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


News Articles
Passamaquoddy Bay & LNG

2016 February

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2016 Feb

New Brunswick


Gulf of Mexico

British Columbia


Nova Scotia


British Columbia


East Coast US & Canada

Nova Scotia

New Brunswick

New England


Gulf of Mexico

British Columbia

United States



New England


Gulf of Mexico


British Columbia



United States



2016 February 24

New Brunswick

Enbridge Gas pays to keep customers from switching to propane — CBC News

Commercial natural gas accounts lured by propane retailers offering lower price, distribution cost

David Salesse has spent much of the last year encouraging commercial customers in Saint John to switch their heating systems from natural gas to propane.

But he said the conversion costs are so low and the savings so high it hasn't taken a lot of arm twisting.

That's been a problem for Enbridge Gas New Brunswick, which has had to start offering money to some commercial customers to keep them from fleeing to Salesse and other propane retailers.

"They're paying people not to switch over. They're in panic mode. They're trying to do what ever it takes to stay in business," said Salesse.

Enbridge said as an example, a customer who currently uses 400 gigajoules of natural gas a year and is offered propane for 40 cents per litre to switch, could be paid $3,000 to stay with natural gas. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: The natural gas market is upside down in all kinds of ways.


Ruling upholds Dominion Cove Point approval (Feb 23) — SoMdNews, MD

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals upheld the approval of the $3.8 billion liquefied natural gas export project at Dominion Cove Point in Lusby with a ruling made Feb. 16.

Sean Canavan, the AMP council’s attorney, said the council will be appealing the decision in the Maryland Court of Appeals, as he believes the PCS’s issue of the Certificate of Public Necessity is illegal.

Gulf of Mexico

First LNG commissioning cargo is loading and will depart from the Sabine Pass LNG terminal imminently [Press release] — Blackbird PR News

Cheniere Energy Partners, L.P. (“Cheniere Partners”) (NYSE MKT: CQP) announced that the first commissioning cargo with liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) produced from the first liquefaction train (“Train 1”) of its Sabine Pass liquefaction project in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, will depart imminently. The LNG is loading on the LNG carrier Asia Vision, chartered by Cheniere Marketing, LLC and will be heading to Brazil.

Cheniere Partners, through its subsidiary, Sabine Pass Liquefaction, LLC (“SPL”), is developing and constructing natural gas liquefaction facilities at the Sabine Pass LNG terminal adjacent to the existing regasification facilities. Cheniere Partners, through SPL, plans to construct over time up to six liquefaction trains, which are in various stages of construction and development. Each liquefaction train is expected to have a nominal production capacity of approximately 4.5 million tonnes per annum (“mtpa”) of LNG. SPL has entered into six third-party LNG sale and purchase agreements (“SPAs”) that in the aggregate equate to approximately 19.75 mtpa of LNG and commence with the date of first commercial delivery of Trains 1 through 5 as specified in the respective SPAs. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

British Columbia

Canadians Only
Add your name to this letter to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency — My Sea To Sky, Howe Sound, BC

To: The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

I oppose the Woodfibre LNG Project in Howe Sound due to increased GHG emissions that will create a significant adverse environmental impact.

Nikiforuk speaks on LNG, fracking — Alberni Valley News, Port Alberni, BC

The province of B.C. could do well to look at Alberta before leaping too far into liquefied natural gas, according to journalist and author of Slick Water: Fracking and One Insider’s Stand Against the World’s Most Powerful Industry, Andrew Nikiforuk.

“We’ve had a global glut of LNG compounded by a significant drop in demand in Asian markets, particularly in japan, south Korea and China which means that the LNG markets are going to be pretty volatile for probably the next decade and to tie your fortunes to an industry like that is probably not a prident thing to do,” he said in a telephone interview.

“B.C. has not learned the lesson and it has repeated all the same mistakes,” he said.

Nikiforuk will be presenting “The Reality of LNG: Fracking, earthquakes and fractured economies” at Echo Centre on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. Admission is by a suggested donation of $10. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

LNG public meeting on Saturday — The Squamish Chief, Squamish, BC

Member of Parliament Pam Goldsmith-Jones will be in Squamish Saturday (Feb. 27) to hear local people’s views on the proposed Woodfibre LNG project. She is hosting three public meetings in her West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country riding to gather feedback on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency analysis of expected upstream greenhouse gas emissions.

The Squamish meeting will be at the Eagle Eye Theatre in Howe Sound Secondary School from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

B.C. website for LNG job opportunities lacks jobs (Feb 23) — CBC News

Not a single job on offer on glossy website meant to connect businesses and workers to LNG jobs

It's an LNG opportunities website with no opportunities.

The B.C. NDP says the government has spent more than a million dollars to launch the LNG-Buy BC campaign and website with nothing to show for it.

The website was created at a cost of over $850,000, and former politician Gordon Wilson was appointed LNG-Buy BC Advocate at an annual salary of $150,000. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

NEBCRM Coalition announces support of Pacific Northwest LNG —

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Following the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s call for public input on Pacific Northwest LNG last week, the Northeast BC Resource Municipalities Coalition announced today their support of the project.

Members of the Coalition include the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, City of Fort St John, District of Taylor, Dawson Creek and District Chamber of Commerce, Fort St John and District Chamber of Commerce, Energy Services BC, Northern BC Truckers Association and Senator Richard Neufeld.

LNG tankers would turn Saanich Inlet into marine desert says scientist (Feb 23) — DeSmog Canada

The spectre of a massive, floating LNG plant in environmentally fragile Saanich Inlet may seem unlikely to gain environmental approval, but the proposal must be defeated before liquefied natural gas prices increase to the point that the project becomes too tempting, worried southern Vancouver Island residents are being warned.

