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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 December

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2014 Dec


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2014 December 31


Dominion outlines LNG construction details — The Gazette, Gaithersburg, MD

An offsite area in Solomons is essentially complete, said Bob McKinley, vice president of Dominion Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas construction. The temporary pier built to receive shipments from barges on the Patuxent River, which was approved by the Maryland Board of Public Works, will start operations in the spring.

A temporary 20-foot-high sound wall has been installed at the south and west ends of the property. Within the next few weeks, construction will begin on the permanent 60-foot-high sound wall. Construction of this wall is expected to take 12 months.

According to the company’s November newsletter, “Dominion understands that its construction activities may affect the nearby community. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Gulf of Mexico

Cheniere approved for second export terminal — Caller Times, Corpus Christi, TX

GREGORY - Cheniere Energy Inc., which plans to build an $11 billion liquefied natural gas plant with three processing facilities near Gregory, has earned federal approval to build a second LNG export terminal.

In a filing Tuesday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authorized Cheniere, developer of the first U.S. liquefied natural gas export terminal in years, to build an LNG plant and pipeline in the Coastal Bend.

The commission’s approval now clears the way for the U.S. Department of Energy to weigh whether the project should be permitted to ship LNG to countries with which the U.S. doesn’t have a free-trade agreement.

Two weeks ago, EDP Energias de Portugal S.A. became the 13th company to ink a sale and purchase agreement with Cheniere. Under the arrangement, the Lisbon, Portugal-based utility provider will buy 770,000 tons of LNG each year once Cheniere’s third train of fuel is operational.

Cheniere officials announced in October the company also was considering building a $500 million, 552-acre marine terminal and condensate facility in Ingleside. Company officials say the idea, still in the planning stages, would feature two ship berths and nine tanks, giving it 2.7 million barrels of storage capacity to complement the liquefied natural gas project. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: The Department of Energy is likely to approve exporting to Non-Free Trade Agreement (non-FTA) countries. If DOE approves, then this project is yet another Downeast LNG spoiler, due to the falling price of oil (causing LNG prices to fall dramatically) and the oversupply of LNG on the world market.

Cheniere Energy Partners downgraded to “neutral” at Zacks — Dakota Financial News, Rapid City, SD

Zacks downgraded shares of Cheniere Energy Partners (NYSE:CQP) from an outperform rating to a neutral rating in a report issued on Wednesday. They currently have $34.00 target price on the stock.

Webmaster's comment: Cheniere Energy is in the dubious position of having invested heavily in a US LNG terminal that never received a cargo — and then, doubling-down on their investment by constructing an LNG export terminal (not yet completed). In the meantime, with oil serving as the basis for LNG prices in Asia, oil prices have tanked by 50%, dragging down the price of LNG with it. At the same time, Cheniere's LNG export business will add to the world glut of LNG, reducing the price even further. Who knows what may happen to Cheniere's stock price — or to its LNG export future.


Jordan Cove LNG project public comment period extended — OPB (Oregon Public Broadcasting), OR

At the request of several environmental groups, Oregon DEQ [Department of Environmental Quality] has extended the public comment period an additional 60 days to March 13.

The DEQ has also added four informational meetings on the water quality permit. Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will also be on hand to answer questions about their water quality approval process, happening concurrently with the state.

United States

Oil price dips further as US opens crude exports — The Guardian

Weak China data prompts energy glut fears as Brent crude falls to $55.91 per barrel and supermarkets slash forecourt prices

The price of oil plunged to $55.91 per barrel on Wednesday as the US opened the way to crude exports and China produced another set of downbeat economic statistics that pointed to a global slowdown.

The price of Brent crude oil is now 50% lower than it was in June when commodity traders and analysts woke up to the fact that a combination of increased American fossil fuel production and weak global demand could produce an energy glut.

Shell, BP and other oil companies have already started to cut jobs. In the US one of the first projects to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the rest of the world has been put on hold.

Excelerate Energy, which also operates a gas plant in the north-east of England, has postponed a scheme to build a floating export terminal at Lavaca Bay, Texas – at least until April. There are now fears that a host of other LNG export facilities, designed to ship US shale gas abroad including to the UK, will also be shelved. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Oil prices are killing Downeast LNG's income projections. Will Dean Girdis and company see the light? Or, will they blindly continue down their fiscally-irresponsible path of self-destruction.


2014 December 30

Gulf of Mexico

Oil price crash claims first U.S. LNG project casualty — (Reuters), TX

MILAN – Excelerate Energy’s Texan liquefied natural gas terminal plan has become the first victim of an oil price slump threatening the economics of U.S. LNG export projects.

A halving in the oil price since June has upended assumptions by developers that cheap U.S. LNG would muscle into high-value Asian energy markets, which relied on oil prices staying high to make the U.S. supply affordable.

The floating 8 million tonne per annum (mtpa) export plant moored at Lavaca Bay, Texas advanced by Houston-based Excelerate has been put on hold, according to regulatory filings obtained by Reuters.

Excelerate’s move bodes ill for thirteen other U.S. LNG projects, which have also not signed up enough international buyers, to reach a final investment decision (FID). Only Cheniere’s Sabine Pass and Sempra’s Cameron LNG projects have hit that milestone.

Prices that LNG projects can charge for long-term supply are falling from historic highs as new producers crowd the market, which is already oversupplied due to slowing demand and rising output that has seen spot Asian LNG prices halve this year.

Even before the oil price slide, U.S. LNG projects were struggling to sign up the big Asian buyers needed to underpin multi-billion dollar investments, resorting finally to tapping vestiges of demand left in Europe.

Prior to the oil price crash, the U.S. discount to rival Brent-linked LNG supply from Qatar and Australia was around $8-$9 per mmBtu. Now those supplies represent a cost saving over U.S. projects. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: The LNG export bubble is bursting! Is Downeast LNG's Dean Girdis paying attention? Or, will he continue to throw money down the drain on outdated market strategy, as he did on his LNG importing pipedream?

Cheap oil tide swamps Excelerate's Texas floating LNG project — Natural Gas Intelligence [Paid subscription]

Excelerate Energy LP affiliates have asked FERC to set aside consideration of their proposed floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal off the Texas coast because the global oil price crash has upended the economics of the project, which could have been the nation's first floating LNG export terminal.

"Recent global economic conditions — including, among other things, a steep decrease in the price of oil — have created uncertainty regarding the economics of the project," the Excelerate units said in a recent filing seeking to put the project proceeding in abeyance. "In light of these changes, Excelerate has conducted a strategic reconsideration of the economic value of the project and has determined to place the project proceedings at the Commission on hold pending a change in circumstances, either generally or from the renewed interest of potential counterparties."

Fitch Ratings recently warned that the compression of the spread between U.S. natural gas prices and global oil prices, which tend to set global LNG prices, could imperil some U.S. LNG export projects. "The recent drop in oil prices has tempered longer-term market oil price expectations, which could challenge offtake contract negotiations creating delays and/or changing the terms of tolling arrangements," the ratings agency said (see Daily GPI, Dec. 24). [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd advances FERC approval process for Magnolia LNG (Dec 31) — Proactive Investors Australia

The company has submitted on the requested date its full and complete response to the FERC Engineering Data information request.

The Engineering Data Information response represents a major step in the FERC Filing process, and is usually one of the final information requests sought by FERC before the issue of a Notice of Schedule and draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Magnolia LNG, located along the Calcasieu River near Lake Charles, is planned as a 8 million tonne per annum (Mtpa) liquefied natural gas export project comprising of four liquefaction trains, each capable of producing up to 2Mtpa of LNG (1.7Mtpa firm).

LNG Limited has tolling agreements covering 7Mtpa of the project’s planned 8Mtpa capacity and is currently focused on converting the first 4Mtpa to binding status in the first half of 2014.

Webmaster's comment: Magnolia LNG is way ahead of most other LNG export projects. It, along with Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass Liquefaction project that is already under construction, may be the only LNG export projects to succeed in the US, considering the LNG price implosion caused by the dramatic fall in oil prices and world oversupply of LNG capacity.

British Columbia

Will Woodfibre be ground zero in LNG battle? [Opinion column] (Dec 29) — The Squamish Chief, Squamish, BC

It seems that those fears about explosions at liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities may have been a little overblown. Implosions must be a much greater concern to the Clark government these days with the seemingly weekly news of LNG projects being cancelled or postponed.

Premier Christy Clark must be feeling a little shell-shocked as LNG proponents pack up their bags; it’s starting to feel like old news when word that another LNG project has been put on hold, and Clark’s dream of a trillion-dollar industry and $100 billion prosperity fund begins to look like just another empty election promise. You’ve got to think that the premier and her minions are frantically looking for any sliver of hope in the remaining proposed LNG plants in B.C. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

United States

Attention turns to fracking's impact on air quality — InsideClimate News

New science and media coverage highlight air pollution from fracking, long overshadowed by concerns over water contamination.

The modern shale boom has created a massive influx of oil-and-gas wells, compressor stations and other infrastructure that spew toxic chemicals and greenhouse gases into the air. The consequences for public health and climate change are increasingly recognized as serious issues, on par with the water contamination concerns that once dominated debates over the pros and cons of fracking.

In mid-December, New York banned high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, within its borders, effectively closing off the state's shale gas resources to producers. New York's decision was based on a public health review which cited various health risks including "air impacts that could affect respiratory health due to increased levels of particulate matter, diesel exhaust, or volatile organic chemicals."

The report came two months after a five-state air monitoring study found high levels of pollutants—including carcinogens like benzene and formaldehyde—in communities near drilling sites. Forty percent of the samples reached concentrations considered unsafe by the federal government.

Leaks of methane—a powerful greenhouse gas—from wells and other equipment have challenged the notion that natural gas is a better alternative to coal on the climate change front. Numerous studies are under way to quantify the industry's methane leak rates. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


2014 December 29


Back to the future with proposed LNG terminal [Opinion column] (Dec 26) — The Wave, Rockaway Beach, NY

Older New Yorkers may recall the tragic explosion of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) tank on Staten Island in 1973 that left 40 workers dead.

Younger New Yorkers like me might face similar threats from a proposed LNG terminal 19 miles off New York’s shores.

And why do New Yorkers want to lock ourselves into rigid fossil fuel infrastructure for decades to come when new energy sources like wind and solar are becoming price competitive? Two LNG import terminals almost identical to Port Ambrose were constructed in 2008 offshore of Boston, only to sit idle since 2010 because of a glut of American-made natural gas. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: One of those two LNG import terminals offshore from Boston has been taken out of service.

Coalition fights back against offshore LNG facility (Dec 28) — New Jersey 101.5, NJ

Public hearings are scheduled for January in New York and New Jersey on Liberty Natural Gas’ controversial proposed Port Ambrose facility for importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) 30 miles off the Jersey Coast

The U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) recently released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), beginning a 60-day public review and comment period.

In an effort to block the Port Ambrose facility, 129 environmental advocacy groups from New York and New Jersey have joined hands to form the Anti-LNG Coalition. The coalition is led by Clean Ocean Action (COA), and is comprised of community groups, maritime organizations and faith-based, union and civic leaders that have worked for years to oppose several projects for offshore LNG facilities.


Jordan Cove would be 'game-changer,' but coast residents worry about impacts, dangers — Mail Tribune, Medford, OR

It’s difficult to imagine the staggering scale of a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal at Jordan Cove on Coos Bay, part of a $7.6 billion plan by Canadian energy company Veresen to export gas to Asian markets.

Located across the bay from the North Bend airport, the 500-acre natural gas liquefaction plant would surround and overlook the Roseburg Forest Products mill that is currently the most prominent industrial complex on the north spit.

FERC's draft EIS outlines worst-case scenarios should a leak from the ships' tanks or the plant's storage tanks form a vapor cloud. Such a cloud could ignite over a wide area, potentially inflicting burns on workers and residents. Structures within one-third of a mile potentially could ignite from the heat.

“Why would we want this here when no other port in California would want it?” [executive director of Citizens Against LNG Jody McAffree] said. “Why put a storage facility straight across from a runway?”

McAffree said the LNG facility is too close to the airport and is being built on a bend in the bay, which she said increases the chance of a shipping accident. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Jordan Cove LNG's siting is less than ¾ mile directly across the water from the commercial airport, and is at the outside of a bend in the waterway; plus, LNG ships would place civilian homes and businesses within their federally-defined Hazard Zones — violations of SIGTTO terminal siting best safe practices.

Oregon must stop the Jordan Cove LNG project: Guest opinion (Dec 27) — The Oregonian, Portland, OR

Oregon is having a [butterfly-effect] moment in terms of the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline and Jordon Cove LNG energy project. Any decision by the federal government or the state of Oregon to allow the export of fracked natural gas will harm our country's natural resources and damage Oregon's fragile indigenous environment. Granting permission to export natural gas to foreign and competing interests may be perceived as seemingly insignificant. However, it has the very real potential to detrimentally affect the economic future of the United States in unimaginable ways. It will affect climate change and contribute to the warming of our planet.

The project's owner, Canada's Veresen, Inc., states their purpose and need for constructing the pipeline and LNG plant and terminal is to increase fracking. If they cannot export natural gas, then they will need to cut back on fracking. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has determined that fracking is not environmental in nature and has refused to consider the impacts of fracking in the draft environmental study.

Unfortunately, the environment, property rights and ethical principles don't seem to matter when you mix together money, politics and a desire for profit. Moreover, it almost always equals weakened regulations — regulations coming in the form of congressional fast tracking, local permit time-extensions, inadequate conditions, inferior safety requirements and other visible biases in favor of a corporate checkbook.

Federal law trumps state and local jurisdiction except in Oregon's Coastal Zone Management area. A section of the proposed pipeline runs through this area in Douglas County. Douglas County officials along with the state of Oregon have the opportunity to turn off the spigot to stop natural gas exports and affect the hideous practice of fracking. Oregon has the control and authority to say the health of humanity and the planet take precedence over greed. It is not always about money, power and shareholder profits.

With Montney assets buy, Veresen eyes building first West Coast LNG facility in Oregon (Dec 23) — Financial Post, Don Mills, ON

Veresen chief Don Althoff said in an interview Tuesday that his Calgary-based company’s Jordan Cove LNG project, proposed for the Oregon coastline, “could very well be the first West Coast LNG facility up and running.”

