"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
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31 Mar 2010
Williamson … is a former member of the Save the Passamaquoddy Bay group which is dedicated to preventing LNG tankers from using Head Harbour Passage to reach proposed natural gas terminals on the Maine side of the bay. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Regardless of who is elected, all Canadian major parties are solidly opposed to LNG in Passamaquoddy Bay, meaning Downeast LNG and Calais LNG have no probability of success regardless of their bluff and bluster.
Following the March 18 meeting, the board issued a notice that it will hold a public hearing on the applications, and any individuals, government entities or organizations that would like to be intervenors to the proceedings must file a petition with the board by April 1. Intervenors are allowed to present detailed, technical information and expert witnesses regarding the proposed project and may cross-examine other witnesses. Members of the public who are not intervenors may still offer testimony at the hearing and submit written comments on the applications. A date has not yet been set for the public hearing.
Yesterday [Monday] FERC requested additional information regarding the proposed Calais LNG import project. The information requested includes gas quality and interchangeability details required by the pro forma tariff and information on the associated send out pipeline.
The link below will load a PDF file (53 KB).
Calais comprehensive plan amendments supporting the creation of a new waterfront industrial zone are consistent with the Growth Management Act. That is the finding reached March 19th by the Planning and Land Use Program. The amendments to the 2005 Calais Comprehensive Plan outline the City’s vision for the addition of a riverfront port facility capable of serving deep-draft vessels. They also provide updated information on natural resources in the area of the proposed zone. The SPO finding bolsters the City’s plan to pursue its vision through the establishment of a “Marine Industrial Zone”. The proposed zone, which includes the site of the proposed Calais LNG liquefied natural gas terminal, will be located approximately six miles south-southeast of the city center on the St. Croix River across from the Bayside Marine Terminal in New Brunswick.
CONTACT: Phil Carey at email@example.com or 287-3860. [Brown emphasis added.]
In a roughly two-hour public forum on the pros and cons of siting a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Fall River, Shearer fended off criticism from Save The Bay, the Newport and Bristol County Visitors and Convention Bureau, and the occasional heckler – maintaining that his company’s proposal would stimulate the region’s economy and only minimally impact Narragansett Bay and it coastal communities.
Taking into account the increase in volume from vaporization and caused by this mixing, this means that the contents of a single large LNG storage tank with a capacity of, say, 140,000 cubic meters of [LNG], will, if ruptured, produce tens of billions of cubic feet of flammable gas. According to studies, the resulting air-gas mixture plume could extend as far as 7.3 miles from the ruptured tank.
Leaving aside for a moment the possibility of simple industrial accidents, it does not take a counterterrorism specialist like me to understand that these new facilities would, if built, be significant targets for any terrorist group interested in attacking our nation.
Charles S. Faddis, a Davidsonville resident, is the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency's WMD terrorism unit. He is president of a security consulting firm and the author of books including "Willful Neglect," an examination of homeland security in America. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
PASCAGOULA, Miss., Mar 31, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- GE Energy Financial Services -- pursuing its strategy of helping to build core, essential energy infrastructure -- announced today it is investing $150 million in a liquefied natural gas receiving terminal under construction in Mississippi that will increase natural gas supplies to the Northeast and Southeast United States.
The terminal is adjacent to the Bayou Casotte Ship Channel in the Port of Pascagoula on the Gulf Coast. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: This is an under-construction LNG terminal that will supply natural gas to the Northeast.
Golden Pass is a joint venture [among] Qatar Petroleum (QP), ExxonMobil, RasGas and ConocoPhillips. Once completed, the terminal will be capable of processing up to 15.6 million metric tonnes of LNG per year, equivalent to about 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.
Located two miles northwest of Sabine Pass, Texas, and 10 miles south of Port Arthur, Texas, the Golden Pass LNG Terminal is situated on the Sabine-Neches Waterway that separates Texas and Louisiana. The LNG terminal will include two ship unloading berths, five full-containment storage tanks, vaporization facilities, and gas send-out and ship unloading systems.
Webmaster’s Comments: This is yet another LNG terminal under construction, along with two others, plus 13 already-permitted LNG terminals in the US. Already overbuilt, LNG import infrastructure continues to dilute its shrinking market, already marginalized by vast US domestic natural gas resources.
Two options will be submitted for shipper assessment in the open season. The first option is a 1,700-mile line from Alaska’s North Slope to Alberta, from where the gas could be delivered on existing pipeline systems to the US. The second option would transport gas 800 miles from ANS to Valdez, Alas., where it would be converted to LNG in a facility to be built by others and then delivered by ship to North American and other international markets. [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Most analysts believe the market for LNG from Valdez would be Asia. The gas shipped to the lower 48 states would further the natural gas glut, reducing even more any prospect of constructing additional LNG import facilities.
"It just boggles the mind that we might be [bringing] in foreign LNG to solve our problems when we've had this long to take meaningful steps to fix (it)," said Bill Popp with the Anchorage Economic Development Corp.
Several candidates running for governor in Oregon participated in a debate last night. The Oregonian reports that the event was organized by a number of environmental groups and featured discussion of the LNG import project proposed in the state. Democratic candidates Bill Bradbury and John Kitzhaber offered their views on the LNG proposals, with Bradbury saying that the state should take all steps to block the LNG projects. In contrast, Kitzhaber said that domestic natural gas supplies are preferable to imports, but that he was not willing to discount LNG imports to the state completely.
"This is really a state issue. Oregon has the control, authority to control these permits. In fact, they have the responsibility to protect our region. That's what we're doing, asking the state to deny the needed permits in the interest of the Oregon public," said Olivia Schmidt with the Sierra Club.
Gas hydrate, a potentially immense energy resource, occurs at high saturations within reservoir-quality sands in the Gulf of Mexico, according to reports released by the Office of Fossil Energy’s (FE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). [Bold red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Here is another death knell for additional US LNG import terminal projects.
29 Mar 2010
Southwestern said yesterday it will spend about $47 million during the next three years to search for oil and gas across 2.5 million acres in the Maritimes Basin in New Brunswick, Canada. The company, which got 81 percent of its production last year from the Fayetteville Shale, bid for and won exclusive licenses to explore from the Department of Natural Resources in the province of New Brunswick. [Red emphasis added.]
The Department of Natural Resources said that Southwestern Energy Company has successfully bid the highest amount the government has ever received to explore for oil and gas on two swaths of land, representing the largest tender call - by land mass - ever issued.
Webmaster’s Comments: All the while, Calais LNG and Downeast LNG claim North America needs to import more LNG.
The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) has determined that the agency has jurisdiction over the "pipe in pipe" LNG transfer system proposed by Weaver's Cove LNG. PHMSA also concluded that the siting requirements for marine cargo transfer systems, found at 49 C.F.R. part 193, apply to the planned "pipe in pipe" system. Finally, PHMSA directed Weaver's Cove LNG to develop an alternative model for calculating appropriate exclusion zones along the "pipe in pipe" system, if constructed. [Bold & red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Presumably, an exclusion zone would extend the entire length of the submerged 4.25-mile LNG cryogenic pipeline, essentially shutting down that portion of Mount Hope Bay and Fall River. This is similar to now-failed Quoddy Bay LNG's submerged 1-mile LNG pipeline beneath Split Rock and Half Moon Cove.
Alliance for a Livable Newport will host a public forum tonight to discuss the possibility of liquefied natural gas deliveriers being transported on Narragansett Bay. The forum will highlight pros and cons.
This morning the U.S. Coast Guard issued a final rule modifying the regulations for vessel traffic in Narragansett Bay. The review of the previous regulations was prompted by a 2005 federal law that required the retention of the Brightman Street Bridge in the Taunton River and a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredging project in the Providence River. Retention of the Brightman Street Bridge had been controversial in the efforts to site the original proposed Weaver's Cove LNG terminal in Fall River, Mass. The regulations, as modified, remove certain navigation restrictions in the Providence River and define the minimum under-keel clearance as 10% of vessel draft when not assisted by tugs or moored at an assigned berth.
Last week El Paso Pipeline Partners LP announced that it plans to take a 51% interest in Southern LNG Company LLC and El Paso Elba Express Co. LLC from El Paso Corp. for a purchase price of $810 million.
‘Now North America has an unforeseen surfeit of natural gas. The United States’ purchases of LNG (our major usage area) have dwindled. It has enough gas under its soil to inspire dreams of self-sufficiency.
[T]he time is now for a true all-Alaska gas line that can deliver affordable energy in-state and export our liquefied natural gas (LNG) to lucrative Asian markets. The way to accomplish this, while assuring the lowest possible tariff, is for it to be built, operated and substantially financed by the private sector but owned by Alaskans.
A bullet line might be part of our strategy but only as a backup plan to a larger volume all-Alaska gas line project. This would be a single line from Prudhoe Bay to Glennallen, where it would branch into a "Y" with one leg to Valdez and one leg to Southcentral to tie into the existing gas grid. This would allow for value-added opportunities, in-state use and LNG export from the Valdez and Kenai terminals.
The delivery is likely part of a supply agreement under which Costa Azul terminal operator Sempra Energy will take up to 500 billion cubic feet of LNG from the BP-led Tangguh project for 20 years, with the option to divert some of these volumes to more attractive markets.
Deliveries from Tangguh to Costa Azul have been sporadic in recent months due to operational problems at Tangguh and low gas prices in Southern California, which have deterred shippers from sending much gas there.
"We've basically won the lottery," Michael Ming, president of Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America, an organization that studies new natural gas developments, said during a recent Time Inc. conference on energy technologies.
Investors in companies like Range Resources and Devon Energy need to keep an eye on the battle over hydraulic fracturing because the process underpins the natural gas boom that is reshaping the energy landscape. Just a few years ago, it looked like imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) would be required to supply North American energy needs. Now, with the market so well supplied with domestic output, companies like Apache (NYSE: APA) are looking to secure LNG export capacity. Frac fluid -- the water, sand, and chemical mixture blasted into downhole formations to get the gas flowing out of tight sandstones and shales -- made this possible.
[T]he race by oil services companies to develop "green" -- i.e. nontoxic -- frac chemicals is well under way. A Bloomberg piece today highlights some efforts by Halliburton (NYSE: HAL) and Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB) to replace traditional biocides, which make up about 0.001% of a typical fracture fluid. Halliburton, for example, is attempting to use ultraviolet light to kill the bacteria that can muck up a gas well. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Fracking procedures encounter numerous problems that can gum up the fractures, preventing gas from escaping into the pipe, and also creating water contamination problems.With proposed federal oversight hot on the industry's heels, it appears the industry may solve the problem before regulations complicate their permitting landscape.