“It is best not to let your guard down and say the economy is not good right now,” said Eoin Finn, founder of My Sea to Sky and a retired partner in KPMG, who holds a PhD in physical chemistry.

There are currently 20 proposed LNG projects in B.C. although none have received final investment decisions. Three projects, including LNG Canada in Kitimat, Pacific Northwest LNG near Prince Rupert and Woodfibre LNG near Squamish, have advanced beyond the proposal stage but a combination of low prices, First Nations opposition and federal permitting have prevented the industry from gaining a major foothold in the province.

“The NEB seems to hand out export permits like confetti at a wedding,” Finn told capacity crowds at meetings in Esquimalt and Mill Bay.

“I don’t think we can have any confidence that, just because the project appears to be outrageous, that this government won’t look at it seriously,” [said B.C. Green Party deputy leader Adam Olsen].

Public comment for Woodfibre LNG project open until March 1 (Feb 23) — Vancouver Observer, Vancouver, BC

The federal government is opening up the floor to public commentary on the controversial Woodfibre LNG project.

The project has been hotly-debated due to the risk it may pose to local whale, dolphin, salmon, herring and shellfish populations, which have slowly been returning to Howe Sound since the closure of the Woodfibre pulp mill in 2006 and the upgrading of waste water treatment plants at the nearby Port Mellon pulp mill and Britannia Beach mine site.

Is LNG better than coal in China? (Feb 10) — The Squamish Chief, Squamish, BC

Scientist David Hughes debunks myths about energy

Earth scientist David Hughes of the Post Carbon Institute has researched the energy sector for four decades, including 32 years with the Geological Survey of Canada. Here’s what Hughes said about liquefied natural gas production and the role fossil fuels play in our future. Hughes [presented] “LNG: Debunking the Myths” at the Gleneagles Golf Club in West Vancouver on Thursday, Feb. 11 from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

On a full-cycle emissions basis, the planet would be better off if China built state-of-the-art coal plants rather than burning B.C. LNG for at least the next 50 years. It is true that at the burner tip gas produces about half the CO2 of coal. But you have to consider full cycle emissions from the wellhead to the burner tip for gas. The hydraulic fracturing process and the supply chain – pipelines, processing plants – emit considerable amounts of methane, which is 73 times as potent as CO2 on a 20-year timeframe and 25 times as potent on a 100-year time frame (because methane leaves the atmosphere more quickly than CO2). Plus, about 20 per cent of the gas must be burned to provide power for the liquefaction and shipping process.

If you compare full-cycle emissions from B.C. LNG burned in China to a state-of-the-art Chinese coal plant, which runs at 46 per cent efficiency (compared to 33 per cent efficiency for an old coal plant), B.C. LNG is 27 per cent worse than burning coal over a 20-year timeframe and seven per cent better on a 100-year timeframe. So, you’d need to wait more than 50 years until you break even, while suffering from the effects of increased greenhouse gases in the meantime. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Site C Is a climate-change disaster, says Suzuki (Feb 23) — The Tyee, Vancouver, BC

Site C is a make-work project intended to hide the failure of Premier Christy Clark's "pipe dream" of creating a liquefied natural gas industry, [said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, head of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs].

First Nation signs pipeline agreement (Feb 22) — The Prince George Citizen, Prince George, BC

This is not the traditional territory of the Nadleh Whut'en First Nation, but a large contingent of their people came to Prince George this past week to sign an agreement for a pipeline to pass through their historic lands.

The Nadleh Whut'en are from the region surrounding Fraser Lake. Their historic territory extends halfway down Francois Lake and touches Uncha Lake to the west, the Braeside and McCall communities to the east, to Knewstubb Lake at its southern end and Babine Lake to its northern end. On Highway 16, The Nadleh Whut'en land stretches between the rural communities of Engen and Savory, taking in the villages of Fort Fraser, Fraser Lake and Endako along the way.

More than 20 First Nations along the proposed Coastal GasLink route must sign on for there to be full indigenous license to proceed.


2016 February 23

Nova Scotia

United States: U.S. DOE disclaims jurisdiction over Canadian gas and authorizes LNG exports to non-FTA Nations from Bear Head LNG project (Feb 15) — Mondaq

The Bear Head LNG proceedings presented legal issues of first impression4 and "an unusual factual circumstance,"5 as DOE/FE stated.† Certainly, as discussed below, DOE/FE's legal determinations in the Bear Head LNG proceedings were significant.6† However, the legal significance of the Bear Head LNG Orders is dwarfed by the political implications of DOE/FE's announced policies of (i) adopting a laissez-faire approach to applications for Canadian gas in-transit through the U.S., and (ii) giving the green light to natural gas exports of U.S. natural gas to Canada for liquefaction and export to non-FTA nations.

Specifically, DOE/FE was called upon to determine which of the two legal standards found in Section†3 of the NGA (i.e., FTA or non-FTA) properly applied to Bear Head LNG's applications filed for the purpose of securing gas supply for the Bear Head LNG project.† For diversity of supply, Bear Head LNG sought authorizations for in-transit shipments of Canadian natural gas, as well as pipeline exports of U.S. natural gas to Canada.† As described in Bear Head LNG's applications, LNG produced at the project is intended for export to FTA and non-FTA nations. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Footnote 15 incredibly states that US natural gas exported to Canada does not have an environmental impact on the US (see citation below). Natural gas mined in the US, shipped by pipeline through the US to Canada and through Canada, with leaks along the way in both countries, with emissions from pipeline compressor stations in both countries, and with emissions and leaks at the liquefaction facilities in Canada, certainly do impact the US public. The US Department of Energy made a flawed decision.

