Energy Development Proponents Meet In Anchorage

Proponents of energy development are in Anchorage for the 10th annual Alaska Oil and Gas Congress. Canada’s Northwest Territories Premiere Bob McCloud says Alaska and the Territories have a lot in common – great resources that are stranded in remote locations.

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Premiere McCloud says he is closely watching how Alaska goes about pushing for marketing LNG. McCloud says it’s frustrating that the Northern Gateway pipeline and the Keystone pipeline are not moving forward. The McKenzie Valley pipeline in his region has been in development for decades but is also on hold.

“Now it’s proven uneconomic because the world price of natural gas because of the preponderance of shale gas is not high enough to make that pipeline economic,” McCloud said. “So the key for us is to find other markets.”

Such as Asia or Europe, McCloud says. He says after last year’s resource congress, he went back to Canada and instituted a new energy program.

“We decided to do a pilot project and haul LNG from Delta BC to Inuvik and use it for electrical generation,” McCloud said. “We found out it was cheaper to do that, haul it all that distance rather than use expensive diesel. Now we’re planning on using LNG for all the communities that have road access.”

The pilot project hauls LNG more than 1500 miles.

McCloud says in talks with former Governor Frank Murkowski this week – Murkowski encouraged him to research trying to get oil and gas from the southern part of the Northwest Territories to the existing TransAlaska Pipeline to Valdez.

McCloud says the Northwest Territories struggle with the same economic problems as rural Alaska. High energy costs and low employment opportunities. The Oil and Gas Congress runs through Thursday.

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Lori Townsend is the News Director for the Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start in broadcasting at the age of 11 as the park announcer of the fast pitch baseball games in Deer Park, Wisconsin. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 18 years. She was the co-founder and former Editor of Northern Aspects, a magazine featuring northern Wisconsin writers and artists. She worked for 7 years at tribal station WOJB on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibway Reservation in Wisconsin, first as an on-air programmer and special projects producer and eventually News Director. In 1997 she co-hosted a continuing Saturday afternoon public affairs talk program on station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota. Radio brought her to Alaska where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting. Following her work there, she helped co-found the non-profit broadcast company Native Voice Communications with veteran Alaskan broadcasters Nellie Moore, D’Anne Hamilton, Len Anderson, Sharon McConnell and Veronica Iya. NVC created the award-winning Independent Native News as well as producing many other documentaries and productions. Townsend was NVC’s technical trainer and assistant producer of INN. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Her print work and interviews have been published in News from Indian Country, Yakama Nation Review and other publications. Ms. Townsend has also worked as a broadcast trainer for the Native American Journalist’s Association and with NPR’s Doug Mitchell and as a freelance editor. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Townsend was the recipient of a Fellowship at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting in Rhode Island as well as a fellowship at the Knight Digital Media Center in Berkeley. She is an avid reader, a rabid gardener and counts water skiing, training horses, diving and a welding certification among her past and current interests. ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8452 | About Lori