"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
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2016 March 31
[This article also appears under the British Columbia heading, below.]
The number of proposals in serious contention to export liquefied natural gas from British Columbia has dwindled to four, down from a dozen viable plans in the fall of 2014, a new study concludes.
In B.C., 20 LNG facilities are on the drawing board, but over the past 18 months, the outlook has become increasingly bleak, with a global glut of LNG supplies and tumbling prices for the commodity.
“Just four LNG projects now look feasible on Canada’s West Coast – and even these may not go ahead, at least until prices and demand pick up,” according to the analysis titled Canadian Death Spiral.
On Canada’s East Coast, Pieridae Energy Ltd.’s Goldboro LNG venture in Nova Scotia appears to be the best bet, the study said. Nova Scotia has four proposals and New Brunswick has one. Bear Head LNG in Nova Scotia has gained some traction, but Goldboro LNG is the report’s lone pick for feasible East Coast sites, and takes the fifth and final position over all in Canada. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Study of 100 randomly selected pipeline leaks revealed the existence of 'superemitters' and potential explosion hazards.
Hidden beneath Boston lies a vast network of aging iron and steel pipes that leak natural gas from thousands of points under the city. A small number of these leaks emit large volumes of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, while others pose an immediate explosion hazard, according to a recent peer-reviewed study published in the journal Environmental Pollution.
The study looked at 100 randomly selected leaks from leak-prone cast iron pipes, the oldest of which had been in service since 1893. Fifteen out of 100 leaks measured in 2012 and 2014 were found to be Grade 1—leaks presenting an immediate explosion hazard—and were reported right away to the local utility company for repair. Of all 100 leaks measured, seven, known as "superemitters," accounted for 50 percent of the emissions.
On average, 110 gas distribution pipeline incidents occur each year [in the United States]. The majority of the aging pipes are located in older cities in the Northeast, Hendrick said.
Of the 100 leaks measured in their study, leak rates ranged from 0.2 to 1,219 cubic feet per day. The average U.S. home, by comparison, uses approximately 200 cubic feet of natural gas per day.
The lost gas has both financial and climate costs. When emitted into the atmosphere, methane, the primary component of natural gas, is 86 times more potent at warming the earth's atmosphere than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. Some research has suggested that as natural gas displaces coal, methane leaks would negate the climate benefits of reduced coal-burning. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
They ask the court to review the process by which the Federal Energy Regulation Commission made and reviewed its decisions.
A coalition of 10 groups from four states filed a petition with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals asking the court to review the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market gas pipeline expansion project.
…On Jan. 28, FERC denied eight separate rehearing requests from groups, individuals and municipalities, including the City of Boston and coalition members. Those who were denied a rehearing had 60 days to file a federal appeal.
"We've been raising valid concerns about this project since 2013 - but when a captive agency like FERC is making the decisions and then reviewing its own conclusions it's difficult to obtain a fair hearing," affected property owner and SAPE member Nancy Vann said. "We are pleased to finally be able to take our issues to Federal court and are hopeful that they will get the consideration they deserve."
Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay said "It's disturbing that a federal regulator that's duty-bound to protect the health and welfare of the public remains oblivious to the many potential dangers and pitfalls this project creates. It is even more disturbing that FERC continues to ignore the real risks involved with running a gas pipeline adjacent to the property of an aging, problematic nuclear plant, which poses a great risk to the region even without this project."
After months of anticipation, Texas LNG has formally filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build a liquefied natural gas export terminal in the Port of Brownsville.
With natural gas coming from the Eagle Ford Shale region just south of San Antonio, Texas LNG is asking federal regulators to build a two-phase 4 million metric tonnes per annum export facility.
Natural gas for the export terminal would be shipped via a proposed 150-mile pipeline that would connect the already-existing Agua Dulce hub just west of Corpus Christi to the Port of Brownsville where it would be liquefied and shipped to customers in Latin America, Europe and Asia.
Environmentalists oppose the project citing concerns over safety and air pollution but it has the support of the oil and natural gas industry.
