"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
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|2003 2004 ||
31 July 2006
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: The only candidate to contact Save Passamaquoddy Bay to learn about the LNG issues from our perspective was Green candidate Pat LaMarche, although our concerns weren't addressed in the newspaper article.
Fellow independent John Michael, who sees liquefied natural gas as a viable alternative to other fossil fuels, said an LNG facility "could make sense for ratepayers, and would obviously stimulate the local economy wherever it is located." He also agreed with Woodcock and Merrill in saying any project should have to get local approval in order to go forward.
Candidates were asked whether they favored having an LNG plant in eastern Maine, and if they favor any of three active plans in particular.
Gov. Baldacci, after initially backing LNG facilities here, has flipped to a non-committal approach, showing no responsible leadership on the issue, and has formed no statewide energy policy.
Apparently the other candidates don't really care what happens to the Way-Downeast economy and way of life. They have simply jumped into the pro-LNG pool head first, without looking, because it "sounds good" without informing themselves on the issues. It will be no surprise when they come out of the pool with some enormous headaches.
The pro-LNG candidates show their intellectual disconnect with reality by opposing offshore drilling in order to "protect the scenic coastline," but supporting LNG terminals in Passamaquoddy Bay.
Man charged in connection with Grand Manan riot CBC News New Brunswick
MLA wants inquiry into Grand Manan riot CBC News New Brunswick
House torched, shots fired in Grand Manan riot CBC News New Brunswick
"We learned a lot," Hackett said. "We learned about politics in Russia. We learned about where the state of the LNG industry is and how global it has become quickly how quickly it's become global. How it's not just the United States that's a tough area in terms of new supply or reliability of supply. [Bold emphasis added.] (Jul 28)
Six legislators on the 18-member commission are angry that the report, formally released yesterday, appears to endorse a controversial LNG terminal proposed on Outer Brewster Island in Boston Harbor, but makes no mention of the other three proposed facilities in Massachusetts. Five of the six also said in a statement that the 14-page report fails to analyze a suite of other environmental and safety issues.
Five other members of the commission, including the state's public safety secretary and the state's energy commissioner, said they want their names removed from the report if they are not allowed to amend it to reflect other concerns they have, including the need to more extensively study storage of LNG. (Jul 29)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: AES is the same company that is being sued by the Dominican Republic for creating an environmental disaster there, but FERC ignores a company's character when granting LNG permits in the United States. FERC has publicly stated on multiple occasions that they'd grant permits even to Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, and Charles Manson. Osama bin Laden also fits the same criteria. Does that make it easier for you to sleep at night?
[T]he U.S. gas market is big and "there is ample room to support large volumes of LNG without radically depressing prices," Anthony Finizza, a consultant, told Alaska lawmakers last week. [Bold, red emphasis added.] (Jul 30)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: This article substantiates how FERC's push for more LNG terminals is wrong-headed:
- Importing LNG will not reduce natural gas prices;
- The U.S. doesn't need boodles more LNG terminals. The existing terminals aren't even close to running at full capacity.
Green Coast Related
Solar power runs 'world's largest laundry' AP, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX
Scaling a ladder to the scorching roof one recent morning, the 61-year-old beamed with pride as he showed off the 36 10-by-4-foot panels that supply his 24-hour laundry with hot water.
Benson first converted from natural gas to solar in 2001, two years after buying the laundry. The motivation, he says unapologetically, was pure dollars and cents. (Jul 30)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: The Chicago area isn't known for hot sunshine like southern states, so this model should encourage others in more northern climes to follow suit.
27 July 2006
Harper referred to the Grand Manan incident four days after a group of about 40 residents burnt a house to the ground in the community of Castalia and beat up the occupants.
The riot was attributed to a group of vigilantes who were responding to reports that drugs were being sold in the house. They allegedly marched on the house carrying guns, knives, and baseball bats. [Bold emphasis added.]
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Apparently, threats to acceptable way of life in the Fundy Isles aren't well tolerated. This introduces a new dimension to the security issues surrounding the proposed LNG freighter transit through Canadian waters.
On July 7, 2006, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) granted pressure-standard waivers to three existing or proposed natural gas pipelines: the Alliance pipeline from the Canadian border to near Chicago, the Maritimes and Northeast pipeline from northern Maine to near Boston, and the proposed Rockies Express pipeline. The waivers permit the pipelines to operate at a pressure 10% greater than standard limits.
Other proposed or recently-constructed pipelines are likely to apply for similar waivers because there is a substantial economic incentive for natural gas pipelines to increase pipeline pressure. By moving more gas through the same pipeline, volume (and income) increase. So do stresses on the pipeline.
Allowing higher operating pressure in natural gas pipelines reduces the overall safety margin of the pipeline. An operating pressure increase of 10%, from 72% to 80% of SMYS, is a reduction in the safety margin from 28% to 20% of SMYS, or nearly 30%. That's a big difference. PHMSA recognizes that difference and required all three pipeline operators to conduct hydrostatic testing of the pipelines at 125% of MAOP, the theory being that if the pipeline can survive the test, the safety margin is sufficient.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: If your property is near the Maritimes and Northeast natural gas pipeline route and your anxiety is building after reading the above, knowing that FERC and the U.S. Department of Transportation say that "public safety is their first concern" is of little comfort.
"This plan should include the number of facilities, if any, that are actually needed. Proposed locations should be well researched to assure that there is no negative impact on the waters and the shores of Marblehead and other surrounding communities."
