"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
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Gulf of Mexico
2015 October 28
U.S. natural gas rebounded after dipping below $2 per million British thermal units for the first time since April 2012 on speculation that low prices and the approach of winter will ease a supply glut.
Gas for November, which expires Wednesday, gained 3 cents to settle at 2.092 per million Btu on the New York Mercantile Exchange after sliding to $1.948, the lowest intraday price since April 20, 2012. The more active December contract rose 0.9 cent to $2.361. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
2015 October 26
Foreign energy companies, facing weaker demand and lower prices for liquefied natural gas in Asia and Europe, are likely to turn to the New England market and send extra shiploads to terminals near Boston. That could help prevent the price spikes that historically have occurred in the region’s wholesale energy markets during periods of extended cold and high demand.
Boston is served by four gas terminals, including one in Canada, but most have historically seen little use. Last year, 14 deliveries were made, all of them to a terminal in Everett owned by Distrigas, a unit of the French company Engie SA (formerly GDF Suez). But Nicholas Potter, an analyst for the British financial services company Barclays PLC, said an additional three to five shiploads of gas could arrive this winter, supplying the region with an extra 9 to 15 billion cubic feet of gas, or a few days’ supply. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
SINGAPORE, Oct 26 (Reuters) – Cheniere Energy expects to start receiving natural gas to convert into super-chilled liquid fuel at its first U.S. LNG export terminal before the end of the year, with shipments to start in January, its chief executive said on Monday.
Spot LNG prices in Asia have tumbled by half from a year ago, narrowing the gap with U.S. benchmark prices. Tracking the plunge in energy prices, Cheniere’s shares are down by almost half from their peak in 2014.
Once Cheniere’s first LNG plant starts up, the company will have a new production train starting up every six months until mid-2019, leaving it with seven total lines of gas liquefaction at its Sabine Pass project in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, and at another terminal in Corpus Christi, Texas.
The current pricing structure is not a strong argument for building further LNG plants, Souki said, with any projects needing at least $8 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) to sell to Europe and $9 per mmBtu to sell to Asia.
According to the BBC, Alaska Governor Bill Walker has concluded that more drilling for oil is necessary in order for Alaska to have the funds necessary to pay to mitigate the costs of climate change in Alaska. Such costs include $100 million to relocate the residents of Kivalina.
Words fail me. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Photo credit: The Irony Alert image is from the Law & the Environment website.
Change in northwest B.C. is in area where Unist’ot’en are blocking LNG developers
TransCanada is making pipeline route changes to lock up First Nation support for a leading proposed liquefied natural gas mega-project on the northwest coast of B.C.
…[T]he Unist’ot’en, a clan of the Wet’suwe’ten people, have set up a camp and blocked entry at a bridge over the Morice River to energy pipeline companies, including TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink.
Shell and other leading LNG proponents like Chevron and Petronas have yet to make final investment decisions and face headwinds from reduced available capital from low oil prices, increased global LNG supply coming on stream and lower natural gas prices in a jittery global economy. In the past, TransCanada officials have said a decision could come in 2016.
Opponents of the proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal and pipeline are calling on Gov. Kate Brown to actively oppose the project, but the governor has limited power to affect the outcome. Suggestions that she should pressure state agencies to kill the project are essentially calling on her to put her thumb on the scales of a regulatory process. That would be not only ill-advised, but legally questionable.
State agencies, including the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of State Lands, must approve permits before the project can move forward, and certainly those agencies should make sure all environmental concerns are addressed. But it would not be appropriate for the governor to pressure those agencies to deny the applications, either. That would almost certainly put the state back in court as a defendant in a case it would deserve to lose.
Webmaster's comment: The LNG process is already tilted — in the LNG industry's favor. Besides, state governors have the legal authority to deny offshore terminals, but not shoreside terminals that can endanger civilian populations. How does that imbalance make sense? Governors should have equal authority to reject shoreside LNG terminal proposals.
Trans Mountain oil pipeline, LNG projects can expect tougher environmental reviews under Trudeau
B.C.’s liquefied natural gas export plans — which include proposed pipelines and terminals on the coast — don’t appear to face any obstacles from a Liberal government in Ottawa other than a promise to more vigorously engage First Nations. Trudeau has said he is open to LNG tankers on the north coast of B.C.
The B.C. Liberal government does not appear concerned the change in federal government will harm the prospects of LNG projects. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told a New Hampshire town hall meeting that FERC needs to do a better job in reviewing applications for interstate natural gas pipeline projects by listening to affected residents and evaluating climate impacts.
"The concerns that residents have expressed about FERC really are legitimate," Clinton told a member of the audience, "because the process that FERC is employing does not give enough weight to public opinion in the locations where pipelines are going through. It doesn't pay enough attention, in my opinion, to all of the other issues, whether they be health issues, safety issues and the like.
"Right now their mandate seems to be the delivery of energy anywhere, anytime," she said. "And I don't think that's adequate in today's world."
Clinton was answering a question from "the lady in green," as the candidate addressed the audience member. The woman said southern New Hampshire is fighting a "fracked-gas pipeline" — an apparent reference to Kinder Morgan Inc.'s proposed Northeast Energy Direct project — and asked what help Clinton would provide. The woman's question was introduced with a claim that the project was being developed to support exports — Kinder Morgan says the project is designed to reach gas and power generation markets, including New England and Atlantic Canada markets — and a claim that FERC is funded "by big oil and gas."
