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Friday, September 21, 2018
HomePolitics and PolicyAGDC has initial plan drafted to ‘go it alone’

AGDC has initial plan drafted to ‘go it alone’

WOULD FORM NEW COMPANY, OWNED BY AGDC

The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation may not want to call its new plan a “go-it-alone” strategy, but it definitely has the feel of a project takeover.

Keith Meyer, AGDC photo

Keith Meyer, AGDC photo

We are told the new draft plan by AGDC is floating around in the Senate, and it indicates the agency would form a new sub-entity to own, commercialize, finance, design, build and operate a gasline system. The agency would move full-steam-ahead without further market analysis.

Hawkins

The new company owned by AGDC would do all the work that three other partners are now doing.

That work would include the $65 billion in financing to make the gasline a reality, with a final State of Alaska investment decision deadline of July, 2018, and start-up by 2023.

Companies that actually own the gas would be marketing their gas through the gasline, which may explain in part why Gov. Bill Walker has insisted in seeing the companies’ marketing plans.

AGDC has been reluctant to release the draft plan because, according to a memo from Keith Meyer:

“Unfortunately, the apparent willingness of some authors in the public domain to take certain terms out of context or make a story where no story exists, has led to a request by one of the parties to not release a draft concept and instead wait for a more definitive agreement; we are sympathetic to that argument and have decided to comply with that request for now while a more definitive agreement is in the works.”

That same letter bristled at the characterization by some that the agency/state was going to “go it alone” in this new plan of attack.

HOUSTON WILL BE A CENTER OF AGDC ACTIVITY

At the board meeting of AGDC on Thursday, new President Keith Meyer told the board that the agency will open up a new office in Houston, Texas, which will become the center — or at least the brain trust — of operations. He plans to hire three new people, one of which is his daughter, who he said has expertise in Quickbooks and Excel spreadsheets.

No one at the meeting said anything about Alaska hire or nepotism, and there was no board action taken — or requested — on the matter of AGDC essentially shifting some of its operations to Texas. How much in salary the three employees will make is murky, but Meyer said the two that were not his daughter would be in travel status regularly. The individuals to be hired are people with whom Meyer worked in a previous capacity in Houston.

Update: The Alaska Dispatch is reporting that the AGDC Board Chair Dave Cruz will not allow the daughter to be hired.

AGDC is exempt from procurement laws and is supposed to operate independent of the Governor’s Office, but close observers say the two have become intertwined to the point that they are in constant deliberative communication, operating as one.

AGDC has a history of creating subsidiaries since last fall’s attempt to focus on an in-state gasline. The AGDC communications effort back then was headed by Luke Hopkins, who then filed to run against a member of the Senate who had a large part in creating AGDC — John Coghill.

WALKER’S DEMANDS FOR MARKETING PLANS

Background: The state Division of Oil and Gas on June 30 rejected BP’s 2016 plan of operation for Prudhoe Bay. The letter by Oil and Gas Director Corri Feige, allows the company to operate until Nov. 1, but demands critical gas marketing information that BP says it cannot give.

BP, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil have repeatedly said that giving over marketing information would be an anti-trust violation and also run afoul of Securities and Exchange Commission laws.

Feige wrote that major gas sales, in the relatively near future, are required. But the letter does not specify why there is such urgency for marketing gas for a gasline that AGDC now says won’t be ready to deliver product until after 2023, at the earliest.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

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