LNG imports could have lasting impact on Cook Inlet gas market, price, economist says
February 1, 2013
By Brian Smith | The Peninsula Clarion: As Alaska lawmakers discuss looming gas shortages predicted by utilities, many on both sides of the gavel have made mention of how importing liquefied natural gas to meet immediate demand might affect the existing market and production levels in the future.
Representatives from a research firm predicting the gas shortages and officials from other utilities were asked by lawmakers recently if importing LNG would disincentivize Cook Inlet exploration or the need for a North Slope gas pipeline. They have also been asked how importing likely higher-priced LNG would affect local gas prices for consumers in the long-term.
Dan Sullivan, Alaska Department of Natural Resources commissioner, said he has been making mention of these “red flags” to lawmakers as importing gas could “stifle” and “undermine” the Cook Inlet’s gas renaissance, among other effects.
“We’re trying to … point out to the committee that if we start going down the long term, large-volume import option we need to be aware and think through the implications of that for a whole host of different reasons,” he said Wednesday to the House Energy committee.
Matt Berman, a professor of economics at the University of Anchorage Alaska’s Institute of Social and Economic Research, said in an interview with the Clarion Tuesday that importing LNG would increase Alaska’s low price of natural gas.