"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
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ANOTHER Coast Guard collision within two weeks — 1 child killed, several others injured…
31 Dec 2009
ST. ANDREWS – Save Passamaquoddy Bay/Canada is urging liquefied natural gas opponents to write to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, calling for regulations to prevent dangerous cargo from Head Harbour Passage.
Government has consistently said it will not allow LNG tankers through Head Harbour Passage and has also refused to co-operate with the permitting process in the U.S., leaving the developers without key information they need to fulfil the requirements of the permitting process.
The Canadian Shipping Act gives Canada the power to regulate any part or parts of the waters in Canada for the purpose of protecting people and shore areas, to regulate compulsory routes including areas to be avoided and to prohibit navigation of ships by reason of the cargo or environmental or hydrographic conditions. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: The US Coast Guard Waterway Suitability Report (WSR) and Letter of Recommendation (LOR) require the local LNG developers to obtain Canada's cooperation. Canada has made clear that will not happen. A regulation would put the LNG prohibition in stone.
[A broadcast video with more details on this topic is available from the following link.]
A spokeswoman says Mayor Thomas Menino also is also very concerned about the impending shipments. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
[A broadcast video with more details on this topic is available from the following link.]
"We had some long-term contracts in place with a company in Trinidad and those contracts have expired. And we were unable to renew them, and so we had to look elsewhere for supplies," said Carol Churchill, of Distrigas.
Distrigas turned to Yemen, which not only has a state of the art port with LNG facilities, but is also a safe harbor for terrorist groups. It's where the suspect in the Christmas Day attempted airplane bombing reportedly trained. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
Shipments of liquefied natural gas from Yemen are scheduled to arrive for the first time in Boston Harbor in February, prompting a review of tanker security by the US Coast Guard that has intensified since a passenger with links to Al Qaeda in Yemen tried to blow up a US airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day.
Some Massachusetts officials are still unsettled by the prospect of allowing such large quantities of flammable gas so close to the densely populated metropolitan area, particularly when it comes directly from a country now identified as a suspected stronghold of Al Qaeda. Past studies have shown that a liquefied natural gas leak in Boston Harbor could catch fire and even explode, threatening people more than three-quarters of a mile away.
[A broadcast video with more details on this topic is available from the following link.]
Webmaster’s Comments: The US is drowning in natural gas resources.
30 Dec 2009
The story of a special place between three worlds. From the time of the Laurentide Glacier to the present, this unique ecosystem has the highest biodiversity on the northeast coast of Canada and the United States. The 28-foot tides and bathymetry of the area produce an abundance of food for many invertebrates, fish, marine birds, and mammals, including whales like the endanged North Atlantic Right Whale and other listed species. Learn about its traditional sustainable resource-based industries, its people, and the industrial development that threaten this unique place today.
Webmaster’s Comments: This publication provides numerous valid reasons why LNG is inappropriate for Passamaquoddy Bay, and is full of interesting and educational content.
Federal regulators said Tuesday that a proposed liquefied natural gas project at Sparrows Point would conform to Maryland’s air quality requirements, but the approval could have little meaning given a court ruling that blocked the project last week.
The pipeline, which would run through Pennsylvania, requires conformity in that state as well, but FERC has not collected all of the necessary information to complete its final “general conformity determination” there.
FERC's staff issued a Final General Conformity Determination concluding that the planned construction and operations of the AES Sparrows Point LNG project conforms to the regulations in Maryland's implementation plan for the air standards mandated by the federal Clean Air Act.
… The current gas supply glut is not likely to go away soon. Even the always-possible Russia-Ukraine row, or a colder than usual winter, probably would not be enough to boost world prices. Unconventional gas production is expected to rise in the United States. That will force Qatar and other exporters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to divert exports from North America to Asia and Europe. The alternative supply should strengthen the hand of European buyers in dealing with their big supplier - Russia. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: The US is drowning in domestic natural gas.
[H]uge new gas fields in Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and elsewhere have led to a surge in U.S. natural-gas production, glutting the market even as the recession has sapped demand for all forms of energy. Prices have plummeted to less than $6 per million British thermal units, less than half their price in July 2008.
The new gas fields are changing the equation because they contain vast quantities of gas that is relatively inexpensive to pump and is expected to last for decades, making it easier for producers to make long-term commitments. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments:Downeast LNG and Calais LNG are moot.
29 Dec 2009
Repsol YPF SA and Irving Oil Ltd. are due to receive a liquefied natural gas tanker today at Canaport LNG, according to vessel tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. Ceres LNG Services Ltd.'s Methane Shirley Elisabeth is scheduled to arrive in Saint John the data showed. The ship can carry as much as 145,000 cubic meters of LNG, or 3.12 billion cubic feet of natural gas, equivalent to about 5.2 per cent of estimated daily U.S. gas production.
This month Calais LNG reportedly filed an application to construct and operate an LNG import terminal near Calais, Maine. Although the application for the LNG terminal is not yet available from FERC, an application to construct and operate the natural gas pipeline associated with the Calais LNG project is available in the eLibrary under Docket No. CP10-31. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: The associated Calais Pipeline Company's application filings are available on FERC's eLibrary Docket.
Save the Bay’s Director of Marketing and Communications, John Martin, disagrees with “the idea that a private company can take a private resource and make it theirs forever. We object to the process in which people who enjoy the use of the bay become marginalized.”
With a growing need to transport its increasing Marcellus Shale production into the prominent natural gas market in the U.S., Chesapeake Energy Corp. has entered into a definitive agreement with Spectra Energy Corp. The agreement provides that Chesapeake will be the largest shipper for Spectra's new natural gas pipeline project.
With this agreement, Chesapeake will serve the large and growing New York City metropolitan area. The relative proximity of the copious Marcellus natural gas reserves to New York City is an added advantage for the company. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden sent a letter to FERC asking that the commission investigate citizen complaints stemming from this month’s site visits. It seems Senator Wyden is particularly concerned about the fact that the FERC-orchestrated tour gave LNG industry representatives an opening to abuse the rights of impacted landowners. Wyden is spot-on in this analysis: industry reps from the corporation Oregon LNG accompanied FERC on the site visits, and were found on one property gathering GPS readings after being specifically notified by the landowners that they were only allowed to gather visual information. FERC staff present at the time made no move to criticize this abuse (see my earlier post on the site visits). [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
It was stated that Gov. Kulongoski and most LNG opponents wrongly contend the siting decision for a LNG terminal should depend on an identified need for such a facility. You go on to applaud the fact that FERC has “wisely taken a free-market approach” and agree that the decision as to need is best left to the LNG proponents and customers.
The National Environmental Policy Act became law in 1969. Its implementing regulations, and case law since that time, spell out the basic framework for a valid EIS. As recently as January 2007, the Congressional Research Service reiterated yet again the basic elements a valid EIS must contain.
The first element is a statement of purpose and need, intended to “specify the underlying purpose of a project and the need to which the agency is responding.” The next element is the identification of all reasonable alternative ways to meet the stated purpose and need. Then comes the heart of the EIS, which is an analysis of the impacts of each alternative on the affected environment, including a discussion of the probable beneficial and adverse social, economic and environmental effects of each alternative.
Webmaster’s Comments: In FERC justifying its LNG terminal decisions in favor of projects, it sometimes claims the LNG facilities "are needed" — even though during the process leading up to the decision, FERC hypocritically claims it is not FERC's role to consider need, and even though actual need has not been demonstrated.
