The Chinese and the unknown: Alaska gasline bidders

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was upbeat during Friday night’s announcement of bids for a new natural gas pipeline, but the list of applicants for the incentives under the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act might be considered a bit underwhelming.

Alaskan officials unveil the gas pipeline bids.

TransCanada Corp. is a well-known heavyweight in the gas pipeline business, but two applicants are essentially local government types — the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority and the Alaska Gasline Port Authority — with plans to build the pipe to Valdez and then liquefy it for transport on tankers.
AEnergia LLC, an unknown California company was in there (who are these guys? Here’s one hint, but if you know more fill us in) and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., also known as Sinopec.
The notion of Sinopec building a massive U.S. energy project may bring to mind visions of Dubai Ports World redux. But then again, Citgo owns refineries here, Gazprom is trying to get in on LNG deals, Angola has a stake in an LNG project, so maybe it’s not a long shot.
Another concern about Sinopec is raised by the Genocide Intervention Network in Washington DC., which orchestrates the Sudan divestment campaign:

Sinopec, which is the largest oil field services company in Sudan, is one of the top targets of the divestment movement. Additionally, the US Senate Banking Committee and the House Representatives have passed the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act which would prohibit certain companies operating in Sudan, including Sinopec, from receiving federal contracts.

As the group said in its letter to Palin:

” …. awarding the contract to Sinopec would amount to support for the murderous Sudanese government at a time when others are divesting from the company, and that Sinopec’s bid presents a significant opportunity for Alaskans to stand up against the world’s worst crime.”

MidAmerican Energy, the Warren Buffet-owned energy company, had been expected to enter a bid, but said in a letter to Palin the ongoing corruption trials that stemmed from the previous administration were too much of a distraction:

“As you are painfully aware the ongoing corruption investigations coupled with previous indictments, guilty pleas and convictions draw into question virtually every major Alaskan project participant and governmental levels from State to Federal,” said the letter from MidAmerican CEO David Sokol. “Obviously your administration had no involvement in these previous shenanigans nor did we; however, you and we alone cannot develop the pipeline project through AGIA’s expected process.”