The letter continued, "We are not aware of any comprehensive study that has been completed to determine New England's broad energy needs. It is our opinion that federal and state authorities need to conduct a regional assessment of our energy needs in order to consider the benefits and the dangers of the Neptune project, as well as other proposed LNG terminals." [Bold emphasis added.]
FERC Chairman Joseph Kelliher said Wednesday at a Platts conference that an increase in summer liquefied natural gas imports could cause U.S. gas storage to fill up routinely by the end of August instead of October, easing prices in the summer but possibly contributing to volatility in the winter.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Let's get this straight: Importing more LNG will, according to industry proponents, bring the price of natural gas down. But, if natural gas storage is all filled up in the summer, when prices are cheapest, then we'll be paying "volatile" natural gas prices in the winter?
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Here's another example of why Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LLC projects are moot.
26 July 2006
"It is hard to say where the whale was struck, but it appears it was found directly in the route leading into Passamaquoddy Bay. My understanding is that it was near an area that we've been arguing is one of the most important calving and feeding grounds for whales in this part of the bay," [said Arthur MacKay, director of the St. Croix Estuary Project in St. Stephen].
Those who gathered to perform a necropsy on the animal believed it had been the victim of a ship strike; however, they were not sure if the strike had killed the whale or if it had died naturally and been hit as it floated. Ship strike is one of the most common causes of death in the endangered species.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Setting the record straight: Guisinger and Asante are not opposed to appropriately-sited LNG terminals.
While Snowe is leaning against even debating the measure, Collins said she would support a debate and then oppose the legislation if negotiations with the House ultimately lead to coastal drilling near Maine.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Collins's stand is curious, since she has stated that LNG issues affecting the Passamaquoddy Bay fishery aren't within her sphere of responsibility.
In addition to the approved terminals, there are another 25 projects, with 27.75 Bcf/d of proposed peak sendout, on file with regulators in Canada, the United States and Mexico. Another 21 projects, with 17.3 Bcf/d of expected peak sendout, are in the planning stages. And at least 11 LNG projects have been canceled so far. [Bold, red emphasis added.]
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: LNG projects are dropping out, perhaps because they realize that LNG importation infrastructure for New England is already 400% over the capacity of the market. Watch for Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LLC, to appear soon on this dropout list.
The report, obtained by The Associated Press and scheduled for official release on Friday, says additional LNG terminals are critically important for the region's future energy demands, and are best built away from densely-populated areas to reduce safety concerns. The commission has been studying critera for siting proposed LNG facilities in the state. (Jul 25)
A former petroleum industry executive said Tuesday that documents submitted by a Houston company hoping to build a liquified natural gas terminal on the Columbia River are "deficient in technical information" and do not adequately address questions about safety, river traffic or even the company's business plan. (Jul 25)
25 July 2006
The 25-tonne, nine-metre long whale was found Monday afternoon between the islands of Campobello and Grand Manan, said Jerry Conway, a marine mammal advisor with the department.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: LNG terminals in Passamaquoddy Bay, especially with Quoddy Bay LLC's proposed 180 ships per year (a ship coming or going nearly every day), more whale mortality can be expected.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: At the July 13 FERC site visit to the proposed Quoddy Bay LLC site, Project Manager Brian Smith was asked if he didn't feel badly about the division among friends, family, and neighbors that his project had brought to the area. Smith stated "no," that he thought debate was good, confirming his insensitivity about the area's residents.
"The city of Fall River believes that the continuing revisions and modifications of this Project which, when considered in conjunction with the omission of vital data concerning site remediation, water quality, and impacts on struggling marine resources, make it infeasible to certify, with any degree of confidence, that damage to the environment has been avoided, minimized and mitigated to the maximum practicable extent," the report states.
McMoran modified its application for a liquefied natural gas port east of the mouth of the Mississippi River after its original application was vetoed in May by Gov. Kathleen Blanco. The modified application calls for a technology that will use natural gas rather than seawater to warm the supercooled gas. Environmentalists and Blanco had opposed the original application because the use of seawater to warm the gas would kill sealife.
Putin is set to keep U.S. oil companies from developing in fields in the Barents Sea due to President Bush's attempts to block Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization, the newspaper reported Sunday.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: At the same time, the U.S. has invited Russia to own U.S. energy infrastructure, including LNG terminals. That's good for U.S. energy security?
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: ...Or, to own BG's import plants.
In the middle of the nineties the Nigerian island of Bonny still welcomed the arrival of a plant for liquefied gas. But this gas brought nothing but pollution and broken promises to the population. Now they feel like strangers in their own kingdom.
Shell’s company magazine Shell Venster wrote in April about the 90 million naira, about half a million Euro, that NLNG injected in the economy of the island via the construction activities, and about the thousands of jobs for the local population. But the lion’s share of the money is ending up with the contractors and suppliers from outside Bonny, according to the indigenous people. (2004 Jul 13)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Here's another indication that LNG isn't in as good a shape as developers want us to believe.
24 July 2006
The proposed terminal facility, 38 miles east of Venice in the Gulf, could regasify 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day, store up to 28 billion cubic feet and deliver up to 2.5 billion cubic feet a day. McMoran expects the Coast Guard to publish its environmental assessment in September, followed by a 45-day comment period and an ultimate decision near the end of 2006.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: The BP chief falls on his sword, acknowledging a serious problem that even FERC refuses to recognize.
As FERC personnel have previously stated, FERC policy doesn't require LNG terminal developer or operator good character. FERC has literally and incredibly stated that they'd allow anyone to build, own, and operate an LNG terminal, including the likes of Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, and Charles Manson, as long as the sociopaths follow FERC's rules. But that's the problem with FERC's logic: sociopaths and criminals don't follow society's rules.
