"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
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29 May 2008
On May 13, the price of a barrel of oil briefly hit a record of $126.98 on the New York Mercantile Exchange The reason was ostensibly that Iran was cutting oil production. But there is no gas shortage. So why are prices still going up?
Goldman Sachs was one of the founding partners of online commodities and futures marketplace Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). And ICE has been a primary focus of recent congressional investigations; it was named both in the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations' June 27, 2006, Staff Report and in the House Committee on Energy & Commerce's hearing last December. Those investigations looked into the unregulated trading in energy futures, and both concluded that energy prices' climb to stratospheric heights has been driven by the billions of dollars' worth of oil and natural gas futures contracts being placed on the ICEwhich is not regulated by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.
In case you've forgotten, it was only 2001 when BusinessWeek reported that some Wall Street firms were hard-selling to the public stocks that their companies were quietly divestingand/or pushing questionable stocks for companies in which their affiliated banks had a financial interest. In a nutshell, some individuals with a specific vested interest in a certain financial outcome used the media to enrich themselves and their companies, leaving the public investor holding the bag. [Red emphasis added.] (May 13)
Webmaster's Comments: It's interesting to note that Goldman Sachs whose ethics are in question and under investigation, as described in the above article is claimed by Calais LNG project to be financing their project. One's character can be determined by the company one keeps.
As if safety concerns, terrorism fears and environmental damage weren’t enough for local residents to wish Weaver’s Cove Energy had packed its bags long ago, Fall Riverites have another reason to despise the LNG proposal: It’s bleeding the city dry.
The City Council voted Tuesday to withdraw $250,000 from free cash to pay Holland & Knight, the Boston law firm the city hired to fight the proposal. The latest bill raises the city’s legal expenditures to $2.5 million over the last three years. And the bills continue to climb. Mayor Robert Correia has budgeted $250,000 in the coming fiscal year for LNG defense.
Kvisle raised the possibility Rabaska's capacity might be expanded, effectively replacing Gros Cacouna. He would not rule out TransCanada and Petro-Canada becoming partners in the Rabaska consortium - now comprised of Gaz Metro, Ontario's Enbridge and Gaz de France.
"Other than the expansion of the south runway at the airport, I've never seen an issue create such dissension so quickly," he said, referring to neighborhood opposition at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
NorthernStar's direct rebuttal of the state's conclusions mark a new dynamic in its bid to bring LNG to Oregon. To date, the company, aware that the state wields considerable power to block the bid, has tried to avoid a head-to-head public debate with state officials. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has overall licensing authority over LNG terminals.
[This is an update to yesterday's story. webmaster]
A longstanding assumption of American energy policy has been that natural gas would be plentiful abroad, and therefore readily available for importation, as production falls off in North America, where many fields are tapped out.
Supplies of L.N.G. are going to grow in the next few years, but experts say they will not be enough to satisfy the growing demand. Liquefaction plant projects that prepare the gas for shipping in producing nations like Nigeria and Russia are being delayed and even shelved because of political turbulence, cost overruns and increasing domestic demand for gas in their own countries. [Red emphasis added.]
28 May 2008
The new offshore terminus and pipeline network allows for a significant expansion of LNG capacity in New England always a good thing given the region's lack of natural resources and geographic isolation. Unfortunately, we won't see a significant drop in natural gas prices, since the cost of that commodity follows the market for petroleum products generally; but any effort to increase energy supplies and alternatives is bound to benefit consumers in the long run. [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster's Comments: Just like the Neptune offshore LNG terminal that will be receiving LNG around the end of 2009, the Northeast Gateway offshore facility is near the market unlike the proposed and ill-sited Downeast LNG, Quoddy Bay LNG, and Calais LNG projects.
The Canaport LNG terminal in Saint John, NB, that will be receiving LNG around the end of this year while not close to the US market is close to the New Brunswick natural gas market, and already has pipeline capacity to carry natural gas to Boston and beyond.
These three LNG terminals moot the proposed LNG projects in Passamaquoddy Bay an economic reality that has to be causing second thoughts about their projects in the minds of the developers' investors, if they have any sense, at all.
According to Platts LNG Daily [subscription required], the office of the Massachusetts Attorney General responded to the suit recently filed by Weaver's Cove Energy by saying that Massachusetts has 20 days to reply and called the suit a "new attempt to avoid state environmental review." (May 27)
Webmaster's Comments: This story is an indication of the lopsided nature of the FERC LNG permitting process taxpayers pay millions of dollars to fight a FERC-approved project that even the Coast Guard says is unsafe. FERC claims to be a safety agency, but their Weaver's Cove LNG project approval proves otherwise.
Yesterday FERC made public a letter it filed with the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding Weaver's Cove Energy's proposed LNG import project. Specifically, the letter expresses FERC's continued support for the project and states that "the Commission continues to believe that the project is required in the public interest to develop the nation's energy infrastructure and to increase the reliability and security of the supply of natural gas to New England."
Webmaster's Comments: FERC personnel, while meeting with the public around Passamaquoddy Bay "claimed" that they're not advocates for LNG projects.
FERC is saying that Weaver's Cove LNG terminal is "required" even though then-FERC Chairman Pat Wood stated in 2005 that only 79 new LNG terminals would be needed. There are now 31 LNG projects in operation, expanding, under construction, or permitted. LNG import capacity is already being met.
Congress needs to wrest LNG permitting control away from FERC and give it back to the states, as proposed in Sen. Wyden's Bill S. 2822. (See our Legislation Watch page to follow progress on this Bill.)
Only a month after Cheniere Energy inaugurated its $1.4 billion liquefied natural gas terminal here, an empty supertanker sat in its berth with no place to go while workers painted empty storage tanks.
The nearly idle terminal is a monument to a stalled experiment, one that was supposed to import so much L.N.G. from around the world that homes would be heated and factories humming at bargain prices.
Webmaster's Comments: Even if the investors for Downeast LNG, Quoddy Bay LNG, and Calais LNG can't read the writing on the wall, the rest of us can their projects are beyond hope, hopeless money pits.
[This same story is updated in story below it. webmaster]
Market predictions made several years ago that drove projections and decisions in the United States have not panned out, Gaul added. As supplies are directed to Asia and Australia, the amount of LNG left for the rest of the world is limited. This is stalling construction through the United States, he said.
According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the three terminals near Corpus Christi are among 12 LNG import terminals approved by the commission that have yet to begin construction as of April 21.
[Cheniere] is in the middle of laying off about 200 employees, Gentle said. [Red emphasis added.] (May 27)
Webmaster's Comments: Market conditions haven't panned out, construction costs have risen significantly, Asia is willing to pay significantly more for LNG than the US, three new US LNG terminals are now in operation (Northeast Gateway, Freeport, and Sabine) and 12 LNG terminals have been permitted that aren't being constructed. If anyone still had hopes for the three LNG terminals in Passamaquoddy Bay, they can now clearly see their hopes were misplaced.
Almost five years have passed since three companies announced they would build liquefied natural gas terminals near Corpus Christi. Although much work has been conducted, construction plans have been delayed indefinitely.
A group of concerned citizens on Texada Island is embracing a resolution passed by the Powell River Regional District to ban ocean-going tankers carrying liquefied natural gas in the waters of Malaspina and Georgia straits.
Citing environmental and safety concerns, the regional district has resolved to urge the provincial and federal governments to ban the passage of LNG tankers in the area and seek support from other Vancouver Island and mainland communities that could feel the impact of WestPac's project. (May 27)
State Department refuses to complete cultural survey for TransCanada pipeline
Determining the pipeline's effects on cultural places appeared to have been a cursory and simplistic process. Longtime efforts by preservation professionals to protect the more ineffable indigenous sites - vision quest places, pilgrimage trails, natural resources critical to a craft, habitats of culturally important animals and even places with no material manifestations at all - were disregarded. (May 23)
Webmaster's Comments: The US Government does it again, mimicking a long and shameful history of inexcusable treatment toward North America's indigenous peoples. (See the following two stories regarding the Bureau of Indian Affairs.)