Need is emphatically a requirement of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and FERC has been negligently acting against the public interest in claiming otherwise.
…Perhaps the biggest energy-related story of 2009 was the realization that the shale gas revolution is real and will result in a major shift in the world’s natural gas market. Shale gas was, as deForest Ralph wrote on this site earlier this year, the “black swan” in the natural gas sector. That black swan means that the US, which just a few years ago was considered a prime destination for foreign LNG, has become, in effect, a natural gas exporter. That point was made succinctly by Ian Cronshaw of the IEA during the World Gas Conference in Buenos Aires in October when he said “The United States is now a virtual liquefied natural gas exporter because all the LNG that was supposed to be going there is now going somewhere else.” The shale gas revolution means the US now has gas resources that should last a century or more. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
MEXICO CITY Dec 29 (Reuters) - Mexican imports of liquefied natural gas will climb by 60 percent in 2010 and should keep rising rapidly over the next decade, the government said in its annual natural gas demand forecast.
28 Dec 2009
Chairman Wellinghoff: “We at FERC are pleased and excited to welcome John Norris to the Commission, and we are looking forward to his tenure with us. John brings to FERC a wealth of experience, talent and knowledge that will help us to meet the challenges of providing reliable, efficient and sustainable energy for consumers.”
Webmaster’s Comments: John Norris' confirmation was stalled by Maine's US Senator Olympia Snowe.
Norris fills the existing vacancy on the Commission; however, Commissioner Suedeen Kelly's term is expired, and she will vacate as soon as her replacement is appointed. These two new Obama appointments, along with Chairman Wellinghoff, may reverse the current FERC "BAANION" (Build Anything Anywhere, Need-It-Or-Not") LNG permit certification policy.
What do LNG terminals and casinos have in common? They’ve both been pitched in Maine for years, but neither has ever been built. The state’s two advancing LNG proposals have hit stiff opposition from neighboring New Brunswick, and both sides are refusing to budge. Meanwhile, a proposal for a casino in Oxford County, shot down by voters in 2008, is back on the table, and may be competing with a bid to put a casino in Lewiston. Round and round they go.
Webmaster’s Comments: By Downeast LNG and Calais LNG "refusing to budge" their ill-timed, inappropriately-sited projects, they will ultimately fail.
They could easily solve their LNG ship-transit impasse by moving to industry-compliant sites (meaning, they must move outside of Passamaquoddy Bay), but instead they insist on swatting the air in displays of false bravado; they know their projects have no chance at success no matter where they are sited, since there is an over-abundance of domestic natural gas and an over-abundance of LNG import infrastructures.
With the help of its California-based consultants, the port authority solicited "expressions of interest" from targeted developers to determine the level of interest and possible ideas for expanding the marine terminal at Mack Point and building a new terminal on uninhabited Sears Island, across the channel in Penobscot Bay.
The island has long attracted private and public developers. Over the years there have been proposals for an oil refinery, an aluminum smelter, a nuclear power plant and, most recently, a liquefied natural gas facility. [Bold emphasis added.]
Following a decision issued last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upholding a denial of a water quality certification by the State of Maryland, a spokesperson for AES said that the company was "considering several options" for its Sparrows Point LNG project, including seeking rehearing of the court's decision.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ignores the LNG industry's own advice, even when industry's own well-being, and public safety, are placed at risk by irresponsible terminal developers. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
Mr. Bellamy: Well, unfortunately for firms such as Cheniere (CQP), near term the picture has really inverted. Before the shale plays, it looked like LNG was going to be necessary to provide gas for the U.S. After the shale plays have come online, we've seen how prolific they are; we've had extremely low rates of utilization for liquefied natural gas regasification facilities, and that's probably going to continue. The wild card is at what level do producers such as Qatar, at what level does it make sense for them to sell gas to the U.S.? There is an argument that says at any level, at any price it makes sense because they are really interested in keeping natural gas liquids production online, and they'll operate the LNG trains and sell the gas regardless of price. I do think that the market clears probably first for excess LNG cargos, second for the shale plays and then third for any kind of leftover conventional production that needs to fill in the gap on demand. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
NATS [subscription required] reported last week that three Q-class LNG vessels are expected to arrive at North American destinations in the next few weeks. The Q-max class vessel Umm Slal is expected to arrive at the Sabine Pass LNG facility around December 31, 2009. A Q-flex class vessel, the Al Ghariya, is steaming towards the Canaport LNG import terminal with an expected arrival of approximately January 10, 2010. Another Q-flex vessel, the Al Karaana, is heading towards a destination in the Gulf of Mexico, but its specific destination port and arrival date are unknown at this time. [Bold emphasis added.]
To be clear, Cook Inlet isn't near running out of gas next year, or in the next five years. On the contrary, the state estimates there are hundreds of trillions of cubic feet remaining, although that gas is more difficult to access -- and thus, more expensive to produce and purchase.
The real problem is deliverability. Utility and municipal managers, lawmakers and others are seriously concerned that when Southcentral soaks up huge amounts of gas to ward off Alaska's bitter winter temperatures, the supply may not hold.
Since 1969, the liquefied natural gas export plant at Nikiski has provided a buffer for the supply and demand swings -- in essence, offering companies an outlet for gas that the Southcentral market couldn't absorb. However, a shortfall is annual production supply is anticipated in 2012 or 2013. The federal LNG export permit runs out in March 2011, and ConocoPhillips hasn't announced whether it will apply for an extension.
Here is what is beyond dispute: The gas is highly desirable as a fuel, because it burns relatively cleanly and produces less greenhouse gas per unit of energy than oil or coal. There is lots of [natural gas] obtainable within the U.S. using an enhanced version of an old drilling technology, called hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” – much more than was widely supposed just a few years ago. That means using natural gas to power cars and electrical generation doesn’t require sending huge sums abroad, weakening the dollar and strengthening countries that aren’t particularly friendly to ours – Russia, Iran and Venezuela among them. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
23 Dec 2009
According to an official U.S. Coast Guard press release, a 33-foot Coast Guard boat and a recreational vessel collided in San Diego Bay Sunday, shortly before 6 p.m. A Coast Guard investigator, at the University of California, San Diego hospital confirmed one passenger taken to the hospital was pronounced dead. [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Read the December 20 Coast Guard news release.
The lights are just one reason witnesses and survivors are struggling to understand why the Coast Guard boat crashed into the packed recreational boat Sunday night at the 38th annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, a popular showcase for boats decked in Christmas lights.
"It seemed like it was going full speed when it hit," said Barbara Maloney, who watched from her 6th-floor hotel room. "We didn't notice them slow down at all. I assume they didn't see it." [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: This comes rapid-fire with the Dec 15 LNG vessel grounding at the FERC-approved EcoEléctrica LNG terminal and Coast Guard-approved LNG waterway at Peñuelas, Puerto Rico; and the Dec 9 Coast Guard Collision with a commercial catamaran in South Carolina. (See the December 15 news story of the LNG tanker grounding, the December 16 LNG ship grounding follow-up story, and the December 9 Coast Guard collision article.)
These three one-on-top-of-the-other Coast Guard-related incidents irrefutably demonstrate that accidents do happen; can happen outside predictions of risk-management probability; and might even be caused by the agency charged with protecting the public — the US Coast Guard.
