ConocoPhillips resumes LNG shipments from Kenai plant in Alaska

ConocoPhillips recently restarted exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its plant in Kenai, Alaska, with a shipment to a Japanese utility in May.

The company plans to send four or five cargos of LNG from Kenai to Japan this year.

ConocoPhillips and partner Marathon announced in early 2011 their plan to close the older facility, citing problems with securing natural gas feedstock from the mature Cook Inlet basin and the failure to sign a shipping contract with the Japanese customer.

The plant was closed over the winter, making the May shipment the first since autumn of 2011.

However, fresh demand for Alaskan LNG arose in the aftermath of the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011 and disabled the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

In September 2011, ConocoPhillips bought Marathon's 30% share in the plant, making it the sole owner of the facility.

Although shipments have resumed for the year, the plant's operational status beyond 2012 will depend on local demand and on Cook Inlet gas production volumes or, alternatively, the availability of gas feedstock from Alaska's North Slope via pipeline, the company said.

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