Hopefully, BP's lack of safety and dealing in fraud will be a thing of the past once a new corporate leader is in place, despite FERC's lack of regulatory sensibility. Hopefully, Congress will legislate reasonable veracity and character requirements on FERC and on those regulated by FERC.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: If ever there were a case of gross environmental and social injustice committed against an indigenous population, Sakhalin Island is it. Thankfully for everyone in the Passamaquoddy Bay area and although Quoddy Bay LLC, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and FERC are trampling on indigenous people's rights the local LNG projects are dust and the misdeeds will cease.
Environmental groups seeking to protect whales and salmon have forced Shell to redesign and reroute pipelines, while the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is reviewing Sakhalin II before approving loans for the project.
The Hague-based Shell is still recovering from the 2004 accounting review that forced it to reduce proven reserves by 5.63bn barrels, or 29%. The cut cost Chairman Philip Watts his job and persuaded Shell to ditch its century-old dual-ownership structure.
22 July 2006
On July 3, between the celebration of Canada Day and the U.S. Independence Day on July 4, Save Passamaquoddy Bay Canada held its second annual Sailabration. The event was a celebration of the beauty, majesty and purity of the natural environment of Passamaquoddy Bay and a rally to prevent the building of liquefied natural gas facilities, which the group believes will pollute and despoil the bay. (Jul 14)
The July 12 meeting of the Maine and New Hampshire Port Safety Forum held at the Boat School in Eastport included slide presentations by Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG representatives. Both companies propose to construct liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities in the Quoddy Bay area. (Jul 14)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: At the Port Safety Forum, Robert Godfrey, of Save Passamaquoddy Bay 3-Nation Alliance, gave a presentation on the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators (SIGTTO) LNG terminal siting safety standards, and how the proposed LNG terminals in Passamaquoddy Bay cannot meet those standards.
Godfrey also refuted a statement made by Downeast LNG's President Dean Girdis, who said that LNG terminals need protected harbors, which is why they chose Passamaquoddy Bay out of all the other possible locations along the New England Coast. Godfrey pointed out that the Excelerate Energy project 13 miles off the coast of Gloucester, Massachussetts, had just received its first approval from that state to site there offshore not in a protected harbor submerged buoy LNG terminal, and that their Gulf of Mexico offshore terminal offloaded LNG during the Katrina Hurricaine.
It should also be pointed out that the Canaport LNG terminal now under construction at Saint John, New Brunswick, is not in a protected harbor.
Girdis's statement was "blowing smoke" to justify Downeast LNG's poor siting location.
Commenting on the recently released Whole Bay Study dealing with the potential economic and fiscal impacts on the Passamaquoddy Bay Region of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in the Quoddy Bay area, Dean Girdis, president of Downeast LNG, which proposes to construct an LNG facility at Mill Cove in Robbinston, says, "I don't believe the report was very transparent. There were a lot of leading questions asked of local people." (Jul 14)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Those remarks are to be expected from a company that didn't do their homework, using second-class methods such as the deficient IMPLAN model for their own studies.
Perry resident Bill Kendall read a brief statement: "With this initiative, the citizens of Perry are making a clear statement that they have the utmost respect for the dedicated, hard-working and committed public servants that hold elected office. But they also expect that their trust not be abused, the authority they delegate not be overstepped and that the will of the people will be consulted and respected. We are setting a standard of accountability with this petition and reaffirming the basic principle of democratic rule." The request asked for the town clerk to certify the signatures contained on the petition within 10 days. (Jul 14)
Resource Reports 1 through 11 are available to the public, while Resource Report 12 is not applicable to the Quoddy Bay LNG terminal, and Resource Report 13 is considered by the U.S. Government to be Critical Energy Infrastructure Information, and therefore not available to the public. (Jul 14)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: FERC claims that their process is "open and public"; however, Resource Report #13 contains such things as thermal radiation hazard zones, something that the public has a great interest in, but FERC is keeping that information from the public.
State Sen. Joan Menard, D-Fall River, and state Rep. Robert Correia, D-Fall River, told The Herald News Friday morning that legislation they have created to restrict LNG tankers passed in both the House and Senate late Thursday night, with enactment of the bill expected on Monday.
According to the act, which amends Chapter 102 of the General Laws on Harbors and Harbormasters, no person can operate a vessel transporting LNG through a bridge having a horizontal clearance of 250 feet or less unless the beam of such vessel is equal to or less than two-thirds of the horizontal clearance of the bridge. Operation of a vessel under a bridge having a vertical clearance of 185 feet or less is also prohibited.
Along with the clearance restrictions, Correia and Menard included language in the bill that mimics a law recently passed Rhode Island that would prohibit assets of the commonwealth from being in the safety and security zones for LNG tankers as established by the Coast Guard. That zone extends two miles ahead of the ship, one mile behind it, 1,000 yards on each side and 30 feet above the ship.
The bill prohibits in the zone any people, piers, wharves, docks, bulkheads, waterfront facilities, flammable materials, hunting grounds or areas from which an incendiary device could be launched, or where welding, torch-cutting or hot work is being performed.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: It appears that Congress's attempt to give FERC superior LNG terminal siting authority over states has failed.
"As I've said from the start, it's not just intentional acts that people have to be worried about because natural acts or human error are possible," Lambert said. "This is just another reason to highlight why these facilities should be kept out of highly populated areas."
