Alaska LNG representatives visit Homer Rotary

Claire Joseph and Josselyn O'Connor (left to right). (Photo by Quinton Chandler/KBBI)
Claire Joseph and Josselyn O’Connor (left to right). (Photo by Quinton Chandler/KBBI)

The Rotary Club of Homer-Kachemak Bay hosted representatives of the Alaska LNG Project Thursday. Alaska LNG is a co-venture between the state and other stakeholders: Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, BP and TransCanada. The project representatives said they want to give Alaskans a clearer picture of what Alaska LNG will mean for their communities.

There are a number of steps that must be cleared before construction of the Alaska LNG Project can get underway. Claire Joseph came to Alaska LNG through her employment with Exxon Mobil. She says right now the project is in the pre-feed stage.

“The purpose of it is to get a good idea what the cost and schedule of the project would look like [and] what sorts of resources are necessary,” said Joseph.

Joseph says next year the project will move into the next stage, but she says the projection for first gas isn’t until the mid 2020’s.

“There would be several more years of engineering. Five [or] six years of construction and then gas would start flowing after that,” said Joseph.

The wait is due to Alaska LNG’s size. It’s a massive project requiring a gas treatment plant in Prudhoe Bay and an 800 plus mile pipeline to transport gas to a liquefaction facility near Nikiski. The newly liquefied natural gas would then be transported to markets in Asia.

The estimated cost of the project is $45 to $65 billion.

The only questions Homer’s rotary members didn’t hear the LNG representatives answer focused on the commercial side of the project. They were curious about the market prospects in Asia and the risk of investing in the project while the price of gas is low.

Joseph and the second Alaska LNG representative Josselyn O’Connor said they weren’t qualified to answer those questions. O’Connor says next time they come to Homer they’ll bring someone who can.

“There’ll be a lot of different project team members there. Everybody from the LNG plant to the pipeline group to the environmental team,” said O’Connor.

O’Connor expects to return to Homer in the first quarter of 2016.

For now, Joseph says the project is in the middle of its Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, pre-filing process and Kenai Peninsula residents can stay involved by submitting their concerns.

“We feel like it’s a great way to ensure that the project is addressing concerns and ideas while there’s a chance to make changes to the project design,” said Joseph.

FERC will ultimately decide whether the construction and operation of Alaska LNG can move forward.

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Quinton Chandler is a reporter at KTOO in Juneau.

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