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Passamaquoddy Bay & LNG

2015 May

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2015 May


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2015 May 30


American LNG Marketing authorized to export to FTA Nations (May 29) — LNG Law Blog

The U.S. Department of Energy has issued an order authorizing American LNG Marketing LLC to export, over a 20-year term, up to 600,000 metric tons per annum (approximately 30.2 Bcf/year) of domestically produced LNG from a proposed liquefaction facility in Titusville, Fla. to nations with a Free Trade Agreement with the United States. The LNG will be transported in approved ISO IMO7/TVAC-ASME LNG containers then loaded onto container ships or ocean-going carriers for export at Port Canaveral or other suitable ports in Florida.

Webmaster's comment: American LNG Marketing is direct competition to Dean Girdis' Nova Scotia LNG project — but is 1,000 miles closer to the Caribbean market than Girdis' Nova Scotia proposal. Girdis is also the president of Downeast LNG.

Appropriate LNG terminal siting seems beyond Dean Girdis' capability.

Gulf of Mexico

Cheniere requests prompt FERC action on rehearing of Sabine Pass Stage 3 facility authorization (May 29) — LNG Law Blog

Cheniere Energy (Cheniere) has sent a letter to FERC Chairman Norman Bay requesting that FERC act no later than June 6, 2015, on Sierra Club’s request for rehearing of FERC’s order authorizing the Stage 3 Project (Liquefaction Trains 5 and 6) facilities at the Sabine Pass LNG terminal in Cameron Parish, La. Cheniere states in the letter that the Stage 3 Project is ready to begin construction, the entire capacity of Train 5 is held by two European companies, and the European community is watching “to assess whether U.S. gas will be a reliable long term supply.” It further states that FERC action on the rehearing request by June 6, 2015 is necessary to permit a final investment decision to be made for the Stage 3 Project.


Alaska LNG pipeline project gets conditional export approval (May 28) — Alaska Dispatch News, Anchorage, AK

One of the largest natural gas projects in the world cleared another hurdle Thursday, when the Department of Energy approved a conditional license that would allow the Alaska LNG project to one day export liquefied natural gas to Asia.

The Energy Department said the approval will allow export of Alaska liquefied natural gas for 30 years to countries that don’t have a free trade agreement with the U.S., so long as the project makes it past a long and complex federal environmental review.

The Energy Department granted approval in November for exports to countries that have free-trade agreements with the U.S., such as South Korea.

The $50 billion Alaska LNG project would move North Slope gas through an 800-mile pipeline and liquefy it in Nikiski for shipment overseas.

The conditional approval can't be finalized until the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issues a final environmental impact statement for the project, a decision that may happen in another three years.

British Columbia

Dermod Travis: B.C. just might be getting played by LNG industry [Commentary] (May 29) — The Georgia Strait, Vancouver, BC

You know that uneasy feeling you get in your gut when you realize you might be getting played? Well, May 20 could turn out to be one of those days for B.C.

In Vancouver, with incredible fanfare, a 220-word memorandum of understanding was signed between British Columbia and Pacific Northwest LNG.

Gotta love this line of it: “Nothing in this MOU creates legal or financial obligations or liability on the Province or the Proponent.” Glad that's cleared up.

Down Under—13,200 kilometres away, at the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association conference in Melbourne—the tone was more sombre.

But—there's always a but—Australia could miss out: "As many of us forewarned, the second wave of LNG investment for Australia—which promised to deliver further benefits—is at serious risk of not happening, at least in the foreseeable future.”

Earlier this month, Sydney Morning Herald business columnist, Michael West, called Chevron “a hornswoggler of the highest order” over its tax dispute with Australian authorities. Evidently, hornswoggler isn't a complimentary term Down Under.

Setting the record straight on B.C. LNG: A response to criticisms (May 29) —

After a lot of media coverage on my Clear Look at BC LNG report, Rich Coleman, Minister of Natural Gas, weighed in saying "the report ignored the studies of B.C.'s own scientists" and "they don't do their research." In fact, if Mr. Coleman had bothered to read my report, my numbers are cited from B.C. Oil and Gas Commission reports -- the scientists Mr. Coleman employs.

The B.C. government's claim of 2,933 tcf of "marketable shale gas reserves" is therefore preposterous in the light of information from its own scientists. It appears the B.C. government has conflated "in-place" resources with "marketable" resources. "In-place" resource estimates are not recoverable -- typically no more than 10-20 per cent of the in-place resource is recoverable from shale gas plays. The National Energy Board and B.C. Oil and Gas Commission scientists have made a best guess at what might be recoverable and suggest it is 376 tcf, or one-eighth of the amount touted by the B.C. government. I have been generous in suggesting the B.C. government's number is only overstated by a factor of six.

B.C. signs LNG deal with Petronas-led group, but tax promises criticized (May 20) — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

The B.C. government has signed a development deal with Pacific NorthWest LNG in an aggressive move to spur the Malaysian-led project to become the first major Canadian exporter of liquefied natural gas.

Members of the Lax Kw’alaams recently overwhelmingly rejected a $1-billion cash offer over 40 years from the LNG venture, declining to give aboriginal consent to plans to build an export terminal on Lelu Island, located next to Flora Bank in northwestern British Columbia. Flora Bank, a sandy reef-like area visible at low tide, contains eelgrass beds crucial to the survival of juvenile salmon in the estuary of the Skeena River, according to the Lax Kw’alaams band. Lelu Island and Flora Bank are part of the traditional territory of the Lax Kw’alaams.

Protestors air concerns at LNG information session (May 20) — The Interior News, Smithers, BC

New Hazelton RCMP was onsite at the Kispiox Hall this morning to supervise a protest against an LNG information session held by the provincial government and the Gitxsan Development Corporation.

“It was the hereditary chiefs that spoke and they were talking about the water, the fish, how it's embarrassing that a few of the Gitxsan chiefs are participating in the pipeline discussions and negotiations,” [Madii Lii protest camp spokesperson Richard Wright] said.


600 rally in opposition to LNG exports (May 29) — EcoWatch

On Tuesday at the capitol steps in Salem, Oregon, more than 600 people rallied to oppose LNG exports. The rally included speeches from Umatilla Tribal Leader Cathy Sampson Kruse, State Rep. Peter Buckley (D-Ashland), impacted landowners and Waterkeeper Alliance President Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

The “No LNG Exports” Coalition formed to stop the Jordan Cove LNG and Oregon LNG terminals and pipelines and to stop fracked gas exports in the Pacific NW. Members include: 350 PDX, 350 Eugene, 350 Corvallis, 350 Salem, Cascadia Wildlands, The Center for Biological Diversity, Columbia Pacific Common Sense, Columbia Riverkeeper, Community Alliance of Lane County, Food & Water Watch, Landowners United, Northwest Environmental Defense Center, No KXL Pledge of Resistance Portland, Pipeline Awareness Southern Oregon, Raging Grannies Oregon, Rogue Climate, Rogue Riverkeeper, South Umpqua Rural Community Partnership, Sierra Club and Waterkeeper Alliance.

United States

I ran away and joined the FERC-us (May 29) — Environmental Action

Right now our team from beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) is wrapping up a big march through downtown D.C. where they’ve occupied the lobbies of some of Fracking’s most notorious companies: Spectra Energy (which is building pipelines across the northeast); the American Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA, the lobby group for frackers here in D.C.); And even NPR – which takes money from the fracking industry to air blatantly pro-gas ads on shows like Morning Edition and All Things Considered; and, of course, FERC headquarters on first street. We’re also receiving reports that some of the commissioners have shut off their phones or are refusing our calls. This is a good sign that our calls are making an impact! If you don’t get through on your first try, please call back and try leaving a message for a different commissioner, or push 6 to connect to the General Mailbox.

Today is the last day of our #FERCus blockade – a whole week of creative actions to shut down FERC and block fracked gas. FERC is supposed to regulate the gas industry, yet it constantly approves dangerous fracked gas projects like interstate pipelines, compressor stations and LNG projects. They ignore the communities who are hurt by these projects’ devastating health, economic, environmental and climate impacts. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Join the Phone Blockade at the FERC-us (May 29) — Environmental Action

[The Phone Blockade ended on Friday, May 29.]

Call (800) 588-9991 right now and back up front line communities rallying on the ground. Our FERCus bot will help you connect to the commissioners.

…If you don’t get through on your first try, please call back and try leaving a message for a different commissioner, and this time leave off the 800 (so just dial 1, not 8001) or push 6 to connect to the General Mailbox.

Today is the last day of our #FERCus blockade — a whole week of creative actions to shut down FERC and block fracked gas.…

U.S. renewable energy consumption hits 80 year high (May 28) — The Maritime Executive

Renewable energy has hit the highest rate of usage in over 80 years. In 2014 renewable energy accounted for 9.8% of total domestic energy consumption. This marks the highest renewable energy share since the 1930s, when wood was a much larger contributor to domestic energy supply.

In 2014, slightly more than half of all renewable energy was used to generate electricity. Within the electric power sector, renewable energy accounted for 13% of energy consumed, higher than its consumption share in any other sector.

United States: FERC declines to expand consideration of GHG emissions in project approvals but allows recovery of environmental compliance costs in certain cases (May 26) — Mondaq

While the D.C. Circuit remanded a pipeline approval to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") last year in Delaware Riverkeeper v. FERC for failing to consider the "cumulative environmental impacts" of new natural gas pipeline projects and expansions as required by the Natural Gas Act, FERC has not expanded the court's holding into the climate change arena. According to commenters in numerous certificate application proceedings, FERC has failed to consider or give sufficient weight to cumulative impacts on climate change in pipeline certificate proceedings. See, e.g., Comments of the Sierra Club, the Clean Air Council, and the Allegheny Defense Project. These commenters argue that FERC must consider each project's greenhouse gas emissions together with emissions from related shale gas development because midstream projects support upstream development. So far, FERC rejects this approach.

In a May 2015 decision that is now being challenged at the D.C. Circuit, FERC rejected arguments by EarthReports and the Allegheny Defense Project that it failed to consider the climate change impacts of the Cove Point Liquefaction Project, which will enable the export of liquefied natural gas ("LNG") from an existing import terminal. . FERC reasoned that "the future development of upstream production is speculative and not reasonably foreseeable," and therefore falls outside the scope of the required analysis. In addition, it dismissed concerns about the impacts of end use consumption resulting from the project because "countries seeking to import natural gas will continue to negotiate and find natural gas supplies. Therefore, end use consumption of natural gas will likely occur regardless of whether this project is approved." Similarly, in April FERC rejected concerns about the climate change impacts of another new LNG and export project, stating that "the environmental impacts resulting from production activity induced by LNG exports to non-FTA countries are not 'reasonably foreseeable'" within the meaning of the rules governing environmental assessments. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: FERC logic is akin to: If I don't take the bribe, then someone else will.


2015 May 27

Nova Scotia & New Brunswick

US DOE export decision moves Nova Scotia LNG project ahead (May 26) — Platts

A recent favorable decision by the US Department of Energy means a proposed project designed to export up to 10 million mt/year of LNG from the coast of Nova Scotia needs only two more export permit approvals, the project developer said Tuesday, adding it continues to target first gas in early 2020.

The DOE on Friday granted Pieridae Energy USA Ltd. long-term multi-contract authorization to export gas to Canada, both for end use there and for use to create LNG for export from Canada to countries with which the US has entered into a free trade agreement.

Pieridae, which had applied for permission to export 292 Bcf/year of natural gas (800 MMcf/d) via the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline system from a border crossing near Baileyville, Maine, plans to process the gas at its proposed LNG liquefaction facility in Goldboro, Nova Scotia, and then export the LNG to FTA countries.

Under current US law, the DOE is required to quickly grant permits to export gas to FTA countries, but most review non-FTA applications to ensure that exports would be in the national interest. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Bear Head LNG facility might not make it off the ground (May 21) — CBC News

A U.S. energy consultant doubts a planned liquefied natural gas facility in Cape Breton will ever be built.

Barbara Shook, bureau chief of the Houston-based Energy Intelligence Group, says the region is competing with massive LNG projects in the U.S. that are ready to go.

"I just don't see how the Nova Scotia project can compete with somebody who actually has money, who actually has a contractor, who actually has customers, who actually has supply," she said.

Bear Head purchased the Point Tupper site from Anadarko Global Holdings Company in August for $11 million. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: These same problems exist with at least one of Downeast LNG president Dean Girdis's two new LNG projects in Nova Scotia, named Nova Scotia LNG. One of Girdis's projects is actually proposing to ship LNG from Nova Scotia to the Caribbean — 1,000 miles farther than required by Gulf of Mexico LNG projects, and 1,000 miles farthter than the Floridian Natural Gas Storage Company's LNG project in Florida that is, in part, designed to supply relatively small quantities of LNG to the Caribbean.

TAYLOR: Corridor among several gas firms focusing on seasonal operations (May 26) — The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, NS

Corridor Resources Inc. is the latest company to reveal that it has cut production at its New Brunswick gas fields during the warm weather, when the price for the commodity dips to its lowest in the New England market.

Instead, the Halifax-based company will focus on exporting its gas to New England once the weather turns colder and prices start to rise, says Steve Moran, Corridor’s president and CEO.

Corridor is not the only producer to turn their project into a seasonally focused operation.

Encana Corp. of Calgary has made no secret about turning its Deep Panuke project off the Nova Scotia coast into one that caters to the winter market in New England.

Importing [US] gas into the Maritimes is expected to be at least $3 per thousand cubic feet [more expensive] due to the tolls and transmission costs of bringing the gas to this market. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Let's get this straight: Five LNG projects in Nova Scotia want US natural gas to come north so they can export it overseas (at $3/mcf more expense than Canadian natural gas), but Corridor Resources in New Brunswick wants to ship natural gas south to the US. At least Corridor Resources is not planning on building an LNG terminal.

New England

National Grid sees only a limited role for LNG [Letter] (May 21) — The Boston Globe, Boston, MA

IN “DISTRIGAS says its deals should prevent shortages” (Business, May 11), Distrigas implies that its new contract with National Grid indicates that we are increasingly relying on imported liquefied natural gas to serve our customers. That’s not true.

LNG is no panacea for the region’s energy challenges. That’s why we signed on as a customer of the proposed Northeast Energy Direct pipeline and why our local electric companies are exploring the proposed Access Northeast pipeline. Both projects will deliver cost-effective, abundant domestic natural gas to New England from a few hundred miles away, not thousands of miles.

We believe New England’s long-term energy needs can best be met with a balance of large-scale renewables, enhanced demand-reduction programs, and new natural gas pipeline capacity. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

British Columbia

Going big on LNG may have major negative consequences for BC: report (May 26) — News1130, Vancouver, BC

While there’s no question LNG burns cleaner that conventional gas, when you factor in the fracking process used to extract it, the greenhouse gas emission impact is greater, says geoscientist David Hughes, who put together the report for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

“Things like water contamination and the fact that greenhouse gas emissions from the process of extracting fuel gas are quite a bit higher than conventional gas. Then there’s the issue of surface disturbance.”

