Legislature(2013 - 2014)HOUSE FINANCE 519

04/04/2013 09:00 AM FINANCE

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09:01:33 AM Start
09:02:20 AM HB74 || SB23
09:47:45 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Scheduled But Not Heard
<Pending Referral>
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                       April 4, 2013                                                                                            
                         9:01 a.m.                                                                                              
9:01:33 AM                                                                                                                    
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Stoltze called the  House Finance Committee meeting                                                                    
to order at 9:01 a.m.                                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Alan Austerman, Co-Chair                                                                                         
Representative Bill Stoltze, Co-Chair                                                                                           
Representative Mark Neuman, Vice-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Mia Costello                                                                                                     
Representative Bryce Edgmon                                                                                                     
Representative Les Gara                                                                                                         
Representative Lindsey Holmes                                                                                                   
Representative Scott Kawasaki, Alternate                                                                                        
Representative Cathy Munoz                                                                                                      
Representative Steve Thompson                                                                                                   
Representative Tammie Wilson                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Ted   Leonard,   Executive   Director,   Alaska   Industrial                                                                    
Development  and Export  Authority,  (AIDEA), Department  of                                                                    
Commerce, Community and  Economic Development; Sarah Fisher-                                                                    
Goad,   Executive   Director,   Alaska   Energy   Authority,                                                                    
Department of Commerce,  Community and Economic Development;                                                                    
Nick Szymoniak,  Project Economist, Alaska  Energy Authority                                                                    
(AEA),  Department  of   Commerce,  Community  and  Economic                                                                    
HB 74     AIDEA: LNG PROJECT; DIVIDENDS; FINANCING                                                                              
          HB 74 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
CSSB 23(FIN)                                                                                                                    
          AIDEA: LNG PROJECT; DIVIDENDS; FINANCING                                                                              
          CSSB 23(FIN) was HEARD and HELD in committee for                                                                      
          further consideration.                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 74                                                                                                             
     "An Act  relating to  development project  financing by                                                                    
     the   Alaska   Industrial    Development   and   Export                                                                    
     Authority; relating  to the  dividends from  the Alaska                                                                    
     Industrial  and   Export  Authority;   authorizing  the                                                                    
     Alaska Industrial  Development and Export  Authority to                                                                    
     provide  financing  and  issue bonds  for  a  liquefied                                                                    
     natural   gas  production   system   and  natural   gas                                                                    
     distribution  system; and  providing  for an  effective                                                                    
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 23(FIN)                                                                                                
     "An Act  relating to  development project  financing by                                                                    
     the   Alaska   Industrial    Development   and   Export                                                                    
     Authority; relating  to the  dividends from  the Alaska                                                                    
     Industrial    Development    and   Export    Authority;                                                                    
     authorizing  the  Alaska   Industrial  Development  and                                                                    
     Export Authority  to provide financing and  issue bonds                                                                    
     for  a  liquefied  natural gas  production  system  and                                                                    
     natural gas  distribution system; and providing  for an                                                                    
     effective date."                                                                                                           
9:02:20 AM                                                                                                                    
TED   LEONARD,   EXECUTIVE   DIRECTOR,   ALASKA   INDUSTRIAL                                                                    
DEVELOPMENT  AND EXPORT  AUTHORITY,  (AIDEA), DEPARTMENT  OF                                                                    
COMMERCE,  COMMUNITY AND  ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT,  shared that                                                                    
HB 74  would allow  AIDEA to  provide project  financing for                                                                    
projects that  not owned and  operated by the  authority. He                                                                    
listed the  beneficial reasons for providing  AIDEA with the                                                                    
ability to use project financing without ownership:                                                                             
     • It more closely  matches AIDEA's financing tools with                                                                    
     the nature of the projects  being financed, and is more                                                                    
     consistent  with  public   policy  supporting  economic                                                                    
