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Chinese officials tour proposed gasline project

Alaska Gasline Development Corporation President Keith Meyer, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker and Bank of China Executive Vice President Yingxin Gao, talk during a visit to Beijing where Alaska and China inked a deal to explore building a liquified natural gas pipeline. (Photo courtesy Alaska Governor’s Office)

A Chinese group is touring the route of a proposed Alaska natural gas pipeline. Chinese government and energy officials are investigating the project in cooperation with the state of Alaska, in anticipation of investing in construction of the $43 billion gas line. Speaking in Fairbanks yesterday, Alaska Governor Bill Walker said the Chinese contingent here this week is taking in the breadth of the project from the North Slope to Cook Inlet.

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”They’re what’s called the due diligence group,” Walker said. “They’re over here looking at the North Slope where the gas is, looking at the route, looking at the terminal site, they’re looking at some of the infrastructure we have in Alaska. It’s just the next step of them getting comfortable with where they want to do business.”

Walker says the group of 39 Chinese officials began the trip with meetings in Anchorage earlier this week.

”Discussions with Department of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Conservation, etc. And then up at the Slope to actually look at the facilities,” Walker said. “Half of them are headed to Fairbanks by bus because they wanted to see the route and what to expect. Then they’ll go down to the Kenai Peninsula, look at the LNG terminal that’s there now — former ConocoPhillips, now Tesoro. And they’re gonna go over to Seward and go to the Avtech facility where they have a ship simulator where, I assuem, they’re gonna drive an LNG ship.”

Also this week, the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation announced that the Bank of China and Goldman Sachs have agreed to coordinate financing of the line, and that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has released a schedule for environmental review of the project. Governor Walker describes the developments as key to a go, or no go decision in the 2020 time-frame.

“The final investment decision is really the critical piece when you’re gonna have a project,” Walker said. “But these are pieces that are necessary to get to that.”

AGDC, Chinese lenders and energy companies signed an agreement in November to investigate an Alaska gas line project, under which China would be granted a portion of the lines capacity in exchange for helping to finance its construction.

Source: pps Alaska

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