"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
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2015 November 24
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is an independent agency within the US Department of Energy (DOE). Being independent means it cannot be directed by the President or the DOE. To force any changes in FERC’s conduct requires either court action (and $millions in costs) or, literally, an act of Congress.
Problem 1: FERC Contract Staff & EIS Preparation
Problem 2: Who Reads the EIS?
Each of the Commissioners has one or more FERC lawyer. Those lawyers read the FEIS. (An FEIS can consist of hundreds or even thousands of pages.) It is unlikely [and, perhaps, impossible] that each Commissioner thoroughly studies each projects’ FEIS.
Problem 3: How the Permitting Decision is Made
The Commissioners’ lawyers prepare two permitting decisions based on their reading: 1) In favor of issuing a permit, and 2) opposed to issuing a permit.
The Commissioners read their lawyers’ written decisions, and vote.
…[T]he Commissioners’ decisions are insulated by at least two generations from most of the actual Docket information.
…[I]t opens plenty of opportunity for abuse by staff along the way, and abuse is evident.…
FERC approval is almost certain in cases of natural gas pipelines and LNG terminals (see: http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=428362).
Alarm bells are ringing. They are ringing at fixFERCfirst. They should also be ringing in the US Senate and Department of Justice. FERC desperately needs fixing.
Webmaster's comment: This is a blog entry by Save Passamaquoddy Bay's webmaster and researcher.
2015 November 15
About 75 demonstrators from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and other New England states descended on the Revere Hotel in Boston Monday afternoon to confront executives from Spectra Energy and Kinder Morgan, in town for a behind closed doors presentation ahead of the 2nd annual Northeast Energy Summit. Demonstrators took over the sidewalks outside the hotel, holding signs and chanting, “Invest in renewables, not fracked gas!”
The demonstration was organized by FANG (Fighting Against Natural Gas).
The demonstrators called for an end to fracked-gas infrastructure and a transition to renewable energy. Two protesters were able to gain access to the Spectra / Kinder Morgan presentation, briefly disrupting the event before being invited to leave. Banners were deployed from a parking garage connected to the Revere Hotel. The banners read “fracked-gas kills” and “Spectra’s toxins are trespassing on our bodies.”
Spectra Energy has proposed three fracked gas pipeline expansions, including the one in Burrillville, RI. Kinder Morgan has proposed a new pipeline from New York to Dracut, MA, which would bring up to 2.2 billion cubic feet/day of fracked gas capacity. According to FANG, this is “an expansion that far exceeds projected market needs for the region.” FANG also maintains that, “These pipelines connect with approved LNG export terminals in Nova Scotia and would be partially funded by Northeast ratepayers.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Speaking to reporters after a news conference where he announced his decision to reject the proposal, Mr. Cuomo said that he could not simply take the company at its word about the dangers a significant storm could pose.
“I’ve been around too long, I’ve heard that one too many times, ‘Don’t worry, nothing can happen,’” he said. “Yeah, that’s when I worry.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
“The rejection of this project draws a line in the sand that instead of focusing on industrial uses of the ocean, our country and the State of New Jersey should be encouraging the use of renewable energy resources”, Pallone said in a release. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
HARLINGEN — The development of liquefied natural gas plants threatens a wildlife corridor critical to the ocelot’s survival, environmentalists say.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service also said the corridor is important to ocelots.
Final Environmental Impact Statement for Magnolia LNG, LLC’s and Kinder Morgan Louisiana Pipeline LLC’s Magnolia LNG and Lake Charles Expansion Projects (CP14-347-000 and CP14-511-000)
The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) has prepared a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Magnolia LNG Project proposed by Magnolia LNG, LLC (Magnolia), and the Lake Charles Expansion Project proposed by Kinder Morgan Louisiana Pipeline LLC (Kinder Morgan).
FERC’s environmental staff concludes that construction and operation of the Magnolia LNG and Lake Charles Expansion Projects would result in adverse environmental impacts. Most adverse environmental impacts would be temporary or short term during construction and operation, although some long-term and permanent environmental impacts on wetlands, vegetation, and land use would also occur as part of the projects. This determination is based on a review of the information provided by Magnolia and Kinder Morgan and further developed from data requests; field investigations; scoping; literature research; alternatives analysis; contacts with federal, state, and local agencies as well as Indian tribes; and comments from individual members of the public.
Webmaster's comment: …But FERC, as always, concluded that those adverse environmental impacts would be insignificant (surprise, surprise).
The Caribbean region stands to lose an estimated $US22 billion annually by the year 2050 due to climate-related natural disasters if climate change is allowed to continue its devastation.
One way to curb this wanton wastage is through incentivised investment in the establishment of renewable energy infrastructure. The first to bat must be Trinidad and Tobago (T&T). As the largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the Caribbean and with the second highest per capita carbon dioxide (CO2) footprint in the world, T&T needs to move renewable energy to the top of the list. Unlike any other Caribbean country, Trinidad and Tobago generates close to 100 per cent of its power from natural gas and it stands as CARICOM’s primary producer and sole exporter of that resource.
