Alaska cozies to Asia for natural gas

Oct. 1, 2012 at 8:33 AM

SEOUL, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- There is an "enormous potential" for Japan and South Korea in the natural gas reserves in the North Slope of Alaska, Gov. Sean Parnell said.

Parnell is on an economic trade mission to South Korea and Japan to tout Alaska's energy potential.

"We look forward to capitalizing on the enormous potential that exists for Alaska's North Slope natural gas in our state and in Pacific Rim nations," he said in a statement.

"This is a great opportunity to strengthen existing relationships and build new ones that will grow economic opportunity with Japan and South Korea."

Asian demand for natural gas is expected to increase dramatically. Japan imports liquefied natural gas exclusively and demand there is expected to surge as the country retools its energy mix in the wake of the 2011 meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Alaska is the only U.S. state that exports LNG. The existing facility can process around 240 million cubic feet of gas per day.

Top executives at BP, ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil have considered LNG deliveries to Asian markets as an attractive option for Alaskan reserves.

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