Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan traveled to South Korea and Japan as well, though he’s back in Alaska now.
While in Asia, Sullivan met with executives from Exxon and BP; two companies that could potentially tap natural gas in the North Slope, and build the required pipeline to move it.
Sullivan said those companies have projects and customers across the globe, and he’s hoped they’ll share his message: Investing in Alaska’s LNG presents a stable option for the long term.
“Our goal is: When they’re having discussions with these companies and buyers that the buyers recognize the comparative and competitive advantages of Alaska. So when they have discussions, they ask for Alaska gas, not just any gas,” he said.
Not just any gas from Qatar or even the lower 48. Sullivan emphasized that, unlike gas from the rest of the United States, Alaska’s gas will not be enmeshed in the debate surrounding fracking.
Earlier this year, Governor Parnell requested a proposal from the three companies that would build an LNG pipeline. That report is due at the end of the month.
Larry Persily, the federal coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation projects, said the trips to Asia won’t spur the companies to move any quicker, but they’re good for business, and the bottom line remains most important.
“We still have to compete on price. There are a lot of other projects around the world trying to sell the same quality of molecules of natural gas into the same markets,” he said. “And Alaska is going to have to be price competitive or we’re not going to get there.”
So far, Persily said, the companies haven’t seen a multi-billion dollar pipeline as worth the investment, and it’s unlikely they will until there’s a willing buyer overseas.