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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

2014 September

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2014 Sep

Passamaquoddy Bay


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2014 September 30

Passamaquoddy Bay

Critics and supporters turn out for LNG meeting in Robbinston (Sep 26) — The Quoddy Tides, Eastport, ME

Questions raised by those in attendance at the open house included concerns about safety, a desire to have Robbinston town officials vote again on the Downeast LNG project because it is no longer the same project voted on earlier, and concern about the destruction of the unique beauty of the Mill Cove area.

Earlier this summer, Downeast LNG had announced significant changes to its proposed LNG terminal in the Mill Cove area of Robbinston. Originally planned as an import facility the company now is proposing to construct and operate an import and export facility. The Downeast LNG import project is currently under review by FERC. The proposed new facilities would convert the Downeast LNG import project into a bi‑directional import‑export LNG terminal and pipeline. According to Girdis, the company is proposing to spend $1.3 billion to build the bi‑directional facility. The project would be capable of producing 3 million metric tons per annum of liquefied natural gas and 100 standard cubic feet per day of regasified LNG.

On September 24, Save Passamaquoddy Bay, which is opposed to Downeast LNG's proposal, filed a motion for FERC to dismiss the project. The motion states that four other LNG import terminals in on the East Coast have had minimal or no import activity in recent years. It notes that Downeast LNG states that it intends to import "an absurd paltry 100 standard cubic feet per day," which Save Passamaquoddy Bay researcher Bob Godfrey calculates is equivalent to the same daily methane production of six to 12 cows. He concludes, "Therefore, it makes more economic sense to harvest methane from cattle than to construct Downeast LNG's proposed import facility." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Downeast LNG's pre-filing Resource Report 1 and FERC's printed handout to the public regarding the project indicate Downeast LNG would regasify 100 standard cubic feet per day and supply that gas to the pipeline. That volume of gas is less than 5'x5'x5' per day — the equivalent natural gas production of 6–12 average cows.


Maine candidates for Governor spar over natural gas pipeline (Sep 29) — MPBN

Republican Gov. Paul LePage is defending his support of legislation that could make it easier for private businesses to use eminent domain to seize property for natural gas pipeline expansion. The governor says the legislation is necessary to alleviate what he calls the New England energy crisis. But the governor's two opponents oppose the move.

At issue is federal legislation known as H.R.1900, The Natural Gas Permitting Reform Act, which aims to streamline the permitting process for the development of natural gas pipeline projects.

Congressman Michaud, meanwhile, says he's not opposed, in principle, to the expansion of natural gas projects. "I believe that natural gas is a good transitional fuel for the state of Maine," Michaud says.

By "transitional fuel," he says he means using natural gas as a stop-gap measure while cleaner, renewable long-term energy sources can be developed. Michaud's opposition to L.R 1900, however, can be summed up in two words: eminent domain.

"This is a horrible bill," Cutler says. He says his opposition is due to is the undue level of power it gives the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency - or FERC - in the permitting process. "You don't want to have FERC making decisions for environmental regulating agencies over the terms and conditions of a permit," Cutler says. "Mr. Michaud missed that."

Webmaster's comment: All three candidates should be fighting to develop renewable energy now, rather than relying on yet another hydrocarbon fuel.

Nova Scotia

Pieridae hires lobbyist on Goldboro LNG development — LNG World News

Pierida has hired Matthew Triemstra of NATIONAL Public Relations to discuss the Golboro LNG export project with DFATD, House of Commons, Justice Canada and NRCan, according to an entry on the federal lobbyist registry.


Outrage over FERC decision on LNG exports — UPI

In a late Monday decision, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authorized Dominion Cove Pont LNG to build its Cove Point project in Maryland. The project gives Dominion the authority to export up to 770,000 cubic feet of LNG per day to countries that don't have a free-trade agreement with the United States.

Deb Nardone, director of the gas advocacy division of Sierra Club, said the decision is flawed because FERC didn't consider the subsequent increase in hydraulic fracturing that would come as a result of LNG exports."FERC should be standing up for the public good, not the interests of dirty polluters," she said in a statement.

Campaign group Earthjustice added it may take its case to court because of what it said was an inadequate environmental review from FERC. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Sierra Club's Earthjustice Northeast Region Office has told Save Passamaquoddy Bay that it cannot assist battling Downeast LNG because Earthjustice Northeast Region does not do any work in Maine!

FERC approves Dominion Cove Point LNG export project —

Lusby, MD – A process that began in June 2012 reached a significant pinnacle Monday, Sept. 29, as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) authorized Dominion to build a liquefaction facility at its Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Plant in Lusby. The commission’s authorization also gave the go-ahead for construction of related facilities at an existing compressor station and at metering and regulating sites in Virginia.

“FERC’s decision to approve Cove Point is the result of a biased review process rigged in favor of approving gas industry projects no matter how great the environmental and safety concerns,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, in a press release issued early Tuesday, Sept. 30. “FERC refused to even require an environmental impact statement for this $3.8 billion facility right on the bay. We intend to challenge this ruling all the way to court if necessary. For the safety of Marylanders and for people across our region facing new fracking wells and pipelines, we will continue to fight this project until it is stopped.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Study: Treated fracking wastewater could still threaten drinking water (Sep 26) — StateImpact Pennsylvania, PA

A new study shows how treated wastewater from oil and gas operations, when discharged into rivers and streams that travel toward drinking water intakes, can produce dangerous toxins. The research confirms what scientists have been warning about for some time. The high concentrations of salty brine, which flows up from deep underground once a well is fracked, are difficult to remove from the wastewater without the aid of an expensive technique called reverse osmosis or a cheaper method known as thermal distillation. If the wastewater is treated conventionally, which does not remove the bromides, chlorides or iodides, then it can be combined with chlorine at a drinking water facility, and create carcinogens such as bromines and iodines.