Dr. Thackwray Driver, president of the Energy Chamber of T&T, delivering the feature address at the launch of the second phase of the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School’s Sustainable and Renewable Energy Project Incubator, stated that T&T’s dependence on the energy industry has created a distorted and inefficient economy both in terms of energy use and fuel prices. Indeed, with plummeting global oil prices, we have been feeling the impact on our pockets. This is what it is like to live in a country that is so aligned to fuel prices; our standard of living is pegged to the fall and rise of the dollar. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
In July 2015, the Jamaican government raised nearly $2 billion on the international capital market through bond issuance to pay off JPS’s longstanding debts to Petrocaribe. Leading Jamaica’s transition from petroleum, JPS has signed agreements with New Fortress Energy to install a 120 MW natural gas plant and with Jamalco to install a 100 MW coal-powered plant. Jamaica also is courting interest from the United States to establish a Floating Storage and Regasification Unit for the transport and delivery of U.S.-produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the rest of the Caribbean region.
Jamaica also has taken strides toward better utilizing its domestic endowment of renewable energy resources. Wigton Wind Farm stands out among other renewable energy projects in the Caribbean for its scale, ambition, and continued development. Located on a site with extremely high wind energy potential, the Wigton facility reliably provides 42 MW of generation capacity throughout the year. In January 2015, Jamaica’s energy regulator, the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), approved plans by BMR Energy to expand this capacity by 36.3 MW.
A critical factor distinguishing renewable power from conventional fossil fuel generation is the operation and maintenance costs, since renewable energy generation does not require costly fuel imports. In Jamaica, operation and maintenance costs for petroleum plants are on average eight times higher than those for solar, wind, and hydropower plants that have comparable generation capacity.
The benefits of transitioning away from fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and petroleum and toward Jamaica’s abundant renewable resources extend well beyond increased energy security. Comparative cost assessments of the country’s electricity generation technology options make clear that, by 2030, Jamaica can save up to $12.5 billion in energy system expenditures by transitioning to renewables. By passing these savings on to consumers and directing funds to grid infrastructure improvements, Jamaica can greatly reduce the dampening effect of high electricity prices on the country’s potential for economic growth while creating high-value-added local jobs in the energy sector. Conveying these benefits is critical to convincing energy sector stakeholders that the high upfront investments required for renewable-based generation are worthwhile. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
New Fortress Energy, a Fortress Investment Group’s company will reportedly invest $200 million into the construction of an LNG terminal in Jamaica.
Total capacity will be initially supplied to the domestic market, but there are plans for output expansion in order to supply other countries in the Caribbean.
JIS cited the chairman of the Electricity Sector Enterprise Team (ESET), Vincent Lawrence as saying that New Fortress will own and operate the terminal and expects the terminal to be ready for commissioning in 2017 or 2018.
Borough Mayor Mike Navarre and Larry Persily, the mayor’s special assistant on oil and gas projects, gave their perspective on the project in an expansive question-and-answer session that ranged from the Kenai Spur Highway relocation project to Navarre’s role on the state Municipal Advisory Gas Project Review Board to the scope of future property purchases in Nikiski.
Navarre and Persily, whom the Borough hired in March 2015 to monitor the LNG project, plan to host talks in Nikiski every second Thursday of the month. The next is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 10.
[Persily] said the project’s summer 2016 fieldwork will be planned in a meeting on Dec. 4. Possible work may include digging a test trench in the inlet floor in front of the export terminal site, in order to observe how quickly the dredged inlet bottom fills back in.
“Maybe in 2019, if they don’t get their final permit, or there’s a lawsuit, or the market’s crappier than it is now, they could decide ‘we’re not going to build the plant this year.’ But we’ve already got the highway. So we may end up with a relocated highway regardless of whether the LNG plant goes in. But given how much it’s going to cost them to build the highway, before they start the construction I bet you they’ll be pretty sure they’re going to go ahead with the LNG plant.”
Many questions received only speculative answers, such as the logistics of the 5,000-person man-camp to be built for workers during the terminal’s construction and the long-term future of the global LNG market. The most consistent message Persily and Navarre gave was that the project is still full of unknowns.
A second consultant on the state team pursuing a $55 billion natural gas line project has left his job, but in this case, it appears to be for good.
Audie Setters, a Texas consultant hired last fall under former Gov. Sean Parnell but retained by Gov. Bill Walker, said his contract ended on Monday and was not renewed, part of an amicable parting as the project heads toward a possible slowdown.
The Walker administration also said this week it is considering a new role for another key consultant, South Carolina attorney Rigdon Boykin, who had served as the project’s lead negotiator.
The state team’s organizational structure has come under fire from lawmakers wondering who is in charge, a question answered by Walker when he said the buck stops with him. Setters at one point temporarily served as lead negotiator, but returned to focus on marketing.
The old, conventional gas reserves that did not require the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) are almost entirely gone. Now, 90 per cent of all new wells drilled in B.C. that would supply the province's proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry will be fracked. Fracking demands massive amounts of freshwater, industrializes large areas of northeast B.C. and has major impacts on the climate.