     development finance programs.                                                                                              
     • It reduces complexity, cost and time involved in                                                                         
     structuring financings                                                                                                     
     • It provides AIDEA (and the state) more protection                                                                        
     from possible risk and liabilities associated with                                                                         
     projects being financed                                                                                                    
     • It can improve overall economics of financings by                                                                        
     more closely aligning ownership with potential tax                                                                         
Co-Chair Stoltze  queried the types  of projects  that could                                                                    
be undertaken under HB 74.                                                                                                      
9:05:37 AM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Leonard listed the projects  for which the new financing                                                                    
tool could be used:                                                                                                             
     • Industrial development as opposed to commercial real                                                                     
     • Oil and gas                                                                                                              
     • Minerals and mining                                                                                                      
     • Infrastructure development (ports, roads, etc.)                                                                          
Mr. Leonard relayed  that a mining development  on Prince of                                                                    
Whales Island could  provide the opportunity to  invest in a                                                                    
separation plant used in harvesting  rare earth minerals. He                                                                    
stressed  the  importance  of   developing  the  rare  earth                                                                    
minerals   unique  to   the   state.  Additionally,   mining                                                                    
facilities  in  Ketchikan  were  under  consideration  which                                                                    
would  provide high  paying jobs  for the  area. He  relayed                                                                    
that  AIDEA did  not need  to have  control of  the projects                                                                    
through  ownership,  but  would be  important  for  economic                                                                    
development in the region.                                                                                                      
Co-Chair Stoltze  noted that  Co-Chair Austerman  joined the                                                                    
Mr.  Leonard  furthered  that  as  AIDEA  started  assisting                                                                    
smaller  independent companies  in oil  and gas  production,                                                                    
the   authority  could   be  involved   in  the   production                                                                    
facilities  for  those  projects.  He  felt  that  the  main                                                                    
benefit the  authority could provide would  be assistance in                                                                    
resource development for projects.  The authority would also                                                                    
gain  the ability  to partner  with Alaska  banks on  energy                                                                    
Representative Kawasaki asked what  affect combining the two                                                                    
bills would have on the AIDEA trucking project.                                                                                 
9:08:31 AM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Leonard   replied  that  the  direct   financing  would                                                                    
probably  not  have   an  effect  on  the   financing  of  a                                                                    
production facility. He stated that  there was a $20 million                                                                    
to $40  million gap in  financing. The direct  financing may                                                                    
have the  ability to assist; it  was not designed to  do so.                                                                    
The  financing could  additionally  assist  in any  spin-off                                                                    
facility once gas was flowing to the interior.                                                                                  
Representative Kawasaki  noted that  the original SB  23 and                                                                    
HB 74 had specific economic  for the project to move forward                                                                    
as  an  interior  trucking proposal.  He  queried  what  the                                                                    
economics would look  like if the current versions  of SB 23                                                                    
and HB 74 passed separately.                                                                                                    
Mr.  Leonard believed  that the  economics would  remain the                                                                    
same  under either  the house  or the  senate versions.  The                                                                    
authority believed there were plenty  of reasons in the rate                                                                    
of  return for  the private  sector  to be  involved in  the                                                                    
production facility  on the North  Slope. He  furthered that                                                                    
the intent of the legislation  was to authorize $275 million                                                                    
to provide financing for the project.                                                                                           
Representative  Wilson  clarified that  HB  74  had been  on                                                                    
AIDEA's radar before SB 23.                                                                                                     
9:11:11 AM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Leonard responded  that HB 74 had  been under discussion                                                                    
some time.                                                                                                                      