The low level of dilution that created the toxic compounds surprised the researchers. “The drinking water facilities should be aware of this,” said Bill Mitch, a lead researcher on the study and an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University. “You need a lot of dilution to make these discharges no longer matter.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Pennsylvania says 243 private water wells contaminated by gas drilling since 2007 (Aug 29) — Platts

More than 200 private drinking water wells have been contaminated by natural gas drilling activity in Pennsylvania since 2007, according to documents released late Thursday by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

About half drinking water wells were damaged by conventional drilling and half by unconventional, or horizontal, drilling, DEP Deputy Secretary for Oil and Gas Management Scott Perry said in a statement.

Common complaints that were confirmed include elevated levels of methane in the well water, wastewater and chemical spills on the surface, and wells whose water became undrinkable. None of the complaints could be linked directly to hydraulic fracturing fluids leaving the wellbore. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Henry Hub, king of U.S. natural gas trade, losing crown to Marcellus (Sep 26) — Reuters

[This article also appears under the Gulf on Mexico heading, below.]

For nearly a quarter-century, traders around the world have looked to a spot in Louisiana for the best price of U.S. natural gas. Now they're looking east.

The Henry Hub in southern Louisiana, which connects to more than a dozen on- and offshore pipelines from Texas and the Gulf of Mexico, has been surpassed as the most active place for trading physical U.S. natural gas by hubs in shale-rich Pennsylvania.

Gulf of Mexico

Magnolia LNG receives Coast Guard and PHMSA approvals for LNG export terminal (Sep 22) — LNG Law Blog

Magnolia LNG announced today that the U.S. Coast Guard has issued a Letter of Recommendation approving the Waterway Suitability Assessment for Magnolia’s proposed LNG export terminal at Lake Charles, La., finding that the Calcasieu Channel waterway was suitable for the proposed LNG marine traffic associated with the project. Magnolia also announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has issued a letter to FERC stating it had no objections to the Project’s design spill methodology.

A U-turn for a terminal built in Texas to import natural gas (Sep 29) — New York Times, New York, NY

SABINE PASS, Tex. — The giant Golden Pass natural gas import terminal here, meant to bring Middle Eastern gas to energy-hungry Americans, sits eerily quiet these days, a sleepy museum to a bygone era.

Its 5,000 valves, 50 million pounds of steel and ship berth as big as 77 football fields — representing a $2 billion investment by Qatar Petroleum, Exxon Mobil and Conoco Phillips — have been dormant for nearly three years. The unexpected American shale fracking frenzy produced such a glut of domestic gas that the United States does not need Qatari gas anymore.

Qatar Petroleum, the state oil company, is now requesting permission to export American gas, proposing with its partner Exxon Mobil an audacious conversion of the facility to export from import. The additional estimated cost: $10 billion, if not more.

The Golden Pass terminal would give the Qataris more gas to sell without breaking their drilling moratorium at home. The Texas facility would also give them an opportunity to sell American gas at the low American price to mostly Asian traders who have the purchasing leverage to demand it. In doing so, Qatar can try to preserve the higher oil-indexed price for the gas it produces at home. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

CEO pushes 'bite-sized' Pelican Island gas plant proposal (Sep 26) — Houston Chronicle, Houston, TX [Paid subscription]

Years after BP dropped widely opposed plans for a liquefied natural gas import terminal on Galveston's Pelican Island, a Houston-area company is eyeing the same site to export supercooled gas, joining a string of companies hoping to capitalize on the U.S. shale boom.

Henry Hub, king of U.S. natural gas trade, losing crown to Marcellus (Sep 26) — Reuters

[This article also appears under the Northeast heading, above.]

For nearly a quarter-century, traders around the world have looked to a spot in Louisiana for the best price of U.S. natural gas. Now they're looking east.

The Henry Hub in southern Louisiana, which connects to more than a dozen on- and offshore pipelines from Texas and the Gulf of Mexico, has been surpassed as the most active place for trading physical U.S. natural gas by hubs in shale-rich Pennsylvania.


Puerto Rico offshore LNG facility needs mitigation plan: EPA (Sep 29) — Law360 [Paid subscription]

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Monday that it’s concerned that Excelerate Energy LP’s proposed liquefied natural gas terminal off the coast of Puerto Rico may harm coral reefs, endangered species and the Jobos Bay ecosystem, saying the company should outline its mitigation plan.


One LNG cargo in first half of year (Week of Sep 21) — Petroleum News, Anchorage, AK [Paid subscription]

The liquefied natural gas facility at Nikiski on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula shipped one cargo of LNG during the first six months of 2014, according to a report submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by ConocoPhillips, owner of the facility.…

British Columbia

Petronas cites environmental concerns on Prince Rupert LNG project (Sep 29) — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

Shamsul Azhar Abbas, the chief executive officer of Petronas, warned last week he will scrap the energy project called Pacific NorthWest LNG unless the B.C. government unveils competitive tax and regulatory rules in October.

Dodge Cove residents united against LNG terminal (Sep 24) — The Northern View, Prince Rupert, BC

Residents of Dodge Cove are making it clear: They do not want a liquefied natural gas export terminal on Digby Island.

Thirty-six residents of the small community across the harbour signed a petition directed to Peter Levy of Nexen Energy, the international energy firm exploring the feasibility of locating a four-train LNG terminal at the mouth of the harbour, expressing their concerns that such a project would "alter our lives and community irreparably".