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Hess spokesman James Grasso doesn't understand chemistry or physics, or he's simply "blowing smoke" at the public. Grasso states that "gasoline explodes, jet fuel explodes, oil explodes, and all other fuels explode, but LNG does not explode, expecially in unconfined areas."
"Earth to Grasso":
Just like LNG, none of the vapors from the fuels that Grasso mentions will explode without oxygen.
LNG is not made up of pure methane, since no LNG liquifaction facility in the world makes pure-methane LNG. LNG contains other gasses, some of which are more volatile than methane. Some LNG contains a high enough percentage of other hydrocarbon gasses that the LNG is termed "hot."
LNG vapors can explode in unconfined areas when the LNG is "hot" (contains a large amount of non-methane hydrocarbons). See: "LNG and Public Safety Issues: Summarizing current knowledge about potential worst-case consequences of LNG spills onto water," by Jerry Havens, in the U.S. Coast Guard publication, Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council: the Coast Guard Journal of Safety at Sea, Fall 2005 (PDF), page 29. U.S. Coast Guard-sponsored research proves that "hot" LNG vapors can explode, exploding the FERC & LNG industry's non-exploding-LNG myth.
Grasso's comments merely emphasize the need for Congress to require the LNG industry and FERC to be honest with the public.
Russia is the world's dominant player in natural gas, and the summit's host, Russian President Vladimir Putin, has made "energy security" and implicitly, his country's increasing leverage on energy matters a central theme of the meeting. In the coming years, the distance from St. Petersburg to Fall River may get a lot shorter.
21 July 2006
The companies involved in the proposed LNG offshore terminals should be commended for proposing a more innovative siting plan that places the proposed LNG terminal at a significant distance offshore. This offers the potential to reduce the potential for both loss of life and property damage in the event of a catastrophic LNG event, such as a Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion. By employing a relatively remote site, the attractiveness to terrorists for attack is simultaneously reduced compared to onshore facilities in major metropolitan areas, such as the Distrigas terminal near downtown Boston. (Jul 20)
Covering from the low-tide mark to three miles out, the plan would not affect the LNG facilities, which will lie in federal waters. The pipelines, however, will be within state-controlled waters that would fall under the new regulations. Any permits issued would have to be consistent with whatever the ocean management plan were to put in place.
The gasoline explosions at the Motiva terminal occurred on a pier just 970 feet from the 600,000-barrel storage tank that is nearly full of liquefied natural gas. (Jul 20)
Federal energy regulators neglected their duties and violated regulations in granting BP a license last month to build a liquefied natural gas terminal along the Delaware River opposite Claymont, according to a Delaware petition released this morning.
In a request for a re-hearing by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Delaware officials argued the agency illegally ignored state findings that the project conflicts with the state’s coastal area protection laws.
FERC commissioners, Delaware added, approved an application for the BP Crown Landing site “while refusing to resolve numerous” environmental and state oversight issues. Some of FERC’s actions, Delaware argued, appear to be an effort to evade public hearing and comment requirements. [Bold & red emphasis added.]
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: FERC doesn't appear to be as "open and public" as claims to be.
The fact that the government of the Dominican Republic is suing the AES Corporation claiming that it damaged the environment is irrelevant to The Bahamas government's ongoing considerations of the energy company's proposal to construct a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project on Ocean Cay in the northern Bahamas, according to a senior government official. (Jul 19)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: It looks like Bahamian government takes the same devil-may-care attitude as FERC does regarding the character of LNG developers and operating companies. FERC officials say they'd grant LNG terminal permits to the likes of Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, and Charles Manson.
The U.S. Department of Energy and fourteen other federal departments and agencies have signed an agreement to expedite the permitting and construction of the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline which, when operational, will substantially increase domestic natural gas supply and advance the Administration’s energy security policy. The agreement signals the U.S. government’s commitment to expedite the federal permitting processes for the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline and establishes a project management framework for cooperation among participating agencies to reduce bureaucratic delays in construction of the pipeline and delivery of natural gas to consumers. (Jun 29)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: The Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline will reduce the need for importation of LNG.
Just before a deadline this month to peak up, the ports of Kalama and Vancouver warned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that tankers carrying liquified natural gas (LNG) could "wreak havoc on shipping in the Columbia River."
Port officials say a moving bubble of protection in the 600-foot wide Columbia River channel could turn the waterway into a one-way river, with LNG tankers getting the right-of-way, while other ships get stopped. An LNG tanker would take three hours to travel from Astoria to Bradwood. Ships leaving ports between Longview and Portland could be held up for those three hours, according to a report filed by Northern Star.
The threat to the port's economic interests will be one of the stronger arguments against the terminal, he said. "If ports want to attract new shipping companies, having LNG here is going to be a major strike against them." (Jul 16)
A deal that would send tankers of Russian natural gas to Canada could become a major link between the vast Russian gas fields and North American markets, Russia's Energy Minister says, although it won't be the only route.
The liquefied gas would travel from a processing plant in Ust-Luga in northern Russia to a terminal in Cacouna, Que. Competing projects would send Russia's liquefied gas to seaports on the Gulf of Mexico and the U.S. West Coast.
Russia has also been pushing to diversify its routes of energy export as a way of gaining leverage over its customers. After a flurry of controversy this year over a decision to cut gas supplies to Ukraine during a pricing dispute, some Kremlin officials suggested expanding the country's exports east to China in response to criticism from the West.