On Dec. 5, 2001, the federal judge in a class action lawsuit against the Department of the Interior, Cobell v. Norton, entered a temporary restraining order requiring the Department to disconnect from the Internet all information technology systems that housed or provided access to individual Indian trust data, on the basis of perceived risks to that data. On Dec. 17, 2001, a Consent Order was entered which continued that prohibition and also established a process for the Department to obtain permission from the court to reconnect bureaus on a case-by-case basis.
Parts of the Department were permitted to reconnect in 2002. However, the five offices that work closely with Indian trust data remained off the Internet. On May 14, 2008, U.S. District Judge James Robertson, the presiding judge in the case, vacated the Consent Order thus allowing those offices to reconnect. In addition to the BIA, the offices to go back online are the Office of the Solicitor, the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST), the Office of Hearing and Appeals (OHA) and the Office of Historical Trust Accounting (OHTA).
Webmaster's Comments: Although the court has allowed the BIA to reconnect to the Internet, it is no indication of a sea change in concienciousness at the BIA or in the way they administer their trust responsibilities over Native American lands. It merely indicates that the BIA after six-and-a-half years has finally secured their online Indian trust account data.
In their historically abusive way, the BIA without having performed the required statutory duties regarding lease approval of Indian Trust lands approved the ground lease between Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy Tribal Government and Quoddy Bay LLC. The BIA has essentially admitted their negligence in federal appeals court during lawsuit proceedings brought by Nulankeyutomonen Nkihtahkomikumon against the agency.
The upcoming hearing at Federal District Court in Bangor will likely find against the BIA, making the ground lease invalid. At that time, Quoddy Bay LLC/Quoddy Bay LNG will have no legitimate lease, and thus, no LNG project.
[The link below goes to the BIA homepage, but the article will eventually be archived and removed from the homepage. At that time the article can be accessed on the BIA's What's Hot archive page. SPB webmaster]
In a major development with regard to the Cobell v. Norton litigation, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia Circuit on May 14, 2008, granted defendants’ motion to vacate the December 17, 2001, Consent Order Regarding Information Technology Security and has given its permission for the information technology systems of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the Office of Hearing and Appeals (OHA), the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST), and the Office of Historical Trust Accounting (OHTA) to be reconnected to the Internet. A copy of the Court Order is attached.
24 May 2008
"The reason it's important is you have things like LNG ([liquefied] natural gas terminals), wind turbines, other kinds of uses of the ocean, proposed at a pace that's increasing. We don't have the luxury anymore of being able to react to these one at a time," he said. (May 23)
And while it will take some time to see whether its presence has any effect on the environment, on fishing in the area or on the price of energy, local officials should remember the promises made during Excelerate Energy's "courting" phase, when the company promised both economic activity and financial help to charities and the fishing industry. (May 22)
“After thorough review of the detailed appeal by Weaver’s Cove Energy, I support Captain Nash’s decision that the waterway is unsafe in the vicinity of the Brightman Street Bridges for the transit of LNG tankers, because of the same navigational hazards previously addressed,” he said.
Webmaster's Comments: Two serious lessons and concerns for the public:
- FERC approved this LNG terminal project indicating that they're not a "safety" agency, as they profess to be;
- Hess Energy is still trying to push the terminal for approval by the Coast Guard proof that some LNG developers have no respect or concern for the effect of their projects on neighboring civilians and communities.
U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., also hailed the denial. “We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again this LNG terminal should never have been proposed, and we will continue to do everything in our power to make sure it is defeated once and for all.”
Shearer said Weaver's Cove's recently proposed offshore hookup is a way to avoid traversing the bridges. But an assistant corporation counsel for the city said Nash’s finding said the route north from Prudence Island in Rhode Island was “unsuitable.” (May 21)
Webmaster's Comments: Offshore makes far more sense than shoreside, since risks to the public are fewer, terminal expansion is easier, security concerns are fewer, and terminal construction can be faster.
The two companies said in a statement on Tuesday that their Liberty Natural Gas Transmission Project will include a deepwater pipeline system which would receive gas 15 miles off the coast of New Jersey. The development, including an import buoy, may process as much as 2.4 billion cubic feet of gas by late 2011. (May 23)
THE CITY'S decision this week to write off more than $300,000 in past due bills that the El Paso Corp. owed for fire protection on Elba Island is a sweet deal for the Texas-based company and a sour one for taxpayers.
It smacks of inconsistency. (May 23)
Terminals are at 50% capacity and expected to remain there for several years, partly because high building costs have discouraged construction of overseas liquefaction facilities, Ineson says. Also, producers are shipping most LNG to Asia and Europe, where customers are paying up to double U.S. rates.
"The surprise is that LNG is not turning out to be as big as we expected," Ineson says. "But domestic supply is turning out to be better." [Red & bold emphasis added.] (May 23)
"Overland will be shown to be quicker, more economic and a better value for the state and other stakeholders," said Palin. "It will provide more jobs for Alaskans, while an LNG sponsor would face huge challenges to get that LNG to market." (May 23)
Webmaster's Comments: This pipeline would provide 4.5 billion cubic feet of gas (bcf) per day expandable to 5.9 billion bcf per day to the US. That's equivalent to 1020 LNG import terminals, depending on terminal size.
A summary of the administration’s findings stated that because the LNG would likely be shipped to Asia, an LNG project “would likely face significant political opposition when seeking the required export license.” (May 23)
Rejection of the LNG idea, sometimes referred to as the "all-Alaska" option because the pipeline would not go into Canada, is politically tricky for Palin, as some of its main backers had been strong Palin supporters during her 2006 campaign for governor.
Palin's gas team also dismissed the option of an exclusively LNG project that would supply markets in Asia and Alaska. They said it was less economic and less likely to succeed because it did not address energy needs in the rest of North America. (May 23)
[L]andowner groups said they filed suit against the joint venture that NW Natural has formed with TransCanada Corp. to build a 211-mile pipeline serving a proposed LNG terminal near Wauna on the Columbia River, called Bradwood Landing. The lawsuit seeks to stop Palomar Gas Transmission and its agents from allegedly trespassing on private land or using any information its surveyors glean while trespassing for planning or promoting the pipeline.
The Oregon Department of Energy recently released a study concluding the state doesn't need LNG; LNG already costs far more than domestic gas; and the carbon emissions involved in liquefying, shipping and regassifying imported gas would cause more pollution than domestic alternatives. (May 23)
The lawsuit alleges that that SWCA, Inc., an Arizona-based surveying company working on the Palomar proposal, has been trespassing on private properties west of Forest Grove to survey the land for a gas pipeline project. (May 22)
Steve Sechrist: “There was a cost estimate for LNG, for example, and assumptions for pipelines that may or may not get built. The assumptions in several cases, are that all of them would get built, and I don’t think that’s an assumption that anyone can make at this point.” [Red bold emphasis added.] (May 23)
The draft resolution suggested the current federal approval process might be un-American and that the city agreed with Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s position on the matter. The governor has asked the federal government to consider whether Oregon needs LNG in making its decision. (May 22)
SES - a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corp. and ConocoPhillips - was created to develop, build and operate the LNG reception terminal at the Long Beach port. In stark contrast to the major presence the company has maintained in Long Beach and within the goods movement industry since it came to town, SES is making a quiet exit with no formal announcement. (May 22)
Several analysts cited global market conditions, such as increased costs of liquefaction projects and heightened demand in emerging LNG markets in China and India, as potential challenges to increasing U.S. LNG imports. [Red emphasis added.] (May 22)
20 May 2008
Carrying about 1 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, from Trinidad, the ship Excellence became the first to use the deepwater port completed at the end of last year by Excelerate Energy LLC of Houston. Unlike other tankers which deliver liquefied natural gas to storage facilities where the LNG is reconstituted as gas for pipelines, Excelerate's tankers return LNG to its gaseous form on the ship and pump it directly into the pipeline.
