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Nikiski LNG Extension Ensures Cook Inlet Gas Supply for Southcentral

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today welcomed the Department of Energy's decision to allow ConocoPhillips and Marathon to continue to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from their Nikiski plant.

"The Nikiski facility is an important source of jobs and revenue for the Kenai Peninsula Borough and the state," Murkowski said. "I remain committed to doing all I can at the federal level to incentivize exploration and production in Cook Inlet."

In June, Murkowski and the other members of Alaska's Congressional Delegation sent Secretary of Energy Steven Chu a letter urging DOE to renew the export license. DOE approved the extension Tuesday.

LNG exports have played a key role in making gas available in Southcentral for home heating and power generation during peak winter usage. Local demand for gas in the summer is much lower and storage capacity limited, so the ability to export gas allows production in Cook Inlet to continue all year. In addition, the Nikiski plant provides virtual storage by allowing for the diversion of gas to local utilities during peak demand.

Conoco and Marathon's export permit was set to expire next March. The extension will allow the companies to export up to 99 billion cubic feet of natural gas to Asia through March 2013. The amount of gas for export was carefully selected to avoid shortages and price spikes for Southcentral customers. The Nikiski plant is the only LNG export facility in the United States.

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