Webmaster’s Comments: Existing and forecasted LNG imports remain a small fraction of LNG terminal capacity. LNG infrastructure is dramatically overbuilt. With North America drowning in domestic natural gas, and the planned natural gas pipeline expansions to the Northeast, the need for more terminals — included the Goldman-funded Calais LNG terminal permitting — has been mooted.
- 10 US import terminals
- 1 US export terminal
- 2 Mexican import terminals
- 1 Canadian import terminal
- 1 Puerto Rican import terminal
- 1 Dominican Republic import terminal
Approved by MARAD [offshore]
Webmaster’s Comments: US LNG import terminals (plus a Mexican and a Canadian LNG terminal that are each supplying natural gas to the US) are operating at a small fraction of capacity, some US import terminals are re-exporting LNG because they can't find a US market for it, 3 additional US LNG import terminals are under construction, and 16 more LNG terminals have been approved.
>>> 19 additional US LNG import terminals are already in the works <<<
>>> They are years ahead of Calais LNG and Downeast LNG! <<<
>>> A century worth of natural gas is available in North America <<<
>>> 30 pipelines & expansions are being built to bring that gas to the Northeast <<<
Calais LNG and Downeast LNG have no practical business prospects. It is a mystery why they continue to throw money away on permitting, especially since they are prohibited from using the waterway by both Canada and the US Coast Guard.
LNG in Passamaquoddy Bay is a lost cause, regardless of false hopes and promises.
28 Mar 2010
"The tug is owned by Boston Towing & Transportation; the crews are also employed by them," explained Timothy White, the port director for Neptune GDF Suez, which maintains an office at 6 Rowe Square. "We (Neptune GDF Suez) charter the tug," he added. Neptune GDF Suez is a subsidiary of GDF Suez.
Neptune GDF Suez operates one of the offshore LNG terminals in Massachusetts Bay, where LNG tankers can offload their natural gas cargoes. Several Cape Ann fishermen already crew on other Boston Towing & Transportation tugs as well as on those of its parent company, Reinauer Companies of Staten Island in New York City.
FALL RIVER — Leaders of the anti-LNG movement were very happy with a Department of Transportation ruling that would require Weaver’s Cove Energy to recalculate how far a possibly flammable cloud of escaped gas might travel.
“The DOT has now said that all of the project is subject to their siting regulations and that any [terminal-piping] exclusion zones will run the whole length of the pipeline, including where it comes on shore,” Torres said.
The statement from the DOT said Weaver’s Cove Energy’s method for calculating how far a gas cloud would travel are “impracticable” and requires the company to come up with new method of calculating, though the DOT does not specify a proper method. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Failed Quoddy Bay LNG had an identical problem with their proposed undersea LNG cryogenic pipeline. They initially proposed to run an undersea cryogenic LNG pipe from Perry to Robbinston. In their last proposal, they planned to run a cryogenic pipe from the LNG ship, under Split Rock, and under Half Moon Cove.
Hess officials do not seem to be able to show strong leadership by acknowledging and adapting to the recent major economic developments and changes in gas energy markets —key structural changes that completely negate the requirements for and merits of their quest to import foreign-sourced liquid natural gas into Fall River by about 2015.
But most importantly, Hess officials won’t acknowledge and discuss their latest proposal in the context of the recent key changes in energy markets that negate their assertion that their imported LNG will reduce regional energy costs.
Here are some of the profound changes that negate the merits of Hess’ LNG proposal: The Energy Information Administration (the authoritative, independent analytical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy), in its updated 2009 Annual Energy Outlook is predicting significant surplus (up to 40 percent) natural gas supplies for the New England region for the next 20-plus years, primarily because:
Webmaster’s Comments: The same profound changes enumerated in this article apply to Downeast LNG and Calais LNG. These projects are 7-year-late pipe dreams.
- Domestic natural gas is in the process of being economically recovered, via new hydro-fracturing technology, from the recently found vast Marcellus shale deposits (estimated to be one of the largest in the world) in the nearby states of New York, Pennsylvania, and the Appalachian basin.
- Pipeline companies are rapidly expanding infrastructure to carry Marcellus shale natural gas to New England markets.
- The existing LNG facilities in New England have been, and continue to be, substantially underutilized.
- … [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: BP has LNG interests in the US — the proposed Crown Landing LNG terminal in New Jersey.
FERC has indicated that BP's history of unsafe corporate culture will not impact FERC's decision making re Crown Landing.
LNG developers and supporters like to claim that since no one wants an accident, LNG import terminals proposed in Maine will be operated safely. BP's corporate culture of unsafe practices states otherwise.
IEP involved two separate components: the installation of four ambient air vaporization units and the construction of a natural gas liquids extraction facility. Trunkline LNG Company LLC, located in Lake Charles, LA, is the only LNG regasification terminal in North America to employ ambient air vaporization technology. Utilization of the AVUs will significantly improve fuel efficiency during the regasification process for Trunkline LNG’s customer, BG LNG Services. Additionally, the availability of a natural gas liquids extraction facility will provide BG with greater flexibility in sourcing its LNG supply. The Trunkline LNG terminal is fully contracted to BG through 2030.
Cheniere Midstream Services, LLC and Sabine Pass LNG, L.P. have jointly requested that FERC waive pre-filing procedures for a proposed natural gas liquids (NGL) processing facility proposed for the Sabine Pass LNG terminal site. The NGL processing facility would be installed in two phases and have the capacity to process 1 Bcf/d of NGL. The facility would also have NGL storage tanks, truck loading facilities, and an NGL pipeline.
Webmaster’s Comments: Sabine Pass LNG has been re-exporting LNG it has imported, due to lack of a domestic market. (See the 2010 Feb 15 LNG Law Blog item, "Citigroup Energy Re-Exporting LNG Cargo from Sabine Pass Terminal.")
Industry officials said importing LNG would be expensive. [Bold red emphasis added.]
Oregon LNG has withdrawn the penalty and damage charges it filed against the Port of Astoria in U.S. District Court, and the two parties are meeting with a judge today to begin working out their differences.
Canada has as much shale gas as the United States. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Now the gas-laced rock has doubled the discovered gas resources of North America, providing 100 years of supply to a country that a few years ago was planning a host of new terminals to import liquefied natural gas, or LNG. Shale gas now accounts for 20 percent of the country's gas supply, up from 1 percent in 2000. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Calais LNG and Downeast LNG are fighting reality.
This year we don't need LNG, but we are going to get it anyway," PFC Energy Senior Director Raoul Leblanc told the Washington Energy Policy Conference. Long-term commitments to pipeline gas and underground storage constraints mean Europe can't take much more LNG, while the US can. [Red & bold emphasis added.]
They reacted to a contraction of demand for outside gas in the biggest energy consumer because U.S. companies — using a new technology — began producing large amounts of shale gas, which was previously too expensive to extract. [Bold red emphasis added.]
26 Mar 2010
In addition to those 31 industries, USEPA is now proposing to collect emissions data from the oil and natural gas sector, industries that emit fluorinated gases, and from facilities that inject and store CO2 underground for the purposes of geologic sequestration or enhanced oil and gas recovery. In a move broader than expected, covered facilities include onshore petroleum and natural gas producers, offshore petroleum and natural gas producers, onshore natural gas processing, natural gas transmission, underground natural storage, liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage, LNG import and export facilities, and natural gas distribution facilities. Methane is the primary GHG emitted from oil and natural gas systems and is more than 20 times as potent as CO2 at warming the atmosphere. USEPA’s proposed rule sets the reporting threshold for methane at 1250 tons per year.
Let’s remember too that Mayor Will Flanagan, all the members of our state legislative delegation, our representatives in the U.S. House and Sen. John Kerry oppose the LNG project. I haven’t heard yet from our newest senator, Scott Brown. But even if he decides to support it, he could not single-handedly tow the project over the finish line. [Bold red emphasis added.]
FERC does not currently seek adequate input from states in LNG siting reviews, and governors lack veto authority for onshore LNG terminals, despite having that authority for offshore terminals under the Deepwater Port Act, according to McGovern. Although states and localities face all the potential risks and impacts of [an] LNG facility, they lack an equal voice in the siting and approval process, McGovern said. Prior to the 2005 Energy Bill, such decisions had historically been made by siting agencies in each state. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
“I don’t know how we can make it any clearer to Weaver’s Cove and Hess LNG that this is not welcome here," said Gallison, D-Bristol. "Every city and town and practically every organization that has an interest in the bays, the environment or public safety in the area has come out to fight against this facility. If this is what it takes to shoot down this loathsome proposal, this is what I’ll do."
Under the legislation, the operator of each LNG vessel traveling through Rhode Island waters would have to pay $1 million per trip to each shoreline city and town it passes, both as the ship enters Rhode Island waters and as it exits: Newport, Jamestown, Middletown, Portsmouth, Bristol, Tiverton, and Warren.
On top of those fees, the tankers would be required to carry at least $1 billion in liability insurance, and post bonds for each transit under bridges along the route. The bonds would be $475 million for those going under the Pell Bridge and $225 million for those going under the Mount Hope Bridge. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
HOUSTON, Mar. 24 -- The Manatee County Port Authority Mar. 18 approved a long-term $30 million agreement with Port Dolphin Energy LLC for construction of an LNG port facility and pipeline off Florida. Port Dolphin is a subsidiary of Hoegh LNG, which operates a fleet of five LNG carriers. Port Dolphin will also base an operations center at Port Manatee.
Webmaster’s Comments: This offshore LNG terminal 28 miles off Tampa, will be safely away from civilian populations — unlike proposed Calais LNG and Downeast LNG that would put thousands of lives in harm's way.
- Two submerged turret unloading and mooring buoys for receiving gas from Hoegh’s vessels.
- A 42-mile offshore pipeline for transportation of gas from the offshore terminal to Port Manatee in Tampa Bay.
- A 6-mile onshore pipeline connection to the Florida gas network.
QUINTANA — A federal regulator Thursday approved Freeport LNG’s request to build an 18-wheeler liquefied natural gas unloading facility at its terminal, but the town has a plan to keep the company from using it.