"This is an important new source of natural gas delivered by an innovative technology," said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles. "The additional supply should ease concerns about shortages during the winter months, and offshore delivery poses fewer security and environmental issues than onshore LNG facilities." [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster's Comments: Better technology, safer, more secure, and in place embarrassing and mooting late-comers and outdated-technology speculators Downeast LNG, Quoddy Bay LNG, and Calais LNG.
Excelerate Energy LLC has begun pumping natural gas from its huge new LNG buoy system off the coast of Gloucester a move that could transform the way dangerous liquefied natural gas is handled in the region. [Red emphasis added.]
JERSEY CITY, N.J., May 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Excalibur Energy (USA) Inc., a 50/50 joint venture company between Canadian Superior Energy Inc. ("Canadian Superior") and Global LNG Inc., a New York based privately held company, announced today the launch of its $550 million Liberty Natural Gas Transmission Project ("Liberty Natural Gas") as a new source of natural gas to meet the growing energy demands of the Northeast region. Liberty Natural Gas will be a deepwater pipeline system that receives gas fifteen miles offshore New Jersey, which subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to begin to deliver up to 2.4 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas by late 2011.
Webmaster's Comments: Yet another offshore LNG import terminal, the leading-edge technology for the industry. Such terminal siting has the following advantages advantages that out-rank the three LNG proposals in Passamaquoddy Bay:
- Significantly lower risk to civilians;
- Fewer security concerns;
- Easier expansion;
- Better bad weather serviceability.
In 1973, 40 workers were killed in a blast at a Tetco LNG facility in Bloomfield, when they were cleaning an empty tank. Either cleaning solvents or pockets of LNG caught in the tank's lining exploded, sending the 22-inch-thick roof 15 feet in the air before it fell back on the workers inside.
Executives at energy companies not affiliated with the new venture contended, however, that Liberty's 2.4 billion cubic feet a day of gas won't help increase gas supplies in New York because pipelines across the Hudson are at capacity.
The company told OGJ the project is not associated with Excelerate Energy, the Houston-based company that has pioneered offshore LNG terminals off Texas and the UK and operates several regasification carriers. Excelerate Energy Pres. Rob Bryngelson confirmed that to OGJ.
The company declined to identify the specific offloading system planned other than to say the regas vessels will "temporarily connect to permanently anchored turrets." Roger Whelan, Excalibur's president and CEO, did tell OGJ the company has narrowed its choices of technology and expects to make an announcement in the next 3 weeks.
[T]he U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that Bill 9-07, which Baltimore County said was passed to prevent the terminal's construction "is not part of Maryland's federally approved Coastal Zone Management Plan (CMP), and therefore is not saved from preemption as an exercise of Maryland's rights under the CZMA [Coastal Zone Management Act]."
Webmaster's Comments: This article indicates that Bill 9-07 still could prevent the LNG terminal and similar legislation could do the same in other states. If the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) either approves the Bill or fails to take action on it, it will become part of Maryland's Coastal Management Plan (CMP), prohibiting the LNG terminal.
[This is an update to the article immediately below webmaster]
The 10-page opinion of the three judges for the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sides with lawyers for AES who say the county overstepped its authority to create zoning regulations and interfered with the National Gas Act.
Gov. Martin O'Malley pledged to work with federal and local officials to stop the project, writing in a statement that "the LNG facility at Sparrows Point is a threat to our homeland security, a threat to our environment and Chesapeake Bay and a threat to the families of eastern Baltimore County."
The Baltimore County Council passed an amendment to its Coastal Zone Management plan last year that prohibited LNG plants and other facilities, such as oil refineries, from being located in environmentally sensitive coastal areas. (May 19)
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will release her decision on endorsing a proposal by TransCanada to build an Alaska natural gas pipeline Thursday morning Alaska time, the governor's office announced Monday.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman Joseph Kelliher told an energy conference in Washington, D.C., that although he expects LNG prices around the world to converge, he is "not sure what impact that will have on the U.S. market."
Webmaster's Comments: All FERC Chairman Kelliher needs to do is look at what is already happening: natural gas prices are increasing as a result of the globalized LNG market costing US consumers more. The US is being forced to pay increasing prices as world natural gas pricing becomes paired with oil, based on equivalent heat (Btu) potential.
19 May 2008
NATS [subscription required] reports that commercial operations have begun at the Northeast Gateway LNG deepwater port. The terminal commenced operations on Saturday and is running at about 50% capacity.
Webmaster's Comments: This is the first nail of three in the coffins of LNG projects in Passamaquoddy Bay. The second nail will be the Canaport LNG terminal, to be in operation around the end of 2008. The final nail will be the Neptune LNG import facility off Gloucester, Massachusetts, to be in operation around the end of 2009.
Those three LNG import facilities will be providing more than the needed LNG import capacity for northern New England as indicated by LNG industry experts and FERC. Downeast LNG, Quoddy Bay LNG, and Calais LNG developers are living in a dream world, operating on borrowed time, an embarrassment to the LNG industry.
HOUSTON, May 19 -- Houston-based Excelerate Energy LLC's Northeast Gateway (NEG) Deepwater LNG Port in Massachusetts Bay, 18 miles east of Boston, has begun commercial operations. The company's regasification vessel Excellence off-loaded its natural gas cargo into the HubLine pipeline system, which is operated by Spectra Energy, also of Houston.
"This delivery is a milestone in efforts to bring a new, safe, clean, affordable energy source to the New England region in record time," said Rob Bryngelson, Excelerate Energy's chief executive. He described his company's ship-board regasification technology as "the quickest, least expensive, and most environmentally responsible way to bring new natural gas supplies to markets."
Webmaster's Comments: This offshore technology obsoletes Downeast LNG, Quoddy Bay LNG, and Calais LNG.
Excellence is expected to offload about one billion cubic feet of gas in order to test all of the port and pipeline systems. Ultimately, the company said the system would be capable of supplying up to approximately 20 percent of New England's natural gas needs.
The regasification system developed by Excelerate allows its vessels to regasify its LNG cargo and deliver it to one of two turret loading buoys located approximately 90 feet (27 meters) below the water surface.
Coastal communities are reluctant to house LNG facilities, concerned about the safety implications. The most protracted struggle is occurring in Fall River, Mass., where for the last five years the Coalition for Responsible Siting of LNG Facilities, a volunteer grassroots organization, has been battling Weaver's Cove Energy LLC and Amerada Hess's efforts to situate a 200,000 cubic meter LNG storage facility on the Taunton River. The media-savvy coalition has taken its campaign to the Internet via its Web site, <nolng.org>. (May 16)
OCEAN MANAGEMENT (S 2699)
The Senate, 39-0, approved a conference committee version of a bill requiring the state to develop and implement an ocean management plan. The compromise was reached after the House and Senate passed different versions of the bill.
Supporters of the bill said that this landmark legislation would ensure that the state has a statewide and comprehensive plan to balance the commercial and recreational uses of oceans and the protection of their environmental value. They noted that proposals for liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, gas pipelines, telecommunications cables and wind energy facilities must be carefully considered along with the need to preserve the oceans and the environment.
