Murkowski Promotes Alaskan Natural Gas to Ambassadors

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, yesterday pitched the U.S. ambassadors of Japan and South Korea on the benefits of importing natural gas from Alaska’s North Slope during a dinner at the Japanese Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C.

Murkowski discussed Alaska’s resource base and proximity to Asia with Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki of Japan and Ambassador Choi Young-jin of South Korea. Murkowski said the ambassadors showed interest in the potential for an Alaska natural gas pipeline and liquefied natural gas project to deliver affordable energy to Asia.

“They recognize the ample opportunities for investment that exist in Alaska,” Murkowski said. “Japan and South Korea are almost completely dependent on imports to meet their energy needs, so Alaska’s vast natural gas resources represent a very real energy security benefit.” 

Murkowski, the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has seized every chance to promote the idea of exporting some of Alaska’s 35 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to Asian markets. Earlier this month, she raised the issue with Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and, separately, with members of Japan’s Parliament.

Japan is looking for an energy resource to replace the nuclear power generation the country shutdown after last year’s 9.0-magnitude earthquake, tsunami and emergency at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Monday’s dinner with the South Korea’s new ambassador to the United States marked the first time Murkowski has discussed idea of LNG exports with South Korean officials.

South Korea is the second-largest importer of liquefied natural gas in the world behind Japan. South Korea relies on imports to satisfy nearly all of its natural gas consumption, which has approximately doubled over the previous decade.