Alaska gasline agency downsizing by two thirds - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, December 15, 2019
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Alaska gasline agency downsizing by two thirds

The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation is reducing its staff by two third and refocusing its mission.

By August, the agency that had 26 staff members in the 2019 fiscal cycle under Gov. Bill Walker will be down to eight, plus some contractors who will provide technical work. 12 current employees of the agency are being laid off; others are already gone.

AGDC will pursue the permitting for an Alaska liquified natural gas project, but will once again look to the private sector to shoulder the development and risk of the project, which is estimated to cost between $43 and $60 billion and involves two major processing plants and an 800-mile gasline from the North Slope to Nikiski.

Under Walker, AGDC was the lead on the project and the owners of Alaska gas — BP, Exxon, and ConocoPhillips — were chased off because they were not moving fast enough for Walker. Walker had signed agreements with China, as well as Japan, and Korean entities to buy the gas, and had all but put China in the driver’s seat as the project developer and financier.

[Read: Walker strikes a deal with China, Sinopec]

The CEO of the agency, Joe Dubler, released this statement on Wednesday:

“AGDC is restructuring to reflect our primary focus on completing the FERC permitting process to advance the Alaska LNG project. AGDC will continue to pursue (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) authorization, expected in June 2020, with an eight-person technical staff plus contract support as needed, and reduce employee headcount by twelve. Completing the permitting process will substantially de-risk Alaska LNG and open the door to a wider range of potential project parties with the broad expertise required to unlock the value and manage the risks associated with a project of this magnitude.”

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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.

Latest comments

  • Don’t downsize, just get rid of the office altogether and put it where it should be which is in the Department of Natural Resources. Get rid of the corrupt persons, the whole group. They can’t do anything but “fake” a response to the FERC. The whole body of documents sent to the FERC are like a “Pep Rally” of communities that want more royalties and think they get the opportunities to screw with your thinking. The US Army Corps of Engineers put in a few letters but there is nothing in there. Its an extortion dream of Bill Walker and Mallett. Wake up Alaska! Wake Up!

  • Don’t downsize, just get rid of the office altogether and put it where it should be which is in the Department of Natural Resources. Get rid of the corrupt persons, the whole group. They can’t do anything but “fake” a response to the FERC. The whole body of documents sent to the FERC are like a “Pep Rally” of communities that want more royalties and think they get the opportunities to screw with your thinking. The US Army Corps of Engineers put in a few letters but there is nothing in there. Its an extortion dream of Bill Walker and Mallett. Wake up Alaska! Wake Up!

  • One commodity Alaska has never run short of in the government circus .. on Any level is Corruption.

  • I want to respond to DK so that anyone who reads what he/she said will have the opportunity to know the facts of the matter.

    Alaska is a resource extraction state which is all that it has to support our state and its citizens. The effort to secure a FERC permit has been underway for several years. The current board has been in place since January 2019 (4 & 1/2 months). In that brief time, we have focused almost entirely on securing a record of decision from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

    A favorable decision would allow the project to proceed, provided it is a commercially viable project. Commercial viability can be determined once the costs of the infastructure and the price for the gas are determined. The FERC permit should come first before the cost of construction and the price for our gas is determined.

    The FERC decision will be forth coming in less than a year. DK apparently, would have the State stop any further efforts to secure the right to develop our resources.

    As a Board member and life long Alaskan, I support proceeding to a FERC decision particularly since both British Petroleum and Exxon Mobile have re-engaged with AGDC and agreed to fund 2/3s of the costs of securing a FERC decision.

    The latest cost saving reduction in staff was done so we can focus all of our efforts to secure a favorable FERC decision. If that is accomplished, the State of Alaska will have as long as 7 years to proceed with the project.

    I doubt that DK even looked at one page of the “whole body of documents sent to FERC”. For any reader’s information the volume of documents submitted is more than 150,000 pages.