In denying a motion filed by Pieridae Energy (USA) Ltd., DOE/FE affirmed well-established NEPA precedent.† DOE/FE stated, "we must deny Pieridae US's Motion to Lodge because the Goldboro Project, to be located in Nova Scotia, Canada, is outside the scope of our environmental review under NEPA in this proceeding, which necessarily focuses on potential environmental impacts within the United States." †See Pieridae Energy (USA) Ltd., DOE/FE Order No.†3768 at 190. [Bold emphasis added.]

LNG projects progressing in Nova Scotia, while B.C. faces delays (Feb 10) — Financial Post, Don Mills, ON

CALGARY – The first liquefied natural gas project in Canada may be built on the East Coast, not the West Coast.

While multiple projects in British Columbia have been delayed, the backers of two LNG projects in Nova Scotia say they are still on pace to sanction their multi-billion-dollar facilities this year.

“We are still targeting a final investment decision at the end of the third quarter 2016,” said Mark Brown, director of project development for Halifax-based Pieridae Energy Ltd., which plans to build the $5 billion-to $10 billion Goldboro LNG plant on the east coast of the province at Goldboro.

Brown said that permit was the last major regulatory approval the project needed from national governments, and the company was applying for a construction permit from the Nova Scotia government before it sanctions the project.

Like Goldboro, LNG Ltd.’s Bear Head LNG project – located further north at Point Tupper in Cape Breton – announced last week it had also received permits to export U.S.-sourced gas to non-free-trade agreement countries.

Mott said his Perth, Australia-based company is currently negotiating with a pipeline operator in the U.S. for capacity to import that natural gas into Nova Scotia and for subsequent export to markets around the world. The company is also trying to lock-up contracts with utility companies overseas to buy the LNG after it is processed.


Gallery: Dominion Cove Point LNG export project progresses (Feb 22) — LNG World

Dominion revealed that the construction on its Cove Point liquefaction project in Calvert County, Maryland is 24 percent complete.

British Columbia

LNG a ‘giant experiment’ Valley crowd told (Feb 18) — Cowichan Valley Citizen, Duncan, BC

Dr. Eoin Finn, who holds a PhD in chemistry and an MBA, talked Tuesday about why he believes Steelhead LNG’s proposed Malahat project would endanger B.C.’s coastal environment, put the province far short of its emissions targets and provide little actual boost to the provincial economy.

“This is a giant experiment and one that you and me are powering with our tax dollars,” Finn told the capacity crowd at the Mill Bay Community League Hall. He added it is the worst business case he’s seen in 25 years of working as a partner at KPMG.

He also decried how LNG projects in the province would balloon greenhouse gas emissions, contravening emissions goals set by the previous Gordon Campbell government, as well as current federal emissions targets of the Trudeau government.

“This has the potential to ruin an entire shellfish population along the Saanich inlet. It will become a marine desert,” said Finn, detailing how a facility run on seawater would churn out the equivalent of 20 swimming pools of hypochlorite-treated water per hour per day.


2016 February 9

East Coast US & Canada

Evidence mounts that East Coast is ‘hot spot’ for rising seas (Feb 2) — (The Washington Post) Portland Press Herald, Portland, ME

Researchers conclude that at current rates, the Atlantic will rise considerably faster than the Pacific.

New research published Monday adds to a body of evidence suggesting that a warming climate may have particularly marked effects for some citizens of the country most responsible for global warming in the first place – namely, U.S. East Coasters.

Writing in Nature Geoscience, John Krasting and three colleagues from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration find that “Atlantic coastal areas may be particularly vulnerable to near-future sea-level rise from present-day high greenhouse gas emission rates.” The research adds to recent studies that have found strong warming of ocean waters in the U.S. Gulf of Maine, a phenomenon that is not only upending fisheries but could be worsening the risk of extreme weather in storms like Winter Storm Jonas.

The Gulf of Maine – which extends from Cape Cod in Massachusetts to Cape Sable at the southern tip of Nova Scotia, and includes 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 in the world’s oceans, 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.

Webmaster's comment: Fossil fuels are the culprit, including natural gas and LNG. The solution is to curb use of fossil fuels.

Nova Scotia

Canadian LNG developer Pieridae gets non-FTA export approval from the US: Notice (Feb 8) — Platts

Pieridae Energy has received approval from the US Energy Department to export natural gas to countries without a free trade agreement with the US, from a planned LNG facility in Nova Scotia in Eastern Canada, the company said Monday.

The approval was received February 5, and is required because the facility exports natural gas that orginates in the US.

Last year, the company received approval to export to countries with an FTA from the US Energy Department, along with an export license from Canada's National Energy Board to export 10 million mt/year of LNG and import up to 1.7 Bcf/d of feedstock gas for its planned Goldboro LNG project.

C.B. [Cape Breton] gas export project one step closer to reality (Feb 8) — The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, NS

Bear Head LNG plans to export through Nova Scotia to international markets

The U.S. Department of Energy has granted final authorization for Bear Head LNG Corporation and Bear Head LNG (USA), LLC to export liquefied natural gas derived from U.S.-produced natural gas to countries that do not have free-trade agreements with the U.S., Liquefied Natural Gas Limited announced Monday.

Construction is expected to begin later this year with commercial operation beginning in 2019.

The project already received Canadian regulatory approvals to begin construction as well as National Energy Board authorization to export up to 12 million tonnes per year of LNG.

