According to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, a state official told a group of Interior leaders on Monday that Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell is considering state ownership of a natural gas liquefaction plant on the North Slope.
Gene Therriault, deputy director of the Alaska Energy Authority, said Monday that Gov. Parnell is looking at an "open access" liquefaction plant that would be able to liquefy natural gas supplied by a number of oil companies and sell the product to a variety of buyers, including energy-strapped Interior residents.
Therriault made the comments during a regular meeting of Fairbanks residents who gather regularly to discuss issues affecting the community, but some Interior legislators were in attendance.
Therriault summed up the project:
I think the governor believes Fairbanks and the demand in Fairbanks is the initial demand that gets the project rolling. But he (the governor) views this as an asset, especially if the state is going to participate, that would serve a much larger geographic area than Fairbanks.
That larger geographic area, Terriault added, could include rural Interior villages, where customers would potentially use propane and natural gas produced at the facility.
The gas liquefaction plant is the most costly piece of infrastructure needed in the plan to truck natural gas from the North Slope down to Fairbanks, notes the News-Miner. Local leaders see natural gas as a priority because it could offset high costs of heating and electricity driven up by steep oil prices in the region. Therriault said that it would be inappropriate for the state to back a plant owned exclusively by a private company like Golden Valley Electric Association or Fairbanks Natural Gas.
Read more on Therriault's statement.