Platts reports that the State of Alaska "will withhold an offer of special state fiscal terms for a large North Slope gas pipeline and liquefied natural gas project until companies working on the project reach agreement on terms among themselves to proceed with the project"
Interesting news - Obviously the AGIA project team of TransCanada and ExxonMobil will need to agree to abandon AGIA for new undisclosed agreement and project structure.
If TransCanada and the North Slope producers assemble a new project structure will the new project include an equity position for the state? And what about the Japanese (JBIC & REI) I'd like to think customers with money to invest would have a role on the project.
There are a lot of moving parts here and the state of Alaska and the producers have spent years and millions of dollars with very little to show for their efforts. The clock is ticking down and I see Governor Sean Parnell losing the game in the last second.
The first big loss happened on Sarah Palin's watch - The gas line was almost a reality when North American shale gas burst upon the scene. North Slope producer ExxonMobil bet big on shale gas ($40billion) and bought XTO. Fractional term Governor Palin's introduction of AGIA burned valuable time off the clock and the win went to gas investments elsewhere.
The full impact of shale gas was not immediately apparent and it took some years for the overland Alaska gasline to morph into an all-Alaska gasline feeding an LNG export terminal.
Along the way fate dealt Japan a cruel hand in the form of a devastating earthquake which also destroyed nuclear plants at Fukushima. The magnitude of the Fukushima disaster resulted in the closing of all nuclear plants in Japan and a dramatic uptick in Japan's need for imported energy including LNG.
Somehow the state skillfully avoided the obvious and failed to engage with Alaska's long term LNG customer to strike a deal.
Meanwhile cheap shale gas in Texas and Louisiana prompted many Gulf of Mexico LNG import terminals to invest in LNG export projects. Soon, the first loads of GOM LNG will hit the market. A portion of those sales will go to Japan. Again other projects are getting built while Alaska make no progress.
The losses keep piling up. Maybe Governor Parnell knows what he's doing but the producers have hundreds of competing projects with known variables competing for their investment dollars. In fairness to the Governor he did win the battle of Point Thomson so I have some level of faith in his abilities.
Other opportunities exist (state equity position, and low interest customer government backed financing). Again Alaska is avoiding the win or ignoring the clock, either way investment dollars are poised to go elsewhere.
The clock is ticking, and oh by the way interest rates are heading up. Spoiler Alert Governor Parnell - interest rates will kill the gas line for decades unless the grand bargain is reached in 2014.