Citizens should demand that B.C. 'completely rethink' its LNG strategy: Expert (Sep 26) — Huffington Post

Squamish is the site of a proposed LNG processing and export terminal of its own -- one that would have about one-tenth the export capacity of those proposed further north in the B.C. communities of Kitimat, Prince Rupert, and Terrace.

[Celebrated energy journalist and author of "Tar Sands and The Energy of Slaves" Andrew Nikiforukuthor] likened the LNG exploration and extraction industry in northeastern B.C. to the Alberta tar sands. Both the bitumen extracted from the tar sands and natural gas gained through hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," are difficult and expensive to get at, with enormous impacts on the environment, Nikiforuk said.


Oregon again delays Coastal Zone Management Act consistency review for another 90 days (Sep 26) — LNG Law Blog

The Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) and Oregon LNG have entered into an agreement for a further stay until January 28, 2015, of DLCD’s decision under the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) on whether Oregon LNG’s proposed LNG import and export terminal is consistent with Oregon’s Coastal Management Plan. The agreement states that additional stays of CZMA review may occur.

United States

Exclusive: Asian buyers of U.S. LNG dial back as exuberance dims (Sep 19) — Reuters

A looming gas glut worldwide is prompting Japanese and Indian firms to resell to European traders and utilities big chunks of U.S. liquefied natural gas they had committed to buy several years ago, signaling tempered enthusiasm for U.S. energy.

…[A]fter splashing out billions of dollars to build numerous plants to liquefy and export the gas by ship, at least three buyers spooked by the scale of their commitments and risks of heavy financial losses want out, in part.

Japanese utilities Tokyo Gas and Osaka Gas as well as India's Gai are dialing back on their U.S. LNG commitments via stake sales after realizing they cannot handle the initial surge of volume due to low demand at home. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: The goldrush to export LNG from the US is beginning to collapse. Considering Downeast LNG's history of lagging the market curve by 5–6 years, it will be around 2020 before Dean Girdis realizes that the market is in exporting Maine potatoes instead of LNG. Look out Aroostook County!


2014 September 29

Nova Scotia

TAYLOR: Compressing gas could serve needs of proposed LNG plants (Sep 23) — The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, NS

Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline officials believe compression of the natural gas flowing through its 1,101-kilometre pipeline will allow it to supply enough gas to serve three proposed liquefied natural gas export facilities in Nova Scotia.

Transmitting enough gas to supply three large LNG terminals, he admits, would significantly boost the amount of natural gas passing through the pipeline.

But expansion of the pipeline will not be required if the gas is compressed, he says.

The underground mainline runs from Goldboro, Guysborough County, through Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and crosses the Canadian border with the United States near Baileyville, Maine, connecting with the existing pipeline grid at Dracut, Mass. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: This news article fails to mention how Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline would expand its capacity in the US. It fails to indicate how much the gas in the pipeline has already been compressed, and if that pressure has subsequently been reduced. It also fails to address the US prohibition against shipping natural gas to Canada for Canadian export.


Governor LePage: FERC must address New England’s energy crisis now [Press release] — Gov. Paul LePage

“It is time to wake up. New England is in an energy crisis right now, and we desperately need additional natural gas to power our businesses and keep electric bills affordable for households,” said Governor LePage. “While prices are spiking, liberals in Massachusetts have opposed natural gas infrastructure, saying they need to study the issue more. This is unconscionable.”

Governor LePage is taking action in Maine to build out natural gas infrastructure. He has written to William Yardley, vice president of Spectra Energy, requesting that Spectra build out its current system and add natural gas capacity while working with Maine businesses to address these rising energy costs.

In Governor LePage’s letter to the chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, he requests that FERC take immediate action to expand natural gas infrastructure in New England, including steps to move incremental expansions, fast track the regulatory approval and consider natural gas storage as a temporary step. These actions can be taken while the region awaits Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s decision whether to support the rest of New England’s initiative to significantly expand natural gas capacity. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: If Maine is to depend on natural gas, then expanding pipeline infrastructure will do that; however, renewables are a better solution for the environment and for job creation.

Governor LePage requests House members support natural gas expansion [Press Release] (Sep 24) — Gov. Paul LePage

As part of his ongoing efforts to lower the cost of electricity and heating costs for Mainers, Governor Paul R. LePage has written Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and Congressman Michael Michaud requesting that they support expediting natural gas projects in New England. The Governor asks that they reconsider their opposition to H.R. 1900, “The Natural Gas Permitting Reform Act.”

The legislation, which Reps. Pingree and Michaud opposed, would expedite the federal regulatory review of natural gas projects, an energy source that would lower the cost of heat and electricity for Mainers.

The Governor also sent a letter to the chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requesting that FERC take immediate action to expand natural gas infrastructure in New England, including steps to move incremental expansions, fast track the regulatory approval and consider natural gas storage as a temporary step. He sent the letter while the region is waiting to see whether Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick will ultimately support the rest of New England’s initiative to significantly expand natural gas capacity. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Gov. LePage wants fast tracking of natural gas pipeline projects. Gov. LePage would sacrifice the environment and safety of Maine's citizens by taking less care in project permitting.

BREAKING: New fracking danger for Maine? (Sep 25) — Maine Environmental News

Major harms to human health, the environment, and economy resulting from the mining of millions of tons of sand used in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) could soon spread to 12 other states with potential frac sand mining sites, according to a new report being released today.