Mr. Althoff also confirmed that his company intends to make a final investment decision on the project in the second half of 2015.

Jordan Cove, which would supercool about 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day into a liquid state for export to Asian markets, is awaiting final regulatory approvals from the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.


2014 December 24


Bruce Poliquin has a chance to make his mark, emulate Maine’s environmental heroes [Op-ed] (Dec 23) — Bangor Daily News, Bangor, ME

We urge Rep.-elect Bruce Poliquin to join with Maine’s delegation to mitigate the dire effects of climate change. A few in Washington absurdly deny that humans are changing the climate. Too many others avoid the topic. They simply shrug and say, “I am not a scientist.”

But understanding science is part and parcel of effective governing. That job is much easier today as scientists have made unprecedented efforts to communicate their climate findings.…

Action to reduce greenhouse gases is good for business and good for jobs. Intelligent carbon reduction investments deliver a high return. The net cost to reduce greenhouse gases is relatively trivial in the context of the world’s economy.

We hope Poliquin will seize the opportunity to emulate the many environmental heroes Maine has consistently sent to Washington to engage in constructive bipartisan work on this vital issue.


Coalition forms to oppose Port Ambrose (Dec 23) — Independent, Manalapan NJ

A coalition of New Jersey environmental groups is mobilizing opposition to a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility off the coast of Long Branch.

The Anti-LNG Coalition is composed of 129 environmental advocacy groups from New Jersey and New York, led by Clean Ocean Action (COA).

“Less than five years ago, we had five solar installations in the state. Now we have 30,000,” said O’Malley, speaking for the Long Branch-based group. “One-third of the nation has been going solar over the past few years. The potential for clean energy to take off is upon us, and if we continue to double-down on fossil fuels, it will be a lot harder to make that transition.”

Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo have the executive authority to veto the proposal. Under federal regulations, any state within 15 miles of a proposed deepwater port has veto power over such a project. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Even with ban, New York can't escape effects of fracking — OpEdNews

Unfortunately, just because New York banned fracking, and even though more than 150 New York municipalities have banned fracking using local zoning laws, the state won't escape its effects. In fact, New York is already burdened with the fracking industry's health and safety problems and threats to the environment because of gas infrastructure.

On December 1, gas began to flow through the Northeast Connector Project, which will deliver 647,000 dekatherms daily from York County, PA to 1.8 million natural gas customers in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island. The new delivery point will shift from Long Island to the Rockaway Peninsula via the Rockaway Lateral Project, a disputed 26-inch diameter pipeline currently being constructed under popular beaches, a golf course, and a federally protected wildlife refuge.

Two years after Superstorm Sandy hit the Rockaways hard, this high-pressure pipeline may pose some super hazards in the event of another big storm. (Sandy is estimated to have caused 1,600 natural gas pipeline leaks overall.) Pipeline company Williams' record on pipeline incidents and explosions in recent years is troubled, and the company dismissed safety recommendations for Rockaway Lateral from the US Corps of Engineers.

…[T]he fact is, we all live downstream. If fracking of the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations isn't reined in, activists and citizens trying to defend their communities against gas infrastructure have to wage a separate battle against every project. The real success of the New York anti-fracking campaign, however, is proof that a sustained and unrelenting grassroots campaign can get results. As more people are emboldened to confront big energy, the tide will turn in other states as well. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Judge affirms commission’s Cove Point order —, MD

Baltimore, MD – Another court challenge related to the Dominion Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Exportation project has received an opinion from a judge. On Friday, Dec. 19 Baltimore Circuit Judge Alfred Nance affirmed the Maryland Public Service Commission’s (PSC) order approving an electricity generating power station at the Lusby gas terminal. In making his ruling, Nance rejected an appeal from the Accokeek, Mattawoman, Piscataway Creeks (AMP) Communities Council, Inc.

The power station is part of Dominion’s $3.8 billion project, which has already begun. Dominion received approval to construct the liquefaction facility back in September from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The power station will generate the electricity for the liquefaction facility. with the liquefaction component, Dominion will be able to export natural gas via its offshore terminal.


12/24/14 - State of Alaska and Japanese company agree to develop LNG in Cook Inlet, North Slope — KNBA-FM, Anchorage, AK

Japanese consider Alaskan Liquefied Natural Gas a possible alternative to nuclear power

Gov. Bill Walker called the agreement an important first step for the state's energy future. The agreement commits the state of Alaska and the Japanese company Resources Energy, Inc., to form a partnership in developing Alaska's liquefied natural gas. Resources Energy CEO Shun Shimizu, who also signed the agreement, says the company will first focus on a smaller scale LNG project in Cook Inlet, and later would like to work on larger North Slope gas development. Japanese officials have been considering Alaskan LNG as a possible alternative to nuclear power, following the devastating 2011 earthquake that shut down the Fukushima plant.

British Columbia

BC's LNG strategy is not climate friendly [Op-ed] (Dec 23) — The Tyee, Vancouver, BC

[In Lima, Peru, this month, British Columbia's Environment Minister Mary Polak ] … included the province's liquefied natural gas export aspirations as part of B.C.'s climate success story, arguing that LNG will displace coal in Asia. Unfortunately, the evidence doesn't support this claim.

Not only is it inaccurate to claim that LNG is a "climate solution," it's also economically unwise. Tying B.C.'s economic engine to a resource that will decline in 15 years if governments around the world implement strong climate policy is a recipe for a major boom and bust -- something many B.C. communities are unfortunately all too familiar with. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Too much security for LNG [Editorial] (Dec 23) — The Squamish Chief, Squamish, BC

The “Clean LNG” seminars held Dec. 16 and 17 by the B.C. government and promoted by Woodfibre LNG, which proposes to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on Howe Sound near Squamish, were held to educate the public about the benefits of creating the industry.

It all sounds friendly and fine, until you get into the details.

Upon arrival, you couldn’t help but notice the small group of protesters who were on Government Road, kept well away from the entrance, and the security guards in the background keeping an eye on them. At one point, RCMP even arrived to question protesters.

Why would police be called to a peaceful protest in our democratic society?

And why would big security guards be stationed right at the entrance of the event, creating an intimidating environment as one walked in? The high security, noted by many who attended, created an atmosphere of paranoia.

On the second day of the event, Deputy Premier and Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman arrived to answer questions, but oddly, media were not notified that he would be coming.…

What does the government have to hide? The best policy would be to answer questions from all. Contrary to Coleman’s stated belief, Squamish people are in fact concerned about LNG. And the best way to address these concerns is head-on and without intimidation. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Not much opposition to LNG here, says Coleman (Dec 23) — The Squamish Chief, Squamish, BC

Deputy Premier Rich Coleman expects a decision will be made about the Woodfibre LNG plant sometime in 2015.

“We haven’t heard a lot from the Squamish community,” Coleman said in an interview with The Squamish Chief following a visit to the LNG Science World event. “I know there’s some opposition in West Vancouver, and there will be opposition from people who don’t understand it,” said Coleman, who is also the minister of natural gas development. “But I think once they understand it and realize how safe it is… a lot of that education helps.”

The deputy premier would not provide odds on the LNG plant being built in Squamish, however. “No, I wouldn’t handicap these. There’s 18 of them,” he said of the proposed plants.


Environmental groups call for denying support to LNG exports (Dec 23) — LNG World News

Friends of the Earth informed that 114 public interest, environmental and faith groups submitted a letter to Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz urging him not to support liquefied natural gas exports.

In July, Sen. John Hoeven introduced S. 2638, the Natural Gas Export Certainty Act of 2014, which would expedite the approval of applications to export LNG. In November, Sen. Hoeven was quoted saying that Sec. Moniz was willing to support the bill with some modifications.

Studies by the Department of Energy and the European Commission have suggested that the huge amounts of energy required to liquefy natural gas actually make the life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions from liquefied natural gas worse for the climate than coal, claims FOE. The production process for LNG almost doubles the greenhouse gas emissions of conventional natural gas. A Cornell University review of the scientific research also found that even conventional natural gas emits more greenhouse gas emissions than coal or oil. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Oregon LNG sues for right to build terminal (Dec 23) — The Daily Astorian, Astoria, OR

Oregon LNG has sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for access to the land for a proposed terminal.

WARRENTON — The proposed Oregon Liquefied Natural Gas terminal in Warrenton near the mouth of Columbia River is faced with another roadblock and may not have access to the land where it proposes to build its terminal.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has an easement over the terminal site for disposing dredge spoils. Oregon LNG has sued the Army Corps for access to the land, according to court filings discovered by Columbia Riverkeeper, an advocacy group opposed to the project.

“If the Corps is unwilling to release its easement, Oregon LNG will not have a place to build,” [Columbia Riverkeeper Conservation Director Dan Serres] said. “What they do to try to resolve that problem is anyone’s guess.”

The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled last week in favor of Clatsop County, upholding its decision to deny a key permit for the Oregon LNG pipeline to the terminal.

“We knew about their problems with the county, but this (lawsuit) is something no one knew was going on, a fundamental problem with the site itself,” Serres said. “It adds another interesting layer. If the Corps is right, Oregon LNG doesn’t have a place to put the terminal.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

United States

Fitch: Oil drop may slow U.S. LNG, weaken economics — Hellenic Shipping News, Greece

The recent nearly 50% drop in oil prices may slow the momentum behind the development of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities, according to Fitch Ratings. Oil price declines have weakened global LNG prices and could increase Henry Hub gas pricing, weakening current U.S. LNG project economics.

The recent drop in oil prices has tempered longer term market oil price expectations, which could challenge off-take contract negotiations creating delays and/or changing the terms of tolling arrangements. The oil and gas price outlook is a key component for a sponsor to make a final investment decision and/or off-taker to sign a long-term (e.g. 20-year) agreement. LNG project economics rely on a generous spread between oil-linked LNG and natural gas feedstock prices. Spread volatility, as illustrated by recent price movements, may challenge favorable long-term assumptions driving development of additional U.S. liquefaction capacity. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Busting the myth of “job-killing EPA regulations” (Dec 23) — Renewable Energy World

Earlier this month, when EPA proposed a new health-protective air quality standard for the pollutants that form “ozone,” some critics predictably pounced on it as another example of a long string of “job-killing EPA regulations.” Yet last week, we learned that the U.S. economy created about 320,000 new jobs in November, and average wages are starting to rise as the labor market tightens.

If you spot some dissonance here, you’re not alone. The claim that EPA regulations kill jobs is belied by the record.

[T]he data just shows no link between job loss and EPA regulation.

Why is that? Partly it’s because our economy is so large and diverse that costs associated with pollution control are too small to affect overall economic well-being, even if, for example, they might cause an individual facility (such as an aging and inefficient coal plant) to retire. But it’s also because our economy excels, perhaps more than any other, in rapid technological innovation to meet new challenges.… [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


2014 December 22

Passamaquoddy Bay & New Brunswick

Province to continue intervention in U. S. regulatory process for LNG proposal (Dec 16) — Telegraph-Journal, Saint John, NB [Paid subscription]

[SPB cannot provide a link to the online article since access requires a paid subscription.]

ST. STEPHEN — New Brunswick's new government will not change the province's position on liquefied natural gas tankers in Passamaquoddy Bay, a spokesman confirmed on Friday [Dec 12].

[Shawn Berry] confirmed in a telephone call on Friday that this does not represent any softening in the province's position since the election on Sept. 22 that returned the Liberals to power.

If so, Gallant becomes the fourth New Brunswick premier in a row against allowing LNG tankers into Passamaquoddy Bay to reach terminals in Washington County, Maine.

The Canadian government refuses to take part in an American regulatory process, although ambassador Gary Doer sent the commission a letter last year stating that Canada would not co-operate to accommodate LNG tankers in Head Harbour Passage.

Canada does not consider LNG tankers "innocent" shipping in these waters and will exercise its sovereignty, New Brunswick Southwest MP John Williamson repeated in an interview on Wednesday. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

New Brunswick's fracking ban coming into force (Dec 18) — Huffington Post Canada

FREDERICTON - The New Brunswick government is introducing a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing that the premier says won't be lifted until five conditions are met.

Those conditions include a process to consult with First Nations, a plan for wastewater disposal and credible information about the impacts fracking has on health, water and the environment, Brian Gallant said Thursday.

Nova Scotia, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador have also passed moratoriums on fracking, though they vary in scope. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Shale gas moratorium details unveiled by Brian Gallant (Dec 18) — CBC News

"We have been clear from day one that we will impose a moratorium until risks to the environment, health and water are understood," said Gallant.

The moratorium won't be lifted until five conditions are met, said Gallant.

Those conditions include:

  • A "social licence" be established through consultations to lift the moratorium;
  • Clear and credible information on the impacts on air, health and water so a regulatory regime can be developed;
  • A plan to mitigate impacts on public infrastructure and address issues such as waste water disposal is established;
  • A process is in place to fulfill the province's obligation to consult with First Nations;
  • A "proper royalty structure" is established to ensure benefits are maximized for New Brunswickers.
Gallant said there will be no `grandfathering' of projects already underway that allows fracking to take place outside of the moratorium.

New England

Exciting news on renewables in New England (Dec 19) — Conservation Law Foundation, Boston, MA

The ISO’s on-going effort to integrate renewable energy into the New England power grid is not only on track but is accelerating. ISO-New England is the FERC-licensed entity that runs the New England power grid.

Specifically, two distinct but related changes are under way right now. First, on December 3, the ISO – for the first time in history – introduced negative price offers into New England’s wholesale electricity markets. You can read about what that means, and why it is so important for renewable energy, in my previous blog post, here. The second change is that the ISO is on a trajectory to make variable output renewable sources (like wind and solar) fully dispatchable in New England’s real time wholesale electricity market.…

And, as I said above, negative prices became possible on December 3. In fact just over a week later, on Thursday, December 11, the wholesale price of electricity in New England dropped to minus $151.73 during one hour of the ISO’s “Operating Day.” Today (December 19) we had a clearing price of zero for an hour this morning, and then the clearing price dropped to minus-$47.67. Negative wholesale electricity prices in New England are not merely a theoretical possibility; they have been happening this month.

Webmaster's comment: Negative pricing means that the electricity producer pays to deliver that electricity to the grid. Renewable energy producers receive credits that can offset their negative pricing.


