Alaska LNG Pipeline (AKLNG)
|This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.|
Alaska LNG Pipeline (AKLNG) is a proposed natural gas pipeline.
The pipeline will run from Point Thomson, Alaska, to Nikiski, Alaska.
- Owner: Alaska Gasline Development Corp (AGDC)
- Capacity: 3,500 Million cubic feet per day
- Length: 804 miles / 1293 km
- Diameter: 42 inches
- Cost: US$45 billion
- Status: Proposed
- Start Year: 2025
- Associated Infrastructure: Alaska LNG Terminal
The pipeline project began as a joint-venture between North Slope producers Exxon Mobil, BP Alaska, ConocoPhillips, and state-owned Alaska Gasline Development Corp. (AGDC). However, by late 2016, AGDC was the only company remaining in the development of the pipeline project. The pipeline project was projected to cost $45-$65 billion and was seen as a crucial method to increase the state's revenue after years of slowing crude oil production. The project had been originally conceived in 2014 when crude oil was $115 a barrel, with demand soaring in Asia concurrently. The three oil companies dismissed the project's viability due to the continuing trend of low energy prices and the enormous capital necessary to realize the project, causing the producers to leave the project.
Despite the major setback for the pipeline project, AGDC has planned to continue with the project. Governor Walker of Alaska met with representatives of a number of Asian countries such as Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and China in order to create support and legitimacy for the project. The project has been in a state of transition since the end of 2016 and has continued to face scrutiny of its viability by the Alaskan State legislature. Ultimately the project could be derailed if new investors are not found in the near future.
In July 2019, AGDC Interim President Joe Dubler told the Anchorage Daily News that the company was in the permitting process for AKLNG. This announcement came with the news that AGDC was reducing "employee headcount by twelve."
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released a draft version of the AKLNG environmental impact statement (EIS) on June 28, 2019 with the expectation of a final EIS in March 2020.
If the Alaska LNG project materializes, it would be among the world’s largest natural gas development projects. The project will consist of a gas treatment plant at Prudhoe Bay, an 800-mile pipeline, 42-inch diameter pipeline to Southcentral Alaska with up to five offtakes for in-state use, and a natural gas liquefaction plant in Nikiski to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG) for export. The Alaska LNG Terminal in Nikiski will be the largest component of the mega-project. The pipeline would be built to carry 3 billion to 3.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. The liquefaction plant would have the capacity to make up to 20 million metric tons a year of LNG (about 2.5 billion cubic feet a day of gas).
The pipeline will be approximately 800 miles long and as of 2017, is being led by the Alaskan state-owned company AGDC. The AGDC projects that the pipeline construction will begin in 2019 and permitting will finish by the end of 2018. Currently, AGDC is still in the process of acquiring 600 acres of land which were purchased by the three oil producing companies that left the project in 2016. The project requires approximately 800 to 900 acres of land. The land presently belongs to a subsidiary company—Alaska LNG, LLC—which ConocoPhillips, BP, and ExxonMobil had created to own the project’s land, website, and Department of Energy export license. The ease and speed of the land purchase will may determine the state legislature and other investors to continue with the project.
In April 2017, the AGDC filed its Natural Gas Act Section 3 permit application with FERC for for the Alaska LNG Project, furthering its progress to capitalize on the the North Slope gas reserves. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is expected to soon publish a schedule for the National Environmental Protection Act review for the project in the Federal Register. The schedule will outline the timeline for a draft environmental impact statement (EIS), expected to be about 12 months, and a final EIS, expected about six months later. AGDC also filed permit applications with four additional federal agencies: the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, and National Marine Fisheries Service.
As of July 2019, a final environmental impact statement is expected in March of 2020.
After the pipeline proposal was left out of the Biden administration's infrastructure plan in April 2021, and hence seemingly frozen out from receiving federal funding support, Alaska Gasline Development Corporation president Frank Richards claimed in May 2021 that he was in talks with private companies interested in taking over parts of the project. Richards said, without revealing the names of the companies, that the goal was to announce private partners later in 2021.
As of April 2021, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) still listed the project as "Applied" for FERC approval, with expectations to begin service in 2025.
Pipeline route alternatives
The City of Valdez was the only municipality to file a motion to intervene. The city of Valdez believes that it is the best location for the pipeline's terminus, rather than the proposed location of Nikiski. The city has claimed that it is a lower-risk and lower-cost option that than the current route, while it also stated that the Valdez route would be less environmentally harmful. However, while route alternatives will be looked at in the FERC proceedings, the AGDC prefers the Nikiski site, as did the North Slope producers who originally chose the Nikiski site before leaving the project.
In May 2017, the Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity each filed their own motions to intervene in the FERC proceeding, stating that environmental objections against the pipeline, compressor stations, and LNG terminal. The concerns regard increased air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, risk to wildlife, and disruption to the habitat of fish. The Center for Biological Diversity stated that the Alaska LNG proposal could increase the frequency and occurrence of damaging exploration methods, and threaten local wildlife, including polar bears and whales. The organization also claimed that the LNG project could also lead the way for more intensive hydraulic fracking and drilling the Arctic. Of the nine groups to intervene, two were negative(The Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity) and 7 were positive.
Articles and resources
- Alaska LNG Pipeline (AKLNG) , E&E, accessed September 2017
- "Natural Gas Data", Energy Information Administration, accessed Jul. 12, 2021
- Tim Daiss, $65 Billion Alaska LNG Project Crashes and Burns, Forbes, Sep. 16, 2016, accessed Aug. 25, 2021.
- North Slope producers in talks with state, Alaska Journal of Commerce, Oct. 6, 2016, accessed Aug. 25, 2021.
- Brehmer Elwood, Alaska Gasline Development Corp. cuts over half of its staff, Anchorage Daily News, Jul. 11, 2019, accessed Aug. 25, 2021.
- LNG Project Information,Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor's Office, accessed Nov. 21, 2017
- AGDC shares new plans for LNG pipeline, Peninsula Clarion, Apr. 29, 2017, accessed Aug. 25, 2021.
- Alaska Pipeline, LNG Project Filed at FERC, Natural Gas Intel, Apr. 17, 2017, accessed Aug. 25, 2021.
- Tegan Hanlon, A state corporation is still pushing a massive gas line plan in Alaska. Is it a pipe dream?, May 5, 2021, accessed Aug. 25, 2021.
- Larry Persily, Alaska LNG filing attracts opponents, supporters, KPB, May 30, 2017
- Nine groups file motions surrounding LNG project, KTUU, May 22, 2017