Governor Bill Walker and Alaska Gasline Development Corporation President Keith Meyer talked about the state possibly getting big bucks if it can hammer out the details of a huge proposed natural gasline project with China.

Gov. Walker and Meyer talked during a Tuesday news conference in downtown Anchorage. 

"China is the largest consumer of raw materials on the planet. They have become that and they probably will stay that for the rest of our lives. So, for the industry, the LNG industry particularly, China is a big prize," Meyer told reporters.

He also said Alaska is the big prize when it comes to resources for Asia.

"We say that because Alaska has the largest proven conventional but stranded resource of natural gas on the planet," he said.

The Alaska LNG project includes a gas treatment plant on the North Slope, an 800-mile pipeline and a liquefaction facility and export terminal in Nikiski. 

China would finance 75 percent of the $43 billion estimated cost. China would use 75 percent of the gas from the line. AGDC would sell the remaining 25 percent to the wider Asian market such as Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and others.

AGDC has a goal of finalizing terms in 2018. It expects construction to run from 2019 to 2024, with natural gas flowing in 2024 or 2025.

Critics of that timeline say it's important to remember that the current joint development agreement does not bind anyone to a deal.

"This is good but Alaskans should not get overly worked up about this. This is not a Christmas gift. Just accept it for what it is. And what it is is an agreement to keep working, " says former federal pipeline coordinator Larry Persily.

He also says, among the most important of federal actions required to break ground, is the environmental impact study and approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. 

Persily also says tax and royalty agreements with North Slope producers need to be worked out, saying producers aren't going to sell cheap gas just to make China happy.

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