Chinese lender gets in line behind Alaska LNG project

March 28 (UPI) — A major Chinese bank is among the financial entities tasked with raising equity to develop a liquefied natural gas project in Alaska, the developer said.

Alaska Gasline Development Corp. wants to build pipelines and associated infrastructure to process state gas into liquefied natural gas, a super-cooled form of gas that has more maneuverability than other piped resources. The project includes an 807-mile pipeline across Alaska.

The Alaskan company announced late Tuesday that Bank of China Ltd. and Goldman Sachs agreed to serve as the global capital coordinators for the project. Both entities will help AGDC raise equity to fund full-scale development once all the necessary permits are in place.

“Bank of China and Goldman Sachs are well positioned to provide AGDC with world-class institutional knowledge and resources required to arrange the equity and debt financing to build Alaska’s natural gas infrastructure and LNG export project,” Keith Meyer, the president of AGDC, said in a statement.

In November, the state government and the AGDC signed an agreement with Chinese lenders and China Petrochemical Corp., or Sinopec, to advance discussions on the LNG potential in Alaska.

In mid-March, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said the project could receive its final environmental impact statement by December 2019, giving support for investor confidence.

China could secure LNG from cheaper reserves closer to home, notably from Australia or Qatar, which already have established LNG infrastructure. The United States, meanwhile, is on pace to become the third-largest LNG exporter within the next two years. The first deliveries from Alaska are planned for 2025.

Even amid simmering trade tensions between the world’s leading economies, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that China should buy more LNG to help offset a U.S. trade deficit while at the same time catering to Beijing’s efforts to green up its economy.

The announcement came as Alaska Gov. Bill Walker announced plans for a trade mission to China in May. Ahead of the tour, Walker said his itinerary includes meetings with Chinese company Alibaba Group, an e-commerce and retail conglomerate.

“The company is an economic force, and I’m excited to have Alaska business owners’ benefit from the visit to Alibaba operations,” Walker said in a statement.