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China-Alaska $43 Billion Gas Pipeline, Export Deal Brings ‘Hope’

Jan. 16, 2018 (EIRNS)—Things have been moving ahead on the Nov. 9, 2017 deal signed in Beijing between the state-owned Alaska Gasline Development Corp., Sinopec, the Bank of China and the Chinese Investment Corp. (CIC). The centerpiece of the $43 billion package is for an 800-mile gas pipeline from the North Slope, south to the Kenai Peninsula, for shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) abroad. Alaskans are speaking of “hope” from the mega-deal, just as did West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, when he praised his state’s plans for gas and manufacturing development with China.

Alaska House Speaker Rep. Bryce Edgmon, quoted by the Peninsular Clarion in late December, said:

“A pipeline project will bring jobs, investment and, perhaps most importantly, a renewed sense of hope that Alaska’s best days are ahead of us, not behind.”

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker hosted China President Xi Jinping last spring, when Xi stopped in Anchorage on his way home from visiting President Trump at Mar-a-Lago, Florida. Walker, who has been promoting his new pipeline and related projects, was the only governor travelling in Trump’s delegation to China last November.

The timeframe for the project, is that by December 2018, the contracts, loans, and related arrangements will be finished, so construction can start in mid-2019. The deal is expected to work out so that 75% of the ultimate LNG exports will go to China, and the remaining 25% to other Alaska customers, such as South Korea and Vietnam. The planned Alaska LNG terminal will add to the list of five already under construction in the U.S., in Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Texas, and Louisiana. The Alaska location is favorable for Asian customers.

On Dec. 22, 2017, the state of Alaska also approved ExxonMobil’s plan to expand oil production on the North Slope at Point Thomson. Gov. Bill Walker issued a statement at that time, saying, “Our approval of the Point Thomson to Prudhoe Bay pipeline plan adds to the momentum of the Alaska LNG Project and demonstrates the commitment of the Point Thomson working interest owners to move gas from Point Thomson into the Alaska Gasline Development Corp.’s 800-mile project.”