In Russia, a competitor for Alaska’s gasline project comes online

Time lapse video of the Yamal LNG plant construction from Russian natural gas giant Novatek.

A Russian competitor to Alaska’s proposed LNG pipeline loaded its first cargo last week. The trading arm of Malaysia’s Petronas bought its first shipment.

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Russian gas giant Novatek reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to the remote Arctic Yamal Peninsula for the ceremonial opening of the plant.

The $27 billion liquefied natural gas project is heavily funded by partners in China. It is coming online in stages. When completed, it will be almost as large as the Alaska LNG project.

Alaska Gasline Development Corporation President Keith Meyer, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker and Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Andy Mack discuss meetings with potential buyers of Alaska’s LNG during a press conference on Sept. 30, 2016 in Anchorage. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/Alaska’s Energy Desk)

Last week, Alaska Gasline Development Corporation President Keith Meyer said that Russia’s project is competition.

“No question about it. And Russia is close to China, they’re building pipelines,” Meyer said. “So, they will be getting supply from Russia. Russia now has an Arctic project and they’re talked about more.”

But, he said Alaska has an edge.

“When a large utility looks at Russia versus Alaska, again Alaska stands pretty tall from a reliability and certainty standpoint and a supply security standpoint,” Meyer said.

Meyer said Sinopec, a Chinese oil and gas company that has signed an agreement to explore Alaska’s LNG project, also has a deal on a pipeline to deliver gas from Russia.

Rashah McChesney is a photojournalist turned radio journalist who has been telling stories in Alaska since 2012. Before joining Alaska's Energy Desk , she worked at Kenai's Peninsula Clarion and the Juneau bureau of the Associated Press. She is a graduate of Iowa State University's Greenlee Journalism School and has worked in public television, newspapers and now radio, all in the quest to become the Swiss Army knife of storytellers.

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