But as Mr. Harper travelled to the G8 summit, he warned that Canada has little tolerance for "self-serving monopolistic political strategies," alluding to Russia's aggressive pursuit of what it refers to energy superpower status. [Bold emphasis added.] (Jul 17)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Prime Minister Harper's reservations regarding Russia's monopolistic business model is appropriate. Allowing Russia to put its grip on energy security in North America is a patently bad idea.
The Elephant in the Room
Russia can take that stand -- and has a very good chance of getting away with it -- because it is the world's second largest supplier of energy. The government has been abundantly clear that it will use its energy resources to exercise political power, to reward or punish as it deems fit. [Bold emphasis added.] (Jul 12)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: And yet, the U.S. Government is inviting Russia to own U.S. energy infrastructure, including LNG terminals. Exactly how does that fulfill the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and President Bush's stated goals of energy security for the United States?
14 July 2006
[J]udging from the comments and questions posed by people who accompanied the officials on the tour, many members of the public saw it as an opportunity to challenge the proposal and to question the effectiveness of FERC's review process.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: This FERC official site visit exemplified one more reason why the project won't happen: Quoddy Bay LLC project manager Brian Smith demonstrated an appalling lack of knowledge about his own project and his newly-entered industry, made several factually incorrect statements, made empty promises, and initially couldn't even find his tank storage site. He lead the entire vehicle caravan of visitors all the way to the southern dead end of the Old Eastport Road, requiring the caravan to turn around and drive all the way back to find the proper location.
Smith insisted that pure methane (methane a.k.a. "natural gas" is the fuel product in LNG) is what Quoddy Bay would be receiving from their supplier. He claimed that pure methane burns too "hot" for end users, and must have nitrogen added to make it less hot. Smith also referred to the gasses that make LNG hot as "inert." He stated that Quoddy Bay LLC would be receiving hot LNG, and so, would be adding nitrogen to the regasified LNG. When he was verbally backed into a corner by this writer because of his errors, he even asked if this writer would provide him with the correct information, if he were wrong.
...Quoddy Bay LLC Project Manager Brian Smith was as wrong as anyone could possibly be, and the correct information is provided below.
"Inert" gas does not burn. Propane, ethane, butane, as well as methane, are not inert. Nitrogen, however, is inert.
LNG is not delivered as pure methane, but contains other flammable gasses: ethane, propane, and butane. It is those other gasses in the LNG that can cause it to be hot, and therefore unacceptable to the pipeline and users. In fact, according to recognized LNG safety experts Prof. James Fay and Dr. Jerry Havens, and as demonstrated in tests conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard, natural gas hotness can enable unconfined LNG vapor to explode another fact that Smith insisted is untrue.
See: "LNG and Public Safety Issues: Summarizing current knowledge about potential worst-case consequences of LNG spills onto water," by Jerry Havens, in Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council: the Coast Guard Journal of Safety at Sea, Fall 2005 (PDF), page 29. This article information is also contained in the quotes from the California Public Utility Commission's filing with FERC, below. The article in the above 2005 U.S. Coast Guard publication indicates that unconfined "hot" LNG vapors can explode.
U.S. Coast Guard take note:
Since Smith volunteered that Quoddy Bay LLC intends to receive hot gas, then an unconfined gas vapor cloud from Quoddy Bay LLC's LNG tankers could explode. This must be taken into account during the Coast Guard's Waterway Suitability Study.
Following are quotes from the California Public Utility Commission's 2005 October 4 filing with FERC (PDF, 1.7 MB), with the following quotes from U.S. Government-recognized LNG safety authority, Dr. Jerry Havens:
"[M]ixtures of methane with heavy components such as ethane and propane, when contained in concentrations greater than about 12-18%, are subject to high order explosions." PDF page 25
"LNG is ... imported from some other locations with concentrations of heavier hydrocarbons as high as 15-20%. Such gas is termed “hot gas” in the industry because its calorific value (energy content) is higher than an equivalent volume of methane. Typical heavy hydrocarbon gases present in LNG are ethane and propane, but others are present as well.
"We know now that even unconfined vapor cloud explosions (UVCEs) cannot be dismissed for LNG spills if the gas contains significant amounts (say greater than about 12 to 18%, based on Coast Guard sponsored tests at China Lake in the Eighties) of gas components heavier than methane. Furthermore, enrichment in higher boiling point components of the liquid remaining as the LNG vaporizes can lead to vapor cloud concentrations that could pose a UVCE hazard, even if the concentration of the heavies in the liquid initially spilled do not. Since the LNG terminal proposed to be located in the POLB is planned to receive “hot gas”... questions of whether major releases of LNG at the terminal might pose an unconfined vapor cloud explosion hazard, with the attendant potential to initiate further cascading effects, remain highly relevant." PDF page 57
Smith's awkward bungling at an official FERC event, in front of a FERC representative, the news media, and the public, convincingly demonstrated that Quoddy Bay LLC doesn't have the required competency to build or operate their proposed project.
Janice Harvey of the Save Passamaquoddy Bay group says Prime Minister Stephen Harper has stated his opposition to the projects, but has yet to introduce regulations to stop them. (Jul 13)
Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy and the leaders of the Suffolk County Legislature announced today that they were filing a bill that would prevent the construction of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) facilities in the waters of the Long Island Sound off Suffolk's north shore. The officials insist that there are several provisions within New York State Law that give the County regulatory authority over the Long Island Sound and its tidal waters within its borders.
