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


News Articles
Passamaquoddy Bay & LNG

2015 June

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2015 Jun


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2015 June 25

Passamaquoddy Bay

Downeast LNG signs on engineering firm for proposed gas terminal — Bangor Daily News, Bangor, ME

ROBBINSTON, Maine — Downeast LNG Inc. has signed a letter of agreement with one of the largest engineering and construction firms in the global energy industry to build its proposed liquefied natural gas import-export terminal at Mill Cove in Robbinston.

The project remains in the permitting phase and Girdis estimates another 30 state and federal permits are needed. He indicated construction could nevertheless begin as early as the spring of 2017.

Financing for the proposed project, which would include two LNG storage tanks, a regasification plant, pier for docking LNG tankers and a pipeline to connect with the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline, will be decided after the permitting phase, when Downeast LNG takes the project to market, Girdis said. Some banks and equity investors have been contacted on a preliminary basis and are “very excited” about the project, he said.

“Downeast LNG has hired a wide range of companies through the years in attempts to make the project seem like it fits in an inappropriate location, even though the project will never be built. CB&I is just another company in a long and growing list,” said Robert Godfrey, a spokesman and researcher with Save Passamaquoddy Bay. “The only significance to CB&I’s involvement is in Downeast LNG’s continued willingness to waste money on its unrealistic project.”

He said the Canadian government opposes LNG tankers traveling into and out of Passamaquoddy Bay and the U.S. has no basis on which to challenge Canadian law. And, the U.S. Coast Guard requires Downeast LNG to obtain Canada’s cooperation for safe and secure LNG transits in the waterway. That will not be happening, Godfrey said.

Girdis said his company has been “working on that issue [Canada] for some time. We don’t need any permits from Canada.”

He added that his firm would work with Canadian officials to address their concerns.

Webmaster's comment: The reporter of this article inaccurately reported two of Robert Godfrey's statements sent to her in an email in response to her request for comment. Godfrey made no statement about Canadian law, and Godfrey indicated that Canada prohibits LNG transits into Passamaquoddy Bay. The reporter substituted "opposes" for "prohibits", softening the meaning of Canada's true position.

Girdis says he doesn't need permission from Canada, once again confirming that he learned nothing in his stint in the Peace Corps.


2015 June 24

Passamaquoddy Bay & Maine

Downeast LNG announces letter of agreement with CB&I — WQDY-FM, Calais, ME

Downeast LNG, Inc. (Downeast) has announced it has signed a letter of agreement with CB&I (NYSE:CBI) to work collaboratively to secure the phased development, design and construction of the Downeast project at Mill Cove in Robbinston, Maine, on Passamaquoddy Bay.

"Downeast looks forward to working with CB&I on the development of the project. CB&I's depth of design and construction experience in the LNG sector is unparalleled," said DELNG president and founder Dean Girdis.

Webmaster's comment: The significance of this announcement is that Downeast LNG wants to provide the illusion of moving forward, and has arranged to pay CB&I to provide design work. It is a house of cards.

Downeast LNG has no FERC permit or State of Maine permits to construct, and has no way to receive or ship LNG through Canada's waters in Passamaquoddy Bay; the US Coast Guard requires Downeast LNG to obtain Government of Canada cooperation on safe and secure transits, and requires Downeast LNG to obtain consent from the Passamaquoddy Tribe. After at least eight years of failing to obtain Canada's cooperation, and after 10 years in federal permitting, it is very apparent that Downeast LNG cannot comply with the requirements. It is a fantasy project.

Pipeline foes prone to exaggerate the ease and likelihood of exporting LNG (Jun 18) — JDSupra

If fuel from the Marcellus Shale, perhaps the largest known source of natural gas in the world, is one day shipped through pipelines in Massachusetts and exported as liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe or elsewhere, should you care?

Pipeline foes never seem to miss an opportunity to claim that the export of LNG is the ultimate objective of the companies proposing new gas pipelines. The web site of one opposition group, for example, claims there is “new potential for export (of gas) from facilities in Maine and Everett, MA.”

Here’s what I think has been exaggerated, maybe wildly so:

The potential to take gas from Pennsylvania, transport it by pipe to industrial complexes on the coasts of Massachusetts or Maine, convert it there to LNG by freezing it to 258 degrees (Fahrenheit) below zero, ship it and sell it overseas for a profit, and do that for the substantial span of years needed to ensure the financial viability of the entire multi-billion-dollar enterprise.

The potential to locate a new LNG export facility measurably increases when you move up the coast to Maine and the maritime provinces of Canada. Nevertheless, one still has to exaggerate the ease with which a facility could be built there if one wishes to speak confidently about how an LNG export terminal is bound to arise in Maine and/or eastern Canada once those pipelines are built in Massachusetts.

A new LNG export terminal in Maine or Canada could cost upwards of $4 billion to plan, permit and construct. There are serious doubts that any group of investors would finance a project that costly when there are many large (and competing) sources of natural gas in the world beyond North America. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: It is worth recalling that the employer of the above article's author, lawfirm PretiFlaherty, represented the ill-fated Calais LNG project. It is also worth noting that a lawyer with PretiFlaherty is now stating that it would be seriously doubtful that any investment group would back an LNG export terminal project in Maine.

Nova Scotia & New Brunswick

Premier keen on outlook for LNG projects (Jun 11) — The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, NS

McNeil and provincial energy officials met with representatives of the German government and E.ON Global, which signed a $35-billion deal to buy natural gas over 20 years from the proposed LNG plant and terminal at Goldboro being developed by Pieridae Energy Canada Ltd.

While there remain issues and concerns that need to be resolved, supply being one of them, McNeil said it’s encouraging that the Americans have agreed to allow for the export of gas to be turned into LNG and exported to free trade countries. Germany, however, does not have a free trade deal with either Canada or the United States and so work must be done on that aspect, he said.

“We spoke to Germany about that. We need them, as well, to help us to convince the U.S. that we should be allowed to export to non-free trading countries at this point, Germany being one of them.

A recently released study of natural gas supply and demand for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick over the next 10 years states a declining local source of natural gas is expected to fall well below regional demand in a few short years.

The region will need to find new sources of natural gas not available via existing infrastructure, the study prepared for Atlantica Centre for Energy by Jupia Consultants Inc. concluded.

The most likely source will be to import natural gas from the shale gas plays in the United States, delivered to the region through a reversal of the Maritimes & Northeast pipeline, but the study has determined the expanded pipeline capacity will not be available prior to November 2017, at the earliest. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Region’s gas scarce, Nova Scotia Power says (Jun 1) — The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, NS

Domestic sources shrinking, development iffy — report

The supply outlook for natural gas in the Maritimes remains “relatively bleak,” Nova Scotia Power says.

The utility said Maritimes gas production this past winter was well below last year’s level, mainly due to declines in Deep Panuke output.

When it comes to liquefied natural gas, Nova Scotia Power said some industry experts are “very skeptical” about the likehood of any proposed LNG projects in the region going ahead.

“The economics do not support LNG export from this region at this time,” the filing added. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Irving made millions off deal to slash taxes on LNG property (Jun 12) — CBC News

Coun. Gerry Lowe says revelations that Irving Oil signed a multimillion dollar deal to collect rent on the land within weeks of telling the city it couldn't afford to pay a full tax bill makes him think the city and province were not provided the facts they needed to make an informed decision on granting the concession.

Documents filed with an Alberta tax court in connection with the Canaport LNG development and obtained by CBC News show Repsol and Irving Oil signed financial agreements with each other that guaranteed over $20 million a year in income to Irving from an LNG development — on June 6, 2005.

That's two days before the New Brunswick legislature began debating whether to grant Irving a property tax cut and 25-year rate freeze for the same project.

The Canaport development is now assessed to be worth $300 million and at current rates, would owe the city over $8 million per year in property taxes. Instead the deal reached in 2005 reduces that amount to $500,000 per year until 2030. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Canaport LNG gets first property tax hike since 2006 (Jun 22) — CBC News

Provincial property tax assessors have determined the Canaport LNG jetty to be worth $2.8M

Saint John's Canaport LNG facility has been given its first property tax increase since 2006 because of the offloading of oil at the site, but the event does not signal a major change in the development's tax status, according to the New Brunswick government.

The provincial government had been looking into Irving Oil Ltd.'s recent use of the Canaport LNG wharf to unload oil tankers and has concluded although the activity does not fit the terms of a multimillion-dollar-property tax deal at the site, it is also not serious enough to sink the entire arrangement.

Instead, the provincial government has removed the wharf — or jetty — from the special LNG tax zone, redrawn the zone to fit just around the LNG terminal and given the jetty a separate assessment and tax bill.

This is generating $76,384.30 in new tax revenue for Saint John. The rest of the LNG site will continue to pay $500,000.

Peter Hyslop, a Hartland lawyer, says he cannot see how the provincial government can create two tax zones at the LNG site if the law calls for one.

Canada blazing Atlantic export trail for U.S. shale gas, supplies for Nova Scotia, New Brunswick (Jun 19) — Natural Gas Intelligence [Paid subscription]

A path is developing on Canada’s Atlantic coast for shale production from the eastern United States to sail out onto international markets for liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Blazing the trail may become compulsory. The National Energy Board NEB has served notice that access to U.S. supplies via a flow reversal of Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline (MNP) may be made a condition of a long-term trading license sought by Saint John LNG Development Co.