“[FERC's Commissioners] obviously don’t have any feelings whatsoever about the lives and safety of the people who live here,” [Councilman Harold Doty] said. “It’s a safety issue more than anything else.” [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: This is happening in a community that supports the LNG terminal, but does not support the back-door project having large LNG trucks driving through the community.
FERC's emergency response requirements regarding the host community are not developed early in the permitting process. Communities have no way of knowing an LNG project's emergency impacts while the developer is wooing the community to site the terminal. This is a classic cart-before-the-horse issue that government should disallow.
El Paso Pipeline Partners said today it has agreed to buy a 51 percent state in both Southern LNG Company and El Paso Elba Express from El Paso Corporation for $810 million. El Paso Corporation will continue to own the remaining interests in the two companies.
The Elba Island terminal currently has 1.8 bcfd in sendout capacity and 7.3 bcf of storage capacity in 4 tanks. Expansion, set for commissioning this summer, will add 4.2 bcf of storage in a fifth tank.
The link below accesses a PDF file.
SUMMARY: The Office of Fossil Energy (FE) of the Department of Energy (DOE) gives notice of receipt of an application filed on March 4, 2010, by Freeport LNG Development, L.P. (Freeport LNG), requesting an amendment to its blanket authorization to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) granted by DOE/FE on May 28, 2009, in DOE/FE Order No. 2644, and amended on September 22, 2009, in DOE/FE Order No. 2644–A. Freeport LNG seeks authorization to export foreign-sourced LNG from its Quintana Island, Texas facilities to any other country (in addition to those already specifically listed in DOE/FE Order No. 2644, as amended) with capacity to import LNG via ocean-going carrier and with which trade is not prohibited by U.S. law or policy.
Freeport LNG states that in DOE/FE Order No. 2644, which granted Freeport LNG blanket authorization to export up to 24 Bcf (cumulative) of previously imported foreign-sourced LNG, FE determined that there presently is no domestic reliance on the volumes of imported LNG that Freeport LNG would seek to export. Freeport LNG also states that most recently, FE made the same finding in granting ConocoPhillips blanket authority to export from the Freeport LNG Quintana Island terminal up to 500 Bcf of previously imported LNG.8 FE stated that ‘‘the record shows there is sufficient supply of natural gas to satisfy domestic demand from multiple other sources at competitive prices without drawing on the LNG which ConocoPhillips seeks to export * * *.’’
Freeport LNG states that Amendment of Freeport LNG’s short term blanket authorization as requested herein would provide Freeport LNG with the necessary flexibility it requires to respond to changes in domestic and global markets for natural gas and LNG. [Bold, red & yellow emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: The US is drowning in its own domestic supplies of natural gas, to the detriment of Freeport LNG and johnny-come-lately LNG projects imprudently seeking permits — like Calais LNG and Downeast LNG.
[BPTT chairman Robert Riley] said opportunities in the past for making easy money from natural gas were gone and 'we can no longer depend on the early advantages we had as first mover into the United States LNG market, as we are now facing serious challenges'.
BPTT, a subsidiary of BP Plc (BP.L), is the largest natural gas producer in the country. Though Riley said there was enough gas in place to sustain BPTT's current contracts and obligations to 2025, he warned it could have a significant challenge on its hands over the next decade if it fails to make a successful new find, beyond the 12 offshore platforms where it currently operates.
[Fairbanks borough mayor and a member of the port authority's board of directors Luke Hopkins] has been promoting the $250 million trucking project as a way to get gas from the North Slope more quickly as the pipeline project progresses. The project provides little benefit to North Slope Borough.
The municipality’s reason for dropping out of the partnership is unclear, but port authority officials say the borough’s pending withdrawal has no impact on efforts to truck natural gas to Fairbanks by 2012 or to build a gas pipeline from the North Slope to Valdez.
JUNEAU — The United States’ energy regulators would probably keep their hands off an in-state natural gas pipeline even if much of the gas goes to foreign markets, according to a report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The informal assessment means the state’s regulators would be left in charge of governing the pipeline. Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of FERC, wrote to Bob Swenson, Alaska’s in-state pipeline manager, March 15 that the analysis is tentative, as the full commission has yet to weigh in on the question.
"The biggest thing that Alaska could do, including the government, is kind of get off the idea that the Lower 48 actually needs Alaska gas," said Jack Weixel, director of energy analysis for Colorado-based Bentek Energy, an energy market analysis firm. Instead of a pipeline to Canada, Weixel said, Alaska could start pushing a plan that looks to Asian LNG markets.
Massive reserves of shale gas in the Lower 48 could glut the nation's natural gas market in the near future, keeping prices low and rendering an Alaska pipeline uneconomic in the short term. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: North America is drowning in natural gas.
On March 30 comes the debate you’ve all been waiting for: three of the leading 2010 gubernatorial candidates, Republican Allen Alley and Democrats John Kitzhaber and Bill Bradbury, will be facing off at Portland State University in a debate on Oregon’s environmental future.
Bradbury … in November of last year … discussed environmental issues at length, including Liqufied Natural Gas (LNG) facilities, the production of which he said he “will fight tooth and nail” to halt, adding “I will chain my Segway to a LNG tanker if I have to.” This could be one potential point of contention at the debate between Bradbury and Alley, who, according to his campaign website’s section on energy infrastructure, is a supporter of LNG. [Red emphasis added.]
The county's application approval, made in 2008, was challenged by the LNG opponent group Columbia Riverkeeper. Two items within the project's land-use application were remanded to Clatsop County for revision. The upcoming LUBA decision will determine whether the county responded adequately to the remand.
In its first ruling, LUBA found fault with Clatsop County's finding that the proposed Bradwood facility is "small or moderate" in scale and that requirements to protect salmon and traditional fishing areas had been met.
The California State Lands Commission has revoked NorthernStar’s application to convert an old oil platform off Ventura Harbor into an LNG import terminal. Thus dies the fifth and final LNG terminal proposed for California over the last decade.
The LNG people told us that America could not supply its own natural-gas needs. This was wrong, spectacularly wrong. It turns out advances in shale gas technology have turned the U.S. into the nation with the third-largest natural gas reserves in the world — behind Qatar and Russia. Pennsylvania has more natural gas than Saudi Arabia. North America companies are actually going to export LNG, through Canada, to China. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Drillers have unlocked vast new shale reserves and with the cost of production below the current $4 per million British thermal unit gas price, they keep adding to supply. A harsh winter also depleted reservoirs that were packed with a record 3,837bn cubic feet of gas late last year. This makes it less likely that the US will run out of storage capacity after this year’s refill season, which probably starts this month. In 2009, fears of a capacity crunch drove prices to seven-year lows. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Here is another good reason to make the US energy independent.
22 Month 2010
Greg Chornoboy, an analyst with Jennings Capital Inc., says the drilling partnership could produce up to six trillion cubic feet of natural gas - an "enormous amount of gas," he said. [Bold red emphasis added.]
Preliminary estimates suggest the Frederick Brook shale formation has the potential to hold a massive quantity of gas. If the drill program this year supports that theory, Miller said, a much larger development would be established. [Bold red emphasis added.]
“Recent pipeline projects such as the Rockies Express, Gulf Crossing, Midcontinent Express and others, have helped alleviate the long-standing pipeline capacity constraints and have worked to reduce price differentials by increasing relative prices in the West while reducing prices in eastern markets.”
“Now the Marcellus – the Beast in the East – is poised to create further market disruptions as natural gas production from the Appalachian Basin expands from 2.2 Bcf/d last year to somewhere between 4.0 and 6.0 Bcf/d by 2014,” Braziel said. “More than 30 gas pipeline expansion projects have been announced to support this growth in the Northeast, representing the addition of more than 12 Bcf/d of new gathering, short-haul and long-haul pipeline transportation capacity and pipeline interconnections in the region.”
Northeast price premiums – one of the last bastions of relatively high prices – are expected to shrink as multiple new pipelines relieve regional transportation constraints. Price spreads to the Northeast from western Canada, the Rocky Mountains and the Southeast/Gulf are expected to tighten. “As a result, natural gas markets will be on a more level playing field from coast to coast,” Braziel said.
[C]ontinued growth in domestic shale gas production can be expected to significantly reduce the need for Canadian and LNG imports. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: This demonstrates the fallacy of Calais LNG's and Downeast LNG's Purpose & Need statements.
Webmaster’s Comments: Calais LNG (Preti Flaherty attorney David Van Slyke and Ian Emery) and supporters (the Calais City Manager, ME Sen. Kevin Raye, ME Rep. David Burns, and a representative from the Maine State Building & Construction Trades Council) spoke against the BEP taking jurisdiction of CLNG at the hearing.
Their arguments held no validity, resulting in the BEP voting unanimously to take jurisdiction.
There’s a reason that the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association, Newport Chamber of Commerce, Newport & Bristol Convention & Visitors Bureau, the cities of Bristol, Newport and Fall River are opposed to this project.
[N]atural gas is being recovered from the recently found Marcellus shale deposits, one of the largest in the world, in New York and Pennsylvania. This increase in domestic natural gas production will decrease all LNG imports in the northeast.
Webmaster’s Comments: Weaver's Cove Energy's LNG proposal remains a proposed carbuncle on Mount Hope Bay.
In a lawsuit filed electronically Friday, the community group that calls itself the LNG Opposition Team is asking the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to order federal regulators to rescind a permit issued a year ago to AES Sparrows Point LNG.
Fisher said he will argue that the project is unnecessary, given declining demand for natural gas and the underuse of existing terminals, and that it would threaten public safety. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) has issued its Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) for the TORP Bienville LNG deepwater port project. MARAD also announced in the Federal Register that it will host a public meeting on the project in Mobile, Ala., on March 31, 2010.
Webmaster’s Comments: Another offshore LNG terminal, safely away from civilian populations — unlike Calais LNG and Downeast LNG.
The Maritime Administration, in cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard, announces the availability of the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) for the TORP Terminal LP, Bienville Offshore Energy Terminal (BOET) Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Deepwater Port amended license application.
The Draft and Final Supplemental EIS, the amended application, comments and associated documentation are available for viewing at the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Web site: http://www.regulations.gov under docket number USCG-2006-24644.
TORP Terminal LP proposes to own, construct, and operate a deepwater port, the Bienville Offshore Energy Terminal (BOET), in the Federal waters of the Outer Continental Shelf on Main Pass block MP 258, located approximately 63 miles south of Mobile Point, Alabama, in a water depth of approximately 425 feet. The proposed BOET deepwater port would be capable of mooring a single LNG carrier (LNGC) of up to approximately 265,000 cubic meters (m3) (8.8 million cubic feet [ft3]) in capacity.