Imagine 22,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools of our water being used in the fracking process by 2040; Huges says that’s what we could looking at, and the methane emissions could be just as worrying. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

B.C. signs LNG deal with Petronas-led group, but tax promises criticized (May 20) — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

The B.C. government has signed a development deal with Pacific NorthWest LNG in an aggressive move to spur the Malaysian-led project to become the first major Canadian exporter of liquefied natural gas.

Members of the Lax Kw’alaams recently overwhelmingly rejected a $1-billion cash offer over 40 years from the LNG venture, declining to give aboriginal consent to plans to build an export terminal on Lelu Island, located next to Flora Bank in northwestern British Columbia. Flora Bank, a sandy reef-like area visible at low tide, contains eelgrass beds crucial to the survival of juvenile salmon in the estuary of the Skeena River, according to the Lax Kw’alaams band. Lelu Island and Flora Bank are part of the traditional territory of the Lax Kw’alaams.

…Last September, Petronas threatened to cancel the massive venture, complaining about regulatory delays and pushing the B.C. government to move faster in drafting stable and predictable tax and LNG rules.

The project development agreement with Pacific NorthWest LNG promises compensation if a future government seeks to raise tax rates in a way that targets the LNG industry. That template will apply to other firms, as well.

While future governments could still change the carbon tax or corporate income tax rates across the board, for example, LNG proponents could be entitled to compensation if the industry is singled out for tax changes or if costs rise due to tougher environmental requirements.


LNG pipeline protest draws hundreds from around Oregon — Statesman Journal, Salem, OR

Hundreds of people rallied at the Oregon Capitol on Tuesday, calling on Gov. Kate Brown to block two proposed liquefied natural gas, or LNG, export terminals in the state.

"This is an assault not just on the environment, but an assault on democracy," speaker Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told the crowd. "It just is a bad deal all around."

Kennedy said LNG exports also will raise natural gas prices in the U.S. and will encourage more jobs to move overseas.

Participants marched from the Capitol to the Oregon Department of State Lands, which has legal authority to block LNG terminals and pipelines.

The rally was organized by the No LNG Exports Coalition. Members include the Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, Columbia Riverkeeper, Northwest Environmental Defense Center and more.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. joins farmers and ranchers to call on Gov. Brown to reject LNG exports (May 26) — EcoWatch

For more than 10 years, gas companies have been pushing plans for huge liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals on the Columbia River and Coos Bay, and Oregonians have stood firm to protect our farms, forests and rivers. Today, hundreds of Oregonians including farmers, ranchers, business owners and conservationists are going to send a clear message to Oregon’s new Governor that the time has come for Oregon to reject fracked gas export terminals.

“Oregon is viewed as a leader in combating climate change, yet the fossil fuel industry is pushing to make Oregon a trafficker of fracked gas to the entire world through these LNG export proposals,” said Kennedy. “Oregon should stand firm in protecting iconic salmon-bearing rivers like the Rogue and Columbia and in the process reaffirm its goal of reducing climate pollution by rejecting LNG export terminals and pipelines.”

Oregon faces two LNG export proposals—one in Coos Bay and the other on the Columbia River—coupled with associated proposals to construct hundreds of miles of new natural gas pipelines throughout Oregon and Washington. Opposition to the LNG projects has created unusual alliances, inspiring rural landowners near proposed pipelines to join forces with conservationists and climate activists.

Oregon rancher refuses to allow natural gas pipeline on his property (May 26) — Portland Business Journal, Portland, OR

Bill Gow is a retired iron worker who began buying land in Douglas County near Coos Bay for Gow Ranch in the late 1980s.

His picturesque ranch lies in the path of a pipeline needed to carry natural gas from Malin on the east side of the Cascades to Coos Bay, where Veresen Inc. (TSX: VSN) is attempting to build the Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas export terminal. Veresen is a partner in the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline through a subsidiary.

Gow said he’s been offered $14,000 in exchange for granting a 100-foot by two-mile easement that will affect 26 acres.

He has a myriad of reasons for refusing the offer. He says a pipeline is potentially unsafe, will devalue his ranch and bring unwelcome workers and equipment to the property.

United States

Feds resist push for new pipelines (May 23) — The Hill, Washington, DC

The Obama administration is resisting a congressional push to establish new natural gas pipelines on federal lands in the eastern United States.

…[T]he Interior Department says it opposes the bill, arguing that it would limit public input on new pipeline projects, and calling its timelines too constricting.

MacArthur’s bill calls for establishing at least 10 “energy corridors,” swatches of land on which energy transmission lines would be set up, in the eastern United States within two years. It would also speed up the permitting process and environmental reviews.

In testimony to a House subcommittee this week, Timothy Spisak, a Bureau of Land Management official, said that is “too short a timeline to adequately coordinate with states, tribes, and other federal partners, and the public.”

US natural gas net imports fall to lowest level since 1987 (May 21) — Resource Investing News

The US Energy Information Administration reported that US net imports of natural gas decreased by 9 percent in 2014, totaling 1,171 billion cubic feet and reaching the lowest level since 1987.

“Net imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2014 totaled 43 Bcf, down 54 percent from the level in 2013 and continuing a five-year decline. LNG exports increased from 2013 levels, but not enough to offset a nearly 40 percent decrease in total LNG imports in 2014.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Energy independence: U.S. gas imports lowest in 28 years (May 21) — The Daily Caller, Washington, DC

The U.S. most of its natural gas imports through Canadian pipelines, but even this piped gas had trouble competing with increased U.S. shale production. EIA says that “imports from Canada represented 7% of total U.S. natural gas consumption in 2014, down from 11% in 2009.”

Also of note, is that U.S. gas exports decreased as well last year, but at a much slower rate than the decline in gas imports. EIA data shows that gas exports were “still 9% above the previous five-year average.”

Jeb Bush on climate change: not 'highest priority,' some scientists 'arrogant' on debate (May 21) — Latin Post, New York, NY

"It's this intellectual arrogance that now you can't even have a conversation about it," continued Bush. "The climate is changing, and we need to adapt to that reality."

Bush said, "If the president thinks this is the gravest threat to our national security, it seems like he would say, 'let's expand LNG (liquefied natural gas) as fast as we can to get it into the hands of higher carbon-intense economies like China and other places. Let's figure out ways to use compressed natural gas for replacing importing diesel fuel, which has a higher carbon footprint.'" [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


2015 May 20

Nova Scotia

N.S. approves Bear Head LNG plant (May 19) — The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, NS

But construction of LNG plant contingent on company meeting 32 conditions

The approval comes with 32 caveats that the company must agree to before commencing development.

The conditions, released Tuesday afternoon, require Bear Head to produce several management, monitoring and contingency plans for air emissions, greenhouse gases, noise, birds, wildlife (especially species at risk), traffic and water sources.

Moreover, Bear Head will have to operate and consult with a community liaison committee that must include municipal, Mi’kmaq and citizen representatives.

Catherine Abreu, energy co-ordinator with the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax, said Tuesday the inclusion of environmental conditions was missing in the recently approved Goldboro LNG project.

“With Bear Head, we know if built as planned, it will increase provincial emissions by 10 per cent over 2012 levels … a 10 per cent increase from one project is really extreme.”

“The conversation we need to be having is about the overall impact (of LNG projects) to greenhouse gas emissions in Nova Scotia, and the plans that we have to meet the legislated goals that we have.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Nova Scotia approves Bear Head LNG — LNG World News

The NSE [Nova Scotia Department of Environment] approval is the last of the 10 initial federal, provincial and local regulatory approvals needed to construct an LNG export facility on the Strait of Canso in Nova Scotia.

Bear Head LNG is now the only LNG project in Eastern Canada with all of the 10 project approvals and permits in place necessary for construction, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

Webmaster's comment: Bear Head LNG has not disclosed the source of natural gas it needs for its project. It may require US natural gas, meaning project success would require reversing the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline.

Gulf of Mexico

Freeport LNG requests initiation of Pre-Filing procedures for fourth liquefaction train — LNG Law Blog

Freeport LNG Development, L.P. has filed a request with FERC for initiation of the pre-filing environmental review process for the construction of a fourth gas liquefaction train, with a production capacity of approximately 5.1 million tonnes per annum, at the Freeport LNG Liquefaction Project and LNG export terminal currently under construction on Quintana Island, Texas.

British Columbia

LNG opponents protest Kispiox information meeting — The Interior News, Smithers, BC

The RCMP was onsite at the Kispiox Hall this morning to supervise a protest against an LNG information session being held by the provincial government and the Gitxsan Development Corporation.

Tomorrow's presentation is by Alex Grzybowski from mediation company Pacific Resolutions.

According to its website, Pacific Resolutions specializes in “engaging adversaries in negotiations that overcome apparently intractable and highly conflicted situations, particularly in the areas of land and water use and ownership”.

[Richard Wright] is a spokesperson for the Madii Lii protest camp on the Suskwa Forest Service Road, which blocks access to the Luutkudziiwus House territory where TransCanada's proposed Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Pipeline would cross.

Luutkudziiwus was among a group of Gitxsan traditional houses called wilps which took legal action collectively against the Gitxsan Treaty Society, claiming the GTS does not have the authority to speak on behalf of all wilps in its negotiations with the government.

Wright said the protest was to highlight local opposition to the provincial government's approach to negotiating with the Gitxsan First Nation through the GDC and the affiliated Gitxsan Treaty Society.

B.C., Petronas reach deal on LNG project development agreement (May 19) — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

The B.C. government will announce plans on Wednesday to sign a project development agreement with the Pacific NorthWest LNG joint venture led by Malaysia’s Petronas.

Pacific NorthWest LNG has yet to make a final investment decision and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency recently restarted its review of the controversial project. Federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq could render a final decision on the LNG project some time between mid-September and early October, depending on whether there are further delays in the lengthy regulatory process.

Lax Kw’alaams members recently overwhelmingly rejected a $1-billion cash offer over 40 years from the LNG venture, declining to give aboriginal consent to plans to build an export terminal on Lelu Island, located next to Flora Bank in northwestern British Columbia. Flora Bank, a sandy reef-like area, contains eelgrass beds crucial to the survival of juvenile salmon in the estuary of the Skeena River, according to the Lax Kw’alaams band.

Some industry analysts say that the combined Shell-BG firm will focus its attention on the Shell-led LNG Canada joint venture in Kitimat, leaving BG’s Ridley Island rights possibly up for grabs, but that could take years to play out. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


Rally against pipelines (May 19) — Willamette Live, Salem, OR

On May 26 people from all over western Oregon will rally at the Capitol to deliver a message to Governor Brown and other state officials “No LNG; No Pipelines; Protect Oregon Our Home.” Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. President of the Waterkeeper Alliance will give the keynote speech.

The rally will call attention to two liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals proposed for Oregon, along with energy-intensive liquefaction plants, and hundreds of miles of pipeline carrying fracked natural gas. Both sites, in Coos Bay on the southern Oregon Coast and in Warrenton at the mouth of the Columbia River, are in earthquake and tsunami zones with estuaries prized for fisheries and recreation. A one-hundred-foot wide zone will be taken by eminent domain if necessary and cleared to build pipelines that will cross the Columbia, Umpqua, and Rogue Rivers, 400 streams, farmland, and public land including old growth forest and riparian reserves. Accommodating the massive ships – longer than the Oregon Capitol Building – that will carry LNG overseas requires large parcels of land and dredging bays in Warrenton and Coos Bay.

…Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director says, “Natural gas is not a bridge – it’s a gangplank.” Liquefying, shipping and re-gasifying mean that LNG is even more energy intensive. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

United States

In heavily fracked Ohio County, unsafe levels of toxic pollutants — InsideClimate News

New study finds fracking releases cancer-causing chemicals into the air many times higher than the EPA considers safe.

Emissions generated by fracking operations may be exposing people to some toxic pollutants at levels higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for long-term exposure, according to scientists from Oregon State University and the University of Cincinnati.

The researchers took air samples in Carroll County, the home of 480 permitted wells––the most in any of Ohio's 88 counties. The team found chemicals released during oil and gas extraction that can raise people's risk of cancer and respiratory ailments.

"You can't extrapolate to every situation, but the findings in our study might give one pause to want more information on air quality if they were living near these kinds of operations," said Kim Anderson, an environmental chemist with OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

The lifetime cancer risk in the study area estimated for maximum residential exposure was 2.9 in 10,000, which is nearly three times the EPA's acceptable risk level of 1 in 10,000, according to the study. Anderson cautioned that the study numbers are worst-case estimates and can't predict the risk to any individual. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Growing U.S. exports to transform global LNG market — Calgary Herald, Calgary, AB

When the first tanker carrying liquefied natural gas from shale fields leaves the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana in December, it will turn consumers into traders with more bargaining power. That will transform a market dominated by long-term contracts into one where spot trading gains prominence, similar to crude oil.

Last week, the Energy Department gave Cheniere Energy Inc. final approval for the nation’s fifth major export terminal at Corpus Christi, Texas, which will ship the fuel from 2018.

Bill passes U.S. House which promotes use of U.S. flag vessels for LNG transport — LNG Law Blog

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 1987), which, according to the bill’s co-author Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), among other things, “direct[s] the Secretary of Transportation to develop guidelines to promote the use of U.S. flag ships and U.S. mariners in the imminent export of Liquefied Natural Gas.


Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF (May 18) — The Guardian, UK

‘Shocking’ revelation finds $5.3tn subsidy estimate for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments

Fossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3tn (£3.4tn) a year, equivalent to $10m a minute every day, according to a startling new estimate by the International Monetary Fund.

The vast sum is largely due to polluters not paying the costs imposed on governments by the burning of coal, oil and gas. These include the harm caused to local populations by air pollution as well as to people across the globe affected by the floods, droughts and storms being driven by climate change.

Nicholas Stern, an eminent climate economist at the London School of Economics, said: “This very important analysis shatters the myth that fossil fuels are cheap by showing just how huge their real costs are. There is no justification for these enormous subsidies for fossil fuels, which distort markets and damages economies, particularly in poorer countries.”

The IMF, one of the world’s most respected financial institutions, said that ending subsidies for fossil fuels would cut global carbon emissions by 20%. That would be a giant step towards taming global warming, an issue on which the world has made little progress to date.

Ending the subsidies would also slash the number of premature deaths from outdoor air pollution by 50% – about 1.6 million lives a year.

Reform of the subsidies would increase energy costs but Kim and the IMF both noted that existing fossil fuel subsidies overwhelmingly go to the rich, with the wealthiest 20% of people getting six times as much as the poorest 20% in low and middle-income countries. Gaspar said that with oil and coal prices currently low, there was a “golden opportunity” to phase out subsidies and use the increased tax revenues to reduce poverty through investment and to provide better targeted support. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


2015 May 19


Environmentalists protest "dirty fuel" (May 17) — MPBN News

A group of environmental advocates formed a human chain across Higgins Beach in Scarborough Saturday, in support of sustainable energy. Hands Across the Sands was part of a synchronized demonstration with other environmental groups across the Mid and Southern Atlantic, to protest expanded oil development.

