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Calais LNG's financial bedfellow — Goldman Sachs
Calais LNG - Goldman Sachs
Another US LNG Project Bites the Dust
The future for LNG in the US is worse than bleak
30 May 2010
Weaver's Cove said the design of the offshore berth eliminates any inconsistency with the federal designation. The company said it did not agree with the concerns raised by the NPS and asked the commission to request an explanation for the conclusions by the service.
Webmaster’s Comments: Hess Energy/Weaver's Cove still have not complied with world LNG industry terminal siting best safe practices. See LNG Terminal Siting Standards Organization.
It should be noted that in the 1950s – when the oil industry wanted to build a massive refinery in Jamestown – those who also supported that project used the same arguments to support their philosophy. They said that it would bring jobs and cheaper energy, and that it would not affect local transit. With the oil spill in Texas this month – and what we now know of refineries – it is clear that they were on the wrong side then, and they’re on the wrong side now. We can’t afford to chance our future on this philosophy.
Hess, site it offshore – or go away! [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: The parallels between the Jamestown area and Passamaquoddy Bay are striking.
BP did not need much of a hard sell to convince area public officials that the proposed [LNG import] terminal would be safe. But in hindsight, BP made the same assurances about its leaking rig that caused the death of 11 workers.
In November, the Hess Corp. acquired the Logan site from BP. So far, not much seems to be happening there, but Hess officials have cited the site's ongoing LNG terminal potential. (Any owner must deal with a possible redesign, since courts have upheld Delaware's ability to block construction of a necessary pier in the river).
Webmaster’s Comments: Hess Energy's cockamamie terminal siting "solutions" (such as Hess' proposed 4.25-mile undersea cryogenic LNG pipeline in Mount Hope Bay, Massachusetts and Rhode Island) are too much like failed Quoddy Bay LNG goofball ideas to provide much comfort in Hess having replaced BP at Crown Landing.
Oil and gas companies say there is potential for new discoveries in Southcentral Alaska but that a lack of customers, other than local utilities and a liquefied natural gas plant near Kenai, is an obstacle impeding investment in new exploration.
Absent sufficient new gas discoveries, Van Nieuwenhuyse said the mine could also help make imports of liquefied natural gas possible, at least until a gas pipeline can be built to bring North Slope gas to the region.
Northwest Natural Gas Co.'s annual meeting on Thursday once again became a referendum on importing liquefied natural gas to Oregon, despite the company's best efforts to distance itself from controversial projects and focus on its strong financial performance.
Landowners, environmentalists and fishermen are urging the Portland-based gas utility to scrap its plans for a pipeline that was originally intended to serve a proposed LNG terminal on the Columbia River.
If energy giants and their allies in the legislature thought the defeat of Bradwood LNG would lull No-LNG activists into complacency, they were proven wrong on Thursday. Close to 300 people of all ages and diverse backgrounds rallied outside the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, while Northwest Natural Gas held its annual shareholder’s meeting. Our message was loud and simple: LNG (liquefied natural gas) is bad for Oregon, and has no place in a progressive clean energy agenda.
Originally, the Palomar Pipeline was supposed to connect to the Bradwood LNG terminal on the Columbia River. Climate activists and community organizers defeated Bradwood earlier this month, but NW Natural is still trying to push Palomar forward by connecting it to other LNG projects. We showed up Thursday to let the company know Palomar is a bad deal for Oregonians; not only is it a threat to the climate and Oregon’s natural landscape, it’s a bad investment as well. NW Natural’s shareholders already lost money when Bradwood LNG went down, turning the company’s investment in that project sour. Every day NW Natural stays committed to Palomar, the company is chalking up debts that have to be paid – either by shareholders or ratepayers.
NEW YORK, May 27 (Reuters) - Sempra Energy's Costa Azul liquefied natural gas terminal in Baja California, northern Mexico, is expected to receive a cargo of LNG on May 29 from the Tangguh project in Indonesia, according to AISLive ship tracker on Reuters.
Deliveries from the BP-led Tangguh plant to Costa Azul have been slow 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.
These revisions harmonize the Coast Guard’s regulations for LNG with those established by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency with exclusive authority to approve or deny an application for the siting, construction, expansion, or operation of an LNG facility located onshore or within State waters.
During the report week, sendout from U.S. LNG import terminals averaged about 1.3 Bcf per day, about 12 percent lower than the comparable week last year. The level of LNG sendout from U.S terminals is also significantly lower than the 2.0 Bcf per day during the first 2 months of the year. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Gazprom is facing growing competition from increasing global LNG infrastructure and production from unconventional sources such as shale rock in the United States and coal-bed methane in Australia, said Igor Kurinnyy, a London-based analyst at ING. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
26 May 2010
BOSTON— Litigation filed today in federal court seeks to expand habitat protections for the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale to include the whale’s nursery, breeding and feeding grounds. The lawsuit was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, The Humane Society of the United States, and Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.
The lawsuit challenges the National Marine Fisheries Service’s failure to respond to the groups’ 2009 legal petition seeking expanded critical habitat for the species under the Endangered Species Act. By law, the agency is required to take action on such a petition within 90 days.
The groups’ petition seeks expanded protection for calving grounds off of Georgia and northern Florida, protection for critical feeding habitat off the Northeast, and protections for the migratory route between calving and feeding grounds. In areas designated as critical habitat, the federal government must take special precautions to ensure that activities such as oil drilling, commercial fishing, military training, and vessel traffic will not diminish the value of the habitat in a way that will impair the recovery of the species. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
FERC claimed jurisdiction over an LNG trucking company's sale of natural gas for resale in interstate commerce, but the commission said it would not regulate rates, charges, terms or conditions of sales directly to end users.
"As a general rule, our jurisdiction over the transportation of natural gas in either gaseous or liquefied state in interstate commerce is limited to transportation by pipeline," FERC said. "However, we note that the [Natural Gas Act] is remedial in nature and Congress could not have intended to permit a transportation innovation essentially unknown in 1938 to defeat the statutory scheme devised."
Webmaster’s Comments: This may portend additional regulatory requirements for Calais LNG, since they claim to want to ship LNG by truck to inland Maine locations.
Recently, the U.S. Interior Department wanted to tighten regulations dealing with offshore drilling in the United States. Last November, David Rainey, British Petroleum’s vice president, appeared before the U.S. Senate last November and said: “I think we need to remember that [offshore drilling] has been going on for the last 50 years, and it has been going on in a way that is both safe and protective of the environment.”
While no one claims the river winds through a lush jungle inhabited by exotic creatures, it doesn’t have to resemble the Amazon to be an ecologically important river in need of protection. The Taunton River’s use as a recreational waterway is obvious, given the number of boats skimming across its surface on a typical summer day. And while people use the river for industrial reasons, it is also a natural habitat for 45 species of fish, many species of shellfish and 154 types of birds, including 12 rare species. Its shores are home to otter, mink, grey fox and deer.
From the beginning, it was thought the Wild and Scenic designation would be a hurdle for Hess and Weaver’s Cove Energy’s attempts to build a LNG facility in the middle of Mount Hope Bay and a four-mile-long, underwater pipe to transfer the volatile fuel upstream to massive holding tanks in a residential neighborhood on Fall River’s shores. The designation now appears to be less of a stumbling block and more of a brick wall that won’t only inhibit progress but stop it dead in its tracks. [Bold red emphasis added.]
OIL AND gas giant EOG Resources Inc. has bought 49 per cent of the Kitimat LNG Inc.’s proposed liquefied gas export (LNG) terminal from the original proponent, placing the project firmly in the hands of major players.
