The State has committed to a formal working relationship with a major Japanese financial institution that wants to develop natural gas projects.
Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan signed the memorandum of understanding with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation on Wednesday during a trip to Tokyo.
The deal is basically an act of financial diplomacy. It establishes that both parties have a mutual interest in getting Alaska natural gas to Japanese markets, and that there’s a potential for the two to work together on financing a gas pipeline or an export facility.
In a phone call from Japan, Sullivan said the agreement is about more than just this one bank. It’s also a good signal to other investors about the viability of Alaska projects.
“It is a big deal,” Sullivan said. “It boosts the credibility of Alaska’s gas commercialization efforts.”
Alaska has pursued a major natural gas project for years, but development has regularly stalled out for cost reasons and disagreements between major stakeholders.