"This year in Maine, it's particularly relevant, " said Glen Brand, Executive Director of Sierra Club's Maine Chapter, one of several groups that organized the event. "Governor LePage has recently come out in favor of opening up the Gulf of Maine to oil drilling."

The Hands Across the Sands event was organized by Surfrider Foundation, Environment Maine, Sierra Club, and 350 Maine.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia environment minister approves liquefied natural gas project — Winnipeg Free Press, Winnipeg, MB [Paid subscription]

POINT TUPPER, N.S. - A proposed liquefied natural gas export facility in Cape Breton has received its environmental approval from the Nova Scotia government

The Environment Department says Bear Head LNG Corp. must address 32 terms and conditions to control greenhouse-gas emissions and to reduce impacts on wildlife, water and wetlands at the site near Port Hawkesbury.

Gulf of Mexico

US firm eyes first LNG deal with China — The Rakyat Post, Malaysia

Chinese buyers are eyeing long-term supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from US company Cheniere Energy, an official from the firm said today, in what would be the first LNG deal between the world’s two biggest energy users.

Cheniere Energy is set to become the first US LNG exporter, with shipments to start by the end of this year. However, no Chinese companies have signed up for any US LNG cargoes so far.

“There’s a lot of interest from Chinese buyers for long-term LNG volume, especially for 2020 onwards,” said Nicolas Zanen, vice president for Asia at Cheniere Marketing Pte Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cheniere Energy Inc.

Due to soaring output and cheaper oil, Asia’s spot LNG prices have fallen by almost two-thirds since February of last year. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Texas LNG files draft resource reports — LNG World News

Texas LNG filed preliminary draft resource reports 1 and 10 with the United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The resource reports are a part of the pre-filing environmental review of the Texas LNG project that was approved on April 14, the company said.

FERC releases update on Venture Global Calcasieu Pass LNG project (May 18) — LNG Law Blog

FERC has released an update on its environmental review of Venture Global Calcasieu Pass’s (Venture Global) proposed 487.2 Bcf/year liquefaction facility and LNG export terminal on the Calcasieu Ship Channel in Cameron Parish, La. The next major step in the process will be FERC Staff’s issuance of comments on Venture Global’s draft environmental resource reports. The update states that Venture Global plans to file a formal application for the project with FERC near the end of summer 2015. FERC will then prepare a draft environmental impact statement which will be released for public comment.

British Columbia

No LNG project without environmental guarantees, B.C. grand chief vows (May 17) — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

A senior aboriginal leader in British Columbia says First Nations will continue to oppose oil and gas developments in the province even if it means rejecting billion-dollar payouts – as long as environmental protections are not guaranteed.

Setting a high – if not impossible – bar for corporations such as Pacific NorthWest LNG, which is trying to move ahead with a liquefied natural gas terminal, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said a community vote to reject the development was a clear sign that both business and government must reject their “gold rush mentality” for a more sustainable approach.

He called the vote a “proud moment,” an informed decision that came about only after the members sought expert advice on the environmental risks. He stressed that “this is not merely an indigenous issue.” The First Nations are also speaking, he said, for “British Columbians who are not willing to accept any unnecessary risks for the interests of transnational corporations and their profits.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Controversial LNG energy project faces environmental review (May 18) — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has restarted its review of Pacific NorthWest LNG after an 11-week delay, putting the regulator in a position to issue a draft report on whether to grant conditional approval to the controversial B.C. energy project.

Public comments will be invited for the regulator’s draft report, expected by this summer. CEAA will ask the venture to meet an array of environmental conditions before and during construction, if approval is granted, industry observers say.

The federal agency is examining a report commissioned by Pacific NorthWest LNG and filed to CEAA on May 5. The report prepared by engineering firm Stantec Inc. argues there will be little to no environmental impact from building an $11.4-billion LNG terminal on Lelu Island. The picturesque island near Prince Rupert is part of the traditional territory of the Lax Kw’alaams in northwestern British Columbia.

Lax Kw’alaams members recently overwhelmingly rejected a $1-billion cash offer over 40 years from the LNG venture led by Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas, declining to give aboriginal consent to the project. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


LNG opponents rallying in Salem next week — The World, Coos Bay, OR

At noon May 26, members of the No LNG Exports Coalition will converge on the capital for a rally to oppose liquefied natural gas export facilities in Oregon. The rally will include speeches from tribal leaders, landowners and a keynote speech from Waterkeeper Alliance president Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Jordan Cove is proposed for the North Spit in Coos Bay, while Oregon LNG would be on the Columbia River in Warrenton. In addition, the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline would be constructed from Malin to Coos Bay to transport natural gas, and the Oregon Pipeline would be built to transport natural gas from Woodland, Wash.

United States

LNG exporters facing a buyers’ market, experts say — IFA Magazine, UK

As competition intensifies between traditional exporters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and upcoming ones, the wider natural gas market has turned in buyers’ favour, according to experts at the Baker & McKenzie Oil & Gas Institute in Houston. With additional volumes of US and Australian natural gas heading for export markets, traditional exporters such as Qatar and Russia are facing increasing competition ushering in more competitive prices, albeit with regional disparities that are particularly pronounced in Asia.

Bob Henderson, associate general counsel for new business development and integrated gas at Royal Dutch Shell, said LNG export market was heading for a challenging time. “Both US and Australia are set to add 60mn tonnes of natural gas per annum; by any stretch of the imagination such volumes imply that it remains a LNG buyers’ market.”

Tokyo Gas targets more U.S. shale gas investments -exec — Hellenic Shipping News, Hellas (a.k.a., Greece)

Tokyo Gas Co Ltd, Japan’s biggest gas utility, is looking to invest in more U.S. shale gas production as a hedge to liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports from the United States to start next year, a company executive said.

The company has inked contracts to buy 1.9 million tonnes per year (tpy) of LNG from U.S. producers and aims to invest in an equal volume in the upstream sector, said Shigeru Muraki, a board member and executive adviser at Tokyo Gas.

The company has contracted to buy 1.4 million tpy of U.S. LNG from the Cove Point project, which will start shipments in the second or third quarter next year, and 0.5 million tpy from Mitsui & Co’s Cameron project, he said.

U.S. natural gas projects face Keystone-like resistance (May 17) — USA Today

ANGA President Marty Durbin suggested that opponents of projects like Dominion's Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Cove Point LNG export plant are taking a cue from resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline, the $7 billion project that would carry oil from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

"These aren't new issues," Durbin said of questions over safety and property access that are common to energy projects. "These are things that pipeline developers have had to deal with for a long time. But we've seen a change in the debate. I hesitate to put it this way, but call it the Keystone-ization of every pipeline project that's out there, that if you can stop one permit, you can stop the development of fossil fuels. That's changing the way we have to manage these projects."

ANGA forum examines resistance to new gas pipeline projects (May 15) — Oil & Gas Journal

A growing public outcry from their constituents against mid-winter price spikes may be necessary to convince some public officials that supporting natural gas pipeline construction is in their own best interests, speakers agreed at a May 14 Infrastructure Week discussion hosted by America’s Natural Gas Alliance.

“At some point, the general populace will say, ‘This is stupid, and you’re taking money out of our pockets,’” said Sean McGarvey, president of North America’s Building Trades Unions, in reference to many New England residents’ gas bills jumping dramatically in early 2014 because the region’s pipeline capacity has not been able to expand in response to rising demand.

Webmaster's comment: That's right, there was a regional natural gas shortage in 2014 — not 2015. Why not in 2015? Because regional electricity producers actually planned ahead. The 2015 heating season has demonstrated that planning negates the need for the mad rush to construct more pipelines at ratepayers' expense.


2015 May 16


LePage wants energy policy changes (May 14) — MPBN News

"The actual policy that we should be looking for in our state is lower pollution, lower cost," [energy office Director Patrick Woodcock] says. "Any type of technology that can deliver those results should be promoted."

And that, Woodcock says, includes doing away with what's called the renewable portfolio standard, a provision in current law that requires electricity providers to demonstrate that a certain percentage of their supply comes from renewable sources.

"This bill takes a wrecking ball to our clean energy policies that have been thoughtfully established in a bipartisan manner over the last decade," [Dylan Voorhees of the Natural Resources Council of Maine] says.

Voorhees says that requiring part of the energy used by Mainers come from renewable sources, including wind and solar, is crucial to moving the state away from its dependence on fossil fuels, which cause pollution and are subject to serious fluctuations in cost.

But while that proposal faces clear opposition, another part of the governor's plan may garner more support. It would allow the state regulators to select a firm to act as an agent for very small solar providers. Dion says there are other similar measures before his committee that are aimed at this sector of the energy landscape.

New England

The alternatives to new natural gas pipelines (May 15) — Conservation Law Foundation, Boston, MA

Now that we’ve made it through the winter, policymakers in Massachusetts are taking a look at the state of energy in the Commonwealth and trying to sort out what to do about the big energy policy questions currently on the table. First among these questions is what, if any, public policy support and funding should be invested in natural gas pipeline infrastructure.

For several years now CLF has been calling for caution in the pipeline debate by debunking myths presented by pipeline proponents, exploring the environmental and economic ramifications of overbuilding natural gas infrastructure, and highlighting alternatives to pipeline investments. I had the opportunity this week to present CLF’s broad vision for the future of energy in New England to the Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy.

CLF is skeptical about new gas pipeline infrastructure buildout and efforts to put additional public money toward such projects. This skepticism is based in 1) the climate implications of entrenching gas further in our energy system, 2) the short-term economic effects of building new infrastructure when we’re not maximizing the infrastructure we already have, and 3) the medium- to long-term economic effects of fossil fuel prices dictating our energy prices.

Rather than more investments in fossil fuel-based energy, then, let’s instead invest wisely in energy efficiency and long-term contracts for renewable energy. And where the use of natural gas is currently necessary, let’s use LNG to supplement natural gas supply during periods of peak usage. Expanding our natural gas pipelines and our reliance on this carbon intensive and price volatile fuel should be New England’s last resort. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: There is sufficient natural gas pipeline capacity when combined with existing LNG import capacity.


Why did NY ban fracking? The official report is now public (May 15) — InsideClimate News

The massive study finds that health, safety and environmental uncertainties regarding fracking's dangers have 'grown worse over time.'

New York issued its long-awaited environmental assessment of fracking Wednesday detailing a wide range of health and climate concerns that underpinned Governor Andrew Cuomo's decision last December to impose a statewide ban on the practice.

Issued by the Department of Environmental Conservation, the "Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement" took more than six years to produce, as public comments on drafts and the burgeoning literature on the various effects of fracking led to repeated revisions of the study.

Industry, for example, has long asserted that fracking fluid has never migrated to or tainted underground drinking water, but documented cases have revealed drinking water contamination from fracking. A study this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found the presence of chemicals used in fracking fluids in the drinking water of three Pennsylvania households. State regulators also detected methane in the families' water. Similarly, leakage rates into the atmosphere of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that could wipe out the climate benefit of natural gas, remain unclear as major studies only now get underway.

Webmaster's comment: The study and article include the following topics: Air, climate change, drinking water, surface spills, surface water contamination, earthquakes and creation of fissures, community impacts.

Gulf of Mexico

Freeport LNG says U.S. gov't did not advise against Chinese investors (May 15) — Reuters

May 15 The head of Freeport LNG on Friday said that the U.S. Department of Energy did not advise against inviting Chinese investment in the company's Texas export plant, backing down from contradictory claims made on Thursday.

Michael Smith, the chief executive of privately-owned Freeport LNG, which is building a plant to export liquefied natural gas to Asia from 2018, said he misspoke on Thursday when during an interview with Reuters he said the DOE had warned Freeport against Chinese investment in the project for political reasons.

"I regret having inaccurately described the DOE as having advised us as such," he said.

"We were advised by the DOE to be careful who our customers were, because this is very political," he said in the interview on Thursday, calling the prospect of Chinese interest in a major U.S. export project as "a political hot potato we couldn't take the risk on."

A DOE spokeswoman said on Friday that it did not advise Freeport against sending LNG to Chinese customers or inviting Chinese investment. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: It would not be surprising if FERC actually had advised Freeport LNG against Chinese customers; however, having it exposed so publicly in the news media was diplomatically embarrassing. If so, it is logical that Freeport LNG's best interests would be to fall on its sword on this issue.

British Columbia

Lax Kw’alaams rejects billion-dollar LNG deal (May 15) — Dissident Voice

The BC Liberal government and LNG industry suffered a blow this week with a final losing vote amongst Lax Kw’alaams Band members over a billion-dollar package offered to support Petronas’ Pacific NorthWest LNG plant near Prince Rupert.

The proponent has agreed to make some modifications to its design and a conveniently-timed report which it paid for argues the impacts will be negligible. But independent scientists disagree, suggesting the project could collapse already troubled Skeena stocks. And let’s not forget – this is the same proponent that literally erased the entire Skeena River and estuary from its initial project maps! So it’s easy to see how a few project tweaks and a company report would do little to sway Lax Kw’alaams members.

Map with no Skeena River.

Webmaster's comment: LNG developers all seem to use underhanded tactics.

Pacific NorthWest working to keep B.C. LNG export project alive (May 13) — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

Pacific NorthWest LNG is scrambling to come up with a Plan B after the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation soundly rejected the Malaysian-led project’s $1-billion cash offer aimed at securing its support for a B.C. liquefied natural gas terminal.

The company said project leader Petronas and its five Asian partners are willing to make changes in response. A key option is to relocate a planned suspension bridge and trestle that the native people said was too close to the environmentally sensitive habitat of juvenile salmon in Flora Bank, which is part of the traditional territory of Lax Kw’alaams.

While the Petronas-led group’s defeat does not sound the death knell for British Columbia’s fledgling LNG industry, it is a warning that aboriginal people will vigorously defend their traditional territory against projects that place fish stocks at risk. The opposition by the Lax Kw’alaams also underscores that many more difficult months and years lie ahead before complex engineering solutions are found to reduce environmental risks, especially to protect the habitat of fish that are a major food source for First Nations. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Canadian LNG projects facing multiple challenges (May 15) — Natural Gas Intelligence [Paid subscription]

Industry and the pro-development British Columbia (BC) government have been warned not to count Canadian liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports before they flow -- by the National Energy Board (NEB) as well as aboriginal protesters.

The NEB sounded a cautious note in a decision to grant the 13th long-term export license for a proposed tanker terminal, as a warning that overseas sales are unlikely to grow enough to strain supplies or drive up prices on domestic gas markets.


Two Oregon LNG export projects draw protest rally (May 15) — Natural Gas Intelligence [Paid subscription]

Shadowed by local opposition for nearly 10 years, two proponed Oregon liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects in the home stretch of the federal permitting process are the target of a rally set for later in May in the state capital at Salem. Opponents hope to get state officials to try to block the projects.

A coalition called "No LNG Exports" has scheduled an appearance at the May 26 rally by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Waterkeeper Alliance president, and has inundated social media in seeking a large turnout on the Capitol steps as a way to get help from recently installed Gov. Kate Brown.