Saying that construction of a liquefied natural gas facility at Sparrows Point would violate an agreement that requires the former Bethlehem Steel shipyard to be cleaned up, a lawyer for Baltimore County residents opposed to the LNG terminal is asking the U.S. attorney to stop the project.
Houston-based Cheniere Energy has agreed to begin paying (m) millions in property taxes to Cameron Parish a decade before they are due in order to help the ailing parish fund its hurricane recovery projects.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: The LNG industry and people, themselves, aren't necessarily bad. It's the siting process, greed, back room deals, and open season on anywhere and everywhere that's ugly.
After reviewing the Waterway Suitability Assessment for Sound Energy Solutions’ LNG proposal, the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port for Los Angeles and Long Beach has concluded that the San Pedro Bay can accommodate LNG vessels en route to SES' proposed regasification terminal in Long Beach, Calif. (Jul 13)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: The Act is unlikely to affect LNG import facility development. See: U.S.-Built LNG Vessels Unlikely Despite Bill.
12 July 2006
A recall ordinance petition, allegations of bogus signatures, questions about spending money not approved by the town and a selectman lashing out at a resident summed up a selectmen's meeting Monday night.
It is still a mystery who the group of so-called international investors are that have signed a $125-million US deal to buy a liquefied natural gas project in Cape Breton from Anadarko Petroleum of Houston.
A day after the sale was announced, there is little known about the backers of the Paris-based group called U.S. Venture Energy, a private investment firm, which bought the assets, including a 72-hectare site, steel, tank foundations and environmental permits for the proposed $650-million US project.
Mr. Doucet said the firm’s priority is to restart construction of the facility in Bear Head, Richmond County, that was put on hold by Anadarko earlier this year after it had difficulty finding a supply of natural gas.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Reviving the Bear Head LNG project means more doom and gloom for Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LLC.
An offshore liquefied natural gas terminal 13 miles from Gloucester won initial state approval yesterday, the first significant step toward delivering the fuel far from populated areas to satisfy New England's growing demand for gas.
The Excelerate Energy LLC project must still meet a slew of federal and other state approvals before it can be built, but the state determined that the first round of environmental studies by the company adequately documented the potential consequences of their project to the marine ecosystem.
Construction of an offshore terminal would not force closure of the Everett terminal, New England's only operating LNG facility, but it may provide enough to meet New England's growing energy demand so that other projects wouldn't need to be built on land. (Jul 11)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Downeast LNG developer Dean Girdis's claims that Passamaquoddy Bay is the best location in all of New England. His claim is again shot full of holes. The Gloucester location is 13 miles offshore, with fewer security problems, lower construction cost, fewer navigation hazards, next to the market, and far away from the public.
In addition, the Gloucester LNG project will moot the need for terminals this far from the Boston-area demand. The LNG projects in Passamaquoddy Bay have no future other than as a money pit.
A recently adopted law effectively bans tankers carrying liquefied natural gas from entering Narragansett Bay a restriction Rhode Island lawmakers hope will prevent an LNG terminal from being built in nearby Fall River, Mass.
The bill, signed Monday by Gov. Don Carcieri, prohibits LNG tankers from coming within hundreds of yards of multiple obstacles and hazards, including people, docks, waterfront facilities, hunting grounds or anywhere workers are welding.
Gallison said his bill increases pressure on Weaver's Cove Energy to abandon plans to build a $250 million LNG terminal along the Taunton River in Fall River. To reach the terminal, LNG tankers must pass through Narragansett Bay.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: This is one good example of why FERC's dominant authority over states is abominable. States and communities should have the ability to protect people and assets, as well as the LNG cargo and personnel, from potential catastrophe.
The project involves the installation of Mustangís LNG Smart Air Vaporization Process and a natural gas liquids (NGL) extraction plant to recover ethane and other heavier hydrocarbons from the LNG stream.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Mustang's Smart Air Vaporization Process uses air, rather than burning gas (or using the heat from seawater) to reheat LNG into natural gas, eliminating a significant source of NOx pollution.
Significant NOx pollution is just one of the numerous unsavory attributes that Downeast LNG's Brian Smith promised to the Sunrise County Economic Council that his project would bring to the Passamaquoddy Bay area.
"For Alaska to be a meaningful part of the natural-gas supply mix of the U.S. in the coming years, action needs to be taken now," the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said in a report to Congress issued Monday. "Any further delays may serve to make the Alaska gas pipeline uneconomic in comparison to LNG imports."
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: What's this! FERC has openly taken an advocacy position on this project. Doesn't FERC claim that their process is project-neutral?
Incidentally, BP is a partner in this project. BP is the company labeled as "lacking a corporate safety culture," due to its intentional safety violations that resulted in fatalities in their Texas City, TX, oil refinery explosion. BP is also under criminal investigation for illegally manipulating the natural gas market last winter, artificially raising natural gas prices.
FERC is totally unconcerned about the integrity of energy companies that it regulates.
This all fits with FERC's openness as they have told us and the public to permitting LNG facilities to the likes of Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, Charles Manson, or even, perhaps, Osama bin Laden.
The U.S. government encourages Russian companies to invest in U.S. energy assets, including politically sensitive liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, while at the same time urging Russia to open more of its oil and gas fields to foreign investment, Lloyds List reported on Monday, July 10.
The U.S. attitude on LNG terminals will be welcomed in Moscow, as Russia’s state-controlled gas giant Gazprom has ambitions to become a leading LNG supplier to the U.S. market. Gazprom is eager to claim more than 10 percent of the U.S. market by 2010 and then increase its share up to 20 percent. The company has also signaled it is interested in downstream assets, such as transport and re-gasification terminals, in the U.S. (Jul 10)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Inviting Russia to own U.S. energy assets, including LNG import terminals? Exactly how will this improve U.S. energy security? How does this idea fit with the recent foreign-controlled port fiasco?
