Summit to showcase Valdez as best for Alaska LNG exports

A two-day conference in Valdez will explore the potential for developing and marketing Alaska’s liquefied natural gas.

The Alaska LNG Summit is scheduled for Sept. 13 and 14 in Valdez.

Bill Walker, general counsel for the Alaska Gasline Port Authority, said the event will include a number of speakers who have hands-on experience with LNG projects.

The City of Valdez conceived the conference as a way to showcase its offerings as a possible site for LNG export, Walker said. Then, Excelerate Energy and the Alaska Gasline Port Authority agreed to sponsor the event.

Valdez Mayor Dave Cobb said the summit is an opportunity to showcase Valdez to the people of Alaska, and to the world.

“I think the key for us is the assets that the city of Valdez and the port of Valdez have for shipping LNG out of Alaska,” Cobb said.

The port authority has supported a buried LNG line that would run from the North Slope to Valdez, alongside the trans-Alaska oil pipeline. That route was once permitted by the Yukon Pacific Corp., although it would need new permits now.

Excelerate is a Texas firm that perfected floating LNG terminals, popular in other markets.

Walker said the summit will feature speakers with hands-on experiences with LNG projects, varying from LNG financing to port management.

Valdez’s existing infrastructure is a key component of what the city has to offer.

Ben Hawkins, from the U.S. Coast Guard, will discuss Valdez’s infrastructure and assets and will be joined by Stan Lloyd, from Lloyd Engineering, and Jeff Pierce, from Safeguard Marine, who can speak to the logistics of the port.

AGPA also has a study from last spring showing Valdez as a safer option than a Cook Inlet port.

Another presenter will be Octavio Simoes, the president of Sempra LNG, a San Diego-based company with a fairly long history in Alaska, Walker said. They have an LNG terminal in Mexico, and interest in exporting Alaska’s LNG.

“They’ve seen the benefit of Alaska,” Walker said.

Mayors – or their representatives – from Alaskan cities such as Unalaska and Fairbanks with an interest in LNG will also participate in a panel.

The conference will also include a discussion of where to send Alaska’s gas. Only a portion would be needed in-state, giving the state an opportunity for exports. A panel discussion will revolve around the potential of selling to Asian and domestic markets.

Hawaii is one potential buyer, but has the same problem as Alaska: it doesn’t need as much gas as an effort to produce would need to be profitable.

“We’d love to see Alaska gas going to Hawaii, but that’s not the tipping point,” Walker said.

Barbara Treat, the program manager for Hawaii Gas will talk about that state’s high cost of electricity, and interest in LNG.

The summit agenda also includes an update on the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act from Kurt Gibson. Mark Myers of University of Alaska Fairbanks, the former Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, will talk about North Slope natural gas, and Greengate’s Radoslav Shipkoff, an LNG financing consultant, will talk about the financing of such a project.

Cobb said financing options in Valdez include support from the city. In the past, the city helped provide funding for industry when building infrastructure in the port. That’d be an option again in the future, he said.

Walker said they expect a pretty good turnout at the event. The event is targeted at anyone interested in the LNG discussion – Cobb said that includes legislators, producers and individuals from the state of Alaska.

11/11/2016 - 11:41am