Former Secretary of State Clinton corrected the woman on the second claim, saying oil and gas companies do not pay for FERC.
The FERC budget must be authorized by the U.S. Congress and the commission must answer to that branch. Funds equal to the budget are reimbursed through filing fees and annual charges assessed to regulated industries. FERC decisions can be challenged in federal courts.
"Part of what the federal government needs to start doing is drawing some lines and informing states and localities," Clinton said. "And we should also never pre-empt states and localities from saying 'no.'" [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: A lot of Clinton's statements are reassuring; however, Clinton contradicts herself on whether or not FERC is financed by the energy industry: industry fees pay for FERC's budget via Congressional appropriation.
A compendium of fracking research published this week by Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility, two public health nonprofits, includes reviews of more than 500 fracking-related studies and concludes that there is "no evidence that fracking can be practiced in a manner that does not threaten human health."
The report published this week is the third edition of the compendium and includes peer-reviewed articles, government reports and original research by investigative journalists, including some by InsideClimate News. In 2014, nearly 200 studies on fracking were published, and in the first six months of 2015, more than 100.
Along with the release of the compendium, the Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility are calling on President Barack Obama and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to recognize the risks of fracking.
At the moment, five LNG export terminals are being built [in the Gulf of Mexico and] along the U.S. East Coast, with Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass set to become the first operational LNG export facility in the U.S. in December 2015. The project will mark a new chapter for the U.S. energy sector, but prospects for natural gas exports are not entirely rosy.
Since August 2014, … oil prices have slumped by more than 60%. In such an environment, U.S. natural gas lost much of its attractiveness outside the United States. With this in mind, a recently published Brookings Institute study forecasts that only projects currently under construction will make it to the market by 2020, with others more likely to fail. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
News media accounts suggest that FERC permitting uncertainties are a problem, leading to increased gas prices and the reluctance of downstream generators to build natural gas generating projects. That's why both the House of Representatives and Senate have taken up bills to attempt to reduce the uncertainty and time requirements of the federal and state regulatory process.
What follows are five examples of things that "ain't so" — five myths about the energy regulatory process.
Myth #1: Regulatory Approval Is Uncertain
…[T]he data shows that FERC approval is seldom denied. Actually, since 2008, FERC approved 95.8 percent of applications for natural gas infrastructure projects, including new construction, expansion and LNG projects.
Myth #2: Approval Process Takes Too Long
The resulting data-driven examination compared company-targeted in-service dates with actual in-service dates, finding that nearly 85 percent of the projects (actually, 84.3 percent or one standard deviation around the mean difference) are completed between 140 days before and 257 days later than companies' anticipated dates.
Myth #3: FERC Proceedings Are Unnecessarily Complex
…[C]omplex, yes; unnecessarily complex, probably not, especially given the number of stakeholders, both public and private, with access to this trove of filings.
Myth #4: Environmental Advocacy Groups Have No Voice
…[T]he impact of protests by environmental groups is more consequential than even they appreciate, expanding debate and increasing the time of review. While it may not lead to the dismissal of a project before FERC, it often leads to greater consideration of a multitude of environmental issues, including the route of a pipeline.
Myth #5: Regulatory Decision-Making Is Excessively Qualitative
With the high degree of transparency afforded by FERC, each of these filings can be accessed to build a project profile. And, with such a voluminous data set, philosophical perspectives underlying regulatory precedent can be exposed by objective data. In fact, predictive analytics, which leverages statistics, allows parties to surface insights into critical proceeding milestones and account for variables in order to more accurately manage regulatory risk.
[Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: We take issue with some of the author's myth debunking, such as the transparency claim. FERC regularly and intentionally adds opacity to the permitting process.
Five years ago, energy companies hungry for the next big thing started planning as many as 90 terminals to send natural gas around the globe.
Now, it seems the world only needs five more.
Consulting firm IHS Inc. says only one in every 20 projects planned are actually necessary by 2025 as weakening Asia economies, cheap coal, the return of nuclear power in Japan and the ever-expanding glut of shale supply in North America temper demand for the power-plant fuel, putting tens of billions of dollars worth of export projects at risk. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Commodity prices have crashed over the past year, and the market for LNG is no different.
Over the past five years or so, there has been a flurry of construction for LNG export terminals, as natural gas exporters hoped to take advantage of the sky-high prices for LNG in Asia. LNG prices jumped following the Fukushima meltdown in Japan – Japan was by far the world’s largest LNG importer before it was forced to shut down more than fifty nuclear reactors in 2011, and its dependence on imported natural gas spiked immediately after the disaster.
But a funny thing has happened along the way. LNG prices have crashed, with landing prices in Asia dropping from a high of $20 per million Btu (MMBtu) in early 2014 to around $8/MMBtu today. The bonanza for LNG exporters is not playing out due to a variety of factors. First is the collapse in oil prices. LNG prices are still largely linked to the price of crude, so plummeting oil prices have dragged down LNG as well.
…China’s slowing economy has put a dent in its demand for imported LNG, with imports down 3.5 percent in 2015 compared to a year earlier. … Other sources of energy are cheaper than gas in China. Even solar and wind are beating natural gas on price in China.