Calgary, Alberta-based Canadian Superior's scheduled announcement comes about a month after trade journals reported that CEO Craig Mackenzie said the company was exploring the construction of an LNG terminal "in the New York City metropolitan area." In January, Canadian Superior said it had made a large natural gas find in Trinidad. (May 16)
The decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reverses a ruling made nearly a year ago in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, which allowed the county zoning law to stand. The law was based on Maryland and its local government’s authority to regulate waterfront zoning on environmental grounds, and could have blocked the terminal proposed by the Virginia-based AES Corp.
“I cannot see how legislation … which expressly bans liquefied natural gas terminal siting in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area, can ever be a ‘right of states under’ the Coastal Zone Management Act,” Chief Judge Karen J. Williams wrote in an opinion concurring with the two other judges.
A federal appellate court this afternoon struck down a Baltimore County law banning liquefied natural gas terminals from coastal areas, removing a hurdle for the company that wants to build a LNG plant on Sparrows Point.
Suez Energy North America Inc., a subsidiary of a huge French energy company, has proposed construction of the Calypso Deepwater Port, twin undersea terminals 7.7 and 10.3 miles off the coast to receive natural gas deliveries from tankers and send the highly flammable fuel through a pipeline to South Florida's power plants.
Next heating season, the New Brunswick site will put up to 1.2 billion cubic feet a day on northeastern U.S. markets -- as much as the Mackenzie project would deliver but for just $1.1 billion or seven per cent of the Arctic scheme's price tag. (May 16)
Webmaster's Comments: The LNG terminal in Saint John is one of the major reasons that Downeast LNG, Quoddy Bay LNG, and Calais LNG are already surplus, unneeded, doomed projects. Other major reasons are:
- Northeast Gateway LNG terminal, newly in operation off Gloucester, MA;
- Neptune LNG, to be in operation around the end of 2009;
- No more LNG is needed than will already be supplied by the above three import terminals;
- Realities of scale, supply, and cost increased materials costs, pipeline capacity costing the price of an LNG terminal, lack of LNG supply, over-abundance of LNG import capacity in North America have made the proposed Passamaquoddy Bay-area LNG projects economically unrealistic.
At a time when the world is already seeing the serious effects of global warming and the economic hardships of relying on foreign oil, it's clear that liquefied natural gas would take Oregon 180 degrees in the wrong direction.
A recent Carnegie Mellon study found that the greenhouse gas impact of burning LNG may be close to the impacts of newer coal plants. Why in the world would we embrace these terminals, especially when Oregon is trying to wean itself from fossil fuels?
Contrary to some claims, the high price of LNG means that allowing an import terminal into Oregon could hurt consumers. [Red and bold emphasis added.] (May 16)
Webmaster's Comments: LNG as a world commodity price-paired to the equivalent energy output of oil is already forcing the price of natural gas significantly upward. Claims that it would lower the price of natural gas are proving to be contrary to real-world events to the detriment of consumers.
Accompanied by a steady beat of drums, Julie Tumamait-Stenslie sang in her native Chumash Yawa'hawi'o shima or "Welcome Water Friend" to a group of about 50 people gathered on Sunday around a wooden staff topped with feathers at the dunes next to the Ventura Harbor entrance.
While the event was in part a celebration of the anniversary of the state's rejection of the proposed Cabrillo Port LNG terminal, the event was also meant to rally the activists to fight some of the other liquefied natural gas terminal proposals now under consideration, including the Clearwater Port LNG, offshore from Ventura.
… Raymond James analysts cautioned, "We continue to see unprecedented growth in US gas production that should eventually overwhelm the US gas markets. This gas supply increase is driven by large independents and increasingly supported by growth from smaller private producers. According to our summer gas model (which assumes 10-year average weather throughout the summer), the US will be on the brink of having to shut in gas production. We continue to believe that there is a 50:50 chance that gas prices will collapse later in the summer. Regardless of weather, one certainty remainsunprecedented US gas production growth is showing little signs of slowing any time soon. This means an oversupplied gas market is still looming on the horizon. If it does not happen this summer, then it will likely show up next winter." [Red & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's Comments: More financial doom and gloom for unpermitted LNG projects like Downeast LNG, Quoddy Bay LNG, and Calais LNG. The economic reality is that they're not needed and are sinking fast.
15 May 2008
Webmaster's Comments: The US Department of State has invited Gazprom to invest in US energy infrastructure. Does that seem like a realistic policy of creating "energy independence"?
The Rabaska consortium has already obtained key federal and provincial government approvals to proceed with construction of the Levis terminal, expected to be completed in time for the first Gazprom shipment in 2014, the group said.
Gazprom, the world's largest gas producer, is joining Enbridge Inc., Gaz Métro LP and Gaz de France SA in developing the $840-million Rabaska LNG project in Quebec, due to be built by 2014, the companies said.
A rival Quebec LNG project at Gros Cacouna, proposed by Petro-Canada and TransCanada Corp., was thrown into limbo early this year when Gazprom cancelled a $3.5-billion (U.S.) liquefaction plant it had planned to build on the Baltic Sea.
Webmaster's Comments: This LNG Law Blog item refers to the pier as being "offshore." In reality, it is a near-shore pier. In regulatory parlance, "offshore" LNG piers must be more than three miles offshore, outside the state's boundary waters, but within federal waters, with MARAD being the permitting agency, rather than FERC.
The Cove Point pier is just over one mile from shore near-shore with FERC being the regulatory agency. Cove Point's cryogenic piping from the berth transits inside a tunnel (a "confined space") under the water something that FERC would be unlikely to allow again.
The term "offshore" is also being misapplied to the latest iteration of the Hess Energy Weaver's Cove LNG terminal at Fall River, Massachusetts. Weaver's Cove proposes to place a berth in the middle of Mount Hope Bay, about one mile from the shores of both Massachusetts and Rhode Island. And, similar to the cockamamie Quoddy Bay LNG proposal, they propose to send a cryogenic LNG pipeline buried under the bay, up the Taunton River, to their proposed tank and regasification site. (Note: LNG ship's Hazard Zones, a.k.a., "Zones of Concern," extend 3,500 meters / 2.2 miles out from the ship.)
… FERC asked the Department of Defense for its opinion of FERC's conclusion in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed AES Sparrows Point LNG terminal that the construction and operation of the terminal will not affect any military activities in the region. (May 14)
The second liquefied natural gas ship to dock at Freeport LNG, bringing a load from Trinidad and Tobago, an island nation off the African coast, departed Tuesday after emptying its hold into the site’s massive storage tanks. And the facility isn’t expecting another shipment in the foreseeable future.
Cheniere has said it will have to find new financing in early 2009 if a buyer isn't found for the marketing unit or if LNG cargoes don't materialize. Cheniere's marketing unit will have to pay the company's Sabine Pass terminal subsidiary $250 million next year for the rights it has to 50% of Sabine Pass' capacity.
U.S. Rep. David Wu joined Gov. Ted Kulongoski this week in asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to create a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Bradwood project to address recent design changes and the state's energy needs report released Friday.
Webmaster's Comments: FERC's process is flawed and favors LNG developers. FERC's responsibility is to the public, but that responsibility is shirked by FERC.
Pointing out that Warrenton has very limited funding resources available for public safety services, the letter says "Warrenton categorically rejects and disputes any claim or characterization that the Proposed Emergency Response Plan and proposed cost-sharing agreements are acceptable to Warrenton or are otherwise fair and reasonable." (May 14)
Webmaster's Comments: FERC makes decisions regarding community safety and emergency response cost-sharing prior to issuing their permit. However, it isn't until after FERC issues its permit that the actual Emergency Response Plan is created. Communities and emergency responders are expected to negotiate with developers and to accept whatever the developers offer them without actually knowing what the requirements will be!
