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BP considers joining Alaska gasline project, report says, after oil CEOs met with governor

BP chief executive Bob Dudley recently met with Gov. Bill Walker and discussed the company's "potential involvement" in the $43 billion Alaska LNG project, according to an Axios news article Walker promoted on his Twitter page Friday afternoon.

Also, in a tweet Friday, Walker said he and his team recently hosted three chief executives of North Slope producers in Juneau to discuss "benefits of and gas supply to" the project.

Walker did not name the producers.

BP, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips are the major North Slope gas owners that could supply the project. But the North Slope has other producers, including Hilcorp Alaska, a partner with BP at some fields.

Axios did not describe the nature of BP's "potential involvement."

"It's a large resource, and the world is going to need natural gas, particularly Asia," Dudley said, according to Axios. "We're exploring with the state ways to make that resource find a market."

Axios said it interviewed Dudley on Tuesday in BP's Washington office. Dudley had stopped there on his way to London, after visiting Alaska and meeting with Walker "to discuss BP taking part in the project," the news site said.

Dawn Patience, a BP spokeswoman, said Friday the company has extended a “cooperation agreement” with Alaska Gasline Development Corporation. In that agreement, announced one year ago, BP and the agency agreed to work together on developing the project’s commercial and financial structure.
“We will continue to look for ways to support the State and AGDC in progressing this project,” Patience said, in an email.
Austin Baird, Walker’s press secretary, declined to explain why the governor would not name the producers he’d met with.
“That’s all I can say for now,” Baird said.
“The governor was pleased to have the leaders travel to our state’s capital city for the meetings and looks forward to working with all key stakeholders to continue advancing the project,” said a statement from the governor’s office, emailed by Baird.
Amy Burnett, a ConocoPhillips spokeswoman in Alaska, said she did not know if her company’s chief executive, Ryan Lance, might have met with Walker.

Burnett said ConocoPhillips will support the state-led project by making its Prudhoe Bay gas available for sale on "mutually agreed, commercially reasonable terms."

The Alaska LNG project would pipe North Slope gas 800 miles to Nikiski, where it would be liquefied and shipped to Asian utilities. The project took a hit in late 2016 when the three major producers backed out over concerns it wasn't competitive enough with other projects globally, leaving the state.

The state has trimmed cost estimates and made progress. In November, it found potential new investors, signing a nonbinding deal with three Chinese-owned giants, including oil company Sinopec and Bank of China.

The agreement, signed as part of President Donald Trump's trade mission to Beijing, could lead to future Chinese investment.

Consultants have questioned the agreement, saying it might never be finalized.

More involvement by BP could add momentum to the project.

"I had not met the governor before," Dudley told Axios. "I was impressed."

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