[I]f the oil companies don’t invest billions over the next decade to develop more gas supplies in Cook Inlet, imported gas may be needed by 2013, according to the report from Petrochemical Resources of Alaska.
[N]o one in Juneau is talking about that option--export of liquefied natural gas to other domestic states--given reports of expanding gas production in other states. Supporters of the in-state pipeline option have instead zeroed in on international export from the Cook Inlet area as a more likely scenario. [Red emphasis added.]
HOUSTON, Mar. 22 -- The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said Mar. 19 it would not, under most circumstances contemplated by Alaska’s In-State Gas Team, have jurisdiction over an eventual in-state pipeline.
In Scenario 3, a portion of the gas also would proceed to Kenai LNG, but with the potential for at least some of it to be shipped to US customers if an LNG receiving terminal were constructed on the US West Coast. FERC stated that the fact that some of the gas in Scenario 3 might be transported in interstate commerce could result in the proposed in-state line becoming fully subject to the agency’s jurisdiction.
"This kind of activity in the Arctic, combined with declining summer sea ice, has positive implications for energy security across borders, because LNG and oil tankers will in some cases be able to have alternatives to their current, more dangerous and clogged routes through South-East Asian straits and the Gulf of Aden and of course the Suez Canal. So non-Arctic nations are going to benefit in this way, but can also benefit through the funding element of these huge projects. The exploration, the production, and certainly the construction necessary to develop Arctic resources is going to require all types of financing not just for the sheer scale and remoteness of the projects, but for the levels of technology needed to bring them online in a way that's safe for workers, safe for the environment, and as insulated from risk as possible.
"We now have reports that a Russian shipping firm has announced that it will use one of its ice strengthened arctic tankers to carry oil from the Kara Sea across the Northern Sea Route to Japan this year. This would be a proof of concept that could also apply to LNG tankers based on the same dual-acting icebreaker-tanker design used for the oil tanker.
The Port of Astoria Commission voted 4-0 with Commission President Bill Hunsinger abstaining to notify Oregon Department of State Lands of its intent to exercise a 30-year renewal option on its lease of land in Warrenton for the Oregon LNG liquefied natural gas terminal.
Yamhill County doesn't want natural gas pipelines running through its farmland without good cause, and that good cause - an explicit public need for imported gas supplies - has yet to be demonstrated to the commissioners' satisfaction.
Commissioner Leslie Lewis picked up on [the lack of need] at Wednesday's meeting and hit it hard. If there's no need for LNG, she said, why should the county allow companies to tear up good farmland to bring it in? [Bold red emphasis added.]
March 22 (Bloomberg) -- Natural gas futures fell to the lowest price in almost six months on concern mild weather will allow stockpiles to begin an annual period of increases earlier than normal this year, creating a supply glut later this year.
The number of gas rigs working in the U.S. rose by 12 to 939 last week, the highest level since Feb. 27, 2009, according to Baker Hughes Inc. The total represents an increase of 41 percent from a seven-year low in July. An increase in rigs indicates output from gas fields may gain later this year. [Red emphasis added.]
19 Mar 2010
"At a time when Maine should be focused on realistic solutions to its energy and economic challenges, this proposed project is neither realistic, nor a solution," says CLF vice president Sean Mahoney, who directs the group's Maine Advocacy Center. "Given the current glut of natural gas, the projected significant increase in domestic sources of natural gas and the projected lack of any increased demand for gas from current levels, moving forward with the project is a waste of resources and provides false hope for a part of Maine that is in desperate need for real solutions." [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
"The board found that the project met the standard for board jurisdiction, namely that it is a project of substantial public interest," says Cynthia Bertocci, the executive analyst for the Board of Environmental Protection, or BEP, which is made up of ten volunteer citizens appointed by the Governor.
"The environmental impacts associated with the project are adverse," Mahoney says. "The impacts are even more inappropriate given the lack of any need for the project from the perspective of our energy picture, or the inconsistency with Maine's energy goals - to move away from liquid hydrocarbons like gas and oil and more to renewable resources." [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
…Hess officials won’t acknowledge and discuss their latest proposal in the context of the recent key changes in energy markets that negate their assertion that their imported LNG would reduce regional energy costs. Because of these changes, there is now no valid requirement (if there ever was one) for importing LNG into southeastern New England, particularly not through the environmentally sensitive Narragansett and Mount Hope bays. If they were genuinely interested in embracing these new economic realities, Hess officials would withdraw their highly controversial proposal.
Here are some of the profound changes that negate the merits of Hess’s LNG proposal. The Energy Information Administration (the authoritative, independent analytical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy), in its updated 2009 Annual Energy Outlook (April 2009), predicts significant surplus (up to 40 percent natural-gas supplies for New England region for the next 20-plus years) primarily because domestic natural gas is being economically recovered, via new hydro-fracturing technology, from the recently found vast Marcellus shale deposits (estimated to be one of the largest in the world) in New York, Pennsylvania and the Appalachian basin.
The existing LNG facilities in New England have been, and continue to be, substantially underused. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
The Chamber said findings of the study, titled “LNG Transit through East Passage: Potential Impact on Aquidneck Island Development,” are valid now as the number of vessel transits are the same as in the first Hess proposal. The proposal would also have an unforeseeable impact on other economic systems and future projects within Narragansett Bay, the Chamber said.
Tankers carrying liquefied natural gas would arrive at an offshore facility operated by Port Dolphin. A new underwater pipeline system would connect to onshore facilities at Port Manatee. [Bold red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Unlike ill-sited Calais LNG & Downeast LNG, Port Dolphin is offshore, safely away from civilian populations.
Port Dolphin Energy, a Delaware-based company, has been working on plan since 2007 to build a deep-water port about 28 miles off Anna Maria Island for ships transporting liquefied natural gas, or LNG.
Port Dolphin construction is expected to begin in 2012 with completion the following year. The installation will have a peak capacity of 1.2 bcf/d, which, developers say, is enough gas to meet 15% of Florida's energy demand. The project will accommodate two shuttle and regasification vessels (SRVs) using a submerged turret loading system and buoys located about three miles apart. Daily throughput at startup is expected to be about 400 mmcf/d and increase to a daily average of 800 mmcf/d. [Bold & red emphasis added.]
MANDEVILLE, Manchester -- Energy and Mining Minister James Robertson says that within four weeks, Government will "turn another corner" in the drive to replace heavy fossil fuels with liquefied natural gas (LNG) as the main generating source for electricity in an effort to lower electricity and productivity costs for Jamaica.
State and local officials are concerned that if the export license is not renewed, the companies may close the plant, which now plays a vital role in helping utilities meet mid-winter gas deliverability needs, Heinze told the Senate Resources Committee.
Former Alaska U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, long a cheerleader for a natural gas pipeline from Alaska across Canada to the U.S. Midwest, says he now believes that project is doomed by large U.S. shale gas discoveries. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
In a major change of heart since leaving office, former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens now thinks that LNG exports into the Pacific Rim from Alaska present the optimum solution for bringing North Slope gas to market.
Stevens has in the past been a proponent of a pipeline route through Canada to supply natural gas to the Lower 48, but says that the world natural gas supply and demand situation has changed dramatically in recent years, thus favoring the LNG export route. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
On Tuesday, the Port Commission met and discussed the order. Port Commissioner Dan Hess made a motion to renew the state lease for 30 years and Commissioner Larry Pfund backed him, but the motion was tabled for an executive session and later withdrawn. Commissioners said they were waiting to see the outcome of Thursday's conference with the judge to decide on their next move.
In their latest filing with the court - a 15-page argument for why the Port leaders should be held in contempt - attorney Kelly Corr of the Seattle law firm Davis Wright Tremain accuses the commissioners of "dilatory and contumacious conduct" and goes on to describe in detail the sequence of events from Tuesday's Commission meeting. Corr noted that nearly a year has passed since the company renewed its 30-year sublease with the Port, and the agency continues to resist signing onto a parallel 30-year renewal of the underlying master lease with Oregon Department of State Lands.
17 Mar 2010
The jump in [natural gas well] production marks a trend, as energy companies are becoming more interested in natural gas liquids, which fetch a higher price than natural gas. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
North America's lost appetite for LNG has already led to a flood of cheap fuel in Europe which has forced state-controlled Gazprom to show rare flexibility in its supply contracts with European buyers to boost sales. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
With U.S. demand for imported gas likely to remain subdued, countries like Qatar which have built more capacity to supply the North American market could be reluctant to cut sales of their biggest money makers. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
One of the uncertainties is the degree of national political opposition. If a gas glut exists in the Lower 48, exporters would have an easier time winning support for shipping Alaska gas to Asia. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
Mulva, speaking to the Cambridge Energy Research Associates conference, said some experts see the day when the U.S. will become a major exporter of liquefied natural gas. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: ConocoPhillips attempted to site an LNG import terminal at Harpswell, Maine, but was turned away by the community. In 2005, this webmaster contacted ConocoPhillips, and was told the company no longer had any interest in construcing an LNG import terminal in Maine.
This article indicates ConocoPhillips made a smart choice. They are confident enough regarding the abundance of natural gas in North America that they predict 100-years' worth of supply.
Asked whether Statoil would have built Snoehvit given the fall in US demand for gas, Michelsen said: "The decision to build Snoehvit was sanctioned at a time when there was a lot of optimism about LNG all over the world." [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: LNG import infrastructure is already seriously overbuilt in the US. Calais LNG and Downeast LNG are sticking their heads in the sand.
Barring some kind of ridiculous environmental blockages, cheap U.S. shale gas is coming. Increasing numbers of major investors know it, ranging from energy majors to foreign tycoons. Yet we doubt the market hasn't fully recognized the vast implications this will have for U.S. energy a few years forward. Take the spill-over effects into the chemical industry we highlighted, for example. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Yesterday, FERC issued an environmental information request to Calais LNG regarding a wide range of topics including the proposed LNG vessel route, potential effects on water and other natural resources, and cultural and socioeconomic impacts of the project.
Littell says that he will inform the board at its meeting that he has concluded that there is substantial public interest in the project. Also, although those favoring the department's retaining jurisdiction believe it would expedite the evaluation, Littell writes that "the timing of evaluation and decision-making on the pending applications will be generally consistent whether the board or the commissioner have original jurisdiction." [Red emphasis added.]