EOG’s offer to purchase the shares of Galveston LNG Inc. is conditioned upon the achievement of certain commercial and regulatory milestones that Boulton described as document transfers and regulatory filings.
With the Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas terminal halted, opponents of the project this week will shift their efforts to a Northwest Natural Gas Co. pipeline that was proposed to serve the terminal.
NW Natural spokeswoman Kim Heiting said even if a LNG terminal is never built at the Bradwood site, the company intends to continue with the 111-mile eastern stretch of the pipeline from Madras to Molalla, where it would connect to TransCanada’s pipeline.
[O]nly 3% believed more LNG terminals will be built in North America, only 12% believed there will be greater collaboration among industry leaders and only 13% see more coal generation being built. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: All 3% must be LNG developers at Passamaquoddy Bay.
Despite milder weather in Europe, LNG continues to flee the US east across the Atlantic, enticed by a roughly $1.50 per million Btu Atlantic netback advantage for deliveries priced against the UK's National Balancing Point (NBP). [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
An escalating sequence of events over the past three years are now driving today’s LNG markets - and severely testing business plans, agreements and expectations of the LNG business. Not only have we had to face a global recession but to do so concurrently with unprecedented reductions in gas demand, volatile pricing and a surge in new gas supply. The situation redefines the past neat labels of “buyers’ or sellers’ markets”. And with unprecedented conditions come new questions and challenges for both LNG producers and buyers to manage. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Another concern that keeps worrying pipeline exporters, including Russia’s Gazprom, is shale gas. Its output has been growing rapidly, particularly in the United States, raising fears that new export pipelines and costly LNG projects may eventually become unclaimed. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
25 May 2010
"It's amazing," Wall says. "The shale gas and the tight gas sand technologies that have come out in the last few years have basically changed the demand-supply curves for natural gas all over North America.
In this new era where new unconventional gas, paired with conventional sources, is expected to meet U.S. demand for the next century, Wall can only offer Canaport LNG his best wishes. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Additional LNG import infrastructure in the Northeast makes no sense. Calais LNG and Downeast LNG have no future.
Nearly two years after construction began, the Neptune liquefied natural gas port is now operational 10 miles off the Gloucester shore, and owner GDF Suez expects its first fuel-laden tankers to arrive at the facility in August.
Neptune is the second offshore LNG port to open off the north shore since 2008. Five miles to the west of Neptune is the Northeast Gateway port, owned by Texas-based Excelerate Energy. [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: The three new LNG import terminals in the Northeast — Canaport LNG, Northeast Gateway, and Neptune LNG — plus the current 30 expansion and pipeline projects to bring natural gas to the Northeast, provide more than 160% of the Northeast's needs for natural gas.
The Salem News reports that Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk is asking the federal government to raise the city's terrorist threat level given its proximity to two operational LNG ports. [Red emphasis added.]
The vessels incorporate the reinforced GTT MKIII cargo contaiment system with 145,000 cubic meters of cargo carrying-capacity at 100% volumes. She is fitted with three state-of-the-art regasification skids for a total output capacity of approximately 21 million standard cubic meters of natural gas per day (**), and is also fully capable of operating as standard LNG carriers.
Webmaster’s Comments: To get a clear idea of how massive these new ships are, take a look at the third photograph from the top of the article, also shown individually on its own page.
Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, Congressman Barney Frank and Congressman Jim McGovern praised a declaration by the National Park Service that the lawmakers said Monday deals a major blow to the proposal to construct a liquid natural gas terminal at Weaver’s Cove in Fall River.
More than a year after the last public hearing in Long Beach, the proposed offshore liquefied natural gas terminal is still on the minds of residents, as politicians have continued to denounce its potential construction.
The FERC approved the LNG project on May 22, 1995, with a stipulation that construction begin within three years of the commission’s order. The FERC subsequently granted several three-year extensions of that deadline.
Yukon Pacific’s latest request for more time is denied because a 1995 environmental impact statement is “outdated and can no longer be used to support the authorization of this project,” Wright’s letter said.
Clatsop County had a big election Tuesday night when three county commissioners were swept out by challengers who had opposed the effort to site a liquefied natural gas terminal on the Columbia River near Astoria. [Red emphasis added.]
Let Tuesday's election be a warning for politicians at every level of government that reverberates across the state: public officials who insist on pandering to out-of-state LNG developers at the expense of local communities may soon find themselves out of a job.
As Ferrioli himself concedes, the e-mails and other documents about Foster’s involvement may show that there was no improper involvement in LNG permitting by Foster or anyone else at Justice. The best way to determine that is for Kroger to make all relevant records available for review.
Kroger pledged to cooperate with Ferrioli, the Senate minority leader. And Kroger also added a new piece of information: he has asked Dale Koch, the former presiding judge of Multnomah County Court, to review Foster’s work at DOJ and to determine whether his actions related to liquified natural gas were proper.
Experts thought we were running out of natural gas. Now, thanks to a new production technique, they’re saying the U.S. is a natural-gas giant, and that could change everything about the energy equation.
[A]n industry-sponsored report released today says that shale-gas drilling, and its ripple effect through the economy could create well over 100,000 jobs in the next two years in Pennsylvania alone, and deliver nearly $1 billion to cash-starved state and local governments in 2011. The industry invested $4.5 billion in developing shale gas last year, leading to the creation of more than 44,000 jobs in a time of national recession and job losses, according to the report.
Shale gas has more than doubled the size of North America's discovered natural gas, according to a study by IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates. The country now has enough gas to satisfy more than 100 years of consumption. And the United States recently overtook Russia as the second-largest global producer of gas.
"This is simply the most significant energy innovation so far this century," said Daniel Yergin, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the oil business, The Prize. "As recently as 2007, it was widely thought that natural gas was in tight supply and the U.S. was going to become a growing importer of gas. But this outlook has been turned on its head by the shale gale."
[T]his is happening in a country that a few years ago started a building spree of terminals to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) because officials like former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan were warning of a dangerous decline in supplies. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: There has already been a vast overbuild of LNG import infrastructure in the US — 10 operating LNG terminals, plus 16 additional terminals either under construction or already permitted. The overbuild is so great that by the end of 2009 existing LNG import terminals' output was averaging below 10% of capacity. That's over 90% of capacity sitting idle.
Qatar may end up exporting just 6 million mt/year of LNG to the US after diverting as much as 20 million mt/year to other countries, Qatari oil minister Abdullah al-Attiyah said in an interview published Monday, without giving a firm timeline on when those figures would be reached.
To date, Qatari LNG exports to the US have been well below those levels, reaching just 60,000 mt in 2008 and 260,000 mt in 2009. But last year the country commissioned several new LNG production trains, with more to follow this year, and much of that output had been sold under contracts to US buyers.
20 May 2010
The Working Group has performed a risk assessment of the transits, and the findings, said Gray, indicate that the tanker transit realities with a “high” risk of adverse impacts are terrorism, bridge security, bridge traffic delays, local security, sailboat events and Jamestown ferry service (which is provided by Conanicut Marine Services during the summer).
Gray also stressed that the Working Group opposition to the terminal is not driven by the risks of LNG; but, rather, the risks of delivering liquefied gas in close proximity to towns with dense populations – and in waters with a long history of coexistence among the many users of Narragansett Bay.
In fact, he said, the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators [SIGTTO] has established as one of its standards a criterion saying, “‘LNG ports must be located where they do not conflict with other waterway uses – now and into the future’” – and another which says, “‘Long, narrow inland waterways are to be avoided due to greater navigation risk.’”
