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North Pole company abandons gas trucking plan

Posted: November 22, 2012 - 1:11am

FAIRBANKS — A refining company has ended talks on a plan to truck liquid natural gas to the Fairbanks area.

Flint Hills Resources Alaska said its decision to end discussions on a trucking plan was partly motivated by lower energy costs at its North Pole refinery, according to Thursday’s Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

The refinery has taken steps in the past year to reduce its energy consumption. Those steps included installation of a new heat-recovery system at the facility and the shutting down of one of its refinery units.

Flint Hills spokesman Jeff Cook said the lower costs made a planned North Slope natural gas trucking partnership between Flint Hills and Golden Valley Electric Association less of a necessity.

“We’re in a much better position than we have been,” Cook said.

GVEA said it will pursue a trucking plan without Flint Hills.

Flint Hills and GVEA began working together in August 2011 on a plan to truck liquefied gas from the North Slope to the Fairbanks area. Both said at the time that lower-cost trucked gas was crucial to reducing their energy costs.

Finding cheaper energy was particularly important to keep Flint Hills competitive. Other refineries were able to use natural gas instead of more expensive crude oil, and that left the North Pole refinery at a disadvantage.

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