His reintroduced controversial resolution asked that Weaver’s Cove Energy be allowed an audience to discuss its $700 million liquefied natural gas terminal and offshore berth proposal before a council subcommittee.
In order to build the offshore terminal that would be connected to a 200,000 cubic meter storage tank in Fall River by a 4.5 mile buried pipeline, a channel and turning basin for the tankers would have to be dredged. The tankers would carry about 150,000 cubic meters of LNG. Most of the LNG imported into the US is supplied by Trinidad, but other potential supply sources include Norway, Algeria, Nigeria, Egypt, Qatar, Equatorial Guinea, Russia, Oman and Abu Dhabi.
It has been eight years since Hess first proposed a tanker-supplied LNG terminal in Fall River. The project has gone through various iterations and the company opted for the offshore terminal after designation of the Taunton River as a wild and scenic stream and the historic designation of the Brightman Street Bridge halted plans for a land-based terminal. It is now seeking Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval for its amended plan. The agency is conducting an environmental impact statement that Save the Bay believes will be released this spring.
Webmaster’s Comments: The article omits numerous factors indicating significantly against the Weaver's Cove Energy LNG project.
“We have enough natural gas in North America in the United States. We don’t really need LNG. There is no need for it.” [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: LNG imports are expected to rise in order to compensate for gas used during an unusually cold winter.
Lawyers for Washington Gas Light (WGL), FERC and Dominion presented oral arguments over the Cove Point LNG terminal Expansion Project to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. WGL argued that the Expansion Project would increase flows of regasified LNG on WGL's distribution system, and those flows could cause damage to their equipment. FERC responded by emphasizing that it appropriately and thoroughly addressed WGL's safety concerns.
The project involved two separate components: the installation of four ambient air vaporization units and the construction of a natural gas liquids extraction facility. Trunkline LNG Co. LLC's facility, located in Lake Charles, La., is the only LNG regasification terminal in North America to use ambient air vaporization technology, which will significantly improve fuel efficiency during the regasification process for Trunkline LNG's customer, BG LNG Services LLC, the company said. [Red & bold emphasis added.]
Platts LNG Daily [subscription required] reports that a cooperative of Alaskan utilities has offered to purchase all or part of the Kenai LNG liquefaction facility. The Alaskan Natural Gas Development Authority told the Alaskan Senate this week that the utilities are concerned that the facility will close if current Kenai LNG facility owners ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil are not permitted to renew their LNG export licenses.
A local Washington resident and shipping engineer filed comments with FERC urging the Commission to hold Bradwood Landing LNG import project developers, NorthernStar Natural Gas, responsible for environmental effects that the operations of LNG vessels [would] cause while docking or undocking at the facility. The comments focus specifically on the likelihood of fish entrainment in an LNG vessel's ballast system when the ship uses its bow or stern thrusters. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
[Portland law firm Landye Bennett Blumstein attorney Thane Tienson] assured commissioners the company's attorneys can't charge the Port any money. Only a judge can impose damages and legal fees upon the Port, and the judge has not done that, he said.
Oregon LNG renewed its sublease for a 30-year term last year, but the Port didn't renew its master lease with the state for a parallel 30 years, in part because of a state investigation into official misconduct by former Port director Peter Gearin leading up to the lease deal. Instead, the Port signed a two-year extension of the initial five-year lease term with the state. Oregon LNG proceeded to sue the Port for a breach of contract because the master lease wasn't renewed for a 30-year term.
Last year, Port commissioners realized that the Port might actually own the land at the Skipanon site and that the language in the master lease and sublease could create some major problems for the agency long-term - especially if Oregon LNG doesn't get the permits to build an LNG facility in Warrenton.
After the State Lands Commission and U.S. Coast Guard suspended the application in 2007, asking for more information on hundreds of “data gaps,” the company failed to respond. As a result, Environmental Defense Center and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper asked state officials to drop the project.
15 Mar 2010
- How European gas markets have coped with a cold winter
- LNG’s role in the gas mix (long term contracts vs. LNG)
- Low gas prices and high demand – an uneasy balance?
- Flows of LNG from Qatar, where and why
- Global overview – new and recently projects
- How new LNG production capabilities may alter existing markets
- The cold winter impact on the US gas market
- Storage vs. supply dynamics
- How LNG continues to impact the US gas market despite adequate gas supply [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Calais LNG and Downeast LNG refuse to admit what everyone else in the energy industry already knows — there is no justifiable reason to overbuild even more LNG import infrastructure.
This year, suddenly, the sub-text is shale gas, the "gale of shale" that has constantly been mentioned and referenced in dozens of speeches by oil guys, petrochemical company executives and even government officials.
Webmaster’s Comments: What is it about the North American natural gas glut that Calais LNG and Downeast LNG do not understand?
Doer pointed out in his letter that in the draft environmental impact statement issued by FERC for Downeast LNG it was noted the passage of LNG tankers in the region requires the collaboration of the government of Canada.
Webmaster’s Comments: This is a US Coast Guard requirement. It has nothing to do with the innocent passage dispute.
Not only does this undercut the carbon emissions argument, but it’s a terrible strategy for energy independence! As I showed in a post last June, because of the long transportation distance, LNG’s emissions are barely lower than coal. Certainly not by the amount the Trades Council was claiming…
For decades Stevens has said that the route through Canada was the best option to get Alaska gas to market, but no more. The economics have shifted because of the shale gas boom in the Lower 48 and the heavy demand in Asia for liquefied natural gas shipped by tanker, he said.
Webmaster’s Comments: It seems everyone but Calais LNG and Downeast LNG recognize that domestic natural gas supplies in North America have made the US natural gas-secure; there is no need for an even greater LNG import infrastructure overbuild.
Meaning the former senator wants the state to invest half the money upfront for an in-state line built from the North Slope to Fairbanks, then split with a bullet line to the Kenai Peninsula to supply Alaskans with gas. The other line to Valdez would ship liquefied natural gas, or LNG, over to Asian markets. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
Oregon LNG, a liquefied natural gas development company, filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the Port last year, attempting to force the agency to sign a 30-year renewal of the master lease at the LNG project site on Warrenton’s Skipanon Peninsula. The Port leases the land from the state and subleases it to Oregon LNG.
North American Futures: Canadian – US Perspectives is a two day bi-national conference for private and public sector practitioners and scholars interested in the issues driving the North American, Canada – U.S. relationship.
The conference takes place Friday and Saturday, March 12 – 13, 2010, at the new David Brower Center, located in downtown Berkeley, California. It will be webcast on webcast.berkeley.edu and televised on UC-TV. Over the course of two days the conference will hear from experts and conduct panels in the following key areas:
- 1) Culture, Identity, and the Social Contract
- 2) Managing the Economic Arena
- 3) National Security and International Affairs
- 4) Managing the Artcic
- 5) Energy, the Environment, and Climate Change
- 6) The Trilateral Perspective - Mexico, The US, Canada
- 7) North American Futures: The Challenges of the 21st Century
LNG imports by the U.S. may almost double in 2010 to 2.2 billion cubic feet a day from an average 1.2 billion in 2009, JPMorgan said. That compares with a five-year average of 1.5 billion and 2008’s average of 1 billion.
“Based on rig activity and forecasts for exploration and production growth, the natural gas market appears to be well oversupplied again in 2010,” Allman said. In 2009, the U.S. natural gas market was oversupplied by about 3 billion cubic feet a day, a little less than LNG imports in 2009 by South Korea, the world’s second biggest LNG buyer.
Webmaster’s Comments: "Oversupplied" means it is not needed for energy independence.
A short course on how natural gas is priced.
12 Mar 2010
Speaking at CERA Week in Houston, Nobuo Tanaka, executive director for the International Energy Agency, said that North American shale gas plays are likely to limit LNG imports to the U.S. market. Tanaka also said that increased shale gas production has been a factor in the de-linking of gas prices from crude oil prices. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Calais LNG and Downeast LNG are projects without a purpose.
…Qatar, the world’s LNG powerhouse, spent the past decade ramping up supplies aimed at the American market. That now looks like a blunder. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
A glut of unconventional natural gas supplies from US shale deposits has fundamentally recast the long-term prospects for liquefied natural gas imports that were once considered the linchpin of the nation's energy security, industry executives said at the Ceraweek conference in Houston.
US natural gas reserves are up by a third since 2006, thanks to unconventional gas development including shale gas, with estimated reserves sufficient to supply the US market for nearly 100 years at current rates.
The implications are profound. Policymakers have faced a trilemma: how to make energy supplies secure, affordable and clean. Now an abundance of gas appears to provide the answer to all three problems at once. In the words of Tony Hayward, chief executive of BP, it is a “game changer” – certainly for America, and quite possibly for the world.
Scepticism about the gas revolution is understandable because change has come so fast. Until five years ago, US policymakers and energy executives were fretting about securing enough gas to make up for the decline in the country’s own, sizable production. This year, the US has overtaken Russia to become the world’s biggest gas producer for the first time in nearly a decade. Technical breakthroughs that allow companies to tap gas trapped in its vast shale reserves, until recently considered impervious, have allowed it to shut its doors to imports from distant countries. The industry now thinks it can produce from those reserves for 100 years. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
Natural gas prices plunged last year, reaching their lowest level in more than seven years, as producers unlocked vast new supplies of the fuel from dense, natural gas-rich rock formations known as shales. The new supplies created a glut of gas, boosting U.S. gas stockpiles to an all-time high in November. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
According to Goldman Sachs, the risk/reward profile for natural gas is improving “following the pullback in recent weeks. The analysts say, "(1) we expect a potential demand pickup at the expense of coal if prices fall from here; (2) we continue to expect below-consensus LNG imports; and (3) industrial and electricity data points have improved.”
Webmaster’s Comments: This is further evidence that Goldman Sachs expects to lose all its venture capital on its Calais LNG investment.
Venture capitalists put loads of money down on long-odds projects, expecting each project to fail; however, in the event one succeeds, they reap obscene amounts of profit — enough to cover all other projects' losses and to create an additional shower of profit. In the meantime, losses become convenient tax writeoffs.
Gordon Shearer, the head of Weaver’s Cove Energy, did a fine job on Tuesday in defending the $700 million liquefied-natural-gas terminal proposed for Fall River, a project that he and we agree would help lower our region’s now very high electricity and other energy costs.