Then there is supply. The scramble to build LNG export terminals in recent years is leading to way too much supply.… [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
2015 October 25
PORTLAND, Maine — Houston-based Spectra Energy has filed an application with federal regulators to expand capacity on portions of its natural gas pipeline that passes through Maine on its way from Pennsylvania to the Canadian Maritimes.
Spectra announced Friday that it filed its formal application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for its Atlantic Bridge expansion, which it expects to have online by November 2017.
The company said in its application that the Iberdrola subsidiary Maine Natural Gas and a company affiliated with Summit Natural Gas of Maine have agreed to contracts under the proposed pipeline capacity expansion.
Heritage Gas Ltd., based in Nova Scotia, and the New Hampshire-based Irving Oil Terminal Operations Inc. also signed up for shipments on the pipeline, according to the filing.
The Atlantic Bridge project would install new infrastructure, including higher powered compression stations, along the pipeline to allow it to increase capacity on its Pennsylvania-Massachusetts Algonquin pipeline by 132,705 dekatherms per day and on its Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline running through Maine by 106,276 dekatherms per day. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Now, snaking around the snout of Nova Scotia and into the Gulf of Maine is a new, unseen threat to Yarmouth Bar and hundreds of coastal communities in Maine, eastern New England and the Maritimes: currents fueling the rapid warming of of the sea.
The Gulf of Maine – which extends from Cape Cod in Massachusetts to Cape Sable at the southern tip of Nova Scotia, and includes the Bay of Fundy, the offshore fishing banks, and the entire coast of Maine – has been warming rapidly as the deep-water currents that feed it have shifted. Since 2004 the gulf has warmed faster than anyplace else on the planet, except for an area northeast of Japan, and during the “Northwest Atlantic Ocean heat wave” of 2012 average water temperatures hit the highest level in the 150 years that humans have been recording them.
“We’re really in the crosshairs of climate change right now,” says Andy Pershing, chief scientific officer at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland, who first revealed the alarming pace of the gulf’s recent warming.
For two years running, Maine’s northern shrimp fishery has been closed for lack of shrimp. Endangered right whales have virtually stopped visiting the waters off Lubec and Grand Manan because the tiny cold-loving copepods that they feed on – as do herring and, indirectly, almost everything else in the gulf – are in short supply there.
Warm-water invaders are gaining a toehold, and those that already had one are taking over. Green crab populations exploded in 2012 and 2013, extirpating soft-shell clams from vast areas of mudflats and stripping the northern parts of Casco Bay of their life-sustaining eelgrass meadows, which have yet to recover. Blue crabs, a species normally identified with the sultry Chesapeake, have appeared in lobster traps and in southwestern Nova Scotia have started making themselves at home. Asian shore crabs now dominate the shores of seacoast New Hampshire. Ugly, bottom-smothering sea squirts have spread across the seafloor all the way to Eastport, displacing the animals that the gulf’s sea creatures actually want to eat.
Temperature variability has always been a characteristic of the Gulf of Maine, which has always seen three or five years of warmer temperatures followed by a similar period of cooler ones. We’re still seeing that today, Townsend notes, based on pulses of cold water that still come down the coast of Nova Scotia and inhibit deeper continental slope water from entering our region. The difference in recent years is that when the Scotia current lulls, the slope water that pours in is far warmer than it once was. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: Reduced use of fossil fuels is needed, not increased reliance, as the natural gas and LNG industry would burden us with. Downeast LNG, whether importing or exporting, would lead us to our own destruction.
The National Energy Board (NEB) has recently approved liquified natural gas (LNG) export licences to three companies with competing projects in Atlantic Canada – Pieridae Energy (Canada) Ltd in Nova Scotia, Bear Head LNG Corporation in Nova Scotia, and Saint John LNG Development Canada Ltd in New Brunswick. The export licences are an early step towards allowing these entities to develop LNG export facilities. If placed into operation, each of the LNG export facilities would provide natural gas producers in Canada and the United States with access to overseas markets. If all of these LNG export projects were to proceed as approved, they could support an annual export of as much as 44 billion cubic metres for 20 to 25 years. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: LNG Development Canada is at Canaport LNG, the existing LNG import terminal 5 miles east of Saint John, NB.
Pieridae Energy (Canada) Ltd. says it has received Canadian approval to export natural gas in liquefied form to Europe from a proposed terminal in Nova Scotia.
Pieridae is one of three groups that has sought the National Engery Boards's approval for liquefied natural gas terminals in Atlantic Canada.
The National Energy Board has approved export and import licences for a proposed liquefied natural gas facility in Cape Breton.
The Bear Head LNG Corporation wants to build a facility in Point Tupper, Richmond County.
The U.S. Department of Energy approved Bear Head LNG for an export licence back in July.
On June 15, 2015, the D.C. Circuit rejected the petition in a one-page order. The court held that the petitioners fell short of satisfying the requirements for an emergency stay on the construction. The court further noted that the groups failed to articulate any "strongly compelling" reasons why their request for expedited review should be granted.
The development of liquefied natural gas plants along an ocelot corridor could set back decades of work in the struggle to save the endangered species.
For 40 years, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service even leased the proposed LNG site as a wildlife corridor to help the United States’ fading ocelot population survive, said Stefanie Herweck, spokeswoman for the group Save RGV from LNG.
“The proposed LNG leases are on really significant ocelot habitat,” Herweck said Thursday. “That corridor is critical for the long-term survival of the ocelot in Texas.”