From drill sites to massive export plants on our West Coast, the LNG industry as proposed will impact the climate in two ways: methane gas will escape at the extraction stage, and carbon dioxide will result from the burning of gas for power at the processing stage when it is liquefied and exported. Both of these gases are dangerous climate pollutants, with methane being the more powerful one over the short term.
It's clear that creating a giant new fossil fuel industry is inconsistent with tackling climate pollution. It's like claiming to contribute to a global campaign to end smoking while constructing a network of new cigarette factories (even though they may be filtered cigarettes). I'm lucky to work with an organization that feels the same way, and we've made our views clear in our submission to the Climate Leadership Team.
I hope that when push comes to shove, B.C.'s team has the vision and courage necessary to do what it takes to safeguard our children's future. It's not easy to admit, but if the B.C. government is truly committed to tackling climate change, we need to walk away from plans to create an LNG industry in B.C. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
British Columbians have heard many "too good to be true" claims about the benefits the province will receive by launching a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export industry. The CCPA-BC's LNG Reality Check series has been examining these claims, and what we have uncovered is a pattern of misinformation about LNG -- coming primarily from the B.C. government, which should be looking out for the public interest instead of blindly championing the industry.
Let's take a look:
Webmaster's comment: Go to the story linked above to read the details.
- 100,000 jobs!
- Debt-free B.C. (aka $100 billion Prosperity Fund)!
- Over 150 years of gas supply!
- Water impacts will be minimal
- LNG will reduce global greenhouse gas emissions
While some First Nations tentatively support project, Lax Kw'alaams has been protesting site for 70 days
Petronas' controversial Pacific Northwest LNG project on Lelu Island has several North Coast First Nations at an impasse.
For the past 70 days, members of the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation have camped on the liquefied natural gas site to prevent further research, but leaders of the Metlakatla, Kitsumkalum, Kitselas and Gitxaala First Nations want the research work to continue.
Lax Kw'alaams Hereditary Chief Donald Wesley says it doesn't matter whether other First Nations want the project to go forward or not.
Wesley says Lelu Island is his First Nation's traditional territory, and their opposition means the project can't go ahead. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
He says his First Nation has reached out to the Prime Minister's Office to have the project stopped, and wouldn't comment on how long his people would stay on Lelu Island to try to stop the work.
Trust in the public participation process, and transparency during decision making, are crucial to citizen mobilization.
While reviewing and siting liquefied natural gas projects, local officials and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should work to cooperate better with communities where energy companies wish to break ground, according to the recommendations of two graduate students from Oregon State University’s School of Public Policy.
Decision-makers, they said, should communicate earlier and more regularly with citizens, and work to educate them on the rules of public participation in the LNG siting process.
With funding from the Oregon Sea Grant, Tran and Gaustad studied the Oregon LNG project proposed for Warrenton and Jordan Cove LNG project proposed for Coos Bay, both of which are wading through the FERC approval process.
Webmaster's comment: The researchers are correct, but FERC is unlikely to change without major civilian efforts to change how FERC operates.
The commission does not require an energy company to own the proposed project site when the application is filed.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is well aware that the land on Warrenton’s Skipanon Peninsula where Oregon LNG wants to build a liquefied natural gas facility is the subject of a property dispute between the company and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Property disputes lie outside the commission’s expertise and jurisdiction, the letter states. And, in any case, the commission does not require that an applicant, like Oregon LNG, own the project site when the application is filed.
Webmaster's comment: Even Maine requires applicants to have and maintain TRI (Title, Right, or Interest) in the project site for permitting to take place and continue. To paraphrase Chales Dickens, "FERC is a ass."
Guam - The Public Utilities Commission has disapproved the use of Liquefied Natural Gas, however one member of the CCU doesn't think it will affect future plans.
GPA’s plan to build combined cycle plants received some clarity at last week's PUC meeting, but it also received a minor blow, as the commission disapproved GPA’s request to burn liquefied natural gas. LNG has met criticism world wide as fracking, a popular method for obtaining LNG, has been criticized for its alleged negative environmental impacts.
"The U.S. EPA requirements to clean our emissions, haven’t gone away just because Cabras 3&4 had the issue, so whatever we use to solve and replace Cabras 3&4 has to meet clean air requirements," said Sanchez. "Sooner or later, in fact sooner, [the] U.S. EPA is coming back to us and saying how are you going to clean the emissions? Our collective answer has to answer those questions."
Canadian prime minister puts environment near top of priority list.
OTTAWA, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- During challenging times, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the nation's economy and job growth would revive on the back of cleaner energy.
"We [are] committed to fighting climate change and protecting our environment," he said in an open letter to the Canadian people.
Trudeau said in a letter to lawmakers that strong support for education and the environment will be the pillars of the nation's economy. "Real and immediate challenges," he said, are present in forms ranging from a struggling middle class to the threat of climate change. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: Let's hope that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau follows through, and that his government puts a regulation in place prohibiting LNG transits into Passamaquoddy Bay — something former PM Stephen Harper's government refused to do.
U.S. Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders on Wednesday unveiled a climate-change bill that would crack down on fossil fuel extraction, a move sure to please activists who want party front-runner Hillary Clinton to make the same commitment.
Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, wants to halt new leases for fossil fuel extraction on public lands and for offshore drilling in the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico. He would prohibit drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic Ocean.
The bill, which Sanders introduced with a fellow Democrat, U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, will face fierce opposition in the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress and is unlikely to become law.
But it should help Sanders appeal to environmental activists and could pressure Clinton, who has said that abruptly halting extraction on federal lands would disrupt the U.S. economy. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
"America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change, " Obama said in remarks from the White House.
"Stopping the Keystone XL pipeline is a victory for the planet, for the health and well-being of the communities along the pipeline route", said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune.…
Environmentalists had sought to block construction of the pipeline because it would have provided a conduit for petroleum extracted from the Canadian oil sands. Unfortunately, the use of highly pressurized water to force natural gas and crude oil out of deeply buried shale carries its own environmental risks.
LNG supplies are set to boom over the next 3 years.
The IEA’s 2015 World Energy Outlook expects LNG export capacity to grow rapidly in the short-term, with major new sources of supply coming mostly from Australia and the United States. Indeed, this first wave of new LNG capacity is already under construction and many projects are nearing completion.
…LNG prices have collapsed, in part because of the plummeting value of crude oil. But also because demand is not turning out to be quite as strong as previously anticipated.
Take Japan, for instance. Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), a utility and a major purchaser of LNG in Japan, has actually begun importing less LNG on the spot market and for short-term contracts, with imports down by a third for the period of April to September. Plummeting spot purchases helps to explain why spot prices for the Japan-Korea Marker (JKM), a benchmark for LNG in East Asia, have crashed over the past year. Prices have fallen below $7 per million Btu (MMBtu) recently, down from a peak of $20/MMBtu in early 2014. Spot prices are down more than 10 percent from September.
China is expected to be the source of future LNG growth, so a lot of the planned export capacity has been financed with an eye towards shipping LNG to China. But China’s imports of LNG are also down by 3.5 percent this year. China’s PetroChina and Cnooc recently resold some of the shipments that they received; early signs of a brewing glut in supply. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Xcel Energy Inc., the biggest U.S. provider of wind power, expects long-term contracts for the technology to beat the cost of natural gas, another sign of the rapid transformation of the power market.
Xcel, the Minneapolis-based utility that serves eight states, is receiving bids for 20-year power purchase agreements at about $25 a MWh for wind energy, Chief Executive Officer Ben Fowke said in an interview Friday at Bloomberg News headquarters in New York.
While gas prices are close to historic lows, he doesn’t see them remaining there forever, and Xcel expects prices for electricity from the fossil fuel to be closer to $32 a MWh over the same period. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Future natural gas pipeline expansions and LNG export projects could have trouble getting off the ground as a slip in production and uncertain demand for gas in power generation and exports scrub off the thrust behind some of these projects, industry observers said.
Gas production has been a "powerful spur" to pipeline projects, but production is slowing, and producers are watching costs, giving them little incentive to put money toward transportation capacity. Piper said pipelines companies are already starting to see this.
When asked why he was skeptical about the vitality of power generation as a source of demand for gas, when gas is cheap and clean enough to use in at least the first stages of the U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan, Piper explained that "a few countertrends" are driving caution around growth of gas in the generation. "Ultimately, the data may come in to allow us to abandon that caution. But renewable energy is growing at a fairly rapid pace: 32 states have a mandatory [renewable portfolio standard] that is quite aggressive, and we are seeing that technology mature and indeed take a lot of that market share of demand growth," he said. "Demand growth itself, as a result of conservation and demand-side management and lower GDP growth post financial crisis, is really taking the wind out of the sails of generation demand growth that natural gas can accommodate." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
The steady collapse of international natural gas prices has been one of the most important -- but least reported -- commodities stories of the past year.
And news late last week shows things in this market are likely going to get worse before they get better.
That development came in Japan -- the world's most critical market when it comes to consumption of liquefied natural gas (LNG), with one of the country's biggest users reporting that its demand for natgas is falling faster than anyone anticipated.
The really interesting line in the data was Tepco's LNG purchases in the spot market, which have been almost non-existent this year -- falling to just 130,000 tonnes during the April to September period, down 90 percent from the 1.28 million tonnes the utility bought on spot during the same period of 2014. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: Downeast LNG apparently does not read OilPrice.com (or any of the other LNG market news), or its investors would already know that their industry's market is in the toilet. Instead, they've asked FERC for a 4-month permitting abeyance so they can study the LNG market. They are painfully slow readers.
2015 November 12
A bunch of LNG export facilities are planned all around the country. The Department of Energy list includes 51 projects either under construction or at some permitting stage. One of those is the planned $1.5 billion expansion of Savannah's own Kinder Morgan-owned terminal on Elba Island, which intends to reverse its current processes to allow the liquefaction and export of natural gas. (Elba is listed as "Southern LNG Company" on the DOE list, reflecting the name of the Kinder Morgan company that opertes it.) This turnaround in the LNG business, which for years was about import to four U.S. facilities, including Elba, is linked to the boom in domestic production from fracking. But natural gas prices, like oil, are way down.