When the Coast Guard judges a waterway suitable for LNG traffic even though the LNG industry, itself, indicates it is unsafe — who should you believe?
As per LNG industry best practices, for the well-being of the industry and the public…
• LNG terminals and transit routes need to be located where vapors from an LNG release cannot affect civilian populations.
Downeast LNG and Calais LNG violate the above LNG industry terminal siting best safe practice, plus others, due to Passamaquoddy Bay's inherent conditions that cannot be mitigated. (See LNG Terminal Siting Standards Organization for more on LNG industry best practices.)
Liberty Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project
Canadian Superior is on track to file, by the third quarter 2010, US Federal and State permit applications required for construction of the Liberty LNG import project and natural gas pipeline. The Company believes market conditions for importing LNG into the New York metropolitan area remain favourable and the Liberty LNG Project's choice of environmentally favourable technology continues to receive strong local support. The Liberty LNG Project anticipates first gas imports into the region by year-end 2013.
FERC reaffirms certification of LNG project
As he did in January, Commissioner Jon Wellinghoff, now FERC chairman, cast the lone dissenting vote. In January, Wellinghoff said that updated information did not show that gas demand in the region was expected to be as high as previously thought, that alternative methods for supplying the region with gas were preferable to importing LNG and that environmental and community concerns with the project had not been fully addressed. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
No one was injured after three explosions and a fire destroyed a 3,000-square-foot maintenance building at the Fairbanks Natural Gas Co. liquefied natural gas plant last Thursday. The ensuing fire burned so hot that firefighters were forced briefly to move a quarter mile away. The blaze quickly burned itself out.
Webmaster’s Comments: This occurred at an inland baseload LNG production and storage facility, not an LNG terminal.
Remember in 2005 when Jim Lewis (then working for PTL Associates, but now a partner in Calais LNG) told the audience at the Quoddy Bay LNG open houses in Perry, Sipayik, and Eastport that "LNG doesn't burn or explode"? Lewis performed several small-scale LNG stunts in Perry and Sipayik (the Eastport audience refused to submit to Lewis's demonstrations) to give the false impression that LNG in mammoth quantities is harmless. Jim Lewis avoided the dirty secret: Once LNG leaves its containment — as in the news story, above — it certainly can burn and explode, presenting a threat to life and property.
ASSOCIATED PRESS -- An unlikely source of energy has emerged to meet international demands that the United States do more to fight global warming: It's cleaner than coal, cheaper than oil and a 90-year supply is under our feet.
It is estimated that the U.S. sits on 83 percent more recoverable natural gas than was thought in 1990.Thanks to the introduction of horizontal drilling technology that has unlocked stunning amounts of gas in what were before off-limits shale formations. Estimates of total gas reserves have jumped 58 percent from 2004 to 2008, giving the U.S. a 90-year supply at the current usage rate of about 23 trillion cubic feet of year.
22 Dec 2009
(Washington, D.C.)- Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) is disappointed in a federal commission’s decision today to deny several requests to rehear the argument against a proposed liquefied natural gas plant at Sparrows Point in Baltimore County, but vowed to take the fight to the next level.
The proposed site is less than two miles from the densely-populated neighborhoods of Dundalk, Turner’s Station and Edgemere. Under the proposal from Virginia-based AES Corp., tankers carrying LNG to the facility would have to travel beneath the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to reach the facility in the Baltimore Harbor. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: The Sparrows Point LNG project violates industry terminal siting best practices, and so is an inappropriate location. However, a day after this article was published, Maryland's denial of permitting for the LNG project was upheld (see next article, below).
NEW YORK, Dec 22 (Reuters) - U.S. imports of liquefied natural gas will rise to between 4 billion and 5 billion cubic feet per day in 2010 as global demand remains weak and new production comes online, the head of LNG importer Cheniere Energy (LNG.A), Charif Souki, told Reuters on Tuesday.
Webmaster’s Comments: Global demand may not be as weak as Souki predicts, since India and China are experiencing an economic boom. The UK is also becoming a net LNG importer. Plus, the domestic natural gas glut may keep imports down, even with new production facilities going online.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Dec 22 (Reuters) - The 28 operating natural gas fields in Alaska's aged Cook Inlet basin hold an additional 1.142 trillion cubic feet of recoverable reserves, enough to meet regional demands for at least a decade, according to a new report issued by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.
"If I were Conoco and Marathon, I'd be seriously thinking about extending the export license," [Alaska Department of Natural Resources, acting director of the department's Division of Oil and Gas, Kevin Banks] said.
Webmaster’s Comments: Jordan Cove LNG has not yet acquired State of Oregon or Army Corps of Engineers permits.
21 Dec 2009
Jorge Ciacciarelli lead the construction of the $1.2-billion Canaport LNG facility – the first of its kind in Canada. ‘This was my first big project,’ to oversee from concept to completion, Ciacciarelli says. ‘We started with almost nothing – just rocks – and you see what we have here.’ He is now moving to a Repsol YPF project in Bolivia.
A source familiar with the operations at the Northeast Gateway said the issue was a mechanical, regasification problem on the tanker. The Excellence LNG tanker was expected to begin offloading at a second buoy on Friday.
Webmaster’s Comments: Northeast Gateway is 13 miles from shore, safely away from civilian populations — unlike proposed Downeast LNG and Calais LNG.
Canadian Superior Energy announced this morning that it intends to file federal and state applications for its Liberty LNG deepwater port proposed for offshore New Jersey in the third quarter of 2010. [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: An offshore LNG terminal, safely away from civilians — unlike Downeast LNG and Calais LNG.
The commission voted 3-1 Thursday, with Chairman Jon Wellinghoff dissenting, to reaffirm its Jan. 15 authorization. Wellinghoff also voted against the project in January, saying AES failed to demonstrate the need for the project and had not adequately addressed adverse impacts on the environment.
"I found that the future energy needs of these regions can be better met with alternative resources, such as domestic natural gas infrastructure and renewable and distributed energy resources," he wrote. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
The little-used Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas terminal in Louisiana is expected to receive two Qatari cargoes in the next couple of weeks as U.S. gas prices rise and other markets struggle to take more gas. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: This was an unanticipated LNG terminal emergency and an unanticipated expense — $15,000 per year — to the host community.
On Thursday, Wellinghoff reiterated those concerns. He suggested new discoveries of domestic natural gas and the potential for wave energy make LNG even less appealing. He also questioned the safety of building the terminal within a mile of Southwest Oregon Regional Airport in North Bend.
Webmaster’s Comments: If FERC's responsibility does not involve need for LNG terminals, then why do FERC's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) require a section on need? FERC is either shirking its duty, or it is wasting taxpayers' money. Either way, FERC is conducting itself in an irresponsible manner.
In his dissenting opinion, FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghof echoed concerns about the need for imported LNG, the validity of prices cited in environmental documents. He also raised safety questions due to the terminal's proximity to a regional airport.
“To give us a one-time payment for (impacts that last for) generations,” Eatherington said, shrugging her shoulders in exasperation. “It just doesn't make sense to condemn people's land to import fossil fuels from Russia.” [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Even FERC Chairman Wellinghoff thinks this project is ill-conceived.
Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Attorney General John Kroger vowed Thursday to demand a rehearing before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission hours after the agency approved Jordan Cove Energy Project’s application, 3-1. They also threatened to appeal to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals if their request is denied.