Webmaster’s Comments: The cost of LNG-source natural gas imported by Distrigas LNG in Everett, MA, and Northeast Gateway offshore from Gloucester, MA, has been significantly more costly than natural gas imported via the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline. The Boston-area LNG import terminals have been operating at less than 25% of capacity (US terminals have been operating at under 10% of capacity), demonstrating the lack of justification for Hess Energy's Weaver's Cove LNG project.
This is not a case of “not in my backyard.” Maryland already has one of the nation’s largest LNG import facilities — Dominion Cove Point in Calvert County — which opened in 2003 and was expanded by 80 percent in 2009, all with the support of state and local authorities.
Webmaster’s Comments: Contrary to pro-LNG BAAs (Build Anything Anywhere), such as Calais LNG and Downeast LNG, there are legitimate reasons to oppose unsafely-sited LNG terminal proposals. Even the world LNG industry has created best practices against doing it (see LNG Terminal Siting Standards Organization).
Webmaster’s Comments: Trunkline LNG is at Lake Charles, Louisiana.
The CEO of RasGas told the Wall Street Journal [subscription required] at CERA Week that he expects the first LNG cargo to be delivered to the Golden Pass LNG terminal within a "September time frame."
The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Larry Persily to head a federal office tasked with pushing forward a long-planned – and long-delayed – pipeline project to bring large natural gas supplies from Alaska’s North Slope to markets in the lower 48 states.
OCAP, Oregon Citizens Against Pipelines, meeting is 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 18, at the Forest Grove Fire Station. Plan to attend this informative meeting to hear the updates on the proposed LNG terminals on the Columbia River and at Waranton on the northern Oregon Coast, along with pipelines cutting through our forests, farmland, private property, streams and rivers.
Judge Michael Mosman of the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon has adopted a federal magistrate's recommendation to grant a preliminary injunction in a contract dispute between Oregon LNG and the Port of Astoria. Judge Mosman's order requires the Port to "take immediate steps to provide the additional thirty-year term specified" under the contract and make the land at issue available to Oregon LNG.
The decision by the U.S. District Court judge confirmed a November recommendation by a magistrate judge that Astoria's Port should extend both Oregon LNG's sublease and its lease with the Department of State Lands for three decades, despite the Port's concerns about getting locked into a 30-year deal if the terminal isn't built.The Port can appeal the decision to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court.
Also on Thursday, Oregon LNG's attorney sent a letter to the Port's attorney putting the agency on notice that the company plans to file a motion for civil contempt against the Port and its commissioners unless they immediately renew the master lease.
Oregon LNG CEO Peter Hansen said his company has spent more than $500,000 in attorney fees on the breach of contract suit and will be asking the Port to repay that money in addition to millions of dollars in damages.
The Potential Gas Committee (PGC) arrived at similar figures. The 100 year figure originates from their latest report. The PGC figures say nothing about when and at what cost natural gas resources will be produced.
Webmaster’s Comments: It is true that there can be a difference between proved and probable, etc. It is also true that the energy industry has made some spectacular blunders in the past, such as the vast overbuild of LNG import infrastructure.
10 Mar 2010
Webmaster’s Comments: Of the "few who oppose" Calais LNG, thousands are in the surrounding New Brunswick communities whose lives would be unnecessarily placed in harm's way from Calais LNG ships. Thousands of Mainers and other Americans, too, oppose LNG in Passamaquoddy Bay.
Mayor Cassidy needs to inform himself of the LNG industry's own terminal siting best safe practices that indicate Passamaquoddy Bay cannot conform to those best practices due to legitimate safety problems. (See LNG Terminal Siting Standards Organization.)
Calais needs to be a good neighbor. Tax revenues and jobs do not justify putting others' lives and livelihoods at risk.
Webmaster’s Comments: The Rhode Island attorney general was correct.
Apparently Weaver's Cove CEO Gordon Shearer keeps himself ignorant of LNG research:
- "RPT" is the term for "rapid phase transition," a non-chemical explosion demonstrated in 1981 by LNG research for the government.
- The Department of Energy indicates flammable LNG vapor clouds can drift with the wind until the cloud becomes sufficiently diluted to become non-flammable. The drift distance can be miles.
Shearer also seems unaware that natural gas pipelines are not allowed by FERC to be overbuilt, since the unnecessary capacity would cost ratepayers. When additional capacity is required, permits are sought to expand the pipeline. If there actually were a need for more natural gas in Boston, the pipeline could be expanded.
Since the Distrigas LNG terminal in Everett, MA, and the Northeast Gateway LNG terminal offshore from Boston have been operating at only around 25% of capacity — and since the Neptune LNG terminal offshore from Boston is already under construction, adding to the LNG import infrastructure overbuild — there is no demonstrable need for the Weaver's Cove LNG terminal.
Nearly a year after it first proposed it, the U.S. Coast Guard has issued a final rule, effective on April 9, that creates a permanent security zone in the Freeport Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) Basin within the Port of Freeport, TX.
Webmaster’s Comments: LNG developers and some of their supporters in the Passamaquoddy Bay area have told the public that there is a "wink-wink" relationship between local boaters and the LNG vessel, that locals will be able to regularly enter the security zone. The Maine-area Captain of the Port has made it clear no such relationship will exist.
An official with Jamaica's state-owned Petroleum Corp. told Platts LNG Daily [subscription required] that he expects the winner of the bidding process to construct and operate an LNG terminal in Jamaica will be announced between March 31 and April 15, 2010.
The Houston-based natural-gas producer bought a 51 percent stake in the Kitimat LNG project in British Columbia in January, aiming to begin shipments in 2014. Apache said it plans to decide whether to build the terminal in the second quarter of 2011.
“Kitimat might just work, but there is substantial risk,” James Jensen, a Weston, Massachusetts-based economist who specializes in international gas markets, said in an interview. “The number of LNG export projects proposed in Australia, for example, is quite large and could keep the Asian market in surplus for some time.”
HOUSTON, March 10 (Reuters) - A glut of unconventional natural gas supplies from U.S. shale deposits has fundamentally recast the long-term prospects for liquefied natural gas imports that were once considered the linchpin of the nation's energy security, industry executives said on Wednesday.
Shtokman LNG, whose main target market is the United States, has had to adjust to a new reality in which the U.S. -- once considered to be big growth LNG market -- does not need incremental LNG supplies for the foreseeable future.
U.S. natural gas reserves are up by a third since 2006, thanks to unconventional gas development including shale gas, with estimated reserves sufficient to supply the U.S. market for nearly 100 years at current rates. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
The executive said natural gas markets are flexible enough to absorb the excess supply that has resulted from new shipments of super-chilled liquefied natural gas and, in the U.S., from vast new supplies from prolific onshore fields known as shales.
[W]hile natural gas shale drilling in the U.S. has become more like a manufacturing process because the location of the shales are so well known, Europe doesn't have that same kind of data. So the risks to a potential producer are much higher.
Speaking yesterday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., BSA Energy President Ben Schlesinger said that increased development of unconventional gas plays in North America may trigger a natural gas glut in Europe. Platts LNG Daily reports that Schlesinger predicted that as production increases from North American shale gas projects, LNG that initially was expected to be imported into the United States likely will be diverted to European destinations. [Subscription required] [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
9 Mar 2010
We have long advocated an all-inclusive zoning process that leads to a comprehensive ocean management plan, which identifies appropriate and inappropriate places to build any commercial structure off our coast, whether it be LNG platforms or wind farms.
There is considerable interest from the community in participating in the hearings of the Senate Task Force on Liquefied Natural Gas. The most appropriate time for the public to testify will be Tuesday, March 16, at 2 p.m. at the Rhode Island StateHouse in the Senate Lounge.
Webmaster’s Comments: Gordon Shearer claims all safety issues have been addressed. But they haven't been solved. The project would place thousands of Rhode Islanders within federally-defined Hazard Zones' harm's way in the event of an LNG release.
“If it’s truly an off-shore terminal,” he said referencing Rhode Island Sound, “we’ll take a look at it.” Also, he pointed out that an off-shore LNG terminal in Chesapeake Bay does not affect activities because it is sufficiently far enough from the shore that the exclusionary zones required for the tankers don’t disrupt shipping traffic, pleasure boating and regattas.
But that didn’t change the thinking of many in the room who, looking at the impact on Rhode Island waters, saw little more than hassle at the least and lost opportunities including jobs and revenues for the state at the most.
Webmaster’s Comments: Hess Energy's Weaver's Cove LNG terminal proposal is not what the US Government classifies as "off shore." Hess Energy's terminal would be within state waters, just one mile from shore, meaning it would engulf civilian populations withing federally-defined Hazard Zones from the LNG ships. The federal government considers offshore to mean within federal waters, but outside state waters.
In the event that large-scale storage facilities (salt caverns, deep mines) are not present, there is a possibility that we would see a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility being built. LNG would be carried by large LNG tankers at a newly-constructed port facility (Tampa?). This presents a whole new set of safety concerns.
[I]f one looks at what's going on in the natural gas world around North America, it's becoming clearer that the surplus is not about to disappear any time soon. That's because market watchers are still talking about hot summers and cold winters as the way to solve the surplus situation -- instead of looking at long-term solutions such as using natural gas as a substitute for other fuels or being more aggressive in developing export markets. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
There has been a certain turn in the long road of government deliberation over whether a liquefied natural gas terminal will be sited on the Columbia River at Bradwood. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has said it will not approve the plant without more definitive information. The National Marine Fisheries Service has said it must do more testing before giving its approval. And Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have reintroduced legislation that would end the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's sole power to license LNG plants. All of this happened last week.
The Wyden-Merkley legislation targets the absurdity and the inadequacy of the federal process by which LNG terminals are sited. But in the near chaos of this election year, their progress is unlikely. The other gaping hole in the Bradwood LNG proposal is the lower Columbia River as prime habitat for salmon and a host of other creatures. On that score, the actions by Oregon DEQ and the federal NMFS are immediately significant.
All in all, the FERC process thus far shares many similarities with the financial mistakes that blew up into the Great Recession - a careless rush that is all about easy answers and quick profits. [Bold & red emphasis added.]
The Daily Astorian reports that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has requested an extension of time until December 31, 2010, to study the potential affects of the Bradwood Landing LNG project on endangered species. An official with Bradwood Landing LNG developer NorthernStar Natural Gas said that "both FERC and Bradwood must agree to any extension beyond the statutory limit." The official noted that project developers expect to meet with FERC and NMFS to discuss the extension request in the coming weeks.