So it was interesting to read that backers of one project, the Downeast LNG facility in Maine, have asked federal regulators for a time out on their export project.… [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: It is not only market forces that has stalled Downeast LNG. It is also the impracticality of the project that never made sense, its ill siting, its late timing, and the probability that the venture-capital investors have exhausted the pile of money they had dedicated to the proposal, without success. The money is gone, so DeLNG president and developer Dean Girdis is likely frantically scrambling around the country trying to convince some other more-money-than-brains venture capitalist to throw away their money on the Downeast LNG boondoggle.
A proposed project to build an offshore liquified natural gas port 24 miles off the coast of Long Branch has been vetoed by NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
In announcing his decision early Thursday afternoon at the Long Beach Recreation Center, Cuomo called Long Island's beaches a "sensitive jewel", and spoke of al-Qaida threatening to target LNG facilities and seeing superstorm Sandy damage a few facilities that were supposed to stand 100-year storms. "The reward was not worth the risk".
A similar project was vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie in 2011 due to environmental concerns.
The governor's veto puts an end to the ill-conceived Port Ambrose project. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
(Long Island, NY) U.S. Representative Kathleen Rice released the following statement today in response to Governor Cuomo’s announcement that he has vetoed the proposed Port Ambrose liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal.
“The Governor’s decision to veto the Port Ambrose proposal is a victory for all the people in our communities who spoke up and made it clear that this project does not reflect our priorities,” said Representative Kathleen Rice. “Our priorities are to protect our environment and natural resources, to continue recovering from superstorm Sandy, and to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels by investing in clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar power. That’s why, in the wake of this decision, we need to use our grassroots momentum to make offshore wind development a reality on Long Island. Capturing offshore wind won’t just generate a lot of clean energy – it’ll create a lot of good jobs and new economic opportunities. It’s time to seize that opportunity and capitalize on our potential to lead the transition to a cleaner, greener economy.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Cheniere Energy's landmark Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas export plant in Louisiana will receive its first tanker for loading on Jan. 12, according to ship tracking data and a source with knowledge of the plant's operations.
The Energy Atlantic LNG tanker, which was last seen on Thomson Reuters ship tracking data on Monday steaming west across the Indian Ocean, is the first in a string of test cargoes that will be loaded before commercial operations begin later in the year.
The first export shipment represents a turnaround for Cheniere, which in 2008 built an import terminal at the same site in Sabine Pass which was quickly rendered obsolete by the rise in U.S. production.
Unprecedented opposition has been mobilised calling for new Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau to reject the Petronas Pacific Northwest (PNW) liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant proposed for Lelu Island and Flora Bank in Canada.
The open letter by Lax Kw’alaams hereditary chief Yahaan (Donnie Wesley) to Trudeau, supported by various groups made up of Northern British Columbia indigenous leaders, scientists and environmental organisations also demanded for Trudeau to cancel test-drilling at the site.
"The urgent letter from hereditary chief Yahaan states that 'PNW LNG is poised to cause irreparable damage to the second largest wild salmon run in Canada, and is a potential catastrophe for the fisheries economy thousands of people depend on'.
"Scathing new findings released in October by the Skeena Fisheries Commission and Simon Fraser University concluded that the updated PNW LNG proposal 'disregards science' and 'poses significant and unacceptable risks to Skeena Salmon and their fisheries'," Lax Kw'alaams added.
In May, Lax Kw’alaams unanimously turned down a US$1 billion RM(4.3 billion) offer from Petronas for permission to build PNW LNG on Lelu Island.
The First Nation that became known last May for turning down a copy billion offer to site a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on their territory has been joined by 70 indigenous leaders, scientists, environmental organizations and other groups asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to reject a project whose test drilling is under way.
Since the 1970s, industry has attempted to site a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal on Lelu Island and Flora Bank, key salmon-spawning habitat off British Columbia and home to more than a dozen First Nations. With Trudeau in office, those opposing the most recent proposal, which had been moving forward under the administration of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, are speaking out in hopes of gaining an ear.
“This is the first time that such widespread and unprecedented agreement has been reached in B.C. on LNG,” said Greg Horne of the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition in the groups’ statement. “From every corner of the province, we are all in agreement that Lelu Island and Flora Banks is the worst possible spot on the north coast to site an LNG facility.”
B.C. has to let the LNG pipedream go, says environmental lawyer David Richard Boyd
Canada has won the Fossil Award year after year for its inaction on climate change, but an environmental lawyer in B.C. believes provinces and cities can help Canada redeem itself as an environmental leader again.
Especially since Canada's premiers have taken up Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's invitation to December's climate change summit in Paris.
"There was a time when B.C. could claim to be a global leader, but we need to re-up our game here," said Boyd, who has previously advised federal and civic leaders on climate change.
Boyd believes the province is moving in the wrong direction with its liquefied natural gas plans.
Liquefied natural gas was supposed to be flowing like liquid gold in B.C. by now, according to Premier Christy Clark’s original get-rich timeline.
During the recent federal election, Trudeau promised to “restore credibility” to environmental-impact reviews of major projects like LNG plants. The government’s environmental policies, the Liberals said, would be reviewed “in full partnership and consultation with First Nations.”
