(EnergyAsia, July 22 2014, Tuesday) — A group comprising an Alaska firm and four major companies have filed an application with the US Department of Energy to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from a proposed project from a greenfield site in Nikiski near the port of Achorage.

The application seeks authorisation for the annual export of up to 20 million metric tons of LNG for 30 years to countries that have existing free trade agreements with the US as well as to non-free trade agreement countries.

The project’s joint developers, the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) and affiliates of TransCanada, BP, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil, are undertaking pre-front-end engineering and design work which is expected to be completed by 2016. They are looking to extract and pipe natural gas reserves in Alaska’s North Slope to a liquefaction plant and terminal in the Nikiski area on the Kenai Peninsula for processing into LNG for export to Asia.

AGDC is an independent public corporation of Alaska state established to develop, finance and potentially operate pipelines and other energy transportation systems within the state. It will have a 25% stake in the LNG plant.

For now, the project’s cost is expected to cost between US$45 billion and US$65 billion, and will be refined in further engineering studies. When fully developed, it is expected to produce between 16 million and 18 million mt of LNG per year.

“This is a significant milestone for the Alaska LNG project and demonstrates continued progress toward developing Alaska’s resources,” said Steve Butt, senior project manager. “Filing of an export application is a critical step in commercialising North Slope natural gas.”

According to ExxonMobil, the project would provide significant economic benefits to Alaskans including state revenues, new job opportunities and access to decades of domestically produced natural gas.

Citing a study by NERA Economic Consulting, ExxonMobil said the project would create up to 15,000 jobs during construction and approximately 1,000 jobs for operation of the project.

The facilities for the proposed project would include a liquefaction plant and terminal in Nikiski, a 1,280km pipeline, up to eight compression stations, at least five take-off points for in-state gas delivery, and a gas treatment plant located on the North Slope.

The proposed gas treatment plant will process over three billion cubic feet of gas per day and will be built on a plot of more than 80 hectares, making it among the largest in the world.