Issued by the Civil Society Institute’s Boston Action Research and released in cooperation with Environmental Working Group and Midwest Environmental Advocates, the report notes that most of the fine sand used in fracking today is mined in Wisconsin and Minnesota, but that the extraction could expand to sand-rich deposits in Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. (See the frac sand map at: [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Maine officials cheer plans for $3 billion natural gas expansion (Sep 16) — MPBN

Two of the region's largest energy firms have announced plans to expand natural gas in Maine and New England as a way to eliminate shortages during the winter months. Spectra Energy Corp. and Northeast Utilities will partner for the $3 billion project that is expected begin operation in November 2018.

It's a huge project that supporters say could eventually lower electric and heating bills to levels that could make Maine more competitive with the rest of New England. The new Access Northeast pipeline would ship natural gas north via the Algonquin pipeline corridor, which runs from New Jersey to Everett, Mass., and then on to Maine via the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Maine regulators asked to decide whether to charge electricity ratepayers for natural gas expansion (Sep 18) — Bangor Daily News, Bangor, ME

The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. has asked Maine regulators to make up their minds by the end of November about charging electricity ratepayers a new fee to pay for new natural gas capacity.

The company, owned by Houston-based energy company Kinder Morgan, on Thursday submitted to the Maine Public Utilities Commission a proposal outlining an offer for the state to buy capacity on its planned pipeline expansion through Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

The PUC is considering whether and to what extent it should use authority granted by the Legislature to purchase up to $1.5 billion in pipeline capacity over 20 years. The sweeping omnibus energy bill passed last year allows the state to commit to buy up to 200 million cubic feet of natural gas capacity per day, spending up to $75 million annually to do so.

The proposal to state regulators comes after another Houston-based firm, Spectra Energy, announced an investment partnership on a $3 billion pipeline expansion project with Northeast Utilities, the region’s largest electric utility.

The Tennessee Gas proposal would involve building out about 418 miles of new pipeline and expanding its existing pipeline that runs from New England to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Spectra proposal would expand its existing Algonquin and Maritimes and Northeast pipelines. Both companies have identified 2018 as a possible date by which gas could start flowing from those pipelines to customers.

Spectra has a separate proposal to allow two-way flow on its Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline that a company official said also could begin providing additional capacity if purchased by the Maine PUC as early as 2017. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Downeast LNG is betting on using the Tennessee Gas pipeline that would require constructing new pipelines. Spectra would expand its existing pipeline, with less environmental impact than advocated by Downeast LNG.

Challenges impede Mainers’ switch to natural gas (Sep 14) — Portland Press Herald, Portland, ME

Natural gas warms more than 60 percent of American homes. In Maine, the use rate is roughly 6 percent. But that’s due to change quickly. Summit has installed more than 130 miles of pipe in central Maine and plans to serve 15,000 homes and businesses within five years. It currently is starting to place 250 miles of pipe in Cumberland, Falmouth and Yarmouth, aiming to connect 8,000 customers by 2019.

Maine’s three other gas utilities, Maine Natural Gas, Unitil and Bangor Gas Co., also are in the midst of expansion plans.

Py said it may make more sense for a homeowner to supplement oil heat with a high-efficiency “mini-split” electric heat pump, which several of his members sell. Burner conversions rely on a big gap between oil and gas prices, and Py contends the gap is shrinking. He points to Summit’s request for a small rate hike this winter that, according to Py’s math, will bring residential gas prices to an oil equivalent of $2.78 a gallon.


Pennsylvania officials issue $4.15 million fine to fracking company (Sep 22) — UPI

The record fine is still paltry in comparison to Range Resources' $765.5 million in revenues during the second quarter of 2014.

Regulators with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection have fined oil and gas company Range Resources $4.15 million for environmental violations related to its fracking operations in the Marcellus shale.

Range Resources was fined for a series of pollution violations over the course of several years, including a number of leaks at wastewater impoundment ponds between 2009 and 2014 -- leaks which environmental officials say contaminated the surrounding soil and groundwater.

Though leaking impoundments were a known problem, drillers were slow to make simple changes in protocols to address it.

DEP fined Snyder Brothers $5,275 for a July 2012 spill from a leaking holding pit at a well site that contaminated two nearby homes when the hydraulic fracturing flowback fluid in the impoundment got into the ground water.

Atlas Resources had built a Marcellus well site on the hilltop above Mrs. Hutchison’s home but failed to install adequate erosion and sedimentation controls around the site, allowing all the exposed soil to run off, and down, the nearby hillside onto Mrs. Hutchison’s property. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Trial and error approach leaves Marcellus Shale wounds (Sep 22) — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, PA

From state regulators’ perspective, all the spills, leaks and fires in the Marcellus Shale well field the past eight years were simply part of the learning curve.

State Rep. Phyllis Mundy, D-Luzerne, who proposed a moratorium on Marcellus Shale drilling in 2010, sees it differently: “We were guinea pigs in certain respects, there’s no question about it.”

A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette analysis of thousands of documents related to every fine assessed against a Marcellus driller through June 1 of this year, 568 incidents resulting in $5.7 million in fines, shows how such incidents led to new state laws and changes in the industry.

Often, particularly in the earlier years of shale development here, the state and the drilling companies were slow to stop troubling practices that led to potentially serious accidents at well sites, even when multiple incidents made clear the risks.

United States

U.S. House passes bill to expedite LNG exports (Sep 19) — LNG Law Blog

[September 18], the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, which includes provisions to expedite LNG exports in Title III, the “Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act.’’ The provisions require that, for applications to export gas involving new facilities subject to FERC or U.S. Maritime Administration approval, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issue a final decision within 30 days after the environmental review of the facilities is completed. The bill also includes a provision providing that, as a condition of approval, the Secretary of Energy shall require LNG export applicants to publicly disclose the specific destination of LNG exports. A UPI report predicts the bill will “die in the Senate amid criticism House leaders are pushing their energy agenda in the run up to November elections.” [Colored emphasis added.]