Houston, Texas, USA, March 31, 2016 -- Texas LNG Brownsville LLC (“Texas LNG”) is pleased to announce that it has filed an application with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission seeking authorization to site, construct, and operate the proposed Texas LNG two-phase 4 million metric tonnes per annum (“MTA”) LNG export facility in Brownsville, Texas.
Out of eleven distinct U.S. LNG export projects under construction or in the formal FERC process, ten projects are significantly larger size than Texas LNG’s 2 MTA first phase. Texas LNG continues to believe that smaller independent projects that promise low cost, low technical risks, and offer transparent, flexible tolling terms will be best placed in the current global LNG marketplace.
Webmaster's comment: Texas LNG's smaller project means that its investors will lose less money when the project tanks.
Consultants Castalia said that electricity generation in Bermuda could be switched over to LNG by 2020 with a pricetag of between $258 million and $315 million, depending on the arrangements for supply and delivery to a power plant.
The report, tabled in the House of Assembly yesterday, said: “By quickly deciding on the best approach for procuring LNG, the Government can set Bermuda on the path to begin importing LNG by the end of 2019.
“Indeed, recent agreements in Jamaica and elsewhere suggest that it could be available immediately for Bermuda, if the right agreement were in place.”
“The mechanics, specifics and time frame for development will be up to the market and the private sector and contingent upon what is economically feasible for the developer.”
Webmaster's comment: Perhaps Bermuda has not heard of solar power.
“The Electricity Policy states that the Government’s objectives for electricity services in Bermuda is to ensure that the provision of these services are, least-cost and high-quality; environmentally sustainable; secure and affordable.
“Prior to the publication of the Policy and more so after, there have been several parties who have expressed an interest in providing solutions that meets these objectives, with a specific interest in the use of Liquefied Natural Gas, or LNG.
“This report reveals that there are two obvious locations that could be considered for creating the facilities for the importation, storage and regasification of LNG. These are the Ferry Reach terminal, and the Marginal Wharf in St. David’s.
“Of the two, there are a number of indications that the Ferry Reach site is the most suitable; but according to the consultants, further research is required to determine the potential environmental and social impacts before a final decision on a precise location can be made.
Dr Gibbons added, “Any future action to adopt and deploy LNG as the principal source of fuel for the generation of electricity in Bermuda will not be made by the Government but by the private sector.
Webmaster's comment: No, this appears to be proof that Bermuda has not heard of solar power.
Fewer British Columbians are supportive of the provincial government’s push for liquefied natural gas, a new Insights West poll has found.
“The public’s distaste towards fracking is playing a role in perceptions of the provincial government’s actions on the LNG file,” said Insights West vice-president Mario Canseco. “However, fewer British Columbians in 2016 believe that the LNG industry will be auspicious for every resident of the province.”
The drop in support for LNG expansion is accompanied by hardened views on hydraulic fracturing or fracking —the procedure by which water and chemicals are injected into the ground to fracture shale rock and extract natural gas.
Three-in-five British Columbians (62 per cent) say they are familiar with fracking. However, only 23 per cent support it, while 61 per cent are opposed – up 14 per cent since August 2013.
[This article also appears under the Nova Scotia heading, above.]
The number of proposals in serious contention to export liquefied natural gas from British Columbia has dwindled to four, down from a dozen viable plans in the fall of 2014, a new study concludes.
In B.C., 20 LNG facilities are on the drawing board, but over the past 18 months, the outlook has become increasingly bleak, with a global glut of LNG supplies and tumbling prices for the commodity.
“Just four LNG projects now look feasible on Canada’s West Coast – and even these may not go ahead, at least until prices and demand pick up,” according to the analysis titled Canadian Death Spiral.
On Canada’s East Coast, Pieridae Energy Ltd.’s Goldboro LNG venture in Nova Scotia appears to be the best bet, the study said. Nova Scotia has four proposals and New Brunswick has one. Bear Head LNG in Nova Scotia has gained some traction, but Goldboro LNG is the report’s lone pick for feasible East Coast sites, and takes the fifth and final position over all in Canada. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Critics in the Howe Sound area are appalled by Ottawa’s approval of an environmental assessment for a controversial LNG project set for Squamish.