    Dan Coffey

    • Dan, appreciate your comments and hard work. But a gas line in Alaska has been in the works for 40 years with no fruit to bear or to pick. The oil companies talked about a gasline from Prudhoe as an “add on” to the existing oil pipeline as far back as the late 70’s. Governor Hickel set up trade offices in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan in the early 90’s, trying to stimulate Far East markets for natural gas. Nothing. Along came Frank Murkowski in the 2000’s trying to get a Trans Alaska-Canada line. Failed before it could get out of the starting blocks. Walker was the most recent failure. His personal involvement through his connections with The Port Authority quite frankly turned off a lot of people. But the real bottom line is this: THE MARKETS ARE NOT FAVORABLE FOR THE SALE OF ALASKA GAS.
      You cannot sell natural gas to a buyer and tell them that Alaska has the best product. Natural gas is all the same…..world wide. So the issue gets down to pricing. The economics of product conversion, transportation, and reconversion, prices it out of the global market price. Trying to do business with the Chinese is a dangerous proposition. Walker didn’t have a clue. The Chinese don’t invest big bucks on any foreign product unless they have CONTROL and FLEXIBLE PRICING. Anyway, thanks for your comments.

  • You are wrong D Coffey…..I have read through the “pep rally” flood of documents that are inserted for some time to FERC to give the appearance of real engagement from valid sources. There has never been any attempt to create a real valid set of documents for the sake of natural resource use and transport. The whole LNG project was and is today a “ponsi scheme” created by Walker and cronies, as I imagine you are one of the cronies. The first of the stand alone issue was during the Palin administration. Then the Parnell administration encouraged that and other thinking and other activity such as :”behind closed door decisions” and done as a measure to disallow the public knowledge to make the decision by vote or discussion. In the meantime, the 500 million that Palin let go to Transcanada stayed on the books until your old cronie boss, Walker got into the fray. He didn’t like it, wanted to do his own thing with promises that were never legitimate and you became part and parcel of the scheme because you chose too. Walker threw 60 million at Transcanada to go out the back door and not be heard of again and you were a part of that as well. Your back room politics and illegal maneuvers against the state of Alaska and residents of the state should be highlighted in your performance. I hope the governor has much better sense than to keep you in your job. Take a good look at the documents attached to the FERC site. None of the federal agencies that evaluate and critique are in there. You have a lot of conversation for the sake of allowing a Communist country to buy, develop and sell our natural resources along with the possibility of Communist China’s attempt and Walker and cronies concurrence to allow their workers to build the pipeline. You say the Oil Company players have returned!! They never left. You don’t get it do you? I’d suggest you should think about the deep hole you have dug. It’s a a place you can put your lies. The people of this state are fine with the decisions/votes they make. I hope the governor boots you out the door for the fraud, waste and abuse while on the job.

    • Sorry, D K, if I have to jump into a foxhole on this one, I will be in the one with Dan Coffey.

  • You are wrong D Coffey…..I have read through the “pep rally” flood of documents that are inserted for some time to FERC to give the appearance of real engagement from valid sources. There has never been any attempt to create a real valid set of documents for the sake of natural resource use and transport. The whole LNG project was and is today a “ponsi scheme” created by Walker and cronies, as I imagine you are one of the cronies. The first of the stand alone issue was during the Palin administration. Then the Parnell administration encouraged that and other thinking and other activity such as :”behind closed door decisions” and done as a measure to disallow the public knowledge to make the decision by vote or discussion. In the meantime, the 500 million that Palin let go to Transcanada stayed on the books until your old cronie boss, Walker got into the fray. He didn’t like it, wanted to do his own thing with promises that were never legitimate and you became part and parcel of the scheme because you chose too. Walker threw 60 million at Transcanada to go out the back door and not be heard of again and you were a part of that as well. Your back room politics and illegal maneuvers against the state of Alaska and residents of the state should be highlighted in your performance. I hope the governor has much better sense than to keep you in your job. Take a good look at the documents attached to the FERC site. None of the federal agencies that evaluate and critique are in there. You have a lot of conversation for the sake of allowing a Communist country to buy, develop and sell our natural resources along with the possibility of Communist China’s attempt and Walker and cronies concurrence to allow their workers to build the pipeline. You say the Oil Company players have returned!! They never left. You don’t get it do you? I’d suggest you should think about the deep hole you have dug. It’s a a place you can put your lies. The people of this state are fine with the decisions/votes they make. I hope the governor boots you out the door for the fraud, waste and abuse while on the job.

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