North America

Beware the LNG Memes [Blog] (Sep 25) — Huffington Post

A current, notable example of the power of memes, are those continually repeated in defense of massive, world wide, liquefied natural gas (LNG) proposals.

Meme #2: With corporations and our duplicitous politicians now recognizing the general public is starting to believe the science of climate change, the meme changes gears.

"LNG is necessary as a 'transitional fuel,'" (usually stated without adding the modifier "fossil." After all, why remind people it, too, is fossil fuel?)

But you ask, "Why do we need a transitional fossil fuel?" The accompanying sub-meme is then presented: "Renewable, sustainable energies [supposedly] need much more time to develop as viable alternatives."

OK. Fossil fuels like coal have been around since the cave man. After thousands of years of use, there will be a need for transition. So how much time is needed as we reduce, reinvent, reinstall, retool, refit, and bolster regulations on efficiency? Five years? Perhaps ten?

No. The astonishing thing is how this LNG meme can be so brazen. They readily admit 100 years of "transition." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


2014 September 17

New England

Spectra, Northeast Utilities Propose $3B Fix for New England Gas Supply Woes — Natural Gas Intelligence [Paid subscription]

Spectra pipelinesSpectra Energy Corp. and Spectra Energy Partners (Spectra) along with Northeast Utilities on Tuesday launched their Access Northeast project, a $3 billion expansion intended to address supply reliability issues and spiking prices for natural gas in the New England market. Mainly, the project would target gas-fueled power plants and their peak-day gas demands.

Access Northeast would enhance Spectra's Algonquin and Maritimes pipeline systems, using existing pipeline routes. The project would be scalable and be capable of delivering more than 1 Bcf/d to serve the region's "most efficient" power plants and meet increasing demand from heating customers, the project partners said.

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co's Northeast Energy Direct Project has been attracting interest from local distribution companies in the region, according to the Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (KMP) pipeline. Northeast Energy Direct is offering capacity scalable from about 800,000 Dth/d to 1.2 Bcf/d, or ultimately up to 2.2 Bcf/d, depending upon final customer commitments, KMP has said. Tennessee on Monday made its request at FERC to use the Commission’s prefiling process.

Analysts at Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. said Tuesday they think the Spectra-Northeast project “has [a] clear advantage” over the Tennessee project as it would make use of existing right-of-way for its entire length, while Tennessee would follow a partially greenfield route. KMP spokesman Richard Wheatley told NGI in an email that Spectra’s project “has no effect on the Northeast Energy Direct project.”

Historically, New England's pipeline capacity has been built for average daily usage while relying on supplemental facilities for high-demand times. Spectra and Northeast Utilities said they will partner with interconnecting pipeline and regional storage facilities to enhance grid reliability at peak demand times and augment existing pipeline facilities within existing right of ways.

The project is seen as a complement to Spectra Energy's previously announced Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) and Atlantic Bridge projects. The AIM expansion will begin to de-bottleneck the pipeline system by winter 2016-2017, helping to enhance reliability and reduce natural gas price volatility in New England. AIM is underpinned by long-term commitments from gas utility companies across southern New England. Atlantic Bridge's proposed in-service date is in November 2017, and it is expected to be similarly supported by gas utilities. Access Northeast will provide additional firm supplies, delivered directly to power generators. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Downeast LNG is betting on Tennessee Pipeline — the least environmentally friendly pipeline expansion project.

Northeast & Midwest

Fines and jail time follow dumping fracking wastewater in violation of the Clean Water Act (Aug 6) — Safety Litigation

An Ohio federal judge sentenced the former owner of an oil and gas services contractor to 28 months in jail and ordered him to pay a $25,000 fine for dumping fracking wastewater in violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The defendant had pled guilty to one count of making an unpermitted discharge for ordering an employee to discharge the fracking wastewater more than 30 times over a three-month period at a facility in Youngstown, Ohio, which had fifty-eight 20,000-gallon tanks of the wastewater. The defendant had faced the potential maximum of three years in prison and more than $1 million in fines. The employee, who had also previously pled guilty, received three years’ probation at his March sentencing. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Gulf of Mexico

Gulf LNG submits operations update to FERC (Sep 4) — LNG World News

Gulf LNG Liquefaction Company and its affiliates submitted an activities report to FERC regarding the August pre-filing environmental review operations for the proposed LNG export terminal at Pascagoula, Mississippi.

Report states that the biological/wetlands and cultural surveys as well as geotechnical investigations were completed during the month.


United States: Socio-economic impact analysis of Alaska LNG project (Sep 4) — Mondaq

NERA was retained by Locke Lord LLP to conduct an analysis of the market and macroeconomic impacts of a proposed Alaska Liquefied Natural Gas (AKLNG) project. The AKLNG project is proposed as a single integrated and interdependent project for the export and sale of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in foreign commerce. The proposed project would include the construction of a natural gas liquefaction and export terminal on the south central coast of Alaska, a natural gas pipeline from the liquefaction plant to the North Slope region of Alaska (NS) and a gas treatment plant and associated pipelines connecting to upstream fields. The study thoroughly analyzes the natural gas market and macroeconomic impacts that the AKLNG project could potentially have on both Alaska and the U.S. as a whole.

Proceeding with the AKLNG project and exporting LNG would lead to lower natural gas prices in Alaska and the U.S. as a whole.

