Alaska’s natural gas pipeline plan gets federal environmental approval

A rendition of what the liquefaction plant in Nikiski could look like if the Alaska LNG project is completed as planned. (Image courtesy Alaska LNG project.)

Alaska’s latest plan to get North Slope natural gas to market got environmental approval from federal authorities on Thursday.

In a news release from the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, president Frank Richards said that getting this approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission helps make the project less risky for investors and partners to consider — because it defines the environmental impacts.

The corporation is still working to make the project economically competitive. The markets the project is targeting are in Asia, where current prices aren’t high enough to make Alaska’s gas financially feasible to develop.

In its current form, the project consists of two facilities — one on the North Slope and one on the Kenai Peninsula, connected by an 800-mile long pipeline.

The state doesn’t have control of all of the land it needs to build the project. Or the finances to get the $43 billion project built.

In April, the state corporation’s board adopted a plan to bring on new partners to guide the project by January of next year. The board does not want the state to continue being the project’s only sponsor.