The two pending projects -- Oregon LNG along the Columbia River near where it empties into the Pacific Ocean, and Jordan Cove LNG on the south-central Pacific Coast at Coos Bay, OR, along with respective connecting transmission pipelines -- are in the final stages of obtaining federal authority to build and export LNG to non-free trade agreement nations (see Daily GPI, Nov. 4, 2014).

Oregon LNG Project Manager Peter Hansen said he thinks the opposition is part of a "nationwide anti-natural gas campaign funded by certain East Coast law firms and West Coast hedge fund managers together with members of the Hollywood elite." Along with established environmental groups, the opposition has support from "anti-development groups," he said. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Rally to oppose two Oregon LNG export projects set for May 26 (May 15) — LNG World News

Hundreds of Oregonians including farmers, ranchers, business owners, and conservationists will gather on Tuesday, May 26, at 12:00 pm at the Capitol steps in Salem, Oregon, for a rally to oppose liquefied natural gas exports throughout Oregon.

The rally will include speeches from tribal leaders, impacted landowners, and a keynote speech from Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Waterkeeper Alliance President, the Coalition said in a statement.

Oregon faces two LNG export proposals — one in Coos Bay and the other on the Columbia River — coupled with associated proposals to construct hundreds of miles of new natural gas pipelines throughout Oregon and Washington. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

United States

Dozens denied access to FERC public meeting (May 14) — DCMediaGroup

Agency refuses to acknowledge widespread outrage at role in burgeoning gas infrastructure

On May 14, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in its monthly open meeting took up the issue of the electrical grid’s vulnerability to geomagnetic disturbances. But the government agency’s own vulnerability to public disturbance was front and center.

Federal Protective Services took extraordinary measures to prevent disruption of the Commission meeting by planned protests, barring access to about 30 members of the public. FPS also banned the use of recording devices, brushing aside FERC’s own rule expressly permitting it. Two people were escorted out of the meeting room, three arrested and two more detained.

FERC’s actions occurred after the last several Commission meetings were disrupted by protesters who object to FERC’s no holds barred approval of gas infrastructure projects, such as interstate gas pipelines. May’s meeting was originally scheduled for Thursday, May 21, but it was moved up a week to thwart a protest planned by coalition group Beyond Extreme Energy, which has stepped up the pressure on the formerly obscure agency.

The agency has insinuated that protesters are dangerous, saying that it needed to reschedule the Commissioners meeting “to better ensure the safety of its staff and the public during the protests planned for May 21 at FERC headquarters.”

FERC’s actions have become controversial as a tidal wave of infrastructure to transport gas produced by hydraulic fracking intrudes on property owners and communities. FERC never fails to approve pipelines, earning it the nickname “rubberstamp agency.”

Last November, FERC headquarters was blockaded for an entire work week by demonstrators intent on proving that gas infrastructure projects are negatively impacting their communities. More protests are planned later this month. Beyond Extreme Energy predicts that more than 500 people will participate in the protests. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Another meeting day, another drama at FERC (May 15) — RTO Insider, Potomac, MD

WASHINGTON — Despite changing its meeting date to avoid threats of mass demonstrations next week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission couldn’t avoid another protest drama Thursday.

When the protestors were informed they would be quarantined in a commission hearing room where they could watch video of the meeting, they began chanting “Shut FERC down!” (See video.) While organizers claimed the protesters numbered three dozen, only about 15 appeared in a video the group shot after being ejected.

About 20 minutes into the meeting, as the commission was discussing a ruling on an Order 1000 compliance filing, the protesters apparently exited the hearing room. The protesters’ chants were audible — if not discernible — in the meeting room until they were escorted out of the building.

“I respect the First Amendment rights of the protesters and I want to hear their views. But there are ways to do that and there are ways not to do that,” [FERC Chairman Norman Bay] said. “The way not to do it is to disrupt our proceedings. In my view the disruptions are disrespectful, they violate the law [and] they can pose public security concerns. They often violate the ex parte rule. They prevent us from doing our work and it’s a turnoff. It’s ineffective and unpersuasive as a matter of advocacy.”

FERC acknowledged that it had rescheduled the meeting at the recommendation of Federal Protective Services, which wanted to avoid demonstrations planned for the week of May 21-29, including the scheduled May 21 session. Beyond Extreme Energy, the organization that has been coordinating the FERC protests, had said it is hoping to attract more than 500 demonstrators to FERC during the week.

In November, about 100 climate change protesters blockaded FERC headquarters, snarling traffic on First St. N.E. About 25 were arrested.

Webmaster's comment: Although FERC Chairman Norman Bay is correct that disrupting the FERC meetings is disrespectful, Chairman Bay needs to recognize that FERC is disrespectful of the public interest and the law, especially the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Citizen frustration and reaction should be expected until FERC misbehavior is reigned in.

Pacific trade deal or no, Japan eyes US gas riches (May 14) — The Christian Science Monitor

…Japan is looking across the Pacific Ocean toward an ally awash in new energy supplies. Japanese firms already buy millions of cubic feet of natural gas from the US. That energy dynamic could accelerate and expand if a trans-Pacific trade deal under debate in Congress this week gets a go-ahead.

“Passage of the TPP would not have a significant impact on our LNG trade with Japan,” says Tom Cutler, president of Cutler International, a consulting firm. “I’m sure it will have important implications in other parts of our trading relationship but in terms of LNG I think [Japan] feel[s] they’ve already got what they need.”

US law requires energy firms to get special permission to export natural gas to countries, like Japan, that do not have a free trade agreement with the US. That hasn’t stopped Japan from claiming a stake in the supplies those projects will one day ship. Of the four US LNG projects that have received final approval to export the fuel, Japanese companies have signed on to two directly, and one indirectly, according to a January Congressional Research Service report. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


2015 May 14


LePage tells congressional panel that Maine needs faster pipeline approval (May 13) — Portland Press Herald, Portland, ME [Paid subscription]

The governor's testimony centers on a controversial bill that would give a federal agency more authority over pipeline projects.

Gov. Paul LePage testified before a congressional subcommittee Wednesday to support a pair of bills that dovetail with his push to expand natural gas capacity in Maine and fast-tracking the certification of small dams for hydroelectric power.

The two draft proposals before the House Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power are controversial. Democratic representatives argued that one measure designed to expedite interstate natural gas pipeline capacity was unnecessary and could potentially trample the authority of state and federal environmental agencies involved in permitting the projects.

The draft bill that LePage supports would give FERC more authority over those agencies while imposing a strict time line to authorize a project. The legislation is similar to H.R. 1900, The Natural Gas Permitting Act, a bill that the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed largely along party lines in 2013 before stalling in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Spectra Energy is one of three companies that have filed proposals with the Maine Public Utilities Commission asking Maine’s ratepayers to help pay for any gas pipeline expansion project that is designed to increase pipeline capacity. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners and the Portland Natural Gas Transmission System have also submitted proposals. The proposals are under consideration by the PUC, which last year found that expansion would cost ratepayers $75 million.

Ann F. Miles, the FERC director of the Office of Energy Projects, told the subcommittee Wednesday that the proposal could have unintended consequences. She said she was concerned that making the process too rigid could limit the agency’s ability to respond to specific cases or changes in the natural gas industry. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

LePage presses for easing energy regulations in House Committee testimony (May 13) — MPBN

LePage assessed the federal rules governing the licensing of such projects as excessively complex and often unnecessary. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is considering legislation that would significantly change the permitting process of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, an effort designed, in part, to speed up the licensing of new natural gas pipe lines and to increase the capacity of the nation’s electricity grid.

Dylan Voorhees, of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, says the state needs to rely more on renewable resources, such as wind and solar and not just additional natural gas supplies.

"We need a mix," Voorhees says. "There isn’t any one or two resources that’s going to solve all of our energy problems. We need to be as efficient as possible with all of our energy use and then we need a mix. I think the fixation on only natural gas or only imported fuels is going to be a problem in the end." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Editorial: LePage lies to Congress, passes the buck again (May 13) — Maine Environmental News, Maine Environmental Policy Institute, Hallowell, ME

According to news reports, on Wednesday, May 13, Maine Gov. Paul LePage testified to a United States congressional committee that "the closure of two paper mills – Verso Paper in Bucksport and Great Northern Paper in East Millinocket" was due to "a bottleneck in the Northeastern [natural gas] pipeline network."

The Bucksport mill was closed by Verso because the company needed to avoid federal antitrust laws in its takeover of NewPage.

The East Millinocket mill closed because of mismanagement. Recent revelations have documented that on Gov. LePage’s watch corporate scammers have broken promises to revive the East Millinocket Great Northern paper mill and restore hundreds of jobs, even while they are sucking millions of taxpayer dollars out of Maine.

Both mill closings have nothing to do with the cost of natural gas. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Maine Environmental Policy Institute has won the Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence.

Gulf of Mexico

Cheniere starts construction on second LNG export project — LNG World News

Houston-based LNG player Cheniere said it has made a positive final investment decision for its liquefaction project near Corpus Christi, Texas, and has issued a notice to proceed to Bechtel to construct the first two trains.

The Corpus Christi project is designed for up to three trains with production capacity of approx. 13.5 million tonnes per annum, three LNG storage tanks with capacity of about 10.1 Bcfe, two LNG carrier docks and a 22-mile, 48″ natural gas supply pipeline.

The first train is expected to start operations as early as 2018, with the second train expected to commence operations approximately six to nine months thereafter.

Freeport LNG says it was warned not to sign up Chinese customers — Bloomberg

“Early on in our project, we were quite frankly warned by the Department of Energy that it would not be looked at as politically correct for us to have a large Chinese customer,” [Chief Executive Officer Michael Smith] said Thursday at the FT Energy Strategies Summit in New York. “One of the largest Chinese customers wanted a full train,” or processing plant, he said.

“Authorizations are granted to the companies that apply, not for the countries themselves,” Lindsey Geisler, a spokeswoman for the Energy Department in Washington, said Thursday. “The final destinations for LNG cargoes will be dependent upon commercial arrangements and factors, and are only reported to the Department after delivery.”

The only countries that can’t receive exports are those prohibited by U.S. law or policy, Geisler said by e-mail.

Diplomatic tensions, including China’s ties to North Korea and claims over disputed islands in the South China Sea, may have made the Energy Department wary of Chinese involvement in U.S. projects, Zach Allen, president of Pan Eurasian Enterprises Inc., a Raleigh, North Carolina-based tracker of LNG shipments, said by e-mail Thursday. Only Japan and South Korea import more LNG than China, Allen said.

If the department did advise Freeport not to seek Chinese customers, “the comment made by DOE was, in my judgment, ill-advised and probably made in the expectation of not being cited publicly, but perhaps to gently dissuade Mr. Smith from entertaining a Chinese terminal user,” Allen said. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Gosh, FERC would never provide inappropriate advice, would they?

British Columbia

Canada aboriginal group members reject Petronas offer (May 13) — The Star Online, Malaysia

VANCOUVER: Members of a Canadian aboriginal community have voted to reject a deal worth roughly C$1 billion ($832.3 million) that sought their support for a Petronas-led liquefied natural gas export terminal, setting the stage for the band's council to turn down the offer.

Members of the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation voted overwhelmingly against the proposed benefit package in a poll held late on Tuesday at a Vancouver hotel, according to messages posted on social media by individuals who attended.

"100 percent Vote No!!," one Lax Kw'alaams member wrote on Facebook, and posted a video of the entire room standing up in opposition to the offer.

The rejection was the third in three votes by members of the community rejecting the offer, creating uncertainty around the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG project.

The rejection does not mean the project cannot go ahead, but it could pose a challenge for Malaysia's Petronas, which is looking to smooth relations with aboriginal groups as it moves toward a final investment decision on the $11 billion project. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: As with all energy projects, voting "no" does not mean "no" to government or the applicant.

B.C. First Nation rejects $1.15-billion LNG deal, says it's 'not a money issue' (May 13) — (The Canadian Press) The Province, BC

Lax Kw'alaams band members voted against the Pacific NorthWest LNG project during three separate community meetings, the last of which was held Tuesday evening in Vancouver, said the band council in a statement issued on Wednesday.

A Yes vote for Petronas-owned Pacific NorthWest LNG would have secured consent for the construction of a terminal facility on Lelu Island, south of Prince Rupert at the head of the Skeena River.

The island is Crown land and the Prince Rupert Port Authority has jurisdiction over the proposed terminal site.

In its statement, the Lax Kw'alaams said the suggestion that government and the project proponent may proceed with the project without aboriginal consent would be "unfortunate."

"Only Lax Kw'alaams have a valid claim to aboriginal title in the relevant area," said Reece. "Their consent is required for this project to proceed."

But if the First Nation band proves it has aboriginal title Supreme Court of Canada precedent still gives the province the right to override that claim.

"There's a fight coming," said Spence on Wednesday. "But we're not going to stop; we're going to keep on fighting this."

Pacific NorthWest LNG: What are the major issues? (May 13) — CTV News

For the third and final time, the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation has rejected a $1.15-billion deal for a proposed liquefied-natural-gas terminal to be built on its land in British Columbia’s northwest coast.

The terminal, called the Pacific NorthWest LNG, is chiefly owned by Malaysia-based gas company Petronas.

The terminal would be situated at the mouth of the Skeena River. The Lax Kw'alaams say the facility could endanger nearby eel grass beds that are a habitat for fish and other marine life.

Even before the Lax Kw'alaams voted against the project, B.C. Premier Christy Clark said it would likely go ahead.

However, that would result in a long legal fight, delaying the project to the point where it may no longer be economically viable.

United States

US taxpayers subsidising world's biggest fossil fuel companies (May 12) — The Guardian, New York, NY

Shell, ExxonMobil and Marathon Petroleum got subsidises granted by politicians who received significant campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry, Guardian investigation reveals

The world’s biggest and most profitable fossil fuel companies are receiving huge and rising subsidies from US taxpayers, a practice slammed as absurd by a presidential candidate given the threat of climate change.

A Guardian investigation of three specific projects, run by Shell, ExxonMobil and Marathon Petroleum, has revealed that the subsidises were all granted by politicians who received significant campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry.

In April, the president of the World Bank called for the subsidies to be scrapped immediately as poorer nations were feeling “the boot of climate change on their neck”. Globally in 2013, the most recent figures available,

[Ben Schreiber, at Friends of the Earth US,] … defended subsidies for renewable energy: “Fossil fuels are a mature technology while renewable energy is nascent and still developing. It makes sense to subsidise technologies that are going to help solve climate change, but not to do the same for those that are causing the problem.” The coal, oil and gas industries benefited from subsidies of $550bn, four times those given to renewable energy. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Commissioner Moeller statement (May 13) — Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

[FERC Commissioner Philip D. Moeller's term expires 2015 June 30. Commissioners serve 5-year terms. Commissioners are: Tony Clark (R), Cheryl A. LaFleur (D), Chairman Norman C. Bay (D), Philip D. Moeller (R), and Colette D. Honorable (D). Since no more than three Commissioners can be of the same political party, Moeller's replacement must not be a Democrat. —SPB webmaster]

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve on the Commission every single day since I joined the Commission in July 2006. I send thanks to President Bush and President Obama for nominating me, as well as the members of the United States Senate who unanimously confirmed me to both terms. My plan as of now is to serve until a new Commissioner is confirmed.”