Where are Snowe, Collins, and Michaud on this issue? Where is Lou Dobbs? Where is 60 Minutes?
5 July 2006
The site visit will be held Thursday July 13. Anyone interested in participating in the site visit should meet at 9 a.m. in Quoddy Bay LLC's parking lot on Route 190, at 95 County Road in Perry, Maine. Participants must provide their own transportation. (Jul 4)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: We incourage all Save Passamaquoddy Bay supporters to attend this FERC event.
Canaport LNG, the partnership between Repsol YPF and Irving Oil, today announced that it has awarded the on-shore and off-shore Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contracts and issued the final notice to proceed for the construction of the first new liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal on the East Coast of North America in decades. Also completed were agreements to transport natural gas from the Canaport LNG Terminal to markets in Canada and the Northeast US via the Brunswick Pipeline and an expansion of the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline system in the US.
SNC-CENMC, G.P., a partnership between SNC-Lavalin Inc., Canada’s largest engineering and construction firm, and Saipem S.p.A. of Milan, Italy, was awarded the Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) contract for onshore facilities and jetty topsides, providing full procurement and supervisory responsibilities for the onshore portion of the project.
Kiewit-Weeks-Sandwell Partnership, a consortium of Peter Kiewit Sons Co of St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador; Weeks Marine of Cranford, New Jersey; and Sandwell Engineering of Vancouver, British Columbia, was awarded the EPC contract for the terminal’s offshore facilities, including the receiving pier. [Bold emphasis added.]
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Canaport's selection of engineers and contractors all from outside New Brunswick, and some from outside of Canada supports the Whole Bay Study's conclusion that LNG terminal construction jobs go to large companies with experience in LNG-related projects, not to local workers.
Downeast LNG's & Quoddy Bay LLC's promises that similar jobs for the proposed Passamaquoddy Bay-area LNG proposed projects will go to local and state workers is simply "blowing smoke," in order to win public support and to obscure the truth.
Building another LNG terminal in Massachusetts will [neither] guarantee lower natural gas prices, nor will it assure a more reliable supply of natural gas. The demand for natural gas is worldwide and increasing; its price will only increase and we will find ourselves in conflict with India, China, Japan, and Europe over an uncertain and inadequate supply of this fossil fuel. But building an LNG terminal on Outer Brewster Island will guarantee that a significant element of the Harbor Islands National Recreation Area is irrevocably lost to future generations, while it will do nothing to increase the likelihood that those generations will live in a safe world or have enough clean, renewable energy to meet their needs. [Bold emphasis added.] (Jul 4)
The legislation would establish a permit process for any “new industrial uses in New York State’s coastal zone,” under the NYS Coastal Zone Management Program, as previously reported. With both Thiele and Alessi citing environmental concerns about the LNG project, the assemblymen believe this law, if it goes into effect, would allow the state to supersede the federal government in making decisions about what is built in local waters.
Noting that other states, including Delaware and Connecticut, have similar laws in place, Thiele cited a court case from 2005 in which a similar facility was being proposed on the coast of Delaware. “Because Delaware had the permit process, they were able to stop the facility [from being built],” Thiele explained.
The Outer Brewster Island proposal is one of hundreds of great and small matters that the legislature waits till the frenzy of the budget deadline to dispose of. This happens every year by design: The budget becomes a cover for legislators' doing in secret what they would have difficulty doing openly.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Likewise, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Department of the Interior should not have, behind closed doors, illegally passed their statutory Indian trust obligations over to FERC an agency that has no such obligation regarding the Quoddy Bay LLC project at Split Rock in Sipayik (Pleasant Point). With all the additional show-killing obstacles in their way, Quoddy Bay LLC's project has no hope of completion.
In addition, the U.S. Coast Guard, the agency charged with addressing security concerns and procedures for LNG tanker traffic, has assembled a committee of maritime experts to review a Waterway Suitability Assessment submitted for Bradwood Landing.
It has refused to make the assessment public as a matter of national security. Components of the document will be incorporated into a draft Environmental Impact Statement from FERC, expected in less than four months, said USCG Lt. Shadrack Scheirman, chief of port operations in Portland.
U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, D-Wash., on Friday called for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to establish bistate authority in the Bradwood Landing review process, giving Washington agencies permitting rights equal to those in Oregon.
"Any state directly affected by an LNG terminal should have a formal opportunity to assess within their state regulations the potential impacts to their citizens and environment," Baird said in a statement he filed with FERC. "Ideally, a change in administrative policy would allow the state in which the terminal is not constructed to decide whether it wants to join the efforts of the host state concerning ... permitting actions."
Baird thinks Washington should have a say, too. He voiced appreciation "that Oregon has reached out to Washington in an effort to incorporate concerns and perspectives in its reviews," but the LNG site proposed at Bradwood sits less than a half-mile from Puget Island on the north side of the river, he said.
"In fact, more Washington residents would live closer to the terminal than would Oregon residents," his filing states. "As a result, Washington residents and wildlife would share many of the water, air and coastal environmental impacts from the proposed project."