Webmaster’s Comments: Just like Downeast LNG and Calais LNG, Weaver's Cove ignores the very standards that have helped the LNG industry achieve its current admirable safety record. By defying those standards, Downeast LNG, Calais LNG, and Weaver's Cove are thumbing their noses at safety, at their prospective neighbors, and at the industry itself.
For more on the LNG industry's best safe practices — especially the ones being violated by Calais LNG, Downeast LNG, anc Weaver's Cove — see LNG Terminal Siting Standards Organization's website.
In a letter distributed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday, Hess LNG asked regulators for another year to complete revisions needed to resurrect the Crown Landing import terminal plan originally developed by BP America.
The Maryland Department of the Environment brought the suit against the U.S. Department of Commerce last May, pressing Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to reconsider a June 2008 ruling by his predecessor Carlos Gutierrez concerning Maryland’s coastal zone management plan.
Yesterday FERC granted Cheniere's request for an extension of time to construct and place into operation the Creole Trail LNG import project and associated pipeline. The revised deadline for placing the project into service is June 15, 2011.
When Yukon Pacific's license to build an LNG export terminal in Alaska expires on Saturday, the company will have to start the permitting process from the beginning if it ever wants to build the facility.
Larry Persily, federal coordinator for Alaska gas projects, said Wednesday that the project's demise doesn't have a bearing on the North Slope pipeline proposals. If buyers exist for gas exported from Valdez, either Yukon Pacific or another developer will emerge, he said.
The denial by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission creates new questions about an option to liquify natural gas from the North Slope for shipment by sea, which is part of a proposal to build a major pipeline to bring Alaska's gas to domestic or overseas markets.
The DOJ, which faces a series of public records requests seeking more information on Foster's and Kroger's involvement in the LNG permitting decisions, maintains there has never been a credible allegation that Foster's work on the LNG issue was improper.
Most insiders, even those who aren’t entirely supportive of LNG, thought that a change in market forces and the establishment of natural gas reserves in the Rockies cut into the demand for domestic LNG terminals. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Canadian imports increased by 3.2 percent on the week, with most of Canadian pipeline imports delivered to Midwestern markets. Imports of Canadian natural gas to the Northeast were 44 percent below the level for the same week last year. The decrease in pipeline imports into the Northeast is the result of a number of factors, including declines in Canadian production, an increase in U.S. domestic production, rising demand for natural gas in eastern Canada, and current ongoing maintenance at the Sable Island Offshore Energy Project. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: This is more evidence more LNG import infrastructure is unneeded.
Webmaster’s Comments: The United States is drowning in natural gas. Calais LNG and Downeast LNG are lost causes.
Gazprom, the world leader in gas production, intends to purchase a company in the United States that produces shale gas, Deputy Gazprom Director Aleksandr Medvedev said according to Bloomberg. Medvedev did not name the company in question.
Webmaster’s Comments: If true, this is just another reason to worry about Russia controlling US energy resources.
18 May 2010
Webmaster’s Comments: Can everyone say "spot zoning"?
Speaking to ICIS Heren [subscription required] last week, Dean Girdis, president of Downeast LNG, said that he hopes to begin negotiations with potential capacity holders in 2011. Girdis also distinguished the Downeast LNG project from others proposed in the region, noting that the smaller Downeast LNG project is more appropriate for the region's market conditions and existing infrastructure as compared to its larger competitors.
Webmaster’s Comments: "Hopes" is the operative word. The natural gas market is already saturated.
WASHINGTON – Senator John Kerry, Congressman Barney Frank and Congressman Jim McGovern today praised a declaration by the National Park Service that deals a major blow to the proposal to construct a Liquid Natural Gas terminal at Weaver’s Cove in Fall River.
Jonathan Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service, wrote in a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that “the Department of the Interior will be unable to find this project [the proposal to site an LNG terminal at Weaver’s Cove] consistent with the Taunton Wild and Scenic River designation under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, as required by FERC.”
Says terminal is not consistent with federal law
A provision introduced in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act by Massachusetts lawmakers requires the National Park Service to determine whether the Weaver's Cove project or any other development proposal requiring federal funding or permits is consistent with the law.
Hess LNG’s Crown Landing venture recently asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to give the company a one-year extension to complete a permit application for the project, originally developed by energy giant BP.
Hess told FERC officials in a letter that it had identified “a number of project design modifications which, if implemented, Crown Landing believes will allow the project to comply” with local, state and federal objections.
Webmaster’s Comments: Same Hess Energy as Weaver's Cove LNG, same Gordon Shearer who is proposing a 4.25-mile underwater cryogenic LNG pipeline at Fall River. Same cockamamie ideas for Crown Landing?
Webmaster’s Comments: Perhaps this is an indication that FERC is now actually considering need.
HOUSTON, May 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- EOG Resources, Inc. today announced that its Canadian subsidiary, EOG Resources Canada Inc., has agreed to acquire the shares of Galveston LNG Inc. This Calgary-based corporation, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Kitimat LNG Inc., owns 49 percent of the planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal to be located at Bish Cove, near the Port of Kitimat, about 405 miles (652 kilometres) north of Vancouver, British Columbia.
At the terminal, natural gas will be cooled and liquefied in preparation for export via ship to growing global markets. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: North America is drowning in natural gas.
If it is built, the Kitimat LNG project would be the first time large amounts of Canadian natural gas are shipped anywhere other than to domestic and U.S. customers. The facility would handle 700 million cubic feet a day of gas, about 20 per cent of B.C.’s current production. Preliminary deals with buyers are already in place for most of the output, with Korea Gas Corp., the world’s largest importer, and Gas Natural, which operates in Spain and Latin America. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
CALGARY- Canada’s first liquefied natural gas export terminal will be owned by two major American energy companies after Houston-based EOG Resources, Inc. announced it is buying the parent company of Kitimat LNG Inc.
Their purchase indicates a desire to find better markets than the continental United States, which is awash in cheap gas from shale gas plays, said analyst Ralph Glass of AJM Petroleum Consultants in Calgary.
EOG has an estimated nine trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves (850 billion cubic feet proved) on 157,500 net hectares in the Horn River play, said spokeswoman Elizabeth Ivers. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
OSHA in October fined BP more than $87 million for violations of workplace safety regulation. The U.S. safety regulator fined the oil company $21 million in 2005 following an explosion at its refinery in Texas City, Texas, that killed 15 workers. [Bold red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: FERC has had its own problems with BP, as announced in a 2007 Oct 25 FERC News Release:
"The most serious of BP's violations involves a practice known as 'flipping,' which evidences a deliberate strategy for evading FERC regulations that require posting and competitive bidding for discounted long-term releases of capacity.
"BP avoided the posting and bidding requirements by improperly arranging for serial short-term releases of discounted capacity to two BP-affiliated replacement shippers on an alternating monthly basis, an arrangement that continued for 22 months in one instance. FERC found that BP transported 24.9 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas on capacity it acquired improperly through flipping transactions. The Commission noted that this practice is 'particularly 'serious in nature' and 'warrants a substantial civil penalty.'"
Even with BP's obvious contempt for regulations, FERC indicated a few years ago that BP's safety and regulatory violations would have no impact on FERC's permitting of BP's Crown Landing LNG terminal application. (BP has since sold the project to Hess Energy.) FERC publicly stated that if Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, or Charles Manson were to apply for an LNG terminal, FERC would issue them permits if they followed the permitting procedure.