Webmaster's comment: Regardless of Commissioners' political affiliations — and exacerbated by the built in insulation of Commissioners from the day-to-day docket comments regarding such things as NEPA violations that are omitted from Environmental Impact Statements — the majority of Commissioners always seem to be biased in favor of all applicants' projects.

FERC has never denied an LNG terminal application for environmental issues, and has only once denied an LNG terminal application. That application was denied for failing US DOT terminal siting requirements.


2015 May 12

Gulf of Mexico

USA: Delfin applies for floating liquefaction project — LNG World News

Delfin LNG said it has last week submitted an application to the Maritime Administration and the United States Coast Guard to construct, own, and operate the Delfin LNG project under the Deepwater Port Act.

Delfin is seeking authorization to construct, own and operate a deepwater port capable of exporting up to 443.3 billion cubic feet per year of natural gas or approximately 9.2 million metric tonnes per annum of LNG.

The proposed Port Delfin will be located approximately 50 miles off the coast of Cameron Parish, Louisiana, and it will be the first LNG export deepwater port project in the United States, according to the application.

Cheniere OK'd for LNG exports — Caller Times, Corpus Christi, TX

Cheniere Energy Inc. on Tuesday received its long-awaited federal approval to export liquefied natural gas from its $11 billion proposed plant near Gregory for the next 20 years.

The project by Cheniere Energy Inc., operating locally as Corpus Christi Liquefaction LLC, is designed and permitted for up to three trains of LNG, and will be able to produce 13.5 million tons of natural gas annually.

British Columbia

B.C. premier says First Nations opposition a bump in the road for LNG — Brandon Sun, Brandon, MB

BURNABY, B.C. - B.C. Premier Christy Clark insists the possible rejection by a First Nation over an agreement for a liquefied-natural-gas terminal is nothing more than a bump in the road for a multibillion-dollar pipeline project.

Clark says she believes reaching a negotiated agreement with the 3,700-member Lax Kw'allams (LACKS'-qwah-LAMBS') First Nation, on whose territory the terminal would be built, is only a matter a time.

Webmaster's comment: In other words, Premier Christy Clark believes the Lax Kw'allams can be bought.

Pacific NorthWest LNG says terminal won't hurt fish stocks — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

A liquefied natural gas venture, under fire from an aboriginal group, has developed scientific projections that conclude a massive B.C. LNG project won’t harm fish as feared by the Lax Kw’alaams.

A new engineering study commissioned by Pacific NorthWest LNG asserts that construction of an export terminal near Port Edward, B.C., will have little to no impact on salmon stocks, contrary to the popular belief that an area called Flora Bank is crucial for fish habitat.

The Lax Kw’alaams and environmentalists say Flora Bank, located between Lelu Island and Kitson Island in the estuary of the Skeena River, is in an ecologically sensitive area where juvenile salmon seek sanctuary in eelgrass to hide from predators. Critics fear that construction of a suspension bridge and trestle from Lelu Island to Chatham Sound would disturb the Flora Bank habitat that is considered important for the salmon to survive.

Industry observers say Pacific NorthWest LNG is counting on the environmental assessment agency to stick with science instead of being unduly influenced by the First Nation’s emotional attachment to Flora Bank. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Labeling First Nations' objections that are based on centuries of fishing experience and knowledge that has sustained them as "emotions" are not only insulting, they are ignorant.


2015 May 11


The yeas and nays: How Maine’s congressional representatives voted this week (May 8) — Bangor Daily News, Bangor, ME

House vote 1
EXPORTING NATURAL GAS: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Keith J. Rothfus, R-Pennsylvania, to the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. The amendment would block funding for using an Energy Department report on lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions resulting from exports of liquefied natural gas in making any public interest determinations on proposed liquefied natural gas export projects.

Rothfus said the report’s “arbitrary determinations” about climate change and GHG emissions could be used to delay or block approvals of liquefied natural gas exports that would “keep America’s energy economy growing.”

An amendment opponent, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, said “it makes no sense to require the Department of Energy to make a determination without the benefit of all the facts” concerning how liquefied natural gas exports would affect climate change.

The vote was 232 yeas to 172 nays. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, gave a nay vote, and Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District, gave a yea vote.

House vote 3
FUNDING CLIMATE MODELS: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Paul A. Gosar, R-Arizona, to the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. The amendment would bar funding for the Energy Department’s Climate Model Development and Validation program.

The vote was 224 yeas to 184 nays. Pingree gave a nay vote, and Poliquin gave a yea vote.

Webmaster's comment: Rep. Bruce Poliquin apparently wants nothing to do with climate science.

New England

Distrigas to fulfill multiple LNG contracts with gas utilities in New England; one agreement spans 10 years of supply — MarketWatch

BOSTON, May 11, 2015 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Distrigas of Massachusetts LLC, through its affiliate GDF SUEZ Gas NA, LLC, has entered into a series of contracts to sell approximately 9.5 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of liquefied natural gas (LNG), roughly the equivalent of three shiploads, to New England gas utilities to help meet those utilities’ peak demand for natural gas in the 2015/2016 winter and beyond. The LNG will be delivered over the summer and stored by those utilities until required this winter. In addition, the company has offered, and continues to offer, contracts for the long-term supply of LNG to all of its utility customers. Volumes sold in 2015 and supplies offered on a long-term basis are based on U.S. natural gas prices.

This past winter, the region was protected from price spikes in natural gas thanks in large part to 39 Bcf of LNG supply that was consumed in the region and supplied by various providers, including 21.3 Bcf supplied from the Distrigas terminal. This LNG didn’t require any additional infrastructure investment or expansion, and energy prices fell by more than 20 percent for many customers.

Commenting on the recently signed agreement to supply 6 Bcf of LNG this year and at least 3 Bcf of LNG per year from 2016-2024 to a New England utility customer, Katulak also noted, “The long-term nature of the deal shows significant foresight by this customer as it will provide greater certainty around its natural gas supply, which continues to be more and more important to the region. In addition, this agreement underscores that we can optimize the region’s current pipeline capacity for the foreseeable future, potentially avoiding much more expensive and expansive investments.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Downeast LNG is again proven to be moot.

Gulf of Mexico

FERC denies Sierra Club’s rehearing request for Corpus Chirsti — LNG World News

The U.S. FERC issued an order denying Sierra Club’s request for rehearing of Comission’s order issued December 30, authorizing Cheniere to site, build, and operate LNG export and import facilities in San Patricio and Nueces Counties, Texas.

Sierra Club contends that the December 30 order violated NEPA by not analyzing the environmental impacts of induced natural gas production; refusing to consider the project’s effects on domestic electric sector air emissions, including emissions resulting from electric generators shifting from gas to coal as a result of export-driven gas price increases; improperly rejecting the “Systems Alternative” of using the Gulf LNG project as an alternative to the liquefaction project, failing to examine the alternative of incorporating waste heat recovery into the design at the Sinton Compressor Station, and improperly dismissing the alternative of using electric motors to provide some or all compression for refrigeration units; and failing to take a hard look at the impacts of the project’s emissions of greenhouse gases. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


Japan's Resources Energy advances plans for LNG plant in Cook Inlet, Alaska (May 8) — Platts

A small Japanese company plans to have final engineering underway this year for a new, medium-sized LNG plant on Cook Inlet in Alaska, a company official said Friday.

The company plans an LNG plant with capacity of 1 million-1.5 million mt/year at Port MacKenzie, a municipal-owned port on upper Cook Inlet, and has acquired rights to a 120-acre site adjacent to the port, Pease said.

A challenge for REI, however, is that the company has been unable to nail down a Cook Inlet gas supplier, although talks are underway with independent companies that have made recent discoveries in Cook Inlet, Pease said.

British Columbia

Lacklustre support from B.C. First Nations signals trouble for LNG facility (May 10) — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

In a wave, row after row, members of the Lax Kw’alaams band rose from their seats last week to vote No to the generational opportunity of liquefied natural gas. The effect of their decision could reach distant shores where investors are poised to decide if they will commit tens of billions of dollars to building an LNG industry in British Columbia.

The main objection from Lax Kw’alaams members is the location: The proposed facility would be built on Lelu Island, adjacent to banks of eelgrass beds that nurture young Skeena salmon. But those concerns are developing into a broader sentiment against any LNG development in the region.

The Squamish First Nation is conducting its own environmental assessment of the Woodfibre LNG project that is proposed for its community. They don’t trust the federal and provincial governments to assess the project. Chief Ian Campbell said his nation will have a strong say in how any projects will unfold in their traditional territories, and there are deep-seated concerns about the potential damage to the Howe Sound ecosystem.

The province doesn’t like to see the word “veto” in the same sentence as aboriginal rights. However, it is a genuine prospect with LNG, which is why so much effort has been made to court First Nations. The LNG investment climate is fragile, and the window appears to be closing. Any significant new hurdle or delay could tip the balance.

B.C. First Nations likely to reject Petronas LNG project — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

A hereditary chief says Lax Kw’alaams members are poised in the final round of voting to reject a $1-billion cash offer dangled by a major liquefied natural gas project, posing a setback for the venture led by Malaysia’s Petronas.

Donnie Wesley of the Gitwilgyoots, one of nine allied tribes of the Lax Kw’alaams, said the tribes are united in their opposition to the Pacific NorthWest LNG project near Prince Rupert, B.C.

Mr. Wesley said Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas thinks that it might sway some voters in the Vancouver region who haven’t visited Lax Kw’alaams for years, so he isn’t taking anything for granted. But members who weren’t able attend the first two voting sessions have been phoning and e-mailing band officials in droves to express their anger at Pacific NorthWest LNG, he said.

Flora Bank, in the estuary of the Skeena River, is at risk because it is an ecologically sensitive area where juvenile salmon seek sanctuary in eelgrass to hide from predators, environmentalists say. It’s feared that construction would disturb the habitat that’s crucial for the salmon to survive.

Mr. Amos said the Lax Kw’alaams don’t have power legally to single-handedly block the LNG venture, but the band will have considerable influence in prompting several other First Nations groups to raise concerns about Flora Bank. “It amounts to a huge issue for obtaining a social licence,” he said.

Lax Kw’alaams Mayor Garry Reece and 12 elected councillors will make the final decision on behalf of the band.

United States

PHMSA adjusts LNG facility operator user fees (May 8) — LNG Law Blog

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has revised its fee program paid by LNG facility operators to fund PHMSA’s LNG facility safety program. The fees will now be based on 1.6% of gas costs, implemented on a 10-tier approach, and will be billed by operator instead of by plant.

Webmaster's comment: PHMSA, the agency within the Department of Transportation, makes LNG terminal and natural gas pipeline siting determinations — and receives fees from the companies it permits and regulates. While it makes sense to charge fees from these companies, it also creates opportunities for cozy relationships between regulator and applicant.

There is a revolving door between energy industries and the federal agencies that regulate them, providing lucrative jobs for those who attend to industry's interests at the expense of public interests. The Downeast LNG permitting process has illustrated FERC and PHMSA bias in the face of NEPA violations.

MARAD to apply existing regulations to deepwater port applications for exports of gas (May 8) — LNG Law Blog

The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) has issued a Final Policy stating that it intends to apply its existing Deepwater Port regulations, which have previously been used to evaluate Deepwater Port applications for imports of gas or oil, to Deepwater Port applications for exports of oil and gas.


2015 May 10


As Maine regulators mull pipeline expansion proposals, CMP picks its favorite (May 7) — Bangor Daily News, Bangor, ME

PORTLAND, Maine — Central Maine Power Co. notified Maine regulators Thursday that it plans to work with Houston-based Spectra Energy on a plan to increase the capacity of two of the company’s natural gas pipelines.

CMP said in a joint filing with two Spectra pipeline subsidiaries that it will join the region’s largest electric utility, Northeast Utilities, in drafting the outline of an agreement that would use ratepayer subsidies from New England electricity customers to enter a long-term contract with Spectra to advance its Access Northeast expansion project.

Spectra has said its plan would increase capacity on its Algonquin and Maritimes & Northeast pipelines, which connect with more than 70 percent of the region’s power generators. The project solicited expressions of interest in capacity on that expansion through May 1. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

New Brunswick

Baseline groundwater study finds trace methane amounts (May 8) — CBC News

Trace amounts of methane have been detected in dozens of wells in parts of the province untouched by oil or gas exploration, say researchers at the University of New Brunswick.

The study was conducted in Kent County and Sussex, two areas of possible shale gas development. A total of 254 private wells were tested in the past year.

Loomer says only one well had to be reported to public health for having dangerously high concentrations of methane, but 90 per cent of those wells that did test positive had concentrations of less than 1 mg/L.

By gathering baseline data, scientists would be able to measure any future contamination caused by hydraulic fracturing, also known as hydro-fracking.

The research team is working on developing a digital map, which will show regional results without revealing the identity of individual properties.

Webmaster's comment: The question that arises is, "If methane can occur naturally in groundwater, how is it possible for the LNG industry to claim that releasing LNG into the water cannot result in methane in the water?"

New England

Distrigas says fuel deals should prevent future gas shortages — The Boston Globe

Distrigas of Massachusetts LLC is expected to announce Monday its largest LNG contract in more than 25 years, a 10-year agreement with a utility to provide the region with billions of cubic feet of LNG to heat homes and generate electricity at power plants. Distrigas declined to identify the customer, but National Grid confirmed that it recently signed a contract with Distrigas, although the utility would not disclose the terms.

Distrigas now has contracts with several utilities to provide about 9.5 billion cubic feet of LNG to the region, or enough to heat nearly 100,000 homes a year, through the coming winter. That’s up 8 percent from last year and 19 percent from two years ago, when New England suffered a severe natural-gas shortage that spurred dramatic spikes in wholesale electricity prices during the winter of 2013-2014. Natural gas plants generate more than half of the region’s electricity.

Distrigas’s announcement appears aimed at sending a signal that LNG can fill the need for more natural gas in the region without building new pipelines. Distrigas officials have criticized plans by other energy companies to build multibillion-dollar pipelines to bring more natural gas into the region, largely from shale fields in Pennsylvania and other areas outside New England.

Ironically, National Grid has formed a partnership with Spectra Energy Corp. of Texas and Eversource Energy (formerly NStar and Northeast Utilities) to expand the Algonquin gas pipeline in the region. Known as Access Northeast, that project includes increasing the capacity of the Maritimes & Northeast line, which carries liquefied natural gas from ships anchored off Eastern Canada. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


U.S. green groups sue FERC over Maryland LNG export project (May 8) — Reuters

Three environmental groups have sued the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission over the approval of Dominion Resources Inc's liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Maryland, the latest in a string of challenges to the agency's review of energy projects.

Represented by Earthjustice, the groups filed a petition for review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Thursday, arguing FERC has failed to conduct an adequate assessment of the environmental impacts of Dominion's Cove Point plant.