Trudeau also said more “proper science” would be required before any expansion of fracking, the controversial natural-gas drilling method crucial to the LNG sector. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
The future of the Malahat LNG project could be on shaky ground after the First Nation elected a new chief with a markedly different attitude toward the proposed plant.
…Caroline Harry, who was elected chief earlier this week, posted criticisms of the proposal on her Facebook page shortly before she was elected.
“When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money,” she wrote. “Power of money creates greed. End it before it ends us. #Team #No #LNG.”
Utilizing liquefied natural gas as an alternative to oil for the state's fuel supply, coupled with cost-effective renewable energy sources, offers Hawaii the best hedge against rising costs and volatility, the former head of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission said.
“That’s why I think the LNG debate is very important, because even though we’re looking at low oil prices now, it’s still something that is very volatile,” Morita, who headed the PUC for about four years before Randy Iwase, the current chairman, took over. “Everything I see, LNG, coupled with cost-effective renewables, offer our best hedge against rising cost and volatility. That’s from careful analysis from a variety of parties, so it’s not something we can just put on the wayside.”
Hawaii Gov. David Ige, at an energy conference in Honolulu earlier this year, said that he has reached a conclusion that Hawaii does not need LNG in its future, and that the focus should be on renewable energy projects. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: Ms. Morita — former chair of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission — somehow is not aware of wild natural gas price fluctuations that have occurred in the past decade.
2015 November 6
A bunch of LNG export facilities are planned all around the country. The Department of Energy list includes 51 projects either under construction or at some permitting stage. One of those is the planned $1.5 billion expansion of Savannah's own Kinder Morgan-owned terminal on Elba Island, which intends to reverse its current processes to allow the liquefaction and export of natural gas. (Elba is listed as "Southern LNG Company" on the DOE list, reflecting the name of the Kinder Morgan company that opertes it.) This turnaround in the LNG business, which for years was about import to four U.S. facilities, including Elba, is linked to the boom in domestic production from fracking. But natural gas prices, like oil, are way down. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
So it was interesting to read that backers of one project, the Downeast LNG facility in Maine, have asked federal regulators for a time out on their export project.… [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Downeast LNG, that is proposing to build an LNG export terminal in Robbinston, Maine, filed a request with FERC to hold [suspend] the pre-filing review proceedings.
…[A]ccording to Downeast LNG’s filing to the commission, the company requested a hold of the review until February 29, 2016 “while Downeast LNG and its investors undertake an economic analysis of current market conditions and the associated impact on the proposed Downeast LNG project.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: Downeast LNG and its investors have actually begun to pay attention to the natural gas and LNG market. Imagine that.
SAINT JOHN, N.B. – Canaport LNG LP has pleaded guilty to two charges in connection with the death of about 7,500 birds that flew into a burning flare at a gas [LNG import terminal] facility in New Brunswick.
A provincial court judge ordered the company to pay $750,000, which will be distributed to numerous environmental and wildlife organizations.
The company was originally charged with three violations in October 2014 but one of the charges was dropped today.
Charges against two other companies – Irving Canaport GP and Repsol Canada – have also been dropped. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
EATONTOWN — The final showdown on a proposed liquefied natural gas facility off the coast of New Jersey kicked off Wednesday night with proponents touting the safety and need for a project that opponents insist poses a serious threat to the state's environment and economy.
Wednesday night's four-hour hearing, preceded by a 90-minute open-house, was the first of two opportunities the public has to comment on the controversial project before a federal agency decides whether to approve or veto the application by Liberty LLC.
Speaker after speaker at Wednesday night's public hearing at the Sheraton hotel in Eatontown had virtually the same same messages for MARAD officials. They said the abundant supply of natural gas in the United States negates the need for importing the fuel and they expressed concerns over the potential for an environmental disaster.
Fishing advocates like John Toth, who represents the Jersey Coast Anglers Association, said 20 miles of marine habitat would be destroyed with the dredging of the ocean floor to install the pipeline for the terminal. Fishing vessels would be prohibited from the area once the terminal is built.
EATONTOWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Opponents of a proposed terminal for liquefied natural gas imports off the New Jersey and New York coasts blasted the plan Wednesday as a dirty, dangerous boondoggle.
The plan, which calls for ships to tether to a docking station and pump the gas into an underwater pipe to bring it ashore, can be vetoed by the governor of either state. The United States Maritime Administration will make a final decision following this week’s public hearings in New York and New Jersey, though the timing of the decision remains unclear.
“The area that they are proposing to use is important fishing grounds for fluke and squid,” added Capt. James Lovgren of the Fisherman’s Dock Co-Op in Point Pleasant Beach. “Generations of fishermen have been working these areas for 300 years. Putting an LNG terminal on traditional fishing is taking money out of fishermen’s wallets and into the pockets of a greedy gas company.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a previous version of the proposal in 2011, and opponents want him to do so again. The governor, a Republican presidential candidate, has not said whether he will. But in a 2011 speech, Christie said, “My opposition to this will continue for as long as I’m governor.”