Eoin Finn, research director of the group “My Sea to Sky,” says it’s a confusing announcement from a Liberal government after the big talk at the Climate Conference in Paris.
“Here we are, and the very first act of this government is to increase our dependency on fossil fuels and our global GHG emissions. I don’t see how we can ever reconcile those two positions in a single government.”
“We’re appalled that this decision would have come out so quickly from a newly elected government. It’s the first major announcment in regard to fossil fuels they’ve made since the COP 21 arrangement in Paris,” says Finn. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
FSJ for LNG was rewarded for their truck rally in Charlie Lake with a dinner, hosted by the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of BC, in the Pomeroy Hotel. The rally was organized in conjunction with similar demonstrations in Terrace and Fort Nelson, as part of a grassroots movement in the region.
“If every person sent one letter every day for the next 90 days, it would make a huge difference," Pimm said. "So if I could leave everybody with one message, it doesn’t matter if you’ve written one letter already, you write one letter every day, to Justin Trudeau, tell him that you want LNG.”
The group is planning a foot rally in the coming weeks, for people who were unable to participate in the truck rally.
"We will have a foot rally, we will try and line up on 100th street with people with placards, stating that LNG will be jobs here for North BC.”
In addition to the rally, the group also plans to conduct a twitter campaign, and set up a photo booth at the trade show. The rally will take place April 23rd, at 11:30 a.m in Centennial Park.
Webmaster's comment: Take Note: This is what the pro-LNG movement is doing.
PORTLAND, Ore. – Residents of Coos Bay, Ore., who think a years-long fight over a liquefied natural-gas terminal is over might be wrong.
A Canadian energy company backing the Jordan Cove terminal signed a preliminary deal last week with a Japanese power company, agreeing to purchase 1.5 million tons of liquefied gas annually.
The deal comes after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied a permit for the Jordan Cove terminal earlier this month, said Nick Abraham, a research fellow at the Sightline Institute.
"What these public hearings for this project have shown, what public outcry has shown, is that the opposition is in much greater numbers than the people trying to push the project through," he added.
Whether this Order [by FERC, denying permits for pipeline and terminal] will impact continued funding for other LNG projects under development and in line for FERC approval remains to be seen. But one thing is now clear: DOE export authorization, by itself, is insufficient to support construction and operation of a U.S. LNG terminal and associated pipelines. LNG terminal developers and the proposed feeder pipelines critical to the viability of those projects would be well-advised to coordinate and expedite their marketing efforts in order to avoid Jordan Cove's fate and be prepared, in a world where more than 100 MTPA of LNG liquefaction capacity is expected to enter the market in the next five years, to present FERC with persuasive evidence of market demand for their capacity. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
New study says at least 39 fracked wells in Alberta and British Columbia likely triggered earthquakes in recent years.
Some fracking operations in western Canada are producing a surprising—and for many Canadians, troubling—side effect: earthquakes.
How widespread is the problem? According to a new study published Tuesday, at least 39 fracked wells in Alberta and British Columbia are suspected of triggering about 65 earthquakes between 2010 and 2015.
"We now confirm that many induced earthquakes in Western Canada can be linked to hydraulic fracturing operations," study author Honn Kao wrote in an email to InsideClimate News. Kao is a scientist at Natural Resources Canada, the country's main environmental regulatory agency.
Kao, along with his 12 colleagues from academia and government, also examined the link between wastewater disposal wells and earthquakes in Canada. They found wastewater activities had a smaller impact on earthquakes there, identifying 17 disposal wells with possible links to past seismicity, according to their work published in the journal Seismological Research Letters.
Of the more than 12,000 fracked wells in Canada reviewed for this study, at least 39 wells—or 0.3 percent—showed a likely connection to earthquakes. Researchers also reviewed approximately 1,200 disposal wells and found roughly 1 percent of them, or 17 wells, have possibly triggered earthquakes in Canada.
If confirmed, the January earthquake in Alberta could set a world record for the largest fracking-linked earthquake. Currently, the record belongs to a 4.6 earthquake that struck British Columbia in August 2015, another event not included in the recent Canadian study.