17 May 2010
If sufficient gas is found Apache Corp. and Corridor Resources could team up on drilling as many as 480 new wells. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Referring to Smith, Doyle adds, "I'm kind of glad that we're rid of that guy. We like to do business with honorable people. We had a deal, and he broke it." The Passamaquoddy governor says that Quoddy Bay breached the lease agreement with the tribe when the company stopped making payments to the tribe in July 2008. In June 2009, the Sipayik Tribal Council had voted unanimously to notify Quoddy Bay LNG that the council considered the ground lease for the Split Rock site to be expired. "We said that therefore there's no lease, if both parties don't uphold their end of the bargain." [Red & bold emphasis added.]
Oklahoma-based Quoddy Bay LNG has lost its legal struggle to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on sacred Indian ground between the US state of Maine and the Canadian province of New Brunswick.
BOSTON (AP) - The National Park Service has dealt a major blow to the proposal to build a liquefied natural gas terminal in Fall River, saying initial information shows the project is not consistent with the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
A circular patch of smooth water spotted in Rhode Island Sound this week led scientists to a surprising discovery: a quarter of the entire North Atlantic right whale population is hanging out and feeding in a spot where the endangered animals are not usually seen.
For scientists, the unexpected behavior is an opportunity to try to unravel how availability of food influences whales’ behavior. They would like to understand, for example, if an environmental trigger or some other factor altered the availability of food, attracting the whales.
Webmaster’s Comments: Whales follow the food. Eliminating their food by sucking it up as ballast and to cool engines by LNG carriers would reduce right whale activity in the Passamaquoddy Bay area.
HOUSTON, May 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Cheniere Energy, Inc. ("Cheniere") announced today the closing of the sale of its 30 percent limited partner interest in Freeport LNG Development L.P. for net proceeds of approximately $104 million to ZHA FLNG Purchaser, LLC, an entity formed by Zachry American Infrastructure, LLC and Hastings Funds Management (USA), Inc. on behalf of institutional investors.
Yukon Pacific Co., whose parent is transportation giant CSX Corp., in April filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a three-year extension of the deadline to commence construction of a liquefied natural gas project.
If granted, this would be the fifth such extension Yukon Pacific has received for its Trans-Alaska Gas System, or TAGS, project, which contemplates piping North Slope gas to Valdez for liquefaction and shipment aboard LNG tankers to Asia.
“This is an indication that LNG has no place in Oregon,” said Brett Vandenheuvel, executive director of the conservation group Columbia Riverkeeper. “The companies face tremendous opposition, not only grass-roots, but from state agencies taking a very close look at these projects. It’s very difficult to force them down the public’s throat.”
Whether Bradwood’s demise is good news for Oregon Liquefied Natural Gas’ proposal in Astoria or the Jordan Cove Energy Project in Coos Bay is something of a crap shoot. At the simplest level, Bradwood’s news could mean two completely different things: Either it’s easier for Jordan Cove or Oregon LNG to get approved because there’s less competition for investors, or it’s tougher because a virulent opposition movement can shift its resources to battle the remaining two projects.
If it’s cheap to buy American-made gas, then why would anyone want to build a big expensive terminal to have it shipped here from overseas? [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
The Daily Astorian reports that the Port of Astoria Commission is expected to vote on a proposed settlement between the Commission and Oregon LNG next Tuesday. The Commission held a meeting this week to discuss and hear public comments on the proposed settlement.
“We started fighting Bradwood Landing in 2005 and have been one of the lead coalition partners, engaging in multiple lawsuits and education on LNG, because a lot of people didn’t know anything about it when they first came here,” VandenHeuvel said. “It was a misguided idea, but they had a tremendous amount of money behind it. I think it just shows that Oregon and Washington will stand up to out-of-state, big-money companies when our core values are at stake.”
Bradwood Landing LNG also faced legal challenges from Oregon and Washington state, Columbia Riverkeeper, the Nez Perce Tribe, Columbia River Business Alliance, Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club, Bark and others.
Shale gas has destroyed demand for liquefied natural gas imports in the US, sinking cargoes into a deep freeze for perhaps the next 10 years according to a new research report by Houston-based securities analyst Tudor, Pickering, Holt (TPH).
“We have a lot of capacity out there that is under-utilised,” Pursell said, adding therefore that it is “highly unlikely” any new regasification terminals will be built in North America. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: US LNG import terminals are running at just a fraction of their capacity. There are 3 more terminals under construction, and 13 more terminals already permitted. There is no justification for Calais LNG or Downeast LNG.
Amid a recent drop in demand, "the spectacular development of non-conventional gas production...[in North America] seems to be sustainable" due to technology, Khelil said. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
13 May 2010
In Saint John we are home to the first liquefied natural gas receiving and regasification terminal in Canada. Just last week Canaport LNG celebrated the completion of its third storage tank on site. With the capacity to hold 10 billion cubic feet (BCF) of natural gas, Canaport LNG now boasts the largest above-ground LNG storage capacity in Canada and the U.S. Northeast.
Webmaster’s Comments: Natural gas demand in the Northeast is so well satisfied, Canaport LNG has determined to scuttle building a planned fourth LNG storage tank.
A decade later that abandoned well near Elgin, N.B., known as the Will DeMille well, was revisited by Corridor and found to contain the largest concentration of shale gas in North America, Miller told members of the Offshore/Onshore Technologies Association of Nova Scotia.
Apache plans to drill a sister well to the Will DeMille well next month. If the project is successful, it could mean at least 5,000 wells being drilled for shale gas over several decades, said Miller.
An independent study has estimated that 67.3 trillion cubic feet of shale gas is contained at Frederick Brook in the Sussex-Elgin areas of New Brunswick, [retiring CEO Norm Miller ] said. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: More-than-abundant natural gas is at Maine's very doorstep. The Calais LNG and Downeast LNG projects make no sense from a supply or economic perspective.
"We know from the work we've already done, that per unit of area or square mile for example, it's the largest that we know of in Canada and perhaps North America," said Miller. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Corridor now has 37 wells that are producing 20 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Of that 20 million, about 17 million are going directly into the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, which stretches from Nova Scotia to New England and sweeps around Metro Moncton. The remaining three million cubic metres goes directly to the potash mine in Penobsquis, just outside Sussex.
The amount of marketable gas - the chunk that can be recovered and sold to the market after impurities are stripped out - hovers between 700 TCF and 1,300 TCF, the Canadian Society for Unconventional Gas said.
The country burns through roughly three TCF per day of natural gas, and exports another three TCF per year, according to Kevin Heffernan, one of the report's authors. At that rate, the low end of the marketable gas estimate - 700 TCF - would meet current domestic consumption and export demand for more than 100 years.emphasis added.]
Still, the total amount of gas in Canada is even higher because a number of unconventional resource plays were excluded from the new estimate because of a lack of adequate information. [Red, yellow & bold
Webmaster’s Comments: This article's headline is an understatement. The Quoddy Bay LNG project is triple-dead.
Recently Neptune LNG LLC filed an application with the National Marine Fisheries Service that, if approved, would permit the company to engage in activities related to the operation of the Neptune LNG deepwater port that could affect local marine mammals.
WASHINGTON (CN) - Neptune LNG, LLC plans to begin limited operation of its Neptune Deepwater Port, and has requested authorization from the National Marine Fisheries Service because operation may harm marine mammals. The agency plans to allow the operation to begin.
The sea mammals affected by port activities would be the North Atlantic right whale and the long-finned pilot whale; the humpback, fin, sei, and minke whales; the harbor porpoise; the common, Risso's, bottlenose and Atlantic white-sided dolphins; and the harbor seal. Neptune already received authorization regarding harming killer whales and gray seals.