In addition to the reductions in natural gas prices, the benefits of the increased supplies of natural gas brought to market by the AKLNG project include eliminating reliance on imported natural gas to make up for ultimate declines in Cook Inlet production, additional revenues from LNG exports, and increased availability of natural gas for expansion of natural gas intensive industries. Even with the increased levels of natural gas demand in Alaska driven by LNG exports, lower prices, and greater economic growth, we find that our assumed levels of natural gas reserves and resources are sufficient to meet and exceed additional consumption needs in both scenarios.… [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: One wonders how NERA concluded that exporting LNG from Alaska to non-US markets would lower natural gas prices in the lower 48 states. Other federally-sponsored reports indicate that exporting LNG from the lower 48 states will result in a rise in domestic natural gas prices.

NERA claims that the project would eliminate "reliance on imported natural gas." According to the US Energy Information Agency's U.S. Natural Gas Imports & Exports by State, Alaska is not, and has not been, a natural gas importer.

PDF fileEighteenth report to Congress on progress made in licensing and constructing the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline (Aug) — FERC

No progress has occurred since the last report on a project bringing Alaskan natural gas from the Alaskan North Slope to Lower 48 state markets. However, the Commission is ready to move forward to the next step in its NEPA process when the Alaska LNG Project submits a request to enter the Commission’s pre-filing process.

British Columbia

Digby Island being considered as site for LNG export terminal (Sep 4) — Northern View, Prince Rupert, BC

Filings from Aurora LNG, which signed an exclusivity agreement for land at Grassy Point, indicate the company is considering locating its terminal either near Lax Kw'alaams or on the southeast portion of Digby Island right at the entrance of the Prince Rupert harbour.

Anti-LNG banners ordered removed from Britannia Beach bluffs (Sep 4) — Pique, Whistler, BC

A Britannia Beach resident has been asked to remove anti-LNG banners, which he hung from the rock bluff near Highway 99, by the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD).

As far as Fulber is concerned he followed all necessary protocols to hang them by including the Squamish First Nation in the decision to put the signs up. The bluffs are on unceded Squamish land, he contends.

According Fulber, on Aug. 28 the emergency program director of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) showed up at his door to serve a notice requesting he take down the banners.

So far, Fulber is refusing to remove the signs on several grounds including that he got permission from the Squamish Nation.

United States

Shale oil drillers deliberately wasted nearly $1 billion in gas, harming climate (Sep 4) —

In Texas and North Dakota, where an oil rush triggered by the development of new fracking methods has taken many towns by storm, drillers have run into a major problem.

…[I]nstead of losing money on pipeline construction [to ship the resulting natural gas], many shale oil drillers have decided to simply burn the gas from their wells off, a process known in the industry as “flaring.”

It's a process so wasteful that it's sparked class action lawsuits from landowners, who say they've lost millions of dollars worth of gas due to flaring. Some of the air emissions from flared wells can also be toxic or carcinogenic. It's also destructive for the climate – natural gas is made primarily of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and when methane burns, it produces more than half as much CO2 as burning coal.

A new report from Earthworks finds that drillers in North Dakota alone have burned off over $854 million worth of gas at shale oil wells since 2010, generating 1.4 billion pounds of CO2 in 2013 alone. The 1.4 billion pounds of CO2 produced by flaring equal the emissions from 1.1 million cars or light trucks – roughly an extra 10 cars' worth of emissions per year for every man, woman and child living in the state's largest city, Fargo (population 113,000).

Flaring at shale oil wells is now so common that satellite images of the largely rural state at night are dotted with what appear at first to be major metropolises but are instead the flares burning round-the-clock in the Bakken shale drilling patch.

Nonetheless, the EPA has decided to consider air emissions from each shale well, pipeline compressor or other piece of equipment individually when deciding whether there's enough pollution for federal regulators to get involved – meaning that even though the Eagle Ford's wells collectively pollute more than multiple oil refineries, the flaring escapes federal oversight. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


2014 September 2

Nova Scotia

Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd completes acquisition of Bear Head LNG (Aug 27) — ProactiveInvestors Australia

Liquefied Natural Gas Limited has finalised its acquisition of Bear Head liquefied natural gas project in Canada from Anadarko Petroleum Corporation for US$11 million.

LNG plans to develop the site, which was originally proposed for a LNG import terminal, into an initial 4 million tonne per annum LNG export project with potential for future expansion.

Discussions are underway with gas transportation companies and owners of gas reserves regarding the supply of natural gas from onshore and offshore Canadian natural gas supply options, and the Marcellus Shale Gas Play in North‐Eastern USA, to the Bear Head LNG project site. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


Pa. fines gas driller for losing control of well (Aug 19) — The Patriot News, Mechanicsburg, PA

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — State environmental regulators have fined a gas drilling company for allowing natural gas to escape a well in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Regulators say the well released natural gas for about 27 hours before it was brought under control on Jan. 6.

DEP says a Cabot subcontractor who was replacing equipment at the wellhead didn't follow procedures for working on equipment in cold weather, leading to a damaged valve that released the gas. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: And yet, the hydrocarbon industry tells the public that they don't want to lose money or have accidents, so they'll operate safely and will follow rules and regulations.

State Health Department changes shale gas complaint procedures (Aug 19) — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, PA

After it was criticized last month for not taking public health concerns related to Marcellus Shale gas development seriously, the Pennsylvania Health Department announced Monday it is improving the way it responds to such complaints.