Saint John LNG is a subsidiary of Spanish international energy conglomerate Repsol, formed to convert Canada’s lone liquefied gas tanker dock -- Canaport, on the New Brunswick coast -- into a busy export terminal from a little-used import site. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Out of the fire, into the frying pan.


Request to stop Cove Point LNG construction denied (Jun 15) — LNG World News

Judges David S. Tatel, Janice Rogers Brown and Patricia A. Millett issued an order saying the groups have not satisfied the stringent requirements for a stay pending court review. Dominion revealed in a statement that the two judges wrote that there were no strongly compelling reasons justifying the expedition.

Environmental and citizen groups sought the stop of construction at the facility as they move forward with the lawsuit over the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of Dominion’s construction plans.

Gulf of Mexico

FERC application filed for Gulf LNG Liquefaction Project near Pascagoula, Mississippi [Press release] (Jun 19) — Business Wire

Gulf LNG Liquefaction Company (GLLC) and Gulf LNG Energy (GLE) … collectively filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) pursuant to Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act, requesting authority to construct and operate new natural gas liquefaction and export facilities at GLE’s existing liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification terminal located in Jackson County, Mississippi, near Pascagoula. Additionally, pursuant to Section 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act and FERC regulations, Gulf LNG Pipeline (GLP) notified the FERC that minor modifications will be made to the existing pipeline facilities that currently interconnect with the terminal under GLP’s blanket authorization from the FERC. The applicants have requested that the FERC grant authorization of the requests no later than June 17, 2016.

The project has already received U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Free Trade Agreement (FTA) export authority and non-FTA authority is pending.…

Cheniere clears hurdle to expand Sabine Pass LNG terminal (Jun 23) — Beaumont Enterprise, Beaumont, TX

A federal energy regulator on Tuesday gave Houston-based Cheniere Energy approval to expand its Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas export terminal after dismissing an environmental group's concerns about the project.

The Sierra Club had asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reconsider its April 6 approval of two additional production facilities slated to boost Sabine Pass LNG's production by 50 percent. The group argued that the project would spur an increase in natural gas production to feed the export terminal, which in turn could lead to a spike in air pollution and an uptick in gas prices.

LNG race — The Monitor, McAllen, TX

Five companies consider liquefied natural gas transfer facilities at Brownsville port

Five corporations — Texas LNG, Annova LNG, Next Decade LNG, Gulf Coast LNG, and Sideco LNG — are looking to construct liquefied natural gas exportation facilities along the Brownsville channel in open land leased by the port.

“There’s no reason they need to build there, and once it’s done, because that area is so environmentally sensitive, you can’t take it back,” said Jim Chapman, [Lower Rio Grande Valley Sierra Club's] chairman.

NextDecade raises USD 85 million for Rio Grande LNG (Jun 16) — LNG World News

Texas-based NextDecade raised an additional US$85 million in order to take the Rio Grande LNG and Rio Bravo Pipeline project to final investment decision as well as to fund the development of Pelican Island LNG in Galveston.

Additionally, NextDecade continues the development of its other projects, including Pelican Island LNG in Galveston, Texas. PILNG is continuing basis-of-design work and preliminary engineering while it prepares for future FERC Pre-Filing, it added.


JPS selects US company to supply LNG for Bogue Power Plant (Jun 15) — The Gleaner, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies

The Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS) says it has selected the United States-based New Fortress Energy as the preferred bidder to supply liquefied national gas (LNG) to its power plant.

The JPS said it is in the process of finalising an agreement with Fortress for the supply of natural gas to facilitate the conversion of its 120-megawattt power plant in Bogue, Montego Bay, St. James.

According to the light and power company, the agreement is expected to be finalised by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, Wesley Edens, founder and co-chairman of the Board of Fortress Investment Group, said the company plans to help make Jamaica an energy hub for the Caribbean and Latin America.

British Columbia

Mixed reviews for LNG Canada project following environmental green light — Vancouver Observer, Vancouver, BC

The multibillion dollar LNG Canada initiative was given an Environmental Assessment Certificate last week, prompting simultaneous applause from a number of community stakeholders and concern from B.C. environmental groups.

“We’re talking about an area that’s cut through with relatively narrow channels all over the place and heavily populated with whales,” explained Karen Wristen, executive director of Living Oceans Society. “The main concern that I have with the LNG tankers is the number of tankers in total that might be going through the channel and the noise they make in critical whale habitats.”

B.C. legislature recalled to debate $36B Petronas LNG plant — Canadian Manufacturing

VICTORIA—British Columbia’s politicians are being recalled for a summer sitting to debate legislation designed to pave the way for a $36-billion liquefied natural gas plant on the north coast near Prince Rupert.

The bill will ratify a project-development agreement between B.C. and Pacific NorthWest LNG, a joint venture largely backed by Malaysian state energy-giant Petronas, and enable future agreements on other potential LNG deals.

The Liberals are expected to accuse the NDP of attempting to challenge a project worth $36 billion, while the NDP will levy accusations of selling out taxpayers to a corporate giant.

B.C. Liberals acknowledge 'significant adverse effect' of LNG emissions (Jun 22) — Vancouver Courier, Vancouver, BC

Two B.C. Liberal cabinet ministers were forced to acknowledge an liquified natural gas (LNG) fact they’d rather not this week — the plants will have a “significant adverse effect” on provincial greenhouse-gas emissions.

LNG Canada’s project “would have a notable impact on B.C.’s emissions-reductions targets. At full build-out, the project would contribute a 6.6 per cent increase in provincial GHG emissions from 2011 levels.”

The Pacific NorthWest LNG plan would hike provincial emissions by 8.5 per cent by full build-out, according to a conservative estimate. The ministers’ statement on approving that certificate stated that because the GHG legislation sets benchmarks and there’s a defined approach to reduce emissions if the benchmarks aren’t met, the EAO did not propose conditions to address the problem. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Shell-led LNG project gets environmental go-ahead from Ottawa, B.C. (Jun 17) — CTV News

CALGARY -- A multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas project led by Royal Dutch Shell was given the environmental go-ahead on Wednesday, subject to dozens of conditions.

Ottawa's approval comes with 50 legally binding conditions dealing with fish habitat, migratory birds, human health and a host of other matters.

The provincial approval comes with 24 conditions dealing with greenhouse gases, wildlife impacts and aboriginal consultation, among other things.


Hawaiian Electric's plan to build LNG terminal uncertain at this time (Jun 23) — Pacific Business News

The Honolulu-based utility said that developing a bulk terminal project became a lot tougher in light of the recent passage of a couple of bills related to energy, according to a document filed with the PUC.

The bills include one that sets the goal of Hawaii achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2045 and another that sets limits on the use of LNG.

Hawaiian Electric also noted that it anticipates developing, permitting and implementing a bulk LNG import and regasification terminal for the state will take considerably longer than the alternative containerized LNG solution.


2015 Jun 23

Passamaquoddy Bay

Manufacturing Group Rips DOE's LNG Export Policies (May 14) — Law360 [Paid subscription]

A manufacturing advocacy group blasted the U.S. Department of Energy's policies on approving exports of liquefied natural gas to countries with which the U.S. does not have a free trade agreement, saying the DOE relies on outdated, inaccurate and undefined information.

The Industrial Energy Consumers of America moved to intervene, suspend and protest the DOE's proceedings regarding Downeast LNG Inc.'s proposal to export LNG from a planned terminal in Robbinston, Maine last week, claiming that the DOE doesn't fully comply with the Natural Gas Act.

Specifically, the IECA says the DOE doesn't know what “public interest” means, should consider future adjustments to LNG export plans and relies on rules made before natural gas became a prominent source of energy along with studies conducted during a period of manufacturing slowdown.

“If the DOE has not defined 'public interest,' how is it that they can make informed decisions on behalf of the over 72 million consumers of natural gas and 145 million consumers of electricity?

“The small increase in GDP is the result of a windfall for a small group of natural gas resource owners and export terminal owners being just large enough to offset the losses in lower incomes and higher energy prices inflicted upon the remaining bulk of the population,” the IECA says. “The vast majority of households will transfer income and wealth to a small number of gas resource owners, as LNG exports place [manufacturing industries] at a particular global disadvantage.”

The IECA suggests that the DOE define “public interest” as “the most good for the most people” because “the macroeconomic proxy for public interest employed by the DOE is literally the antithesis of what Americans actually mean by the term.”

British Columbia

Petronas gets environmental road map for Pacific NorthWest LNG (Jun 12) — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

The federal fisheries department has provided a road map for Pacific NorthWest LNG to follow to reduce the project’s environmental impact in British Columbia.

Plans to export liquefied natural gas from Lelu Island must place a high priority on protecting juvenile salmon habitat in an area with eelgrass called Flora Bank, said Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The department made its recommendations in a report in late May to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA), which is reviewing the project filed by the LNG group led by Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas.

CEAA [Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency] halted its review on June 2 – day 263 of the 365-day process. It is unclear when the regulatory clock will restart, but in a letter obtained by The Globe and Mail, CEAA said it needed to pause its assessment because of insufficient information from Pacific NorthWest LNG.

