Representatives from the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation were in Homer Tuesday to hold a community meeting on the state’s gasline project. Vice President of Communications Rosetta Alcantra gave a presentation on the pipeline and fielded questions from a few Homer residents.
The 807-mile pipeline would run from the North Slope to Nikiski, about 100 miles north of Homer. Residents wanted to know how the project might benefit the Southern Kenai Peninsula.
Alcantra couldn’t say what benefits Homer residents might see, but she said there will be plenty of job opportunities during construction.
“Essentially in the construction period, we’re looking at 9,000 to 12,000 direct jobs on the project. It doesn’t say what the indirect jobs are in terms of hospitality area, tourism in terms of Alaska,” she said.
Based on AGDC’s timeline, the number of construction would start next year and jobs would peak by 2023. Alcantra said there would be about 700 to 1,000 jobs available once the pipeline is up and running around 2025.. But some residents questioned that timeline.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently asked AGDC to answer several additional ecological and logistical questions in order for it to complete its environmental review. Feds also tasked AGDC with reevaluating two potential sites in Point Makenzie and Valdez for the liquefaction plant.
Homer resident Larry Sloan questioned whether reevaluating those sites would delay the process.
“Quite of bit of study has already been done. Those sites were evaluated. Certainly, those communities don’t feel like it was evaluated enough,” Alcantra responded. “We will do our due diligence and go back and in terms of the regulatory process.”
Alcantra did not say whether the review would delay the project, but AGDC has about 20 days to evaluate those sites and answer additional questions, something that could prevent the project’s completion from coinciding with a forecasted spike in demand for LNG.
Others also questioned if Alaska would be competitive in a growing LNG market. Bob Shavelson with Cook Inletkeeper was concerned about other countries’ gas supplies hindering the viability of the pipeline.
“Russia just came on with a facility. They have another one in the bank, Malaysia has considerable reserves. What does production in the Pacific Rim look like compared to demand?” Shavelson asked.
The state has made a non-binding agreement with Sinopec, one of the world’s largest oil companies, the Bank of China and a Chinese sovereign wealth fund to finance the project. If that funding structure moves forward, about 75 percent of Alaska’s gas would be sold to China.
Alcantra said that agreement shows there is a viable market for Alaska’s roughly 100-year supply of gas.