Environmental groups oppose liquified natural gas port (Dec 19) — Asbury Park Press, Asbury Park, NJ

The company, Liberty Natural Gas, has said they want to built a deepwater port called Port Ambrose in federal waters in the New York Bight to import gas in a liquid state. The location is near the entrance of the New York/New Jersey Harbor, 28 miles east of Monmouth Beach and 18.5 miles southeast of Jones Beach, New York.

The port would consist of permanent, anchored buoys where tankers called regasification vessels or LNGRVs would dock and vaporize the gas. A proposed 21 mile underwater gas pipeline would transport the gas from the port to an existing transcontinental pipeline (TRANSCO) at a point in lower New York Bay.

In 2011, the same company tried to built an LNG port 16 miles off the coast from Asbury Park but Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the project. He said it would present unacceptable and substantial risks to the state. The project called for a 44-mile offshore pipeline to transport the LNG from the deepwater port to Perth Amboy.

The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Maritime Administration are the federal agencies that process the applications for deepwater ports. There will be two public hearings on the project, one in New York and one Jan. 8 at the Eatontown Sheraton .

The environmental coalition is trying to connect Liberty Natural Gas's Port Ambrose proposal to a port currently being built in Morecambe Bay off England's coast called Port Meridian. The coalition said Port Meridian is owned by West Face Capital, the parent company of Liberty Natural Gas.

Ornell said it's not too far-fetched to connect the dots between Port Ambrose and Port Meridian to get the idea that what they're really after is exports.

Bad Gas (Dec 19) — The Wave, Rockaway, NJ

Rockaway residents may have once believed that the fight to keep a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) port had been won. However, revived efforts to build such a facility in the waters off of the peninsula are back and raising alarm for elected officials and residents as well.

The Wave first reported plans to build the LNG by a Manhattan-based company called Atlantic Sea Island Group on Feb. 6, 2009. While the design for that project may be slightly different, the concerns remain the same.

The LNG project was thought to be dead when newly-elected Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey vetoed the deal in 2010.

In the summer of 2013, Rockaway residents were alarmed to learn that another group, Liberty Natural Gas LLC, had applied to open a deepwater LNG (liquefied natural gas) port just off Jones Beach, and approximately 22 miles from the Rockaway peninsula.

The port is proposed as an import facility, where LNG will be delivered by giant tanker ships and sent through a newly built pipeline, but Robbins and Roff believe it can and will be easily converted to an export facility, serving markets overseas. The same way gas can be dropped into the grid, gas can be extracted from it and delivered overseas to foreign markets.

Gulf of Mexico

DOE grants SCT&E FTA LNG export authority (Dec 18) — LNG Law Blog

The U.S. Department of Energy has issued an order granting SCT&E LNG, LLC authority to export over 30 years up to 12 million metric tons per year (584 Bcf/year) of LNG by vessel from the proposed SCT&E LNG Terminal on Monkey Island in the Calcasieu Ship Channel, Cameron Parish, La., to nations with a Free Trade Agreement with the United States that requires national treatment for trade in natural gas.

Cheniere's Corpus Christi Liquefaction signs Portugal LNG deal (Dec 18) — Natural Gas Intelligence

EDP [EDP Energias de Portugal S.A.] agreed to purchase 0.77 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of LNG upon the commencement of operations of Train 3 of the LNG export facility being developed near Corpus Christi, TX. The Corpus Christi Liquefaction Project is being designed and permitted for up to three trains, with aggregate capacity of 13.5 mtpa.

Under the SPA, EDP will purchase LNG on a free on board basis at a price indexed to the monthly Henry Hub price plus a fixed component. The price is to be equal to $3.50 plus 115% of the Henry Hub price for the month in which the relevant cargo is scheduled, according to a regulatory filing. A portion of the fixed fee is to be subject to an annual inflation adjustment. These terms are in line with those of other contracts signed by Cheniere.


AIDEA expands study funds for Port Mac LNG (Dec 18) — Alaska Journal of Commerce

The State of Alaska has expanded its financial commitment in aiding a new Cook Inlet liquefied natural gas project being planned by Japanese companies. In its Dec. 16 board meeting the Alaska Industrial Development Authority, the state’s development finance corporation, agreed to expand the authority’s sharing of expenditures on feasibility studies from $240,000 to $440,000.

A 1 million to 1.5 million tons-per-year LNG project is proposed to be built in upper Cook Inlet adjacent to the Matanuska Susitna Borough’s Port MacKenzie across from Anchorage.

A final selection of a site is expected at the end of December. Port MacKenzie’s dock facilities will be used to bring in construction equipment and materials but under federal rules the project will need its own dedicated dock to load LNG carriers, she said.

A key goal of REI’s owners, a consortium of Japanese municipal governments and private firms, is to invest in a dedicated Alaska LNG project so the Japan owners will control their own supply of LNG, Pease said.

British Columbia

Federal review of Pacific NorthWest LNG project resumes (Dec 17) — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

On May 9, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) halted the regulatory clock at Day 167 of the one-year federal review process because it required more information from the Petronas-led Pacific NorthWest LNG project.

A CEAA spokeswoman said the regulatory clock is ticking again, advancing to Day 172 on Wednesday after Pacific NorthWest LNG submitted new information last Friday about its plans to export liquefied natural gas. But given the lengthy delay, the federal environmental review could stretch into mid-2015.

BC First Nations launch first legal challenge to LNG industry (Dec 18) — The Tyee, Vancouver, BC

Two B.C. First Nations filed for a judicial review of TransCanada Corp.'s Coastal GasLink pipeline project in a Vancouver court house this morning.

The Nadleh Whut'en First Nation and the Nak'azdli First Nation argue the Crown's 'duty-to-consult' was not met when the province's Environmental Assessment Office approved the 650-kilometre natural gas pipeline on Oct. 24.

This is the first legal challenge brought by a First Nation against the LNG industry, said Alexander.

LNG agreement signed by Tsimshian First Nation’s governing council (Dec 18) — The Province, Vancouver, BC

PORT EDWARD — A member of the Tsimshian First Nation has signed an agreement with Pacific NorthWest LNG around a proposed multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas facility near Prince Rupert.


Lawsuit against Army Corps of Engineers complicates Oregon LNG plans in Warrenton — The Oregonian, Portland, OR

As the state considers approving an Oregon LNG pipeline to serve a proposed liquid natural gas terminal in Clatsop County, another obstacle threatens to derail its plans: The company might not have the legal right to build on Warrenton’s East Skipanon Peninsula, where the terminal would be located.

The company quietly filed suit against the Army Corps of Engineers in August, seeking to nullify a 57-year-old land-use easement that gives the corps permanent permission to use the peninsula as a dumping site for dredge spoils.

The corps defends its right to the property. It responded in November by asking the court to dismiss the suit. That sets up a legal battle that could affect Oregon LNG’s ability to build its planned terminal on the mouth of the Columbia River, regardless of whether state officials approve permits

Clatsop County government leaders opposed the terminal and in October 2013 voted 4-1 to deny Oregon LNG’s application to build a 41-mile pipeline to the terminal. The company appealed that decision to the Land Use Board of Appeals, whose members determined a county commissioner was biased against the project. The Oregon Court of Appeals later overturned the land board’s decision . [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Whistleblower at Jordan Cove LNG-terminal site warns of contaminated soil (Dec 19) — The Oregonian, Portland, OR

A biologist and environmental inspector who worked at the site of the massive liquefied natural gas terminal proposed for Coos Bay told federal regulators this week that project engineers were ignoring and possibly hiding contaminated soil issues at the site.

Barbara Gimlin was employed by SHN Engineers & Geologists as a biologist and environmental compliance specialist on the Jordan Cove Energy Project from March 2013 to April 2014. She says she supports the project, but resigned as a matter of professional integrity after being ignored and reprimanded by supervisors when trying to take required compliance steps after contaminated soil was excavated, moved and reburied in a berm during testing.

She aired her concerns in a public comment this week on the project's draft environmental impact statement with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. She claims the contamination issues were not disclosed in the federal environmental analysis, not reported to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality until she blew the whistle, and could pose a hazard to the estuary and workers at the site.

The FERC issued the draft environmental analysis in early November, concluding that there were limited environmental impacts from the construction and operation of the terminal that could be mitigated to less than significant levels.

Gimlin told regulators that she discovered months after the fact that archeologists from Southern Oregon University had stopped cultural survey work in one area after discovering black soils that they deemed to be contaminated and unsafe to work in.

Mason, a senior groundwater hydrologist with DEQ, said "it is absolutely true" that the agency wasn't informed, and that it subsequently sent Jordan Cove DEQ a warning letter after discovering that the contaminated soil had been pushed into a berm, covered and reseeded.

In Gimlin's view, the feds' environmental analysis allows Jordan Cove to skirt around the soil-contamination issues. It states, for example, that there aren't contaminated soils at the Jordan Cove site, while acknowledging in the next breath that any contamination is below allowed thresholds. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: FERC's Jordan Cove LNG treatment is similar to FERC's omissions regarding Downeast LNG.

United States

Fracking fumes: Where there's a well, all is not well — InsideClimate News

Emissions from oil-and-gas production pose a significant threat to human health, and immediate steps must be taken to reduce exposure to the toxic pollution, according to an analysis of scientific studies by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

After reviewing the findings of 24 studies conducted by both government agencies and academic organizations, the evidence shows that people living both close to and far from oil-and-gas drilling are exposed to fracking-related air pollution that can cause at least five major types of health problems, according to the NRDC's report, Fracking Fumes.

The report says fracking threatens air quality as much as it does water quality and calls for an immediate moratorium on any new wells until a comprehensive analysis of health effects can be performed.

Now that scientific studies are beginning to catch up with the fracking boom, … it's becoming more difficult for the industry to dismiss public health worries.

The NRDC report provides an analysis of available science gleaned from 18 peer-reviewed academic publications and six government studies on toxic air pollution from oil-and-gas development. When taken together, a pattern emerges of unsafe levels of air pollution near fracking sites around the country, Rotkin-Ellman said. it's becoming more difficult for the industry to dismiss public health worries.

Fitch: Oil drop may slow U.S. LNG, weaken economics — MarketWatch

The recent nearly 50% drop in oil prices may slow the momentum behind the development of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities, according to Fitch Ratings. Oil price declines have weakened global LNG prices and could increase Henry Hub gas pricing, weakening current U.S. LNG project economics.

[T]he oil price drop could slow the momentum behind new U.S. LNG facilities in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval queue. The recent oil price decline as well as idled LNG regasification facilities in the U.S. should act as a reminder of the financial risks associated with these costly, long-dated directional bets. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

White House guidance on climate change could impact gas industry, prices — Utility Dive, Washington, DC

The White House's Council on Environmental Quality has released updated draft guidance for federal agencies on how to consider greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the impacts of climate change in their analysis of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Attorney Kevin Ewing with Bracewell & Giuliani told NGI the guidance is not clear but could be read in a way that could impact the approval of LNG facilities. “We are left uncertain whether the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] is signaling its intention that upstream oil and gas impact ‘must’ or ‘should’ or ‘may’ be part of the climate change analysis that is discussed in the guidance," he said. [Colored emphasis added.]

Obama approves bill Congressman John Garamendi helped to author (Dec 20) — The Reporter, Vacaville, CA

President Barack Obama signed into law S. 2444, the Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014. Earlier this month, this bipartisan legislation passed both Chambers of Congress by unanimous consent.

The law … incorporates legislation that Garamendi introduced, H.R. 5270, the Growing American Shipping Act, which requires that the Department of Transportation develop policies that enhance the national security and port safety of the United States by encouraging to the maximum extent practicable the transport of liquefied natural gas on U.S.-built and -flag vessels when it is decided to export. This law aims to maintain the technological ability of the United States shipbuilding industry to build and repair vessels for the Navy and the Coast Guard by maintaining the critical industrial infrastructure and skilled human workforce necessary to build such vessels. Further, this law promotes American job creation by encouraging domestic shipbuilding and the use of U.S. mariners when the transport of American LNG occurs.

“When we export LNG, it should be on ships built in America with American crews,” Garamendi continued. “So long as we choose to export LNG, it should be creating good American jobs in the process, and the revitalization of America’s shipbuilding industry has spiraling impacts that go far beyond this commodity. I’m proud of the work we put into creating this law, and I thank everyone in Congress and the Administration who was supportive through this process.” [Colored emphasis added.]

Nature fires back at EIA shale gas critique (Dec 18) — UPI

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- The journal Nature stands by the accuracy of a feature questioning the longevity of the growth in U.S. shale natural gas, the features editor said Thursday.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration took issue this week with an article published by Nature, in which Texas researchers said a detailed analysis of U.S. shale plays may be "bad news" for forecasters.

Policymakers on Capitol Hill have said the glut of natural gas means the United States should transform itself as a major exporter of liquefied natural gas, arguing such deliveries may contribute to the rise of the country as an "energy superpower."

Tad Patzek, director of petroleum engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, said in the Nature report EIA assessments of shale were setting U.S. policymakers up "for a major fiasco."

Texas researchers said production from the four largest shale plays in the United States -- including Marcellus -- peaks in 2020. By 2030, production is about half of what they said EIA analysis found. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Not just public lands: Defense Bill also incentivizes fracked gas vehicles (Dec 18) — Huffington Post

DeSmogBlog recently revealed how Big Oil's lobbyists snuck expedited permitting for hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") on public lands into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2015, which passed in the U.S. House and Senate and now awaits President Barack Obama's signature.

A follow-up probe reveals that the public lands giveaway was not the only sweetheart deal the industry got out of the pork barrel bill. The NDAA also included a provision that opened the floodgates for natural gas vehicles (NGVs) in the U.S. -- cars that would largely be fueled by gas obtained via fracking.

It means, as with electric vehicles, natural gas automobile manufacturers will now also receive financial credits under the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards introduced by President Obama in May 2009.

10 outrageously pricey tax breaks that Congress just gave away (Dec 18) — The Week

In one of its last acts before adjourning, Congress gave tens of billions in temporary tax breaks to major corporations and wealthy investors

Alternative fuel vehicle refueling property

This provision provides a 30-percent tax break for gas stations or other facilities installing biodiesel or 85 percent ethanol blender pumps or repowering sites for electric vehicles. Stations dispensing natural gas, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) are also eligible. Est. cost in FY 2015: $38 million.


