AGDC hires Houston LNG exec as new CEO

The Alaska Gasline Development Corp. will have a new leader as of June 15.

That is scheduled to be Keith Meyer’s first day on the job as AGDC’s president and CEO.

Meyer will join AGDC from LNG America, a Houston-based energy logistics firm he founded in 2008 that focuses on increasing the use of LNG as a fuel for the maritime and transportation industries, according to an AGDC release.

The hire was announced at the corporation’s monthly board of directors meeting Thursday morning. It comes nearly seven months after Dan Fauske resigned from the position at the request of Gov. Bill Walker last November.

At the time, Walker commended Fauske, who had led AGDC from its inception, for his work there, but said the state needed someone with more direct experience in the pipeline and LNG industries. Prior to leading AGDC, Fauske had a long career in finance with the Alaska Housing Finance Corp.

Meyer is starting on a three-year contract with a base salary of $550,000. He will be eligible for an annual performance bonus of up to $200,000, which will be decided by the AGDC board. Fauske’s salary was $360,000.

As its name implies, AGDC is the organization leading the state’s efforts — currently focused on the Alaska LNG Project — to export North Slope natural gas through a pipeline project and get a portion of that gas to communities along the project corridor.

“Keith’s contribution will be immediate and impactful. He’s a proven leader who understands what’s at stake in Alaska, and possess the skills and experience we need at this critical time in the development of our natural gas pipeline and LNG project,” AGDC board chair Dave Cruz said. “Keith believes in Alaska and in the mission of AGDC. I’m proud to welcome him aboard.”

Interim president Fritz Krusen will return to his role as a vice president with AGDC.

“Fritz did a heck of a job when he was called upon,” Cruz said succinctly at the meeting.

AGDC vice chair Hugh Short, who led the board’s executive search, said Meyer has already met with key legislators.

“We are entrusting (Meyer) with a significant task, but I think he has the ability to carry this project through,” Short said.

Meyer has 15 years of experience in the LNG business and more than 35 years of broad experience in the energy industry, according to AGDC. Prior to founding LNG America, he led Houston-based Cheniere LNG as it developed the Sabine Pass LNG terminal in Louisiana, the country’s largest LNG receiving terminal.

Meyer is joining AGDC at a critical time for the $45 billion-plus AK LNG Project. Much slower than expected progress on commercial negotiations between the project’s producers, BP, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil, as well the double whammy price collapse of the world oil and LNG markets have added to the already long list of challenges the any mega project faces.

“Alaska is engaged in one of the largest energy projects in North America. I’m excited by the challenge and incredibly honored by the trust and confidence the board is placing in me. I understand how vital the gas pipeline and LNG project are to our Alaskan economy, and I’m committed to getting them built,” Meyer said in a formal statement.

He was preparing for a family wedding and thus unable to attend the Thursday AGDC board meeting, corporation spokesman Miles Baker said.

Elwood Brehmer can be reached at [email protected].

06/09/2016 - 2:27pm