It was the third quarter of this week’s Monday Night Football matchup between the struggling Indianapolis Colts and the undefeated Carolina Panthers, who were playing before a hometown crowd of 70,000. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was about to engineer a startling comeback to force the game into overtime, but most eyes were probably turned away from the action on the field.
Two activists had managed to smuggle climbing gear through security and were now rappelling from the upper deck of Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, BofA's home town.
In front of tens of thousands of football fans in attendance and a live national TV audience, the protesters unfurled a banner reading “BoA: Dump Dominion, WeAreCovePoint.org.” According to sports blog Deadspin, the banner drop was aired live on ESPN.
The protest was organized by We Are Cove Point, a group that opposes Dominion’s liquefied natural gas export facility planned for Cove Point, Maryland.
Ever since a handful of liquefied natural gas companies began the lengthy process of obtaining the various permits necessary to build LNG plants along the shores of the Brownsville Ship Channel and just a stone’s throw from nearby communities, two distinct groups developed both for and against the construction of these plants. The question is, “Since the vast majority of the local cities, communities, businesses and residents have voiced their opposition to having LNG plants in their backyards, but will that be enough?”
Recently, the Board of Directors of Long Island Village unanimously voted to join the cities of Laguna Vista, Port Isabel, South Padre Island, the Port Isabel School District and the Laguna Madre Water District in opposing LNG plants being constructed anywhere close to the Brownsville Ship Channel. LIV, which is a private and thriving community of 1024 tax paying households is located less than 2 miles away from the proposed LNG plants and cited that these plants would negatively impact their way of life and greatly reduce property values.
With the security parameter enforced that would restrict navigation of recreational boaters, fishermen, dolphin watch and charter fishing boats and tour boats from just south of the Queen Isabella Causeway, to Mexiquita Flats, South Bay, the Cameron County Isla Blanca boat ramp on SPI, the Brownsville Ship Channel and outward to the SPI jetties. These areas could become “off limits” possibly 24 hours a day which is enraging local boaters!
New LNG in Australia, U.S. push market further into oversupply
Liquefied natural gas is cheap, and according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. it’s only going to get cheaper.
A wave of new supply from Australia to the U.S. is deepening a glut of the fuel, raising the risk of losses for exporters and prompting some buyers to look at breaking contracts with suppliers, according to the Wall Street bank, which cut its forecast for prices in Asia next year by 13 percent. LNG will probably drop a further 23 percent by 2018, Goldman said.
The U.S. is set to start exports in January amid a flood of projects globally that Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. estimated will lead to the largest annual increase in capacity in history. Prices have fallen more than 60 percent since a peak in February of 2014 and Goldman expects them to weaken further as buyers seek to divert contracted supply or renegotiate contracts.
“The market outlook has changed significantly,” according to the Goldman report. “As rising supply pushes prices down towards marginal cost, some producers may struggle to earn a return on investment and the industry will likely face a growing number of asset impairments.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: But Downeast LNG says it needs to examine the market to determine if its import-export project makes economic sense. Hello? Can Dean Girdis read the news? Downeast LNG never made economic sense.
While suppliers usually restrict the places to which the supercooled fuel can be delivered and don't allow buyers to re-sell cargoes, US LNG is free from such destination clauses, according to an official at a unit of Japan's Tokyo Gas Co. What's more, the cost of most American shipments will be linked to the natural gas benchmark at Henry Hub, Louisiana, potentially making them cheaper than deliveries tied to crude prices, according to Cheniere Energy Inc, the company scheduled to ship the first US cargo in January. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: The fountain of money that LNG export investors have been dreaming about has slowed to a drip.
2015 November 4
Downeast Liquefaction LLC has asked FERC to pause proceedings for its proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project in Maine while backers rethink their plans in light of "current market conditions."
"Given evolving market conditions, specifically low gas prices in Europe and spot LNG prices in Asia, coupled with a projected oversupply of LNG until 2021, Downeast LNG and its investors are evaluating the timing of Downeast LNG supply," Girdis said in an email to NGI. "We believe our terminal is well positioned to monetize trapped and undervalued Northeast Pennsylvania Marcellus gas reserves once LNG supply and demand rebalances."
The group Save Passamaquoddy Bay, a longtime opponent of Downeast, said on its website, "Dean Girdis and company have finally awoken to being perpetually behind the market curve." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Right now, a concrete conflict between clean power and dirty power is playing out in the coastal waters off Long Island's South Shore. At public hearings on November 2nd and 3rd, New Yorkers will be weighing in on whether a developer of offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities, Liberty Natural Gas, should be allowed to build an offshore LNG terminal, called the Port Ambrose project, in the same area proposed for an offshore wind power project. For NRDC, the answer is clear: When there's a conflict between clean energy and dirty fossil fuels, clean energy should always prevail. Not only would the offshore wind power project eventually generate enough clean electricity to power 125,000 homes, and create more than 2,000 good jobs, it would improve grid reliability in the overstressed New York-Long Island area, because offshore wind power projects generate the most electricity when we need it most: on cold winter days and hot summer afternoons.