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service officials warn the development of Annova LNG’s export terminal at the Brownsville Ship Channel would threaten the “genetic viability” of the United States’ ocelot population.
According to the filing the Resource Report 1 provides a description of the proposed project and its purpose and need from a local, regional, national, and global perspective.
In the initial phase the project will have a capacity to produce up to 2 million tons per annum of LNG, while Phase 2, to be developed at a later date, will increase the capacity by additional 2.
The project was recently granted a long-term, multi-contract authorization to export liquefied natural gas to free trade agreement countries by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS) says it has signed an agreement with New Fortress Energy for the supply of gas to Jamaica, after receiving approvals from the Jamaican Government and the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR).
Under the agreement, US-based New Fortress Energy will provide JPS with Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) for its 120-megawatt power plant at Bogue in Montego Bay, St James.
Federal regulators are launching a statewide series of public meetings in a dozen communities to take comments on the $55 billion Alaska LNG project that’s considered critical to the state’s economic future.
Under the umbrella of Alaska LNG, the state is partnering with oil giants ExxonMobil, BP and ConocoPhillips. Also, Gov. Bill Walker is asking lawmakers to buy out a fourth partner, pipeline builder TransCanada, to give the state a greater stake.
“Whether it’s Nikiski or along the pipeline route in Healy or in Fairbanks at the pipe laydown yard or in Anchorage, it’s good to point out to federal regulators that there are local issues they need to cover in the environmental impact statement,” [said Larry Persily, former federal pipeline coordinator and special assistant to Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre].
Lawmakers around the state are packing their bags and preparing to head to Juneau for their third special session of the year. This session will focus on one thing: the Alaska LNG project. That’s the giant pipeline the state hopes to build, along with ExxonMobil, BP, ConocoPhillips — and maybe TransCanada — to bring natural gas from the North Slope.
The key point — if you remember just one thing — is that the Alaska LNG project is not just a pipeline. It actually has three big pieces. First, there’s a gas treatment plant on the North Slope, to prepare the gas for the pipeline. Then there’s the pipeline itself, running some 800 miles down to Cook Inlet. And then there’s a giant liquefaction plant in Nikiski.
The Alaska LNG project calls for a giant plant on some 600 acres in Nikiski.
And as it happens, there’s already a liquefaction plant there — ConocoPhillips’ Kenai LNG plant. Right now, it’s the only plant in North America that exports LNG — and it’s been operating in essentially the same way since 1969.
…[I]t’s decisions in Tokyo — and elsewhere in Asia — that will decide if this project ever goes forward. For now, the project is in the early design and planning stages. There likely won’t be a decision on whether to break ground until 2018 — and that will depend on whether there’s demand for the gas across the Pacific.
…the Globe and Mail reports, weak LNG prices in Asia, a looming glut of supplies, and fierce global competition for the Asian market have also cast doubts on the future of the twenty BC LNG proposals.
Decision is 'not an endorsement' of the project: Chief Ian Campbell
On Oct. 14, the Squamish Nation (SN) voted to approve an Environmental Assessment Agreement (EAA) for the project.
In June, the SN laid out 25 conditions that would have to be met before the project could move forward. In July, Woodfibre publicly agreed to meet the 13 conditions that apply to its part of the proposal.
The biggest condition for the SN was control over the method of seawater cooling, Giraud said, but other conditions involve greater protections for marine life in Howe Sound, better insurance coverage and traditional access for SN members.
Astoria Mayor Arline LaMear urged the state Department of Environmental Quality … to block Oregon LNG from building an export terminal in Warrenton, warning the project has the potential to threaten the health and safety of residents.
The mayor said Clatsop County has rejected a pipeline for the project and the department is well positioned to deny water-quality certification, like the state did for the Bradwood Landing LNG project east of Astoria several years ago.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has released a draft environmental review of the project which concludes that adverse impacts to the environment could be reduced if Oregon LNG follows safeguards to minimize harm to fish and wildlife habitat and water quality and uses adequate safety features.
The Department of Environmental Quality has to decide whether to issue Oregon LNG a water-quality certification and a host of permits regulating air quality, wastewater and stormwater.
In December 2013, Hawaiian Electric signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Hawaii Gas, documenting the two companies’ desire to work together to develop and/or secure infrastructure for bulk shipments and to establish a consortium to competitively procure the LNG and provide storage and regasification of it at an LNG terminal site.
Hawaiian Electric has already reached an agreement with FortisBC Holdings Inc. of Canada for liquefaction capacity, which turns natural gas into LNG, a cold liquid that takes up 600 times less space than gas.
The agreement, which requires Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approval, calls for the purchase of 700,000 tons of LNG per year for the first five years and 600,000 tons per year for the next five years and 500,000 tons per year for the last 10 years.
Justin Trudeau’s election as Canadian Prime Minister may signal the start of a new era for the Canadian oil and gas industry. Trudeau, the Liberal party leader, was elected on October 19, and one of the primary points of his platform was banning of oil tankers in environmentally sensitive waters along the British Columbia coast.
However, Trudeau has made it clear that he does not oppose all pipelines. Trudeau was a supporter of the Keystone XL pipeline to the U.S. and traveled to Washington to support the project before it was rejected by President Obama.
Webmaster's comment: Trudeau is also not opposed to LNG terminal development.
Nearly 50 leaders of America’s defence and foreign policy establishment are calling on political and business leaders to “think past tomorrow” and lead the fight on climate change.