2014 December 17


Maine delegation urges swift action on natural gas rate proposal to give businesses certainty — Mainebiz

Maine's congressional delegation is urging federal energy regulators to make a swift decision on a proposed natural gas rate increase, citing a desire to give certainty to businesses and other consumers of natural gas.

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and U.S. Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday regarding the Portland Natural Gas Transmission System's 2010 proposal to increase its interstate transportation rate. The Portland Natural Gas Transmission System, one of the major natural gas pipelines in Maine, is a partnership between TransCanada Corp. and Quebec-based Gaz Metro Inc.

The federal lawmakers said in a joint press release that under current law, the transmission system is allowed to charge contracting entities for the higher requested rate until FERC makes its decision, meaning that the businesses and other natural gas consumers are ultimately paying higher energy bills by absorbing the rate increase through those entities.

"This case is complex and, because of rehearing requests and compliance filing challenges, natural gas consumers in northern New England continue to pay interstate transportation rates that may be more than 50% higher than the rate that the Commission finally approves," Maine's congressional delegation wrote in the letter. "While these higher rates may ultimately be refunded, we are concerned that consumers face another winter heating season paying more than they should."

New Brunswick & Quebec

New York State moves to prohibit fracking — (AP) The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

[This article is related to others under the Northeast heading, below.]

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration will move to prevent fracking in New York State, citing unresolved health issues and dubious economic benefits of the widely used gas-drilling technique.

The New York decision comes as the industry faces setbacks in Eastern Canada, even as hydraulic fracturing is widely used in western provinces to extract oil and gas.

In Quebec, Premier Philippe Couillard said this week his government does not favour fracking in the St. Lawrence Lowlands despite the promise of large shale gas deposit in the Utica formation. Mr. Couillard was responding to a report from the province’s office of environmental hearings, which concluded with potential health risks from shale gas development outweighed the economic benefits.

In New Brunswick, the new Liberal government of Premier Brian Gallant is set to impose a moratorium on fracking, to be in place until more research can be done on health and environmental risks. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


Huge victory in New York! It's official: The state of New York banned fracking! [Letter] — Food & Water Watch

[This article is related to another article under the New Brunswick & Quebec heading, above.]

This victory is because of the years of education, mobilization and advocacy work to build the political power for holding Governor Cuomo accountable to the people, not the Oil and Gas industry. New Yorkers Against Fracking, a coalition founded by Food & Water Watch, and the strong network of allies and grassroots activists are directly responsible for this victory.

After activists demanded that the health effects of fracking be studied, a two year investigation by the state's own commission confirmed what the movement has been saying all along, that fracking cannot be done safely.

Acting Commissioner of Health for New York State Howard Zucker even said he would not let his family live in an area that has fracking. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Gov. Cuomo’s decision to prohibit fracking in New York makes him a national leader [Press release] — Food & Water Watch

[This article is related to another article under the New Brunswick & Quebec heading, above.]

“Our growing national movement has persevered. We applaud Governor Cuomo for acknowledging the overwhelming science that speaks to the inherent dangers of fracking to public health and the environment. Fracking has no place in New York or anywhere, and the governor has smartly seized a golden opportunity to be a real national leader on health, environmental protection and a future free of polluting fossil fuels.”

Food & Water Watch is a founding member of New Yorkers Against Fracking, a statewide coalition of more than 250 local, state and national organizations dedicated to banning the practice of fracking in New York State. Food & Water Watch was the first national organization to call for an outright ban on fracking in the United States. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Environmentalists across the nation hail NY ban on fracking — InsideClimate News

[This article is related to another article under the New Brunswick & Quebec heading, above.]

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo surprised environmentalists Monday when his administration banned hydraulic fracturing in the state, citing public health concerns. The move puts an end to years of heated debate between activists and the oil and gas industry—and could help buoy the case against fracking in hundreds of similar fights happening across the United States.

Cuomo's decision, announced at his final cabinet meeting of 2014, was based on the results of a long-awaited scientific study by the New York State Department of Health on the health impacts of hydraulic fracturing. The drilling method involves injecting a mixture of sand, water and toxic chemicals deep underground to force oil and gas to the surface. According to the state's health study, the practice can release toxins into the air that can trigger breathing problems. Surface spills can contaminate soil and water. Waste disposal can trigger surface-water contamination and potentially earthquakes. In addition, the study said the release of methane and other volatile organic chemicals into the atmosphere can contribute to climate change.

Former Gov. David Paterson enacted a moratorium on fracking in New York six years ago. Unlike states such as Colorado, where judges have struck down local fracking bans, New York's high court has ruled in favor of local control over oil and gas development in the towns of Dryden and Middlefield. Hundreds of New York towns have banned fracking or passed their own moratoriums out of fear that state officials in Albany would approve the drilling practice.

Oil and gas industry representatives were predictably upset about the Cuomo administration's decision. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Local communities can sometimes trump developers and pro-industry regulations by passing local regulations and laws.

Clock running on fate of L.N.G. facility off Long Island (Dec 15) — Capital New York, NY

The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Maritime Administration have issued a draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Port Ambrose liquefied natural gas facility, starting the regulatory clock on the fate of the controversial offshore facility.

Over the next two months, the public will have the opportunity to comment on the project. Since its first iteration in 2012, the project has come under increasing criticism from local environmental groups and local elected officials. The first application drew thousands of comments.

Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey governor Chris Christie have 45 days after the close of public comments to make a decision on the project. They can veto it, approve it with exceptions or approve it outright. If they do nothing, the project is considered approved. If either governor vetoes the project, it is dead.

The plant would sit in the waters of the New York Bight, less than 30 nautical miles from New York Harbor, 16 nautical miles south of Jones Beach and 28 miles east of Sandy Hook, New Jersey. Liqueified natural gas, or L.N.G., is natural gas that has been cooled to liquid form and placed on barges. The floating plant would receive ships, vaporize the gas and deliver it to Long Island through buried pipelines. It would have the capacity to move 400 million cubic feet of gas a day.

Webmaster's comment: There is a good chance that, if permits are received, Liberty Natural Gas's Port Ambrose would flip to LNG exporting.


FERC sets back Aguirre Offshore GasPort project's FEIS — LNG World News

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a notice extending the release date for the final environmental impact statement on the proposed Aguirre Offshore GasPort project.

According to the original notice of schedule issued in May this year, FERC set December 19, 2014 as the final EIS issuance date, but after reviewing additional information from Aguirre regarding the proposed subsea pipeline, FERC has issued a new date for the EIS.

The Aguirre GasPort [would] be located approximately four miles offshore the southern coast of Puerto Rico, near the towns of Salinas and Guayama and [would] utilize one of Excelerate Energy’s 150,900 m3 floating storage and regasification vessels.


Obama removes Bristol Bay from future Alaska oil, natgas lease sales — Natural Gas Intelligence

President Obama Tuesday extended indefinitely a four-year-old freeze for oil and natural gas leasing in the waters of Alaska's Bristol Bay, a move criticized by industry representatives.

"Bristol Bay has supported Native Americans in the Alaska region for centuries; it supports about $2 billion in the commercial fishing industry, supplies America with 40% of its wild-caught seafood, it is a beautiful natural wonder, and it's something that's too precious for us to just be putting out to the highest bidder," Obama said.

The withdrawal, issued under the authority granted the president under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, prevents the area from being considered for any oil or gas leasing for exploration, development or production.

Federal pipeline coordinator's office to close as prospects swing to LNG — Alaska Dispatch, AK

JUNEAU — The office of the federal coordinator for Alaska gas pipeline projects is shutting down after not being included in the budget bill that Congress recently passed.

Federal coordinator Larry Persily said he plans to have the office shut down by the end of February.

The office was created in a 2004 law aimed at helping advance an Alaska gas pipeline project that would serve North America. Market conditions led to that plan being scrapped in favor of a liquefied natural gas project that would allow exports to Asia. The state of Alaska, BP PLC, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp. and TransCanada Corp. are involved in the effort.

British Columbia

Group protests ‘propaganda’ to students — The Squamish Chief, Squamish, BC

They didn’t expect to change the minds of the government or Woodfibre LNG officials regarding the proposed liquefied natural gas plant, but they certainly caught their attention. - See more at:

A dozen demonstrators outside the Science World “Clean LNG” displays at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park marched and held up anti-fracking signs as a light rain fell Tuesday. One wore a fish costume, another sported a white lab coat and others held up protest signs to passing school buses headed to the displays. Yellow-clad security guards watched the demonstrators’ movements, and police stopped by to ask questions as well. - See more at:

[One of the protesters] was pleased when about 20 of the teenage students walked over to the protest to talk about LNG and fracking.


Court upholds Clatsop County ruling rejecting Oregon LNG pipeline — The Oregonian, Portland, OR

The Oregon Court of Appeals has overturned a decision by the state's land-use board that Clatsop County was biased in October 2013 when it rejected an application to build a 41-mile section of pipeline serving a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal in Warrenton.

Dan Serres, conservation director Columbia Riverkeeper, which opposes the project, said "it's looking increasingly likely that Clatsop County's denial of Oregon LNG's pipeline will stand." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Without a natural gas supply pipeline, Oregon LNG is in a similar predicament as Downeast LNG — neither can get what is required for their projects to succeed: Oregon LNG can't get natural gas, and Downeast LNG can't receive or ship LNG.

United States

Climate change divide widens on Senate Energy Panel — InsideClimate News

Democrats' replacement of three pro-fossil-fuel lawmakers with more pro-climate-action senators means that any across-the-aisle cooperation on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is probably dead, according to political strategists. While Republicans will control the panel 12-10 in 2015, Democrats could delay—or even potentially derail—the GOP's pro-fossil-fuels agenda by nitpicking bills during committee mark-up or by threatening a presidential veto.

Republicans named to the committee four newly elected senators who represent fossil fuel-driven electorates: Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Steve Daines of Montana and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia. All four promised in their campaigns to fight Obama's climate action agenda, particularly the Environmental Protection Agency's strategy for regulating greenhouse gas emissions, known as the Clean Power Plan. Together, they pulled in more than $2.6 million in campaign contributions from oil and gas interests in 2014, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks election finance.

The Democrats' new energy committee members are Senators Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Independent Angus King of Maine, who typically caucuses with the Democrats, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Former Democrat committee members Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin were reassigned to other panels and their seats not refilled as a result of the party losing its majority in the election.

The outgoing chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee is Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, a staunch supporter of fossil fuels who was almost always among the top recipients of oil and gas-industry campaign donations during her 18 years in Congress. She had a 51 percent pro-environment score from the League of Conservation Voters, a political advocacy organization that tracks lawmakers’ votes. Landrieu lost her re-election bid to Cassidy in a December runoff. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Sen. Angus King supports renewable energy. The League of Conservation Voters' support of Sen. Mary Landrieu is paradoxical. Sen. Landrieu pressed Congress to support exporting more US hydrocarbon fuels — hardly good for the environment.

LNG export hopes fading fast for U.S. — ( NASDAQ

Pricing schemes vary, but Henry Hub-linked contracts – the US standard – has lost its shine as an alternative to oil-linked contracts. Oil’s collapse has more than halved Henry Hub’s price advantage over oil-linked supplies from Qatar and elsewhere. The International Energy Agency estimates that oil prices of $70 to $75 per barrel translate to a pricing advantage of only 50 cents.

Senate confirms Honorable to FERC [Press release] — FERC

The U.S. Senate last night confirmed the nomination of Colette Honorable to join the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Honorable, chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission since 2011 and the former president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, will serve out the remainder of a term that ends in June 2017.

Korea & Australia

VideoThe largest vessel the world has ever seen (Dec 16) — BBC News

Prelude is a staggering 488m long and the best way to grasp what this means is by comparison with something more familiar.

Under construction for the energy giant Shell, the dimensions of the platform are striking in their own right - but also as evidence of the sheer determination of the oil and gas industry to open up new sources of fuel.

Painted a brilliant red, Prelude looms over the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard on Geoje Island in South Korea, its sides towering like cliffs, the workforce ant-like in comparison.

To exploit the Prelude gas field more than 100 miles off the northwest coast of Australia, Shell has opted to bypass the step of bringing the gas ashore, instead developing a system which will do the job of liquefaction at sea.

Hence Prelude will become the world's first floating LNG plant - or FLNG in the terminology of the industry.

So Prelude will be parked above the gas field for a projected 25 years and become not merely a rig, harvesting the gas from down below, but also a factory and store where tankers can pull alongside to load up with LNG.

Shell's ambition is to launch a fleet of future Preludes to pioneer a new chapter in the story of fossil fuels by opening gas fields previously thought to be too tricky or expensive to tackle.

…A project of this kind has never been tried before and, like all firsts, Prelude is something of a gamble.

Webmaster's comment: From an environmental perspective, this is truly frightening.


2014 December 16


Natural gas company facing stiff fines for safety violations (Dec 11) — MPBN, ME

[Alarm bells should be ringing loudly at FERC, the US Coast Guard, and all of the other cooperating agencies in the Downeast LNG permitting process.]

PORTLAND, Maine - Summit Natural Gas of Maine has agreed to pay a $25,000 fine as part of a consent agreement with the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

The company had faced a proposed penalty four times that amount, which a PUC spokesman says reflects the seriousness of the safety violations connected with the case.

The original fine, which the PUC says stemmed from safety violations during gas pipeline installations in Kennebec and Somerset counties, was $100,000. And that's in addition to a proposed $150,000 dollar fine against the company for violations during a pipeline installation in Gardiner.

"Most of the violations centered around individuals performing tasks who weren't qualified through evaluation to actually perform those tasks," says PUC spokesman Harry Lanphear, "and so that was the proposed violation that we worked through with Summit."

And those individuals were not actually Summit employees. A July 11 notice of probable violation issued by a PUC gas safety manager identified the gas line workers as employees of Tetra Tech Construction Inc., of Phoenix, and CCB Inc., of Westbrook, both of which are Summit subcontractors.

Webmaster's comment: Tetra Tech was FERC's contractor that helped prepare FERC's now-suspended Downeast LNG Final Environmental Impact Statement that was so full of omissions, prevarications, obfuscations, and other fatal flaws that have not been corrected. Tetra Tech is unworthy of the public trust.

