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Bloomberg: Alaska strikes a gasline deal with Chinese firm

 U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-In after a meeting in Seoul.
U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-In after a meeting in Seoul. (KTUU)
Published: Nov. 8, 2017 at 11:25 AM AKST
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The state-owned Alaska Gasline Development Corp. ("AGDC") is expected to enter into a nonbinding agreement with Sinochem Group,

, citing a government document obtained by the news agency.

Details of the pending memorandum of understanding are not immediately available, but AGDC's sole mission is to advance efforts to commercialize the massive North Slope gas reserves.

The apparent deal is part of a broader package of $250 billion in Chinese investment in U.S. firms and came as President Donald Trump toured Asia on a trip that is part trade mission and partly meant to discuss security issues related to North Korea.

Sinochem is a key enterprise owned by the Chinese government that has large investments in the energy, agriculture, and chemical sectors.

State lawmakers told Channel 2 News they will be briefed by Gov. Bill Walker at 9:15 p.m. Walker and the leader of AGDC, Keith Meyer, are both in Beijing right now.

Important facts to watch for as details emerge about AGDC's agreement with the Beijing firm is whether or not any money is committed, how firm the financial commitment really is, and how much cash is set aside.

Cost estimates for mega-projects are notoriously inaccurate, but even the low-end projection to get the Alaska LNG Project up and running -- $45 billion -- means the state needs an enormous amount of money, whether from one key investor like Sinochem or from many entities working together.

Shortly before the news report of a deal involving the Chinese firm, the White House announced a deal between the United States and South Korea, "to support universal access to affordable and reliable energy, which supports job creation, enhances security, and promotes economic growth."

It was not immediately clear if the memorandum of understanding is different from

.

The previously announced agreement between the Korea Gas Corp. (KOGAS) and AGDC establishes a joint committee with decision-making authority for potential steps for the entities to work together on development of the long elusive Alaska LNG Project.

Spokespersons from AGDC and the White House did not immediately return phone calls from Channel 2 News.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.