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Delegation Supports Extension of ConocoPhillips’ Export Permit

Alaska's Congressional Delegation has sent a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu asking him to quickly approve a request by ConocoPhillips for a two-year extension of its Kenai liquefied natural gas (LNG) export permit. The Kenai Peninsula facility in Nikiski has been exporting LNG since 1969 and its current license will expire in March 2011. Congressman Don Young, Senator Lisa Murkowski and Senator Mark Begich all signed the letter sent July 1.

"The plant generates approximately $130 million annually for the local economy and provides 60 direct jobs and about 50 more indirect ones. As the only LNG export facility in the United States, the plant also makes a positive contribution to the nation's trade balance," the letter says.

The letter further states the Kenai plant performs a critical gas-storage function. The region produces more gas than is needed locally, creating a product available to export. However, due to inevitable production declines and the growth in Southcentral Alaska's population, gas production rates soon may not be able to meet the peak winter demand.

"Therefore, it is critical that the region have the ability to store excess gas produced during low-demand times, and the ConocoPhillips Kenai facility is the only currently available method to store LNG," the delegation writes.

"In light of the plant's economic and developmental importance, we request that the Department of Energy extend the LNG export permit so that the plant can continue to provide these vital resources both at home and abroad," the lawmakers conclude.

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