Steve Johnson, president of Waterborne Energy, told Platts LNG Daily [subscription required] that he believes Sempra's Energia Costa Azul LNG import terminal [in Baja California, Mexico,] will receive two cargos per month once the Tangguh LNG liquefaction project in Indonesia comes on stream. This estimate accounts for certain contractual arrangements that allow some LNG cargos to be diverted from Costa Azul LNG to more profitable destinations.
Cheryl A. LaFleur has more than 20 years experience as a leader in the electric and gas industry. She retired in 2007 as Executive Vice President and acting CEO of National Grid USA responsible for the delivery of electricity to 3.4 million customers in the Northeast. Her previous positions at National Grid USA and its predecessor New England Electric System included Chief Operating Officer, President of the New England distribution companies, General Counsel, Senior Vice President of Retail Marketing, and Vice President of Demand-Side Management.
Webmaster’s Comments: Cheryl LaFleur is a Democrat. Assuming nominees LaFleur and Philip Moeller (see next article, below) are confirmed, the Commission will consist of two Republicans and three Democrats.
This may tip the FERC decisionmaking scales away from unsafe and unnecessary LNG terminal applications like Downeast LNG and Calais LNG.
Commissioner Philip D. Moeller was nominated by President Bush to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and sworn into office on July 24, 2006, by Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts, for a term expiring June 30, 2010.
Webmaster’s Comments: This is a reappointment. The FERC Commission must contain no fewer than two Republicans and two Democrats. There currently are two Democrats on the Commission, one vacancy (with Cheryl LaFleur nominated to the vacant position — see the preceeding article, above), and one Republican (after Moeller's term expired). Since Moeller's term was up, Obama was required to nominate a Republican.
Obama taps Ex-Gorton aide
President Obama has nomined Philip Moeller, formerly a top Washington State Senate staff aide and energy adviser to Republican Sen. Slade Gorton, to continue on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
NEW YORK, March 9 (Reuters) - The U.S. Energy Information Administration on Tuesday slightly lowered its estimate for domestic natural gas production in 2010, expecting output this year to be down 2.7 percent from 2009 levels.
EIA expects U.S. net imports to be slightly higher in 2010 as a projected decline in pipeline imports is offset by lower exports and higher imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). While cold weather across the northern hemisphere has helped absorb some of the new LNG supply that has recently come on-stream, U.S. LNG imports are forecast to increase by nearly 0.8 Bcf/d over last year in the first quarter 2010. For 2010 as a whole, U.S. LNG imports are forecast to increase by about 45 percent (or 0.56 Bcf/d). As global LNG demand and import capacity expand next year, EIA expects U.S. LNG imports to show little year-over-year growth in 2011. [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: There is no market justification for additional LNG import infrastructure.
The U.S. natural gas industry has been focused on the effect the commerciality of gas shale formations is having on the domestic industry. One result is that after years of declining gas production, the U.S. has experienced a rise in domestic supplies. Secondly, the Potential Gas Committee has suggested, based on its study, the country has huge gas resources that can be developed with today’s drilling and completion technologies. They did not, however, suggest that all the potential natural gas resources identified are commercial at current gas prices, and especially at the sub-$5 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) prices being experienced now. One of the key new basins that will supply this growth in natural gas production is the Marcellus Shale that extends from West Virginia through Pennsylvania and Ohio and into New York. Reportedly this is the largest basin in areal extent (95,000 square miles vs. 5,000 square miles for the Barnett Shale) and possibly in the amount of gas potential with an estimated 500 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of reserves.
While Marcellus Shale gas has been targeted for the Northeast energy market, not only due to its close proximity to the major consuming markets in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and New England, Canadian gas pipeline companies are thinking that some of this supply could move north of the border to satisfy Ontario's market. TransCanada Corp. along with Ontario-based Union Gas Ltd. and New York-based Empire Pipeline are seeking input from Marcellus Shale producers about their willingness to ship gas across the border to the Ontario market. The gas pipeline companies are holding "open season" calls to determine about how much supply Marcellus Shale producers might be willing to commit.
The long-term ramifications of this potential change in natural gas flows in Canada could be quite significant. It could reverse a 50+-year history of the Canadian natural gas pipeline industry and the way Canada's E&P companies have targeted the development of the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: The US has enough natural gas to reverse the flow to Canada! Downeast LNG and Calais LNG are useless projects.
After a meeting with General Director of Total’s office in Russia Pierre Nergararian, Governor Dmitriyenko told the press that the Shtokman project has not been postponed three years, "as the rumors told", but only a few months, GTRK Murman reports.
Webmaster’s Comments: The Russians continue to play games with Shtokman LNG information. On March 3rd the Russian President said the company would wait and see what the market does before deciding to continue or cancel the LNG liquefaction project. Previously, the company said it had cancelled the LNG project.
Gazprom has also used natural gas as a political tool, shutting down its natural gas pipeline to Europe during the cold of two winters. Is this the kind of energy supplier the US should rely on or do any kind of energy business with?
5 Mar 2010
… New Brunswick rejects Calais LNG's assertion that FERC should limit the scope of the Province's intervention in this proceeding, emphasizing that Calais LNG mischaracterized FERC's treatment of New Brunswick in the Downeast LNG proceeding. … Calais LNG has admitted that it did not provide required information … as required under the National Environmental Policy Act and FERC's regulations. … Calais LNG has not provided any information regarding LNG vessel transit routes that would account for Canada's continued prohibition of LNG vessel transit through Head Harbour Passage. [Bold red emphasis added.]
Natural gas: Repsol Energy North America aims to double its winter output to New England in 2010-11, company president says
Webmaster’s Comments: Doing the math, Canaport's output has been 400 million cubic feet per day during maximum winter usage. That is just 40% of capacity during maximum usage, with a smaller overall average — perhaps around 25% average use of capacity.
There simply is no need for Calais LNG and Downeast LNG.
[T]here are now four LNG terminals in the Northeast [Distrigas LNG, Northeast Gateway, Neptune LNG, and Canaport LNG] equipped to serve the same market. This, coupled with recent domestic natural-gas discoveries, fundamentally challenges the need for the Hess project to go forward. Even Massachusetts’s Department of Energy Resources questioned the public benefit claims of Weaver’s Cove, asserting in a November letter that “it is unclear to what extent, if any, Weaver Cove’s LNG supply is needed either to meet the region’s gas supply needs or to reduce fossil use.”
Note that the international LNG industry organization, [SIGTTO], has established recommended minimum siting standards and criteria for LNG facilities. [SIGTTO] recommends that LNG terminals be sited to avoid densely populated areas, located so as not to conflict with other waterway uses, and to avoid long, narrow, inland waterways. By its own industry’s standards, Hess’s proposal fails on all counts. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
“If it’s truly an off-shore terminal,” he said referencing Rhode Island Sound, “we’ll take a look at it.” Also, he pointed out that an off-shore LNG terminal in Chesapeake Bay does not affect activities because it is sufficiently far enough from the shore that the exclusionary zones required for the tankers don’t disrupt shipping traffic, pleasure boating and regattas.
With three LNG terminals in the northeast region, Torgan said Weaver’s Cove has not demonstrated a public need for the facility. Further, he said, with the discovery of reserves of natural gas in shale deposits in Pennsylvania and upstate New York, there should be more than an adequate supply for an extended period.
Webmaster’s Comments: There are three in-operation LNG terminals currently in the northeast region (Distrigas LNG and Northeast Gateway, both in the Boston area; plus Canaport LNG in Saint John, NB), but a fourth terminal, Neptune LNG, is under construction and will be in operation sometime in 2011 — further mooting additional, unpermitted LNG import infrastructure.
“You should tell your bosses there’s going to be constant resistance and no change in the fact that we oppose this and that they should just back off and go somewhere else,” said Bristol Councilor Halsey Herreshoff, who led much of the questioning.
[Hess vice president for engineering and operations Leon Bowdoin] pointed out that Weaver’s Cove representatives have not been able to discuss emergency response plans with local emergency responders because they have not been willing to engage in discussions. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
[I]mporting natural gas from producing countries such as Yemen, Indonesia and Russia to the U.S. looks like a questionable move for any number of strategic reasons, particularly with new estimates that suggest North American natural gas reserves are greater than previously thought. The U.S. Department of Energy forecasts 2011 will see a dip in LNG imports even as the economy recovers from recession.
Make no mistake, natural gas has a role to play in this country. It’s cleaner burning than other non-renewable energy sources such as coal or oil and produces far less carbon per thermal unit than coal, an important consideration given the potentially devastating impact of climate change. But that doesn’t mean that LNG terminals ought to be located anywhere their developers would like to put them. [Red emphasis added.]
The Elba Island LNG terminal expansion consists of three new vaporizer units which were put in service on March 1, raising the facility's send-out capacity to a total of 1.75 Bcf per day (Bcf/d) and one new storage tank which will be commissioned later this summer increasing the storage capacity at the facility by 4.2 Bcf billion cubic feet (Bcf). Elba Express Pipeline, an approximately 190-mile pipeline with a total capacity of 945 MMcf/d, transports natural gas supplies from the Elba Island LNG terminal to markets in the southeastern and eastern United States. The Elba terminal expansion and the Elba Express pipeline projects are fully supported by long term firm capacity commitments from Shell NA LNG LLC.
Webmaster’s Comments: This is even greater reason why Downeast LNG and Calais LNG are moot.
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It's a legal tug of war that attorneys for Sempra say is creating national, even international interest: The fight between he Port of Lake Charles and West Cameron Port over who should rightfully own the land upon which the LNG company operates.
Researchers for NMFS have been sampling fish at Bradwood for almost a decade and have documented an abundance of juvenile salmon at the site that could be harmed by the project's 45 acres of dredging and billions of gallons of ballast water intakes for LNG delivery tankers at the terminal. [Red emphasis added.]
Most of the company's DEQ permits are still being held up by project opponents' challenge to Clatsop County's land-use approval, a required component of state permit approval. The Land Use Board of Appeals is holding a hearing today on the case, which hinges on the project's size and its impacts to salmon habitat.
The members of the Natural Gas Council (NGC), representing all sectors of the natural gas industry from producers, to pipelines, to utilities and consumers, express their opposition to S. 3056, legislation that would repeal provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that deal with the approval and siting of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals.
Webmaster’s Comments: This should surprise no one.