“Bear Head is negotiating for gas supplies from Western and Central Canada, from offshore Nova Scotia, and from the abundant supplies available in the U.S.,” said Brand. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd (ASX:LNG) Bear Head LNG receives U.S. DOE authorization for exports [Press release] (Feb 8) — ABN Newswire

Perth, Feb 8, 2016 AEST (ABN Newswire) - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued final authorization for Bear Head LNG Corporation and Bear Head LNG (USA), LLC (together Bear Head LNG) to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) derived from U.S. produced natural gas to countries that do not have free trade agreements (FTA) with the United States. The DOE decision is a determination that these exports are not inconsistent with the U.S. public interest. This approval, in addition to DOE's prior approval for exports to FTA countries, now allows Bear Head LNG to export LNG to countries with which trade is not prohibited by U.S. law or policy.

Bear Head LNG is the first and only proposed Canadian LNG export facility to receive both the non-FTA authority from DOE and all the initial regulatory approvals to commence project construction. In addition, Bear Head's approval in less than twelve months is the fastest non-FTA LNG export approval issued by DOE to date since the initial non-FTA LNG export permit was issued.

In tandem with the non-FTA export permit, DOE determined that Bear Head LNG does not require DOE's authorization for Canadian natural gas to pass through U.S. pipelines (in transit) on its way to the export facility in Nova Scotia. Godbold said this outcome enhances Bear Head's commercial gas supply options by allowing a portion of supply requirements to come from Western and Central Canada largely using existing pipeline facilities.

The Bear Head LNG project is located on Nova Scotia's Strait of Canso near Port Hawkesbury on a site permitted and partially developed a decade ago.…

New Brunswick

Energy East pipeline rejected by aboriginal group (Feb 8) — CBC News

The proposed Energy East pipeline is being rejected by a group representing the Maliseet Nation.

The Wolastoq Grand Council held a news conference Monday to state its opposition to the proposed pipeline that would transport about 1.1 million barrels of Alberta crude oil a day through New Brunswick to Saint John.

"We are not allowing the pipeline to come through our homeland. It's not going to happen."

The Grand Council says the homeland of the Wolastoqewiyik takes in all of New Brunswick as well as parts of Maine and Quebec.

Webmaster's comment: Although this is not about LNG, it does illustrate that aboriginal rights continue to trump fossil fuel projects — as is the case with the proposed Downeast LNG terminal.

New England

Markey: Gas pipeline firms want to 'use New England as a throughway' for international export — MassLive, MA

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey lashed out at the U.S. Department of Energy for approving the export of domestic natural gas via pipeline to a Canadian shipping port on Friday, saying the move "would be a disaster for our consumers and our region" because it would link New England energy prices to international markets.

Markey said the Feb. 5 announcement regarding the Goldboro Liquefied Natural Gas Project in Nova Scotia confirms his view "that the ultimate goal of some natural gas pipeline proposals" is to "use New England as a throughway to export U.S. natural gas to Canada and ultimately to overseas markets" instead of helping residents.

The order allows for the export of 800 million cubic feet of gas per day into Canada through the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline. The gas would be metered at the Maine border. At Goldboro LNG, most of the gas would be liquefied, stored, and shipped overseas on tankers. Another portion would fuel the industrial facility itself.

The 889-mile M&N line starts at Halifax and travels south to a hub in Dracut, Massachusetts. The line, which traditionally delivered Canadian exports into the U.S., would be reversed by Spectra Energy to transport gas from the shale fields north.

In 2012 the Energy Information Administration analyzed the potential impact of natural gas exports on domestic energy consumption, production, and prices, and found that according to the DOE. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Markey: DOE approval of nat gas exports out of New England will be devastating for Region [Press release] (Feb 5) — US Sen. Ed Markey

Washington (February 5, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following response after the Department of Energy today announced they will allow the export of 0.8 billion cubic feet a day of U.S. natural gas to be exported out of New England via pipeline, to Canada, where it will then be exported to overseas nations. Today’s announcement is the first time DOE has allowed exports of U.S. natural gas to Canada via pipeline for re-export out of Canada to foreign nations. DOE’s approval would allow gas to be sent into Canada and re-exported through the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline, which currently flows from Canada down into New England. Spectra Energy has filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reverse the flow of this pipeline and expand it. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

“Today’s announcement appears to confirm my long-standing warnings that the ultimate goal of some natural gas pipeline proposals being made in New England is not to help our residents with expanded infrastructure but to use New England as a throughway to export U.S. natural gas to Canada and ultimately to overseas markets. The companies who are proposing these pipeline projects need to be fully forthcoming about the ultimate fate of the gas that would transported through these pipelines in order for these proposals to be examined in their entirety."

“I will vigorously oppose any pipeline proposals that would serve to export natural gas out of New England to overseas nations and harm our consumers.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

New England fights fracked gas pipeline (Feb 6) — Portside

In a letter submitted into the public record at the DPU, Deerfield states its Board of Health has forbidden within the town all activities of Kinder Morgan and will enforce this order. Anyone entering onto private properties, without permission from the property owners, for activities related to the proposed natural gas pipeline will be arrested for trespassing, the Select Board has warned.

Deerfield Threatens to Arrest Anyone on Private Property Without Permission in Connection With Gas Pipeline

DEERFIELD, MA — Local police will be used to protect property owners who refuse to allow Kinder Morgan pipeline surveyors or any other agency or individual onto their land with or without an order from the state Department of Public Utilities.

Kinder Morgan, which plans a natural gas pipeline through Plainfield in Hampshire County and eight Franklin County towns, including Deerfield, has asked the DPU to force property owners along the route to allow surveyors on the land.

In a letter submitted into the public record at the DPU, Deerfield states its Board of Health has forbidden within the town all activities of Kinder Morgan and will enforce this order. Anyone entering onto private properties, without permission from the property owners, for activities related to the proposed natural gas pipeline will be arrested for trespassing, the Select Board has warned.

