ConocoPhillips seeks permit for LNG exports

KENAI — ConocoPhillips has filed for a permit to resume liquefied natural gas exports from its facility on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, a move urged by the state.

Earlier this year, the company announced it would not seek an extension of a license that expired March 31 but would consider a new license if the needs of the local market were met and there was sufficient gas for export.

The application was filed Wednesday, said ConocoPhillips Alaska spokeswoman Natalie Lowman.

She told the Peninsula Clarion the company has contracts throughout south-central Alaska through 2018 and would continue to prioritize local gas supply contracts and utilities over exports.

She said the permit is being sought with support from local interests and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, which had urged the company to reopen its plant and apply for a new license to help provide an incentive for oil and gas companies to explore and invest in Cook Inlet.

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, in a statement Friday, called the company’s decision a welcome boost to the Kenai Peninsula economy.

“Even seasonal shipments of LNG will add jobs and create incentives for exploration and competition, helping to keep prices lower for Alaskans,” he added.

In February 2011, ConocoPhillips and its then-partner Marathon Oil Corp. announced plans to close the plant at Nikiski, saying market changes didn’t support continued exports.

When the plant began exports in 1969, it had been the sole supplier to Japan. By 2010, however, it had become a bit player.

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