Fortunately, under the governing federal law, the State of New York has the power to veto the Port Ambrose project. New York should use that power to reject the Port Ambrose project because it would foreclose forward movement on what is likely to be New York's first offshore wind power project. (For more on why these two projects aren't compatible uses, click here.) Further, the Port Ambrose project would make meeting New York's ambitious climate goals and its forward-looking clean energy plans all that much more difficult to accomplish. New Jersey also has veto power over the project, and should use that power too. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
FERC has issued an order approving Dominion Cove Point LNG’s request to proceed with construction of the heavy hydrocarbons removal unit structural steel at the LNG export terminal under construction at Lusby, Md. Also, the Calvert Recorder reports that “the largest piece of equipment” for the facility, the main cryogenic heat exchanger, which is half the length of a football field, arrived for installation recently.
At the end of this year, Cheniere Energy is set to have natural gas cooling into a liquid at its Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana.
And by January, 2016, that supply is slated to start going out into the world.
…Under the contract with Engie, Cheniere will send around 12 shipments of LNG per year for the next five years. These will come from the company's Corpus Christi, Texas terminal.
And Cheniere has yet another French contract in line with Electricite de France SA for as many as 50 LNG shipments between this January and the end of 2018.
Corpus Christi Liquefaction, LLC, a subsidiary of Cheniere Energy, Inc., has filed a report with FERC covering construction activities through September 2015 at its liquefaction facility and LNG export terminal at Corpus Christi, Texas. The report states that engineering has progressed to 82.0%, procurement has progressed to 32%, and Bechtel’s construction has progressed to 0.4%. The total project has progressed to 22.8.% complete against a planned 17.8%.
Tennessee Gas Pipeline (Tennessee) has filed an application with FERC to construct pipeline facilities to provide 295,000 Dth/day of incremental firm transportation capacity for Mitsubishi Corporation and MMGS, Inc., southward on Tennessee’s 800 Line to an existing point of interconnection with Cameron Interstate Pipeline, LLC, for subsequent delivery to Cameron LNG’s liquefaction and LNG export terminal under construction in Cameron Parish, La.
KTUU reports that TransCanada representative Vincent Lee told Alaska state legislators last week that his company supports Alaska’s buyout of TransCanada’s share of the Alaska LNG Project because the project “is no longer commercially reasonable” as currently structured. The legislature has been meeting to discuss the state’s possible buyout of TransCanada in the Alaska LNG Project, which comprises an 800-mile pipeline to access North Slope gas supplies and a liquefaction and LNG export terminal. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
In August Tsleil-Waututh warned approval would be a 'legal error,' but it's unclear what happened next.
A two-month-old letter from a First Nation that said granting an environmental assessment certificate to Woodfibre LNG would be a "legal error" was finally published after the BC Liberal government gave approval in principle to the project on Oct. 26. But it's unclear whether the First Nation's concerns were ever addressed.
"At this moment, the (Environmental Assessment Office's) assessment of the project is legally deficient, and B.C. has failed to discharge its legal and constitutional duty to consult and accommodate the Tsleil-Waututh Nation," said the 15-page letter, signed by Treaty, Lands and Resources director Ernie George, and published on the office's website.
"It would therefore be a legal error for you to issue an (environmental assessment) certificate for the project now. Doing so could jeopardize the regulatory approvals process for the project, and ultimately the project itself."
The Globe and Mail reports that the British Columbia (B.C.) Oil and Gas Commission has granted approval to TransCanada to construct and operate the C$5 billion, 900 kilometer Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline, which would provide access to Montney gas supplies for the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG (PNWLNG) export terminal on Lelu Island, near Prince Rupert, B.C. The PNWLNG terminal is majority sponsored by Malaysian state oil company Petronas. According to the press release, the pipeline must still receive federal approval from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
The British Columbia (B.C.) Environmental Assessment Office has issued an environmental assessment certificate approving Woodfibre LNG’s proposed liquefaction and export terminal near Squamish, B.C. According to The Vancouver Sun article, the facility “still requires federal environmental approval and it could be the first test of the incoming Liberal government’s approach to energy exports from the west coast.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
FERC has released a letter from Chairman Norman Bay in response to questions posed by Oregon Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici and Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkly regarding the land rights dispute over the proposed the Oregon LNG project site in Warrenton, Ore. The letter asserts, among other things, that:
- Holders of Section 3 authorizations for LNG facilities do not have the right of eminent domain and therefore must obtain the necessary rights for the site on which they intend to build.
- Disputes over the legal ownership of property are matters of law outside FERC’s expertise and jurisdiction and are matters for a court to decide.
- FERC’s regulations do not require that an applicant hold clear title to a project site at the time an application is filed, and it is FERC’s policy to continue processing an application as long as there is the possibility of future resolution to any site access issue. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: FERC wastes taxpayers' money vetting projects that do not hold clear rights to use their proposed project site.
Pacific Business News reports that Macquarie Infrastructure Company indicated in its third quarter earnings report that its subsidiary Hawaii Gas plans to award a contract by the end of 2015 for the development of an offshore floating LNG storage facility to supply various end users on the islands. The article indicates that Hawaii Gas expects to begin LNG shipments at the beginning of 2019.
Webmaster's comment: The proposed facility may not fall under FERC's definition of a "terminal."