Co-Chair Stoltze agreed.                                                                                                        
Mr. Leonard continued that the  authority had been exploring                                                                    
ways  to  modernizing its  tools  in  an  effort to  have  a                                                                    
vehicle  to partner  with  financial  institutions and  find                                                                    
better ways to match financing to projects.                                                                                     
Representative  Wilson   understood  that  the   bill  would                                                                    
provide another tool for AIDEA  to assist the state in order                                                                    
diversify the economy beyond the oil industry.                                                                                  
Mr. Leonard replied in the affirmative.                                                                                         
9:12:17 AM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair Neuman understood that  the legislation would not                                                                    
only add benefits to the  North Star Borough School District                                                                    
by reducing costs  but beyond to the  Ambler Mining District                                                                    
and further into western and  northwestern Alaska. He probed                                                                    
how  many more  positive  economic opportunities  throughout                                                                    
the state could be derived from passage of the legisaltion.                                                                     
Mr. Leonard answered  that the authority did  not have exact                                                                    
numbers for benefits  outside of bringing down  the price of                                                                    
heating oil, and the equivalent  of diesel, by approximately                                                                    
50 percent, which would have  a beneficial effect for mining                                                                    
as  the  state  switched  over   and  began  using  LNG  for                                                                    
industrial needs.                                                                                                               
Co-Chair  Stoltze clarified  that the  bill would  not bring                                                                    
down the cost of fuel but would provide an alternative.                                                                         
Mr.  Leonard  continued  that  it   would  also  provide  an                                                                    
alternative  to  expensive fuels  for  Alaskan's  to use  in                                                                    
mining operations.                                                                                                              
Vice-Chair Neuman  asked whether the gas  treatment facility                                                                    
could be moved in order to be used in different locations.                                                                      
Mr. Leonard replied that the  plant could be moved and could                                                                    
be located to wherever it would be most beneficial.                                                                             
Representative  Thompson asked  for  clarification on  which                                                                    
bill was being discussed.                                                                                                       
Co-Chair Stoltze  replied that  HB 74 and  SB 23  were being                                                                    
heard in conjunction.                                                                                                           
Representative  Gara referred  to  the  authority's work  to                                                                    
spur economic development over time.  He asked whether there                                                                    
was  any  danger of  AIDEA  backing  too many  projects  and                                                                    
risking fiscal stability.                                                                                                       
Mr. Leonard  replied in the  negative. He believed  that the                                                                    
bill would allow for more  leverage and more investment from                                                                    
private investors. The entity had  strong cash flows and had                                                                    
an investment capacity of approximately $400 million.                                                                           
Representative Gara asked for  a list of projects, including                                                                    
potential projects,  the entity  had helped to  finance over                                                                    
the past five years.                                                                                                            
9:17:17 AM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Leonard  stated that the  information would  be provided                                                                    
to the committee.                                                                                                               
Co-Chair Austerman  mentioned HB 4, which  would potentially                                                                    
bring the gas pipeline to  tidewater and beyond. He wondered                                                                    
if the  authority would be  interested in a  project similar                                                                    
to the one suggested by HB 4.                                                                                                   
Mr. Leonard believed that the type  of project in HB 4 would                                                                    
fall under  AIDEA's purview. He  added that AIDIA  could not                                                                    
be involved in the financing of an in-state pipeline.                                                                           
SARAH   FISHER-GOAD,  EXECUTIVE   DIRECTOR,  ALASKA   ENERGY                                                                    
AUTHORITY,  DEPARTMENT OF  COMMERCE, COMMUNITY  AND ECONOMIC                                                                    
DEVELOPMENT, replied  that the  trucking of  the LNG  to the                                                                    
Fairbanks area, not  propane, was the economic  driver of SB
23.  However,  propane  would  be   a  byproduct  and  AIDEA                                                                    
