Letting bygones be bygones? The potential confirmation of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to secretary of state could actually improve the likelihood of the Alaska LNG megaproject, but only according to some. “American energy security is good national security, and if that is in his mind, then I think it goes a long ways to getting over” any hard feelings that might linger from Tillerson’s relationship with Walker, said Mark Begich, a former Democratic U.S. Senator who owns Northern Compass Group, a consulting firm. Governor Walker has suggested that ExxonMobil dragged its feet on the project. In a letter sent in October to another ExxonMobil executive, Walker expressed skepticism about ExxonMobil’s support for Alaska LNG. Headlamp hopes that Governor Walker is starting to understand that market conditions determine action when private sector companies are involved.
Larry Persily, oil and gas adviser to Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre, said Tillerson as secretary of state will likely neither be good nor bad for an Alaska gas line project. “Rex Tillerson as secretary of state isn’t going to mean squat,” Persily asserted.
“After the Obama Administration, especially the (withdrawal) decision that was made this past week, I have every reason to believe the Trump Administration will be better for Alaska, regardless of who is appointed secretary of state,” said Alaska Oil and Gas Association president Kara Moriarty.
Missing the point. In an Alaska Dispatch News op-ed, former Alaska Senator and Governor Frank Murkowski said that it is not Tillerson, but Walker who will own the project’s fate. Fiscal certainty, he says, is the name of the game. “It is the constant change in direction over short time periods (relative to the time it takes to develop a project of the gas line’s size) that has caused and will continue to cause the gas line to elude us for so long,” he wrote.
Members of a House energy panel said they wanted a federal investigation into whether or not the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) should be maintained. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said she was frustrated with lack of funding necessary to modernize the SPR. Her ire followed support for a bipartisan Senate measure that would use SPR as a cash reserve to help keep the federal highway trust fund afloat.
Tillerson might help Alaska’s gas project despite brittle relations with governor
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