For a closer look at the decision, let's bring in Alexander Rich. He's a staff reporter with The World newspaper in Coos Bay. [Link leads to a page containing link to sound file.]
The Resolution states the city’s firm opposition to the pipeline in no uncertain terms. Reasons include: potential damage to homes and the environment and the facts that Oregon will receive little if any of the natural gas and that the gas will not come from the U.S., but from foreign countries with “unstable” governments.
The resolution passed 5/0 and will be signed and faxed to the Governor and all elected officials immediately. On a final note: if courts and resolutions cannot stop the pipeline - Councilor Bradburn would like to see a “mass protest” when the first equipment arrives at the construction site. [Red emphasis added.]
[U]nlocking the shale gas was one of the reasons why U.S. production exploded in 2008. [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: There is a 100-year gas glut in North America, negating need for additional LNG import infrastructure.
[A]ll three countries are long-standing proponents of free markets and opponents of supply controlling groups like Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries, so Russian claims they could join a group hoping to supporting fuel prices through collaboration seem hollow.
18 Dec 2009
We represent men and women who will build Maine’s renewable energy industry. We are excited about the opportunities we see. However, renewable development could be harmed by a rush to give Maine’s interests to companies “from away.”
Webmaster’s Comments: If Mr. Hanson wants to build Maine's renewable energy industry, why is he so bent on importing even more hydorcarbon fuel from unfriendly nations overseas?
His point of view is destined to lose NB-ME Energy Corridor jobs, along with the Maine LNG jobs.
NEW YORK, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Excelerate Energy said the Express LNG tanker at the Northeast Gateway terminal, offshore Boston, experienced offloading issues, but a second tanker was expected to dock at the site on Friday.
A source familiar with the operations at the Northeast Gateway said the issue was a mechanical, regasification problem on the tanker. The Excellence LNG tanker was expected to begin offloading at a second buoy on Friday.
Weaver's Cove Energy, LLC filed a response to an objection submitted by the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) to the developer's request that the Commission declare Condition 24 of the order approving the Weaver's Cove LNG project satisfied. In its answer, Weaver's Cove argues that Condition 24, requiring the developer to secure CRMC's concurrence with the project's Coastal Zone Management Act consistency certification, pertains only to dredging activities.
ALBANY — Supporters of natural gas drilling got a long-awaited boost this week, when the new state energy plan called for doubling production in the next 10 years. Most of the gas sits in the Marcellus shale, below Sullivan County.
Not only would more natural gas be part of a strategy for what Gov. David Paterson calls "a clean-energy economy," it would improve the state's "energy security" by reducing the reliance on imported "higher carbon content fossil fuels," said the State Energy Planning Board, which released the plan.
“The Commission denied late motions to intervene, requests for a supplemental environmental impact statement and requests for stay because the petitioners raised no new specific issues or facts that had not already been addressed in the previous orders or in FERC staff’s environmental analyses,” FERC said in a release.
"Those conditions have not been met, particularly those related to safety," said U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger. "We will continue to maintain our arguments against this project. I understand the issues of energy, but Sparrows Point is not the right location. We have worked long and hard to revitalize the eastern end of the county and this project could affect the health, safety and welfare of those neighborhoods."
The commission voted 3-1 Thursday, with Chairman Jon Wellinghoff dissenting, to reaffirm its Jan. 15 authorization. Wellinghoff also voted against the project in January, saying AES failed to demonstrate the need for the project and had not adequately addressed adverse impacts on the environment.
Neither the EPA nor the Maryland Department of the Environment has granted AES the permits necessary for the terminal to proceed. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Lack of market for their regasified LNG has delayed this project.
The company doesn't expect its natural gas supply to be disrupted; it keeps a minimum of five days' supply of liquefied natural gas stored in Fairbanks, Britton said, and shipments from Mat-Su should resume today. [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: This was an inland baseload LNG production and storage facility, not an LNG terminal.
Last month FERC agreed to pay $63,000 in attorney fees and costs to Columbia Riverkeeper and Willamette Riverkeeper, two environmental non-profit groups. The settlement of this issue, available on the PACER system under Docket No. CV 08-936-HU, is part of a broader resolution of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit brought by the two groups seeking the names and addresses of interested parties that FERC notified of a public hearing regarding the proposed Palomar natural gas pipeline associated with the Bradwood Landing LNG project.
Webmaster’s Comments: FERC abused its Freedom of Information Act responsibility to provide access to public information.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today authorized a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal and related pipeline proposed by Jordan Cove Energy Project, L.P. and Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline, LP that will serve growing energy demand in the Pacific Northwest.
Separately today, FERC reaffirmed its Jan. 15, 2009, order authorizing the AES Sparrows Point LNG LLC (AES) import terminal near Dundalk in Baltimore County, Md., and the related Mid-Atlantic LLC (Mid-Atlantic) pipeline project.
The Commission votes on both projects were 3-1. Chairman Wellinghoff dissented on both votes. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) - Federal regulators have approved construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal on Coos Bay and a pipeline to distribute the gas through Southern Oregon to the California state line.
Webmaster’s Comments: The Coos Bay LNG project sits on the outside of a curve in the waterway, and the Federally-defined Hazard Zone would engulf most of the city of Coos Bay — flagrant violations of LNG industry terminal siting best safe practices. (See LNG Terminal Siting Standards Organization for more on LNG industry best practices.)
Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Attorney General John Kroger vowed to demand a rehearing before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. They also suggested an appeal to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals could be in the offing if their request is denied.
Federal regulators approved construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal on Coos Bay Thursday, and the governor and conservationists said they would try to reverse the decision and were ready to go to federal court if necessary.
[Gov.] Kulongoski said. “The information guiding this decision is woefully inadequate to license a project with such profound potential impacts on the lives of Oregonians and we will appeal to FERC to ensure the people of Oregon’s concerns are fully addressed.”
[FERC chairman] Wellinghoff noted recent advancements in the drilling techniques that are allowing for the extraction of more natural gas from shale deposits in the United States, citing the commission’s own findings that domestic gas resources now total more than 2 quadrillion cubic feet, one-third more than previous levels and enough to satisfy current demand for nearly 100 years.
FERC did not address Wellinghoff’s chief safety concern, however: that the project stands within a mile of the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport, which “could result in the accidental or intentional crash of an aircraft into the LNG terminal,” Wellinghoff wrote.
He argued that U.S. Department of Transportation Regulations state that an LNG storage tank must not be located within one mile from an airport runway, and that Jordan Cove’s project is 0.9 miles [sic] from the airport. The Federal Aviation Administration, in a review of the project, found that the location of LNG storage tanks “qualify as obstructions” under federal regulations, arguing the issue should be further studied. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: FERC Chairman Wellinghoff states that FERC has made a decision that violates federal law or regulation.
"Based on my review of the evidence, I believe that there are reasonable alternatives that would more efficiently, more reliably, and in an environmentally preferable manner meet the projected energy needs of the markets that the Jordan Cove Project is intended to serve," [FERC Chairman Wellinghoff] wrote, adding he is concerned that the project would be less than a mile from the Coos Bay airport. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: States hold the trump card in that they issue or deny National Environmental Policy Act permits and a state Coastal Zone Management permit, all of which are required for an LNG terminal to be constructed.
