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Alaska LNG not keeping community informed during time of flux, mayor says

The borough that would house the massive Alaska LNG complexwants answers on what exactly it should expect as uncertainty grows about theproject's timeline and the level of state involvement.

Aftera relatively open dialogue, communication with the developers has slowed, KenaiPeninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre said in an interview. "Things justgot put on the back burner," Navarre said. "I think it's really afunction of the companies pulling back on some of the things they've beenworking on. … There's not as much happening, so there's not a lot ofcommunication. And there's uncertainty as to who really has the ball at thispoint."

Navarrewrote to FERC on Oct. 4 to express concern that a state takeover of the projectwould alter a "conceptual" arrangement that would allow for paymentin lieu of property taxes to mitigate the impact on the community. He alsoasked developers to be more specific about anticipated impacts on the stretchof highway that runs through the borough, as well as on the state-leasedbeachfront property used by commercial fishermen.

, , and the state-runAlaska Gasline DevelopmentCorporation all serve as partners in the LNG project, which is notexpected to be placed into service until 2025 at the earliest. The stateand ConocoPhillips said Sept. 21 that they had signed an agreement to moveforward with a marketing joint venture to advance the project. The WallStreet Journal reported Aug. 26 that Exxon does not plan to invest inthe next stage of development and intends to sell its stake due to a global gasglut. Meanwhile, the state is reportedly weighing in the project,including a possible complete takeover.

Theentire project is estimated to cost between $45 billion and $65 billionand would be capable of producing up to 20 million tonnes of LNG per year.

Navarresaid in general that his community supports the venture, but enthusiasm hasdampened as developers have yet to come to a decision on front-end engineeringand design for the project. "I think a lot of people [expect] that it willat best be delayed for a while."