In is filing with the DPU, the Deerfield Select Board, acting as the Board of Health, cited various violations and incidents involving Kinder Morgan pipelines across the nation over the years as reason for being fearful that the pipeline in Deerfield would be a substantial health hazard to the town’s residents. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Deerfield, Massachusetts, is showing the courage and initiative that Campobello Island Rural Municipal Council and St. Andrews Municipal Council refuse to take. They could prohibit LNG hazard zones from encroaching on zoned residential areas — but Campobello and St. Andrews governments refuse to protect their citizens from those health and safety hazards.


Environmental Assessment for the Elba Liquefaction Project (CP14-103 and CP14-115) (Feb 5) — FERC

The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) has prepared an environmental assessment (EA) for the natural gas facilities proposed by Elba Liquefaction Company, LLC (ELC), Southern LNG Company, LLC (SLNG), and Elba Express Company, LLC (EEC) (collectively referred to as “Companies”) in the above-referenced dockets. The proposed Elba Liquefaction Project and EEC Modification Project are collectively referred to as the Elba Liquefaction Project.

The FERC staff concludes that approval of the proposed Project, with appropriate mitigating measures, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. Potential impacts would be reduced with the implementation of the applicants’ proposed minimization and mitigation measures and the 81 additional measures recommended in the EA.…

Webmaster's comment: As always, FERC has once again found that an LNG project would have no adverse environmental impacts.

Gulf of Mexico

Sabine Pass LNG terminal ramps up after gas supply jump — Bloomberg Business

Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass terminal is ramping up operations of its compressors after a jump in natural gas supplies Tuesday, a signal that the plant is getting closer to liquefying the fuel for export, according to Genscape Inc.

There was also increased flaring activity from the smokestacks at the liquefaction plant, referred to as Train 1, and “when commercial liquefaction has started it is expected that flaring will be minimal unless there is an emergency or planned shutdown,” he said.

Two LNG tankers -- the Energy Atlantic and Asia Vision -- are waiting in the Gulf of Mexico to take the first cargoes, according to Genscape data. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

British Columbia

LNG: Debunking the myths (Feb 8) — (My Sea to Sky) Eventbrite

Join us on Thursday, February 11, 2016 from 6:30-9pm at the Gleneagles Golf Club in West Vancouver as we listen to the truth about LNG and what it means for British Columbians. Doors open at 6pm, folk musician Luke Wallace will kick off the evening with music from 6:30pm-7:00pm.

With over four decades of research in the energy sector including 32 years with the Geological Survey of Canada as a scientist and research manager, earth scientist David Hughes' work with the Post Carbon Institute includes a series of papers on the challenges of natural gas being a “bridge fuel” from coal to renewables and his most recent work Shale Gas Reality Check (2015) and Tight Oil Reality Check (2015). Separately from Post Carbon, Hughes authored BC LNG: A Reality Check in 2014 and A Clear View of BC LNG in 2015, which examined the issues surrounding a proposed massive scale-up of shale gas production in British Columbia for LNG export. David Hughes will be sharing his findings and uncovering a pattern of misinformation on LNG.

Marc Lee, Senior Economist and Project Director of the Climate Justice Project with the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), will discuss the purported employment estimates given by the LNG industry and how they are substantially lower than government claims.

TransCanada suspends Nova Gas Transmission Addition due to Kitimat LNG delay (Feb 5) — Natural Gas Intelligence [Paid subscription]

Work has been suspended on a C$1.9 billion ($1.4 billion) planned British Columbia (BC) addition to TransCanada Corp.’s western supply collection network, Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL) until shippers set a schedule for the long-proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project in Kitimat.

The proposed North Merrick Mainline will stay in limbo until its shippers, Chevron Canada Ltd. and Woodside Energy International Ltd., set a schedule for Kitimat LNG, NGTL told the National Energy Board (NEB).

The Kitimat LNG project, also known as KM LNG, will be 12 years old this year. Named after its seaport location, the project was the first in the long current lineup to build LNG installations on the northern Pacific Coast.

Shell delays decision on Canadian LNG project (Feb 5) — Maritime Executive

British Columbia's ambitions to become North America's next major liquefied natural gas exporter took another hit on Thursday, as Royal Dutch Shell pushed back a final investment decision (FID) on its LNG Canada project to late 2016.

The delay came as Europe's largest oil company reported its lowest annual income in over a decade and said it would take further steps to cut costs to cope with weak oil prices if needed.

LNG Canada, located on British Columbia's rugged northern coastline, is one of the frontrunners in a now slowing race to build Canada's first LNG export terminal. It has already been granted its key environmental permits.

A Petronas-led project, also in the province's north, was given a conditional FID in June 2015, but an environmental review is still underway and could be further delayed by new rules requiring reviews to consider the emissions of upstream gas production.

MP urges feds to ease customs duty for northwestern B.C. LNG project (Feb 5) — Terrace Standard, Terrace, BC

SKEENA BULKLEY NDP MP Nathan Cullen says he doesn't understand why federal customs authorities want to place a $100 million duty on a floating platform which would contain a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant planned for the Kitimat area.

The floating platform which would be moored offshore in the Douglas Channel is part of the planned Douglas Channel LNG being promoted by Calgary energy company AltaGas and partners.

…[F]ederal customs officials last year ruled the floating platform is a ship and slapped on the $100 million duty using regulations designed to encourage domestic ship building.

United States

How industry and regulators kept public in the dark after 2014 LNG explosion in Washington (Feb 8) — Sightline Institute

Lax industry oversight and incomplete reporting leave us with questions still today.

