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"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
                                           — US Senator Susan Collins, 2012 Jun 21


News Articles
Passamaquoddy Bay & LNG

2010 May

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2010 May

30 May 2010

Weaver’s Cove squashes concerns (May 28) — Argus Media

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.

FERC today asked the NPS to provide its 2007 study report of the project “and other relevant information” to assist the commission in developing the environmental impact assessment.

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.

LNG threat [Opinion column] (May 27) — The Jamestown Press, Jamestown, RI

Many suppliers, such as Excelerate, have successfully sited LNG terminals offshore. I don’t understand why Hess cannot do the same.

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.

[Richard Clarke, former head of counter terrorism under two presidents] states that “LNG should never be located inland, especially in populated areas,” such as ours.

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.

Be glad it's not BP's LNG now [Editorial] (May 28) — Gloucester County Times, Woodbury, NJ

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.

Donlin Creek mine eyes Cook Inlet gas for its energy supply (May 28) — Alaska Journal of Commerce, Anchorage, AK

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 faces LNG protests at its annual meeting (May 27) — The Oregonian, Portland, OR

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.

No rest for no-LNG activists: Organizers target NW Natural Gas (May 27) — Blue Oregon

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.

Liquefied natural gas confronted at NW Natural’s shareholder’s meeting (May 28) — It's Getting Hot In Here

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.

Update 1-Sempra's Costa Azul LNG terminal to take cargo (May 27) — (Reuters) FinanzNachrichten, Germany

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.

Revision of LNG & LHG waterfront facility requirements in the US (May 28) — LogisticsWeek

The US Coast Guard issued a Final Rule that revises the requirements for waterfront facilities handling liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquefied hazardous gas (LHG).

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.

Overview (for the week ending Wednesday, May 26, 2010) (May 27) — International Business Times

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.]

Asian gas market starting to heat up (May 28) — IBT Commodities & Futures, London, England, UK

Japan, China and Korea have helped pick up (a little of) the slack in the LNG market created by booming U.S. shale gas production displacing LNG imports.

Gazprom downgraded (May 28) — (Bloomberg) The Moscow Times, Moscow, Russia

Gazprom was downgraded Thursday to “sell” from “hold” by ING as the company may have to lower prices on increased competition from U.S. shale gas and liquefied natural gas.

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

Wildlife advocates file suit to protect world's most endangered whale (May 25) — Center for Biological Diversity, Tucson, AZ

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 asserts authority over trucking affiliate at Southern LNG terminal — SNL

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.

Letter: LNG safety measures no guarantee of safety, 05-11-10 (May 10) — Wicket Local Somerset, Fall River, MA

We have all heard that the LNG industry has a great safety record going on 50 years.

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.”

Sound familiar?

Our view: Wild river no place for LNG [Editorial] — The Herald News, Fall River, MA

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.]

Bahamas-Florida pipeline delayed by LNG projects (May 25) — SNL

A proposed gas pipeline connecting Florida and the Bahamas needs a two-year extension of its in-service date to allow for delays in two planned LNG facilities linked to the project.

Big players now control gas terminal (May 25) — Terrace Standard, Terrace, BC

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.

The announcement comes on the heels of Apache Canada Ltd.’s purchase of 51 per cent of the project in January. Apache will operate the project in co-operation with EOG.

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.

LNG protest planned at NW Natural shareholder meeting (May 25) — Portland Business Journal, Portland, OR

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.

Thursday’s protestors, however, argue that without the LNG terminal, the pipeline has no committed gas resource and isn’t needed.

Survey: 80% of utility execs unhappy with Obama's Year 1 energy policy results — PennEnergy

[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.

LNG Heads to Europe (May 27) — International Oil Daily, Energy Intelligence [Paid subscription required]

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.]

Can price terms in previous LNG contracts survive the upheaval in today’s global markets? — LNG Business Review, Gas Strategies [Paid subscription required]

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.]

Ups and downs of gas demand — The Voice of Russia, Moscow, Russia

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

Enough shale gas to power 15 million homes (May 22) — New Brunswick Business Journal, Saint John, NB

There are at least 67.3 trillion cubic feet of gas estimated to be in the shale rock in southern New Brunswick, enough to power 15 million homes for nearly seven decades.

