State asks ConocoPhillips to reopen its LNG plant

ANCHORAGE (AP) — The state of Alaska wants ConocoPhillips to reopen its mothballed Kenai Peninsula liquefied natural gas plant to provide an incentive for petroleum companies to explore and invest in Cook Inlet.

In a Sept. 5 letter to ConocoPhillips President Trond-Erik Johansen, Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Balash requested that the company apply for a three-year federal LNG export license for the plant at Nikiski, about 70 miles southwest of Anchorage.

ConocoPhillips in March announced it would not extend its natural gas export license beyond March 31 but said it would consider a new license if the needs of local gas markets were met and sufficient natural gas was on hand to export.

Balash said contracts are in place to support local utility needs through 2018. Concerns exist, he said, for future exploration.

ConocoPhillips spokeswoman Natalie Lowman said Tuesday the company appreciates the state’s comments and shares its interest in promoting local energy security and the local economy.

“We’re going to begin evaluating this and working with stakeholders to evaluate the feasibility of resuming LNG export,” she said.

The U.S. Geological Survey has estimated the Cook Inlet basin may hold trillions of cubic feet of gas, Balash said.

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