Nearly two years ago, an explosion and massive gas leak at a liquid natural gas (LNG) facility in Plymouth, Washington, thirty miles south of the Tri-Cities, injured five workers and forced hundreds of people to evacuate their homes. To this day, state and federal oversight agencies have not published the findings of their investigations into the accident, and the facts about what happened are almost completely unknown to the public.

Sightline’s research into the Plymouth LNG explosion reveals that the LNG industry is creating a false safety record, and current regulations allow the industry to do so. Though the accident released a dangerous LNG vapor cloud into residential areas, it didn’t meet the definition of “a threat to public safety,” and federal rules did not classify it as an LNG spill. Furthermore, facility owner Williams Pipeline Company (Williams) is still withholding key details about the accident.

Incomplete accounting of accidents slows safety improvements in the LNG industry and conceals critical information that could help keep first responders safe. It also makes it very difficult for local governments and the public to make informed decisions about where to permit proposed LNG facilities. Oregon and Washington are considering three LNG terminal proposals, and the events at Plymouth should inform both states’ analyses of those proposals. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Read the complete article for all its disturbing ramifications about PHMSA's willful deceptions.

EIA holds line on natgas price forecast: $2.64/MMBtu in 2016, $3.22MMBtu in 2017 — Natural Gas Intelligence [Paid subscription]

Because natural gas withdrawals from storage have picked up with January's colder temperatures and U.S. production tailed off a bit in November, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Tuesday it has decided to leave its price forecasts for the next two years almost unchanged: $2.64/MMBtu this year and $3.22/MMBtu next year.

LNG gross exports will increase to an average of 0.5 Bcf/d in 2016 with the start-up of Cheniere's Sabine Pass LNG liquefaction plant in Louisiana, EIA said (see Daily GPI,Jan. 14). LNG exports will average an estimated 1.3 Bcf/d in 2017 as Sabine Pass ramps up its capacity, according to the STEO.

"Withdrawals during the heating season were relatively low until the end of December because of warmer-than-normal temperatures, but even as withdrawals accelerated in January, inventories remained well above the five-year (2011-15) average," EIA said…."

New Federal gas storage regulations likely to mimic industry's guidelines (Feb 8) — InsideClimate News

Federal pipeline agency's response to Aliso Canyon disaster will likely lean on industry proposals that don't require emergency shutoffs or safer pipes.

Federal regulators say they may propose safety rules as a response to the three-and-a-half-month methane leak in California, but the rules may not address two key issues that turned Aliso Canyon into a disaster: emergency shutoff valves and a safer configuration of pipes.

Last week, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, said it may issue its first safety regulations for storage sites like Aliso Canyon. The agency also urged operators to voluntarily follow guidelines developed by the industry itself. Those guidelines don't require systems to stop the flow of gas in an emergency or include redundancies to isolate the methane from the environment.

Adoption of the industry guidelines would probably do little to prevent a similar disaster at the 418 similar storage units across the country, according to pipeline safety and environmental groups. The ongoing release of methane—a potent greenhouse gas—from Southern California Gas Co.'s Aliso Canyon storage unit has forced thousands of people to evacuate because of health concerns.

"Once again, the industry has got out ahead, drafted the regulations, and now PHMSA , which hasn't done anything for years, is going to incorporate these recommended practices as the regulation," said Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, a nonprofit based in Bellingham, Wash. "So once again, it's industry designing their own regulations."

More than 230 storage units that are part of the interstate gas network fall under the regulatory jurisdiction of PHMSA, but it has always deferred to state agencies in regulating the underground part of such facilities.

"Usually when this is going on, we'll see a new regulation come out basically incorporating these industry-developed practices as the regulation," Weimer said. "It's better that we have some kind of regulations than none at all, but I bet there were few if any academics, nonprofits, environmental groups or anybody else involved in the development of these standards, which will now become federal regulations."

While the Kansas rules may be some of the most stringent, state regulators haven't been able to inspect storage facilities since 2010, when a federal district court ruled that U.S. regulators have sole jurisdiction. As a result, gas storage facilities that are part of the interstate gas network in Kansas haven't been inspected since the 2010 ruling because no federal regulations exist. The Kansas situation is an example of how the patchwork nature of storage regulation can create gaps, said Mark Brownstein, vice president of the EDF's Climate and Energy Program. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Paradoxically and shamefully, PHMSA does not encourage observing industry best practices (SIGTTO) regarding LNG terminal siting that are more stringent than government regulations. Another paradox is PHMSA's name, "Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration."

United States: Commissioner Clark announces he will not seek another term (Jan 21) — Mondaq

On January 21, 2016, FERC Commissioner Tony Clark announced at FERC’s Open Meeting that he will not seek another term at the Commission after his current term expires June 30, 2016. Commissioner Clark is serving his first term with the Commission and was appointed by President Obama on June 15, 2012. Prior to joining FERC, Commissioner Clark served as a Commissioner and Chairman of the North Dakota Public Service Commission and as president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.


Uncertainty lingers over LNG as Chinese demand wavers (Feb 8) —

…[T]here’s a lot of worry in the LNG sector these days. Which was enhanced by news late last week that the world’s #3 LNG consumer just saw demand drop for the first time ever.

That big buyer is China. Where a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed that LNG imports fell 1.1 percent during 2015 — to 2.6 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d).

…[T]hat’s the first time China’s LNG imports have fallen since the country started bringing in gas, back in 2006.

2016 February 2

New England

FERC denies rehearing request on Algonquin pipeline expansion (Jan 29) — Lohud, USA Today

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has rejected opponents' request to revisit its approval of the controversial Algonquin natural pipeline expansion project.