Natural Resources Canada also submitted a report to CEAA, saying it shares DFO’s view that “the proponent has not adequately substantiated its conclusions” that minimized concerns about Flora Bank, which is in the traditional territory of the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation. Last month, members of the Lax Kw’alaams declined to provide aboriginal consent, rejecting Pacific NorthWest LNG’s $1-billion cash offer over 40 years.

The fisheries department expressed skepticism about a Pacific NorthWest LNG-commissioned report prepared by engineering firm Stantec Inc., which argued through 3-D modelling that the project would have little to no impact on Flora Bank in the Skeena River estuary. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Stantec also fudged its migratory bird study for the Downeast LNG proposal in Passamaquoddy Bay.

Squamish LNG proposal crystallizes debate on city’s past, and future (Jun 12) — Global News, CA

…Woodfibre is one of several LNG battlegrounds in British Columbia, where proposed economic benefits are less important to many local residents than potential environmental costs.

[Squamish Mayor Patricia Heintzman] and city council have rejected the $1.7 billion Woodfibre LNG proposal as it currently stands, saying that while the jobs are tempting, the cons outweigh the pros.

…[T]here is plenty of skepticism, from the effects a seawater cooling system would have on the environment, to the objectivity of the province’s Environment Assessment Process, which is still underway. In addition, the Squamish First Nation have also not given their approval for the project.

“I think ironically our industrial legacy hurts them, because people do not want to see that sort of legacy left anywhere in Howe Sound anymore,” says Heintzman.


This week in rumors about Jordan Cove LNG (Jun 12) — The World, Coos Bay, OR

COOS BAY — The rumor mill surrounding Jordan Cove LNG is never-ending. As the project faces another delay, let's fact-check some of the rumors we've heard in the past week: …

The most recent delay in the issuance of the final EIS has been FERC being asked to take another look at an alternate route for part of the pipeline: the Blue Ridge Alternative.

…[Gov. Kate Brown's] communications director, Kristen Grainger, said in an email Thursday that Brown "expects Oregon’s state agencies to abide by their standards-based process and follow all laws and regulations to the letter, and unless she develops process concerns, it would be highly unusual for her as governor to intervene in the state agency review process currently underway."


2015 June 11

Passamaquoddy Bay

YOU SHOULD KNOW: Millions of shorebirds depend on the Bay of Fundy and they need protection (Jun 10) — Fundy Tides, Bocabec, NB

Having been involved and concerned about the proposals for LNG terminals in Passamaquoddy Bay, I try to follow current information on the last remaining proposal by Downeast LNG. Currently the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is reviewing DLNG’s environmental submissions. Work done by Stantec showed virtually no shorebird presence at Mill Cove, Robbinston, ME, and hence no concern. Frankly something didn’t smell right to me. So I sent a question to Save Passamaquoddy Bay researcher Robert Godfrey inquiring about the dates for the field work.

Well, it seems Stantec did their field work in mid-July and mid-September which would be before and after the main flocks pass through. It might be an error. But you be the Judge! [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: FERC has previously ignored violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that were evident in the Downeast LNG import project Final Environmental Impact Statement. It would be no surprise for FERC to ignore Stantec's inappropriately-timed research for Downeast LNG.

Maritime Provinces (NS, NB, PI)

East Coast LNG projects lining up to get in the game (Jun 9) — Business in Vancouver, Vancouver, BC

The number of publicly proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects along Canada’s East Coast has not yet grown to the extent of the West Coast – there are currently six, versus 21 in B.C., according to Daily Oil Bulletin tracking – but one of the project proponents says LNG could start sailing overseas from Nova Scotia by 2019, which could make it the first export project in Canada.

Three of the top projects in the East Coast are described here.

Bear Head LNG
Pieridae/Goldboro LNG
Canaport LNG

Webmaster's comment: Guess who wasn't mentioned; the two Nova Scotia projects proposed by Downeast LNG's Dean Girdis — Nova Scotia LNG exporting and Nova Scotia LNG bunkering.

New England

State rep testifies on bill to curb LNG exports -- on the same day as Salem plant groundbreaking (Jun 10) — The Boston Globe, Boston, MA

After years of false starts, developer Footprint Power finally held a groundbreaking ceremony for its $1 billion, natural gas-fired plant in Salem last week.

In a strange coincidence, [State Representative Lori Ehrlich] was busy that same day at the State House, testifying at a committee hearing on behalf of a bill she filed because of her belief that the Salem power plant could eventually be used to export liquefied natural gas.

Ehrlich … would like more of an assurance that a cryogenic facility won’t be built for liquefying gas at any point in the future at the waterfront site, which sits across Salem Harbor from her hometown.

Gulf of Mexico

Cheniere reveals plans for additional LNG projects —, TX

Cheniere plans to expand its liquefied natural gas empire, adding two additional production units in Corpus Christi and partnering with a smaller Houston-based LNG company to build new projects in Louisiana.

The company on Wednesday announced that it has filed paperwork seeking federal approval to build two more liquefaction trains near its proposed LNG export terminal in Corpus Christi, where construction has started on two of the five proposed trains.

Cheniere also agreed to team up with Parallax Enterprises to complete two mid-scale projects already under development in places close to pipelines and deep water access. The company unveiled Live Oak LNG on the Calcasieu Ship Channel in southwestern Louisiana earlier this year and in April, acquired Louisiana LNG on the Mississippi River south of New Orleans. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


Walker administration studies big change to Alaska LNG deal (Jun 10) — Alaska Dispatch News, Anchorage, AK

One big possible change involves whether the state should buy out TransCanada’s 25 percent interest in the 800-mile gas line and treatment plant. Doing so would cost about $100 million, said Walker.

While the state has a 25 percent stake in the liquefaction plant, it currently has no stake in the pipeline, he said. “We’re evaluating the pros and cons of doing that, to give us a bigger seat at the table, so to speak,” said Walker.

Spending that money would require an appropriation from the Legislature, where key leaders in the Republican party have tangled with Walker over the project.

British Columbia

Woodfibre LNG joins SIGTTO — Coast Reporter, Sechelt, BC

In an effort to address community concerns, Woodfibre LNG has now become an associate member of the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators Ltd. (SIGTTO)

SIGTTO is an international non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the safe operation of gas tankers and terminals.

[Woodfibre LNG community relations manager John French] said he hopes the recent inclusion in SIGTTO will help calm some fears in the community about the Woodfibre LNG project, which is expected to move ahead after the project’s 180-day environmental assessment application review phase, which started on Jan. 13. Find out more at

Webmaster's comment: The pig has put on lipstick. SIGTTO does not require members to abide by its terminal siting best practices. Woodfibre LNG joining SIGTTO acknowledges that public opposition to the project is having effect. Woodfibre LNG is baldly incorrect in claiming that the project complies with SIGTTO.

Woodfibre LNG plant proving to be a tough sell in Squamish (Jun 9) — Business in Vancouver, Vancouver, BC

…[W]hy is Squamish essentially saying “no thanks” to the project?

“Council, at this point, has said it’s not supportable,” said Squamish Mayor Patricia Heintzman. “We’re saying it doesn’t meet the litmus test at this point.”

While it’s estimated the Woodfibre LNG project would more than replace the taxes it lost from the closed pulp mill – at least $2 million annually – Howe’s Sound’s legacy of pollution from Britannia mine, pulp mills and chemical plants makes new heavy industry a hard sell in Squamish.

“I don’t think a lot of the pushback comes so much from the view of this particular project as it is against the industry as a whole,” Race said. “It’s fracking, it’s climate change, it’s fossil fuel issues, greenhouse gas emissions. I think those people just have issues that they will just never reconcile with this project,” [said Squamish Coun. Doug Race, who supports the project].

The biggest environmental concern with Woodfibre LNG may be the use of Howe Sound as a heat sink. During the process of chilling the gas to -160 C to liquefy it, a tremendous amount of heat is extracted.

“It’s like adding three more cities the size of Vancouver dumping heat into the ocean,” Mueller said.

Webmaster's comment: A significant environmental concer" is the LNG ship 2.2-mile wide hazard zone that would place numerous communities in harm's way during each transit.

Canada approves TransCanada pipeline to feed Pacific LNG plant — Reuters

The Canadian government has approved TransCanada Corp's proposed C$1.7 billion ($1.38 billion) North Montney Mainline natural gas pipeline that would connect natural gas fields in northern British Columbia with a Pacific Coast export terminal.

The North Montney line would feed into a second new pipeline, the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission line, that would serve an $11 billion liquefied natural gas export terminal, called the Pacific NorthWest LNG project, proposed by state-owned Malaysian energy company Petronas.

AltaGas files for LNG export permit with NEB (Jun 9) — LNG World News

AltaGas DCLNG General Partner filed an application with the Canadian National Energy Board to export 365 Bcf of gas per annum over 25 years from a proposed floating LNG project near Kitimat, British Columbia.


Oregon Senator, environmentalists clash over Coos Bay terminal — Willamette Live, Salem, OR

Ron Wyden (D – OR) favors a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal called Jordan Cove now proposed for the Port of Coos Bay. Environmentalists are strongly opposed to the project.

Wyden ran on a climate solution platform, opposes the Keystone XL pipeline and last June affirmed his support for the EPA’s lowering greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030. “American businesses, farmers, ranchers and families are experiencing the effects of climate change in the United States today,” he said in a released statement. “Inaction on climate change is no longer an option.”