FERC accused of erring on Dominion’s Cove Point LNG approval (May 7) — The Daily Record, Baltimore, MD

Dominion Resources Inc.’s $3.8 billion Cove Point liquefied natural gas terminal promotes pollution from fracking, Earthjustice and other environmental groups said as part of a legal challenge to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of the project.

FERC used an illegally narrow environmental assessment that didn’t factor in how the project would encourage fracking in the Appalachian region, increasing air and water pollution and spurring climate change, the groups said in a statement Thursday announcing the suit.

“Exporting nearly 1 billion cubic feet of LNG per day means more gas drilling, which wreaks havoc on both the climate and the communities scarred by wells and pipelines,” Jocelyn D’Ambrosio, an attorney for Earthjustice, said in the statement.

FERC approved the project in September and rejected the groups’ request for rehearing earlier this week, clearing the way for the court challenge, the groups said. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Environmentalists sue FERC over Cove Point LNG project (May 7) — StateImpact Pennsylvania, NPR

Environmental groups filed a lawsuit in federal court today challenging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s decision to approve Dominion Energy’s Cove Point LNG export terminal in Lusby, MD. FERC had granted approval to the $3.8 billion project back in September, and construction on expanding the idled import terminal into an export terminal began in October. But environmental groups had sought to halt construction, and force FERC to consider the upstream impacts of an export facility on Marcellus Shale development. FERC rejected those arguments in a decision posted Monday.

Frustration and anger among activists has mounted against FERC in recent years as the natural gas industry expands infrastructure to serve the booming Marcellus Shale production in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Protests against the agency have grown. Lawsuits have been filed against FERC’s approval of several pipeline projects. And suits are pending against other planned export terminals. Environmentalists say FERC simply rubber stamps natural gas pipeline and export projects.

“They want to get as much infrastructure into the ground as fast as possible before the public figures out whats going on,” said Ryan Talbott, director of the Allegheny Defense Project, which had also appealed to FERC to halt construction at Cove Point based on the impact in the Marcellus Shale fields. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

FERC denies environmentalists’ request for LNG project rehearing (May 8) —, MD

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has denied a request for rehearing regarding the controversial liquefied natural gas export facility currently under construction at Dominion Cove Point in Lusby.

The petition for rehearing was filed by several environmentalist groups, including Earthjustice and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, which have opposed the $3.8 billion expansion of the existing LNG import terminal. Until FERC answered the petition, the groups were not able to continue with legal action. The Natural Gas Act requires a petition and an answer to that petition before legal action can be pursued, said Jocelyn D’Ambrosio, an attorney for Earthjustice.

Now, after eight months, the groups got the answer and have filed a lawsuit. D’Ambrosio said in an interview that FERC’s decision to deny the petition for rehearing did not come as a surprise, as FERC has been “consistently ignoring its duties.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

US Energy Dept grants Cove Point plant permission to export LNG (May 7) — Reuters

The U.S. Energy Department said on Thursday it has issued final authorization for Dominion Resources to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its Cove Point, Maryland plant.

Gulf of Mexico

Cameron LNG to hold open house meetings (May 8) — LNG World News

Cameron LNG said it will hold two open house meetings to provide information to the community about the plans to further expand the liquefaction facility currently under construction at the site of the Cameron LNG terminal near Hackberry.

The open house meetings will be held Thursday, May 14, 2015 at the Holiday Inn located on 330 Arena Road, in Sulphur, the company said in a statement.

Cameron LNG has proposed adding two additional liquefaction trains and one additional full containment LNG storage tank to the current liquefaction project which is under construction. The new trains will be located on land within the existing Cameron LNG site.

Port Arthur LNG files draft resource reports with FERC (May 8) — LNG World News

Port Arthur LNG, a Sempra LNG unit, filed a draft resource reports 1 and 10 with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The reports 1, a general project description, and 10, alternatives, have been filed as part of the pre-filing review process FERC authorized in March.

Port Arthur proposes to construct a 10 mtpa, 2-train liquefaction and export facility. The feed gas is to be delivered to the facility through the proposed new pipeline being developed by Port Arthur Pipeline, stands in the report.

British Columbia

No wealth, no justice in $1 billion LNG offer to First Nation Band (May 9) — The Tyee, Vancouver, BC

Here's why Lax Kw'alaams still side with the salmon.

To read reports emanating from the mouth of the Skeena River, the energy sector thinks it has finally cracked the nut on how to successfully partner with First Nations people who, inconveniently, stand afore a variety of proposed LNG plants and pipeline deals. These aboriginal people have rights along the planned pipeline routes, and also at tidewater, where Canada is trying to unstopper our oil and gas supplies so the Chinese can drain off our energy sovereignty like so much bilge water.

…About a week ago, readers of the Globe and Mail awoke to this, on the front page: '''Game changer': Gas company offers $1-billion to First Nations band in B.C.'' If you happen to share Premier Christy Clark's delusion that LNG is going to silver the seams of the provincial purse for generations to come, then there was delirium to be drawn from this news.

If approved by band members, the agreement will transfer roughly $1-billion in cash to the Lax Kw'alaams band over the span of the 40-year deal, while the B.C. government is putting more than $100-million worth of Crown lands on the table. For the 3,600 members of the Lax Kw'alaams community, the total package works out to a value of roughly $320,000 per person.''

My first thought upon reading this was to divide 320,000 by 40. Try as I might, I couldn't make the number come out higher than 8,000. So that's $8,000 a year [$22 a day], assuming the thing gets built, and assuming that the plant achieves ''production based on company plans.''…

''This will be a real game-changer for many First Nations in terms of how they can build their future,'' B.C. Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister John Rustad told the Globe in an interview. The minister, according to an as-yet-unaudited accounting of pay for Members of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, earned at least $107,440 in nine months (275 days) from April 1 to Dec. 31, 2014, or $390.70 a day (107,440 ÷ 275). That works out to 17.75 times what a Lax Kw'alaams Band member's LNG payout will be, but then again every Lax Kw'alaams person will have 40 years to build their future on $22 a day. John Rustad will have, well, less time than that before he lands on the cushion of his MLA's pension.

Regardless of the marginal benefits being dangled in front of band members -- not just cash, but land, a paved road, training, employment opportunities, ''capacity funding,'' and scholarships -- the Petronas LNG play risks playing havoc with the only resource that communities on the Skeena have historically, not to mention culturally, been able to rely upon: wild salmon.

Flora Bank … remains a site of crucial importance to salmon rearing. Juvenile salmon populations rely on eelgrass meadows for food and shelter. Flora Bank, located between Lelu and Kitson islands, hosts one of the largest eelgrass meadows in British Columbia and supports up to 60 per cent of the total Skeena estuary eelgrass, according to ecologist Michael Price. In a report prepared for Skeena Wild he writes, ''All Skeena salmon use the estuary as a nursery, and approximately 331 million (88 per cent) of Skeena juvenile salmon migrate over Flora Bank each year. Furthermore, Flora Bank is one of the best quality habitats for juvenile salmon; thus, size, location, and habitat quality make Flora Bank an extremely important juvenile salmon rearing area.'' The idea that you can build an industrial site anywhere near such habitat, and then ''compensate'' for that by stumping up some cash and agreeing to monitor the effects after the fact, is so staggeringly stupid as to beggar belief. No wonder the Lax Kw'alaams have ''lingering worries,'' and upriver nations feel their constitutional rights to healthy fish populations are just as endangered as the eelgrass on Flora Bank.

It clearly confounds companies that they can't just buy a social licence in the same way they can get a business licence or an export licence, but that won't stop them from trying.… [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Environment dwarfs financial merit in LNG deal for B.C. First Nations (May 8) — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

For the Lax Kw’alaams in British Columbia, Thursday’s decision turned out to be simple – the environmental risks of a massive liquefied natural gas project far outweighed the financial rewards.

In the second stage of three votes, members of the B.C. First Nations group have again unanimously rejected a $1-billion offer from the LNG joint venture led by Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas.

Aboriginal leaders and environmentalists say the proposed LNG export terminal on Lelu Island, near Prince Rupert, would be a threat to salmon habitat in the nearby sandy, reef-like Flora Bank. Critics say Lelu Island in the estuary of the Skeena River is a terrible place to locate the export terminal because of the threat to juvenile salmon habitat and the Lax Kw’alaams’ way of life. “Lax Kw’alaams would no longer be able to harvest traditional plants and medicines on Lelu Island,” according to a bulletin issued by the First Nations group to its members.

B.C. First Nations group rejects $1-billion offer from LNG venture (May 8) — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

In the second stage of three votes, members of a B.C. First Nations group have again unanimously rejected a $1-billion offer from a liquefied natural gas project.

More than 255 eligible Lax Kw’alaams voters at a meeting Thursday night in Prince Rupert stood up to show their opposition, row upon row, two sources close to the aboriginal group said.

In the first vote in Lax Kw’alaams on Tuesday night, more than 180 eligible voters also unanimously stood up to signal their opposition to the Pacific NorthWest LNG joint venture led by Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Petronas LNG project doesn’t hinge on Lax Kw’alaams offer (May 7) — Business Vancouver, Vancouver, BC

Generally speaking, Robin Junger, a lawyer specializing in aboriginal and environmental law with McMillan LLP, said governments have a duty to consult First Nations and, if necessary, mitigate impacts on aboriginal rights. But that doesn’t give First Nations a veto over projects like pipelines.

“There’s no legal requirement for such deals,” Junger said. “The First Nation doesn’t have a veto, and there’s no requirement for government or a company to pay money as part of the duty to consult.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Awakening the giant: First Nations and the LNG 'deal' (May 5) — Huffington Post

Few things scare politicians and corporate dragons. Yet, make no mistake who is number one on the shortlist: First Nations.

"Seriously," the political strategist continues. "And I mean seriously. It's First Nations who can finish us on this one. People are half-asleep with their jobs, raising their families, and playing with their toys. But if First Nations give us problems with getting the fracking done, running pipelines through forests and waterways, building the LNG facilities, even the most dimwitted of citizens might also be stirred in opposition to our plans. If so, no amount of TV ads showing squirrels and campers loving our pipelines and tarsands will work."

"So this is what we do. Let's first offer First Nations a load of money. And who better to make the announcement than the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation? Let's word it with the most slovenly of reverse psychology, yet shown to work time and again.…

I'd never assume to speak for First Nations. All I might quietly suggest is now is your time. And I believe new Canadians will be with you. Together, let's make politicians and corporations shake in their boots.

Squamish mayor says no to LNG plant, with strings attached (May 7) — The Tyee, Vancouver, BC

The mayor of Squamish and her council will not support the proposed Eagle Mountain pipeline and Woodfibre LNG plant in the region unless 18 conditions are met, according to an April 30 letter to the provincial Environmental Assessment Office.

"Due to the significant outstanding information and the community concerns that have not been adequately addressed, and that there are no guarantees at this time that that they will be satisfactorily addressed, the current applications are not supportable by the District of Squamish," said the letter, signed by Mayor Patricia Heintzman.

Squamish council is already in a legal battle with FortisBC, which filed a B.C. Supreme Court petition in March, hoping a judge will overturn council's refusal to permit borehole testing for the pipeline.

A key condition set in Heintzman's letter was for the Environmental Assessment Office to "require Woodfibre LNG, Fortis and BC Hydro to produce a cumulative impact presentation of all the elements that support the [plant] in order for the District to assess the impacts of the entire project on the District, and that the District be afforded the opportunity to comment to the EAO on the cumulative impacts prior to the issuance of any certificate."

Squamish wants the office to encourage the federal and B.C. governments to do more research into the potential harms of fracking on the environment and to enact tougher laws for natural gas extraction in B.C. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Woodfibre LNG sticks to seawater cooling system (May 7) — The Squamish Chief, Squamish, BC

Company has no plans to change from controversial marine cooling

Despite the ongoing controversy around the once-through seawater cooling system proposed for the planned Woodfibre LNG export facility, officials have no plans to turn to another type of system.

Local environmentalist John Buchanan and Stan Proboszcz, a biologist with Propeller Strategy, a non-profit marine advocacy group, have said that herring and everything that eats them are at risk from the underwater intake system of the proposed facility. Woodfibre LNG representatives say they are currently sending divers into Howe Sound to check for herring spawn and are still designing the final intake system that will adhere to Department of Fisheries and Oceans guidelines.

NEB approves WesPac Midstream LNG export licence [News release] (May 8) — National Energy Board, Government of Canada

The National Energy Board (NEB) has approved the application of WesPac Midstream - Vancouver LLC (WesPac) for a 25 year natural gas export licence with a maximum term quantity of 116.44 billion cubic metres. The issuance of this licence is subject to the approval of the Governor in Council.

The approved export points are: the outlet of the loading arm at the WesPac LNG Marine Terminal in Delta, British Columbia (B.C.); the marine cargo terminals in the metropolitan area of Vancouver, B.C.; as well as the highway border crossings along the international boundary between B.C. and the U.S.

N.W.T. minister hopes Mackenzie Gas Project permit doesn't lapse (May 8) — CBC News

The minister in charge of resource development in the Northwest Territories says he hopes the federal permit to build the long-dormant Mackenzie Gas Project will be extended.

When the project got its Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity in 2011, backers were given until the end of 2015 to start construction.

But the proposed pipeline, which would run 1,200 kilometres from gas fields near the coast of the Beaufort Sea to the Alberta boundary, has been put on hold indefinitely.

The best hope for Mackenzie gas would be to feed it into a liquefied natural gas export terminal on the British Columbia coast, said Ramsay.

Exxon and Imperial are contemplating building an LNG plant with a price tag as high as $25 billion near Prince Rupert, B.C., but has a lot of work to do before it can decide officially to proceed.

United States

Fitch: uncertain outlook for US LNG projects (May 8) — LNG World News

The possibility of an oversupplied global liquid natural gas market and more competitive Asian LNG prices has introduced an uncertain outlook for US LNG projects, according to Fitch Ratings.

Fitch believes that the global LNG market may become oversupplied over the next five years as new capacity comes to market. Global LNG capacity, considering existing and under-construction projects, is anticipated to reach approximately 420 million metric tons per annum by 2020, equivalent to over 1.8x 2013 LNG demand.

Journal corrects fracking study over undisclosed industry funding (May 7) — InsideClimate News

Fracking study that concluded drinking water not affected by methane gets an unusual correction following a report by InsideClimate News.

An influential science journal has issued a correction to a paper on fracking and water safety, after revelations that the authors did not disclose their financial ties to energy giant Chesapeake Energy. The correction was prompted by an article in InsideClimate News in April.

The paper, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, concluded that drinking water wells near natural gas sites are not at greater risk of methane contamination than those farther way. It was based on more than 11,000 water samples from Pennsylvania fracking country. Citing its breadth, the authors said the paper challenges smaller studies that link gas drilling to methane pollution.

