Alaska and a group of oil giants Friday reached a deal to
advance a $40 billion pipeline project to export the state's
liquefied natural gas to Asia, where it would fetch a much higher
price than in the U.S.
Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell and the CEOs of BP, ExxonMobil and
ConocoPhillips announced an end to litigation involving Point
Thomson, a field that holds a quarter of the North Slope's 35
trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
The state wanted to pull the lease from the oil companies that
had left the land undeveloped for more than 30 years. Alaskan
Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan said in a statement
that the companies "must earn their acreage."
The CEOs of these oil companies -- ExxonMobil's Rex Tillerson,
BP's Bob Dudley and ConocoPhillips' Jim Mulva -- hailed the deal
in a letter to Parnell Friday.
"With the settlement now finalized, our companies are moving
forward, as participating co-venturers, with the initial
development phase at Point Thomson with confidence that North
Slope gas development will ultimately bring the Point Thomson
resource to market," the three oil company CEOs wrote.
The Point Thomson project could bring $400 billion in revenue
to Alaska, with liquefied natural gas selling seven times higher
in Japan and China than in the U.S., according to the Financial
Times. Under the proposal, the pipeline would carry natural gas
from the North Slope to Alaska's southern coast, where it can
then be shipped to Asian markets.
Though a deal to get the project started is in place, the
proposal will need 10 years to develop, with regulatory hurdles
along the way, the paper reported.
Exxon and pipeline company TransCanada had a plan to bring
Alaskan natural gas to the rest of the United States, but the
shale boom in the rest of the U.S. made the proposal "financially
unattractive," the Financial Times said.