States and communities need to take LNG terminal siting away from FERC, and place it back with the states. That is the purpose of Senate Bill S. 2822.
Sen. Olympia Snowe and Sen. Susan Collins should be joining as co-sponsors to that bill but are avoiding this issue. They are playing into the hands of big energy and an irresponsible FERC. They're supposed to be working for the interests of Maine citizens not the energy industry and the flawed FERC process.
Contact Snowe and Collins now, and urge them to join sponsorship of Senate Bill S. 2822.
[Energia Costa Azul] Import facility to serve Western states, Mexico
Stoked by surging natural-gas prices, San Diego's Sempra Energy has completed its new Baja California liquefied-natural-gas terminal opening the first LNG import facility on the western coast of North America.
Webmaster's Comments: LNG industry experts all over are indicating that there are already too many LNG import terminals in the US.
Are investors for Downeast LNG, Quoddy Bay LNG, and Calais LNG paying attention? It's time for them to close up shop and head home.
LNG imports are likely to be down as well. In the first four months of the year, [LNG imports] were down by 62 %. (PDF; 1.7 MB)
"Natural gas is best employed directly in home use such as space- and water-heating instead of the less-efficient use of fueling electric baseload generation," he said, adding that more efficient use "will, over time, have the effect of easing price pressures." (May 14)
Venezuela plans to start exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) by December 2014 at the latest, according to Ruben Figuera, general manager of offshore joint ventures for state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDV). (May 16)
Webmaster's Comments: Considering Venezuela President Chavez's attitude toward the United States, it's likely that LNG would be used as a political weapon against US interests.
Qatargas-II is already in a deal with Mexico’s Total Gas & Power to supply gas to the Altamira Terminal from where it will be fed to a major plant at Tampico and some other utilities in the North American country.
13 May 2008
Webmaster's Comments: Northeast Gateway, Canaport, and Neptune LNG, are why the LNG projects in Passamaquoddy Bay are wasted efforts. Northeast Gateway is ready now. Canaport will be ready around the end of 2008, and Neptune will be ready around the end of 2009. FERC and LNG industry pundits recognize that the Northeast will then have more-than-adequate LNG import infrastructure.
Downeast LNG, Quoddy Bay LNG, and Calais LNG are now several years behind the curve, moot, and reduced to no more than money pits. History, the economy, and international reality have left them so far back in the dust, their investors should be embarrassed by their continued exposure.
"Since February, I have opposed the proposed LNG terminals for one simple reason: they take us in the wrong direction. For the last fifty years, the United States has pursued a short-sighted energy policy that leaves us overly reliant on foreign fossil fuels. This policy has been bad for our economy and bad our environment." (May 9)
Knowing what happens when "FERC takes control of your environmental and economic destiny," he said, Hillary Clinton voted against the 2005 energy bill, after an amendment failed in its attempt to hand siting authority back to the states. (May 12)
Webmaster's Comments: Maine delegates who voted in favor of giving FERC superior rights over states regarding LNG terminal siting, via the Energy Policy Act of 2005: Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins (see roll-call vote).
Kulongoski said, "This report raises serious questions about whether LNG is the only source to serve an increased demand for natural gas and whether LNG terminals are in the public's best interest both economically and environmentally."
The so-called American Energy Production Act would have lifted moratoriums on oil and natural gas drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf and parts of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, repealed new application fees for drilling on federal lands, and created a production mandate for coal derived fuels.
It would also have repealed a one-year moratorium on oil shale development on federal lands and would have stopped fill of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The Senate Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a Democratic proposal on halting SPR fills.
WASHINGTON, DC U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman will travel to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on Monday to highlight the countries’ joint efforts to ensure steady supplies of diverse energy sources, increase energy infrastructure security, and advance economic development and prosperity in the Western Hemisphere. (May 9)
Webmaster's Comments: Trinidad has predicted a mere 12-year resource inventory of LNG. Relying on Trinidad & Tobago and on LNG in order to increase US energy security is as short-sighted as the overall US energy policy.
[Bodman] was asked about Chavez's proposal to create a South American organization of natural gas producers, fashioned after the oil-exporting cartel OPEC. The proposal has gained little traction since most LNG sales are based on long-term contracts that cannot be readily adjusted for price movements.
Citing potentially challenging upstream conditions in the global LNG value chain, NATS questions the adequacy of global LNG supplies should the U.S. gas market decide LNG imports are necessary to cover market requirements. [Red emphasis added.]
12 May 2008
She adds, "This is a rare decision from FERC and signals that perhaps insurmountable barriers exist for Quoddy Bay LNG. In addition, there's the pending Bureau of Indian Affairs federal lawsuit essentially challenging the legality of Quoddy Bay LNG's land lease at Pleasant Point. Also, there's Canada's prohibition against LNG passage into the bay, and Northeast and Maritimes Pipeline's lack of capacity to accommodate the proposed project. And finally, there's the changing world economy regarding LNG supply and demand. Those are all project killers for the Quoddy Bay LNG developer." [Red emphasis added.] (May 9)
Bridges highlighted the issues of human rights and ecological integrity. "People are suffering human rights issues in Nicaragua and in Africa, and the energy companies continue to do business as usual. With the fossil energy companies, it is all about money." Bridges said, "I want to make people aware of our fears of liquefied natural gas [LNG]. It is not a pretty game. It might sound like jobs, but many indigenous people are suffering at the hands of the energy companies." [Red emphasis added.] (May 9)
Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline is proposing another expansion of the capacity of the U.S. portion of its pipeline system to transport new natural gas supplies from EnCana Corporation's Deep Panuke off the coast of Nova Scotia to markets in the northeastern U.S.
Maritimes & Northeast has not made any agreements yet to transport gas from either the proposed Quoddy Bay LNG terminal at Pleasant Point or the Downeast LNG terminal in Robbinston. [Red emphasis added.] (May 9)
Webmaster's Comments: The economic realities of LNG including the surplus of LNG import terminals in North America mean that Downeast LNG, Quoddy Bay LNG, and Calais LNG have wasted their time and money on projects that have no future. Their investors need to stop the economic and social harm that they've been doing to the Passamaquoddy Bay area for over four years. The in-the-field LNG speculators need to go home, lick their wounds, and find something else to do with their lives.
The Secretary of State William Galvin reportedly continuing his investigation into Mr. Vitale’s lobbying activities, and the loan and lobbying effort is the subject of one of several complaints filed by the GOP against Mr. DiMasi pending before the state Ethics Commission.
Another involves a bill that the House passed to protect plans for an LNG terminal project in Fall River. After the bill was passed, Jay Cashman, a well known project developer reportedly sold the property to an LNG company for a $14 million profit, and a separate complaint is pending over his acceptance of donations for a charity golf tournament the speaker holds annually, from a representative of a Canadian company that received a faulty computer software contract from the state that was canceled by the Patrick administration.
A new LNG terminal off the coast of Massachusetts is expected to get its first shipment of natural gas by the end of this month. The company is working with scientists in an effort to protect whales who are in the path of LNG tankers.
For most it's tragedy long forgotten. Three elderly people killed in a house explosion in Garland in January, 2000. Investigators ruled that a small gas pipeline had cracked and leaked, causing the explosion that killed Albert and Lillian Holbert and her sister Callie Hickerson. But the Holberts' daughter, Sydna Gordon, will never forget.
Webmaster's Comments: There is a parallel between the Railroad Commission of Texas and FERC. Just like the Rairoad Commission, the LNG industry provides funds* to FERC. FERC is partially funded and influenced by the natural gas and LNG industries.
* LNG applicants pay fees for FERC efforts. Those fees are then added by Congress to the FERC budget.