A deal that has been in the making for months was finally signed this week; BP PLC and China National Petroleum Corporation have agreed to a production-sharing contract for shale gas exploration, development and production in the Neijiang-Dazu block in the Sichuan Basin, China. This is BP’s first shale gas deal in China
It will be years before BP and China are production ready, but still the timing of this deal is interesting. In February, the continental U.S. exported its first seaborne natural gas following the lifting of an export ban. The U.S. plans to export LNG in coming years with Western Europe and even Eastern Asia key markets. If China really steps up its natural gas and oil production, these U.S. exports may face more competition. However, one key advantage that U.S. exporters have right now is price. Gas prices in Europe and North-East Asia have been be 2-5 times higher; but as the global LNG export business takes shape this advantage could erode.. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: This is enormously bad news for US and Canadian LNG export ambitions.
HOUSTON — Australia could become the world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter by 2019, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a Thursday analysis.
The country’s Gorgon project shipped its first cargo to Japan last week, and three other projects in eastern Australia have been fully or partially commissioned since 2014.
Combined, the country has a current liquefied natural gas export capacity of 6.2 billion cubic feet per day. If additional capacity is built out as planned, Australia would hold 11.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas export capacity, or roughly one-third of the total market in 2014.
Most of the gas Australia’s projects will export is headed for Asia. Japanese customers have contracted for 79 percent of output from currently operating liquefaction and 35 percent of new projects. China is the second-largest destination, with about 15 percent of existing capacity and 23 percent from new projects, the EIA said. About 2 billion cubic feet per day of new capacity is expected to be sold to short-term spot buyers.
Webmaster's comment: This is even more bad news for US and Canadian LNG export ambitions.
2016 March 30
Even if the oil and gas markets sort themselves out with stable prices and viable supply, it’s likely to be the 2020s before any of the four proponents of shipping LNG from Nova Scotia will be serving global markets.
But two Nova Scotia proponents, Bear Head LNG of Point Tupper (owned by Australia’s Liquified Natural Gas Ltd.) and the Goldboro facility proposed by Pieridae Energy Canada of Calgary, have been moving ahead smartly with Canadian and U.S. regulatory approvals, getting ready for LNG to resume long-term growth in world markets.
Bear Head has not yet made a decision on construction. “This year is all about getting approvals, getting the gas path sorted out and finishing the front-end engineering,” says Mr. Brand.
The Bear Head president says the company is confident in the projection that LNG demand will strengthen in 2021-22, which, with a four-year build, “really pushes us in 2017-18 to press the go button.” The most likely markets are Europe and South America, which is actually a shorter sail from Bear Head than from the U.S. Gulf Coast. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: There is no guarantee that, even if the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline were to reverse direction, that it would have enough capacity to supply the proposed Nova Scotia projects.
Bear Head LNG Corporation Inc. announced Tuesday the purchase of 29 hectares of land from Nova Scotia Business Inc. The site is directly adjacent to Bear Head’s existing 103-hectare Strait of Canso, and will help support the expansion of its proposed LNG facility in Richmond County.
It would allow the company to increase the capacity of the LNG facility eight to twelve million tonnes per year, as authorized by the National Energy Board.
Bear Head LNG recently 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. Construction of the LNG plant is expected to create 600-700 jobs. The company estimates that the plant will employ 45 to 70 people directly and 175 indirectly. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Liquefied Natural Gas Limited said on Wednesday its unit Bear Paw Pipeline registered its environmental assesment with Nova Scotia Environment.
Bear Paw is proposing to construct and operate a 62.5 km natural gas pipeline from Goldboro to the proposed Bear Head LNG export facility in Point Tupper, Richmond County, Nova Scotia, the company said in a statement.
The pipeline would connect Bear Head LNG facility to the North American natural gas pipeline network [via the Maritimes & Northeast pipeline].
Law360, New York (March 28, 2016, 4:41 PM ET) -- The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said Friday it will not stand in the way of a $971 million gas pipeline project that will run through New York, despite the state’s insisting it needs to evaluate the project’s safety risks, especially near the Indian Point nuclear plant.... [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: Why would FERC be interested in safety? It certainly has not been interested in that, so far.
Cheniere has so far shipped three LNG cargoes from its Sabine Pass facility, the first of its kind to export U.S. shale gas to overseas markets.