The sounds that may disturb the marine mammals include the noise of thrusters maneuvering shuttles and regasification vessels while docking and undocking, and while keeping vessels pointed into waves or weather so they do not rock. Maintenance vessels also would use thrusters, if a major rupture occurs in the pipelines that serve the terminal. The sounds may reach 120 decibels up to 1 mile from the port. [Red emphasis added.]
Anyone still in denial over the need to convert our energy system to renewable sources and move on from fossil fuels needs only to look at the ongoing tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico to see the latest reason to act responsibly.
Weaver’s Cove Energy and Hess LNG have been trying to gain approval for an LNG facility on Fall River’s shores for years. They would build an off-loading station in the middle of Mount Hope Bay and a storage facility in a residential area of Fall River, connected by a four-mile-long underwater pipe. The companies have brushed off legitimate fears of a disaster by claiming LNG’s track record ensures the fuel is safe.
Transocean and BP executives have made similar claims. In fact, Transocean won the federal Interior Department’s SAFE award for “outstanding safety and pollution prevention performance by the offshore oil and gas industry” last year, and BP was nominated for the award this year. Clearly, track records don’t prevent tragedy.
Webmaster’s Comments: History doesn't protect anybody.
The opposition efforts of both residents and the commissioners formed a good partnership, said Commissioner Kathleen Johnson. Commissioners did not have final say on the project but publicly opposed it.
COOS BAY, ORE - The delay in the permit process for the Coos Bay LNG Terminal has Arnie Roblan looking for answers, and wondering if a secret meeting between FERC officials and anti-LNG groups had anything to do with it.
The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has not yet scheduled a hearing on S. 3056, a bill introduced in March that would give states more authority in the LNG terminal siting process. A committee spokesperson told Platts LNG Daily [subscription required] last week that no senator has yet requested a hearing on the measure.
It wouldn’t be unreasonable to wonder what is going on with LNG anyway, given the vast amounts of natural gas now being pumped out of shale plays like the Barnett, Marcellus, and Fayetteville shales. In general, the enthusiasm of five or six years ago has cooled off, both because of the increase in shale gas development and the low price of natural gas. [Red emphasis added.]
Markets were roiled further on Thursday, when the U.S. stock market suddenly lost 999 points, and just as suddenly recovered two-thirds of that loss. It appeared to be such a clear case of tampering that Maria Bartiromo blurted out on CNBC, “That is ridiculous. This really sounds like market manipulation to me.”
Manipulation by whom? Markets can be rigged with computers using high-frequency trading programs (HFT), which now compose 70% of market trading; and Goldman Sachs is the undisputed leader in this new gaming technique. Matt Taibbi maintains that Goldman Sachs has been “engineering every market manipulation since the Great Depression.” When Goldman does not get its way, it is in a position to throw a tantrum and crash the market. It can do this with automated market making technologies like the one invented by Max Keiser, which he claims is now being used to turbocharge market manipulation. [Bold & red emphasis added.]
As Goldman’s legal problems have escalated — first with a civil fraud suit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and then with a federal criminal investigation — some investors have grown increasingly anxious about the potential damage to Goldman’s reputation and business.
11 May 2010
A Halifax-based mining company claims it has found more natural gas in southern New Brunswick than is available in all of western Canada's proven reserves.
"It's by far the largest. It's an order of magnitude larger than other shale plays on the continent." [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
SIPAYIK, Maine – After five years of legal struggle by a group of Passamaquoddy Tribe members, the BIA has canceled a long term lease with an Oklahoma-based developer, ending its plan to construct a liquefied natural gas terminal on Passamaquoddy Bay.
The Passamaquoddy tribal council signed a 50-year land lease in 2005 with Quoddy Bay LNG to allow the company to develop the terminal. The lease was approved the same year by the BIA. But after a number of twists and turns in the process, including Quoddy LNG’s announcement in 2008 that it would postpone or withdraw its application from a state review process and stop quarterly lease payments to the tribe, the tribal council terminated the lease last June.
“We don’t prematurely declare victory, but we are definitely declaring it now,” said Vera Francis, an organizer with NN. “Today’s victory is on behalf of our descendants because it is what our ancestors expect from us. To value and defend that which has sustained us – Passamaquoddy Bay – is what defines and shapes our future.” [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
A decision by the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) on April 23 to cancel Quoddy Bay LNG's lease to tribal land kills the project, Vera Francis from Pleasant Point, Maine, said in an interview.
Webmaster’s Comments: Quoddy Bay LNG is triple-dead, killed by FERC, by Tribal Government, and by the BIA. Until Don Smith can prove otherwise, his spin on appealing the BIA holds no credibility.
“Our socialistic, left-wing liberal government in Augusta has passed legislation that has driven electric costs to 50 percent above the national average,” he said during a recent interview. “Instead of banning everything, I would put everything on the table. Instead of being the dead end where we’re not producing anything anymore, let us be the energy producer for all of New England.”
Buying hydro power from Canada, building nuclear power plants and liquefied natural gas terminals and allowing Maine’s two electric utility companies to generate power are just a few of the possible solutions for Maine’s energy problem in Beardsley’s plan. [Bold brown emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Mr. Beardsley is apparently unaware that Gov. Baldacci has been unsuccessfully "saying yes" to LNG for many years. Beardsley needs to educate himself about the LNG issue if he is to be taken seriously.
NorthernStar’s trail of bills oozes through coast; county government, radio station, Rotary Club wonder if bills will ever be paid
Bankruptcy filings show Bradwood Landing, a subsidiary of NorthernStar, owes money to owners of a local radio station, an office supply store, Astoria Rotary Club, a Seaside communication consultant and former Astorian Mary Louise Flavel, among many other unsecured creditors.
Far from The Oregonian's downtown Portland offices, the reality in our communities -- in Astoria, in Yamhill County and across Mount Hood National Forest -- is much different. For us, this is an unprecedented victory for farmers, foresters, fishermen and conservationists. It's a victory for Oregonians who don't always see eye to eye but who banded together to protect our common values.
MARION COUNTY — The future of Liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Oregon became a lot less certain last week, when NorthernStar Natural Gas announced it was suspending its Bradwood Landing project May 4 and subsequently filed for bankruptcy.
NorthernStar Natural Gas had spent six years developing an LNG terminal proposal for Bradwood Landing. The company had federal approval, the blessing of the U.S. Coast Guard and a large coalition of supporters. Yet it pulled the plug on Tuesday.
Oregon LNG, which hopes to build a terminal in Warrenton, and Coos Bay’s Jordan Cove Energy Project are still moving ahead with plans. Oregon LNG already has its land-use permits, but it hasn’t received federal approval. Jordan Cove has both, though the associated Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline still awaits county approval.
Chris McGill, managing director of policy analysis for American Gas Association of Washington, D.C., says new technologies for extracting domestic gas are attracting attention. The Ruby Pipeline from the Rockies to Southern Oregon has received federal approval, and construction could begin as early as next year. Others are in the works.
To be sure, spending $100 million before ever driving a nail is a staggering sum -- one that offers a cautionary note for the two remaining LNG proposals in Oregon -- one in Coos Bay and the other in Warrenton. To reach the regulatory finish line, each of those projects still faces a daunting lineup of interdependent state, local and federal permitting processes.
Meanwhile, the economics of importing [LNG-sourced] natural gas are looking bleak. Financial backers are more reluctant than they were a few years ago. And domestic competition is coming on strong, with a proposed pipeline from Wyoming on the verge of final approval and nabbing the same customers an LNG terminal in Oregon would need. [Red emphasis added.]