anticipated  that   the  plant  would  provide   propane  to                                                                    
approximately 1800  homes. The entity had  committed to look                                                                    
at  opportunities to  provide propane,  and  other gas  less                                                                    
expensive than  diesel, to other  regions of the  state. She                                                                    
stated  that   the  micro  LNG   concept  was   an  emerging                                                                    
technology  that  the  authority   was  exploring,  but  the                                                                    
potential  was really  for propane.  She furthered  that the                                                                    
project did  not necessarily provide enough  propane for all                                                                    
outlying  communities.  If there  was  propane  in a  larger                                                                    
volume through  the pipeline  project the  authority planned                                                                    
to analyze  the business structure and  economics that would                                                                    
be needed  for a propane  conversion that would  benefit the                                                                    
most communities.                                                                                                               
Co-Chair  Stoltze surmised  that the  propane project  would                                                                    
only provide to off the grid Interior communities.                                                                              
Ms. Fisher-Goad  answered that initially  that would  be the                                                                    
Co-Chair  Stoltze understood  that the  authority had  other                                                                    
tools for eventual expansion.                                                                                                   
Ms. Fisher-Goad responded that  the legislation would expand                                                                    
the opportunities for more communities  to have a gas rather                                                                    
than diesel  in the future.  The authority boasted  a strong                                                                    
technical  team   to  develop  the  economics   as  well  as                                                                    
technical  engineers   with  experience  in   rural  Alaska.                                                                    
Additionally,  much  work  had  been  done  by  other  state                                                                    
entities  that AIDEA  would be  referencing  as the  project                                                                    
9:23:35 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Austerman  asked whether there was  work that would                                                                    
occur  with Alaska  Gasline Development  Corporation (AGDC).                                                                    
He  queried the  compatibility between  propane and  a major                                                                    
Ms.  Fisher-Goad  replied  that  the  information  that  the                                                                    
authority would be gathering would  be valuable to AGDC. The                                                                    
authority intended to follow up with the AGDC.                                                                                  
Co-Chair  Austerman  understood  that there  was  a  limited                                                                    
amount  of  propane  that  would   move  down  the  possible                                                                    
pipeline offered  in HB4. He  assumed that in order  to make                                                                    
more space for  gas in the line, propane  would be extracted                                                                    
on the North Slope.                                                                                                             
Co-Chair Stoltze believed that  the number was 3,500 barrels                                                                    
per day of propane in the proposed gasline.                                                                                     
Vice-Chair Neuman  understood that approximately  25 percent                                                                    
of the gas  produced in Prudhoe Bay was LNG.  Of the 2.5 bcf                                                                    
of LNG per  day, half would be propane. He  believed that HB
4 diminished  the ability  to handle  propane, but  if there                                                                    
was  a  demand  for  propane   after  the  open  season  the                                                                    
specifics of the project could be changed.                                                                                      
9:26:36 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Austerman  asked if there  would be a plant  at the                                                                    
North Slope end  of the pipeline that  would extract propane                                                                    
and LNG.                                                                                                                        
Vice-Chair Neuman replied in the affirmative.                                                                                   
Co-Chair   Austerman  asked   if  the   two  projects   were                                                                    
Vice-Chair Neuman  replied that currently  the gas-treatment                                                                    
facility in Prudhoe Bay did  process propane. He stated that                                                                    
there  was  compatibility  between  the  two  projects.  The                                                                    
facility was mobile  and could be used in  multiple areas of                                                                    
the state.                                                                                                                      
Ms.  Fisher-Goad interjected  that the  authority's role  in                                                                    
the  project's development  was to  determine whether  there                                                                    
was  a market  and  more demand  for  propane. The  trucking                                                                    
proposal in  the liquefaction plant would  provide a limited                                                                    
amount of propane.  She spoke to compatibility  with the in-                                                                    
state  pipeline.  The  distribution  system  that  would  be                                                                    