[I]f the resource is big enough, the company says long-term development could have it drilling as many as 960 wells over the next three decades.

"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.

LNG port off Gloucester coast now open for business (May 21) — Gloucester Times, Gloucester, MA

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 consists of two off-loading buoys that connect ships to the underwater pipe system and only one of them has been fully tested and could accept tankers now.

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.

LNG plant open for business (May 24) — Boston Business Journal, Boston, MA

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.]

First pictures- The GDF Suez Cape Ann (May 22) — GoodMorningGloucester, Gloucester, MA

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.

Wild and Scenic deals blow to LNG plan (May 21) —

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.

Liquified natural gas terminal not forgotten in Long Beach (May 20) — LIHerald, Garden City, NY

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.

Dominion Cove Point LNG addresses FERC's data request (May 24) — LNG Law Blog

Last week Dominion Cove Point LNG filed responses to FERC's data request that addressed a number of post-inspection recommendations filed by the Commission.

FERC offers recommendations to Freeport LNG terminal (May 21) — LNG Law Blog

Following its annual inspection of the Freeport LNG terminal, FERC offered a list of recommendations to improve the facility.

FERC denies YPC extension (Week of May 23) — Petroleum News

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.

LNG pipeline developer hears 6 hours of complaint (May 21) — Statesman Journal, Willamette, OR

COQUILLE, Ore. — Developers of a 234-mile pipeline to carry imported liquefied natural gas from Coos Bay across southwestern Oregon got an earful from people who don’t like the prospect.

Will defeat of three Clatsop County commissioners end the turmoil? (May 21) — The Oregonian, Portland, OR

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.]

Clatsop County election a defeat for LNG (May) — Blue Oregon

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.

Editorial: Provide LNG information (May 21) — The Register-Guard, Eugene, OR

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 responds to Senate GOP leader’s inquiry on LNG, Foster (May 24) — Willamette Week, Willamette, OR

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.

One stubborn Texan, one energy revolution —

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.

"America has more shale gas than it knows what to do with," says T. Boone Pickens, who has made shale gas a key component of his "Pickens Plan" to turn gas into a transportation fuel.

"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 export just 6 million mt/year of LNG to US: Attiyah (May 24) — Platts

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.

Qatar's contracts with US offtakers allow the country to divert term supplies to other markets if it can achieve "better prices, related to oil," al-Attiyah said.


20 May 2010

Correct: Repsol May Ship LNG From Peru To Canada — The Wall Street Journal, New York, NY

MADRID (Dow Jones)--Spanish oil firm Repsol YPF SA (REP) from July on may ship liquefied natural gas from Peru to its Canaport LNG terminal in eastern Canada, a Repsol spokesman said Thursday.

Shipments to Canada could be carried out over several months until the completion of an LNG terminal in Mexico that is slated to receive much of the shipments from Peru, the spokesman said.

Council tackles fishing safety and biking issues — The Jamestown Press, Jamestown, RI

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.’”

“It is interesting,” said Gray, that “Weaver’s Cove is a SIGTTO member and a signatory to the standards – and yet it ignores these very same standards.” [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]

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.

Delaware River: Hess LNG pushing N.J. plan forward (May 19) — The News Journal, Wilmington, DE

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.

Changes under consideration include an attempt to build a tanker unloading berth just north of Delaware waters, avoiding state environmental and border conflicts that blocked the original project.

Maryland LNG court case delayed at request of AES (May 19) — The Dundalk Eagle, Dundalk, MD

The court case is one of three legal challenges to the project, which was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission with 169 conditions in January 2009.

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.

FERC grants Extension of Time for Creole Trail LNG project — LNG Law Blog

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.

FERC requests environmental data from Cameron LNG — LNG Law Blog

Yesterday FERC requested environmental data from Cameron LNG regarding the company's proposal to install a back-up natural gas compressor for the terminal's boil-off gas system.

US FERC denies request for more time to build Alaska LNG terminal (May 19) — Platts

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.

Regulators deny more time to build LNG plant in AK (May 19) — Alaska Star, Eagle River, AK

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.