As with the Bradwood Landing LNG facility, the request for rehearing filed by the Governor and the Attorney General will exhaust the administrative options before Oregon appeals FERC’s decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
[O]pponents insist that FERC has glossed over the question of need and has done no comparative analysis on the projects' impacts. Oregon, they contend, is already adequately served by domestic and Canadian gas sources, particularly as new drilling techniques allow producers to access major deposits of previously inaccessible gas trapped in shale formations.
"We don't think they're meeting their requirements when they issue a license, then say go figure out what the environmental impacts are and deal with them," said Mike Carrier, natural resource policy adviser for Gov. Ted Kulongoski.
FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, who earlier opposed the Bradwood Landing LNG terminal, also was the lone dissenter in Thursday's vote. He said there are reasonable alternatives that would serve Jordan Cove's targeted markets "more efficiently, more reliably, and in an environmentally preferable manner." [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline, LP announced that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued a certificate order approving an application to construct and operate the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline, a 234-mile, 36-inch diameter natural gas pipeline. The FERC has also authorized the Jordan Cove Energy Project, LP to site, construct and operate the Jordan Cove Energy LNG terminal.
Wellinghoff said studies for the project were based on gas prices double or almost triple current levels. Natural gas futures prices are averaging $4.09 per million British thermal units, this year on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The chairman said he voted against Jordan Cove, as he voted against another Oregon terminal last year, because new gas resources are available from shale formations and the associated costs and environmental impacts of shipping the fuel to the terminal from overseas are too high.
16 Dec 2009
This vessel is equipped with her own LNG regasification system, allowing her to regasify and discharge natural gas under high pressure directly into a designated Deep Water Port, such as the Group’s Neptune LNG Deep Water Port off the coast of Massachusetts, USA, to be commissioned early 2010. [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Neptune LNG is one of three already-constructed or already-permitted LNG import projects — along with existing and expanding natural gas pipelines — that moot the need for Downeast LNG and Calais LNG.
Plans to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on a 60-acre man-made island off the Rockaway shore have run aground, with published reports saying that New Jersey Governor-elect Chris Christie will veto the project.
Christie, who defeated incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine in the November elections, has been on record as being against the project, viewing it as a threat to New Jersey’s coastal commercial and sporting economy, according to spokesperson Maria Comella. “The governor-elect’s position on LNGs has not changed,” she said.
Webmaster’s Comments: FERC's initial refusal to produce this information was another example of FERC's abuse against the public interest.
One served as the energy advisor to Slade Gorton, the former U.S. senator from Washington. Two others headed public utility commissions in New Mexico and Arizona. And the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission previously served as the first consumer advocate for utility customers in Nevada.
They approved the Bradwood Landing LNG Project by a 4-1 vote in September 2008. The only dissent came from Jon Wellinghoff, one of two Democrats on the commission, who said he wasn’t convinced the terminal was needed or would be environmentally safe.
Webmaster’s Comments: Jon Wellinghoff is now the FERC Chairman.
U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals saw minimal regasification activity in 2009, and the situation is unlikely to change in 2010 without significantly improved gas pricing. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
The vessel was later refloated whent the tank ship crew transferred cargo from the vessel’s forward to its aft cargo tanks allowing the vessel to successfully float free. The Matthew is now moored at the Eco Electrica facility, where underwater hull integrity assessments are scheduled to be conducted by contract divers.
Webmaster’s Comments: The EcoEléctrica LNG terminal was permitted by FERC in 1998, under Docket Number CP95-35. Downeast LNG's Rob Wyatt was EcoEléctrica's environmental permitting consultant or employee.
Use Google Earth to view the EcoEléctrica LNG terminal in Peñuelas, Puerto Rico:
17° 58'38.47"N, 66°45'30.04"W
Location of the LNG carrier Matthew 's grounding (just a short distance from the terminal berth):
This is the same vessel that lost power offshore from Boston near the end of 2008 December. (See the MarineLink article, "CG Monitoring LNG Vessel Repairs," 2008 December 30.)
15 Dec 2009
First Subsea has installed four diverless bend stiffeners for risers and umbilicals on two submerged turret loading (STL) buoys on the Neptune deepwater project North and South, off the coast of Gloucester, Massachusetts.
The tanker carrying liquefied natural gas ran aground early Tuesday near Guayanilla along the southern coast of the U.S. territory. The crew shifted some of the cargo and the vessel was refloated after about three hours with the help of two tugboats. The 920-foot tanker is called the Matthew.
Webmaster’s Comments: Guayanilla, Puerto Rico, is a neighboring community adjacent to EcoEléctrica LNG, off the coast from Peñuelas, PR (see the Google Map for this location).
Unlike the Passamaquoddy Bay proposals, EcoEléctrica LNG is sited on open water, albeit with the LNG berth bracketed between shoals. It does not come close to presenting the navigational hazards in Passamaquoddy Bay. And yet, the LNG tanker grounded
Downeast LNG's environment and permits director Rob Wyatt worked on siting the EcoEléctrica LNG terminal (see Downeast LNG's Team Staff webpage, and the book, “LNG: A Level-Headed Look at the Liquefied Natural Gas Controversy,” page 164) — and now there has been an LNG navigation incident there.
Accidents happen — even when personnel now affiliated with Downeast LNG sited the facility. Sometimes, even the US Coast Guard is the culprit (see the "Coast Guard and tour boat collided in Charleston Harbor" story, below).
Just as indicated by the LNG industry, itself, LNG terminals need to be located where civilian populations cannot be affected by LNG or LNG vapors in the case of a release. (See LNG Terminal Siting Standards Organization.)
EIA Energy Outlook Projects Moderate Growth in U.S. Energy Consumption, Greater Use of Renewables, and Reduced Oil and Natural Gas Imports. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Over the last decade, a handful of the nation’s small energy companies pulled off a coup. Right under the noses of the industry’s biggest players, they discovered huge amounts of natural gas in fields stretching from Texas to Pennsylvania.
“These unconventional resources are going to take on an increasing role in our energy needs,” said Daniel Yergin, the chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, a consulting firm, adding that the interest of large oil companies in shale gas was fairly recent. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
MOSCOW (Dow Jones)--The head of a new Russia-led global natural gas producer group Tuesday said the organization has no immediate plans to coordinate output volumes and regulate prices, but isn't ruling out becoming an Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries-like cartel in the future.
MOSCOW, Dec 15 (Reuters) - The Russia-led group of gas powers controlling nearly 70 percent of proven world reserves could eventually become the gas industry's answer to OPEC when it matures, the organisation's first leader said on Tuesday.
It is currently unknown why the small 25-foot Coast Guard vessel slammed into the commercial catamaran, “Thriller”. Witnesses on Thriller reported the military vessel hit the catamaran, then took off from scene of the accident, and did not offer any immediate assistance to the catamaran. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: This is a perfect example of why LNG facilities should be located where released LNG vapors cannot affect civilian populations. Human error, bad judgement, and negligence cannot be ruled out.
LNG facilities and ship transits should be located where they cannot affect the public, as advocated by the LNG industry, itself. That is especially true when there are viable alternatives. Downeast LNG and Calais LNG negligently violate this best practice. As demonstrated, even the US Coast Guard can behave and respond badly, resulting in harm to civilians.
For more information regarding LNG siting safe practices, see LNG Terminal Siting Standards Organization.