Nova Scotia

Bear Head LNG plant another step closer to reality — CBC News

A U.S. company is taking steps to set up Canada's first liquefied natural gas export facility in Cape Breton.

Bear Head LNG Corp. has applied for export licenses in the United States and Canada to convert and store natural gas in Point Tupper.

It filed an export licence application with Canada's National Energy Board in November. Last week, the company filed an application with the U.S. Department of Energy for authorization to export natural gas to Canada for a 25-year period.

"Instead of being an import facility where we're bringing gas into North America, we're reversing this process — taking gas from North America, liquefying it and then sending it to the LNG market."

Godbold said they're looking for a supply from the Scotian shelf, Western Canada and shale gas from the U.S.

Webmaster's comment: Bear Head LNG requires the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline to reverse direction, and for the US Department of Energy (DOE) to approve both exporting natural gas to Canada, and approve Canada exporting US natural gas to third countries.

New England

The proposed pipeline (Dec) — No Fracked Gas in Mass, MA

[This article is related to the "United States: FERC approves Constitution Gas Pipeline project and related Iroquois project" article under the Northeast heading, below.]

Northeast Energy Direct is a large pipeline expansion project being proposed by Kinder Morgan Energy’s subsidiary, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co [TGP]. It includes the large new natural gas transmission line that, earlier, had been referred to as the Northeast Expansion, which would include new looping along the 200 line from a gas hub in Wright NY to Richmond, MA, then a new path from Richmond north and eastward to a hub in Dracut, MA. The larger project also includes new pipeline from TGP’s 300 line in Pennsylvania, up through Susquehanna Co. and into NY state to the hub in Wright, providing a direct path from the fracking fields of PA to the gas hub in eastern MA and the connecting Maritimes and Northeast pipeline in Maine.

The TGP Northeast Energy Direct pipeline is proposed to be a 36″ inch high-pressure natural gas transmission line. With it’s PA to NY leg (called the “Supply Path”) and NY to MA leg (called the “Market Path”), it would be bringing gas directly from the fracking fields of PA through to the eastern hub in Dracut MA, with a direct connection to the Maritimes & Northeast pipeline in ME. The M&NE pipeline has recently applied for a permit to reverse direction, bringing gas up to export facilities in the Canadian Maritimes. According to their company’s memo, intended customers are local distribution companies, electric generators,industrial end users and developers of liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) export projects in New England and Atlantic Canada. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Apparent intended LNG export customers would be Downeast LNG (Robbinston, ME), Canaport LNG (Saint John, NB), Bear Head LNG (Point Tupper, Richmond County, NS), Goldboro LNG (Goldboro, NS), and H Energy (Melford, NS).


United States: FERC approves Constitution Gas Pipeline project and related Iroquois project (Dec 15) — Mondaq

[This article is related to "The proposed pipeline" article under the New England heading, above.]

On December 2, 2014, FERC authorized Constitution Pipeline Company, LLC ("Constitution") to construct and operate its proposed approximately 124-mile-long, 30-inch diameter interstate pipeline, and related facilities, extending from Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, to a proposed interconnection with Iroquois Gas Transmission System, L.P. ("Iroquois") in Schoharie County, New York (the "Constitution Pipeline"). In the same order, FERC also authorized Iroquois to construct and operate compression facilities, and modify existing facilities, in the town of Wright, New York (the "Wright Interconnect Project"), and to lease the associated incremental capacity associated with the Wright Interconnect Project to Constitution.

…Once constructed, the Constitution Pipeline will help bring Marcellus Shale supplies in Northern Pennsylvania to natural-gas markets in New York and New England. Constitution noted in its application that the design capacity of the Constitution Pipeline is already fully subscribed, with Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation for 500,000 Dth per day of firm transportation service and Southwestern Energy Services Company for 150,000 Dth per day of firm transportation.

Meanwhile, Iroquois noted in its own June 2013 application that the Wright Interconnect Project would help support delivery of the 650,000 Dth per day of capacity on the Constitution Pipeline into Iroquois' existing mainline and the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C. system.… [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Downeast LNG is relying on the Tennessee Gas Pipeline for its natural gas supply.

Fight renews against offshore liquified natural gas — Asbury Park Press, Asbury Park, NJ

MIDDLETOWN – Environmental groups are prepping for a new battle against another proposal for an offshore liquefied natural gas facility here.

“There is no public benefit from Port Ambrose; it is assault to our region, which is why Gov. (Chris) Christie vetoed the same proposal a couple years ago,” said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action.

Liberty Natural Gas, LLC is asking federal regulators to approve construction of the Port Ambrose terminal 27 nautical miles from the entrance to New York Harbor. The facility would consist of floating tankers known as regasification vessels (LNGRVS) that would vaporize gas and deliver it via a submerged pipeline to mainlines in New York and New Jersey.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Maritime Administration released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Liberty Natural Gas’s Port Ambrose terminal last week. That started the 60-day public review and comment period.

There will be one public hearing each in New York and one here, 6 p.m. Jan. 8 at the Eatontown Sheraton, 6 Industrial Way East, Eatontown.

A coalition of environmental groups called the Anti-LNG is holding a community information meeting about Port Ambrose at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 1475 W. Front Street in the Lincroft section of Middletown. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Clean Ocean Action: NJ & NY threatened by proposed “Port Ambrose” offshore LNG facility [Op-ed] — Atlantic Heights Herald, Atlantic Heights, NJ

Sandy Hook, NJ – Liberty Natural Gas’ proposed “Port Ambrose” is an offshore facility for liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers that would be located just a few miles from the NY/NJ harbor and our beaches. The purpose of the port would be to import LNG, including from foreign sources. LNG ports are a target for terrorism; threaten fishing, jobs, and tourism; and are a disaster for our climate. Furthermore, imports of natural gas are not needed, and Port Ambrose would steer us away from efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy.

The Anti-LNG Coalition [sic; No LNG Coalition], a bi-state (NY/NJ) coalition of community groups, maritime organizations, faith-based, union, and civic leaders, has worked for years to oppose several proposals for offshore LNG facilities, including a prior proposal by the Port Ambrose project applicant, Liberty Natural Gas, LLC.

The Anti-LNG Coalition [sic] isn't wasting precious time; it is kicking off its holiday mobilization in New York and New Jersey with phone banking, social media alerts, visits with elected officials, and community meetings; in New Jersey, there is a community information meeting about Port Ambrose at 7pm on Thursday, December 18th at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation located at 1475 West Front Street in Lincroft, New Jersey.

Both Governor Christie and Governor Cuomo have executive authority to stop this project. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Paradoxically, LNG projects more than three miles offshore (outside state limits) can be vetoed by the adjacent Governors; whereas, if LNG projects are within state limits, the affected state Governors have no authority to veto the projects. Thank Congress for that logic.


Eagle LNG hosting open houses to present project to public (Dec 15) — Jacksonville Business Journal, Jacksonville, FL

One open house will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on January 14 at Highlands Middle School. The second is at the same time on January 15 at the Samburu Conference Room at the Jacksonville Zoo, according to a statement.

Staff from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, will attend the open houses. FERC is the federal agency reviewing the project proposal.

Eagle LNG will produce LNG, store it and load it on marine vessels for exporting and for use in domestic fueling.

Webmaster's comment: Even though FERC personnel will be present, witnessing what Eagle LNG tells the public, the public should not be surprised if Eagle LNG misrepresents hazards to the public, with impunity, as is typical at LNG project open houses. Rather than protect the public, FERC's self-defined first mission is to facilitate LNG permitting.

British Columbia

LNG backlash signals end of BC Liberals ‘honeymoon period’ — Business in Vancouver, Vancouver, BC

The B.C. government report card, conducted December 4 to 6, comes in the wake of Petronas’ December 3 announcement that it was deferring a final investment decision on its $36 billion LNG project in B.C.

Just 28% of British Columbians said the government has done a good job of handling LNG, energy and pipelines compared with the 36% that gave Victoria the thumbs up six months ago.

Apache to sell stakes in LNG projects to Woodside for $2.75 billion (Dec 15) — Reuters

Apache Corp said on Monday it would sell its stakes in two liquefied natural gas projects, Wheatstone LNG in Australia and Kitimat LNG in Canada, to Australia's Woodside Petroleum Ltd for $2.75 billion.

Woodside Petroleum, Australia's top oil and gas producer, said in August it was looking at potential acquisitions as companies such as Shell and Apache offload assets, amid worries about high costs and future prices.

The company is … selling its 50 percent stake in the Kitimat LNG project, a joint venture with Chevron, and related oil and gas assets in the Horn River and Liard natural gas basins in British Columbia, Canada.

More than a dozen LNG export projects have been proposed for British Columbia as energy companies from around the world race to export cheap Canadian gas to energy-hungry Asian markets.

But uncertainties over taxation, the regulatory process and aboriginal consent and fierce competition from rival projects in the United States have called into question whether any will get done. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: It is not only competition from the US that should have been mentioned. Numerous other LNG export projects, worldwide, will be crowding the market, causing lower LNG prices, making the numerous Canadian and US projects questionable.


Hawaii Gas seeks proposals to bring more LNG to the Islands — Pacific Business News, Honolulu, HI

Hawaii Gas, which became the first company to ship liquefied natural gas to the Islands, is looking to significantly expand these shipments in an effort to help diversify Hawaii's fuel supplies to reduce the state's dependence on oil and help lower energy costs.

The state's only franchised gas utility said this week that it is seeking proposals from developers around the world to supply LNG in bulk to help it support the delivery of natural gas to existing and prospective consumers in the state through the use of a floating storage and regasification unit and other services to receive, store and regasify the LNG for distribution.

Webmaster's comment: One wonders what Hawaii Gas means by "LNG in bulk." Would that require an actual LNG terminal, and all that a terminal would entail? (Hawaii Gas is currently receiving LNG in 40-ft tanks via a regular port. FERC determined that importing LNG via such containers does not constitute an "LNG terminal."


Latest Harper Omnibus bill guts regulations for coal, LNG ports (Dec 10) — The Common Sense Canadian

On October 23, 2014, the federal government introduced Bill C-43, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures (also called the “Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2”). Buried in Division 16 of the 475 page omnibus bill are proposed changes to the Canada Marine Act that, if adopted, would pose a serious threat to legal protection from environmental threats and public oversight of activities that occur in ports.

[T]wo of the most concerning changes are:

  • Allowing the federal Cabinet to exempt port lands from key requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012 and Species At Risk Act that regulate “federal lands” by turning those lands over to port authorities.
  • Giving Cabinet extensive powers to write new laws for ports, and to delegate law-making powers for ports to any person, without many checks and balances.

Bill C-43 gives the federal government the ability to get around … legal protections by converting federal lands into port lands. Specifically, Cabinet would gain the ability to sell its lands in a port to the port authority. Once it does so, even though the port authority is supposed to act as an agent of the federal government, those lands will no longer be considered “federal lands.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Canada: Parliament tables bill to enhance pipeline safety (Dec 15) — Mondaq

On December 8, 2014, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, announced the introduction of Bill C-46 (Bill), designated as the Pipeline Safety Act, amending the National Energy Board Act and the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act. The Bill's aim is to enhance Canada's pipeline safety system by increasing the liability of pipeline operators and the control of the National Energy Board (NEB).…

In effect, the Bill will place a significant onus on pipeline companies to ensure that: (a) operations do not result in releases; and (b) if such releases occur, necessary financial resources to meet any liability exist. Accordingly, pipeline companies should consider their safety and financial obligations in light of ongoing operations and business plans to ensure they meet legislated requirements once the Bill's amendments are brought into force. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

United States

U.S. agency considers exports of oil, gas from deepwater ports (Dec 15) — Reuters

A U.S. agency is considering how the country could export crude oil and natural gas from deepwater ports as the domestic drilling boom adds pressure for Washington to relax trade restrictions and approve shipments of fuel.

The U.S. Maritime Administration, or MARAD, is seeking comment on a proposed policy to evaluate applications for building and operating offshore deepwater ports for exporting U.S. oil and natural gas.

MARAD said when it proposed the rule that it intends to use existing deepwater port regulations for the review, signaling that companies that want to build such export facilities would not have to contend with a complicated new application process.

[Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski] has met with Obama administration officials in her quest to reverse the oil export ban. If the administration does not take steps to relax the ban, she has said she will introduce legislation to do so.


2014 December 13


Maine's Sen. King to serve on Senate energy panel (Dec 12) — MPBN, Maine Public Broadcasting Network

PORTLAND, Maine - U.S. Sen. Angus King will serve on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources during the 114th Congress.

The Independent senator made the announcement Friday. He says the appointment will give him "the opportunity to fight for Maine's energy future,'' as well as to push for the use of cleaner energy and the protection of natural resources. The committee is responsible for national energy policy and national parks and federal lands. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Let's hold Sen. King to his word.

Susan Collins, Angus King named to new Senate committees — Bangor Daily News, Bangor, ME

King, an independent, has been named to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

King said Friday afternoon that he sought the position on the energy committee because he sees high energy prices as one of the most serious problems in Maine. King, who in the past has been heavily involved in Maine’s fledgling wind power industry, said Maine needs more abundant and reliable access to natural gas being produced in the Marcellus shale field in Pennsylvania, but that long-term, renewable energy is the solution.

“We have a huge problem in Maine and New England,” said King. “I agree with [Gov. Paul LePage] that the lack of natural gas pipeline infrastructure is a big problem for us so I asked to be on this committee. … I saw this as the domestic affairs committee that will have the most direct impact on Maine.”

“Maine has always been in a challenging position in terms of energy because we were solely dependent on oil for so many years,” he said. “To me, the answer is diversity and balance. Right now we need to work on the natural gas shortage issue.”

The Energy and Natural Resources committee has jurisdiction over energy policy, electricity markets, pipeline infrastructure as well as national parks and federal lands. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Nova Scotia

N.S. liquid [sic] natural gas projects face tricky 2015 — CBC News

Developers have promised to give a green light — or pull the plug — on the province’s front-runner LNG proposals in 2015.

However, the companies behind the Goldboro and Bear Head facilities have both seen a flurry of recent developments that have analysts scratching their heads over what to expect.

Both companies will be watching the uncertain European market for natural gas and also keeping an eye on each other, since there may not be room for both to survive.