LNG plant looks ahead: ConocoPhillips seeks 2-year extension — Alaska Journal of Commerce, Anchorage, AK

Their current license to export a total of 99 bcf will expire at the end of March 2011.

Ferrioli questions attorney’s role in LNG permitting process (May 19) — The Oregonian, Portland, OR

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.

And then there was one — The Daily Astorian, Astoria, OR

Repudiation of Lee cabal, LNG funny business sweeps the court house.

Bradwood LNG files for bankruptcy. But what’s next? (May 19) — South County Spotlight, Scappoose, OR

Bradwood, which would have been situated about 23 miles inland from Astoria on the Columbia River, is likely dead, with bankruptcy proceedings ahead to dissolve the company’s assets.

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.]

Public hearing scheduled for Oregon LNG project (May 19) — LNG Law Blog

A public hearing has been scheduled for May 27, 2010, in Astoria, Ore., to discuss the Oregon LNG and Oregon Pipeline proposals.

Natural gas outlook: Storage passes 2,000 billion cubic feet — Cattle Network, Lenexa, KS

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.

Natural gas: Shale-shocked in America — Daily Markets, New York, NY

Most analysts have attributed the lack of a meaningful fall off in gas production to the increase in drilling in onshore gas shale formations.

[T]otal gas in U.S. storage as of May 7 — at 2.089 trillion cubic feet — is about 18.4% above the five-year average, and 4.9% above last year’s level for the same week.

Webmaster’s Comments: The United States is drowning in natural gas. Calais LNG and Downeast LNG are lost causes.

Gazprom to enter shale gas market in U.S. — Oil & Gas Eurasia, Moscow, Russia

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

Calais votes to create natural gas zone — Bangor Daily News, Bangor, ME

Last Thursday, the Calais City Council voted to amend its Comprehensive Plan and Land Use regulations to create a marine industrial zone.

“This is not specific to Calais LNG,” Barnes said, but added that it will allow projects such as Calais LNG to go forward.

“If Calais LNG should not happen, we will still be ready for other such projects in the future,” Barnes said.

Changes to the land use regulations, however, were opposed by at least one abutting landowner who said the scenic value of his property would be adversely affected by an LNG port.

Webmaster’s Comments: Can everyone say "spot zoning"?

Downeast LNG hopes to begin discussions with potential capacity holders in 2011 (May 17) — LNG Law Blog

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.

National Park Service rejects LNG proposal; Kerry, Frank, McGovern hail decision —

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.”

Park Service deals blow to LNG proposal — (AP) WPRI-TV, Providence, RI

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.

Energy company downsizes N.J. project to avert Del. conflict — The News Journal, Wilmington, DE

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?

Regulators deny construction permit for LNG plant — (AP) KTUU-TV, Anchorage, AK

JUNEAU, Alaska -- Federal regulators have denied a request by Yukon Pacific Co. to again give it more time build a liquefied natural gas plant in south-central Alaska.

The commission, in its denial letter last week, said environmental and regulatory standards have changed since the company first obtained a permit in 1995, and those issues need to be addressed.

Webmaster’s Comments: Perhaps this is an indication that FERC is now actually considering need.

EOG Canada agrees to acquire Galveston LNG Inc. — PR Newswire

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.

EOG buys rest of Kitimat LNG project — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

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.]

Ownership of Canada's first LNG export terminal now in American hands — Edmonton Journal, Edmonton, AB

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.

The much-delayed project was originally envisioned as an LNG import terminal six years ago but the flow was reversed in view of B.C.’s gas potential and growing markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

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.]

BP's safety record under scrutiny (May 17) — UPI

WASHINGTON, May 17 (UPI) -- BP has a track record of neglecting regulated safety issues at U.S. refineries, U.S. authorities said following an April explosion that left 11 dead.

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

Sussex prepares for possible natural gas boom (May 13) — CBC News

Corridor Resources announced this week that a formerly abandoned well could have more natural gas than is available in all of western Canada's proven reserves.

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.]

BIA cancels Quoddy Bay LNG’s Split Rock lease (May 14) — The Quoddy Tides, Eastport, ME

[T]he Passamaquoddy governor at Pleasant Point, Rick Phillips-Doyle, says, "From our point of view, it's over, and we're going to be moving on. I hope this ends it."

