Alaska gets squat … he gets $296K in bonuses
So, let’s review: Alaska has no gas line, no LNG shipping infrastructure, no Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authorization for a gas line and no signed contracts from anybody to buy the state’s gas.
What it does have is a handful of memorandums of understanding and letters of intent from potential gas buyers and China, seen in many quarters nowadays as the world’s shylock. None of the paper, by the way, is worth squat. Nobody has signed on the dotted line.
The Alaska Gasoline Development Corp. has spent hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to get the proposed $43 billion AK LNG Project this far after the North Slope’s biggest producers abandoned the effort because it simply did not pencil out for them.
Three Chinese companies and AGDC officials blew through a self-imposed Dec. 31 deadline for a definitive agreement of some sort, and have given themselves a six-month negotiation extension to June 30. That follows a blown deadline on Sept. 1, 2017, which was supposed to have been then-Gov. Bill Walker’s drop-dead date for the export project if no buyers for Alaska’s gas stepped up. None did. The silence was deafening.
Nonetheless, Walker’s hand-picked head of AGDC, Keith Meyer, already the highest-paid employee in state government at $550,000 a year, and guy who has never built a gas line, last month received a $296,000 performance bonus for his work over the past two years.
The massive project aims to move North Slope gas south through an 800-mile pipeline for liquefaction and shipment to Asian customers. The problem? There are no Asian customers, only promises, handshakes, smiles and a junket or five.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy changed out four members of the corporation’s board on Monday, the same day officials, the Anchorage Daily News reports, confirmed Meyer received the $296,000 bonus in late December on the recommendation of a three-member agency executive committee.
It all sounds like a joke. It is not. Dunleavy, says he is taking another look at the state-run project, even putting former Gov. Sean Parnell, a gas pipeline advocate, in charge of weighing its viability. Dunleavy in the past has said he favored private sector direction of the project.
So do we. Handing out nearly $300K in bonuses – and for what? – is a good enough reason.