In an unusually long, first-page correction, the American Chemical Society, which publishes ES&T, said that Siegel was "funded privately by Chesapeake for his work." It also confirmed that Smith worked for Chesapeake from May 2012 to September 2013, part of the study period. Smith now works for a contractor for Chesapeake. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Curb gas flaring, U.S. lawmakers say (May 7) — UPI

WASHINGTON, May 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. Interior Department needs to take steps to ensure gas associated with produced reserves isn't wasted, or flared, bicameral leaders said.

House and Senate Democrats issued a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewel urging her to review a report from the Government Accountability Office finding federal standards on gas capturing are behind the curve.


Blue whales "play dead" for ships (May 7) — The Maritime Executive

They could easily swim away; they could easily dive below; but instead it seems that blue whales play dead when a ship approaches, and in doing so, they leave themselves vulnerable to ship strike.

"It's not part of their evolutionary history to have cargo ships killing them, so they haven't developed behavioral responses to this threat," said Goldbogen.

The researchers observed 20 ship passages with nine individual whales, at distances ranging from 60 meters (180 feet) to more than three kilometers. In each of these instances, the whales exhibited behavior similar to the "startle response" that scientists observe during the tagging process, in which the whales essentially "play dead."

A whale must dive 30 meters (90 feet) below the surface to escape the suction created by a ship's propeller. In the study, the whales sank at about a half a meter per second and showed no evidence for swimming laterally to avoid the ship. In most cases, this was barely fast enough to get out of the ship's way.

The researchers drew criticism about their methods and conclusions from other researchers and point out that they looked at only the eastern north Pacific blue whale populations.…

Webmaster's comment: One wonders if other whale species — such as North Atlantic right whales — behave in this way.


2015 May 7

New Brunswick

Canaport LNG bird kill case adjourned without pleas — CBC News

Canaport LNG, Irving Canaport and Repsol each facing 3 charges dating back to 2013

They were scheduled to enter pleas in Saint John court on Thursday, but the case has been set over until July 30 to allow more time for full disclosure by the Crown.

An estimated 7,500 songbirds were killed when they flew into a gas flare at the liquefied natural gas receiving and regasification terminal ​in Saint John some time between Sept. 14 and Sept. 15, 2013.

British Columbia

B.C. First Nation voters reject $1B for LNG project in 1st of 3 votes — CBC News

Petronas woos band after applying to build an export terminal on Lelu Island

The first of three votes on a natural gas benefit offer worth over $1 billion has been unanimously rejected by a First Nation on British Columbia's northwest coast.

All of the more than 180 eligible voters at a meeting in Port Simpson stood up to oppose the plan to build a liquefied-natural-gas pipeline and terminal in their territory, said Lax Kw'alaams band member Malcolm Sampson.

"It's in the worst place they could have chosen in the whole north coast," [Luanne Roth of the T. Buck Suzuki Foundation] said of the proposed LNG site.

The remaining members of the 3,700-strong band will have an opportunity to vote following two information sessions in Prince Rupert and Vancouver over the coming week. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

B.C. First Nations group pushes back against Petronas LNG venture (May 6) — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

A major energy project seeking aboriginal support for a plan to export B.C. liquefied natural gas has run into strong resistance from a First Nations group worried about the plight of salmon.

The lure of $1-billion to be spread over 40 years is being overshadowed by what the 3,600-member native group views as excessive environmental risks in northwestern British Columbia. The Lax Kw’alaams are worried that the Petronas-led project will harm juvenile salmon in eelgrass beds in the Flora Bank area of the estuary, next to Lelu Island.

LNG spill could have ‘catastrophic effects,’ group says (May 6) — The Squamish Chief, Squamish, BC

My Sea to Sky appeals to federal government to conduct separate assessment of Woodfibre LNG proposal

The group says “shipping LNG through our heavily populated area requires serious consideration of the hazards…. The Woodfibre location doesn’t meet the siting criteria set by the LNG industry itself,” according to spokesperson Eoin Finn.

In an interview with The Squamish Chief, Andrews said, “At this point it becomes clear that the B.C. environmental assessment project is not going to assess the possibility of a spill.”


Oregon LNG contends land use ruling not a setback — The Daily Astorian, Astoria, OR [Paid subscription]

The ruling last week upheld Clatsop County’s decision in 2013 to deny a permit for a portion of the pipeline that would run through the county. The county Board of Commissioners had cited safety and environmental concerns.

In an interview with Platts, a division of McGraw Hill Financial that covers the energy industry, Hansen was dismissive of Clatsop County’s handling of the project, which involves an 87-mile pipeline between Washington state and Oregon and an export terminal on the Skipanon Peninsula in Warrenton.

“Why would they have spent all of these years and all of these dollars to defend their project in Clatsop County to now turn around and say, ‘Well, Clatsop County doesn’t matter,’” said Cheryl Johnson, who lives in Brownsmead and is active with Columbia Pacific Common Sense, which opposes the project.


2015 May 5


Report finds 82 faulty gas connections by Summit — Mainebiz

A state report said that contractors hired by Summit Natural Gas had improperly installed 82 natural gas connections in the Waterville area, though most of them have already been fixed.

Citing a May 1 report filed with the Maine Public Utilities Commission, the Morning Sentinel reported that the company found more than half of connections did not pass a visual inspection, meaning the connections were not properly installed. The company has replaced more than 60 of those connections, leaving a little under two dozen to be fixed, as of Friday. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: When attempting to garner public support for LNG & natural gas projects, the industry likes to tell the public, 'Because LNG/natural gas accidents are not in our best interest, we will construct and operate safely.'

Rockland council vote reverses decision, grants option on $200 million natural gas plant (May 1) — Bangor Daily News, Bangor, ME

ROCKLAND, Maine — The City Council voted Friday morning to grant an option to a Boston-based energy company that wants to build a $200 million natural gas power plant on land where City Hall is now located.

The decision came two days after the council failed to grant the option to Rockland Energy Center. Councilors voted 2-1 Wednesday night in favor of the option, but three affirmative votes were needed for approval.

But two of the five councilors were absent for that vote and the council decided to meet again Friday morning to reconsider. Friday’s meeting lasted for nearly three hours as 70 people packed City Hall. More than a dozen residents expressed concern about the proposed project and questioned the decision to hold a second vote. Other citizens, however, urged the Council to approve the option to allow for further study and negotiations.

The option is nonbinding, and no sale could occur before Aug. 31 under the agreement for which the company is paying the city $1,000 per month. A final sale would need to be approved by voters at a referendum.

The plant would be fueled by natural gas which would require the extension of a natural gas line that currently goes through Windsor at its closest point. The cost of extending the gas line would be $13 million to $20 million but that would be done by a different company.


Feds deny request for gas plant rehearing —

Lusby, MD – The federal agency that gave final approval for a controversial expansion project at a gas plant in Lusby last September has denied requests from several environmental agencies that the plan be halted and reconsidered.

A 33-page summary was issued May 4 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denying the requests to halt the Dominion Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Plant exportation project. The commission authorized Dominion to construct and operated liquefaction facilities at the Cove Point plant, a project that will take three years to complete and cost $3.8 billion. The Sept. 29 order also gave Dominion authorization to construct ancillary facilities at two Virginia locations.

The groups identified by FERC as filing requests for a rehearing are Allegheny Defense Project and Wild Virginia, BP Energy Company, EarthReports Inc., Potomac Riverkeeper, Shenandoah Riverkeeper, Sierra Club and Stewards of the Lower Susquehanna. Two of the entities—Alleghany and EarthReports—requested a stay.

In the summary, FERC found there was no unlawful or undue discrimination by Dominion in regards to BP. That corporation had alleged that Dominion had provided Statoil “with inappropriate preferential treatment in consideration for commercial benefits to Dominion’s parent company.”

In regards to fracking, FERC affirmed that its Sept. 29 order “explained that potential environmental effects associated with shale region production are not sufficiently casually related to the Cove Point Liquefaction project to warrant detailed analysis as indirect impacts. The order explained that future Marcellus shale production is not an essential predicate for the Cove Point Liquefaction project, which can receive natural gas through interconnects with three interstate natural gas pipeline systems. Further, development of the Marcellus shale region will likely continue regardless of whether the Cove Point Liquefaction project is approved.”

Meanwhile, local project foes continue to voice their displeasure in the project during the public comment segment of the Calvert County Commissioners’ weekly meetings. Additionally, several groups are sponsoring “The March for Calvert County to be Dominion-Free” Saturday, May 30. The sponsoring groups include We Are Cove Point, Calvert Citizens for a Healthy Community, Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club Southern Maryland Group and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

Yukon Territory

Kwanlin Dün First Nation signs LNG deal with Yukon government (May 3) — CBC News

Chief Doris Bill said the First Nation has first rights to access Yukon Energy's liquefied natural gas supply chain to develop a wholesale/retail natural gas facility to supply local transportation and heating markets.

Bill says although this deal involves the LNG industry, Kwanlin Dün remains opposed to fracking in its traditional territory.


Excel LNG tanker suffers propulsion loss off Alaska (May 4) — LNG World News

The 135,000 cbm Excel LNG tanker experienced last week a loss of propulsion due to a failed engineering gasket while inbound to Cook Inlet, Alaska.

Coast Guard Sector Anchorage said it has issued an order for the vessel to remain anchored in Kachemak Bay near Homer after the 908-foot, Belgium-flagged vessel experienced a loss of propulsion on Monday.

While preparing to get underway Wednesday, the vessel experienced an automated engineering casualty and canceled its voyage until a Bureau Veritas classification surveyor could arrive and verify the engineering casualty was fully resolved. After arriving aboard the vessel, the class surveyor directed the vessel’s crew to test the automated engineering system and deduced that the casualty was a product of a faulty engine order telegraph; a device used on ships for the pilot on the bridge to order engineers in the engine room to power the vessel at a certain desired speed.

Coast Guard Sector Anchorage issued another order for the vessel to remain in Kachemak Bay, according to the statement. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: What is the probability of an LNG ship having two incidents in succession: failed gasket and faulty engine order telegraph? The LNG industry wants the public to believe that such things do not happen.

British Columbia

Letter to Premier Clark: where's your due diligence on Woodfibre LNG? (May 2) — Vancouver Observer, Vancouver, BC

Sukanto Tanoto is an amazing fellow. If you haven't heard about him, I won't say you must have just arrived from Mars, but you certainly don't live in the Howe Sound area. Tanoto owns the Woodfibre LNG project, which has the backing of the Clark government for an LNG plant in Squamish.

To say that Indonesia's richest man has a checkered career is to give a whole new meaning to the term.

In 2012, he was fined $200 million US after conviction for tax evasion. His companies are known to flout government regulations. He has set up a system of corporations in B.C. which are so designed that every dollar made can be skated to Singapore where there's no tax or royalty on LNG which under agreement with Canada, Singapore has the sole power to tax. No doubt he would deny such an intention.

Tanoto is infamous in Indonesia for rainforest destruction and illegally expanding his forestry and oil palm plantations into parks and community lands and is allegedly not averse to using violence to get his way. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: FERC has indicated multiple times that if Idi Amin, Charles Manson, or Osama Bin Laden were to apply to build and operate LNG terminals, FERC would allow it. The governments of British Columbia Canada seem to be no better.

B.C. First Nations group to vote on $1-billion Pacific NorthWest LNG deal (May 1) — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

Thirteen months ago, the Lax Kw’alaams issued a scathing report that accused the Petronas-led Pacific NorthWest LNG project of ignoring aboriginal concerns about salmon habitat in northwestern British Columbia.

But this week, the First Nations group took long strides toward resolving differences by unveiling an agreement with Pacific NorthWest LNG, TransCanada Corp. and the B.C. government. Pacific NorthWest LNG, led by Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas, is backing the bulk of the $1.15-billion benefits package aimed at winning aboriginal consent for building an $11.4-billion LNG export terminal on Lelu Island.

United States

The U.S. cannot compete with Russia In Europe's natural gas market — Forbes

…The truth is that the only way the U.S. will be a big supplier is if a U.S. company, based in Europe or Eurasia, is using hydrocarbons it has rights to abroad. In other words, the U.S. natural gas market will be — not surprisingly — hyper local. U.S. companies may become players in Europe, but if it wants to rival Gazprom then it will have to source that gas from someplace else.

Even though U.S. energy firms are building for future exports, Europe does not appear high on the list.

Washington is more interested in lowering U.S. dependence on foreign fuels than it is interested in helping the E.U. diversify away from its main foreign source of fuel, which happens to be Russia.

Most of this is just political posturing and noise. The U.S. is not now and nor will it be in the near future a key resource for Europe’s energy needs. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Downeast LNG has stated that it plans to export LNG to European markets. It would need to under-price Russian pipeline gas. That seems unlikely.

North America

Freeport CEO skeptical of LNG export projects outside formidable 'first wave' (Apr 24) — SNL, Charlottesville, VA

Even with numerous advantages, the future for many proposed U.S. LNG export facilities remains cloudy, said the CEO of one of the leading developers in the field.

Freeport LNG Development LP CEO Michael Smith said the four import facilities that are being modified to export LNG could have a maximum capacity of 6.5 Bcf/d. With the addition of Cheniere Energy Inc.'s planned facility in Corpus Christi, Texas, the total could jump to nearly 8 Bcf/d. While Smith said he believes the Corpus Christi plant will be built, he took a skeptical approach to the approximately 30 other projects on the drawing board.

"Beyond [Corpus Christi], the picture gets a little less clear," he said in a speech at IHS CERAWeek in Houston. "I could see three more [Lake Charles, La.; Elba Island, Ga.; and Golden Pass in Texas] moving forward, as their sponsors are [Royal Dutch Shell plc] and [Exxon Mobil Corp.]. I could also see the re-gas facility at Pascagoula [Miss.] moving forward, and maybe Jordan Cove [Ore.]."

"I don't think the second wave will be greenfield projects," he said. "I think it will be the expansion of existing projects." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Downeast LNG is one of those greenfield projects that Freeport LNG sees as failing.


2015 May 1

New Brunswick

TransCanada 'can live with' only 1 export terminal for Energy East — CTV News

CALGARY -- Pipeline operator TransCanada says it can live with having a single export terminal in New Brunswick for its proposed Energy East pipeline.

The Calgary-based company had aimed to also export crude from Cacouna, Que., but scrapped those plans last month.

The $12-billion Energy East project would stretch from Alberta to Saint John, which has a deepwater port and where Irving Oil operates a major refinery.

Webmaster's comment: Energy East is a proposed oil pipeline running entirely in Canada as an alternative to the Keystone XL Pipeline.


Sen. Collins testifies on energy efficiency bills (Apr 30) — MPBN News

WASHINGTON - Maine U.S. Sen. Susan Collins testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in support of several bills aimed at improving energy efficiency for homeowners, businesses and public schools.

Collins said it's far better to cut the amount of energy used to heat homes or schools than to have to figure out how to pay for new electric generation facilities, or natural gas distribution pipelines or other energy systems. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


'Shame on you': Richmond residents grill Kinder Morgan over pipeline plan (Apr 28) — The Keene Sentinel, Keene, NH

RICHMOND — The astonishment and jeers came from every corner of Veterans Memorial Hall Monday night.