In a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal the experts – 48 former secretaries of state and defense, national security advisers, diplomats and members of Congress from both parties – say it is time for America to claim global leadership on climate change.
The security establishment has long recognised the threat posed by climate change. In 2006 a report by the influential Center for Naval Analysis defined climate change as a “threat multiplier”, adding fuel to conflicts.
Three environmental groups formally petitioned the Obama administration to immediately ban all exports of natural gas.
“Exporting natural gas worsens global warming, harms local communities, raises domestic energy prices and benefits only multinational fossil fuel corporations,” Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity, said of the petition his group filed with Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace.
“If the Obama administration’s really serious about addressing the climate crisis, it has to rein in the gluttonous natural gas industry,” he said in a statement.
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration… proposed the first-ever rules cracking down on the oil and gas industry’s emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
Although the draft regulations advanced by the Environmental Protection Agency chiefly target new oil and gas wells, processing equipment and storage facilities, the four-pronged proposal lays the groundwork for the government to eventually go after methane leaking from existing infrastructure too.
Natural gas pipeline exports from the United States to Mexico are beginning to gradually displace the country’s LNG imports.
Currently, Mexico has three regasification terminals, one on the east coast, Altamira and two on the west coast, Ensenada, also called Energia Costa Azul, and Manzanillo.
While utilization at the Manzanillo terminal has been relatively high, averaging 85% in 2013-14, the Altamira terminal was used around 50% in the same period, while the Costa Azul terminal in the Baja peninsula remains virtually unused.
In September, Mexico’s Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), that has a supply contract with terminal operators Shell and Total, canceled a tender for several spot cargoes into Altamira for a period between September and December, noting increased availability of less-expensive pipeline natural gas from the United States.
The global LNG industry is witnessing an unprecedented period of uncertainty thanks to the fallout from the lower hydrocarbons prices.
2015 October 20
Yesterday, New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., sent a letter to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie urging him to “use the authority vested to [him] under the Deepwater Port Act” and veto Liberty Natural Gas’s proposed Port Ambrose Deepwater LNG Import Terminal for offshore New Jersey and New York. The letter states that because “domestic natural gas production has been steadily increasing …[i]t simply does not make sense to build a terminal to import natural gas into the United States.” Further, “[c]onstruction of this terminal will also be extremely damaging to our coastal environment, disturbing fish habitats and damaging marine life.”
Hellenic Shipping News reports that Japanese company Tohoku Electric has signed an agreement with ENGIE (formerly GDF Suez) to purchase 270,000 million tonnes/year of LNG over 20 years from the Cameron LNG liquefaction and export terminal under construction near Hackberry, La. According to the report, the agreement includes provisions giving Tohoku Electric the flexibility to alter delivery destinations and resell volumes to third parties. The LNG cargoes will be delivered on an ex-ship basis and are linked to Henry Hub prices.
Now may not be the best time to unveil plans to export liquefied natural gas from the U.S. But don't tell Charles "Buddy" Roemer.
The former governor of Louisiana will formally announce Monday one of the largest LNG-export proposals in the U.S., at a time when faltering demand for gas in Asia, as well as low prices, threaten the viability of ventures much further along the way than his.
"There may be 40 ahead of us in the world already producing, but there are 30 behind us, and something is happening," said Roemer, chairman of a Baton Rouge-based G2 LNG.…
Webmaster's comment: The "something is happening" is the sound of $Billions going down the drain on mooted LNG export projects.
Could the Caribbean, a region that has long suffered some of the highest energy costs in the world, emerge a winner from falling global oil prices? We think it can, if its governments make some smart strategic choices.
Low oil prices … have created a unique opportunity. The Caribbean could use this respite to begin to wean its economies off petroleum products and to switch to more stable and cleaner alternatives. Several governments are using this windfall to pay down debt. Others are taking advantage of the opportunity to trim expensive energy subsidies.
Low oil prices, however, have created a unique opportunity. The Caribbean could use this respite to begin to wean its economies off petroleum products and to switch to more stable and cleaner alternatives. Several governments are using this windfall to pay down debt. Others are taking advantage of the opportunity to trim expensive energy subsidies.
Because of its geography, the Caribbean is ideal for deploying geothermal, solar and wind energy technologies. In some cases, hydroelectricity is a proven alternative. The costs of these technologies have decreased sharply since the 1980s. Small-scale solar systems have become so affordable that they are thriving in rural Haiti, and commercial wind farms are sprouting all around Jamaica. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
The congresswoman argues that a 60-day window is not enough time for a thorough consideration of the public's concerns on the LNG project.
“It is disappointing that FERC did not formally extend the comment period on the draft environmental impact statement for the Oregon LNG project,” she wrote. “FERC did indicate that it will consider comments received after the comment period has expired, but it is not clear whether those comments will be given appropriate weight or be part of the record.
Last month, Bonamici and U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley asked the commission to push back the Oct. 6 comment submittal deadline to early December to give constituents more time to read the nearly 1,000-page document, issued in August.
The three Democratic lawmakers sent another letter to FERC pointing out that Oregon LNG hopes to build the project on land at the center of an ongoing dispute between the energy company and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has an easement on part of the property. Bonamici’s office said it is still expecting a response from the commission about the easement issue.
The final environmental impact statement is scheduled for release in February.