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.]

Quoddy Bay loses sacred ground LNG project (May 18) — Tank Storage Magazine, Surry, England, UK

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.

National Park Service deals blow to LNG proposal — Victoria Advocate, Victoria, TX

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.

98 right whales spotted off R.I. coast (Apr 24) — The Boston Globe, Boston, MA

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.

Cheniere Energy sale of Freeport LNG Development L.P. closes (May 14) — PR Newswire

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 still in gasline hunt (May 16) — Petroleum News

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.

One down, LNG fight turns to 2 other proposals — The Register-Guard, Eugene, OR

“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.]

Port Commission to vote on settlement with Oregon LNG next week (May 14) — LNG Law Blog

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.

Company suspends plan to build Oregon LNG pipeline (May 14) — Oregon Daily Emerald, University of Oregon

“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.

LNG: Where do we go from here? (May 14) — News-Times, Portland, OR

[T]he Bradwood development company, Bradwood LNG, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The development doesn’t end the long effort to establish a liquefied natural gas terminal in Oregon, but it certainly complicates the picture.

Property owners resist LNG pipeline — Oregon Business, Portland, OR

Pacific Connecter Gas Pipeline sent notices to hundreds of property owners along a 234-mile route of their proposed pipeline, but some won't let the pipeline be built without a fight.

'Shale gas destroys US LNG demand' (Apr 20) —

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).

The LNG report – the first by TPH since 2007 – predicts shipments to the US in 2010 will fall to 1.8 billion cubic feet of gas per day.

US regasification capacity is about 15 Bcfd, dispersed among nine different terminals on the US Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts.

“Shale gas renders US LNG imports nearly unnecessary over the next five to 10 years,” the report stated.

“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.

US gas output leading to LNG glut (Apr 19) — Energy Tribune, Houston, TX

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

We're still the hub (May 12) — Telegraph-Journal, Saint John, NB

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.

Fond farewell for Corridor CEO (May 12) — The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, NS

In 1999, the first onshore well ever drilled by Corridor in southern New Brunswick discovered shale gas deposits but at the time technology didn’t exist to tap into this source of natural gas.

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.

Mining company says find could lead to hundreds of gas wells in southeast N.B. (May 12) — Winnipeg Free Press, Winnipeg, MB

"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 Resources continues quest for gas — New Brunswick Business Journal, Saint John, NB

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.

Canada's natural gas resource jumps dramatically in estimates (May 12) — Financial Post, Don Mills, ON

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

One of three LNG projects in trouble — Telegraph-Journal, Saint John, NB

"Smith is merely embarrassed that he has had an enormous failure, and he's just trying to spin it to make it sound otherwise, but this project is already double dead if not triple dead," he said.

"[Quoddy Bay LNG has] been killed by two federal agencies plus the tribe. His claim that the lease still exists, obviously it doesn't."

On June 9 last year the Passamaquoddy tribal council cancelled the lease for non-payment. On April 23 this year the [Bureau of Indian Affairs] supported the council's decision.

On Oct. 17, 2008, the United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission suspended its review of Quoddy Bay LNG's proposal.

Webmaster’s Comments: This article's headline is an understatement. The Quoddy Bay LNG project is triple-dead.

Neptune LNG seeks NMFS authorization for activities that may affect marine mammals — LNG Law Blog

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.

Gas terminal noise may harm dolphins (May 12) — Courthouse News Service

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.]

FERC requests engineering data from Weaver's Cove LNG (May 12) — LNG Law Blog

Yesterday [May 11] FERC requested additional engineering information from Weaver's Cove LNG, focusing on the operations of the pipe-in-pipe LNG transfer system.

Our view: Time for clean energy [Editorial] — The Herald News, Fall River, MA

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.

Leader emerges in LNG battle — The Jamestown Press, Jamestown, RI

After hearing about the proposed LNG terminal at Weaver’s Cove while attending a gathering for the Jamestown Arts Center, Lynn wasted no time becoming involved in the battle against it.