partially financed by AIDEA, through  SB 23, would provide a                                                                    
distribution system  that could be  served by a  pipeline in                                                                    
the area. The  liquefaction plant would be  a modular system                                                                    
that could be  used in other areas. She stated  that the LNG                                                                    
trucks  would  be replaced  by  the  pipeline and  that  the                                                                    
economic structure needed  to be in place to  make propane a                                                                    
viable, low cost fuel resource for other areas.                                                                                 
9:30:08 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Austerman  restated his  question. He  wondered why                                                                    
two plants were needed.                                                                                                         
NICK SZYMONIAK,  PROJECT ECONOMIST, ALASKA  ENERGY AUTHORITY                                                                    
(AEA),  DEPARTMENT  OF   COMMERCE,  COMMUNITY  AND  ECONOMIC                                                                    
DEVELOPMENT,   answered   that   the  scale   of   the   two                                                                    
liquefaction   plants   was   very  different.   The   plant                                                                    
associated with the in-state  pipeline would be considerably                                                                    
larger. If the  pipeline was built the  authority planned to                                                                    
relocate  their line  somewhere along  the larger  line, but                                                                    
the  smaller plant  under discussion  would not  be able  to                                                                    
replace that LNG plant expected for exports.                                                                                    
Co-Chair Austerman  asked why  the gas  could not  come from                                                                    
the pipeline liquefaction plant proposed in HB 4.                                                                               
Mr. Leonard  believed that  the gas  treatment plant  for an                                                                    
in-state pipeline  would only treat  the gas before  it went                                                                    
through  the  pipeline. The  plant  in  SB 23  involved  gas                                                                    
treatment, but  was mainly utilized  to liquefy gas.  One of                                                                    
the compatibilities  with the in-state pipeline  was that it                                                                    
could be customer to the in-state  pipeline if it were to be                                                                    
moved down  to Fairbanks  where gas could  be taken  off the                                                                    
pipeline,  liquefied   and  then  transported   to  interior                                                                    
9:32:15 AM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Szymoniak replied  that the  two  projects would  serve                                                                    
different demands.  The LNG export  plant with  the pipeline                                                                    
would serve primarily the export  license. He stated that on                                                                    
the demand  side, the  infrastructure, technology  and study                                                                    
needed  to integrate  the fuels  would be  the same  for the                                                                    
coastal communities  that could  be served  by an  LNG plant                                                                    
coming  off   of  the  pipeline,   as  it  would   with  the                                                                    
authority's  LNG  plant. The  effort  was  to understand  in                                                                    
parallel the potential demand moving forward.                                                                                   
Vice-Chair  Neuman  added  that  the business  plan  in  the                                                                    
legislation stood alone and would  be independent of whether                                                                    
another pipeline project moved forward or not.                                                                                  
Representative Holmes pointed to  SB 23. She understood that                                                                    
the short  term goal  of the project  was to  get relatively                                                                    
clean and inexpensive  gas to the Interior.  She wondered if                                                                    
the bill would  provide more affordable gas  to the Interior                                                                    
than the alternative of importing LNG.                                                                                          
Ms. Fisher-Goad  responded that with  respect to  having the                                                                    
needs of  the Interior  served by  an import,  the authority                                                                    
did  not  have  anything  to  use  as  a  model.  Currently,                                                                    
Fairbanks natural  gas had supply  arriving from  Cook Inlet                                                                    
and trucking up north; however,  the gas supply had not been                                                                    
there enough to  have that particular model  expanded, so no                                                                    
comparison had been done. In  planning for trucking from the                                                                    
North  Slope   the  authority  drew  information   from  two                                                                    
entities that  had existing  long term  gas contracts,  at a                                                                    
range and  a cost that was  known, as well as  estimates and                                                                    
the  cost structure  of  a plant  which  illustrated that  a                                                                    
reduction in the cost for  heating could be made in interior                                                                    
Alaska through the  plan that was presented in  SB 23. There                                                                    
were unknowns  concerning whether  there was  an alternative                                                                    
that would be less expensive.                                                                                                   