If the crowd of more than 100 people from Richmond and surrounding communities wasn't riled up about a proposal to put a natural gas transmission line through town before, they were after learning the thickness of the steel used for the pipe could be less than what is installed in a more populated area.

The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. LLC, a Kinder Morgan company, is proposing to build a pipeline to carry natural gas from shale gas fields in Pennsylvania through upstate New York, part of northern Massachusetts and into southern New Hampshire before going to a distribution hub in eastern Massachusetts.

The company will follow Department of Transportation pipeline thickness regulations based on population density, [said Mike Lennon, land agent for Tennessee Gas Pipeline]. The regulations allow for different pipeline thicknesses based on population density. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Gulf of Mexico

FERC schedules date for Magnolia LNG EIS — LNG World News

According to FERC’s notice, the date for issuance of the project’s final environmental impact statement has been set to November 16, 2015. Other agencies issuing federal authorizations have 90 days to complete all necessary reviews and to reach a final decision on the request for a federal authorization. The federal authorization decision deadline is February 14, 2016.

Cheniere’s Sabine Pass LNG export project on schedule — LNG World News

Houston-based LNG player Cheniere filed construction activities report with FERC for its Stage 1 Stage 2 Sabine Pass LNG export terminal in Cameron Parish, Louisiana that occurred during the month of March 2015.

Actual project progress continues to support the achievement of the scheduled substantial completion dates for Trains 1 and 2, which remain as February 2016 and June 2016, respectively. Trains 3 and 4 substantial completion dates are April 2017 and August 2017.

Cheniere posts USD 267.7 mln Q1 loss — LNG World News

Houston-based LNG player Cheniere Energy reported a net loss of $267.7 million for the three months ended March 31, 2015, compared to a net loss of $97.8 million for the comparable 2014 period.

Cheniere continues to make progress on the Liquefaction project, which is being developed for up to six trains, each with an expected nominal production capacity of approximately 4.5 million tonnes per annum, at the Sabine Pass LNG terminal adjacent to the existing regasification facilities.

Cheniere continues to make progress on the development of the Corpus Christi Liquefaction project, which is being designed for up to three Trains with expected aggregate nominal production capacity of approximately 13.5 mtpa of LNG. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Cheniere has never made a profit! The company jumped heavily into the LNG import goldrush, but after it was too late. Now, they've invested heavily into the export goldrush; however, they're ahead of the export groupies, and already under construction. However, considering losses such as Cheniere has taken for over a decade, it is no wonder that Downeast LNG continues to throw money at its own project even though Yorktown Partners and Kestrel Energy Parters — the venture capital investors — have never expected to succeed.


Kenai LNG to restart exports in May – ConocoPhillips — Natural Gas Daily, Interfax Global Energy [Paid subscription]

Kenai LNG, the United States’s only operational LNG [export] plant, will restart exports in May, ConocoPhillips said on Thursday.

In May 2014 Conoco sent out the first cargo after an 18-month break at the plant, and has renewed its export licence to deliver up to 1.1 billion cubic metres of gas over the next two years.

The plant sent out five cargoes in 2014 to Kansai Electric in Japan at a price of $14.97-15.87/MMBtu. Conoco plans to sell five to six cargoes from the plant this year.

Alaska LNG presents information to local businesses (Apr 30) — Peninsula Clarion, Kenai, AK

On Wednesday, DeVries spoke to approximately 146 registered guests at the Cannery Lodge in Kenai during the Alaska LNG’s information session for businesses interested in working on the project of building more than 800 miles of pipeline from northern Alaska gas fields to a liquefaction and storage facility to be constructed in Nikiski.

REI advances work for Port MacKenzie LNG project (Apr 29) — Alaska Journal of Commerce, Anchorage, AK

A critical action-item for Resource Energy Inc., or REI, is getting engineering and design work underway this year for its planned 1-million-ton per year liquefied natural gas project at Port MacKenzie, in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough across Knik Arm from Anchorage.

REI also hopes to initiate its pre-application process with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission later this year, the company’s Alaska manager Mary Ann Pease told Commonwealth North’s energy working group April 24.

[A] challenge, however, is that REI has been unable to nail down a gas supplier for its project, although talks are underway with independent companies that have made recent discoveries in Cook Inlet, Pease said.

British Columbia

Scientist leery of B.C.'s LNG potential (Apr 29) — Terrace Standard, Terrace, BC

An independent geo consultant with 35 years experience at the Geological Survey of Canada, Hughes has been a consistent voice of caution during the province’s gallop towards an industry being promoted by the provincial government.

The information Hughes uses to argue his case comes from the federal National Energy Board (NEB) and the province’s B.C. Oil and Gas Commission’s own calculations and projections.

The first target for Hughes are the 18 liquefaction facilities proposed on the coast, 12 of which already have export licences.

“Adding them up comes to 60 million tonnes more than the entire world trade of LNG,” says Hughes.

Just supplying one or two facilities would require a dramatic drilling increase beyond the midrange expectations of the National Energy Board, he continued.

And domestically in Canada, where we are huge consumers of energy because of the climate and distance between cities, that demand is massive and will continue to be large even as renewable energy sectors grow.

“Future generations are going to curse us if we liquidate this for marginal returns.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

No to LNG if conditions aren’t met: District (Apr 29) — The Squamish Chief, Squamish, BC

By a vote of 4-3, council adds amendment stating projects aren’t currently supportable

At a special meeting Tuesday, council deliberated on tweaks to the letter and its accompanying draft 17-page detailed response that outlines concerns about the proposed Woodfibre LNG export facility and related FortisBC Eagle Mountain – Woodfibre Gas Pipeline Project.

Council voted four to three to include an amendment, proposed by Mayor Patricia Heintzman, that strongly states the district’s current lack of support for the projects. The amendment reads:

“Due to the significant outstanding information and the community concerns that have not been adequately addressed, and there are no guarantees at this moment that they will be addressed adequately, the current application is not supportable.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

'Game changer': Gas company offers $1-billion to First Nations band in B.C. — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

The proponent of a liquefied natural gas plant on British Columbia’s north coast is offering more than $1-billion to obtain the consent of a First Nations community, a groundbreaking proposal that could establish the new price for natural resource development in traditional aboriginal territories.

In a province where resource projects have stalled and sometimes foundered over aboriginal opposition, the tentative deal between the Prince Rupert-based Lax Kw’alaams band and a joint venture led by Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas sets a new benchmark for sharing the wealth from energy extraction.

If approved by band members, the agreement will transfer roughly $1-billion in cash to the Lax Kw’alaams band over the span of the 40-year deal, while the B.C. government is putting more than $100-million worth of Crown lands on the table. For the 3,600 members of the Lax Kw’alaams community, the total package works out to a value of roughly $320,000 per person.

The proposed pact hinges on federal environmental approval of the Petronas-led Pacific NorthWest LNG project, to be built on the traditional territory of the Lax Kw’alaams.

Just a year ago, such an agreement seemed unlikely: “Petronas is aggressive to the point of being offensive to Lax Kw’alaams and seems, as a corporation, to have no idea how to successfully operate in Canada with aboriginal people,” the Lax Kw’alaams said in a report in March, 2014. “Petronas does not seem to understand that a social licence to move ahead with their project is not something they give to themselves.”


State land use board upholds Clatsop County ruling on Oregon LNG (Apr 29) — The Daily Astorian, Astoria, OR

Commissioners had rejected permit for pipeline

The state Land Use Board of Appeals Wednesday upheld Clatsop County’s decision to deny a permit for Oregon LNG’s proposed pipeline, a potentially critical setback for the $6 billion project.

The county Board of Commissioners voted unanimously in 2013 to reject a natural gas pipeline. The 87-mile pipeline would run from Washington state through portions of Columbia, Tillamook and Clatsop counties to connect to an export terminal along the Skipanon Peninsula in Warrenton.

“Today’s decision marks a significant turning point for LNG on the Columbia River,” Brett VandenHeuvel, the executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper, a Hood River-based environmental group that opposes the project, said in a statement. “The people of Clatsop County want clean water, safe communities and strong salmon runs. LNG development would take us in the wrong direction.”

Scott Lee, the chairman of the Board of Commissioners, said in a statement Wednesday that the project “did not comply with our comprehensive plan. Today we are pleased to learn that the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals upheld our decision to deny the application.”

State board upholds county denial of permit for Oregon LNG pipeline (Apr 29) — The Oregonian, Portland, OR

Oregon's Land Use of Board of Appeals has upheld Clatsop County's decision to deny a land use permit for a 41-mile section of the pipeline that would serve a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal in Warrenton, near the mouth of the Columbia River.

Without a pipeline, there is no project. And Oregon LNG has said repeatedly that it will comply with all federal, state and local regulations.

The county's decision would typically weigh heavily in the state's determination of whether the project is consistent with the Coastal Zone Management Act. The Division of Land Conservation and Development makes an independent decision, but looks at the same rules as Clatsop County, uses the county decision as evidence, and doesn't typically substitute its own judgment for a county's.

If the state decides the project is not consistent with the coastal zone program, Oregon LNG could still appeal that decision to the U.S. Commerce Secretary.

DLCD, Oregon LNG stay consistency certification (Apr 30) — LNG World News

Oregon LNG and the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development signed a stay agreement extending the period by which DLCD has to review the project.

DLCD has to review whether Oregon LNG’s certification that its proposed bidirectional LNG terminal project in Warrenton, Oregon is consistent with Oregon’s coastal management program.

Under the agreement, the consistency review period for the project’s consistency certification is stayed for an additional 90 days. It started on April 13, 2015 and ends on July 12, 2015. The DLCD’s decision is due July 26, 2015.


Hawaii could save up to $100M annually if LNG replaces oil, Hawaii Gas CEO says (Apr 28) — Pacific Business News, Honolulu, HI

Shipping liquefied natural gas to the Islands could save Hawaii $55 million per year in fuel costs if 50 percent of imported oil is replaced by LNG, and in the case of a 100 percent replacement, the state could save nearly $100 million annually, the head of Hawaii Gas said this week.

Hawaii Gas, the state’s only gas utility, plans to supply itself and other independent power producers in the state with LNG, as well as other industries, including ground and marine transportation companies, and even Hawaiian Electric Co.

“The plan must allow for decreasing use of LNG as more renewables are integrated,” Moy said. “Essentially, we went into this knowing that LNG demand is going to decline and [it would be] a temporary solution.”

Hawaii Gas, a subsidiary of Macquarie Infrastructure Co. (NYSE: MIC), has said that it hopes to begin LNG bulk shipments to the state by 2019 if they receive regulatory approval. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


WoodMac: Canada’s LNG could compete with US — LNG World News

The huge gas resource base in North America offers significant potential for LNG exports, but currently it is the US, not Canada, that is building an LNG export industry, according to Wood Mackenzie’s latest analysis.

Wood Mackenzie’s analysis points to cost as a key reason behind the different pace of US and Canadian LNG development. In Western Canada, where most of the large-scale project activity is focused, multiple factors add to cost: the proposed large-scale developments are all on remote greenfield sites that have little of the infrastructure needed for an LNG development; the long-distance pipelines, up to 900 kilometres, required to access feed gas; and the lower labor availability relative to the US. These higher capital costs have made it difficult for projects in Western Canada to demonstrate the commercial returns necessary for investment to be sanctioned. In the US, it is quite the opposite. LNG developers have focused on low-cost brownfield expansion where the incremental expenditure needed for LNG exports is primarily the cost of adding the liquefaction trains as well as some modifications to the existing marine facilities, storage tanks and pipelines. The facilities are typically being built in industrialized areas of the US Gulf Coast (USGC) with good access to a large local labor pool.

Munton adds that for the US, the reduction of the USGC’s cost advantage does not jeopardise projects close to be sanctioned like Corpus Christi and nor does it preclude a second wave of US LNG from getting sanctioned later. There are other benefits to US LNG such as greater operational and destination flexibility than many other supply options available. But with US LNG construction costs continuing to increase and competition between projects growing, developers will likely need to reduce expectations of returns if they are to remain competitive.

United States

FERC updates U.S. LNG terminals summaries (Apr 29) — LNG World News

The United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently updated the summaries of existing, proposed, potential and approved U.S. LNG import and export terminals.

EIA: U.S. becoming net exporter of natural gas (Apr 29) — LNG World News

The Energy Information Administration expects the United States to be a net natural gas exporter by 2017, EIA said in its recently released Annual Energy Outlook 2015.

After 2017, natural gas trade is driven largely by the availability of natural gas resources and by world energy prices. Increased availability of domestic gas or higher world energy prices each increase the gap between the cost of U.S. natural gas and world prices that encourages exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), and, to a lesser extent, greater exports by pipeline to Mexico, according to EIA.

United States and Japan welcome future U.S. LNG exports (Apr 28) — LNG Law Blog

Today [Apr 28], as part of a broader expansion of bilateral economic and people-to-people ties, the White House released a Fact-Sheet reaffirming the United States’ and Japan’s commitment to enhance their longstanding partnership by, among other things, “[w]elcom[ing] the prospect of U.S. liquefied natural gas exports in the future since additional global supplies will benefit Japan and other strategic partners.”

Brother of Hillary Clinton's top campaign aide lobbied for fracked gas export terminal co-owned by Qatar [Blog] — Huffington Post

Anthony "Tony" Podesta began lobbying in late 2013 on behalf of a company co-owned by ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum aiming to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the global market. Tony is the brother of John Podesta, former top climate change adviser to President Barack Obama and current top campaign aide for Hillary Clinton's 2016 bid for president.

In October 2012, Podesta Group began lobbying on behalf of the proposed ExxonMobil-Qatar Petroleum Golden Pass LNG facility in Sabine Pass, Texas, according to lobbying disclosure forms. The forms indicate that Tony Podesta himself, not just his staff, lobbied on behalf of the terminal beginning in quarter four of 2013.

The company now employs FTI Consulting's Timothy Glassco to lobby for expedited permitting for LNG export terminals. Glassco, a former staffer for Obama's 2008 presidential run, recently departed after almost seven years on the job at Podesta Group, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The Tony Podesta-Golden Pass example serves as an influence peddling and lobbying case study akin to many others unpacked in the DeSmogBlog-Republic Report November 2014 report titled, "Natural Gas Exports: Washington's Revolving Door Fuels Climate Threat."

Qatar, the Persian Gulf country which shares a border with Saudi Arabia, is the top exporter of LNG in the world. It has also come under fire for human rights abuses and for maintaining one of the most long-standing dictatorships on the planet.

The Clinton Foundation, whose finances are currently under increased scrunity due to the looming release of the book "Clinton Cash," took between $250,000-$500,000 from Qatar in 2014.

During the same quarter Tony Podesta began lobbying for Golden Pass, President Obama hired John Podesta in December 2013 as his top counselor on climate change and energy issues.

On March 19, 2014, National Journal reported that John Podesta attended a White House roundtable on methane emissions occuring during the hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") process. At that meeting, John Podesta strongly critiqued the environmental movement for its activism against fracking.

Just two months later in May, DOE announced it would begin streamlining the permitting process for LNG export terminals with the highest chance of receiving a permit. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


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