14 Dec 2009
WASHINGTON – President Obama’s Ocean Policy Task Force released its Interim Framework for Effective Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (Interim Framework) today for a 60-day public review and comment period. With competing interests in the ocean, our coasts and the Great Lakes, the Interim Framework offers a comprehensive, integrated approach to planning and managing uses and activities. Under the Framework, coastal and marine spatial planning would be regional in scope, developed cooperatively among Federal, State, tribal, local authorities, and regional governance structures, with substantial stakeholder and public input.
[I]t describes a new approach to Federal resource planning that is regionally based and developed cooperatively among Federal, State, tribal, and local authorities, and regional governance structures, through the establishment of nine regional planning bodies. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Comments can be made through Friday, 2010 February 12.
Use the following link to submit your Comments:
The seminars are intended to familiarize terminal, shipboard, and company personnel interested or affiliated with LNG Operations. Topics covered include LNG safety, theory, vessel / terminal designs, equipment, and operations. The seminar length is dependent on level of knowledge required. The 4-day seminar includes time on a LNG vessel cargo loading simulator.
FERC has three options, Young-Allen said. It can approve the project with staff’s 130 suggested conditions, reject it or postpone a decision until an administrative law judge can review specific issues of concern.
Webmaster’s Comments: This project has not obtained state environmental permits. States hold the trump card in LNG terminal permitting.
Commercial vessel sustains damage and passengers injured; NTSB launches “go-team” to investigate accident.
CHARLESTON, S.C. – A 25-foot Coast Guard small boat and the Thriller, a 43-passenger power catamaran, collided in Charleston Harbor Saturday at approximately 8:21 p.m. The Coast Guard small boat was reported to be transiting the channel while Thriller was crossing the channel when the collision occurred. There were no fatalities.
Webmaster’s Comments: The agency charged with keeping waterways safe collided with a commercial passenger vessel!
That does not exactly instill confidence in the Coast Guard's ability to keep safe the thousands of civilians in the Passamaquoddy Bay area who would be within Federally-defined Hazard Zones during LNG transits, in the unlikely event such transits ever were to occur.
11 Dec 2009
[The following link will open a PDF document.]
At the FERC December 17 meeting, the Commission — among other issues — will be considering Certification of the following LNG projects:
Item # Docket # Company State C-1 CP07-444-000 (et al) Jordan Cove Energy Project, L.P. OR C-2 CP07-62-001 (et al) AES Sparrows Point LNG, LLC MD
HALIFAX, Dec. 11 /CNW/ - After a period of significant downturn, promising new developments are on the horizon in both onshore and offshore East Coast energy markets. The Canadian Institute's East Coast Natural Gas conference will provide up-to-the-minute intelligence on the challenges and solutions faced by East Coast operators. Hear from a leading faculty of industry experts gathered to help you.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) - Excelerate Energy LLC - JUNEX Inc. - Benjamin Schlesinger & Associates LLC - ICF International - Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board - Maritimes & Northeast Pipelines - Stantec - Stealth Ventures Ltd. - Corridor Resources - Downeast LNG [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: What irony! "Leading industry expert" Downeast LNG? — An ill-sited project with demonstrable lack of due diligence, a lack of a market, and with no existing facilities is considered a "leading industry expert"? The industry is in even worse shape than we thought!
Suez LNG, which owns the Distrigas LNG facility in Everett, is pushing ahead with its own plan to open an off-shore LNG docking system similar to Excelerate’s buoy operation next year. Ships would dock at a buoy and pump their gaseous cargo into a vast underwater pipeline system and then into land-based pipes - without ships ever touching land. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Both Excelerate's Northeast Gateway and Suez's Neptune LNG are located over 10 miles from shore, safely away from civilian populations. The Hess Energy Weaver's Cove LNG proposal in Fall River/Mt. Hope Bay, RI/MA — like Downeast LNG and Calais LNG — would unnecessarily subject thousands of civilians to Federally-defined Hazard Zones.
Council member Ellen Winsor, who has launched a working group of local professionals opposed to the LNG proposal, presented an overview of the group and urged the council to start drafting a resolution against the proposal as quickly as possible.
WARREN — Touisset residents have joined the region-wide effort to protest the proposed Hess and Weaver’s Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Mt. Hope Bay. Aligning themselves with the political mantra of environmental agency Save the Bay, residents of the pastoral point have decided to launch their own website with updates on Federal Regulatory Energy Commission (FERC) public hearings and court proceedings.
Houston based TORP Technology went back to the drawing board on the design after meeting stiff opposition to their initial “open loop” plan. TORP CEO Joe Berno said that tens of thousands of man hours and redesign went into the new proposal.
Webmaster’s Comments: This project is proposed to be located far offshore, safely away from civilian populations — unlike best practices-violating Downeast LNG and Calais LNG, whose projects would unnecessarily subject thousands of civilians in Maine and New Brunswick within Federally-defined Hazard Zones.
Jamaica has opted to develop an offshore platform - earmarked for Port Esquivel in St Catherine, saying it could be more than 40 per cent cheaper than a land-based facility - at US$400 million compared to US$700 million.
"An FSRU-based system can be implemented in two to two-and-a-half years versus four years for a traditional onshore terminal," said Wedderburn. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: This is another offshore LNG terminal, safely away from civilian populations — unlike Downeast LNG and Calais LNG.
For much of the last three decades, California companies like Sempra Energy and Pacific Gas & Electric have tried to foist expensive, environmentally questionable liquefied natural gas onto this state's consumers. Then came a big Australian energy firm, whose expensive effort to build an LNG receiving plant off the Ventura County coast failed more than two years ago.
Now it's the Russians, specifically the partially state-owned natural gas giant Gazprom, who want both to increase California utility bills and make America more dependent than ever on foreign energy.
The timing seemingly could not be worse for LNG now, as the current glut of domestic natural gas is so great that operators of one big Texas LNG receiving facility have begun re-exporting their supplies to countries that do have a need.
LNG is unneeded today by everyone except those who invest in it because existing domestic gas supplies are adequate to serve American needs for the next 100 years, there is a current surplus and because demand for gas actually declined slightly in California over the last 10 years, despite population growth. This was due in part to the advent of energy-efficient appliances. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
However, some see only a slight increase in 2010 imports, expecting that increased production will be sucked up by emerging importers in South America, Kuwait, India and China, as well as by traditional importers whose demand will rebound.
Webmaster’s Comments: Even if LNG imports were to double in 2010, it would amount to only about twice the daily output of the Canaport LNG terminal — meaning US import terminals would be operating at a mere 20% of capacity, instead of the current 10%. LNG import projects would still be taking a financial beating.
Webmaster’s Comments: By "infrastructure restrictions," the writer must mean "storage." Storage is full but there is an unhealthy surplus of LNG import infrastructure in the United States — operating at a mere 10% of capacity.
8 Dec 2009
Qatargas Operating Company has delivered its first liquefied natural gas cargo to the US utilizing the Q-Max vessel. The vessel Umm Slal, which set sail from Ras Laffan Port with 240,000 cubic meters of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, is expected to reach the Sabine Pass LNG terminal in Louisiana on December 31, 2009.
With U.S. demand for LNG decimated by an unexpected surge in gas output in North America, GECF members like Qatar, Equatorial Guinea and Algeria have sent tankers long distances and at great cost to consumers that might be more efficiently served by other members of the global group. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
On the opening day of the COP15 talks, the Obama administration is poised to provide an Exxon-led consortium with a $3 billion loan for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Papua New Guinea. [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Exxon needs a loan from the US? (See, Exxon 2008 profit: A record $45 billion.)