“There are far too many proposed projects, particularly in North America, trying to attract buyers’ attention and there is just not enough demand to support more than a handful of these projects.”

The situation looks worse because the past few months have seen oil and gas prices fall, said Regan. Nova Scotia exports should have an advantage in Europe, because the shipping distance is so short. But now countries all over the Atlantic are focusing more on the European market, he said. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Goldboro LNG and Bear Head LNG are late entering the goldrush. US-based LNG export terminals are likely to receive more favorable treatment by the Department of Energy than foreign (Canadian) proposals. Also, Canaport LNG is chomping at the bit to export, and transporting natural gas from the US to Canaport would be more economical than sending the gas all the way to the north end of Nova Scotia.

Gulf of Mexico

FERC releases Environment Assessment for Sabine Pass expansion (Dec 12) — LNG Law Blog

Today, FERC released its environment assessment (EA) for Sabine Pass LNG’s proposed expansion project at its export terminal in Cameron Parish, La. The expansion involves construction of two new LNG liquefaction trains (Trains 5 and 6) which would increase the Sabine Pass terminal’s LNG production capacity by 503 Bcf/year. The project also involves expansion of the existing interconnecting pipeline system to enable it to provide an additional 1.5 Bcf/day of firm reverse flow capacity. The EA concludes that approval of the proposed expansion, with appropriate mitigating measures, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. Comments on the EA are due January 12, 2015. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: FERC has never denied an LNG terminal application for environmental reasons. FERC's unspoken but obvious mission is to permit all LNG terminal projects.


Hearing on LNG project In southern Oregon draws a crowd (Dec 12) — OPB, Oregon Public Broadcasting

MEDFORD, Ore. - People stood six deep in the back of a Medford high school meeting room Thursday night for a hearing on a liquefied natural gas export terminal proposed for the Oregon Coast. It was the fourth in a series of community meetings held across Southern Oregon.

Opponents of the Jordan Cove LNG terminal and Pacific Connector Pipeline blasted the draft environmental impact statement issued by FERC, which found the Coos Bay project would not cause significant harm.

Many raised concerns that the environmental findings failed to adequately account for the project’s impacts on climate change. They also faulted FERC for not examining the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing or fracking — pumping sand, oil and chemicals into the ground to release and extract natural gas.

Jordan Cove opponents, who outnumbered supporters at least three to one, stressed Oregon is accepting all of the risk with little of the benefit. Rural residents said if the pipeline exploded in the summer, catastrophic wildfire could result.

Hundreds gather for LNG pipeline public hearing (Dec 11) — KOBI-TV, Medford, OR

Medford, Ore.-- Hundreds gathered at Central High School on Thursday night to rally and say "no" to the proposed construction of a 230 mile natural gas pipeline.

Canada, United States & Australia

Oil plunge dims outlook for LNG projects (Dec 11) — The Wall Street Journal

SYDNEY—Investors in giant gas-export terminals from Australia to Canada are facing the prospect of losing billions of dollars plowed into the projects as plunging oil prices darken the outlook for the industry.

Already, the decline has claimed a casualty in Canada. Last week, developers led by Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd., or Petronas, indefinitely delayed starting construction of a $32 billion LNG plant on the Pacific coast.

LNG prices in Asia have sunk below $10 per million British thermal units, meaning many of the projects may struggle to turn a profit. “OPEC’s come along and burst the bubble,” said Mark Samter, a Sydney-based analyst at Credit Suisse . “Project returns are awful at these prices.”

U.S. shale-gas producers looking to export their product are affected less by the drop in oil prices because they typically signed contracts overseas linked to U.S. domestic-gas prices, which are low due to the boom in the local production of shale gas. But on the flip side, thanks to crude oil’s fall, LNG producers offering oil-linked contracts will be able to compete better in the international market against their U.S. rivals.

Currently, two LNG terminals are under construction in the U.S. Several more have received the go-ahead from regulators. Construction of the Sabine Pass project in Louisiana, operated by Houston-based Cheniere Energy Inc., began two years ago and is expected to be completed late next year. Freeport LNG Development LP last month began a project in Texas; it expects to begin shipping gas in 2018. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: The LNG-export bubble appears to be bursting. Meanwhile, Downeast LNG continues to wear blinders.


Asian LNG prices to fall 30 percent (Dec 10) — The Maritime Executive

Asian liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices are expected to fall by up to 30 percent in 2015, according to a survey of analysts and consultants, as the market enters a period of oversupply and the impact of lower oil prices kicks in.

The explosive growth in LNG consumption seen in recent years has stalled on cooling Asian economies and with a resumption of nuclear energy and a greater use of coal in some markets.

At the same time new LNG production has been coming on stream, meaning tight supply conditions that had been expected to last until the end of the decade are ending more quickly.

Asian spot LNG prices <LNG-AS> have more than halved since the start of the year to below $10 per million British thermal units (mmBtu).

Gas prices will also respond to falling oil prices, which have fallen 40 percent since June, because most gas prices in the region are indexed to oil. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: The LNG export mad gold-rush bubble appears to be bursting. Downeast LNG's response: "Let's throw more money away on it, like we did on LNG importing."


2014 December 10

Passamaquoddy Bay

Ukraine bid to bypass Russian gas scuttled by Turkey: Freight (Dec 4) — The Washington Post, Washington, DC

[This article reinforces Canada's prohibition of Downeast LNG ship transits through Head Harbour Passage.]

Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Ukraine’s plan to diminish its energy dependence on Russia is adrift in the Bosporus Strait.

The nation, which gets half its gas from Russia, wants to build a liquefied natural gas terminal on the Black Sea and held talks with Cheniere Energy Inc. to import U.S. cargoes. The only path to the terminal is through Istanbul’s 17-mile waterway.

Turkey doesn’t allow LNG shipments through the Bosporus because of safety concerns and congestion. The strait is about half a mile wide at its narrowest point and classified as a maritime chokepoint, among the most difficult to navigate. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Turkey, like Canada, is more concerned about civilian safety than is the US Department of State, FERC, and Downeast LNG. They want private US company interests to trump other governments' sovereign authority to protect the public.

Migrating birds that visit Maine get new federal protections (Dec 9) — Press Herald, Portland, ME [Paid subscription]

Red knots, newly designated as a "threatened" species, visit the state for only a few weeks during their epic trips each spring and fall.

Federal wildlife officials announced Tuesday that the red knot – a robin-sized shorebird that passes through Maine during an epic migration – has been designated a “threatened” species after sharp population declines.

As a “threatened” species, the birds are now protected from harm or harassment under federal law.

Webmaster's comment: It is not yet known if red knots frequent Mill Cove, Downeast LNG's proposed terminal location. Studies must be done during the red knot migration to learn if the shorebird visits Mill Cove.

New Brunswick

LNG News: A new solution emerges to fix Europe’s dependence on Russian gas (Dec 3) — The Motley Fool

According to a report by Reuters, Spanish energy company Repsol is looking for partners to build an LNG export facility on Canada's east coast. The company is said to be seeking partners willing to invest $4 billion so that natural gas from North America can be shipped to Europe in order cut the continent's dependence on gas supplies from Russia. However, the project has a number of obstacles to overcome before it would ever see the light of day.

Repsol is hoping that it can find some deep pocketed European partners, such as a utility company, to fund the building of an LNG export facility at the company's Canaport facility in New Brunswick. The project could receive gas produced from U.S. shale plays and then liquefy it and ship it to Europe. That said, Repsol isn't planning to build this project alone as it would only move forward if it can find partners to invest a bulk of the capital needed. Its main involvement would be to provide its struggling Canaport LNG import facility, which has seen imports plunge in light of the boom in natural gas production in North America. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Canaport LNG already exists, and would need only to add liquefaction capability. The project is light years ahead of proposed Downeast LNG, and they would likely be competing for the same natural gas supply — but Canaport LNG would lock up pipeline supply first, choking off Downeast LNG. Will Dean Girdis ever get the picture?

Nova Scotia

Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (ASX:LNG) Bear Head LNG files for US DOE export licence [Press release] — ABN Newswire, Yahoo Finance Australia

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia - Bear Head LNG Corporation (Bear Head LNG) and Bear Head LNG (USA), LLC (Bear Head USA), both indirect wholly-owned subsidiaries of Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (LNGL), have filed an application with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for authorization to export natural gas to Canada for a 25-year period. Under the DOE application, Bear Head LNG and Bear Head USA are seeking long-term, multi-contract authorization to export up to 503 billion standard cubic feet (BcF) per year, or 1.4 BcF per day, by pipeline to Canada. This is the first of the various applications Bear Head LNG and Bear Head USA anticipate filing with DOE to enable the export of LNG from the project to free trade agreement (FTA) and non-free trade agreement (Non-FTA) nations.

The Bear Head LNG project, which will have an initial production capacity of 8 million tonnes per annum (mtpa), will be developed on a world-class site that was partially developed and then maintained in hotidle status. The Bear Head LNG site is located on the Strait of Canso in Point Tupper, Richmond County, Nova Scotia, which is about half the shipping distance to major European markets compared to U.S. Gulf Coast ports. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


Army Corps Of Engineers hearings on LNG port off Sandy Hook — Atlantic Highlands Herald, Atlantic Highlands, NJ

The Army Corps of Engineers has announced public hearings and public comment period for the scooping permit submitted by Liberty Natural Gas for a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility off the coast of Sandy Hook.The facility would accept import shipments of LNG, treat the gas on site, and then connect with the regional pipeline transmission system. This proposal comes despite a current glut of natural gas in the United States from fracking and a previous proposal by the company was vetoed by Gov. Christie in 2010. The New Jersey Sierra Club sent a letter along with other groups to ask for an extension for the public comment period so it does not conflict with the holiday season. The hearing and public comment period is an opportunity for community members to get their environmental, health, and public safety concerns regarding this proposed LNG permit and they should be provided with enough time.

“This is a Christmas gift to polluters. The permit release, commit period, and public hearings are strategically during the Holiday season and busiest time of year. People will be with their families or away on vacation not having adequate time to review the permit and provide detailed comments,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. LNG not only adds to greenhouse gas and hurts the environment, it is dangerous. A LNG leak could cause horrific damage to the environment, marine life, and even people. Even worse it is being used to undermine energy efficiency and renewable energy. We have a clear choice between clean energy and carbon fuels. We should be investing in clean, renewable energy like offshore wind and energy efficiency “ [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Opponents of LNG export terminal at Cove Point say FERC rubberstamps projects (Dec 4) — FSRN—Free Speech Radio News

A coalition of local residents and state and national environmental groups held a series of protests this week against the construction of a natural gas export facility on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. FSRN’s Nell Abram talks about Cove Point and its national and global implications with 71-year-old, longtime activist Steven Norris who was arrested during actions at the site this week.

Webmaster's comment: FERC's mission is to facilitate developers' applications.


FERC approves Eagle LNG's pre-filing request (Dec 4) — LNG World News

U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved Eagle LNG Partners’ request for the pre-filing environmental review process for a proposed liquefaction facility in Jacksonville, Florida.

Eagle LNG intends to build an LNG facility that would receive and liquefy natural gas, temporarily store the produced LNG and later load it into trucks and containers or onto ocean-going vessels for use in the marine bunkering trade and for export from the United States.

At full build-out, the project would include three liquefaction trains with the capacity of producing 300,000 gallons of LNG per train, or total of 0.55 MMtpa for all three trains.

Gulf of Mexico

Sempra Energy revisiting Port Arthur LNG project — KPLC-TV, Lake Charles, LA

PORT ARTHUR, TEXAS (KPLC) - Sempra Energy is revisiting plans for a liquified natural gas (LNG) facility in Port Arthur.

The company applied for federal permits for the project in April 2004 and received authorization in June 2006 from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to move forward with its development. The project was put on hold in 2008.

Venture Global LNG announces $4.25b complex — The Maritime Executive

Gov. Bobby Jindal and William M. Wicker, CEO of Venture Global LNG LLC, announced the company will invest $4.25 billion to build a new liquefaction processing complex and liquefied natural gas export terminal. The facility will be constructed on the Calcasieu Ship Channel at Calcasieu Pass.

Construction is expected to begin at the 203-acre Venture Global site in the third quarter of 2016. The liquefaction facilities are expected to be placed into operation in late 2019.

With a planned export capacity of 10 million metric tons when fully developed, the facility will accommodate oceangoing vessels with a carrying capacity of up to 185,000 cubic meters of liquefied natural gas.

British Columbia

Proposed LNG pipelines put dozens of B.C. parks and protected areas at risk, report says —, Georgia Strait, Vancouver, BC

BRITISH COLUMBIA IS home to 20 proposed liquefied natural gas projects, and 17 of those are in the northern part of the province, according to the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society's B.C. chapter.

CPAWS-BC released today (December 10) a report outlining the potential environmental impacts of the five main proposed LNG pipelines associated with these projects. These are Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission, Prince Rupert Gas Transmission, Pacific Trail Pipeline, Pacific Northern Gas Looping Project, and Coastal GasLink Pipeline in northern B.C.

"The proposed routes crossing these protected areas are places where no pipelines, roads, or other infrastructure already exist. This means that if these pipelines are built, these protected areas will be newly fragmented, reducing the total core area of each park not previously exposed to development," the report states.

[The report] also observes that the B.C. government's Provincial Protected Area Boundary Adjustment Policy, Process & Guidelines "lets project proponents apply to remove lands from protected areas to accommodate development projects that would otherwise be illegal if the lands remained protected". [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

LNG push holding up northwestern B.C. treaty talks —

The province’s single-minded focus on developing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry is getting in the way of treaty negotiations, according to the chief negotiator for Kitselas and Kitsumkalum, two local First Nations trying to craft final agreements.

“It’s taking resources that normally, I feel, would have been addressed to treaty making and they’re going into LNG requirements,” said Gerald Wesley, who is also working with the Metlakatla First Nation on treaty talks as Tsimshian chief negotiator. “It’s creating a little bit of uncertainty in all of our levels of discussion now – Kitselas and Kitsumkalum negotiations, it’s certainly a factor for Metlakatla negotiations. B.C. has clearly identified LNG as their primary objective right now … and it’s interfering, I feel, with our treaty negotiations.”