But Jordan Cove, according to computations done by The Oregonian newspaper in November, could become one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the state by 2020. To determine this, The Oregonian compared data contained in the federal environmental analysis of the Jordan Cove project with reports for the state’s major polluters for the last several years. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Jordan Cove LNG is also inappropriately sited, according to the LNG industry, itself; its LNG ship transit route would unnecessarily place a large swath of residents and communities within federally-defined hazard zones.

Jordan Cove LNG's federal environmental review pushed to September — The World, Coos Bay, OR

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released a revised Notice of Schedule on Thursday, a day before the proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal was expected to receive its final environmental impact statement.

The final EIS is now expected to be released Sept. 30, with a 90-day federal authorization decision deadline moved to Dec. 29.

The delay, FERC noted, comes after "the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management required additional information regarding an alternative pipeline route affecting its lands."

This is in reference to the Blue Ridge route, which area landowners presented as an alternative to the original Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline route — and which FERC largely dismissed in the draft EIS it issued for Jordan Cove last fall. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: FERC is in the habit of ignoring and dismissing significant issues when those issues reflect negatively on the applicant — as FERC has done multiple times in the Downeast LNG Final Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed import project. Now that Downeast LNG is proposing to export, we can anticipate additional FERC abuses of the law.

United States

EPA fracking report doesn't give green light, says scientist — CBC News

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says fracking report meant to be used as a map

A scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says a new four-year study of hydraulic fracturing is not meant to give approval to the controversial method of extracting shale gas.

Tom Burke, the science adviser to the EPA, says each region has to make its own decisions and the study is one tool to help make informed choice.

"It was never a study designed to determine whether fracking is safe or not," he said.

"It was a study determined to look at the use of water and the potential vulnerabilities of our drinking water resources." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

United States: EPA releases draft Assessment of effects of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water (Jun 8) — Mondaq

The Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") has published a draft assessment based on the 2010 study requested by Congress into the possible effects caused by hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources. Hydraulic fracturing has been combined with horizontal drilling techniques to allow production of oil and natural gas from previously untapped resources, such as shale and other tight subsurface formations, and has resulted in expanded domestic production of oil and natural gas and economic growth.

In 2011, EPA undertook the study of the effects of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources. The scope of the study and resulting draft assessment includes examination of five activities associated with hydraulic fracturing: water acquisition, chemical mixing, well injection, produced water, and wastewater treatment on drinking water sources. While the assessment recognized certain possible risks in these procedures and identified isolated incidents where drinking water resources were impacted, the June 2015 draft assessment concluded that those instances were rare as compared with the number of hydraulically fractured wells. The draft assessment found that hydraulic fracturing has not caused widespread or systemic impacts on drinking water resources. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: The study's conclusion is not that fracking is inherently guilty or inherently innocent of contaminating drinking water.


More needed to combat ship emission health hazard (Jun 10) — The Maritime Executive

Scientists at the University of Rostock have recently found that both unrefined heavy fuel oil (HFO) and marine diesel (DF) are closely linked with serious disease.

"The results are startling and confirms our worst fears: ship emissions cause serious diseases of the lungs and heart," said Leif Miller CEO of the NABU environmental group.

Epidemiological studies have repeatedly found that as many as 60,000 annual deaths from lung and heart diseases can be traced back to ship-related PM [Particlate Matter]. Also, shipping is responsible for around 50% of PM pollution found in coastal regions.

In 2013 the World Health Organization found that diesel soot was as carcinogenic as asbestos. Soot particles are also the second strongest climate change contributor. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: This should be of serious concern to federal agencies tasked with permitting LNG terminals, since terminals require ship traffic, at least some of which (tugs, escourt vessels, and some LNG ships) may use diesel fuel or heavy oil. Read the full report: Particulate Matter from Both Heavy Fuel Oil and Diesel Fuel Shipping Emissions Show Strong Biological Effects on Human Lung Cells at Realistic and Comparable In Vitro Exposure Conditions


2015 June 5

New Brunswick & Nova Scotia

Irving Oil says Saint John's 'hands are tied' over LNG deal — CBC News

The City of Saint John and Irving Oil have had informal discussions about possible changes to a 25-year tax deal at Irving's Canaport LNG property, but they did not go well for the city, according to Coun. Shirley McAlary.

The terms of the city's property tax arrangement are outlined in provincial legislation and regulations, which specify it is to apply to property "solely for the receiving and containment of liquefied natural gas."

But last year, Irving Oil constructed an oil pipeline on the site so it could use the LNG wharf to handle oil shipments as a backup to its existing mono buoy.

Over the last year, Port Saint John records show only 12 ships have unloaded at the LNG wharf and six of them were oil tankers.

According to [Irving Oil's] lease agreement, obtained by CBC News, it has been paid more than $80 million US on the property so far and paid $5 million CDN in taxes to the city. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Canadian East Coast LNG projects seen contributing to supply security — Natural Gas Intelligence [Paid subscription]

[This article also appears under the British Columbia heading, below.]

Provincial government support for liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects has leaped east across Canada to Nova Scotia from British Columbia, according to evidence before the National Energy Board (NEB).

The sustainability of Nova Scotia's own supplies is becoming tied to plans for Atlantic Coast terminals that would import shale gas production from the United States for re-export overseas, said the provincial energy department.

In support letters for both [Bear Head LNG and Goldboro LNG] projects to the NEB, the Nova Scotia Department of Energy said they have "potential to underpin infrastructure to enable large volumes of natural gas to flow to Nova Scotia for both the domestic as well as LNG export markets. This will mean an opportunity for increased security of supply and liquidity in natural gas markets served by Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline [MNP] including Nova Scotia."

On the Atlantic seaboard, [Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline] has yet to declare official intentions to convert into an export terminal supplier from being a delivery route into the northeastern U.S. for Nova Scotia offshore gas and New Brunswick LNG imports.

But the switch is widely expected among eastern Canadian industry, government and academic agencies. The conversion is regarded as a natural step, eventually, for a pipeline with nearly 90% of its capacity for 800 MMcf/d of gas booked by Repsol. The Spanish conglomerate is seeking a long-term license from the NEB to convert its Canaport LNG import terminal in New Brunswick into an export outlet for a mixed stream of 700 MMcf/d of Canadian and U.S. gas. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

TAYLOR: LNG Nova Scotia thinks outside export box — The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, NS

Most Nova Scotians have heard that developers are planning to build three liquefied natural gas export operations in the province.

But some people may be surprised to learn that a fourth, somewhat smaller, LNG project is also being proposed.

The U.S. owners of LNG Nova Scotia Inc. say they have been working for the past couple of years on a plan to build a small-scale LNG operation in Guysborough County.

The plan is … to replace diesel fuel in the Caribbean market, where diesel is relied upon to generate electricity, said company director Dean Girdis.

A small project like the one LNG Nova Scotia is proposing, he said, would be perfect for serving the Caribbean, which wouldn’t be a large enough market to justify the use of a huge LNG tanker.

The company’s target is diesel replacement, Girdis said. “Our competition is not other LNG production in the world; our competition is diesel fuel.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Dean Girdis, the same Dean Girdis who is president of Downeast LNG, must not know about the two small-scale LNG export projects in Florida who intend to supply Caribbean markets — 1,000 miles closer to the Caribbean than his proposal in Nova Scotia. Exactly what is the color of the sky on Girdis's planet?

Megaprojects: huge plants may not mean huge paycheques — The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, NS

“There is a reality check in order on LNG,” said Andrew Holland, senior fellow in energy and climate at the American Security Project in Washington, D.C.

“As far as the proposed terminals for Nova Scotia … I would say it is unlikely that they would start construction in this market environment.”

In fact, two of the three (sic; four) proposed liquefied natural gas export terminals —Bear Head LNG near Point Tupper and Pieridae Energy in Goldboro —would be located on the same sites as previously proposed multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas import terminals that didn’t go ahead. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

British Columbia

Environmentalists sound alarm over proposed LNG project in Delta (Jun 3) —

The National Energy Board has approved a plan to bring up to 120 LNG tankers through the south arm of the Fraser River each year. Keith Baldrey reports.

Of the 19 proposed LNG projects in British Columbia, only one is located in Metro Vancouver.

There’s been an LNG plant on Tilbury Island for 40 years, owned by FortisBC. The company is currently expanding it, and Wespac Midstream has now gained a license to export 3.5 million tonnes a year.

“If you were to build a terminal like this in the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security and Coast Guard would say you’ve got to conduct a waterway suitability assessment along the entire LNG tanker transit route, up to a distance of 3.5 kilometres out,” he says.

“In this project, there’s no study at all of the route, and the proponent says that’s not our responsibility.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Canadian East Coast LNG projects seen contributing to supply security — Natural Gas Intelligence [Paid subscription]

[This article also appears under the New Brunswick & Nova Scotia heading, above.]

Provincial government support for liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects has leaped east across Canada to Nova Scotia from British Columbia, according to evidence before the National Energy Board (NEB).

The sustainability of Nova Scotia's own supplies is becoming tied to plans for Atlantic Coast terminals that would import shale gas production from the United States for re-export overseas, said the provincial energy department.