7 Dec 2009
The MV Mesaimer, an LNG tanker headed for Canaport LNG made it 13.29 metres off the berth-face Friday before having to go back to anchor, says an official. Fraser Forsythe, health, safety, security and environmental manager of Canaport LNG said a low-ground swell running up the bay caused the vessel to roll more than they would like, so it did not berth.
Webmaster’s Comments: ...Thus demonstrating one of the major advantages to offshore submerged-buoy technology used at Northeast Gateway and Gulf Gateway offshore deepwater LNG import facilities — mooring unaffected by all but hurricane seas. Offshore also presents no hazards to civilian populations.
The Providence-based Save Our Sound, which is battling the latest plan by energy-giant Hess for a liquefied natural gas terminal in the region, last week launched a media blitz harshly criticizing the prospect of huge LNG tankers steaming up Narragansett Bay to an offshore berth in Mount Hope Bay.
Jonathan Stone, executive director of Save Our Bay, said the radio, print, online and billboard campaign is being timed for the release of an environmental-impact study that many think could finally clear the way for Hess' long- sought LNG facility. The federalreport is expected later this month or early next year.
At issue is whether to build a $700-million offloading facility in the middle of Mount Hope Bay to transport the super-cold fuel through an underground pipe to a storage facility at Weaver’s Cove in Fall River.
Save The Bay’s campaign has included billboard displays, radio and local newspaper advertisements and an informational Web site designed to rally public opinion against the project prior to a crucial ruling, expected early next year, by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Secretary of State Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez said: "It is important that we protect the health and character of the Long Island Sound. The US Navy's plan would have had a negative impact on the eastern portion of the Sound, a very unstable, fast moving marine environment. It has been, and will continue to be, a priority of New York to reduce or eliminate open-water disposal of dredged material within Long Island Sound. Similar to the Broadwater LNG objection issued in April of 2008, the decision to object to the Navy's disposal of dredged materials at the NLDS is a re-affirmation of the Governor Paterson's commitment to preserving the integrity of Long Island Sound." [Red emphasis added.]
The U.S. Coast Guard is the lead agency for the project, and under the Deepwater Port Act, FERC's jurisdiction applies only to the proposed onshore facilities. Those facilities include a 36-inch-diameter pipeline that would extend 3.93 miles from the point where Port Dolphin's offshore pipeline reaches the high water mark at the pier bulkhead in Manatee County, Fla., to a proposed interconnection where gas would be delivered to Gulfstream Natural Gas System LLC's interstate system and TECO Energy Inc.'s intrastate system.
“The good news is that there’s a silent revolution going on in the United States. There’s a boom in shale gas which poses implications elsewhere,” said Birol. “Many companies and countries thought they could sell LNG to the US, which doesn’t need it now. They’ll have a lot of gas and will be looking for buyers. We see a glut coming, about 200 billion cu m, by 2015, due to weaker demand.” [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: North America already has a natural gas glut. There is about to be a worldwide natural gas glut. Downeast LNG and Calais LNG are moot.
[I]t's difficult to get more constructive on the natural gas outlook when you are looking at 404 Bcf of additional supply in storage versus the same time last year - as of the Nov. 25, 2009, injection - a large inventory of drilled wells, LNG as an x-factor and relatively lackluster incremental industrial/commercial demand. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: We are drowning in natural gas.
The reality is that LNG continues to be a fuel source of great potential but little performance in the United States. Of the LNG that has landed in the United States in the last couple of years, 80 - 90 percent has been volumes that have arrived under long-term agreements and have come in at only two ports, Everett in Massachusetts and Elba Island in Georgia. Those long-term agreements are not necessary tied to current market realities, as Everett volumes are brought in under a 40 year agreement that started in 1971 and Elba is covered by a 17 year contract that started in 2002. And while additional volumes have come into Cove Point, and the odd tanker has landed at various Gulf ports over the last year, LNG continues to be a minor player in the U.S. energy markets, comprising less than 2 percent of the total U.S. gas supply. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller met on Monday with Mexican Energy Minister Georgina Kessel and Mexican Ambassador to Russia Alfredo Perez Bravo to "consider deliveries to Mexico of liquefied natural gas with its consequent transportation to the U.S. market as part of the Sakhalin II project."
In April 2009, Gazprom Marketing & Trading set up a subsidiary, Gazprom Marketing & Trading Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V. (GM&T Mexico). GM&T Mexico is involved in supplying LNG to Mexico as part of the Sakhalin II project.
[Page linked below leads to a podcast.]
Webmaster’s Comments: The US natural gas "sponge" is saturated.
The Gas Exporting Countries Forum will meet this week to discuss ways of “stabilizing” (read increasing) natural gas prices. This may be more difficult to achieve as most gas is still delivered by pipeline or under long-term contracts. The European utilities take most of their gas under contracts that are tied to oil prices, and include a minimum annual purchase. The problem comes with the rapidly growing LNG market that is more closely tied to the unusually low spot prices. The gas exporters argue that they sell a clean fuel that should sell at a premium.
Webmaster’s Comments: Natural gas is in vast abundance, yet exporters want a high price.
Qatar, the world’s largest producer of liquefied natural gas, has called a halt on plans to build any new LNG or gas to liquid plants.
5 Dec 2009
SAINT JOHN - As the MV Mesaimeer slowly made its way to the Canaport LNG on Friday, it dwarfed everything around it. Called a Q-flex class vessel, its the second-largest type of liquefied natural gas tanker in the world.
Almost as wide as a football field, the massive vessel lumbered closer to the jetty and rocked gently from side to side briefly showing its grey belly. In its shadow, the line handlers that would secure the ship with 18 lines looked like so many brightly coloured ants.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Tensions between Maine and Canada over proposed LNG facilities in Passamaquoddy Bay once again have spilled over into efforts to develop regulations for potentially lucrative lease agreements between the state and energy companies.
Maine could collect tens of millions of dollars in lease payments for energy initiatives while encouraging development of additional renewable energy projects in the state. Energy companies, meanwhile, would have to negotiate fewer obstacles to constructing electricity transmission lines or energy pipelines from Canada to southern New England.
David Farmer, spokesman for Gov. John Baldacci, said the governor remains adamant in his conversations with New Brunswick officials that Canada should not stand in the way of LNG projects in Passamaquoddy Bay. But Baldacci believes pursuing energy corridors is also critically important to the state.
Webmaster’s Comments: Gov. Baldacci knows the problem could be easily solved by moving the projects outside of Passamaquoddy Bay, where they could then comply with LNG industry terminal best safe siting practices — and where civilians would not be subjected unwillingly to LNG ship Federal Hazard Zones.
Lincoln Pulp & Tissue owner Keith Van Scotter also knows his papermill already has access to natural gas, if he really wanted it, from the Maritmes & Northeast Pipeline, around 31 miles south of Lincoln.
Energy developers who had hoped the process would help remove uncertainty over how to proceed in Maine left Wednesday's meeting disappointed. Two of them said they will continue planning as the state wrestles with its corridor policies.
[T]he panel got bogged down early over whether to extend the ban until Canada agrees to let liquefied natural gas tankers sail through New Brunswick waters to reach proposed terminals in Washington County.
Opponents say the strategy has had no effect, and it may lead Canadian companies to bypass Maine and build a transmission line through New Hampshire, for instance. If that happens, they say, Maine could miss out on billions of dollars in economic development.