Lynn isn’t shy about admitting his pet peeve: “People who can’t discuss an issue without making it personal – and people who have trouble discussing it politely.”

Bankrupt LNG company owes Clatsop County $180,000 (May 7) — Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB)

Wegner says the tab is likely to exceed $200,000, once he adds up the most recent work by county staffers and contractors.

He says the county plans to pursue the bill in bankruptcy court, if the company doesn’t pay. He says the county would dig into a contingency fund if it’s not paid. NorthernStar has declined comment.

Victorious LNG foes says thanks to county (May 11) — The Daily News, Longview, WA

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.

Last week, after six years of planning, NorthernStar halted its plans and declared bankruptcy, effectively ending plans to import liquid natural gas into the region.

Coos Bay Legislator investigates secret meeting over LNG — KPIC, Roseburg, OR

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.

Little progress to date on LNG Siting Bill in U.S. Senate (May 12) — LNG Law Blog

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.

LNG still has a place in US energy supply (May 7) — 24/7 Wall Street

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.]

Calais LNG's financial bedfellow — Goldman Sachs

Stock market collapse: More Goldman market rigging (May 8) —

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.]

A.I.G. said to dismiss Goldman (May 6) — The New York Times, New York, NY

As its legal troubles mount, Goldman Sachs is losing a big corporate client: the American International Group.

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.

Bigdough sues Goldman Sachs over copyright, data (May 5) — Reuters

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York by Ipreo Holdings LLC, accused Goldman employees of 264 incidents of unauthorized access to the computer database in 2008 and 2009.

"This unauthorized access was done by defendants with the intention to steal, copy, use and/or solicit contacts and coverage information taken from the database and to use such information in furtherance of Goldman's business interests," the complaint said.


11 May 2010

Major natural gas find in N.B.: Halifax company — CBC News

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.]

Passamaquoddy group defeats LNG project on sacred ground — Indian Country Today

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.]

Future of Quoddy Bay LNG not set in stone (May 7) — Telegraph-Journal, Saint John, NB

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.

The company will appeal, [Don] Smith said in a recent interview from Oklahoma City.

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.

Bill Beardsley: Ready to make ‘tough decisions’ — Bangor Daily News, Bangor, ME

“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.

LNG meeting on tap for Thursday (May 10) — The Herald News, Fall River, MA

The next meeting of the Coalition for Responsible Siting of LNG Facilities will be held Thursday, May 13, at 7 p.m. at Calvary Temple Assembly of God, 4321 N. Main St.

Does Bradwood owe you money? — The Daily Astorian, Astoria, OR

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.

Bradwood Landing's demise: A victory for Oregon's values [Opinion column] —

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.

LNG plan faces an uncertain future — Woodburn Independent, Woodburn, OR

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.

Can either horse win LNG derby? (May 9) — The World, Coos Bay, OR

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.

State officials seem to see those pipelines as the best way for Oregon to get its gas.

Remaining LNG projects in Oregon face uphill fight (May 8) — The Oregonian, Portland, OR

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.]

Ore. LNG port developer files for liquidation (May 6) — AP Associated Press

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.]

Port of Astoria land eyed by Oregon LNG (May 7) — The Daily Astorian, Astoria, OR

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.

The settlement also gives the Port the option of stepping back from its unprofitable leasing "sandwich" by assigning the state lease to Oregon LNG.

"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."

Jordan Cove LNG on track for FID in 2011 (May 7) — LNG Law Blog

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.

Shale gas will rock the world (May 10) — The Wall Street Journal, New York, NY

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.]

Growing natural gas storage fails to slow drilling —

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.

EIA: US gas consumption seen climbing 3% in 2010 — NASDAQ

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.]

Calais LNG's financial bedfellow.

Goldman Sachs: Wall Street's #1 fraud-factory (Apr 20) — Bullion Bulls Canada

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”.

In other words, what Lloyd Blankfein is saying not only to these clients, but to every client of Goldman Sachs (and to the judge) is “you can't trust us.” [Red emphasis added.]

NYSE imposes first “hard close” penalty—on Goldman (May 5) — Securities Industry News

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.

