The second day of the RDC conference provided a more in-depth look at a number of Alaska resource projects. Discussions included the global LNG market and how it relates to Alaska, the Pebble Project, coexistence between Alyeska Pipeline Service Company and the city of Valdez, and the More Alaska Production Act. Richard Guerrant, Vice President LNG with ExxonMobil Gas and Power Marketing Company started the morning with an overview of the current LNG industry. The differences between oil and LNG are numerous. The handling and marketing of LNG is much more complex than oil and transportation is four times as expensive. The market for LNG is much more regional than the global supply and demand for oil. Demand for gas will increase by 5% per year through 2040, with the majority of that demand coming from the Asian Pacific markets. New projects will be needed to fulfill the increased demand and only the most economically viable projects will be able to proceed through to production. While there are challenges to an Alaskan LNG project, there are also advantages that could make the project viable. Alaska’s proximity to the Asian markets makes it very attractive. The high quality of known resources in Alaska is also another benefit. The experience and strength of developers also helps the project. Alaska knows how to operate in harsh, arctic conditions and ExxonMobil believes that Alaska’s advantages make it a prime spot for a large LNG boom.
Steve Butt with the Alaska LNG project outlined the accomplishments of the local project. In February 2013, the Alaska LNG Project finalized the integrated design concept. That summer, necessary field studies were conducted for environmental impact assessments. The benefits of the project are abundant and BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and TransCanada believe that they can all work together to bring Alaska’s single largest investment to fruition. The major challenges for a project of this size include the need for labor, resources and equipment that can handle the extreme environment of remote Alaska, as well as, minimizing the environmental and socioeconomic impacts. The good news is that each part of the project has been done here in Alaska. Producers know where the gas is and how to extract it for use. Even with the challenges, Alaska is a good option for LNG. Project organizers will continue field studies and environmental baseline assessments. They will also continue engineering and design work for the integrated project and prepare for state and federal permit and license applications. The project moves forward in hopes of making Alaska a viable solution to increased demand for LNG throughout the world.
The 2013 Resource Development Council Annual Conference was another great event where attendees learned that even with the challenges in the resource development field, the possibilities for Alaskan development are numerous and education is key help continue work in the fields of oil and gas, fisheries, forestry, mining and tourism. Responsible, sustainable development is being done every day in our state and our economy relies on furthered development.
For a full list of the presentations at the RDC conference or to watch a particular session, please visit http://www.akrdc.org/membership/events/conference/2013/presentations/