Cameron Horowitz, an analyst at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, said increased domestic supplies of natural gas have slashed prices, killing the demand for LNG imports. Two other companies trying to develop LNG facilities in Oregon would face "slim" prospects of success, he said.
"Every year for the past five years, there's been talk that this country would be flooded with LNG imports, but it has never come to fruition," he said from Houston. "Given the outlook for U.S. natural gas prices and the rest of the world, I don't see it coming to fruition at all over the next five years."
Horowitz said LNG facilities on the Gulf of Mexico have been trying to win permission to ship LNG stockpiles back overseas. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Last year, amid controversy, the Port resisted renewing the state lease for a 30-year term, and Oregon LNG sued the agency for breaking its sublease agreement. A federal judge sided with the company in March, and the Port has filed a request to renew the state lease - which has not yet been granted. Meanwhile, the Port is negotiating with Oregon LNG to avoid millions in damages the company is claiming. The Port is simultaneously weighing its options for appealing the judge's ruling in the case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, but Tienson said an appeal could cost the Port $150,000 or more.
On one hand, the deal gets the Port out of Oregon LNG's breach of contract lawsuit without further expense. The company claims the Port's leasing decision damaged their chances of building the proposed $1 billion LNG facility. The project is backed by the New York holding company Leucadia National Corp.
"If they're wanting more land, they're wanting it for a reason," said Carl Dominey, an Astoria resident and LNG opponent. "And that reason may be because they need that land to do something. It seems to me the Port has the legal authority to say no ... and in effect could stop the project."
ICIS Heren [subscription required] reports that Jordan Cove LNG is on pace to make its final investment decision in June of 2011. A company official said that the project timeline was not affected by the announcement that the Ruby natural gas pipeline, designed to transport gas from Wyoming to markets in Oregon, would go forward.
Webmaster’s Comments: The Jordan Cove LNG project violates multiple SIGTTO best safe practices. Plus, it ignores natural gas market realities indicating it is too late to make a difference.
In the U.S., the impact of shale gas and deep-water drilling is already apparent. Import terminals for LNG sit virtually empty, and the prospects that the U.S. will become even more dependent on foreign imports are receding. Also, soaring shale-gas production in the U.S. has meant that cargoes of LNG from Qatar and elsewhere are going to European buyers, easing their dependence on Russia. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Natural gasproduction continues to grow while demand remains stagnant. As a result, the amount of natural gas flowing into storage continues to grow and generally at a faster pace than most commodity experts and petroleum analysts have been expecting. The latest weekly storage injection of 83 billion cubic feet (Bcf) exceeded analyst estimates by 3 Bcf. For the week ending April 30th, total gas in storage was 1.995 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), which was 5.1% ahead of the volume in storage at this time last year and 18.8% above the five-year average.
Liquefied natural gas imports to the U.S. are expected to climb by 0.4 billion cubic feet a day in 2010 as new LNG facilities come online. However, higher prices for LNG in Europe and Asia are expected to attract cargoes away from the U.S., the EIA said. [Red emphasis added.]
By now, anyone and everyone who pays the slightest attention to business news knows that Goldman Sachs is being sued by the SEC for deliberately and maliciously defrauding their own clients. This is enormous news, from a number of perspectives.
[W]hen this case against Goldman Sachs comes before a judge, the “public policy” argument which the judge will be weighing is: when a client places his own wealth (and perhaps his “life's savings”) in the hands of any/every “financial advisor”, should the client be able to trust that advisor? It is that “public policy” argument which Lloyd Blankfein was addressing when he asserted that Goldman Sachs is “not a fiduciary”.
NYSE Regulation fined Goldman Sachs May 3 for violating Rule 204T of Regulation SHO, which governs short sales. It’s the first fine related to the rule since the it was adopted in September 2008 to address the regulator’s concerns that “naked” shorting was a factor in plummeting stock prices.
First, the Securities and Exchange Commission files a civil suit, citing fraud over mortgage securities deals. Then, the Senate publicly scrutinizes the firm's executives, including CEO Lloyd Blankfein, in a heated hearing. Next, the Justice Department and the state of New York announce they are launching a criminal investigation into the the deals. Now, Goldman Sachs has disclosed that six lawsuits have been filed by its own shareholders in the wake of the fraud allegations. And these plaintiffs aren't limited to big-name investors.
5 May 2010
NorthernStar Natural Gas Inc. and NorthernStar Pipeline Company LLC of Houston have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Voluntary petitions were filed with the southern district of Texas Houston division of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Tuesday.
Clatsop County is listed as an unsecured creditor, with a claim of more than $180,000. Unsecured creditors are less likely to receive repayment than secured creditors in bankruptcy proceedings. The county has billed the company for legal and administrative services connected with the Bradwood project's land-use application, which was approved in 2008 and twice challenged to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals. County public information officer Tom Bennett said NorthernStar has already paid the county more than $600,000 in rebilled expenses tied to the land-use permitting process, but since last summer around $180,000 has been billed to the company and has not yet been paid.
Documents show NorthernStar CEO William "Si" Garrett was terminated on May 15 of last year and last month, the company terminated Joe Desmond, NorthernStar's executive vice president of external affairs and David Glessner, senior vice president of engineering and construction. [Red & bold emphasis added.]
"We've said this project is in the public interest and they need to have it constructed within five years," said [FERC External Affairs spokesperson] Young-Allen. "If they need more time to do that they must request it, or if they are going to abandon the project they need to let us know."
[N]ew technology for extracting natural gas from shale has boosted estimates of the U.S. domestic gas supply - particularly in the Rocky Mountain region - decreasing the need for imported LNG. U.S. natural gas prices are about half of what they were two years ago. [Red, brown, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
That leaves Jordan Cove Energy Project in Coos Bay and Oregon LNG in Warrenton as the two remaining projects. Bob Braddock, Jordan Cove's project manager, said he hadn't expected the news from NorthernStar.
Mike Carrier, natural resources adviser to Gov. Ted Kulongoski, told The Oregonian newspaper that a company official said the private equity fund that had put $100 million into the project had pulled the plug. [Bold red emphasis added.]
NW Natural learned late yesterday that NorthernStar Natural Gas, the company developing the Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal along the Columbia River, has decided to suspend work on their project, and they notified us that they intend to file for bankruptcy protection. Palomar Gas Holdings, of which NW Natural is a fifty percent owner, is evaluating the impact of NorthernStar’s decision on the development of the west segment of the Palomar project. “It’s our belief, that if an LNG terminal isn’t built in the Northwest, the east segment of the Palomar project increases in importance as a way to bring additional domestic supplies from the Rocky Mountains and western Canada, and to enhance system reliability across the region,” said Gregg Kantor. [Red & bold red emphasis added.]
The project, proposed for a site 25 miles east of Astoria on the Columbia River, included a 36.3-mile pipeline extending from the terminal to an interstate gas pipeline near Kelso, Wash. Another pipeline proposed by Northwest Natural and TransCanada would have connected the Bradwood facility to a natural gas hub in Molalla.
Mike Carrier, natural resources adviser to Gov. Ted Kulongoski, told The Oregonian newspaper that a company official said the private equity fund that had put $100 million into the project had pulled the plug.
Officials from Oregon, Washington and the U.S. Department of Justice launched a lawsuit against the Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas terminal in March 2009. The Justice Department represented the National Marine Fisheries Service, which joined the states’ appeal of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s permit approval for the terminal.
