Sec. Moniz: We won’t be obstacle to Alaska gas exports

Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. (Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Energy)

Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. (Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Energy)

Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz is in Alaska this week. He says the Obama Administration wants to spur a project to export North Slope natural gas, and he says the No. 1 way his department can help is by staying out of the way.

“Understanding that ultimately these are going to be some major private sector economic decision to be made, but we are determined not to be an obstacle in any way in that pathway. Getting Alaskan gas monetized is good for the Alaska (economy), good for the country and good for our international security obligations,” Moniz said.

Alaska’s oil producers applied to the Department of Energy last month for permits to export liquefied natural gas. The project will require an 800-mile pipeline, a liquefaction plant at Nikiski and other infrastructure. The companies haven’t committed to building the $50 billion system.

Proposals to export gas from the Lower 48 are controversial because of concern they will boost the domestic price of fuel. Moniz says the Administration has already decided the Alaska project will be exempt from requirements to show the price impact on domestic markets.

Moniz is one of four Obama Cabinet members visiting Alaska this summer.  The secretaries of Labor, Transportation and Commerce attended campaign fundraisers for Sen. Mark Begich. Moniz says he isn’t attending any fund-raising events on this trip.