Too big to fail and too big to tolerate (May 5) — Bellingham Herald, Bellingham, WA

The fact is that Goldman and its cohorts not only have become too big to fail; they've also become too big to manage and too big to regulate. Because of this, they endanger us all.

'Main Street' sues Goldman Sachs (May 5) —

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.

According to the SEC filing, all shareholders are charging the firm and its executives with "breach of fiduciary duty, corporate waste, abuse of control, mismanagement and unjust enrichment."


5 May 2010

Production growth stalls in former gas darling Trinidad (May) — Petroleum Economist, London, England, UK [Paid subscription required]

GROWTH in Trinidad and Tobago's liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector appears to be stalling after a decade and a half that saw it become the top supplier to the US.

Another US LNG Project Bites the Dust

Like Calais LNG and Downeast LNG,
NorthernStar's Bradwood Landing LNG violated SIGTTO best safe practices

NorthernStar files for bankruptcy — The Daily Astorian, Astoria, OR

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.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy, unlike other bankruptcy protections, is a liquidation proceeding, not a company reorganization.

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.]

Bradwood halts LNG — The Daily Astorian, Astoria, OR

For one thing, County Commissioner Dirk Rohne said, the company owes the county around $200,000 in outstanding legal bills accrued over the course of the local land-use approval process.

"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."

NorthernStar had financial backing from New York investment firm Matlin Patterson, and secured $100 million in private financing in 2007.

The company had been developing a second LNG terminal off the coast of California, called Clearwater Port, but in March that project was shelved.

[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.]

One LNG proposal halts — The World, Coos Bay, OR

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.]

Oregon LNG project leaves the field — Oil & Gas Journal

The terminal was to have sent up to 1.3 bcfd into Northwest US markets and was one of three LNG projects proposed for Oregon. Also part of the project was a 36.3-mile pipeline.

Bradwood Landing’s departure from the LNG terminal scene in Oregon leaves two other projects facing the same head winds of public opposition.

NW Natural reports results for the quarter ended March 31, 2010 [News release] — Businesswire

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.]

Opponents celebrate Bradwood LNG project suspension (May 4) — The Daily Astorian, Astoria, OR

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.

Work halted on Oregon liquefied natural gas port (May 4) — The Daily News Online, Longview, WA

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.

Bradwood Landing LNG plan halted (May 4) — Portland Business Journal, Portland, OR

The NorthernStar Natural Gas company said late Tuesday it has suspended development of its Bradwood Landing liquified natural gas import terminal near Astoria.

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.

Northernstar halts work on Oregon LNG port (May 4) — (AP) KRIS-TV, Corpus Christi, TX

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.

Company abandons LNG proposal for Astoria (May 4) — KGW, Portland, OR

NorthernStar sought the go-ahead to begin constructing the proposed LNG terminal 20 miles east of Astoria on the Columbia River.

Opponents criticize NorthernStar for wasting time and tax dollars by withholding information needed to complete the permit process.

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.

LNG project gets hearing date (May 4) — The World, Coos Bay, OR

COOS BAY -- Supporters and opponents of a proposed gas pipeline are starting to prepare for a Coos County hearing later this month.

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.

The future for LNG in the US is worse than bleak

The US natural gas glut spawns pipeline projects, shrinks US LNG markets

US gas glut keep storage levels high (May) — Petroleum Economist, London, England, UK [Paid subscription required]

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.]

Unconventional-gas development drives US pipeline construction boom (May) — Petroleum Economist, London, England, UK [Paid subscription required]

Development of the US' unconventional gas resources will require a significant expansion of pipeline infrastructure. Midstream companies are stepping up to the plate, writes Anne Feltus.

GAS pipeline construction in the US is booming as midstream operators develop capacity to transport natural gas resources emerging from unconventional plays. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]

LNG's unexpected, unconventional shift (May) — Petroleum Economist, London, England, UK

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.

Unsurprisingly, North America's forecast LNG demand shows the greatest change, dropping by two-thirds over the 2010-20 period compared with the outlook in 2007.

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.]

The US: a deep, liquid LNG market (May) — Petroleum Economist, London, England, UK [Paid subscription required]

[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.]

Congressmen raised concerns about BP safety in months before Gulf spill (May 4) — Pro Publica

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.