The company started work on the Bradwood Landing project near Astoria six years ago with hopes of building the first deepwater port for LNG tankers on the West Coast and a pipeline to send it throughout the state.
Webmaster’s Comments: Bradwood Landing LNG, like failed Quoddy Bay LNG — and now, Downeast LNG — have all failed to provide required information about their projects from permitters.
The Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline would serve a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal on the North Spit of Coos Bay. The Coos County Planning Department has scheduled a May 20 hearing, at which a land use hearings officer will take public comments before making a recommendation to county commissioners. The commissioners will meet Aug. 3 to review the recommendation and decide on the pipeline.
WITH GAS production in the US' shale deposits rising and the recession slow to dissipate, US natural-gas inventories remain high enough to keep downward pressure on prices. Following the traditional seasonal injection-withdrawal cycle, inventories began to rise last spring as Americans turned off their heaters with the onset of mild weather. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
What a difference three years makes. In 2007, the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry was characterised by burgeoning demand and tight supply. The dynamic had created a sellers' market that was expected to remain the status quo for the foreseeable future. What was not foreseen was the biggest global recession since the 1930s and the rapid expansion of shale-gas resources in North America.
[U]nconventional gas production in the US has accelerated at an unprecedented rate over the past three years. Shale gas has been particularly prolific, with production increasing by over 5bn cubic feet a day (cf/d) – equivalent to 40m t/y of LNG – since the beginning of 2007. This has had a material effect on US gas prices and drastically reduced the outlook for LNG demand in North America. In response, suppliers have started to remarket long-term volumes originally targeted at the US to other markets.
The rapid development of unconventional gas in North America has dramatically reduced the outlook for gas prices and LNG imports in the US. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
[W]ith domestic production rising, LNG has become even less essential to the country's supply picture. Marketed US output rose by more than 3% in 2007 and by 7% in 2008; even in 2009, production rose by 4% in the first 10 months of the year.
Given that global natural gas demand fell by 2.5% in 2009, who needs more LNG? Not the US, but it will receive it anyway. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Between September 2008 and November 2009, three BP gas and oil pipelines on Alaska's North Slope ruptured or clogged, leading to a risk of explosions…. A potentially cataclysmic explosion was also avoided at a BP gas compressor plant, where a key piece of equipment designed to prevent the buildup of gas failed to operate, and the backup equipment intended to warn workers was not properly installed.
In the most dangerous of the incidents last year in Alaska, safety backstops also failed. On Oct. 10, 2009, a staging valve stuck closed at a large central compressor station in Prudhoe Bay where gas is captured for re-injection back underground. According to the congressional letter, the blockage caused gas to back up on another series of valves. A backup flare meant to burn off that collection of gas was not lit at the time, and cameras, installed so BP staff could monitor the flare's functions in real time, were not pointed in the right direction. There was no explosion; the gas vented out before anything could ignite it.
BP has a recent history of disasters stemming from incomplete maintenance and faulty equipment, including the 2005 blast at a refinery in Texas City, Texas, where 15 workers died after a fuel tower was powered up without following protocol. Then there was the 2006 Alaskan pipeline spill, which occurred four years after BP had been warned about corroded pipelines. The company pleaded guilty to felony counts in the first incident and a misdemeanor charge in the second, tallying fines in excess of $62 million. [Bold red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: And yet, FERC will not take BP's negligent corporate culture into account when permitting BP's Crown Landing LNG terminal and pipeline in New Jersey. FERC told Save Passamaquoddy Bay the Commission would permit LNG terminals to Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson, and Idi Amin, if they followed FERC's permitting rules.
Oil and gas production, both onshore and offshore; gas processing; gas compressor stations; underground gas storage; LNG storage; LNG import and export terminals; and oil and gas distribution would be required to report greenhouse gas emissions above certain levels. The proposed supplemental rule would require annual reporting of fugitive and vented CO2 and methane emissions from oil and gas facilities and combustion-related CO2, methane and nitrous oxide emissions from flaring at the facilities.
2 May 2010
[T]he northeastern U.S. has found huge deposits of shale gas (the Marcellus field) there and as such they are now able to supply their own needs including electrical generation at a much lower cost than in the past. This means that the northeastern U.S. is not likely to be a premium price market for electricity as it has been in the past.
All of this abundance of natural gas (shale gas) across North America has been the result of major breakthroughs in drilling technology that only recently has unlocked the gas that previously was uneconomical to extract. Industry experts now estimate that North America has more than 100 years supply of natural gas available, as opposed to the seven to 10 year estimate only a few short years ago. This also means that the price of natural gas is expected to be low and stable for many years into the future. This was verified by discussions with companies operating here, and they confirmed that they do not expect the price of natural gas to go much over $7 per mmbtu for the foreseeable future. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Canaport LNG announced Thursday the completion of its third liquefied natural gas storage tank. With the capacity to hold 10 billion cubic feet of natural gas, the Canaport terminal now boasts the largest above ground LNG storage capacity in Canada and the U.S. northeast.
Among his ideas: Propose a referendum to allow the state to consider a new nuclear power plant; introduce a law to let Maine utilities once again generate electricity as well as deliver it; help speed construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal; gain the authority to explore for oil and natural gas in the Gulf of Maine.
Hydro, nuclear, LNG, oil and biomass are either readily available or have been proven to be commercially viable, he says. [Brown, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Most candidates, if not all, declare they do not support programs that would increase energy costs. Well, consider this:
LNG is more expensive (including in environmental impact) than vastly abundant and inexpensive US domestic natural gas. When will these candidates recognize their hypocrisy?
A quick look at the aerial photographs of the oil slick spreading through the Gulf of Mexico — a slick which is larger than Rhode Island as of this writing — demonstrates the absurdity of siting a major energy facility in an ecosystem as treasured and fragile as Mt. Hope Bay.
[U]nfortunately, Landes fails to explain why our energy prices didn’t decline after his industry built, and brought on-line, not one, not two, but three northeast LNG terminals since 2008. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
The South Shore Audubon Society has added its name to the list of groups opposed to liquid natural gas plants off the New York coast, including the proposed Atlantic Sea Island project south of Long Beach.
Webmaster’s Comments: The Governor of New Jersey — not Maine's Governor Baldacci — is committed to protecting state citizens and environment.
Gov. Chris Christie marked Earth Day by reaffirming his administration’s commitment to environmental protections. At the oceanfront in Sea Bright on April 22, the governor was met with applause and even drew a standing ovation as he articulated his opposition to liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities off the New Jersey coastline and signed a bill in favor of solar power.
The appeals court concluded that FERC had complied with the court's previous order by limiting the amount of regasified LNG permitted to flow onto Columbia Gas Transmission's system, from which WGL receives gas, to 530,000 Dth/d, the same volume permitted to flow through that interconnect prior to the expansion of the Cove Point LNG terminal.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The Alaska Gasline Inducement Act's open season officially started Friday. Gas producers can commit to buy transit capacity in AGIA's planned natural gas pipeline during the 90-day period.
The pipeline, if and when it’s build, would carry up to 4.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas daily from Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope to either a connection to TransCanada’s existing pipeline system in Alberta or to Valdez, Alaska, where a new LNG plant would be constructed to convert the gas to a liquid and then put it on LNG tankers for distribution.
There is an estimated 8 trillion cubic feet of gas offshore of Alaska’s North Slope that would be shipped on the winning pipeline system. … If the route to Valdez is chosen, the pipeline would be about 800 miles long, but would include a costly LNG [liquefaction-for-export] train at the terminus in Valdez.