Webmaster's comment: FERC always approves LNG terminal projects. The one and only exception was in 2005 due to the proposed Keyspan LNG terminal site in Rhode Island not qualifying for US DOT PHMSA thermal radiation and vapor dispersion Exclusion Zones; thus, FERC had to deny the permit.
LNG export project officials, optimistic about their market prospects but frustrated by regulatory delays, were joined by members of Congress in slamming the federal processes for export licenses and facility permitting.
Webmaster's comment: The LNG industry is slamming the federal process for exporting and facilities when virtually each and every project receives approval? "Give them an inch…" could not be truer.
2015 October 15
The U.S. Coast Guard has released its final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for Liberty Natural Gas’s proposed Port Ambrose Deepwater Port LNG import terminal to be located offshore New York and New Jersey. According to the Liberty Natural Gas press release, the FEIS “confirms that the project is needed, the location is safe, and the impacts to the environment are minimal.” An Asbury Park Press article reports that environmental groups are urging New Jersey Governor Christie to veto the project.
FERC has issued a notice stating that it intends to issue an environmental assessment on February 5, 2016, for Elba Liquefaction Company, L.L.C.’s and affiliates’ proposed LNG export terminal on Elba Island, near Savannah, Ga. The notice also indicates that other federal agencies having jurisdiction over the project will have until May 5, 2016 to complete their review.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued an order (1) vacating Excelerate Liquefaction Solutions I, LLC’s (ELS) authorization to export LNG from its proposed terminal in Calhoun County, Texas to nations with a Free Trade Agreement with the United States and (2) granting withdrawal of ELS’s pending application to export LNG to non-FTA nations. ELS requested the DOE actions in a September 2 letter, stating that it will no longer pursue exporting LNG pursuant to the existing and pending authorizations. ELS had previously withdrawn its FERC application to construct the terminal for economic reasons. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: Exporting LNG makes no economic sense — for the company doing the exporting, and for the United States. Is Downeast LNG paying attention?
LNG tanker Arctic Aurora, with a capacity of 155,000 cbm, departed from Melkøya island on Wednesday and is expected to arrive at the Freeport LNG terminal in Texas around October 29, shipping data shows.
The Freeport LNG terminal on Quintana Island, which is currently building export facilities adjacent to the original site, imported no LNG [from January to July].
(Bloomberg) — Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass terminal, the first complex designed to liquefy and export natural gas from the continental U.S., is being commissioned and is on track to start producing by the end of the year, said Bechtel Corp., the engineering and construction company behind the project.
The San Francisco-based contractor is also building Cheniere’s Corpus Christi LNG facility in Texas and three projects in Australia, of which the third one will start liquefying gas by the end of the year, according to Bechtel.
FERC has issued a supplemental notice of its intent to prepare an environmental impact statement for Louisiana LNG Energy, LLC’s proposed liquefaction facility and export terminal on the east bank of the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish, La. FERC issued the supplemental notice to reflect changes in the project proposed by new ownership, including increasing the liquefaction production capacity to 6.0 million tons per annum (MTPA) from 2.0 MTPA and increasing the storage capacity of the LNG storage tanks to 140,000 cubic meters (net) from 100,000 cubic meters.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued an order denying Sierra Club’s request for rehearing of orders authorizing Cameron LNG to export LNG from its terminal under construction near Hackberry, La. to nations without a Free Trade Agreement with the United States. DOE rejected Sierra Club’s arguments that (1) the Natural Gas Act does not provide a rebuttal presumption that gas exports are in the public interest unless shown otherwise, and (2) regardless of whether FERC did or not, DOE should have analyzed the environmental impacts of potential increased natural gas production activities that would be induced by LNG exports.
MONTEGO BAY, St James — The Port Authority of Jamaica says the Port of Montego Bay will be ready to accept shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the Bogue Gas Conversion Project.
The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) is partnering with American company, Fortress Energy, to convert its 120-megawatt automotive diesel oil (ADO) plant at Bogue, into a dual facility for ADO and LNG.
The project is scheduled to be completed by the second quarter of 2016 and will involve the shipment of LNG from Fort Lauderdale in the United States to the Port of Montego Bay. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: Downeast LNG's president Dean Girdis is director of Nova Scotia LNG in Halifax, NS, and is proposing to supply LNG to the Caribbean. Nova Scotia LNG is 1,000 miles farther away from its intended market than Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where Jamaica intends to obtain its LNG. Girdis is consistently way behind the curve with his pre-mooted LNG proposals.
ConocoPhillips Alaska Natural Gas Corp. (CPANGC) has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Energy for blanket authority to export a total of 40 Bcf over a two year period from its Kenai, Alaska LNG facility to nations with (FTA) and without (Non-FTA) a Free Trade Agreement with the United States. The request would extend CPANGC’s existing authority for another two years.
A small-scale liquefied natural gas project on British Columbia's Pacific coast is facing a potential delay as the consortium behind the project appeals a tax imposed by Canadian customs on the import of its floating terminal.
The Douglas Channel project, which was expected to go to final investment decision (FID) before year-end, is facing a 25 percent tariff on the C$300 million ($232 million) floating terminal, which will be built in China and shipped to Canada.
The president of Pacific NorthWest LNG says the energy consortium is poised to start construction next year, undaunted by a native group’s legal challenge of the project’s proposed British Columbia site for exporting liquefied natural gas.
