the biggest headache today in China, India and Thailand…is the air pollution in the cities, local pollution in the cities. And natural gas may well be the key solution to all of those countries, and they’re building LNG terminals,” Dr. Birol said. “There will be a very harsh competition between the established exporters, such as Russia and the U.S. LNG, and I see many great opportunities for the U.S. LNG to have a good competition, bringing more flexibility to the markets.”
Senate Confirms Andrew Wheeler to Lead EPA
Alan Neuhauser, U.S News and World Report, February 29, 2019
The Senate on Thursday confirmed former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. The 52-47 vote largely fell along party lines. Senate Democrats had vigorously opposed Wheeler’s selection to lead the federal agency most responsible for enforcing environmental laws and regulating pollution, citing his previous work on behalf of the coal sector, which in 2017 was the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.