The decision was a blow to northern Westchester community members who have been trying to reverse the federal approval, citing, among other concerns, their belief that the pipeline is too close to the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan.

Opponents — including Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion and Riverkeeper — argued in their rehearing request that the commission improperly relied on a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's report that concluded that a potential rupture of the proposed pipeline poses no threat to the safe operation or safe shutdown of the Indian Point nuclear plant. An independent analysis should have been conducted based on the challenges posed by the project, they said.

"While local municipalities and residents were waiting for FERC's decision, Spectra was allowed to seize private property by eminent domain and proceed with destruction of homes, roads, and parklands," [Courtney Williams of Peekskill, vice president of Safe Energy Rights Group] said.


FERC won't reverse $971M pipeline project approval (Jan 29) — Law 360 [Paid subscription]

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday refused to rescind its approval of a $971 million gas pipeline project running through New York to New England and rejected a bid by environmental groups and others to block project work until administrative and judicial challenges to FERC's... [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Gulf of Mexico

UPDATE 1-Landmark U.S. LNG exports delayed to late February, March (Jan 14) — Reuters

The long-awaited first liquefied natural gas exports from the lower 48 U.S. states will have to wait another month or two due to mechanical problems at the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana, Cheniere Energy Partners LP said Thursday.

Cheniere said it expects to export the first cargo from the plant in late February or March. The company had expected that cargo to leave port in late January.

Instrumentation issues … were discovered during the final phases of plant commissioning and a cool down is required for some additional work over the next few weeks, the company said.


Alaska LNG snatches up land, buoying a local economy (Jan 31) — Alaska Dispatch News, Anchorage, AK

The three oil company partners in the $55 billion Alaska LNG project have acquired more than 150 tracts of land on the Kenai Peninsula as they piece together an expanse that could one day house a massive plant and shoreside facility where liquefied natural gas would be processed and exported.

The tracts acquired by ExxonMobil, BP and ConocoPhillips range from 40-acre swaths in the woods near Nikiski to lots with homes, a patchwork of parcels amounting to 571 acres with an assessed valuation of almost $30 million, according to the Kenai Peninsula Borough records.

If the costly project is ever approved, plans call for the construction of a liquefaction facility at the site where the Kenai Spur Highway runs near a bluff overlooking Cook Inlet, about 80 miles southwest of Anchorage. Some 2.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas would be super-chilled into a liquid each day, with the fuel shipped overseas in oceangoing tankers. If used locally instead of the hope of exporting to Asia, the daily output would meet almost two weeks' worth of demand in the Cook Inlet region during an average year.

A flood of LNG export facilities under development around the world and low LNG prices have increased the uncertainty surrounding a project that will cost each partner more than $10 billion to construct.

Alaska LNG faces ‘significant economic headwinds’ (Jan 30) — KTOO Public Media, Juneau, AK

As if lawmakers don’t have enough on their plates trying to close a $3.5 billion budget hole, this week brought a reminder that the state is also trying to advance a natural gas gigaproject.

That would be Alaska LNG, the effort to build a pipeline from the North Slope to Cook Inlet.

“The governor has identified a list of agreements he would like to see completed before the special session,” he said. “This will be a very difficult task to accomplish.”

“How likely is this project to happen at this point, would you say?” [Senator Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage] asked.

“I’m hesitant to put a number on it, since I’ve been working on this since 1992,” replied ExxonMobil’s Bill McMahon.

British Columbia

Pacific NorthWest LNG leases downtown Vancouver office space (Jan 29) —

VANCOUVER, B.C. — The Malaysian oil and gas giant behind a planned multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas plant in the Prince Rupert area, has sent out yet another signal it may be on the verge of moving forward with the project.

Pacific NorthWest LNG — the consortium led by Petronas — is increasing its downtown business footprint in Vancouver, and has confirmed it has leased two floors of office space at the 35-storey Park Place tower.

North Saanich plans LNG meeting (Jan 29) — Peninsula News Review, Sidney, BC

Fears over potential liquefied natural gas tanker traffic in the Saanich Inlet have prompted the District of North Saanich to hold a meeting of area municipalities, First Nations and more.

Thornburgh said he wants the proponent of the project, Steelhead LNG, to be represented at the meeting to provide information. The company has partnered with the Malahat First Nation to create Malahat LNG. Natural gas would be transported to the facility from elsewhere in B.C. — by tanker and by pipeline — where it would be liquefied and exported, presumably to Asia.

The project is still in its early stages and was granted an export license by the National Energy Board in October 2015. Still to come are provincial and federal environmental assessments and public consultation throughout 2016 and 2017.

Federal assessment expanded for Woodfibre LNG (Jan 29) — The Squamish Chief, Squamish, BC

Comment period will run for three weeks but dates not yet set

The company has received word from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) that it's done an analysis of the upstream emissions associated with Woodfibre LNG, according to Jennifer Siddon, senior manager of corporate communications with Woodfibre.

The analysis includes emissions associated with the pipeline and the natural gas extraction from the project. Previously the requirement covered direct emissions, such as from the site, transportation and power, according to Siddon.

Northwestern B.C. LNG pipeline decision extension requested (Jan 29) — Terrace Standard, Terrace, BC

CONSTRUCTION decisions for at least one and perhaps more smaller liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants near Kitimat remain unknown, based on a filing today with a provincial regulator.

Pacific Northern Gas (PNG) was to tell the B.C. Utilities Commission today how large of a natural gas pipeline it was to build to the locations for up to three planned LNG plants, all of which would be located on barges.

But yesterday PNG asked the utilities commission for an extension and a change in detail it would need to provide.