When the US natural gas market is flooded with gas from shale plays in the lower 48 states, it seems frivolous to consider spending billions of dollars for a pipeline that may not be filled for years. But BP, Conoco, and Exxon own the leases to virtually all the North Slope gas, and if they don’t develop them, the leases could be lost. None of the companies wants that. Better to build the pipeline now and have it in hand when the time comes that the shale gas plays are exhausted. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
A sharp reduction in imports of natural gas to the United States is also likely easing downward pressure on prices. During the report week, net Canadian imports hovered around 6.5 Bcf per day, about 3.7 percent lower than the prior week, according to BENTEK. Additionally, the pace of deliveries of U.S. LNG imports in recent weeks has decreased considerably in comparison with year-to-date levels. Sendout from U.S. LNG import terminals averaged 2.0 Bcf per day during the first 2 months of 2010, but during this report week averaged just 0.8 Bcf per day. This reduction in LNG imports is occurring at a time when many analysts had expected a greater number of LNG cargoes to be directed to the United States, following production increases in countries such as Russia and Qatar. To the extent LNG cargos have flexibility in delivery locations, supplies are instead heading to Europe and Asia, where LNG prices remain higher than those that have prevailed in U.S. markets.
Market prices in the Northeast posted increases of as much as 8 percent on the week, as overnight temperatures dipped below freezing in many locations. For delivery in Zone 6 into New York off Transcontinental Gas Pipeline, the price on Wednesday, April 28, reached $4.56 per MMBtu, the highest price at this trading location since March 17. However, the New York price averaged just $0.33 higher than the Henry Hub price, indicative of the lower price spread that may be developing between the Northeast and other markets. For example, the spread last year at this time was $0.53 per MMBtu. This lower differential is likely because of more supply options for the region, including growing supplies in the Marcellus Shale, access to Rockies supplies, and regasified LNG from the Canaport LNG terminal in Canada. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Natural gas prices in the Northeast US will continue to lose the premium paid, compared with the rest of the US, due to the 30-plus natural gas pipeline projects that will be delivering domestic natural gas to the Northeast. There is no credibility to the argument that additional US LNG import infrastructure would reduce US natural gas prices.
The Potential Gas Committee now identifies about 600 Tcf of natural gas resource potential attributable to shales alone. … This recent recognition of the shale-related resource potential has increased the overall view of domestic gas supply compared to annual production from a 65- to 100-year life. In addition, some analysts who point to 8 Bcf/d of shale-gas production in the U.S. today, believe that the volume could be increased to 13-15 Bcf/d (or higher) in only a matter of years, not decades, and thus become a prominent factor in meeting future gas requirements or even growing natural gas demand.
Webmaster’s Comments: Downeast LNG and Calais LNG are only fooling themselves, their investors, and their local supporters as they continue to drag along their needless projects.
Under questioning from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, two FERC nominees offered their reactions to the suggestion that state authorities ought to have a greater role in LNG terminal siting decisions. Commission nominee Cheryl LaFleur said that she believes states could "usefully play a bigger role" in the LNG siting process. Commissioner Philip Moeller, re-nominated by President Obama, echoed LaFleur's sentiments, but noted that he does not have a solution for formalizing greater participation by states. [Red & brown emphasis added.]
In March 2005, a massive explosion ripped through a tower at BP's refinery in Texas City, Texas, killing 15 workers and injuring 170 others. Investigators later determined that the company had ignored its own protocols on operating the tower, which was filled with gasoline, and that a warning system had been disabled.
Almost a year after the refinery explosion, technicians discovered that some 4,800 barrels of oil had spread into the Alaskan snow through a tiny hole in the company's pipeline in Prudhoe Bay. BP had been warned to check the pipeline in 2002, but hadn't, according to a report in Fortune. When it did inspect it, four years later, it found that a six-mile length of pipeline was corroded.
Congress, as well as the Minerals and Management Service, the federal agency that regulates drilling in the Gulf, were already separately investigating allegations that BP has failed to keep proper documents about how to perform an emergency shutdown of the Atlantis, another Gulf oil platform and one of the largest in the world. [Brown bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: FERC told Save Passamaquoddy Bay, and others in the news media, that BP's corporate culture of negligence would have no impact on FERC's BP LNG permitting.
Save Passamaquoddy Bay asked FERC if Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, or Charles Manson applied to build an LNG terminal would FERC permit them? FERC responded that if they followed FERC's rules procedures, then, "Yes," FERC would permit the terminals.
The energy industry owns the regulators, regardless of how dangerous the industry is to the public.
Even as it launched a gas-trading subsidiary in the Houston and set about securing regasification capacity in North America in order to deliver LNG supplies, Gazprom is learning that its ambitious plans to secure 10% of the U.S. gas market are no longer feasible in the context of the ongoing shale gas "revolution" in the United States. The boom in shale gas and unconventional gas production in the U.S. has caught most of the industry, including Gazprom, off-guard, as what only recently appeared to be a golden opportunity for it has all but evaporated.
Webmaster’s Comments: Count Calais LNG and Downeast LNG with "most of the industry" that was caught off guard. Their opportunity not only evaporated; but, due to their inept lack of due diligence regarding transiting LNG through Canada's waters, the opportunity was never there.
Incredibly, the gravity of the situation has yet to sink in to Lloyd Blankfein, the besieged head of Goldman Sachs, and his senior management team, all of whom appeared before a US Senate hearing this week with performances so woeful that they beggared belief.
None appeared capable of offering a straight answer to the simplest of questions other than to repeat ad nauseam that they were innocent of all charges laid by the Securities and Exchange Commission. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Goldman Sachs is the money behind Calais LNG.
The repercussions of business dealings by Goldman Sachs – the so-called “giant vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity” – continued to be felt across the world from Senate hearings in Washington to financial crises in Greece and difficulties for the euro.
As Goldman Sachs bosses attempted to explain to American senators how legitimate it was for them to bet against the products they urged their own clients to buy, Royal Bank of Scotland said it would have to await the outcome of the SEC case against Goldman before deciding its own course of action.
Goldman Sachs, for a sizeable fee, helped Greece to cook its books using measures that were perfectly legal at the time involving credit swaps against foreign currencies using fictitious exchange rates and which acted to conceal the true extent of Greece’s current and future indebtedness. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
“The risks are kind of piling up,” said Matthew Albrecht, an analyst at Standard & Poor’s who downgraded Goldman’s shares to a sell on Friday, a ratings hit that is rare for Wall Street banks, particularly for Goldman. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
The Justice Department's criminal investigation into Goldman Sachs goes beyond the financial transactions targeted by the Securities and Exchange Commission in the civil fraud suit brought against the firm last month, law enforcement sources said Friday.
The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan and the FBI are conducting the criminal probe, which sources said has been underway for weeks. Sources said a decision on whether to file any charges has not been made. [Bold red emphasis added.]
[A]s the attack against the legendary New York firm, which is now worth $83 billion, develops into a larger disgrace day-after-day, it becomes clear that it is also managing to do our nation immense harm across the world.
[W]hat decent person would not be deeply repulsed by the front page story in The Washington Post last week which told how Goldman Sachs' top executives cheered in their offices as the U.S. housing market began its extraordinary historic fall three years ago? They, after all, were going to be rich, while the rest of us ...? Well, who exactly are those "rest of us," anyway? Only those people who make up the country which makes their investments possible, that's all.
Webmaster’s Comments: The City of Calais and other supporters of Calais LNG might want to take another hard look at who backing that company.