"FERC should not be in the business of simply permitting an overabundance of terminals and letting the market decide which will be built," Baird said. "The costs to state and local jurisdictions for participating in a federal LNG application review, as well as the potential environmental and safety impacts of a built terminal and pipeline, are too high to approach LNG siting without a national and regional plan." [Bold emphasis added.] (Jul 4)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Washington & Oregon have a similar situation to the Passamaquoddy Bay LNG proposals that include Maine and New Brunswick, Canada.
[T]he IEA notes the difficulty in making accurate predictions regarding LNG because of the global market’s "spectacular" growth over the past five years, citing a 75% increase in the number of LNG vessels over the last five years.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: The International Energy Agency is correct to "cover its behind" by the above qualifying statement, since the "spectacular" LNG market growth also means more foreign demand for natural gas consumption by some really big energy consumers, like China and India That means that perhaps less, not more, LNG will come to the U.S.
"All sorts of assurances were given that this facility that was going to be built right in the middle of the harbour and close to residential areas was going to be very safe and that there was going to be strict monitoring and regulation and so on and so forth," he said.
"But what appears to be happening here is that the Government bodies who are responsible for doing the monitoring and regulating, as so often happens, have become captured by the company." [Bold emphasis added.] (May 11)
2 July 2006
Five local teenagers Luke Macdonald, Ashley Crichton, Graham Stephenson, Tynan Dunfield and Catrina Haun were the brains behind the event which brought seven bands and about 200 people to the W.C. O'Neill Arena Saturday, May 27. (Jun 20)
The group's mandate is threefold: to ensure Canadians are well informed about proposals to establish LNG terminals in the Passamaquoddy Bay/St. Croix region; to provide a voice for Canadians who oppose such development; and to ensure this voice is properly represented to government (Canada and US) and the public. (Jun 20)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: The citizens quoted in this article apparently don't pay attention to the news, or they'd know about the following LNG-related catastrophic events:
- Nigeria, 2005 explosion, [natural gas pipeline supplying an LNG liquifaction facility];
- District Heights, MD, 2005 house explosion; leak related to LNG quality, [according to gas utility company];
- Ghislenghien, Belgium, 2004 explosion, natural gas [sendout] pipeline from LNG terminal;
- Trinidad and Tobago, 2004 LNG facility gas turbine explosion;
- Skikda, Algeria, 2004 fatal explosion at an LNG liquifaction facility [over 100 killed or injured];
- Bontang, Indonesia, 1983 LNG plant fatal explosion;
- Cove Point, MD, 1979 LNG import terminal fatal explosion [1 dead, 1 seriously injured];
- Staten Island LNG Tank Fire, 1973 (40 killed)
- Montreal, east Quebec, 1972 LNG peak-shaving plant explosion;
- Cleveland, Ohio, 1944 fatal LNG peak-shaving tank explosion [128 dead, 225 injured].
Sources: California Energy Commission and RodnReel.com
We recognize that some of the older above-mentioned catastrophes have resulted in improved safety technology and/or procedures by the industry and regulatory bodies; however, our concern is that, while the LNG industry claims that their future facilities and operations will be safe:
- LNG developers violate SIGTTO LNG-terminal-siting safety standards;
- FERC ignores those same SIGTTO safety standards;
- FERC says they don't care if LNG developers lie to the public;
- FERC says it would issue LNG terminal permits to the likes of Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, Charles Manson, and by extension Osama bin Laden.
The history of the LNG industry doesn't necessarily predict its future, especially when LNG developers and FERC continue down this careless and irresponsible path.
Senator Snowe, Senator Collins, and Representative Michaud when will you stand up and protect Maine and U.S. citizens by authoring legislation that requires sensible FERC policy and regulations?
1 July 2006
The vulnerability of facilities in urban centers was freshly underscored when the Coast Guard shut down an ExxonMobil fuel depot in Everett - a neighbor to the Distrigas LNG plant - because of a “serious security breakdown.”
There’s no indication that the 15 illegal immigrants found working at ExxonMobil, with access to Distrigas, had terrorism on their minds. Still, today’s illegal immigrant simply earning a paycheck from a subcontractor working on the facility could be next week’s al-Qaeda wannabe with something far more malicious on his mind.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: The Massachusetts area needs energy, and LNG is one way to get it there. Siting LNG import facilities near the demand makes sense; however and although the Boston Herald recognizes that there are some real risks that accompany LNG terminals its befuddling that the newspaper editorial staff doesn't recognize the need to site terminals far enough away from people that people won't be harmed if a disaster occurs.
Earlier this year, Richard Clarke, the ex-White House antiterrorism director, told a legislative committee that he thinks the Distrigas LNG facility - which illegal immigrants were apparently trying to access yesterday before their arrest - needs to be shut down.
In a controversial book, Clarke wrote that LNG shipments through Boston Harbor were temporarily halted on Sept. 11, 2001, just hours after the infamous terrorist attacks, in part out of fear that al-Qaeda terrorists may have used LNG tankers in the past to sneak into the United States. (Jun 30)
One condition [in the FERC permit] was that the company get permission from Rhode Island authorities to dredge part of Mount Hope Bay leading to the proposed terminal. Without dredging, LNG tankers can't reach the site.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: The Energy Act of 2005 gave FERC supremecy over most state and local say in LNG terminal siting; however, the Act still left states with the ability to reject projects due to water and air environmental issues, as well as for reasons related to the Coastal Zone Management Act.
Apparently, Weaver's Cove Energy isn't satisfied with the additional advantages given to the natural gas industry, and thinks that all state and municipal rights should be abolished.
If Weaver's Cove Energy had adhered to LNG-industry terminal siting standards, published by SIGTTO, then they wouldn't be in their current predicament.
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