Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) 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, DC.

Both Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki of Japan and Ambassador Choi Young-jin of South Korea expressed interest in a potential Alaska natural gas pipeline and liquefied natural gas (LNG) project to deliver energy to Asian markets, she said.

"They recognize the ample opportunities for investment that exist in Alaska. 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 noted.

As the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, she has seized every opportunity to promote exports of Alaska's 35 Tcf of gas to Asian markets. Murkowski raised the issue earlier this month with Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and, separately, with members of Japan's Parliament.

Japan is seeking an energy resource to replace the nuclear power generation the country shut down after last year's 9.0-magnitude earthquake, tsunami and emergency at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Monday marked the first time that Murkowski discussed LNG exports with South Korean officials.

South Korea is the second largest importer of LNG in the world behind Japan. South Korea relies on imports to meet nearly all of its natural gas demand, which has approximately doubled over the past decade.

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