The State has committed to a formal working relationship with a major Japanese financial institution that wants to develop natural gas projects.
Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan signed the memorandum of understanding with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation on Wednesday during a trip to Tokyo.
The deal is basically an act of financial diplomacy. It establishes that both parties have a mutual interest in getting Alaska natural gas to Japanese markets, and that there’s a potential for the two to work together on financing a gas pipeline or an export facility.
In a phone call from Japan, Sullivan said the agreement is about more than just this one bank. It’s also a good signal to other investors about the viability of Alaska projects.
“It is a big deal,” Sullivan said. “It boosts the credibility of Alaska’s gas commercialization efforts.”
Alaska has pursued a major natural gas project for years, but development has regularly stalled out for cost reasons and disagreements between major stakeholders.
- The Juneau Access Project envisions 50 more miles of road up Lynn Canal to a ferry terminal closer to the road system. It has divided the Juneau community for decades and faces significant opposition from other southeast cities including Haines and Skagway. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker pulled the plug on the $574 million project last month.
- The Juneau Assembly heard more than 90 minutes of testimony from dozens of residents including merchants, social workers and homeless people themselves who all agreed on one thing: Juneau has a serious homeless problem. But speakers had radically different viewpoints.
- President Trump indicated that potential deals between the pipeline companies and the federal government would be renegotiated, with the goal of allowing construction to move forward.
- The Alaska Mental Health Trust Land Office will not pursue timber sales at controversial sites in Petersburg and Ketchikan – at least for now.