Natural Gas Authority wants $3 million for Mexico project

Big bucks sought

Posted: Thursday, August 28, 2003

JUNEAU (AP) The Alaska Natural Gas Authority is asking the Murkowski administration for $3 million to pursue supplying gas to a Mexican project.

The authority's chief executive officer, Harold Heinze, said the money would be used to accelerate engineering, timing and marketing plans for a pipeline project from the North Slope to Valdez.

The authority, set up by voters in last fall's general election, is looking at supplying a project proposed by Sempra Energy of San Diego.

The firm has received final permits from the Mexican government to construct a liquefied natural gas treatment plant in Baja California that would require a billion cubic feet of gas per day. The firm is talking to Alaska as a possible supplier.

Heinze said the Sempra project would provide Alaska marketers with a strong opportunity. The project is more than a speculative proposal, he said.

''They are somewhere between a matter of weeks and maybe even a few months from making a decision to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to build this project,'' Heinze told APRN.

The problem is Alaska is not so far along in its project, Heinze said.

''Part of the discussions have been how to handle that, how to kind of try and bridge the timing gap between our two projects,'' Heinze said.

Heinze said the authority is also in discussions with Mitsubishi Corp., which is interested in

constructing an LNG facility in Long Beach, Calif., to supply the Southwest.

Murkowski administration officials could not be reached for comment late Wednesday afternoon on whether they would support the $3 million funding request.

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