The utility is now asking to submit the pipeline size filing “within 10 days of Douglas Channel LNG making a Final Investment Decision on the project,” a statement today from the utilities commission indicates.


California's methane leak passes 100 days, and other sobering numbers — InsideClimate News

The Aliso Canyon gas leak is the latest fossil fuel disaster to elude attempts at a solution, and the numbers and impacts are piling up.

The ruptured well in northwest Los Angeles has been spewing methane into the atmosphere for 100 days as of Sunday—and counting.

Well control specialists may not be able to plug the leak until the end of the month, although the rate of emissions has slowed 65 percent since peaking in late November. How long it’s taking underscores how difficult it can be to stop fossil fuel-related accidents and leaks, and has drawn attention to aging infrastructure and lax regulations that probably played a role in the well’s failure.

The amount of methane released so far from the ongoing leak will have the same climate impact over the next 20 years as seven coal-fired power plants, according to climate scientists from the Environmental Defense Fund. Thousands of nearby residents have been temporarily relocated, including California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, according to NBC news in Los Angeles.


4 key questions for Canada's new pipeline, LNG climate test — DesmogCanada

Last week, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr announced Canada’s intention to apply a climate test to major energy infrastructure proposals. This was the fifth of five new principles they announced to improve environmental assessments in the country.

The change is good news because it will fill a long-standing gap in the country’s environmental assessment process. The standard approach has been to look at individual oil pipeline or LNG terminal proposals without worrying about the oilsands mines or gas fields they’re connected to. The new approach will include the carbon pollution from the project being proposed and the carbon pollution from the development associated with it.

What the federal government hasn’t said yet is how they plan to evaluate the new information and integrate it into their eventual decisions. Here are four questions I’d like to see included in their climate test, using Petronas’s Pacific NorthWest LNG project to illustrate how they might work. In many cases, the federal government — as opposed to the proponent — is in the best position to address these questions.

Question 1: Are there opportunities to cut carbon pollution? ….

Question 2: Are the policies in place to ensure carbon pollution is minimized? ….

Question 3: Does the project fit within a plan to meet climate commitments? ….

Question 4: Is the project viable as world moves away from fossil fuels? ….

[Colored & bold emphasis added.]

B.C. delegation seeks Ottawa's support for LNG export plans (Feb 1) — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

B.C. Premier Christy Clark and four of her top cabinet ministers will press their case in Ottawa this week to keep the province’s economic momentum going, including seeking support for exporting liquefied natural gas.

The B.C. Liberal government’s LNG dreams are being threatened by low energy prices and a looming glut of global supply of the fuel. The vast majority of 20 B.C. LNG proposals have been rendered uneconomic based on current depressed prices for the commodity in Asia, but Pacific NorthWest LNG maintains it is keen to start construction this year on Lelu Island in the Port of Prince Rupert.

Protesters, led by some members of the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation, set up a camp on Lelu Island in August. Last month, three New Democratic Party members of the provincial legislature joined a coalition of aboriginal leaders, environmentalists and some B.C. residents to sign a declaration that urges protection for wild salmon in Flora Bank, located next to Lelu Island. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

United States

Dems push to expand methane regs as Senate debates Energy Reform Bill (Feb 1) — Natural Gas Intelligence [Paid subscription]

As the Senate prepares to vote on a comprehensive energy reform bill as early as this week, a number of Senate Democrats are pushing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to expand its proposed oil and gas methane emissions limits.

Last week, a group of 21 senators, led by Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), penned a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy urging regulators to go beyond current plans to limit methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.

The senators also asked EPA to propose methane emissions standards for existing sources “under the categories covered by the proposed NSPS [new source performance standards], as well as the additional categories” detailed in the letter.

But while the White House has signaled “support for a middle-of-the-road bill...neither House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) nor conservatives within his caucus may be eager to cede their hardline stances on climate policy and fossil energy production until after the election.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Our LNG exports signal from Iran — Breaking Energy

Iran’s plan to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) within two years is what you call a market signal, one that should cause U.S. policymakers to reconsider the ponderous pace with which proposed U.S. LNG export projects are gaining federal approval.


Japan diverting excess LNG signals structural changes In LNG market (Jan 31) — Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide, Hellas (Greece)

With the ongoing supply glut gathering even more steam and with the glut likely to persist well into the next decade, news broke on Thursday that Japanese LNG buyers will now sell unwanted LNG. Reuters said that after decades of negotiating with suppliers for the lowest possible prices, the world’s top importer is moving from customer to competitor, seeking to sell surplus stock. The report added that Japan is unlikely to shift vast volumes off its books, but it is delaying or diverting some shipments after overestimating gas needs, adding pressure to a market already facing a global glut. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

New projects will add 118.8 mta to global LNG production (Jan 14) — LNG World Shipping

Twelve new LNG-export projects will add nearly 119 million tonnes a year (mta) of new capacity in the next three years, creating a “prolonged” oversupply, according to a new study by King & Spalding, which describes the increase in liquefaction capacity to 2020 as “unprecedented”.

The 12 projects are:

  • The first five US shale-gas projects: Sabine Pass, Freeport LNG, Cameron LNG, Cove Point and Corpus Christi LNG, adding 62.6 mta
  • The four Australian projects that launch in 2016-2017: Gorgon LNG, Shell’s Prelude floating LNG (FLNG project), Wheatstone LNG and Ichthys LNG, adding 37 mta
  • Petronas’ two Malaysia-based FLNG projects: PFLNG1 and PFLNG2, adding 2.7 mta
  • Russia’s Arctic LNG project: Yamal LNG, adding 16.5 mta by 2021

[Colored & bold emphasis added.]


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