The procedural changes do not include establishment of a registry to better track health complaints related to shale gas development or an epidemiological study, public health assessment tools that health professionals and Gov. Tom Corbett’s own Marcellus Shale Advisory Committee have advocated, but that cost money.

The procedural changes come a little more than a month after StateImpact Pennsylvania, a reporting collaborative focused on the energy industry, reported that two retired health department workers said they were told in 2012 not to return shale gas complaint calls but instead pass them along to the department’s epidemiology section, which didn’t follow up with return calls.

“Whatever the administration said it is doing now,” Dr. Goldstein said, “doesn’t fit all those things the governor’s commission said should be done and the administration said it was going to do.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Pennsylvania gas production continues to break records (Aug 19) — StartImpact Pennsylvania, PA

Drillers in Pennsylvania continue to produce record-breaking amounts of natural gas, according to new numbers released this week from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

If they continue at this pace, Pennsylvania is on track to produce 4 trillion cubic feet this year– or about 16 percent of what the entire United States consumes annually.

“These record-shattering numbers, driven principally by operational efficiencies and a maturing infrastructure network, reflect the fact that Pennsylvania is well-positioned to continue playing a leading role in strengthening our nation’s energy security,” said MSC spokesman Travis Windle. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: 'Energy security' comes out of one side of the natural gas industry's mouth, while the other side of the mouth screams for exports 'because that would be good for the country.' Which is it?

Gulf of Mexico

Residents concerned about LNG export facility's dredged material, emissions (Aug 19) —, MS

MOSS POINT, Mississippi -- Residents said they're concerned about dredged material, emissions and wastes associated with a proposed $8 billion project that would add on to the existing liquefied natural gas storage terminal in Pascagoula.

Pascagoula resident Barbara Weckesser, who is part of the Cherokee Concerned Citizens watchdog group, told FERC that she's worried about dredged materials that may come from the site work.

She wants the materials tested and the reports made public, she said.

Karen Kilbern, also of the Cherokee Concerned Citizens, said she's concerned about potential emissions and wastes created by the LNG project.


DOE to streamline export license review for Alaska LNG project (Aug 19) — Alaska Journal of Commerce, AK

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told business leaders in Anchorage that the Department of Energy will streamline the federal LNG export license application process for Alaska’s North Slope gas project.

“We want to be very explicit to say that we will treat Alaska differently. The public interest is not an issue for us,” Moniz said at the press conference.

That’s because the export of Alaska’s gas will not affect markets in the continental U.S. A public interest determination will still be done but it will be largely a formality.

In another development, DOE has exempted the Alaska project from a new U.S. Dept of Energy rule that LNG export projects complete their environmental reviews before a federal LNG export licenses is issued.

Alaska, however, is again to handled separately, Monitz said. A “conditional” export license for Alaska will be granted when the project moves further along in its development. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

British Columbia

LNG pipedreams, fractured futures and community resistance (Aug 31) — West Coast Native News

The fight against fracking, fracked gas pipelines and LNG terminals is heating up in BC. Resistance is on the rise - communities across BC are mobilizing to take a stand against a fractured future and oppose Premier Clark’s dangerous and dirty LNG pipedreams.

…There are upwards of 6 northern and 6 southern corridor pipelines proposed to connect the fracked gas fields of the northeast to the proposed LNG export terminals and tankers on the west coast. At some point in the future, these fracked gas pipelines could be converted to carry oil.

The combined impacts from fracking, fracked gas pipeline construction, gas liquefaction, and export make LNG a major contributor to global climate change. The gas boom in British Columbia could result in an additional 73 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, which would amount to about the same as Alberta’s tar sands as early as 2020. Considering that 14 LNG projects have been proposed for BC, 5 of those terminals alone would more than double BC’s current climate footprint. The emissions from the 12 LNG terminals proposed for Prince Rupert and Kitimat would bring acid rain and serious air pollution to the region and impact the health of residents and surrounding ecology. A few of these LNG plants [would] produce the same amount of emissions as the entire city of Vancouver.

Lelu Island and Ridley Island near Prince Rupert are both being considered as locations for LNG terminals. The area where these terminals are proposed has been found to have the highest abundance of some of the most important salmon species within the Skeena watershed – one of the last places on earth with healthy populations of wild salmon and the second largest run in Canada. Findings from a recent study by scientists at Simon Fraser University show that Pacific Northwest LNG and Prince Rupert LNG are right in the most sensitive spot for millions of Skeena salmon. If granted environmental licences, both LNG projects would dredge hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of underwater sediment to construct berths for 500 LNG carrier tankers to port each year. SFU scientists cautioned that the destruction from [LNG terminal] construction and operation could be the tipping point for Skeena salmon – one they may never recover from it. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Fracking: Haisla native owed compny files for LNG export (Aug 31) — West Coast Native News

A jumbo, native-owned entry stepped forward Friday into the race to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Asia from the Kitimat seaport on the northern Pacific Coast of British Columbia (BC).

Cedar LNG Export Ltd., an economic development arm of Kitimat’s aboriginal Haisla Nation, filed applications for three 25-year licenses to ship overseas a total of about 20 Tcf of BC gas at a combined rate of up to 2 Bcf/d.

The filings with the National Energy Board (NEB) envision construction starting in 2017-2020 of a network of six jetties or docks jutting out from Haisla land on the shore of Douglas Channel for floating LNG vessels. Each requested export license would enable operations by two jetties.

The Haisla previously agreed to lease parts of their coastal property to two other BC gas-export terminal projects, and to negotiate use of part of their claimed traditional territory with a third LNG scheme.