The report states that it is important to note that construction of pipelines serving proposed LNG import terminals is contingent on approval of the terminals themselves. In all, seven LNG import terminals have been proposed in the region.
Two are inactive, while five are currently proceeding through various local, state and federal regulatory approval processes. The five active projects include those of Kitimat LNG in Northwest British Columbia; WestPac LNG on Texada Island in the Strait of Georgia; Bradwood Landing on the Columbia River near Clatskanie, OR; Oregon LNG in Warrenton, OR; and Jordan Cove LNG in Coos Bay, OR. The market will ultimately dictate which of these projects are built. (May 8)
Webmaster's Comments: The report is incorrect in assuming that it will be "the market" that "will ultimately dictate which of these projects are built" at least, for the US projects. In truth, the states themselves will dictate what terminals receive the required permits.
The LNG industry and news media need to understand that FERC's permits are worthless if state permits are denied.
In denying NorthernStar's motion, Matyas ruled in favor of the county, saying the decision to allow pipelines on OPR land as a conditional use was "clearly a legislative decision" that is subject to referendum, as it affects many parcels, multiple landowners and the public.
Even if the referendum succeeds, it won't necessarily stop the Bradwood project from going forward. It would, however, force NorthernStar to change its pipeline route to avoid the three-quarter-mile tract of OPR land it would cross under the current proposal.
The report is in response to the Governor’s direction in a letter on February 14, 2008 which requested that ODOE conduct an analysis on the need for and costs, both financial and environmental, of an LNG facility in Oregon. The request came after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) made it clear it would not take the time to perform a natural gas needs assessment or take a comprehensive approach in its process to site energy projects.
“Given the admission that the exact dimensions of the security zone are currently unknown, there is not substantial evidence in the record on which the Commissioners can make a finding on what the impact on public trust rights will be,” the brief reads. “Without that, there is not substantial evidence on which to conclude those impacts will be minimal.
FERC holds overall authority for licensing LNG terminals. But the state retains both political clout to block the projects and the regulatory authority to issue -- or deny -- permits for the terminals under the Clean Air, Clean Water and Coastal Zone Management acts.
There is already a surplus of LNG terminals in the United States. Many can't attract LNG cargoes because other countries are willing to pay more. LNG plants in Oregon would likely be underutilized, particularly with the presence of a new LNG terminal in Baja, Mexico. [Red emphasis added.] (May 10)
Webmaster's Comments: States hold the trump card over LNG terminals, and they're beginning to use that power against FERC's willy-nilly site-it-everywhere policy.
If FERC really were the safety agency they claim to be, they'd be observing the world LNG industry's own SIGTTO standards for LNG terminal siting, as published in "Site Selection and Design for LNG Ports and Jetties" (see LNGTSS.org for an abbreviated summary of that publication's terminal siting recommendations and warnings). Instead and despite SIGTTO's offer of assistance FERC ignores SIGTTO and the industry's best practices regarding LNG terminal siting.
An industry analyst with Tudor Pickering Holt offered a client report last week that lowered her previous 2008 U.S. LNG import prediction from 3 Bcf/d to 1.3 Bcf/d. The analyst cited global market conditions and relatively low U.S. gas prices as the main reasons for her revised outlook.
Webmaster's Comments: The news is all bad for Downeast LNG, Quoddy Bay LNG, and Calais LNG. They jumped into the game too late and in the wrong place.
"As the United States' largest supplier of liquefied natural gas-accounting for close to 60 per cent of our LNG imports last year-the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is key strategic energy partner," Bodman said. "I am pleased to visit our ally in the Caribbean to deepen the ties between our two nations and discuss ways to further enhance our cooperation to protect critical energy infrastructure and expand our energy relationship."
Webmaster's Comments: Trinidad reported in 2007 December that their natural gas reserves will last for only 12 more years (see "Energy company preaches restraint on natural gas projects - Audit puts 12-year life on reserves").
The UAE has the world's fifth largest gas reserves after Russia, Iran, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, estimated at nearly 214 trillion cubic feet. But a large part of them are associated with oil, making their treatment a costly process and entailing the UAE to raise crude production. To meet a surge in domestic demand, mainly for re-injection in oilfields to expand output capacity, the UAE has steadily expanded gas production over the past 20 years. From around 25 billion cubic metres in 1995, natural gas output swelled to nearly 35 bcm in 2000 and 47 bcm in 2006. It is projected to exceed 50 bcm this year and over 60 bcm in 2015.
10 May 2008
With targeted investment, the natural beauty of Maine’s coast, lakes, forests and fields and the man-made charms of its 19th century cities, towns and villages can produce jobs, the Governor’s Council of Maine’s Quality of Place has concluded.
… Maine’s quality of place is its chief economic asset, and neglecting it is not an option. [Red bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's Comments: LNG terminals would be destructive in such a beautiful and naturally productive place as Passamaquoddy Bay. The prospect of LNG development flies in the face of recommendations by the Governor's Council of Maine's Quality of Place.
Downeast LNG, Quoddy Bay LNG, and Calais LNG are sinking in an overwhelming tide of evidence against their projects.
LNG imports into the US need to increase and incentives must be created to encourage fuel switching away from gas and towards residual fuel oil during injection season in order to bring gas inventories to full levels by the end of October, the report said.
In order to do so, Goldman said the NYMEX natural gas prices need to rise further and close their gap with international gas prices and the oil complex in the coming months. [Bold red emphasis added.] (May 7)
Webmaster's Comments: Goldman Sachs whom Calais LNG claims is backing their project is advocating higher natural gas prices!
A proposed regulation under review by the White House would require all ships to slow to 10 knots if whales are in the area. Clark thinks that is a reasonable limit, but shippers object to the mandate for safety and economic reasons. (May 8)
Webmaster's Comments: Hess Energy's Weaver's Cove LNG terminal project violates SIGTTO standards for siting such facilities. SIGTTO states they don't want civilians put at risk by LNG projects, since an LNG disaster affecting civilians would shut down and ruin the LNG industry.
Weaver's Cove's proposal to now berth LNG carriers in the middle of a small bay, creating equi-distant hazards to the surrounding communities just a mile away, doesn't make the project any more standards compliant or acceptable. The project is a bad idea all-around, and FERC's permit approval in the face of Coast Guard rejection for safety reasons has demonstrated FERC's irresponsibility as a safety agency.
Since the LNG plant reopened in 2001, Savannah Fire has responded to eight incidents, including two high angle rescues. [Red emphasis added.] (May 7)
Speakers will include community activists, Bill Bradbury, and former Enron prosecutor John Kroger. All will address the importance of moving Oregon away from LNG and towards conservation, efficiency, and renewables.
It was a bad day to be a [liquefied] natural gas developer.
First, Clatsop County Circuit Court Judge Cindee Matyas ruled that a referendum effort on the part of LNG opponents that could complicate development of the Bradwood Landing LNG terminal in the works near Astoria.
Matyas dismissed a motion from NorthernStar Natural Gas Inc. to stop the ballot referendum, which stems from the county's approval of the Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas project land-use application.
In denying NorthernStar's motion, Matyas ruled in favor of the county, saying the decision to allow pipelines on OPR land as a conditional use was "clearly a legislative decision" that is subject to referendum, as it will affect many parcels, different landowners, community members and the public. (May 9)
In yesterday's report the [Oregon Department of Energy] said proposed pipelines from the Rocky Mountains can meet the state's increased demand for less money that liquefied gas from three proposed terminal in Oregon can. [Red emphasis added.]
