At last week's Kenai City Council meeting, Mayor John Williams made cryptic comments about British Petroleum building their gas-to-liquids processing plant in Nikiski.
"Rumors are abounding that BP may bring a little facility into the area," Williams said. "They may soon become a corporate neighbor."
Maybe, said BP Exploration Alaska spokesperson Carla Beam.
"What I can tell you is Nikiski is one of several locations being considered, but no decision has been made," she said.
Beam said the plant will cost $85 million to build and is capable of turning natural gas into 300 barrels per day of product.
The resulting liquid, called a gas-to-liquid conversion product, can then be turned into petroleum products in an oil refinery or shipped through pipelines with crude oil.
Besides Nikiski, Beam said BP is looking at a site on the North Slope and other sites she would not identify.
As for BP employees sighted walking around some property just south of the Tesoro refinery, Beam said it's all part of the assessment the company is doing at all the sites they are considering.
"I'm sure Tesoro would be very happy to receive that product," Williams said.
He said the community has been courting BP for some time, trying to bring the GTL project here. He said Exxon also is working on its own version of GTL and plans to build on the North Slope.
Rep. Hal Smalley, D-Kenai, who represents Nikiski in the state House, said it was his understanding that BP's GTL process was more efficient than Exxon's version.
He also said the plant could employ up to 30 people once it's up and running, wherever it's built.
"There's no question it will be built," Smalley said. "It's just a question of when and where. The word I had is on the peninsula."
Beam said the company had no specific time line to make a decision or begin construction, but she said engineering work is being done right now and should be complete by the end of the year.
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