Three weeks ago, the Allied Tribes of Lax Kw’alaams filed a court claim for title to Lelu Island and Flora Bank in the Port of Prince Rupert, arguing that LNG export plans interfere with aboriginal fishing rights.
On Wednesday night, Mr. Wesley’s son Joey joined more than 180 protesters at an anti-LNG rally in downtown Vancouver, stopping in front of the building that houses Pacific NorthWest LNG’s head office. The demonstrators raised a range of concerns, from climate change to hydraulic fracturing to salmon habitat.
The Globe and Mail reports that the Squamish Nation Council has voted to grant an environmental certificate for the proposed Woodfibre LNG liquefaction and export terminal near Squamish, British Columbia (B.C.), conditioned upon Woodfibre LNG complying with all the conditions imposed by the Squamish Nation. According to the article, the Squamish Nation was primarily concerned with the impact on small fish of warm chlorinated water discharged from the facility’s planned cooling system. The B.C. Environmental Assessment Office will make a separate assessment of the project.
Squamish Nation chiefs and council voted Wednesday to grant an Environmental Certificate for the Woodfibre LNG facility proposal slated for Squamish.
The agreement is legally binding and gives significant decision-making powers to the Squamish Nation, particularly for approval of management plans and the choice of cooling technology, according to the release.
There is still no Squamish Nation agreement with the province or with FortisBC over the pipeline required to supply natural gas to Woodfibre LNG.
VANCOUVER – Premier Christy Clark is defending her optimism on British Columbia’s fledgling liquefied natural gas industry, despite growing First Nations protests and sinking international demand.
There are now 20 LNG proposals in the province, but they face numerous challenges including weakened Asian demand, low energy prices and threats of legal action from First Nations. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Gitxsan First Nation says it was not consulted on Prince Rupert gas pipeline
The province faces a new First Nations legal challenge to an element of the Pacific Northwest Liquefied Natural Gas project just as it prepares to open its major annual conference aimed at promoting the prospects of its still nascent industry.
A group within the Gitxsan First Nation says it will apply to the B.C. Supreme Court for a judicial review seeking to overturn the provincial environmental certificate and Oil and Gas Commission construction approval for the TransCanada Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Line on the basis they were not consulted, said group spokesman Richard Wright.
The Globe and Mail reports that Petronas executive vice-president Wee Yiaw Hin reaffirmed Petronas’ commitment to build a 11.4 billion export terminal on Lelu Island in British Columbia. Petronas issued a statement yesterday that it “would like to reaffirm its commitment to deliver long-term LNG supply to its customers through the Pacific NorthWest LNG project in [British Columbia,] Canada, despite the current market volatility for oil and gas, [and] [t]ogether with its partners, Petronas is ready to proceed with the project on the condition that it receives the remaining regulatory approval from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.”
CBC News reports that British Columbia Minister of Natural Gas Development Rich Coleman has refuted a Malaysian press report which stated that Malaysian state oil company Petronas, primary sponsor of the proposed Pacific Northwest LNG export terminal near Prince Rupert, B.C., was considering delaying the project for up to nine years due to economic conditions. According to the CBC News report, Coleman stated that the federal election to be held October 19 and environmental approval are the only factors holding up the project. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
The Oregon Department of Energy has issued a proposed order recommending that the Energy Facility Siting Council issue a site certificate, subject to conditions, authorizing construction and operation of the proposed South Dunes Power Plant, a 420 MW natural gas fueled electric generation facility that would provide power to the proposed Jordan Cove Energy Project LNG export terminal at Coos Bay, Ore.
FERC’s environmental staff (Staff) has released its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed Jordan Cove Energy Project LNG export terminal at Coos Bay, Ore., and interconnected pipeline (together, the “Project”). The Staff concludes that construction and operation of the Project would result in some limited adverse environmental impacts, but most of these impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels with mitigation measures. In its summary, Staff states that if the Project “is constructed and operated in accordance with the recommended mitigation measures, we conclude that it would be an environmentally acceptable action.”
Webmaster's comment: FERC has never rejected an LNG terminal permit on environmental grounds. The only LNG terminal project ever denied a permit was in 2005 due to Keyspan LNG's proposal in Rhode Island violating US Department of Transportation exclusion zone safety requirements.
Citing the recent federal court ruling regarding Oregon LNG’s rights to the land necessary to construct its proposed LNG export terminal in Warrenton, Ore., Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Representative Suzanne Bonamici have sent a letter to FERC asking how it “handles situations where the project under review does not or may not have the ability to construct a facility because the applicant lacks an unencumbered right to the land.” The letter also asks if FERC “has ever suspended its review of a project until such a question is resolved.”
(Bloomberg) -- The cost for Canadian shipments of liquefied natural gas must drop by almost a third for projects to succeed as a supply glut makes LNG a buyers’ market, according to Woodside Petroleum Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Peter Coleman.
“It’s a difficult time to be in the marketplace for LNG,” Coleman said.… [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
…Temperate conditions in the Midwest and Northeast should help depress total residential and commercial natural gas demand during the winter, although LNG exports and industrial facilities could add to total demand as operations begin.
Spot and futures prices generally reflect market expectations for a relatively well-supplied winter. Spot natural gas prices traded in a tight range and remained relatively low throughout the summer. At times, prices in New York and New England traded under $2/MMBtu, well below the U.S. benchmark at the Henry Hub.