It is 78 metres longer than ships received at Canaport LNG to date and is carrying 216,000 cubic metres of liquid natural gas; ships received to date at Canaport LNG have delivered 138,500 cubic metres.
Developers who are looking to build terminals on the western side of Passamaquoddy Bay, which is split between Maine and New Brunswick, have said Canadian opposition to terminals on the bay amounts to protectionism. The Canadians argue that LNG tanker traffic through Canadian waters into Passamaquoddy Bay would pose a danger to nearby residents and would be out of place in the relatively pristine bay. Those arguments, American developers say, fall flat when you consider the greater population density of the Saint John area and the fact that Canadian ships already routinely carry into the bay dangerous cargo such as ammonium nitrate.
Dean Girdis, president of Downeast LNG, indicated by e-mail that it shows there is a healthy market for LNG importation in the Northeast, even though the price of natural gas is relatively low. This means there is a market for his proposed terminal in Robbinston, he said.
Tony Buxton, an attorney for Calais LNG, said Tuesday evening that the delivery demonstrates that LNG tanker traffic is safe, or it would not be permitted in the densely populated Saint John area. It supports his firm's claims that it would be safe to deliver LNG to the company's proposed terminal site in Calais, he said.
Webmaster’s Comments: Apparently, Calais LNG's Tony Buxton still has not familiarized himmself with SIGTTO LNG terminal siting best safe practices. He also apparently has not compared on a map Calais LNG' affected populations with Canaport's; otherwise, he would know Canaport LNG is in a rural industrial area, not in a "densely populated area." In fact, Canaport LNG is 5 miles safely across the water from the city of Saint John, satisfying industry best practices — unlike Downeast LNG and Calais LNG, whose projects would place thousands of people in Federally-defined Hazard Zones.
The natural gas market is already being satisfied, long ahead of any of the Passamaquoddy Bay LNG proposals. There is a surplus of LNG import infrastructure already in place. Downeast LNG's Dean Girdis is hiding his head in the sand.
The State of Rhode Island has filed an appeal of the U.S. Coast Guard's Letter of Recommendation that determined waterways associated with the Weaver's Cove LNG project were suitable for the LNG vessel traffic.
The towns of Bristol and Tiverton, R.I., filed a joint appeal of the U.S. Coast Guard's determination that the waterways associated with the Weaver's Cove LNG import project are suitable for the project.
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has filed an appeal of the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port's determination regarding waterway suitability for the Weaver's Cove LNG project. The DEM alleges that the Captain of the Port's decision was arbitrary and capricious, the Coast Guard's procedures violate that National Environmental Policy Act and are deficient and unreasonable, and the Coast Guard's treatment of "resource gaps" in the current Weaver's Cove LNG proposal are "factually inaccurate and unreasonable."
Yesterday FERC released an order issuing certificates, subject to a number of environmental conditions, for the onshore pipeline facilities associated with the Port Dolphin LNG deepwater port. The onshore facilities will include a 3.93-mile natural gas pipeline and an interconnection with the Gulfstream Natural Gas and Tampa Electric Co. interstate pipeline systems.
QUINTANA — A small amount of methane gas escaped from a pipeline at Freeport LNG on Wednesday, but company officials say crews stopped the leak minutes after it occurred and the public was not at risk.
Town leaders, however, say they would have liked to know (sic) what was happening behind the Freeport LNG chain-link fence immediately, instead of being left to question what caused the loud noise, Doty said.
Quintana officials did not hear about the release from Freeport LNG officials for more than an hour, and the emergency horns did not go off, Doty said. The uncertainly almost led the town to call for a full-scale evacuation.
“They need to come up with something better, now that we’ve actually had an emergency,” said Doty, who said the loud noise frightened him. “I was expecting a big fireball, and there was not a damn thing I could do about that.” [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Don't LNG facilities test the piping with safe, inert, nitrogen prior to loading with regasified LNG? Is this another example of "state of the art" LNG terminal safety engineering, as with the recent Canaport LNG flare stack fireball with liquid spilling out of the stack?
Outlining more than 150 gaps in the answers it needs to do [on] the final reviews of the Bradwood project, NMFS recently said some of the data the agency requested more than two years ago still hasn't been delivered, and key questions remain unaddressed.
All this smells of a developer flying by the seat of its pants to wiggle its way into agency approval for a big industrial project on an isolated stretch of rural riverbank. Its promises of future environmental benefits lose credibility with each additional squishy answer and day of delay in providing clear-cut, responsive answers to regulators' inquiries.
Beyond these immediate issues, project critics are quite correct in blasting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's actions in this case. FERC acted with cavalier disregard by foisting on other agencies 100 questions about the project that should have either been answered up front or in cooperation with NMFS. [Bold, red & yellow emphasis added.]
This takes the current storage level to a new record high of 3.84 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), which is up 14.0% from last year's level and 14.5% above the five-year range (as clear from the nearby chart from the EIA). Current stocks are 470 Bcf above last year's level and 487 Bcf above the five-year average.
Webmaster’s Comments: Domestic natural gas production is still robust. We are drowning in domestic natural gas.
New technology opens vast stores of natural gas, and the land rush is on
Just a few years ago, the industry didn't have the technology to unlock these reserves. But thanks to advances in horizontal drilling and methods of fracturing rock with high-pressure blasts of water, sand and chemicals, vast gas reserves in the United States are suddenly within reach.
"The United States is sitting on over 100 years of gas supply at the current rates of consumption," he said. Because natural gas emits half the greenhouse gases of coal, he added, that "provides the United States with a unique opportunity to address concerns about energy security and climate change."
Recoverable U.S. gas reserves could now be bigger than the immense gas reserves of Russia, some experts say. The Marcellus shale formation, stretching across swaths of Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia, has enough gas to meet the entire nation's needs for at least 14 years, according to an estimate by two Pennsylvania State University experts. Just in Broome County, N.Y., where Fitzsimmons lives, shale gas development could create $15 billion in economic activity, according to consultants hired by the county. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
[A]ccording to Hogan, innovation can also upset the natural order of things. He says the discovery of unconventional shale gas, which even the experts could not have predicted, has changed the energy mix in the US. “One of the biggest impacts on the LNG (liquefied natural gas) market came because of the massive expansion of the production of natural gas from shale ... So the United States had been expected to be a big importer of LNG, and now it's probably not going to happen.” [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
"US import patterns prior to 2007 were dictated largely by global excess which tended to cause a spike in US import numbers during the summer months as global demand was at its lowest. We expect to see this pattern re-emerge although on a greater scale. Because of the impending length in the global LNG market the potential for significant spikes in US imports is high. We expect to see the first sign of this in the form of a trickle early in 2010 and anticipate we will see larger volumes move to the US this spring and continue throughout the summer."
Webmaster’s Comments: Waterborne's prediction may turn out just like all those who claimed the US would be importing record quantities of LNG in 2009, "because there is nowhere else that can take it." That proved to be faulty logic.
1 Dec 2009
SAINT JOHN, NB, Dec. 1 /CNW/ - Travelling 22 days and 15,000 kilometres from Ras Laffan Industrial City in Qatar, the Q-Flex MV Mesaimeer, one of the largest and most advanced vessels of its kind - arrived at the Saint John Port on December 1, 2009 to deliver 4.6 bcf of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) to Canaport LNG.
Webmaster’s Comments: How does making the US dependent on Russia for energy make any sense?