In support letters for both [Bear Head LNG and Goldboro LNG] projects to the NEB, the Nova Scotia Department of Energy said they have "potential to underpin infrastructure to enable large volumes of natural gas to flow to Nova Scotia for both the domestic as well as LNG export markets. This will mean an opportunity for increased security of supply and liquidity in natural gas markets served by Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline [MNP] including Nova Scotia."

On the Atlantic seaboard, [Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline] has yet to declare official intentions to convert into an export terminal supplier from being a delivery route into the northeastern U.S. for Nova Scotia offshore gas and New Brunswick LNG imports.

But the switch is widely expected among eastern Canadian industry, government and academic agencies. The conversion is regarded as a natural step, eventually, for a pipeline with nearly 90% of its capacity for 800 MMcf/d of gas booked by Repsol. The Spanish conglomerate is seeking a long-term license from the NEB to convert its Canaport LNG import terminal in New Brunswick into an export outlet for a mixed stream of 700 MMcf/d of Canadian and U.S. gas. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

West Coast First Nation Exploring LNG Project (Jun 3) — Nanaimo Business News, Nanaimo, BC

The Sarita Bay LNG Project, being developed jointly by the First Nation and Vancouver-based Steelhead LNG, would involve the development of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) processing facility and deep waterport, a complex built to ship Canadian natural gas to markets in Asia. The project would be constructed on approximately 330 hectares of Huu-ay-aht owned land located at Sarita Bay, which is situated about 10 km north of Bamfield on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The site offers immediate access to the open Pacific, which would shorten shipping times and reduce the costs of tanker operation.

BC natural gas reserves inflated, revenues overstated, report finds (May 26) — The Tyee, Vancouver, BC

A new report on liquefied natural gas prospects for British Columbia challenges government claims that gas exports will lower greenhouse gas emissions, or generate $100 billion in profits for the province.

The report published today by David Hughes, one of Canada's foremost energy analysts and a former federal government geoscientist, also contends that the provincial government has vastly overestimated the amount of gas available for export. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

LNG company fined after ducks found dead in holding tank (May 23) — The Vancouver Sun, Vancouver, BC

The Petronas-owned company now on federal list of offenders

An Alberta-based energy company owned by Malaysian LNG-giant Petronas has been ordered to pay $250,000 after dead ducks were found in an open holding tank containing toxic liquid.

In all, 17 Mallard ducks were found dead from exposure to condensate, a petroleum liquid hydrocarbon.

A subsequent investigation by Environment Canada found no deterrence measures were in place to prevent the birds from flying into the above-ground tank.

In addition to the financial penalty, the company’s name will be added to the federal government’s Environmental Offender’s Registry. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: This is the same company whose over $1 billion offer to the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation was refused.


Approval recommended for power plant adjacent to Jordan Cove Energy Project’s LNG terminal (May 28) — LNG Law Blog

The Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) has released a draft proposed order recommending approval of Jordan Cove Energy Project’s (Jordan Cove) application to construct and operate the South Dunes Power Plant, a natural gas-fueled electric generation facility with a nominal generating capacity of 420 megawatts, which would serve Jordan Cove’s proposed LNG export terminal at Coos Bay, Ore. According to the ODOE website, the power plant is the only component of the proposed LNG export project that is not subject to FERC jurisdiction. A public hearing on the draft proposed order is scheduled for June 25, 2015.

Webmaster's comment: This would be adjacent to Jordan Cove LNG, an inappropriately sited terminal, even according to the LNG industry's own best practices.

United States

What the Trans-Pacific Partnership means for LNG (May 25) — The Maritime Executive

According to statements given to Wall Street Journal, negotiations on the TPP, the largest free-trade agreement the U.S. has ever entered into, are entering the final stages. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, an extensive trade agreement involving twelve countries that share Pacific Coast borders, has been in formal negotiation since 2010. Currently, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States are all part of the negotiations.

Passage of the agreement may signal a dramatic increase in LNG exports as tariffs on energy products are slashed. Additionally, the agreement would streamline the current U.S. Department of Energy export facility review process. The Japanese market in particular has been eyeing the United States as a growing source for LNG imports. In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan shut down its nuclear power facilities and has increasingly become dependant on coal and LNG imports. As of 2012 it was the world’s largest LNG importer accounting for 37% of world LNG trade. Currently, Japanese companies hold stake in three of the first four LNG export terminals the U.S. approved. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Meet the people making life a little more difficult for FERC this week (May 25) — RTO Insider, Potomac, MD

There’s Ted Glick, national campaign coordinator for Chesapeake Climate Action Network, who was among the first to test FERC’s new rules regarding disruptive behavior in March — as well as the first protester to speak at Norman Bay’s first meeting as the commission’s chair in April.

There’s Jimmy Betts, who started a chain of interruptions at FERC’s meeting in January, leading then-Chairman Cheryl LaFleur to call a recess while security cleared the floor of protesters.

They all have taken up temporary residence at the church for a week’s worth of protest activities: marches, workshops, training and, of course, rallying outside of FERC headquarters. It is a somewhat homogenous group, mostly from the Northeast U.S., but with a variety of concerns, ranging from climate change to eminent domain to hydraulic fracturing’s effects on the environment. But all of them agree: FERC is a rogue agency that is beholden to the natural gas industry, insulated from public scrutiny and unconcerned with the long-term effects of fossil fuels on the planet’s climate.

The protests against FERC are often attributed to a single group, called Beyond Extreme Energy. Glick calls BXE a “coalition” of about 70 groups, mostly local alliances created to stop individual pipeline projects.

The BXE [Beyond Extreme Energy] website lists nine changes it says are needed at FERC. One of them is “FERC monthly meetings must include time for public comments.” Another one: “FERC must make its website easier to navigate.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


2015 June 4

New Brunswick

Canaport tax freeze in 2005 granted without key information — CBC News

MLAs didn't know Irving Oil Ltd. had $20M guaranteed income through Repsol deal

Provincial politicians involved in the 2005 decision to grant Irving Oil Ltd. a 25-year property tax freeze at the Canaport LNG development say there was no way to properly weigh a decision on the matter because key financial information about the project was never shared.

In contrast to the flat line of tax revenue being offered by Irving Oil to Saint John, the lease agreement Irving signed with Repsol included a number of income escalators and inflation protections.

For example, rent owed to Irving Oil — and payable in U.S. dollars — started out at $1.25 million per year in June 2005, doubled to $2.5 million per year in June 2007 and then jumped to $12.25 million in June 2009 when Canaport LNG went into commercial production.

But the lease, which covers 30 years, also contemplated other scenarios, including rent to Irving rising as high as $20 million per year if Canaport significantly expanded its output.

On top of that, a second agreement promised Irving Oil an after-tax annual profit on the operation of the facility — also in U.S. dollars — starting at $7.4 million.

Meanwhile, Saint John's revenue from the development was frozen at $500,000 no matter what happened. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: An LNG developer was not forthcoming when bargaining with the host community, and the community is surprised?


Environmental groups request construction halt at Cove Point — LNG World News

Environmental groups moved for an immediate stay of two orders of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that allow Dominion Cove Point LNG to construct and operate an LNG export terminal in rural Calvert County.

According to petitioners EarthReports (Patuxent Riverkeeper), Sierra Club and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, they have already been harmed by project related construction and need immediate relief to prevent further injury.

British Columbia

Fisheries and Oceans, Nation express LNG concerns — The Squamish Chief, Squamish, BC

Two stakeholder groups submitted letters of concern to the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) in the past week regarding the marine intake system of the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility slated for southwest of Squamish in Howe Sound.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s letter of concern was about the impact on herring from the planned seawater cooling intake system of the proposed Woodfibre LNG.

UPDATE: Federal review of Pacific NorthWest LNG's Lelu Island terminal put on hold — Northern View, Prince Rupert, BC

The federal environmental review of Pacific NorthWest LNG's Lelu Island terminal has been put on hold once again by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA).

…CEAA said more information is needed for the assessment.

LNG Fraser River export project approved by National Energy Board (Jun 3) — CBC News

The LNG would be exported from the company's proposed LNG terminal on Tilbury Island in Delta, B.C. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is currently determining whether an environmental assessment is required for the facility.

The federal government would usually be responsible for conducting the environmental assessment. But the province has requested to do so instead, which [Voters Taking Action on Climate Change director Kevin Washbroo] finds troubling.

"The government is entirely committed to LNG exports. The federal government needs to maintain control of this process."

Webmaster's comment: This location is a clear violation of SIGTTO terminal siting best safe practices.

IEA casts doubt on B.C.'s LNG future in new report — CBC News

Asian demand has dropped and so have LNG prices, reducing viability of LNG projects

British Columbia faces intense competition from the rest of the world in developing its liquefied natural gas industry in part because projects will not be viable at today's low gas prices, the International Energy Agency says.

"Prospects for [Canadian] LNG projects have deteriorated and no plant is expected to be operational over the time horizon of this report," the IEA said in a five-year outlook on the natural gas market released Thursday.

"Indeed, the belief that Asia will take whatever quantity of gas at whatever price is no longer a given. The experience of the past two years has opened the gas industry's eyes to a harsh reality: in a world of very cheap coal and falling costs for renewables, it was difficult for gas to compete."

At the same time, there is a flood of new LNG supply coming on the market with global LNG export capacity to increase by more than 40 per cent by 2020.