In addition, futures prices for this winter are trading several dollars less than last year. The cost to hedge natural gas in Northeast market areas is around $10/MMBtu. In New England, traders seem to be factoring in the likelihood of LNG cargoes mitigating price spikes in the region. Consequently, Algonquin futures are trading at half the price of last year. Elsewhere, natural gas futures prices in Southern California and at the Henry Hub are more than $1/MMBtu below last year’s prices.
…Given average weather and demand patterns, total natural gas demand should be lower than the previous two winters. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Relatively plentiful ship-borne arrivals of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in August have ensured that total U.S. imports for calendar 2015 will surpass the anemic annual total posted last year.
Nonetheless, the latest numbers issued by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy underscore the magnitude of the collapse in a market that a decade ago was viewed as the torch-bearer of a modern-age energy revolution.
The August imports all were on long-term contracts, DOE said. The U.S. has not seen a spot LNG import cargo since April.
Six of the 10 operating LNG terminals in the U.S. have remained completely idle through 2015. According to DOE, Trinidad with 56.4 bcf and Yemen with 7.4 bcf are the only two countries to have supplied the U.S. with vessel-borne LNG in 2015. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
2015 October 12
A company called Liberty Natural Gas wants to build a liquefied natural gas port in the Atlantic. Tankers loaded with compressed natural gas would hook into a new pipeline that would carry the gas to an existing line that feeds Long Island, New York.
The location is 28 miles off of Long Branch, and 18 miles off Long Island. The company calls it Port Ambrose. New Jersey environmentalists and two shore Republican legislators gathered today to oppose it.
The opponents say the gas is not needed, that two similar ports in Massachusetts are idle because there’s no longer any demand for foreign natural gas, and that putting it out there is dangerous.
Senator Jennifer Beck is sponsoring a resolution to stop the project.
To hear these people tell it, an LNG port off the coast of New Jersey poses serious risks and isn’t needed. They’re relying on Governor Christie to do what he did four years ago, when the project was proposed off Asbury Park, and veto it.
The evidence is now overwhelming. B.C.’s current energy policies, centred on the LNG export strategy and BC Hydro’s Site C, are likely to fail at great cost to taxpayers.
Under regulations set by the provincial government, LNG development will result in significant emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Moreover, liquefying the gas once it reaches tidewater to enable shipment overseas will more than double the pollution produced because the province has approved burning gas to power the cooling operation.
hings have changed. China’s economic growth has slowed, opposition to pipelines has increased and the Supreme Court has given aboriginals a near-veto on development on lands they claim.
Premier Clark should summon the courage to tell us that conditions have changed and we should use our vast supplies of domestic natural gas to generate electricity rather than rather than building Site C.
Federal regulators granted final environmental approval last week for building a pipeline and port facilities for shipping Rocky Mountain natural gas to Asia via the Oregon coast.
The final environmental impact statement prepared for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found that building and operating the gas terminal and pipeline would cause some environmental damage.
However, it noted the problems would be reduced to less-than-significant with mitigation measures proposed by project developers.
The Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas terminal at Coos Bay would be the first LNG port on the West Coast and would be linked to existing pipelines by construction of the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline across southwestern Oregon.
Lesley Adams, head of the Rogue Riverkeeper conservation group, said Oregon still has to decide on a Clean Water Act permit for the pipeline, and if the regulatory agency approves the projects, a coalition of landowners and conservationists plan to take legal action to reverse it. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: This article's headline is misleading; the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is not approval of the project. Approval occurs only when the FERC Commission votes to approve a project, and that has not occurred.
Five years ago, energy companies hungry for the next big thing started planning as many as 90 terminals to send natural gas around the globe.
Now, it seems the world only needs five more.
Barring an unusually cold winter in Asia, global LNG supply will outstrip demand by next year, said Trevor Sikorski, an analyst at Energy Aspects Ltd. in London. Seven new plants in Australia will flood the market over the next two years. Cheniere Energy Inc. is planning the startup of its Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana this quarter.
“The global LNG industry now resembles a game of ‘musical chairs’ with far more projects than the market can absorb,” said James Taverner, an IHS analyst in Tokyo. “There is a very narrow window of opportunity for new projects that want to take final investment decision by 2020."
While the U.S. LNG projects already under construction will probably come to fruition, any supply not already contracted will be difficult to find a home for, particularly in Asia where Australian gas is easy to come by, Currie said. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: Downeast LNG is among the doomed projects — not under construction, supply not already contracted.
Just as gas export-terminals are preparing to start up along America’s Gulf Coast, the oil-price crash has made it unprofitable to send the U.S. fuel abroad, according to the North America head of power and natural gas supplier Engie.
It costs about $2 to liquefy gas and another $3 to take it from the U.S. to Asia, said Zin Smati, president and chief executive officer of Engie’s GDF Suez Energy North America. Engie changed its name from GDF Suez SA in April. Those costs used to leave plenty of profit margin when the gap between LNG prices in Asia and natural gas in the U.S. was more than $14 per million British thermal units. Now, the spread is less than $5, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“You cannot ship gas from the United States anymore,” Smati said at the Council of the Americas energy conference at Rice University in Houston on Thursday. “Nobody really is making money from LNG now. Certainly we are not.”
Engie, the world’s largest independent power generator, is a partner in the Cameron liquefied natural gas export terminal being built in Louisiana. The company also operates LNG import terminals in the U.S. Northeast. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]