Representative  Wilson surmised  that the  propane would  be                                                                    
available to  whoever wanted to buy  it. It might end  up in                                                                    
rural areas,  but only  if those that  bought it  brought it                                                                    
9:37:48 AM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Szymoniak replied  in the  affirmative. He  anticipated                                                                    
that the propane would initially  be used in the surrounding                                                                    
parts  of  Fairbanks,  but  the  authority  was  working  to                                                                    
provide propane to rural Alaska.                                                                                                
Representative Wilson  wondered if it would  be possible for                                                                    
communities surrounding  Fairbanks to take advantage  of the                                                                    
storage tax credit  and develop a system similar  to that of                                                                    
North Pole.                                                                                                                     
Mr. Szymoniak answered in the affirmative.                                                                                      
Representative Wilson  stressed that  the project  had great                                                                    
growth potential outside of Fairbanks.                                                                                          
Representative Gara  said that  the original  HB 4  had been                                                                    
designed to have one or  two extra straddle plants, was made                                                                    
of thicker  pipe, and had  the goal of producing  propane in                                                                    
large amounts  that could be  shipped and that that  part of                                                                    
the project  had since  been removed.  He asserted  that the                                                                    
communities in  rural Alaska would  end up paying  the extra                                                                    
cost to  add the infrastructure  on the pipeline  to produce                                                                    
the propane.                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Szymoniak  answered that  he  could  not speak  to  the                                                                    
makeup or  operation of the  pipeline discussed in HB  4. He                                                                    
said  that the  authority  was currently  working to  better                                                                    
understand  the potential  demand for  the propane  gas that                                                                    
could come off of a  pipeline; the cost of producing propane                                                                    
off of the pipeline was not being examined.                                                                                     
Representative  Gara understood  that the  pipeline was  not                                                                    
going to be able to handle  as much pressure or propane from                                                                    
the North Slope  down to Fairbanks. He wondered  if a change                                                                    
would need  to be  made in  order to  ship propane  to rural                                                                    
9:41:10 AM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Szymoniak  reiterated that  he could  not speak  to HB4.                                                                    
He reminded the committee that  the authority was limited to                                                                    
understanding the  propane demand that could  exist in rural                                                                    
Alaska. He stated that the  authority was not dependent upon                                                                    
AGDC  or  the  propane  strip coming  off  of  the  pipeline                                                                    
proposed in HB 4.                                                                                                               
Representative Edgmon wondered if the  issue was going to be                                                                    
raised  by   the  AEA  during  the   upcoming  rural  energy                                                                    
Ms.  Fisher-Goad replied  that  she would  get  back to  the                                                                    
committee on the agenda for the energy conference.                                                                              
Representative Edgmon  believed that  it was  important that                                                                    
people  in rural  Alaska got  involved  in the  conversation                                                                    
during the early stages of the project.                                                                                         
9:44:05 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stoltze solicited public testimony.                                                                                    
Representative   Thompson   appreciated   the   conversation                                                                    
surrounding HB  74 and SB  23. He  noted that the  two bills                                                                    
were  separate ideas  that stemmed  from the  same piece  of                                                                    
legislation. He  shared that the  trucking portion  had been                                                                    
removed  from HB  74 and  that SB  23 directed  the interior                                                                    
energy problems.                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stoltze CLOSED public testimony on HB 74.                                                                              
HB  74  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    
CSSB 22(FIN)  was HEARD  and HELD  in committee  for further                                                                    
9:47:45 AM                                                                                                                    
The meeting was adjourned at 9:47 a.m.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 74 ABA_H-FIN Letter of Support for HB74_3-29-2013.pdf HFIN 4/4/2013 9:00:00 AM
HB 74
HB 74 - Analysis of Changes.pdf HFIN 4/4/2013 9:00:00 AM
HB 74
HB 74 - Sectional Analysis.pdf HFIN 4/4/2013 9:00:00 AM
HB 74
HB 74 - Supporting Documents - Heatherdale Resources.pdf HFIN 4/4/2013 9:00:00 AM
HB 74
HB 74 - Supporting Documents - SWAMC.pdf HFIN 4/4/2013 9:00:00 AM
HB 74
HB 74 AIDEA Handout.pdf HFIN 4/4/2013 9:00:00 AM
HB 74