Webmaster’s Comments: The American Gas Association has been touting a 100-year supply of domestic natural gas, meaning there is no need to site new LNG import infrastructure.
According to Cooper, prior to EPACT 2005, the only way state agencies could influence FERC's LNG siting process was by intervening in the Commission's proceeding. Now, says Cooper, state and local officials are "ingrained into the process."
Webmaster’s Comments: The bill would not impact Downeast LNG or Calais LNG, since the projects cannot receive LNG ships due to Canada's refusal to cooperate and to coordinate safe and secure transits required of the project developers by the US Coast Guard.
Gas is not the only objective of upstream companies working in shale. US Petrohawk Energy found a higher-than-expected yield of natural gas liquids (NGLs) in the Hawkville Field at Eagle Ford Shale last year, and this is proving advantageous to its bottom line.
"There is a lot more to come from [Eagle Ford] shale play. There are a lot more wells to be developed and produced. That will mean a lot more gas production and a lot more oil or condensate production," said George Lippman, president of Lippman Consulting.
Webmaster’s Comments: This increases the probability of domestic natural gas prices remaining low or going lower, since the big money maker is NGLs (propane, ethane, butane) found with the natural gas.
Can it get even worse for Calais LNG and Downeast LNG?
Pickens vows that we’re going to have the Natural Gas Act legislation by Memorial Day.
Closing words from Mr. Pickens: "We are five times bigger than the Saudis" in terms of natural gas reserves / fuel equivalent. Natural gas is "cleaner" and "it's under our feet." He also said that the U.S. would go down in history as the dumbest country ever to have graced the globe if we do not make this transition.
3 Mar 2010
Maine lawmakers are taking up a bill that has major implications for relations with Canada, future electricity costs, alternative energy development and jobs for Maine workers. Critics are worried the bill backed by the Baldacci administration doesn't contain enough safeguards.
[PUC Commissioner John Cashman] puts it this way: Either Maine can be a player and take advantage of the corridor opportunity or it can sit on its hands and let the opportunity pass by. Others maintain there is still room for compromise.
The Sandia National Laboratories are updating and expanding their previous studies of LNG safety issues. Specifically, the new studies will analyze the potential effects of large LNG spills and cascading storage tank failures aboard LNG vessels. According to Platts LNG Daily, the report is not expected until the end of 2010. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
Clarifying remarks he made previously, Mass. State Rep. Garrett Bradley (D) said that he is not aware of any plans to review previous plans for an LNG import project on or near Outer Brewster Island. However, he told the Patriot Ledger that "it could become an issue down the road."
Rhode Island: Officials testify against LNG terminal
PROVIDENCE — Municipal leaders and local public safety officials who testified before a state Senate task force Tuesday were unanimously opposed to a proposal to build a floating liquefied natural gas terminal in Fall River.
[The four officials] told the Senate Task Force on Liquefied Natural Gas that the trips, which could average 70 a year, would be a potential public safety hazard and would negatively impact the quality of life on both Narragansett and Mount Hope bays. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
TRENTON — New Jersey's acting environmental executive wants a fuller diagnosis of Barnegat Bay's problems, strongly supports erecting wind turbines off the coast and has serious concerns about proposed liquefied natural gas facilities offshore.
“I found FERC all too eager to rubberstamp the project despite the significant and very real concerns of Baltimore residents and the State of Maryland,” Mikulski said in a statement. “It’s time to restore the decision making to the state and local residents who will be affected by it.” [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Maryland officials have fought hard against building an LNG terminal at Sparrows Point, writing their own legislation banning LNG facilities from certain waterways or from being located near homes, but the laws have all been shot down because FERC is the only agency with the authority to approve or deny where a company can locate an LNG plant.
A spokeswoman for Cardin said the bill will have to go through the Energy and Natural Resources Committee before it reaches the Senate floor, where it would compete for calendar time with major issues like jobs and health care that are tying up the Senate. But she said that having a number of senators as sponsors is an important part of moving it forward.
Separately, FERC staff announced the availability of a revised Draft Final General Conformity Determination for Pennsylvania for the Sparrows Point LNG project and associated pipelines. FERC concluded that the portions of the project that will be located in Pennsylvania will achieve conformity with applicable state and federal air quality standards once project developers purchase the requisite number of NOx offsets.
Elba Island sendout now 1.75 bcfd
The Elba Island LNG terminal now has a send-out capacity of 1.75 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, up from 1.2 bcfd previously, thanks to three new vaporizer units which came online on Monday.
In a conference call with financial analysts yesterday, El Paso Corp. executives said that they are considering selling the Elba Island LNG import terminal and associated pipeline to El Paso Pipeline Partners LP, the company’s master limited partnership subsidiary.
This allows us to do public demonstrations and deliver fire extinguisher training so that they can handle a small emergency or protect themselves so they can exit out of a building,” Interim Freeport Fire Chief Chris Motley said.
Webmaster’s Comments: While it is good for the Freeport fire department to have this training capability, the public needs to be aware that the donated fire pit has little to do with dealing with a fire from LNG spilled on water. Such a fire typically cannot be extinguished, the best strategy being evacuating the area until the fire has burned out.
The link below will download a PDF file (37 KB).
This report provides an update from the Commission’s Eighth Report, submitted on August 26, 2009. During the period covered by this report: 1) TransCanada Alaska Company, LLC (TC Alaska) filed a request for approval of its Open Season Plan; 2) Denali – The Alaska Gas Pipeline LLC (Denali) announced its intentions to file a request for approval of its Open Season Plan in April 2010; and 3) development continued on certain other natural gas transportation projects in Alaska that would not be subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction.
“The hope is that the U.S. revolution in unconventional gas can be replicated in Canada,” it said. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
The Houston company must secure air and water quality permits from the Oregon agency to build its terminal, which would import liquefied gas from around the world, store it in large tanks and pump it to market through new pipelines, one of which would cross Clatsop, Columbia and Cowlitz Counties.
The Associated Press reported last week that the Oregon DEQ told NorthernStar it will probably deny NorthernStar's water quality permit. DEQ officials said the company had not provided three-dimensional computer modeling and to evaluate questions concerning erosion, water quality and fish habitat issues. [Red emphasis added.]
WASHINGTON, DC – Working to give state entities the power to determine both the need for – and the location of – liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in their states, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) introduced legislation today to repeal portions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which gave that authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Prior to the passage of the 2005 Energy Bill, such decisions had historically been decided by siting agencies in each state.
“FERC has totally disregarded the safety risks of locating [an] LNG facility in a densely populated, urban area or what the substantial upgrades to security would entail. I am strongly opposed to locating an LNG facility at Sparrows Point and I am deeply concerned about security and environmental risks to the Port of Baltimore and Chesapeake Bay,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “We need to restore the decision-making power to the state authorities who have a greater understanding of our local communities.”
FERC insists that it is not required to determine that the projects are actually needed in order to allow them to be built. FERC also refuses to determine whether alternatives to these projects could supply energy with less environmental impact. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: The federal and state governments should incorporate as a minimum safety standard the LNG industry's own terminal siting best safe practices. (See LNG Terminal Siting Standards Organization.)
This issue ultimately does not impact terminal siting in Passamaquoddy Bay for two reasons:
- The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) allows Canada to prohibit LNG transits into Passamaquoddy Bay, unless the US were to ratify UNCLOS, in which case Canada would still have good cause to fight the transits; but more importantly...
- Downeast LNG and Calais LNG cannot satisfy the US Coast Guard Waterway Suitability Report and Letter of Recommendation requirements. Wholly apart from the innocent passage issue, the US Coast Guard requires the LNG projects to obtain Canadian coordination and cooperation for safe and secure transits in both US and Canadian waters during transit. Canada has already resolutely and repeatedly indicated that Canada will not provide coordination and cooperation for the transits; meaning, the transits cannot be performed in a safe and secure manner.
Democrats Wyden and Merkley teamed up with Sens. Chris Dodd, (D-Conn.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) to introduce legislation that would repeal the portions of the 2005 Energy Policy Act that took LNG siting authority away from the states and put control back where it used to be.
Oregon and Washington are fighting the Bradwood Landing LNG project being developed by Northern Star Natural Gas of Houston near the mouth of the Columbia River. They claim it is not needed and federal approval was granted before full environmental reviews were in.
The bill would not overturn commission approval of the Bradwood Landing project, or the Jordan Cove project on Coos Bay, but would apply to both if federal approvals are overturned on appeal, said Wyden spokesman Tom Towslee. The bill would apply to the Oregon LNG project in Warrenton, because it has yet to win commission approval.
"In our opinion, FERC has just been incredibly cavalier about the process," Carrier said. "It seems to be more focused on issuing a certificate of need and necessity than to doing due diligence on siting issues." [Bold red emphasis added.]
Norway's Statoil may also limit investment in the Snoehvit LNG project in light of the gas glut created by U.S. shale gas. [Red & yellow emphasis added.]
"The evolution of low carbon technologies will happen faster than many conventional forecasts predict, so the question is whether policy makers in the US and the Middle East can react as fast as technology development," said Arthur Hanna, Managing Director, Oil and Energy, at Accenture. "And although much US policy has global influence, we live in a multi-polar world where, for instance, China’s commitment to Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) or energy efficiency could have as great an impact on the Middle East’s energy industry as changes in North America." Kenneth Medlock, a research fellow from the Baker Institute, discussed with delegates how rising production of natural gas from shale in the United States was likely to limit opportunities to sell liquefied natural gas (LNG) to North America, even as emerging carbon policies increase demand for natural gas in North America and Europe. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
The company has no reason yet to revise its target for U.S. market share given the costs and possibly negative environmental impact of developing shale gas, Medvedev said. Gazprom’s output will depend on market conditions, he said.
U.S. shale gas could displace significant volumes of LNG, potentially growing to a similar scale as the entire current global LNG market by 2015, JPMorgan Chase & Co. said in a report on Feb. 9. The unconventional resource is “a complete game changer” in the U.S., BP Plc CEO Tony Hayward said in January at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Webmaster’s Comments: How's that for clear business planning! The ink is hardly dry on Gazprom's previous flip-flop. They initially said they would obtain a hulking 5% or more of the US natural gas market. Two weeks later they then said they might scratch their Shtokman LNG facility due to the US being oversupplied with domestic shale gas. Now, they're saying they will compete with US shale gas — but then say maybe they won't compete with US shale gas. They're sounding too much like the propaganda ministry of the former Soviet Union.