"This report raises serious questions about whether LNG is the only source to serve an increased demand for natural gas and whether LNG terminals are in the public's best interest both economically and environmentally," Kulongoski said in a news release. (May 9)
Today the Governor also filed a request with the FERC to issue a new supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the LNG import terminal facility at Bradwood Landing and its associated pipelines, because the project proposal has changed substantially since the draft EIS was issued August 2007 and because significant new information concerning the LNG project has been submitted by the applicants themselves. In this request, the Governor asked FERC to also evaluate in the supplemental DEIS the new report from the Oregon Department of Energy. (May 9)
Cost is always a concern for local communities and the facts are deliberately clouded by the people who want to bring LNG to Clatsop County. NorthernStar boasts that they will bring nearly $8 million in county taxes to the area, but fails to even talk about the annual costs. It is estimated, based on the current LNG shipments on the East Coast, that each time a ship comes in it will cost the local community $40,000, and again that same amount when it goes out. Add this up with the three round trips a week they are planning and the annual cost is $12.4 million per year. (May 9)
Webmaster's Comments: The LNG developer play-book includes a chapter on being blind to communitys' costs when hyping LNG projects to those communities.
Haugen, a Republican and small business owner from Scappoose, said LNG could be a "transition energy source" for the country, but they're not a long-term solution. He supports a transition to hydrogen-based fuels, wind and solar energy sources by 2019. (May 8)
The lab's study showed the maximum distance at which people or structures would be burned by a large liquefied natural gas, or LNG, fire increased only by about 7 or 8 percent, Hightower said. However, he said, the estimated time it would take for the fire to burn itself out tripled from up to 10 minutes to 30 minutes.
Hightower cautioned that simulating the effects of large LNG fires involves some guesswork, because the only studies done using real LNG fires have been on a small scale. Sandia, based in Albuquerque, N.M., has received money from Congress for research involving live LNG fires up to 330 feet in diameter to be finished next year. (May 9)
Webmaster's Comments: The Sandia Lab Hazard Zones ("Zones of Concern") still remain at 500 meters (.3 mile), 1,600 meters (1 mile), and 3,500 meters (2.2 miles), since the gas might not ignite immediately, and could drift into civilian-occupied areas, creating fire, asphyxiation, and explosion hazards.
"For the first time in many months, the U.S. East Coast has emerged as a superior netback from Trinidad over most European markets. U.S. imports should experience a slow, steady increase through summer," Waterborne Energy said in its latest report.
"We now suspect that global supplies (of LNG) this winter will be in high demand with little to go around, thereby potentially setting the stage for record high prices in the Far East and Europe and a very thin U.S. import scenario," Waterborne said in the report. (May 8)
Webmaster's Comments: Conflicting predictions about LNG import volume seems to be the watchword.
Platts LNG Daily reports that several energy industry experts told the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston this week that the U.S. market may have to pay prices indexed to crude oil in order to attract LNG cargos to North America. (May 9)
Webmaster's Comments: LNG by creating a world market for the product has caused natural gas prices in the US to rise significantly. So much for LNG terminal developers' claims that importing LNG will reduce the price we pay for natural gas. That's already been proven false.
6 May 2008
Oil & Gas Higher material, labour, construction bills put natural gas line $115M over budget
Bill Henry, vice president of Freeport LNG, told Platts LNG Daily [subscription required] that his company expects a second commissioning cargo to arrive at its terminal this Friday. Henry also noted that the LNG cargo originated in Trinidad & Tobago and it will be delivered by the Excelerate LNG carrier Excalibur.
President/Chief Executive Officer of NW Natural Gas Gregg Kantor's opinion editorial embodies the classic case of not being able to see the forest for the LNG ("The LNG Controversy," The Oregonian, April 27).
Copious studies by Oregon Forest Resources Institute and the Oregon Department of Forestry have documented more than 2,000 megawatts of biomass generation with enough fuel for 20 years. That is approximately the equivalent generation of any one of the proposed LNG projects or several nuclear power plants.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports into the U.S. will be lower this summer, due to increased demand in Asian markets, according to a recent report by Paris-based investment-banking firm Societe Generale. "Higher prices for LNG in Asia mean summer 2008 movement of LNG to the U.S. may be lower this year, despite the increased regasification capacity of U.S. terminals," Ashley Wilkins. head of capital raising, said at an energy-finance program in Houston. "China and India have demonstrated an ability to agree to high market prices."
LNG terminals may suffer overcapacity issues this year when four U.S. regasification terminals, one expanded facility, and terminals in Mexico and Canada come online. "The U.S. is going to have a very difficult time attracting the LNG into that overbuilt capacity," he said. "The U.S. is in a situation where it will need to attract LNG via price rather than being the summer sponge," he said.
Webmaster's Comments: The US already has surplus LNG import capacity. The Downeast LNG, Quoddy Bay LNG, and Calais LNG terminal proposals are moot, lost causes.
Since the world´s LNG receiving terminals are underutilized, there is stiff competition for offshore supply. As a result-out comes Tertzakian´s small wooden globe-"cargos have been shipped right around the world, from Trinidad all the way over here, to China. If [customers] are paying $15 in China or Japan but only $5 or $6 in the United States, East Asia is where the gas is going to go." Only a few years ago, he says, no one could have predicted that.
"Production from the south-central United States [Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas] is growing. If this production keeps growing, and it has already squeezed out LNG imports, what are the implications for Canada? [Red emphasis added.]
5 May 2008
Webmaster's Comments: This new terminal going into operation along with the neighboring Neptune terminal off Gloucester that will be accepting its first cargo around the end of 2009, and the Canaport terminal to go into service near the end of this year make the Downeast LNG, Quoddy Bay LNG, and Calais LNG proposed projects moot.
They should save their energy. New York has signaled it will not approve the necessary permits to build the facility, and Connecticut has vowed to hold up the project in the courts if New York changes its mind.
The reasoning behind the opposition is sound. The federal government's own Government Accountability Office released a study last year concluding that more research was needed on the dangers surrounding such terminals, and found that an accident on board an LNG facility could bring catastrophe. In addition, the sensitive nature of the LNG deliveries to the facility would require costly Coast Guard escorts, and the narrow opening into the Atlantic Ocean would guarantee all ship traffic effectively halts every time a delivery comes in. The Sound is far too vibrant to allow for such constant disruptions. [Red emphasis added.]
Latest LNG report leaves key questions unanswered
It's difficult to understand how the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could judge the proposed liquefied natural gas facility at Sparrows Point as environmentally acceptable, given the quantity of unknowns involved. But that's the conclusion of the agency's draft environmental impact statement, which nonetheless acknowledges there are a considerable number of concerns to be mitigated.
Is it really wise to place an LNG terminal so far into the bay and so close to a major urban center? We're not convinced that FERC has been adequately skeptical. And it's not helpful that FERC staff not only reviewed the environmental impact report but helped write it, too. (May 4)
[Streaming online video file. Southern LNG at Elba Island building the largest LNG storage tank in North America says they didn't know they need to pay for fire service. So, instead of paying the city, they've contracted with a private partially-volunteer fire department that, according to Savannah officials, is inadequately staffed and equipped.] (May 4)
Webmaster's Comments: FERC requires LNG terminals to create a cost-sharing plan before FERC issues a permit. FERC had to have known that Southern LNG made no offer to pay for fire services and FERC approved the plan.
This also points out how FERC places communities in a defenseless bargaining position regarding Emergency Response and safety of local citizens.
FERC announced in today's Federal Register that it will host three public meetings on the proposed Oregon LNG import terminal. All three meetings will be held in Oregon and are scheduled for May 20, 21, and 22.
After four years and $33 million, the project lacks basic approvals. Opposition has mounted -- from landowners, municipalities, industry groups, environmental and property-rights activists, and state politicians who could halt the terminal.
[T]he two have never built an LNG terminal on their own -- but not for lack of trying. [Red emphasis added.] (May 4)
Sempra Energy, a holding company that operates two Southern California utilities, is investing heavily in a giant new gas pipeline extending from the Colorado Rockies to Ohio. The company is also building two liquefied natural gas terminals, one in Baja California in Mexico and the other in Louisiana.