Gitxsan chiefs blockade highway to protest government's LNG project approvals (Dec 7) — Vancouver Observer, Vancouver, BC

Gitxsan hereditary chiefs blocked Highway 16 at New Hazelton, in northern B.C. on Saturday, to protest recent LNG project approvals by the BC Environmental Assessment Office. The chiefs say the projects could collapse the salmon population in the Skeena River if built.

Despite the icy weather, people held up signs on the frozen highway expressing outrage for the approval of new infrastructure without adequate consultation.

Although the B.C. government is pursuing rapid LNG development to develop a '$100 billion' prosperity fund, critics say those funds could come at the cost of other industries. A recent SFU study found that the sites for Pacific Northwest LNG and Prince Rupert LNG are in the most sensitive area for millions of Skeena salmon, with extremely abundant Sockeye, Chinook and Coho salmon.

But despite the B.C. government's quick approval, Petronas announced last week it wanted to delay its decision on the Pacific Northwest LNG terminal due to slumping oil prices. Without a terminal in the area, the future of other gas projects planned for the Prince Rupert appears more uncertain.

City of Prince Rupert passes LNG zoning despite significant opposition —

"We heard extensively from the public and this was a difficult decision for the community. However, given our present state of infrastructure decay, assurances that environmental concerns will be addressed in the environmental assessment process and the $18 million to help with the city's finances, the council was prepared to vote unanimously in favour of this zoning," Mayor Lee Brain said. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Mary Polak promotes B.C. LNG at Lima Climate Change Conference (Dec 9) — CBC News

B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak is promoting the province's plans for liquefied natural gas — or LNG — at an international conference on climate change.

A report released earlier this year by the Pembina Institute disputed the claim that LNG produced in B.C. would cut the use of coal and oil worldwide. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


Anti-LNG crowd slams Jordan Cove, pipeline federal review (Dec 8) — The World, Coos Bay, OR

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff and cooperating agencies held the meeting to hear public comments on the projects' draft environmental impact statement issued last month.

"There are several references to the northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet habitat impacts on the proposed Blue Ridge route, but virtually no references to habitat impacts on the residences and landowners affected by the (original proposed route)," said Dee Willis, who lives on an affected property on South Sumner Road.

"How is the public interest served when landowners have their property confiscated under eminent domain and given 25 percent — or, so generously, up to 50 percent of market value — for their property or lose it entirely?" said Paulette Landers. "What if I proposed to buy the Jordan Cove owner's property for 50 percent of market value? You bet he would feel a wee bit outraged.

Several people also asked FERC to throw out the draft EIS entirely and start over, claiming it violated the National Environmental Policy Act by slanting observations in favor of Jordan Cove and not considering all alternatives. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: …FERC's standard operating procedure.

Agencies taking comments on Oregon LNG permits (Nov 28) — Jefferson Public Radio, NPR

The Oregon LNG liquefied natural gas project in Warrenton has reached a milestone in its seemingly endless permitting process. Three key permits are up for review and open for public comment until Jan. 17.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development each have to approve permits before Oregon LNG can build an import/export terminal at the mouth of the Columbia River.

The Oregon LNG terminal would be able to import and export liquefied natural gas. To export natural gas produced in the U.S., the facility would cool the gas down to -260 degrees F and ship it out in liquid form. The project was proposed as an import terminal way back in 2004, but project developer Leucadia National Corporation changed its plans in response to the shale gas boom in the U.S. In 2012, the company applied to add export capability to the import facility.

The project would include a loading terminal at the mouth of the Columbia River, two LNG storage tanks and an 86-mile pipeline that would connect the terminal in Warrenton with a pipeline hub in Woodland, Washington.

Oregon LNG also needs approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, which is currently reviewing all the environmental impacts of the project. FERC has yet to release a draft environmental impact statement for the project.


Is the Canadian LNG export dream dead? (Dec 5) —

Lower oil prices have killed off major plans for liquefied natural gas exports from Canada’s west coast.

Related: Russia-China Deal Could Kill U.S. LNG Exports

Although low oil prices may have been the icing on the cake, Canadian LNG projects were facing serious obstacles before oil prices plummeted. There is stiff competition from a slew of LNG projects already under construction in the U.S. and Australia, which will come online much earlier than anything from British Columbia.

The LNG market has dramatically changed since the B.C. government made its 2013 budget projections. Along with lower oil prices, the demand for LNG in Asia – the target market for Canadian exporters – looks quite a bit softer than it once did.

Webmaster's comment: The same obstacles exist for the proposed Nova Scotia LNG export proposals.

LNG boom over as China looks to sell out of long-term deals (Dec 9) — Reuters

[This article also appears under the United States and North America headings, below.]

  • Weaker economy, cheaper retail gas make LNG imports unprofitable
  • Soaring hydro, coal and domestic gas production cut LNG demand

MILAN/SINGAPORE, Dec 10 (Reuters) - China's state-controlled energy giant Sinopec wants to sell some long-term liquefied natural gas (LNG) import deals as a slowing economy makes them unprofitable, sources say, signalling the end of a five-year boom fuelled by rising Chinese demand.

"We talk about China choking on LNG. There's just too much coming onto the market," said Gavin Thompson, Head of Asia Gas Research at Wood Mackenzie.

In response, China is trying to find buyers for contracted LNG on the international market, which is already oversupplied due to slowing demand and rising output that have seen Asian LNG prices halve this year, with analysts expecting another 30 percent fall by 2015. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Oil price pressure spreads into global LNG market — EnergyWire

[This article also appears under the United States heading, below.]

A setback for Canada's leading liquefied natural gas project reflects the ripples that continue to spread from OPEC's decision to maintain crude production levels in the face of a global supply glut, as the links between oil and natural gas carry new uncertainties into world methane markets.

Last week, Malaysian oil and gas company Petroliam Nasional Berhad, or Petronas, announced that it was backing off its commitment to reach a final investment decision in December on an expensive new LNG terminal to be sited along Canada's British Columbia coastline.

Proposals to export LNG from projects along the heavily industrialized U.S. Gulf Coast and elsewhere also boast lower upfront costs than those available to projects like Petronas' that envision carving out new facilities in remote areas and building lengthy pipelines from gas fields to the waterline (EnergyWire, Oct. 23).

Now the oil price drop is pulling down LNG prices and bolstering the appeal of oil-linked natural gas, but the more favorable outlook for buyers competes with the tougher investment climate for developers to prevent a shift away from the United States.

The narrowing price spread between U.S. and foreign LNG supplies cuts into the advantages of domestic projects. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

United States

Federal Court rules FERC violated Federal Law when issued approvals for NEUP Pipeline project (Jun 6) — Delaware Way, DE

The Court stated:

“On the record before us, we hold that in conducting its environmental review of the Northeast Project without considering the other connected, closely related, and interdependent projects on the Eastern Leg, FERC impermissibly segmented the environmental review in violation of NEPA. We also find that FERC’s EA is deficient in its failure to include any meaningful analysis of the cumulative impacts of the upgrade projects. We therefore grant the petition for review and remand the case to the Commission for further consideration of segmentation and cumulative impacts.”

“On the record before us, we find that FERC acted arbitrarily in deciding to evaluate the environment effects of the Northeast Project independent of the other connected action on the Eastern Leg.”

In May 2012 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity to Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company authorizing construction and operation of its Northeast Upgrade Project. Delaware Riverkeeper Network, the NJ Sierra Club and New Jersey Highlands Coalition argued that the approval was inappropriate because FERC had illegally segmented its environmental review of the Northeast Project by failing to consider three other connected and interdependent projects – the 300 Line Project, the Northeast Supply Diversification Project, the MPP Project – and by failing to provide a meaningful analysis of the cumulative impacts of the projects.

Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper said about the decision: “This is important vindication of the rights of our communities and environment to be honestly considered and protected by our federal agencies. FERC has been allowing illegal segmentation by pipeline companies for years, it has ignored the pleas of the public for equity and for honest review of impacts, and as such FERC has been complicit with the pipeline companies in their ongoing efforts to avoid the rule of law and to ignore the devastating impacts they are having on our environment, impacts that will harm not just present, but also future generations. It is rewarding that a federal court has finally held FERC to account.”

Added Delaware Riverkeeper Maya van Rossum: “This decision is important and powerful for every pipeline, related infrastructure and LNG project to come, but sadly for the communities, forests, streams, wetlands and critters impacted by the four projects at issue here, the decision comes too late to ensure their full consideration and protection. We will be able to press for important mitigation and efforts to undo the harms already inflicted, but as for avoiding the full array of harms, that is now impossible. FERC needed to do its job when it had the opportunity – but they were too busy servicing the gas pipeline companies to care.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Energy companies in secretive alliance with attorneys general (Dec 7) — InsideClimate News

The letter to the Environmental Protection Agency from Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma carried a blunt accusation: Federal regulators were grossly overestimating the amount of air pollution caused by energy companies drilling new natural gas wells in his state.

But Mr. Pruitt left out one critical point. The three-page letter was written by lawyers for Devon Energy, one of Oklahoma’s biggest oil and gas companies, and was delivered to him by Devon’s chief of lobbying. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

United States: An update on EPA's approach to methane emissions from the oil & gas sector — including a summary of the agency's proposed new reporting rule (Dec 5) — Mondaq

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to announce between now and December 31, 2014 its plan for pursuing methane reductions from the oil and gas sector — including whether it will propose new emission reduction regulations. Additionally, the agency recently modified its greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting rules for oil and gas systems and also proposed expanding those rules so that they would cover many additional oil- and gas-related sources. This blog post briefly summarizes these recent developments.

Although EPA may not propose new methane emission reduction regulations, it is clearly interested in improving the range and quality of methane emission data that it receives and that it makes available to the public. Thus, on November 13, 2014, EPA signed a final rule (published in the Federal Register on November 25, 2014) modifying the existing GHG reporting requirements for the oil and gas sector to clarify the exact equipment covered by the regulations and the precise methods that can be used to calculate emissions from that equipment. The modifications take effect on January 1, 2015 and apply to emissions occurring in 2015. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Shale gas construction boom to add 130 million tons in greenhouse gas emissions, report says — The Times-Picayne, New Orleans, LA

America has a surplus of cheap natural gas thanks to the nation's shale drilling boom, an environment that has prompted companies to spend billions of dollars to upgrade or expand dozens of facilities. While the build-up may be a good thing for the Louisiana economy, it could have a detrimental effect on efforts to curb air pollution, according to a report released Wednesday (Dec. 10) by the Environmental Integrity Project.

According to the report, a total of 46 new or expanded petrochemical facilities nationwide have received final or draft permits to build this year. Collectively, the report estimates those facilities will produce up to 55 million additional tons of greenhouse gases each year.

According to the report, companies have received 105 draft or final air permits for new projects in the past three years. Thirty-three of those projects are planned for Louisiana, which was second only to Texas at 49.

Altogether, the nation's newest industrial facilities will release more than 130 million tons of greenhouse gases annually.

Four new liquefied natural gas, or LNG, plants along the Gulf Coast will produce 11.6 million tons of greenhouse gases. LNG plants super-cool methane to its liquid form for transportation and export. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

LNG boom over as China looks to sell out of long-term deals (Dec 9) — Reuters

[This article also appears under the Canada heading, above, and the North America heading, below.]

  • Weaker economy, cheaper retail gas make LNG imports unprofitable
  • Soaring hydro, coal and domestic gas production cut LNG demand

MILAN/SINGAPORE, Dec 10 (Reuters) - China's state-controlled energy giant Sinopec wants to sell some long-term liquefied natural gas (LNG) import deals as a slowing economy makes them unprofitable, sources say, signalling the end of a five-year boom fuelled by rising Chinese demand.

"We talk about China choking on LNG. There's just too much coming onto the market," said Gavin Thompson, Head of Asia Gas Research at Wood Mackenzie.

In response, China is trying to find buyers for contracted LNG on the international market, which is already oversupplied due to slowing demand and rising output that have seen Asian LNG prices halve this year, with analysts expecting another 30 percent fall by 2015. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

OPEC is finished and the oil crash will continue, warns Bank of America — Financial Post, Don Mills, ON

The OPEC oil cartel no longer exists in any meaningful sense and crude prices will slump to $50 a barrel over coming months as market forces shake out the weakest producers, Bank of America has warned.

Revolutionary changes sweeping the world’s energy industry will drive down the price of liquefied natural gas (LNG), creating a “multi-year” glut and a much cheaper source for Europe’s gas needs.

Ms. Schels said the global market for LNG will “change drastically” in 2015, going into a “bear market” lasting years as a surge of supply from Australia compounds the global effects of the US gas saga. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Downeast LNG is again in a losing position, caught years behind the LNG market.

Oil price pressure spreads into global LNG market — EnergyWire

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

A setback for Canada's leading liquefied natural gas project reflects the ripples that continue to spread from OPEC's decision to maintain crude production levels in the face of a global supply glut, as the links between oil and natural gas carry new uncertainties into world methane markets.

Last week, Malaysian oil and gas company Petroliam Nasional Berhad, or Petronas, announced that it was backing off its commitment to reach a final investment decision in December on an expensive new LNG terminal to be sited along Canada's British Columbia coastline.

Proposals to export LNG from projects along the heavily industrialized U.S. Gulf Coast and elsewhere also boast lower upfront costs than those available to projects like Petronas' that envision carving out new facilities in remote areas and building lengthy pipelines from gas fields to the waterline (EnergyWire, Oct. 23).

Now the oil price drop is pulling down LNG prices and bolstering the appeal of oil-linked natural gas, but the more favorable outlook for buyers competes with the tougher investment climate for developers to prevent a shift away from the United States.

The narrowing price spread between U.S. and foreign LNG supplies cuts into the advantages of domestic projects. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

North America

LNG boom over as China looks to sell out of long-term deals (Dec 9) — Reuters

[This article also appears under the United States and Canada headings, above.]

  • Weaker economy, cheaper retail gas make LNG imports unprofitable
  • Soaring hydro, coal and domestic gas production cut LNG demand

MILAN/SINGAPORE, Dec 10 (Reuters) - China's state-controlled energy giant Sinopec wants to sell some long-term liquefied natural gas (LNG) import deals as a slowing economy makes them unprofitable, sources say, signalling the end of a five-year boom fuelled by rising Chinese demand.

