ConocoPhillips applies for export permit to restart Kenai LNG plant


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ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc. has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Energy to resume LNG exports from Alaska, a company spokeswoman said Thursday.

The company plans to reopen its mothballed liquefied natural gas plant at Nikiski, on the Kenai Peninsula, to operate on a seasonal basis, spokeswoman Natalie Lowman said.

"With support from many local stakeholders, and in consideration of a request from the State of Alaska, ConocoPhillips Alaska has submitted an application to the U.S. Department of Energy to resume exports of LNG from the Kenai Facility. The application was submitted Wednesday, December 11, 2013,” Lowman said in a statement.

“We do not anticipate having gas available for export in the winter,” she said, because regional utilities will be given a priority.

The company has applied for a two-year export authorization to export about 20 billion cubic feet of gas per year as LNG, Lowman said.

Although production of LNG and exports were suspended the plant has been maintained for a possible restart and no reductions of personnel were made, ConocoPhillips has said.

The plant was built in 1969 by Phillips Petroleum and Marathon Oil Co. Phillips merged with Conoco to become ConocoPhillips and, more recently, Marathon sold its share of the plant to ConocoPhillips.

The plant operated until last year when the export license expired and declining gas production in Cook Inlet limited amount of gas available.

Recent discoveries have been made in the Inlet by independent companies, however, and in September the Alaska Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Balash wrote a letter to ConocoPhillips asking the plant be restarted to provide a market for companies exploring for natural gas.

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