Q. Liquified natural gas shipments to the United States are dropping because they are being diverted to other countries where prices are higher. How large a problem is that for national natural gas supplies?
A. Gas is going to flow to the place where it gets the highest price, and it just so happens that in Asia there are no alternatives and so they pay whatever they have to get natural gas. [Red emphasis added.] (May 3)
Compared to conventional regasification methods, the SAV process is an environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient technology that uses a closed-loop intermediate fluid, circulating through fin-fan heat exchangers to extract heat from ambient air. It applies this heat to vaporize the LNG from its cryogenic state to pipeline temperatures for transporting and storage. [Red emphasis added.]
According to NATS, because Japanese and South Korean gas markets are so closely linked to the oil market, their activities in the LNG market is "strengthening what is normally a tenuous link between natural gas prices and oil prices in the U.S."
3 May 2008
ST. ANDREWS With the May 12 municipal elections just around the corner, candidates in St. Andrews are getting vocal about fighting proposed LNG terminals in [Passamaquoddy Bay] and fixing problems with their watershed.
Webmaster's Comments: Canada is holding fast to prevent LNG transits into Passamaquoddy Bay.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled Weaver's Cove had no standing to sue, on the grounds the company failed to demonstrate harm due to delays in granting of permits.
Webmaster's Comments: It's becoming increasingly clear through federal court decisions that states' rights trump FERC in LNG terminal permitting.
"MassDEP is pleased that the court has upheld our permitting authority in this case," Margaret Stolfa, the agency's general counsel, said in a prepared statement. "The court reaffirmed the principle that it is important for states to be able to appropriately regulate significant projects that may have serious environmental consequences." [Red emphasis added.]
[Guy F. Caruso, Administrator Energy Information Administration gave a slide presentation including the following information at the 2008 Apr 22 "LNG 2008" event.]
- Traditional fossil fuels are expected to continue to meet the bulk of energy requirements over the projection period
- U.S. energy demand is projected to grow at an average annual rate of 0.7 percent
- The energy efficiency of the economy is projected to increase at an average annual rate of 1.7 percent
- U.S. oil import dependence, measured as a share of U.S. oil use, is expected to decrease by 2030
- U.S. natural gas use is projected to decline after 2016
- Future growth in U.S. natural gas supplies depends on unconventional domestic production, natural gas from Alaska, and liquefied natural gas imports
- Carbon dioxide emissions from energy are projected to grow at an average annual rate of 0.6 percent
[Red emphasis added.]
2 May 2008
Weaver's Cove LNG lost another round Friday when the US Court of Appeals dismissed the company's appeal of Massachusetts' and Rhode Island's denial of the LNG developer's request for a permit that would let them dredge parts of the Taunton River in Massachusetts and of Mount Hope Bay in Rhode Island.
At the heart of the issue is his relationship with Developer Jay Cashman and as the Boston Globe reported on Thursday the appearance that his relationship led to DiMassi killing a bill which would have stopped the LNG plan in Fall River.
Mr. DiMasi has denied acting to help his friend, and that he did not know details of Mr. Cashman’s stake in the LNG project site at the time. GOP spokesman Barney Keller said he expects GOP officials to request an Ethics Commission investigation into that issue this week.
Dempsey yesterday joined six other members of DiMasi's leadership team at a Statehouse press conference to defend the speaker, who is the subject of a pair of probes by the state Ethics Commission over whether he's used his influence to help friends and business associates.
Webmaster's Comments: In the senseless logic of members of the US Congress who created the LNG siting mess, a Governor only has veto power over an LNG terminal that is outside the state's waters and is in federal waters! If the terminal is within state waters, then governor has no veto authority.
The Wyden bill (S. 2822) to revoke FERC's authority over LNG terminal siting would correct that problem. Maine's US Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins still haven't joined as co-sponsors of this billl. Contact them today and encourage them to do so.
… firefighters responded to eight calls at the facility since 2001. [Red & bold emphasis added.]
[Be sure to view the photo gallery that accompanies this story.]
Webmaster's Comments: The photo gallery shows the demonstration was with a miniscule containment of LNG that in no way reflects the true hazard of an LNG pool fire.
The $8.4 billion Coast Guard bill that overwhelmingly passed the U.S. House last week contains much of local relevance, most notably a requirement that the USCG must enforce security zones around liquefied natural gas terminals and arriving tankers.
It will come as a surprise to many here that there previously was no such rule. Although the Coast Guard provides some security for LNG sites and ships, USCG Commandant Adm. Thad Allen strenuously objected last week to having LNG duties written into law, something he said robs the Coast Guard of "necessary discretion and flexibility to meet our mission demands in an often-changing, dangerous operating environment."
1 May 2008
The Robbinston applicant not only has failed to provide significant information on topics such as the effects on lobsters and migratory shorebirds, but also included a pipeline route through Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, for which subsequently the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service quite rightly denied permission. (Spring)
Just months after House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi killed a bill that was designed to block a controversial liquefied natural gas project from being built on 73 acres in Fall River, the landowner, Jay Cashman, sold the property to the terminal developers and made a $14.2 million profit, according to a Globe review of real estate and legislative records.
DiMasi's actions, taken in 2006, raise questions not only because of his close relationship with Cashman, a wealthy contractor, but also because DiMasi's wife has been involved for at least two years in what the speaker last week termed a "business relationship" with Cashman and his wife. [Red emphasis added.]
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on March 20 approved Broadwater's permit applications to construct and operate the terminal, ruling that the facility was necessary, posed few safety risks, and would have minimal adverse environmental impacts. However, the FERC approval was conditioned on a determination by the N.Y. secretary of state that the proposed terminal would be consistent with the state's coastal zone management plan.
Webmaster's Comments: FERC claims that they take no position on need that the market will determine that issue. An yet, FERC assumes that all LNG facilities are ”needed” even though they've already permitted a huge surplus of LNG import capacity.
Senator Wyden's bill to revoke FERC authority in siting LNG terminals is a needed and justified step in slapping down FERC’s flagrant abuse of authority.
"We must come together as a community to preserve and protect our ocean against these proposed LNG ports," said state Assemblyman Dave Rible (R-11th District) in a press release. "A clean and healthy ocean is essential to our economy and the recreational activities we enjoy in Monmouth County.
"For 20 years we have worked hard to turn our ocean from Ocean Dumping Capital of theWorld to the Clean Ocean Zone," Zipf said in a press release. "We are enjoying the benefits and our coastal economy is thriving. Now Big Oil has set its greedy eyes on our ocean and threatens our quality of life."
Local officials decry federal report on LNG
MANATEE -- Construction of a natural gas terminal proposed 28 miles offshore could adversely affect marine wildlife and habitat and pose "small but potentially significant" risks, a draft environmental impact statement says.
Two economists for the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas predict that, as LNG imports to the United States increase, gas prices in the U.S. market will trend towards the higher prices seen in the global LNG market.
Webmaster's Comments: This prediction is by US economists, people with no axe to grind. This is even more bad news for proposed LNG projects like Downeast LNG, Quoddy Bay LNG, and Calais
But the biggest flashpoint is the bill’s requirement that the Coast Guard provides security around LNG terminals. As proposed, the bill would bar new LNG terminals from being approved unless the USCG in that sector can certify that it has all the security assets it needs.
Concerns over natural gas supplies and high crude oil prices continued to be the driving forces for the increases. As the price of crude oil reached a record-high of $119.64 per barrel last Friday (April 25), the Henry Hub price surged to its highest level in more than 2 years (following the devastating hurricane season in 2005).