"We talk about China choking on LNG. There's just too much coming onto the market," said Gavin Thompson, Head of Asia Gas Research at Wood Mackenzie.

In response, China is trying to find buyers for contracted LNG on the international market, which is already oversupplied due to slowing demand and rising output that have seen Asian LNG prices halve this year, with analysts expecting another 30 percent fall by 2015. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


2014 December 1

New Brunswick

Canaport LNG awaits cargo — LNG World News

Repsol has last year signed a supply deal with Royal Dutch Shell to receive roughly 1 million tons per year of LNG to its Canaport LNG terminal over a 10-year period. This was a part of the company’s LNG asset sale in Trinidad and Peru.


King sides with LePage on natural gas expansion (Nov 26) — Mainebiz

King told the Lewiston Sun Journal that the issue comes down to pipeline capacity — and not natural gas supply — because New England has close proximity to a large source of natural gas, Marcellus Shale. He said not expanding that pipeline capacity would block Maine from access to lower energy prices.

Webmaster's comment: See the following article for Sen. King's opinion about exporting LNG.

Despite Keystone opposition, King agrees with LePage on natural gas pipeline expansion to Maine (Nov 25) — Bangor Daily News, Bangor, ME

He … said he was bracing for a push from federal lawmakers in natural gas-producing states that would allow for more natural gas to be exported from the U.S.

“My concern is that’s basically exporting an advantage,” King said. “It’s one of the few advantages that we have vis-a-vis China, for example. Natural gas there is $17 a BTU, and it’s $5 in the U.S.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: As he is quoted, Sen. King does not support exporting LNG. By extension, Sen. King does not support Downeast LNG's proposed export project.


Boston, New York City winter natural gas prices expected to remain high (Nov 24) — OilVoice

Despite expectations of a milder winter for 2014, marketers anticipate high prices for natural gas in Boston and New York City. Natural gas prices are expected to be lower than last winter, but higher than the average of previous winters, particularly in Boston.

Gulf of Mexico

Eagle LNG Partners Jacksonville LLC requests initiation of Pre-Filing procedures for export terminal — LNG Law Blog

Eagle LNG Partners Jacksonville LLC (Eagle) has requested that FERC initiate pre-filing environmental review procedures for a proposed gas liquefaction and LNG export terminal in the City of Jacksonville, Fla. on the St. Johns River. The terminal would include three liquefaction trains having the capacity to produce 300,000 gallons of LNG per train (0.18 million metric tonnes per annum (MMtpa) per train for a total of 0.55 MMtpa). Eagle proposes to load the LNG into trucks and containers, or onto ocean-going vessels for use in the marine bunkering trade and for export from the United States.

LNG project: Big opportunity across Acadiana (Nov 29) — The Advertiser, LA

The terminal is located 3.7 nautical miles from open water along a channel 40 feet deep. Construction began in August 2012, and will continue for the next seven years, Jason French, director of government and public affairs for Cheniere Energy, said.

"We've got a lot going on out there," Peterson said. "We are the first bi-directional facility in the world."

Webmaster's comment: Louisiana loves dirty energy.

EPA raises environmental concerns about Corpus Christi LNG (Nov 26) — Fuel Fix

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said in October that the Corpus Christi LNG project will not significantly harm the environment, primarily because it’s being developed in an existing industrial area. But the Environmental Protection Agency said it still has concerns about impacts on minority neighborhoods and greenhouse gas emissions.

In a letter submitted earlier this month, the EPA alleged that the final environmental impact statement fails to show how maintenance and operation of a pipeline connected to Corpus Christi LNG will affect people who live nearby. The 23-mile pipeline will feed the plant with natural gas and will cross through a predominately minority neighborhood. The EPA had requested more information on how pipeline emergencies will be handled, including steps for notifying nearby residents. The commission has said the pipeline would cause minimal effects because it will be installed in existing rights-of-way that mostly cross farmland.

The EPA also asked for a broader analysis about the overall environmental footprint of such LNG export plants, which are expected to increase the demand for natural gas production. The agency called for the commission to disclose the total amount of air pollution that will be associated with the production, transport and combustion of natural gas exported from the plant, saying it disagrees that greenhouse gas emissions outside of the United States fall outside the scope of its environmental review.

Climate change is a global problem, the EPA said. Domestically produced natural gas that increases air pollution overseas affects the U.S. too, the agency argued. Corpus Christi LNG is expected to produce 13.5 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas per year. Companies in Australia, Indonesia, Italy, Spain and France have agreed to buy the gas. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: The EPA made a similar comment about the FERC Downeast LNG docket on Dec 1.

Freeport LNG closes on financing for first two liquefaction trains; issues Notice to Proceed with Construction (Nov 25) — LNG Law Blog

[November 25th], Freeport LNG Expansion, L.P., (Freeport LNG) announced that its subsidiaries, FLNG Liquefaction, LLC, and FLNG Liquefaction 2, LLC, successfully closed on debt and equity financing commitments of approximately $11 billion required for the development of the first two liquefaction trains at Freeport LNG’s proposed LNG export terminal on Quintana Island near Freeport, Texas. Freeport LNG stated that it has issued a full notice to proceed to CB&I, Inc., and Zachry Industrial, Inc., to construct the first two liquefaction trains. The first liquefaction train is expected to start operations in third quarter 2018, with the second liquefaction train expected to commence operations five months thereafter.


DOE approves Alaska LNG project exports to FTA nations (Nov 24) — LNG Law Blog

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued an order approving Alaska LNG Project’s application to export up to 20 million metric tons per annum (mtpa) of LNG (929 Bcf) from its proposed LNG terminal in the Nikiski area of the Kenai Peninsula in south central Alaska to nations having a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States. Alaska LNG Project’s application to export LNG to non-FTA countries remains pending.

British Columbia

Aurora LNG changes site for potential B.C. export terminal — LNG Law Blog

Energetic City reports that Aurora LNG, a joint venture among Nexen Energy ULC, INPEX Corporation and JGC Exploration Canada Ltd., has received approval from the British Columbia (B.C.) government to transfer the site for Aurora LNG’s proposed LNG terminal under its sole proponent agreement with B.C. from the northern portion of Grassy Point to Digby Island, B.C. The report states that under the agreement, Aurora LNG has paid B.C. two non-refundable payments totaling $18 million.

Port Edward awaits LNG decision (Nov 30) — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

The B.C. environmental agency said the project “is not likely to have significant adverse residual effects on marine resources.” But in approving the venture, the agency acknowledged that Pacific NorthWest LNG “would have significant residual adverse effects on greenhouse gas emissions.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Pacific NorthWest LNG terminal and WestCoast Connector Pipeline receive B.C. environmental approval (Nov 26) — LNG Law Blog

The British Columbia (B.C.) Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) has issued Environmental Assessment Certificates for Petronas’ proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG export facility in Prince Rupert, B.C. and the proposed interconnected Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline. The EAO also approved Spectra Energy’s proposed Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission pipeline, which is intended to serve BG Group’s proposed Prince Rupert LNG export facility on Ridley Island, B.C.

Korea Gas seeks to sell portion of its share in LNG Canada (Nov 24) — LNG Law Blog

Reuters reports that Korea Gas Corp. is seeking to sell a portion of its 15% ownership share in LNG Canada, which is planning to construct an LNG export terminal near Kitimat, British Columbia. The other owners of LNG Canada are Royal Dutch Shell, PetroChina, and Mitsubishi, which respectively own 50%, 20% and 15% of the company.


LNG project on north Oregon coast ready for public to have its say (Nov 28) — OPB (Oregon Public Broadcasting)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development each have to approve permits before Oregon LNG can build an import/export terminal at the mouth of the Columbia River.

The Oregon LNG terminal would be able to import and export liquefied natural gas. To export natural gas produced in the U.S., the facility would cool the gas down to -260 degrees F and ship it out in liquid form. The project was proposed as an import terminal way back in 2004, but project developer Leucadia National Corporation changed its plans in response to the shale gas boom in the U.S. In 2012, the company applied to add export capability to the import facility.

So, even though the project proposal has been around for a decade, it’s still just entering key permitting processes with the state of Oregon and the Corps.

Most of the project’s permits also require a local land-use approval for the pipeline. That approval was denied by Clatsop County, but the company has challenged that denial. The challenge is awaiting a decision from the Oregon Court of Appeals. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


Global gas glut threatens future LNG exporters…like Canada (Nov 29) — The Common Sense Canadian

So much natural gas export capacity has already come online — and there’s so much more in the pipeline — that it risks swamping what demand there will be for the stuff. Qatar, Australia, the United States, and Canada are all aboard or jumping onto the liquefied natural gas (LNG) bandwagon, but it’s unclear just who will buy it all and at what price. That has companies from Exxon to Australia’s Woodside Petroleum rethinking their ambitious gas-export plans and countries from Mozambique to Canada angling to craft incentives to reassure increasingly gun-shy natural gas investors.

“The amount of supply that we have in the works already coming online in the next five years exceeds reasonable assumptions of demand growth,” said Jason Bordoff, director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Downeast LNG was late to the LNG import party, and is way late to the LNG export party.

United States

200,000+ voice concern that EPA’s power plant rules incentivize fracking — Maine Environmental News, ME

On the public comment deadline for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed power plant rules, Americans Against Fracking, a national coalition to ban fracking, delivered a letter from over 250 environmental, health, labor and consumer protection groups, along with over 200,000 comments criticizing the rules for incentivizing fracked natural gas. You can view the joint letter at

The EPA’s proposed new rules for power plants mainly target coal fired power plants to reduce their carbon emissions, instead of taking a broader approach to control other sources of carbon emissions. One way the electricity companies would be allowed to do this is by switching from coal-fired plants to gas-fired plants. However, the rules, if implemented as proposed, would increase fracking and natural gas use. While carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from combusting gas instead of coal would decrease, methane (CH4) emissions from natural gas extraction, processing and transport would increase.

U.S. Treaty Envoy: Climate deal must leave 'a lot' of fossil fuels in the ground (Nov 25) — InsideClimate News

The world’s fossil fuels will "obviously" have to stay in the ground in order to solve global warming, Barack Obama’s climate change envoy said on [November 24th].

In the clearest sign to date the administration sees no long-range future for fossil fuel, the state department climate change envoy, Todd Stern, said the world would have no choice but to forgo developing reserves of oil, coal and gas. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

APGA opposes US LNG exports (Nov 25) — LNG World News

The panel addressed the pros and cons of exporting domestic energy resources. Erickson cited a recent Energy Information Administration study that concluded that exporting LNG would more than double natural gas prices by 2040. He argued that a better use of our domestic natural gas resources would be to use it in the U.S. to reduce oil imports to move the country further toward the goal of energy independence. Exporting LNG would squander the energy cost advantage that U.S. manufacturers enjoy over manufacturers in countries like Japan and South Korea where natural gas costs far more than in the U.S. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Fitch: US closer to becoming major LNG exporter (Nov 25) — LNG World News

This week the US Department of Energy (DOE) approved Freeport LNG’s Expansion and liquefaction facility. Freeport and Cameron LNG have broken ground on export facilities and Sabine Pass is in advanced construction, moving the US closer to becoming a major exporter of LNG.

With Freeport LNG, Cameron LNG, and Dominion’s Cove Point LNG projects underway and Cheniere set to finish construction on Sabine Pass and start exporting gas late next year, the US is moving closer to becoming a larger scale energy exporter. Whether or not this will have a meaningful impact on gas price remains unclear as the approved levels of export activity remain a small percentage of total U.S. gas production. The emergence of US LNG exports is contributing to the energy diversification strategy in countries like Japan that have been reliant on nuclear energy. However, the additional LNG capacity from the US is not expected to dramatically affect global pricing, as the projected US volumes are insufficient to materially alter the balance of global supply and demand. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Downeast LNG is way late to the LNG exporting party.

Sabic gets green light to export LNG from US to UK (Nov 24) — The National, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Sabic, Saudi Arabia’s largest chemicals company, has been given the go-ahead by United States authorities to export liquefied natural gas from the US to the UK as part of its worldwide expansion.

Mohamed Al Mady, Sabic’s chief executive, also said the company was planning to announce an investment in US shale gas shortly. “Shale gas is very important for us. Hopefully we will announce something in the near future about investment in US,” he said on the sidelines of the GPCA Forum in Dubai, an annual petrochemicals industry gathering.

North America

Promise of ‘Captain America’ fading for Asia’s LNG buyers (Nov 28) — Financial Post, Dons Mills, ON

North American liquefied natural gas projects, once believed to be the panacea that would save Asia from paying top dollar for the super chilled fuel, are proving to be less of a game changer than originally expected.

“A few years ago, there was a kind of enthusiasm that U.S. LNG would solve everything, that is the ‘Captain America’ story,” Ken Koyama, chief economist at Japan’s Institute of Energy Economics, told Reuters on the sidelines of the Singapore International Energy Week conference.

While the promise of North American LNG exports has had an effect on Asian markets, helping drive a shift to new hybrid price contracts and flexible delivery models, the slow rate of development has muted the overall impact.

…[E]xperts say the vast majority of [US and Canadian] export terminals will never be built, with just a handful expected to proceed on either side of the border.

“Gas exports in U.S. are still in a grey zone. Not forbidden, but not encouraged,” said Chen Wei Dong, Senior Economist with CNOOC Energy Economics Institute. “In Canada, there’s a lot of waiting … it’s slow, no hurry like China.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Vitol sees new LNG supply adding to glut as demand declines (Nov 26) — Bloomberg

Vitol SA expects new supply of liquefied natural gas arriving next year to exacerbate a growing surplus as a slump in demand pushed prices of the super-chilled fuel to the lowest in almost four years.

Plunging crude oil and mild winter weather in the Northern Hemisphere are already hurting prices for the fuel, according to David Thomas, the head of LNG at Vitol in Geneva. Prices have fallen 49 percent since February, according to World Gas Intelligence in New York. Current rates at about $10 per million British thermal units are justified, Thomas said.


Asian December spot LNG prices lowest since 2010 (Nov 28) — LNG World News

Asian spot LNG prices fell to their lowest December levels since 2010 as a build-up of uncommitted cargoes in the Pacific weighed heavily on the market amid weak economic sentiment, according to the ICIS East Asia Index (EAX). [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


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