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The Department of Energy approved on Thursday LNG exports from a proposed $39-billion Alaska project, with which the Biden Administration drew criticism from environmentalists again.
DOE approved exports by vessels from the planned Alaska LNG Project to countries with which the U.S. does not have free trade agreements in a volume equivalent to 929 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per year of natural gas for a term of 30 years. The LNG may be sourced from natural gas supplies from Prudhoe Bay and Point Thomson fields on the North Slope of Alaska, DOE said.
The Alaska LNG project, developed by the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, is expected to start delivering from 2030 on average about 3.5 billion cubic feet of gas per day, much of it for international markets.
Initial approvals for the project were granted by the Trump Administration, but the Biden Administration has also supported the project.
The Administration said last year in a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, “With this report, the Biden Administration confirms that Alaska LNG can deliver environmental benefits globally and provide environmental and socioeconomic benefits for Alaskans.”
In the record of decision this week, DOE said that environmentalists at Sierra Club and Earthjustice – who had tried to block the project approval process – failed to show that Alaska LNG “is inconsistent with the public interest,” as they had claimed.
DOE enlisted economic boost for Alaska and the U.S., as well as lower natural gas prices in Alaska, as benefits from the project.
“Additionally, DOE found that exports from the Alaska LNG Project will provide benefits to free trade and energy security. DOE noted, for example, the importance of both diverse sources of natural gas supply and increased volumes of LNG for the global LNG market in improving energy security for many U.S. allies and trading partners,” DOE said.
Environmental groups were furious with the approval of LNG exports, as they were with last month’s approval of ConocoPhillips’ Willow oil project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A).
“Right after the horrific Willow decision, it’s painful to see Biden officials greenlight an even bigger fossil fuel project that will destroy Arctic habitat and feed the climate crisis,” said Liz Jones, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute.
Moneen Nasmith, a Senior Attorney in Earthjustice’s National Climate team, noted, “This administration cannot continue to approve these fossil fuel projects and say that it is taking the climate crisis seriously.”
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.