…[T]oday the price of LNG in Japan is $7.12 US per British thermal unit, about half the price it was a year ago and lower than the breakeven point for new LNG projects. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

B.C. under pressure to cut LNG deal with notorious Asian billionaire (Jun 3) — National Observer, Vancouver, BC

The plan for a massive industrial transformation of northern B.C., that's been described as akin to the early days of the Alberta oil sands build up, is floundering.

So, for a premier who pledged to use the LNG bonanza to wipe out the provincial debt and create 100,000 jobs, the hydraulic political pressure is on to crack an LNG deal—any deal, and soon—before other countries, such as the U.S. and Australia, beat Canada to the punch.

Some fear this could lead the province to approve an LNG deal with Indonesian billionaire, Sukanto Tanoto, whose massive-tax evasion and rainforest destruction record across the Pacific has put his business reputation into serious question.

“We should not, in my mind, be doing business with people like that,” said Squamish, B.C. Mayor Patricia Heintzman on Friday. "It’s difficult for the community to have trust that this person will not cut corners or be disrespectful to our environment.”

His palm oil company, Asian Agri, was ordered by the Indonesian Supreme Court to pay $205 million USD in fines in the biggest case of tax evasion in the country’s history. The scandal, involving a whistle-blower financial controller turning in thousands of corporate records to tax authorities, was chronicled by an Indonesian investigative journalist, Metta Dharmasaputra, in the book “Key Witness.”

“Sukanto Tanoto, through his business empire, carries the dubious distinction of being the single largest driver of deforestation in the world identified by Greenpeace,” said the report.

B.C. Liberal MLA Jordan Sturdy, whose riding is contains the Woodfibre LNG plant, says Mr. Tanoto’s international reputation should not matter in whether his B.C. project goes forward. It’s the business itself that needs proper regulation, he said. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: It appears that British Columbia's government, as FERC has indicated it would do, would allow Idi Amin, Charles Manson, or Osama bin Laden to own and operate an LNG terminal under its jurisdiction. Public safety is government LNG regulators' first concern?

United States

FERC: Employees negotiate for industry jobs under agency's eye — E&E News

Employees at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have deep ties to the industry they regulate, according to agency documents detailing their job negotiations and stock holdings.

Ethics records throughout 2014 show agency staff seeking employment with grid operators, law firms and utilities that the agency has jurisdiction over and often meets with as it sets new orders and rules. In addition, FERC employees have held stock in or remain part of pension plans from companies that can be affected by the agency's work. Greenwire obtained the 88 ethics documents under the Freedom of Information Act.

[Michael Smallberg, an investigator at the Project on Government Oversight,] raised concerns with a large number of former federal workers moving to trade associations, lobbying shops and powerful, regulated companies -- as opposed to consumer advocacy groups -- that try to weaken government regulations, and questioned whether the ethics offices at federal agencies have time and funding to ensure employees are complying with the rules.

Although many government ethics rules prevent employees from contacting their former colleagues, Smallberg said workers in many cases can join firms and provide "behind-the-scenes" advice to help design lobbying strategies.

"Your job at FERC was to read those pleadings, from the utility side you're writing those pleadings," Fisher said. "Someone fresh out of FERC is extra valuable because of their knowledge of the politics of the organization." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: There should be a law requiring a five-year "cooling off" period between leaving FERC and being employed at a FERC-regulated business.


Peru ships more LNG to Mexico — LNG World News

According to Perupetro, the 170,200 cbm SCF Mitre LNG carrier departed from the Peruvian facility on May 31.

Like the two previous shipments onboard Asia Excellence and Valencia Knutsen LNG carriers, SCF Mitre delivered its cargo to Mexico’s Manzanillo terminal.

North America

IEA: gas demand growth to fall short of forecasts — LNG World News

“One of the key – and largely unexpected – developments of 2014 was weak Asian demand,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven. “Indeed, the belief that Asia will take whatever quantity of gas at whatever price is no longer a given. The experience of the past two years has opened the gas industry’s eyes to a harsh reality: in a world of very cheap coal and falling costs for renewables, it was difficult for gas to compete.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Global Demand Growth for Natural Gas Shrinks: IEA — 24/7 Wall St.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) on Thursday morning released its “Medium-Term Gas Market Report” covering the next five years. The agency forecasts demand growth of 2.0%, down from growth of 2.3% in last year’s forecast. Lower prices will drive demand growth, but demand from Asia is expected to decrease and that more than offsets the impact on growth due to low prices. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


2015 June 3

Passamaquoddy Bay

Tribes will no longer recognize Maine’s authority to define their rights (May 27) — Portland Press Herald, Portland, ME

Three tribes have asked the federal government to intervene in a dispute over the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act.

The Penobscots and Passamaquoddy are locked in disputes with the state over saltwater fishing rights, tribal jurisdiction over domestic violence cases by non-Indians on their reservations, and land use regulation on the tribe’s extensive, off-reservation trust lands.

Webmaster's comment: Downeast LNG, take heed. Your assertions that the Passamaquoddy have no rights in the marine waterway proposed for LNG transits is incorrect — both re the Land Claims Settlement Act, and as citizens of the United States and Maine. Besides that, the US Coast Guard, in fulfilling its requirement to abide by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), requires Downeast LNG to obtain consent from the Passamaquoddy Tribe. Downeast LNG arguing that the Passamaquoddy have no rights in the waterway is moot.

New Brunswick

Canaport deals help Irving Oil earn millions on LNG plant (Jun 2) — CBC News

Irving Oil makes 24 times more on rent from Canaport than it pays in property tax

Aided by the tax break, a lucrative lease on Canaport property and guaranteed dividends it negotiated for itself, Irving Oil has been making millions of dollars at Canaport, even though its partner in the development — the Spanish energy giant Repsol — has lost more than $1 billion on its investment.

In 2005, Irving Oil struck a deal to have its property taxes at Canaport frozen at $500,000 per year for 25 years, about $7.5 million a year below current rates.

But in mounting the court case on its own Repsol has revealed much of the once-confidential financial underpinnings of the Canaport development, including its partnership deal with Irving, the lease agreement with Irving for land used in the development and other financial arrangements that guarantee Irving a profit no matter how poorly Canaport LNG performs.

Most striking is the lease agreement, which shows just three months after convincing Saint John to reduce and freeze property taxes at Canaport to $500,000 a year for 25 years, Irving Oil signed a deal that now pays it more than $12 million a year in rent on that land.

Irving's success with its Canaport LNG investment contrasts sharply with the failure of the business itself.

Building Canaport proved to be a poor investment decision, but in 2005 Repsol was so confident of success it also made an agreement with Irving to buy 100 per cent of Canaport LNG's production capacity, whether it shipped gas or not. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


LNG project opponents seek emergency halt to construction (Jun 2) — The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, MD

In a motion filed Monday with the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, lawyers for three environmental groups say residents in the area of the Dominion Cove Point LNG terminal in Lusby are already suffering from dust, noise and heavy truck traffic with preliminary construction activity.

According to the filing, some residents have moved and others are trying to sell their homes because of the construction disruption and fears for their safety once the LNG facility is operational. Some homes are just a few hundred feet from the facility.

The motion was filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the Patuxent Riverkeeper, Sierra Club and Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

British Columbia

Canadian LNG prospects have ‘darkened’, says International Energy Agency — Financial Post, Toronto, ON

In one of the gloomiest forecasts yet for British Columbia’s nascent LNG sector, the International Energy Agency says prospects for export projects have ‘darkened’ and deferrals are likely.

In a five-year outlook on global demand for natural gas published Thursday, the Paris-based agency throws cold water on the B.C. government’s hopes of being home to three liquefied natural gas projects by 2020.

“Prospects for [Canadian] LNG projects have deteriorated and no plant is expected to be operational over the time horizon of this report,” the IEA said. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Environmentalists raise alarm over Fraser River LNG tanker terminal — Metro

Voters Taking Action on Climate Change is raising the alarm over the WesPac Midstream’s proposal for an LNG terminal on Tilbury Island in Delta, B.C., a project that already received approval from the National Energy Board in May.

The climate group expressed concerns Wednesday that the project wants to go through B.C.’s environmental assessment process instead of the federal process. The public has until June 11 to comment on which environmental process is acceptable, if one is needed at all.

Tankers on the Fraser River? LNG export licence in Delta gets the OK — The Province, Vancouver BC

Up to 120 LNG tankers a year could ply the south arm of the Fraser River after a U.S. company secured a licence to export LNG from a facility on Tilbury Island in Delta.

The plan is the first LNG proposal to emerge for the Metro Vancouver area, although numerous projects have been proposed elsewhere in the province.

The export licence has been granted to Wespac Midstream and gives it permission to ship up to 4.76 billion cubic metres of liquefied natural gas a year from an expanded $400-million liquification plant currently being built by Fortis B.C. on its long-standing site on Tilbury Island.

Kevin Washbrook, of Voters Taking Action on Climate Change, said the approval was made “under the radar.

Several hundred residents are located in condos on the Richmond side of the river in the 14000-block Riverport Way, where ships would pass within 200 metres.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: This is a clear violation of Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators (SIGTTO) terminal siting best safe practices.


Hawaiian Electric Co. delays $235M LNG project for two years — Pacific Business News

Hawaiian Electric Co. does not envision shipping liquefied natural gas to the Islands until 2019, two years later than it originally planned, according to public documents filed with state regulators this week.

