Walker promotes natural gas in South Korea

Canadian government approves Pacific NorthWest LNG Project

State natural resources officials, led by Gov. Bill Walker, were in Seoul, South Korea, in late September, in their latest Asian travel stop to promote Alaska’s liquefied natural gas project.

“Alaska’s location makes our project strategically advantageous to Korea, one of the world’s top LNG consumers,” Walker said.

“This is about engaging in the market,” the governor said. “Talking about the Alaska market. We are the closest to the market. We show them the shear volume of the gas we have,” he said in a video released on Sept. 27.

Hours later, in Vancouver, British Columbia, the Canadian government released a statement announcing a federal cabinet decision to approve an $11 billion Pacific NorthWest LNG Project, pending what was described as a rigorous federal environmental assessment.

Canadian officials said the Pacific NorthWest LNG Project represents one of Canada’s largest resource development projects with a total capital investment of up to $36 billion when accounting for upstream natural gas development.  During construction the project would create an estimated 4,500 jobs and an additional 630 direct and indirect jobs during operation of the facility, the government said.

The Canadian project is subject to over 190 legally binding conditions, determined through extensive scientific study that will lessen the environmental impacts of the project. Pacific NorthWest LNG Ltd. would be required to comply with mitigation measures that will minimize adverse effects on fish, fish habitat, marine mammals, wetlands, migratory birds, and human health.


In meetings with key government and company officials in Korea, the Alaska delegation was able to confirm that the Asian market will be looking for new sources to begin supplying LNG no later than 2023, which matches the Alaska LNG market delivery window, Walker said.

“Korea spends at least $10 billion on LNG every year,” Walker said. “Alaska reinjects twice the amount of natural gas that the entire country of South Korea uses every day.  This gives us an indication of the significant potential annual revenue for the state. Given Alaska’s deficit, it is imperative that we monetize our gas; it’s our number-one get-well card,” he said.

Alaska has an established trade partnership with Korea already to import fish, timber and coal from Alaska, and an Alaska LNG pipeline would lead to thousands of jobs and development of other industries, the governor said.

Watch the governor speak about the trip to Seoul online at https://vimeo.com/184499452

Earlier in the trip, the Alaska delegation met with various company and government officials in Singapore, where Walker was invited to deliver a keynote address at the CWC World LNG & Gas Series: Asia Pacific Summit.

Traveling with the governor are Keith Meyer, president of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., Natural Resources Commissioner Andy Mack and John Hendrix, the governor’s chief oil and gas advisor.

During the Singapore meetings, the team was able to show that Alaska has the right team with the expertise to lead on this gasline, Walker said. The meetings raised awareness of the Alaska gasline project, and rekindled interest in the state’s potential to provide long-term solutions to market energy needs, he said.

Watch Walker’s address to Singapore online at https://vimeo.com/184345882

The governor’s trip is focused on securing a customer base before building a multi-million dollar natural gas pipeline.

“As we secure more customers, we lower the cost of the project and the cost of energy to Alaskans,” Walker said. A natural gas pipeline in Alaska would bring down the cost to power homes and businesses and spur the development of new industries, just as the trans-Alaska oil pipeline did, he said.

North Slope producers BP Alaska and ConocoPhillips Alaska earlier in the month told the governor of their intent to help the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. move forward with a state-led gas line project.

In their letter of Sept. 19, BP Alaska President Janet Weiss and ConocoPhillips Alaska President Joe Marushack reaffirmed their alignment on the Alaska LNG project and their cooperation in the transition to state leadership of the project, the governor’s office said.

Both companies also voiced support for AGDC’s intended effort to file a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission application, seek confirmation of the project’s federal tax-exempt status, and other critical project milestones.

Walker said the letter from Weiss and Marushack outlined the absolutely critical support of producers in a state-led LNG project and sends a message that Alaska LNG is moving forward.

Natural gas is seen as a vital energy resource that can lead to a lower carbon future and cleaner air.

The 2016 World LNG Report released in April by the International Gas Union noted that LNG trade in total reached 244.8 MT in 2015, up 4.7 MT from 2014, and the largest year ever for LNG trade, surpassing the previous high of 241.5 MT set in 2011.

While the Pacific Basin remains the largest source of demand, growth was driven by Europe and the Middle East, the report said.

The complete World LNG Report is online at