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Despite gloomy news, sunnier days ahead for gas patch

Posted: March 16, 2013 - 7:20am

It is easy to sit around and mourn the loss of another critical piece of Cook Inlet oil and gas infrastructure, as we are inclined to do with the recent announcement concerning the LNG plant in Nikiski.

But crying about it won’t help anything.

ConocoPhillips’ facility has been good to our area for decades and recent news that the company will let its export license expire due to Cook Inlet gas shortages feels like a swift kick in the rear.

Expected? Yes.

Inevitable? Perhaps.

Devastating? That’s another matter.

Despite how we might be inclined to throw in the towel and label the announcement another Agrium or a new nail in the Inlet’s coffin, let us not forget where we were a decade ago.

What if we would have said then that we’d have two new jack-up rigs exploring the Inlet, renewed activity onshore and a host of new companies looking to jump start area production, but it would cost us Agrium and a temporary closure of the LNG plant? That’s a deal you’d take, right?

We know we would.

Certainly we are saddened to see the LNG facility stop production, but a new wave is forming on the horizon.

Look on the bright side.

The tax incentives are working. Gas production is up. Talks of a North Slope pipeline are encouraging. The company, at least for the time being, doesn’t have plans to disassemble the facility and skip town.

At an economic level, this is the best possible time to absorb a blow like this. Oil and gas activity is humming along and hopefully that increases the chances of the plant opening up again in the near future.

Despite this cloudy day, sun is in the forecast for our area.

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