The $235 million project, which still needs the approval of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, calls for a vendor to supply and deliver up to 800,000 tons of LNG per year for up to 15 years.

United States

U.S. Faces Ship Shortage for LNG Exports (Jun 2) — The Maritime Executive

The expected boom in liquefied natural gas exports from the United States risks being hampered by a lack of vessels to handle the trade, the head of the U.S. coast guard told shipping industry executives on Tuesday.

The LNG tanker market, currently suffering from oversupply due to weak demand for natural gas, could thus in a few years face a shortage of capacity, Paul Zukunft told the Nor-Shipping conference.

"Right now we have one of the largest LNG facilities in the world being built in Louisiana," Zukunft said, referring to the Cameron plant. "In the next three to four years there are not enough gas ships in the world that can accommodate that growth." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Not only cannot Downeast LNG transit into and out of Passamaquoddy Bay, there won't be any ships to attempt the transits even if they could.


2015 June 1


Maine tribes want Congress to review state’s actions, take fresh look at settlement act (May 30) — Bangor Daily News, Bangor, ME

Maine tribal leaders are calling on Congress to take a fresh look at the 35-year old Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act to determine whether state officials are misinterpreting and misusing the agreement.

A series of longstanding disputes between the state and tribes over issues ranging from water rights to gaming came to a head Tuesday, when the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes withdrew their representatives from the Maine Legislature. They cited concerns about state government’s apparent lack of respect for tribal sovereignty as the reason. It marks the first time in nearly two centuries that the tribes haven’t sent envoys to the Maine state government.

The next day, tribal leaders held a news conference in which they called on Congress to start an inquiry into the settlement act and how Maine state officials have used it to argue their views in disputes over sovereignty, application of laws and authority.

Webmaster's comment: Included in this dispute is the Passamaquoddy right to fish in Passamaquoddy Bay. Downeast LNG claims that the Passamaquoddy have no rights in the marine waterway — even though Passamaquoddy Tribal members have the same rights as everyone else to fish in that waterway. Also, see the nest article, below.

Legislation would put hidden sections of Maine’s constitution back into print — Portland Press Herald, Portland, ME (Paid subscription)

Publication of the redacted passages, many involving the state's treaty obligations to its Indian tribes, has been banned for 139 years.

INDIAN ISLAND — One hundred and thirty-nine years ago, 2,100 words of Maine’s Constitution vanished from circulation, although they remained in effect.

The sections, which included the treaty obligations with Indian tribes that Maine agreed to assume as a condition of its separation from Massachusetts in 1820, are still forbidden to be published with the rest of the state’s fundamental laws, the result of a constitutional amendment ratified by Maine’s people in 1875 and which went into effect the following year.

Judges and legal experts remained cognizant of the redacted passages, which are found in pre-1876 copies of the constitution. But for a century, few ordinary citizens or tribal members knew what the passages said.

“Right now you can’t access that section, even though it remains in force – you won’t see it,” said [the Maliseet tribe’s representative to the Legislature, Henry Bear], who became the only active tribal representative Tuesday when his Passamaquoddy and Penobscot counterparts renounced their seats in protest over Maine’s refusal to compromise on a range of jurisdictional disputes. “I think it’s essential that all parts of our constitution are legally publishable,” he said.

Legislators on the Judiciary Committee were surprised to learn that part of the state constitution was unprintable, said Sen. Chris Johnson, D-Somerville. “There was a very strong opinion around the table that what is in our constitution should be printed in our constitution,” he said.

The measure is of symbolic importance to Maine’s four federally recognized Indian tribes, some of whom were adversely affected for a century by the suppression of the contents of the article enumerating Maine’s obligations to them.

The redacted section is the text of the 1816 Act of Separation, the Massachusetts law that allowed the District of Maine to become an independent state. The text includes a section obligating Maine to “assume and perform all the duties of (Massachusetts) towards the Indians within said District of Maine, whether the same arise from treaties or otherwise.” It directs Maine to set aside land valued at $30,000 for tribal use, at a time when undeveloped land in Maine sold for between 3 and 4 cents an acre.

In 1967, Maine’s first Indian affairs commissioner, anthropologist Edward Hinckley, discovered Maine had received $30,000 from Massachusetts in compensation, but the state never actually set aside new land for the tribes.

Rather than protecting the Indians’ trust lands, Maine authorized some tracts to be flooded by dams, others to be annexed for the laying out of highways, and thousands more acres transferred to white owners. In no case was compensation given to the Indians, in violation of treaty obligations. In 1893, Maine courts even ruled that the Passamaquoddy tribe didn’t exist because it lacked sovereign powers. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Dirty tricks were perpetrated to deny Maine Indians. The same type of thinking is being perpetrated by Downeast LNG in their claim that tribal members have no rights in the marine waterway. Downeast LNG president Dean Girdis likes to brag that he was in the Peace Corps and learned how to deal fairly with local populations. Deeds prove otherwise.

King introduces bill to promote personal energy independence [Press release] (May 6) — Sen. Angus King

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today [May 6] introduced The Free Market Energy Act of 2015, major legislation that will help foster individual energy independence, encourage innovation in cutting-edge energy technologies, create jobs, and bolster national security by moving America’s electricity system into the future.

The Free Market Energy Act of 2015 would establish a set of parameters for the governance of distributed energy resources and retain the authority of each state to design its own set of rules within those parameters to properly reflect the state’s needs. Importantly, the parameters would protect the right of consumers to connect their distributed resources to the grid for a reasonable price while also ensuring that grid owners and operators receive proper compensation through a more sophisticated electricity rate design that would maximize the potential of distributed energy resources in relation to the grid.

Nova Scotia & New Brunswick

Region’s gas scarce, Nova Scotia Power says — The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, NS

Domestic sources shrinking, development iffy — report

The supply outlook for natural gas in the Maritimes remains “relatively bleak,” Nova Scotia Power says.

Nova Scotia Power said Deep Panuke is only expected to produce for another three years.

Supply from another key regional producer, the Sable Offshore Energy Project, has been falling for years. The ExxonMobil Canada-led project is also expected to cease production in the next few years.

“We have less and less natural gas around the Maritimes now, and we’re importing it on a daily basis from as far away as Alberta, and it gets really expensive,” the Halifax natural gas consultant and broker said.

When it comes to liquefied natural gas, Nova Scotia Power said some industry experts are “very skeptical” about the likehood of any proposed LNG projects in the region going ahead. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Group opposes Bear Head LNG plant (May 31) — Cape Breton Post, NS

POINT TUPPER — There may be no fracking involved but that hasn't prevented the Nova Scotia Fracking Resource and Action Coalition from voicing disapproval of the province's approval for a proposed liquified natural gas export plant on the Canso Strait.

"Nova Scotia has legislated targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions, and admirably is on track for meeting those," [Ken Summers] said in a press release. "But if built, Bear Head LNG would, by itself, increase greenhouse gas emissions 10 per cent over 2012 levels. On top of that, the previously approved Goldboro LNG project would increase greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 18 per cent." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

NOFRAC concerned over Bear Head LNG — LNG World News

Nova Scotia Fracking Resource and Action Coalition voiced its disappointment with the Nova Scotia government’s decision to approve the proposed LNG export plant in Bear Head, on Canso Strait.

“These two projects alone would add almost 30% to the province’s GHG emissions, at a time when we need to be moving decisively in the opposite direction,” claims NOFRAC. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


Hundreds march in vibrant protest of Dominion LNG export plan — The BayNet, MD

LUSBY, MD — Approximately 200 people participated, May 30, in what is believed to be the largest march Southern Maryland has ever seen, spanning six miles from Solomons Island to Lusby. They walked to show Dominion and government officials how much they value the health and safety of people in Southern Calvert County, who would be most impacted by Dominion’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal and refinery should the project be completed.

Marchers included residents who live on Cove Point Road in Lusby — near the main facility site and near the offshore pier, which would see dramatically increased tanker traffic — as well as people who would be affected by other fracked-gas projects in Pennsylvania, Virginia and other states where infrastructure is proposed to be built to feed the proposed export terminal at Cove Point. The march was organized by We Are Cove Point, Calvert Citizens for a Healthy Community, Beyond Extreme Energy, Sierra Club Southern Maryland Group, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and Patuxent Friends Quaker Meeting.

Approval of natural gas export terminal debunks FERC’s claim that massive pipeline buildout not for export [Media advisory] (May 28) — Beyond Extreme Energy

(May 28, 2015) A grassroots coalition, No Pipeline Expansion (NOPE), stated today that the Department of Energy’s (DOE) approval of the Pieridae liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Nova Scotia, Canada confirms their position that natural gas from Spectra Energy’s northeast pipeline expansions will be shipped overseas. According to the Pieridae website, “the Pieridae facility is located adjacent to the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, a 1,400-kilometre transmission pipeline system built to transport natural gas between developments in Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canada and the northeastern United States.” The Spectra Maritimes & Northeast pipeline connects directly to the Spectra Algonquin pipeline in Beverly, MA. Exports by Spectra, assisted by the proposed Kinder Morgan greenfield pipeline and Peabody lateral, could feed most of Pieridae’s needs for gas.