Cedar is the 18th project that has matured to the point of formally requesting 20- to 25-year Canadian gas export licenses. All but three entries in the lineup have BC sites. Two have Oregon locations for proposals to re-export Canadian gas imported into the United States from BC and potentially Alberta. A lone east coast project [sic] plans blended shipments of Canadian and U.S. gas from a tanker terminal in Nova Scotia.

All the Canadian projects have told the NEB they will largely or entirely rely on as-yet undeveloped supplies of shale gas from vast deposits that can be tapped with horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

District explores LNG public meeting (Aug 27) — The Squamish Chief, Squamish, BC

The municipality is looking to hold its first public meeting on the proposed liquefied natural gas plant in Howe Sound in mid-October. But before officials go to residents, District of Squamish council needs to understand the goals and objectives of the gathering, Mayor Rob Kirkham said. - See more at:

Natural gas pipeline upped to service proposed LNG plant (Aug 27) — The Squamish Chief, Squamish, BC

Fortis BC aims to build a 24-inch pipeline from Indian River Valley to the proposed Woodfibre Natural Gas export facility. The main follows an existing line south of the municipality’s major drinking water source, through town and then across the Squamish Estuary, a pathway that requires careful examination, Coun. Patricia Heintzman told the Squamish Chief.

Generally, municipalities don’t want activity, whether its industrial or recreational, around their watersheds, Heintzman said. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

United States

FERC: If it's not right under our nose, we don't see it — Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, Fremont Center, NY

The adverse impacts of projects like gas pipelines and LNG export terminals extend far beyond the immediate vicinity where the projects are sited. These include "upstream impacts" such as the damage done to human health, natural resources, and local economies in regions where shale gas is extracted, and the deleterious effect of methane emissions on climate change. For years, EPA regional offices and others have argued that these impacts must be considered before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission grants licenses for gas infrastructure projects, but the commission continues to conduct sketchy environmental reviews that ignore all but the most obvious immediate impacts. In an interview with E&E, in late June, acting FERC Chair Cheryl LaFleur defended the commission's practice, saying, "We look at the direct project impacts, we do not do a cradle-to-grave, molecule-by-molecule analysis of where ... a fuel is coming from, what's going to happen at the end of the ship when it goes off to the other side of the Earth and what other fuel it displaces." LaFleur maintained that federal law doesn't allow the commission to take a broader view of environmental impacts, and cited a court decision that found FERC had conducted an adequate analysis in the case of one natural gas pipeline. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Newsflash: Even when it is under FERC's nose, they refuse to see it. Plus, FERC speculates as to the impacts of projects, but liberally labels public concerns as "speculation," brushing those concerns aside, as demonstrated time after time in FERC's recent Downeast LNG final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). (Note: Since release of the final EIS, Downeast LNG has applied to add exporting to its facility. That requires the new part of the project to go through FERC permitting from scratch, meaning that the "final EIS" is not final, after all — extending the FERC permitting process perhaps another 3-to-5 years.)

"IEA Chief: North American LNG a Drop In Europe's Gas Bucket" (Aug 26) — Natural Gas Intelligence [Paid subscription]

The head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Monday said it remains to be seen how large a contributor North American liquefied natural gas (LNG) will be to the global gas market. However, Maria van der Hoeven said North American volumes won’t do much to move the supply needle in Europe.

"...North American LNG has been talked up by some as a panacea for the [European] region's supply concerns. But as I'm sure many of you in this room already know, a few tens of Bcm [billion cubic meters] of LNG will not make much difference, given that OECD-Europe production continues to fall by similar quantities." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Using Ukraine to cook the planet (Apr 10) — Naomi Klein

The way to beat Vladimir Putin is to flood the European market with fracked-in-the-USA natural gas, or so the industry would have us believe. As part of escalating anti-Russian hysteria, two bills have been introduced into the US Congress – one in the House of Representatives (H.R. 6), one in the Senate (S. 2083) – that attempt to fast-track liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, all in the name of helping Europe to wean itself from Putin's fossil fuels, and enhancing US national security.

According to Cory Gardner, the Republican congressman who introduced the House bill, "opposing this legislation is like hanging up on a 911 call from our friends and allies". And that might be true – as long as your friends and allies work at Chevron and Shell, and the emergency is the need to keep profits up amid dwindling supplies of conventional oil and gas.

[F]or years the industry has been selling the message that Americans must accept the risks to their land, water and air that come with hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in order to help their country achieve "energy independence". And now, suddenly and slyly, the goal has been switched to "energy security", which apparently means selling a temporary glut of fracked gas on the world market, thereby creating energy dependencies abroad.

…So we are responding to the crisis of our warming planet by constructing a network of ultra-powerful atmospheric ovens. Are we mad?

…Thanks to the work of top researchers such as Mark Jacobson and his Stanford team, we know that the world can, by the year 2030, power itself entirely with renewables. And thanks to the latest, alarming reports from the IPCC, we know that doing so is now an existential imperative. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

DOE publishes final Addendum to environmental reviews of US gas exports (Aug 19) — LNG World News

This Addendum is intended to provide information only on the impact areas most often associated with unconventional natural gas production. The Addendum is not the result of new analysis or research, but rather is based on DOE’s review of existing studies and analyses. A key resource in preparing the Addendum was the report Environmental Impacts of Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Production prepared by the National Energy Technology Laboratory, a DOE Laboratory. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: The Department of Energy's conclusions basically are, 'we don't really know the environmental impacts, so let's keep on doing what were doing.' See: Documents > US Department of Energy > Environmental Review Documents > 2014 AugustAddendum to Environmental Review Documents Concerning Exports of Natural Gas from the United States


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