Governor Parnell also announced today the State of Alaska and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation regarding the Alaska LNG Project and other natural resource development opportunities in Alaska.

"This agreement is yet another key milestone in the State’s rapid advancement of the commercialization of our world-class North Slope natural gas resources – to Alaskans first and then to markets beyond," said Governor Parnell, noting that Japan is the world’s largest importer of LNG.

Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Balash and METI Agency for Natural Resources and Energy Commissioner Takayuki Ueda signed the agreement on Sept. 8 in Tokyo.

"It is an extremely positive development that the government agency that sets Japan’s energy policy and works closely with Japan’s utility market has taken a strong interest in the Alaska LNG Project and the State’s overall natural resources portfolio," Balash said.

The Alaska LNG Project is a consortium of the three major North Slope producers, pipeline builder TransCanada Corp., and the State of Alaska.

The project formally entered the Pre-Front End Engineering and Design (Pre-FEED) stage in July, during which the Alaska LNG Project is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on design and engineering and creating hundreds of jobs. Also during this stage, the producers and the State are beginning to engage the LNG sales market. In August Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz exempted the project from a rule that has slowed the approvals for Lower 48 LNG export projects.

The memorandum with METI is part of the State’s ongoing efforts to engage the LNG markets in Asia, and it builds upon an existing agreement the State signed with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) in January. JBIC is a public financial institution that plays a critical role in financing and securing Japan’s LNG imports