LNG or GTL for North Slope?

Jan 12, 1998 01:00 AM

The Alaska state government team that examined alternatives for commercialising North Slope natural gas believes a LNG project is the most promising opportunity, but two large producers want the state to consider a natural gas-to-liquids (GTL) venture as a viable option.
The Alaska North Slope Gas Commercialisation Team was charged with examining and identifying mechanisms the state could exercise to encourage development and monetization of the 35 tcf of natural gas known to exist on the North Slope.
Its report, however, addresses only an LNG project in its economic and regulatory analysis. The project envisioned is comparable to the proposed TransAlaskan Gas System (TAGS) backed by Yukon Pacific Corp., a subsidiary of railroad giant CSX Corp.
TAGS would convert about 2 bn cfpd of North Slope gas into 14 mm tpy of LNG. It carries a price tag of about $ 15 bn.
The report notes that an LNG project would add jobs and substantial tax revenues through construction and operations ofan 800 mile pipeline from Prudhoe Bay on the North Slope to Prince William Sound and an LNG plant near Valdez.
While producers Exxon and BP were generally supportive of the report, they asked the state not to eliminate GTL projects from contention.
Both Exxon and BP have their own GTL technology. The third large North Slope producer, Arco has licensed another GTL technology from Syntroleum Corp.
The GTL plant could be located at Prudhoe Bay, adjacent to the existing oil production facilities, and its products could be shipped through the existing TransAlaska Pipeline System, eliminating the need for a separate pipeline.
In their responses to the report, none of the companies indicated specific plans for a GTL project at this time .

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