A Texas-based privately financed effort to bring Alaskan gas supplies in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to a converted offshore oil platform off the Southern California coast is pushing for a conditional contract with the Alaska Gasline Port Authority (AGPA), according to William O. Perkins III, president of Houston-based Crystal Energy, LLC, who returned Wednesday from recent discussions with Alaskan officials.

In the next six months, through a “slow, methodical process,” Crystal hopes to ink what it called a “conditional parameters purchase-sales agreement” with AGPA, Perkins said during an interview with NGI Wednesday. He noted that LNG terminal proponents are trying to keep the Alaskan LNG production schedule on the same timetable as the Crystal Project, which is seeking to transform idle Platform Grace, 11 miles offshore Ventura County, CA.

Perkins said the conditioned agreement to replace the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed earlier this year “will take awhile,” and he was reluctant to speculate on what the local Alaskan port officials will do.

“Hopefully, it won’t take the rest of this year,” Perkins said. “We’re looking to accelerate discussions and have a conditional deal because we have milestones to meet. Meanwhile, our permits won’t be ready for at least a year. We have permitting hurdles to get over, and they (AGPA) have construction schedules, so basically we are trying to change the (MOU) to a conditional parameters purchase-sales agreement.”

Noting that the agreement would still not be a definitive supply contract, Perkins said the most Crystal Energy could have at this stage is a “sales agreement subject to certain conditions.”

With the stepped up activity by activist groups in California, mostly aimed at the proposed onshore LNG terminal in Long Beach Harbor, Perkins said his company hasn’t been concerned, noting that no groups are specifically opposing Crystal’s proposal. “Whatever concerns environmental groups have raised about our project we feel we have adequately addressed.”

He said so far the environmental concerns have been focused on land-based proposals and their impacts on resources and wetlands onshore, neither of which impact Crystal’s proposal to build a $300 million receiving and regasification facility at the idle former oil drilling platform. Using an existing pipeline corridor, Crystal would send the LNG in gaseous form to shore where it would be distributed and stored by Sempra Energy’s Southern California Gas Co.

Crystal maintains that its project “minimizes” environmental impacts by using existing infrastructure. “It preserves California’s coastline and minimizes land-based public safety concerns,” Perkins stressed at a LNG conference in February in Long Beach.

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