Executive Intelligence Review


Alaska Set for Arctic Development with China; Governor Exclaims, ‘Stars Are Aligned on This’

Jan. 27, 2018 (EIRNS)—Alaska was second to West Virginia in size of its 2017 Memorandum of Understanding with China, for energy infrastructure and gas sales development—$43 billion over the coming years. On Jan. 24, Gov. Bill Walker met in Fairbanks with his cabinet and local mayors, and spoke optimistically about what’s ahead, with plans for an 800-mile gas pipeline from the North Slope to Kennai Peninsula, and pledged sales of 75% of the gas to go to China. Walker was the only governor in the Trump delegation to go to Beijing in November, and Walker hosted President Xi Jinping in Anchorage last May.

Walker made a point of praising the support he is getting from the White House.

"I could go on for hours about ... how things are so different now.... I have a call ... directly with the White House about this project.... It’s astounding, absolutely astounding, to have that kind of relationship with the White House on this project. And then with the market, the producers—the stars are absolutely aligned on this,"

said Walker, reported Fairbanks’ NBC News affiliate.

Alaska, working with China, is set to figure prominently in Arctic gas development, as well as the newly opened LNG operations in Yamal, Russia. China covers the principles involved, in in its new "China’s Arctic Policy," which states explicitly that this is part of its Belt and Road Initiative: China wishes to

"advance Arctic-related cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative in accordance with the basic principles of respect, cooperation, win-win results and sustainability."

The document, released Jan. 26, also states specifically under its section "IV. China’s Policies and Positions on Participating in Arctic Affairs," that,

"China respects the sovereign rights of Arctic States over oil, gas and mineral resources" in the region, and "encourages them to participate in the exploitation of oil, gas and mineral resources in the Arctic, through cooperation in various forms, on the condition of properly protecting the eco-environment of the Arctic."

In West Virginia this week, there were also optimistic statements about what’s to come from China’s commitment to work with the state on gas infrastructure and industry development in Appalachia. At the Jan. 22-23 Economic Development Council Legislative Conference in Charleston, representatives of the major economic associations spoke out on this. West Virginia will receive an $83.7 billion investment from China for energy development over 20 years. Announcements are awaited from the governor and Commerce Department on what the first projects regarding a site for a gas hub, for one or more cracker plants, for pipelines, and other components, will be.