FERC’s Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the project insists that the gas will not be exported, but the approval of the Pieridae project and the statements by the Canadian company reveal the true reason for the huge expansion. “FERC, a Commission funded by fees from the gas and oil industry, has obviously rubber stamped a project that will negatively impact Americans to benefit foreign nations and private corporations,” said Susan Van Dolsen of NOPE. “Many of us raised the issue of export to FERC during the public comment period, but we were told that the expansion was strictly for domestic use. We knew otherwise and this proves we were right.”

The NOPE coalition is made up of grassroots organizations in the four states along the AIM route: New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. After issuance of the FERC Certificate, the coalition filed a Request for Rehearing with FERC on April 2, 2015, and raised many serious issues with the Certificate, including impermissible segmentation, overbuilding and significant risks to health and safety of communities along the route. FERC issued a tolling order on May 1, 2015, which means the rehearing requests are in limbo. Meanwhile, Spectra Energy began moving forward with preparations to begin construction on the project, despite massive resistance from residents in all four states, and opposition from many elected officials. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Dominion Cove Point LNG files monthly Progress Report (May 21) — LNG Law Blog

Dominion Cove Point LNG filed a monthly status and progress report with FERC covering construction activities through April 2015 at its LNG export terminal in Lusby, Md. The report states that engineering is 82% complete, procurement is 75% complete, and construction is 3.5% complete.

Gulf of Mexico

Venture Global files resource report with FERC — LNG World News

Venture Global LNG informed that it has submitted Resource Report 13 to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for its natural gas liquefaction and export facility on Calcasieu Pass, Cameron Parish, Louisianna.

Venture Global also said it remains on track to submit its final FERC application in August 2015.…

Cheniere ready to start work on Sabine Pass expansion, urges feds to give full approval (May 29) — Fuel Fix, Houston Chronicle, Houston, TX

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in April cleared Cheniere to expand the terminal beyond the four trains already under construction in Louisiana, but the Sierra Club asked for a rehearing, delaying the project.

The Sierra Club has argued that the terminal will contribute to air pollution and lead to a swell in natural gas production, in turn causing an increase in greenhouse gas emissions and an uptick in gas prices.


LNG exec sees upcoming 'wave of supply' buffeting global market (May 18) — SNL

A "wave of supply" appearing on the global LNG market in the next few years could significantly drive down prices, the CEO of Atlantic LNG Co. of Trinidad and Tobago said in a recent discussion.

"We've seen a dramatic change in the LNG market the last 12 months. We've gone from record highs to seeing those prices halved between August and October of last year," he said. "We're seeing a slowdown in China, seasonal factors in Korea, so we're seeing weaker demand and a wave of supply coming."

"There's going to be a lot [of LNG] on the street looking for a home," Darlow said. "There's no doubt you're going to see rapid expansion on the supply side and increased volatility as a result."


Exxon Mobil gets DOE approval for wider LNG exports at Alaska terminal — Dallas Business Journal, Dallas, TX

Exxon Mobil Corp. received authorization to export liquefied natural gas to non-free trade agreement countries at its Alaska LNG terminal.

The proposed project received conditional authorization from the U.S. Department of Energy to export up to 20 million metric tons per year of LNG for 30 years.

The project would include a liquefaction facility, an 800-mile pipeline, up to eight natural gas compression stations and at least five take-off points for in-state gas delivery. It also includes a gas treatment plant on Alaska's North Slope, where Exxon has operations at Prudhoe Bay and Point Tomson.

British Columbia

Treaty 8 First Nations oppose BC’s LNG MoU with Petronas (May 22) — LNG World News

The leadership of Fort Nelson First Nation, Prophet River First Nation and West Moberly First Nations said they are astounded by the province of British Columbia’s deal with Petronas, for the company’s proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG development on the West Coast.

“In yet another example of the province ignoring First Nations’ constitutionally-protected rights, at no point were the Treaty 8 First Nations consulted on the project development agreement or the long-term royalty agreement,” the First Nations said in a joint statement.

“To feed the Pacific NorthWest LNG facility, Progress Energy will need to drill thousands of new wells and install huge amounts of infrastructure, including roads, pipelines, and gas plants. Those activities will have serious adverse impacts on our lands, waters, animals, and other resources. They will compromise our territory and treaty rights for generations,” Treaty 8 First Nations said. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

TransCanada reaches deals with three more B.C. First Nations for pipeline — CBC News

Latest agreements are with the Doig River First Nation, Halfway River First Nation and Yekooche First Nation.

The latest agreements are with the Doig River First Nation, Halfway River First Nation and Yekooche First Nation. TransCanada has previously reached four other agreements with Lake Babine Nation, Nisga'a Lisims Government, Gitanyow First Nation and Kitselas First Nation.

According to the project website, the 900-kilometre pipeline is expected to deliver natural gas from Hudson's Hope to the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG facility on Lelu Island south of Prince Rupert.

…[M]embers of the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation in northwestern British Columbia have rejected a $1.15-billion offer from Malaysia's Petronas to build the LNG terminal on Lelu Island, because of concerns over the project's potential impact on neighbouring Flora Bank, a marine ecosystem immediately adjacent to Lelu Island.

Editorial: LNG agreement is a dangerous move (May 30) — Times Colonist, Victoria, BC

While natural gas has no smell of its own, there’s occasionally a whiff of rotten eggs at the wellhead. A faint hint of the same aroma accompanies an agreement the province just signed with Pacific Northwest LNG.

To finalize the deal, Premier Christy Clark made a concession that no B.C. government has ever granted. She indemnified the company against any increase in taxes or royalties until 2038 — the end of the agreement.

What’s different about the LNG deal … is that it reshapes an entire field of royalties and taxes for one beneficiary. Yet it’s a basic principle of royalty regimes that everyone gets the same treatment.

The definition of an unfair tax is one that’s applied arbitrarily or inconsistently. But isn’t that what government has done here?

Ravina Bains: Everyone in B.C. deserves clarity on aboriginal title [Opinion] (May 20) — The Province, Vancouver, BC

Last summer, I wrote that the Supreme Court’s Tsilhqot’in decision, which for the first time granted Aboriginal title outside an Indian reserve, was going to be a real game changer and would “increase uncertainty in Canada’s natural resource sectors in areas lacking treaties with First Nations.”

Since then we’ve seen First Nations in British Columbia serve eviction notices to corporations, take resource companies to court over title claims and, most recently, the Lax Kw’alaams band reject a billion dollar deal from Pacific NorthWest LNG for a liquefied natural gas project proposed on Crown land.

The Tsilhqot’in decision made it very clear that the Crown could override aboriginal rights and allow a project to proceed on aboriginal title land without the consent of the First Nation but only if the government deems the project in the greater public interest.

This scenario could be avoided, and current uncertainty could be mitigated, if the provincial government clarifies which projects, if any, are in the greater public interest, and therefore, can override aboriginal rights.

So clarity is key. First Nations in B.C., like the Lax Kw’alaams band, deserve greater clarity on what, if any, projects trump aboriginal title rights. Companies looking to invest in B.C. deserve greater clarity on the willingness of the government to support projects on aboriginal title land — without the consent of First Nations.

The future of LNG? Sold to the lowest bidder in the back row [Blog] (May 30) — Huffington Post Canada

Effectively, the B.C. government has lowered its tax rates to be competitive with Australia, even though that country's LNG industry is complaining bitterly that tax rates there are too high, among a fairly long list of beefs they have with the Australian government.

United States

Obama to fill chief safety regulator roles for railroads, pipelines — The Hill, Washington, DC

President Obama has chosen officials to fill the long-vacant roles leading federal agencies that oversee the safety of railroads and pipelines and of hazardous materials.

The top posts at both of the Department of Transportation (DOT) agencies have been vacant for months, even through high-profile disasters involving oil trains, Amtrak, oil pipelines, rapid transit and other forms of transportation.

Obama wants the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) post to be filled by Marie Therese Dominguez.

Dominguez has worked since 2013 as the principal deputy assistant secretary of the army for civil works, the No. 2 official at the Army Corps of Engineers. She previously worked at agencies such as the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration and the United States Postal Service.

Cynthia Quartermann left the PHMSA post in October.


Peru ships LNG cargo to Mexico — LNG World News

Peru’s only LNG export terminal dispatched a cargo to Mexico, data from Perupetro reveals.

Chevron’s newbuild, 160,000 cbm Asia Excellence LNG carrier departed from Peru’s facility on May 29.

North America

Is natural gas really a bridge to a greener future? — RTCC (Responding to Climate Change)

Gas firms say they’re cleaner than coal and offer a low carbon source of energy, but that’s just part of the story

Cleaner and efficient natural gas plants can produce electricity with half the carbon and far less local pollution than coal. What then, if, globally, natural gas production and trade were scaled up? Would it put us on a path to a low-carbon future?

Expanding natural gas use can, indeed, help to avoid “locking-in” new coal power. But significant emission reductions are only possible if gas is predominantly used to displace coal in the power sector, and if the gas doesn’t leak excessively.

Methane, the primary constituent of natural gas, has 34 times the climate impact of CO2 over 100 years, and leaks during extraction, processing, transportation, storage and distribution could be significant enough in some cases to negate the overall emissions benefit from gas.

…[T]he bigger question is: Does it make sense to build this bridge at all? Natural gas may be a major improvement over coal, but it is still a fossil fuel. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]


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