EPA taking comments on oil, gas emissions data collection (May 4) — SNL, Charlottesville, VA

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

Capitalize on N.B.'s gas (May 1) — Telegraph-Journal, Saint John, NB

[W]e are speaking of the huge natural gas deposits being found in southern New Brunswick.

Our own government sources indicate there is an estimated 70 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Moncton Basin, a larger resource than is currently found in Alberta.

[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.]

Third LNG tank complete (Apr 30) — Telegraph-Journal, Saint John, NB

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.

Candidates seek to lead on state's energy front — Maine Sunday Telegram, Portland, ME

Bill Beardsley
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.

Paul LePage
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?

Guest Opinion: Weaver's Cove tells fairy tales (Apr 30) — The Herald News, Fall River, MA

Given the potential danger of mixing cryogenically cold LNG with water, I think the people of Fall River deserve proper risk modeling — even though modeling doesn’t guarantee safety.

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.]

Audubon group opposes LNG plant (Apr 29) — Newsday, New York, NY [Paid subscription required]

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.

Gov.’s Earth Day pledge: No LNG, offshore drilling (Apr 29) — Atlanticville, Freehold, NJ

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.

Natural gas pipeline foes have New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on their side (Apr 28) — New York Daily News, New York, NY

Christie, who along with Gov. Paterson, has veto power over such projects, said LNG terminals "are not the answer for New Jersey's needs."

Christie's pledge renders such projects "dead on arrival," said Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Queens and Brooklyn). [Red emphasis added.]

D.C. Circuit holds FERC adequately addressed WGL's concerns with Cove Point LNG terminal expansion (Apr 28) — LNG Law Blog

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.

AGIA open season for natural gas pipeline begins (Apr 30) — KTUU, Anchorage, AK

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.

As Obama shuts off-shore drilling, bids open for Alaska Pipeline (Apr 30) — 24/7 Wall St.

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.]

Natural gas outlook: Demand increases with late-season chill (Apr 29) — Cattle Network, Lenexa, KS

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.

Study finds nation’s natural gas supply will last well into next century (Apr) — Pipeline & Gas Journal, Houston, TX

As noted in the analysis, AGA believes that the strength of gas supply in the U.S. is not only founded on the abundance of the methane in North America but the diversity of those supplies as well.

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.

FERC nominees questioned regarding states' role in siting LNG terminals (Apr 28) — LNG Law Blog

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.]

BP had other problems in years leading to Gulf spill (Apr 29) — Pro Publica

BP, the global oil giant responsible for the fast-spreading spill in the Gulf of Mexico that will soon make landfall, is no stranger to major accidents.

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.

Other problems followed. There were more spills in Alaska. And BP was charged with manipulating the market price of propane.

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.

America’s gas shale market forces Gazprom to rethink strategy (Apr) — Pipeline & Gas Journal, Houston, TX

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.

Indeed, as the U.S. has quickly gone from being a potential major market for LNG imports to self-sufficiency, those LNG supplies are increasingly finding their way to Europe.

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.

Pirates and banksters: see if you can pick the difference (May 1) — The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia

Goldman Sachs, once the most revered name in global finance, suddenly has become the demon prince in the dark art of financial sorcery.

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.

Goldman Sachs: Tentacles of ‘giant vampire squid’ have caused global ructions (Apr 30) — Tribune Magazine, London, England, UK

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.]

Goldman’s shares plunge on inquiries and downgrades (Apr 30) — The New York Times, New York, NY

How much trouble is Goldman Sachs really in?

One answer: About $21 billion worth.

That’s how much the vaunted Wall Street bank has lost in market value since it was engulfed in a fraud accusation two weeks ago.

The criminal inquiry has been under way since early this year, the official said, before the S.E.C. filed its action on April 16 but months after Goldman learned of the civil investigation.

“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.]

Justice probe of Goldman goes beyond deals cited by SEC (May 1) — The Washington Post, Washington, DC [Free subscription required]

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.]

Georgie Anne Geyer: Damage wreaked by Wall Street spreads [Opinion] (Apr 27) — The News-Herald, Willoughby, OH

[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.


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