ConocoPhillips puts historic Kenai LNG plant up for sale

An LNG tanker fills up at the ConocoPhillips liquid natural gas export facility in Nikiski, Alaska. When it opened in 1969, it was the only facility of its kind in the U.S. to get a license to export its gas to Japan. For more than forty years, the state has attempted to develop similar projects to bring natural gas from the North Slope to market, none of those projects have broken ground. (Photo courtesy of ConocoPhillips)
An LNG tanker fills up at the ConocoPhillips liquid natural gas export facility in Nikiski, Alaska. When it opened in 1969, it was the only facility of its kind in the U.S. to get a license to export its gas to Japan. For more than forty years, the state has attempted to develop similar projects to bring natural gas from the North Slope to market, none of those projects have broken ground.
(Photo courtesy of ConocoPhillips)

ConocoPhillips is looking to leave the natural gas business in Cook Inlet.

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The Houston-based company said Thursday its putting its Kenai LNG plant up for sale.

For nearly 50 years, that plant was the only export facility of domestic liquefied natural gas in North America.

In an emailed statement, ConocoPhillips spokesperson Amy Burnett said the company wants to focus on its North Slope operations.

“Our efforts to market the Plant are consistent with our company’s efforts to regularly review our assets to ensure we are optimizing our portfolio,” Burnett wrote. “We believe the plant is a strategic asset that offers good opportunities for the right buyer.”

The Kenai LNG plant includes a dock and loading facility to transport LNG. It processed natural gas from Cook Inlet and nearly all of its product was sold to Japanese utilities. The plant is not part of the state’s Alaska LNG project, which calls for a much larger natural gas plant to be built nearby.

The plant operated for six months in 2015. Burnett said because of market conditions it has not exported gas in 2016. But the plant is still operational and could start exporting again.

It’s the second year ConocoPhillips has sought to drop Cook Inlet assets. In 2015, it put its natural gas production assets up for sale. It sold its North Cook Inlet field to Hilcorp in late October.

ConocoPhillips also sold its stake in the Beluga gas field to the City of Anchorage earlier this year.