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Sempra Puts Alaska LNG in Long-Range 'Options'

A San Diego-based spokesperson for Sempra Energy Thursday qualified remarks the company's top liquefied natural gas (LNG) executive made at the Cambridge Energy Research Associates' CERAWeek conference in Houston a day earlier regarding the company's possible pursuit of LNG supplies from Alaska. Sempra has no specific plans regarding Alaskan LNG, other than listing it as one of its possible future sources of gas in the post-2010 time frame, the spokesperson said.

At the end of last year, Sempra signed a "development agreement" with Alaska Gasline Port Authority (AGPA), the backers of a proposed 800-mile all-Alaskan natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to the Port of Valdez, to study the feasibility of such a project. Sempra sees Alaska gas eventually having great potential in North America, the spokesperson said.

Darcel Hulse, president of Sempra LNG, said his company is "testing conventional wisdom and thinking" in the industry and that a potential project for piping Alaska North Slope gas south to the southern coast where a LNG liquefaction facility already exists and shipping it to California "makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons."

Last December, Sempra President Donald Felsinger said it was "important that the vast natural gas resources of Alaska be delivered to the U.S. market as quickly and efficiently as possible."

However, Wednesday's remarks by Hulse were not part of his prepared presentation, but came in response to a question during a Q&A session with news media.

"We think timing wise, (Alaskan North Slope gas shipped as LNG) could come on earlier than the Canadian pipeline," Hulse told Reuters. "We think it's just as easy to put it into the West Coast as the Chicago market."

One of the current offshore LNG receiving terminals proposed along the Southern California coast by Houston-based Crystal Energy envisions bringing Alaskan LNG to California.

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