Walker, AGDC sign gasline agreement with 3 China cos.
Gov. Bill Walker’s administration announced a big step forward for the $40 billion Alaska LNG Project late Wednesday in the form of a multi-level agreement with three Chinese mega-corporations to advance the project.
President Donald Trump and China President Xi Jinping attended the signing of the joint development agreement in Beijing, according to a press release from the governor’s office.
Walker said there is still work to be done before a final investment decision is reached but the agreement has the five key players to make the trans-Alaska gasline project go.
The Alaska LNG development partnership includes the state; the state-owned Alaska Gasline Development Corp.; Sinopec, an integrated oil and gas giant with more than $450 billion in annual revenue and potential gas purchaser; the Bank of China; and the China Investment Corp., the country’s $813.5 billion sovereign wealth fund.
“The gasline is key to building a stronger Alaska,” Walker said in a formal statement. “I thank President Trump for the full support he and his administration have shown for this project, as it brings the United States one step closer to energy dominance. When President Xi visited Anchorage six months ago, he shared with me his desire for deepening the mutually beneficial ties between China and Alaska. I thank him for expediting that vision to reality.”
The governor also thanked the Legislature for not pulling funding from AGDC while the state is in “in difficult and uncertain times” with multibillion-dollar budget deficits.
Additionally, he recognized BP, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil for helping the state take the lead in the project when LNG markets forced a change in the structure of the project in early 2016.
“It’s the beginning of what we hope is a long relationship between Alaska and these companies,” he said in a press briefing from China late Wednesday.
Walker has often stressed the need to get Alaska’s natural gas export project out to potential customers.
“This is the market responding,” he added.
AGDC Keith Meyer called it an “engagement” following the courtship that began in April when after Xi visited with the Walker during a stopover in Alaska on his way from the Lower 48 to China. It keeps AGDC on schedule for a late 2018 final investment decision on the megaproject, according to Meyer.
Alaska legislators said through press releases that they are encouraged by the announcement and look forward to hearing more from the Walker administration.
Former House Speaker and candidate for governor Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, recognized the Trump administration in a statement but did not mention Walker or his leadership team.
“This is once again the kind of news we hoped to see under the Trump administration. In less than one year Alaska has seen leaps and bounds towards developing resources beneath our soil and waters. I’m eager for a gas pipeline to become part of Alaska’s legacy. I look forward to seeing all the details in this joint development agreement,” Chenault said.
The agreement should be made public in the next week, Meyer said in the briefing.
Look for updates to this story in an upcoming issue of the Journal. Elwood Brehmer can be reached at email@example.com.