It has recently been reported that Brazil’s Petrobras is the most likely buyer of up to seven of the eight to ten commissioning cargoes from Cheniere’s Sabine Pass LNG export terminal.
The company plans to construct over time up to six liquefaction trains, which are in various stages of development. Each train is expected to have a nominal production capacity of about 4.5 mtpa of LNG.
FERC has released its environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Golden Pass LNG liquefaction and export terminal on the Sabine-Neches Waterway in Jefferson County, Texas, and the interconnected pipeline. The EIS concludes that construction of the project would result in some adverse environmental impacts but “those impacts would not be significant with implementation of Golden Pass’s proposed mitigation and the additional measures recommended in the draft EIS.” The export terminal project is sponsored by affiliates of Qatar Petroleum International and ExxonMobil. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: Surprise, surprise! FERC has determined that the Golden Pass LNG terminal would not have significant environmental impacts. Isn't FERC's rubber stamp worn out, yet?
Endangered and threatened species are partly to blame for holding up construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal that the U.S. commonwealth needs to convert a plant with one-third of the island’s power-generating capacity to the cleaner-burning fuel from oil. Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla says the changeover will reduce electricity bills and boost the economy as the island seeks to trim its $70 billion debt load.
The conflict will come to a head April 16 when the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, known as Prepa, is supposed to start burning gas at the Aguirre power plant to meet a federal mandate to lower mercury and other toxic emissions. The LNG import terminal won’t open in time to make that happen, leaving the island caught between rules that protect the environment and the threat of power blackouts.
Excelerate Energy LP, based in The Woodlands, Texas, is developing the Aguirre Offshore GasPort with the island’s power authority. The terminal, about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) from Jobos Bay, would deliver as much as 600 million cubic feet a day of gas, enough to heat 2.76 million U.S. homes for a day. The fuel will be sent to the power plant through an underwater pipeline, more than doubling supplies to the island.
Still, a local environment group is weighing a legal challenge to the LNG project. The Comite Dialogo Ambiental Inc. says the terminal could have “severe negative impacts” on species such as turtles in Jobos Bay, a federally protected nature reserve. The turtles face the permanent loss of areas to forage for food and are at risk of colliding with work vessels, regulators said in a February report.
Puerto Rico, with its abundant sun, should wean itself off of fossil fuels and turn to renewables, the environment group said.
Whenever Premier Christy Clark is asked about her climate change plans, she touts the success of the policies put in place by her predecessor Gordon Campbell in 2008. However, Clark won’t be able to ride on Campbell’s “climate leader” coattails for much longer.
That’s because British Columbia’s carbon pollution is going up while five other Canadian provinces are bringing their greenhouse gas emissions down. According to the latest projections from Environment and Climate Change Canada, B.C.’s emissions will climb from 64 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2005 to 72 megatonnes in 2020. The province’s legislated emissions target for that year is 43.5 megatonnes.
Since taking over the premier’s office in 2011, Clark’s lack of action on the climate file has taken the province in the wrong direction. In 2013, Clark froze B.C.’s internationally lauded carbon tax for five years. She continues to champion the development of a liquefied natural gas industry in the province that will make meeting these targets more difficult if not impossible.
It’s time for B.C. to step up and shift the province’s emissions trajectory in the right direction. Clark’s government can shed its “climate laggard” status by increasing the level of ambition for the forthcoming Climate Leadership Plan, due to be finalized later this spring. This week and next week constitute the last chance to have your say during the current comment period for the plan. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Despite falling gas prices and increasing competition from the US, a recent article by Business in Vancouver asserts that the Montney Formation is so rich in both gas and natural gas liquids — light oil, condensate, butane and propane — that it makes natural gas production there more economically viable than in most other regions.
Although a new market for gas from an LNG industry would increase demand and prices for natural gas producers, the article says investments being made in the Montney are not necessarily dependent on it.
Western Canadian gas production has been falling, due to competition from the U.S., but he predicts that by 2025, a “second wave” of North American LNG projects will drive up more demand for gas from western Canada.
Webmaster's comment: If British Columbia LNG projects are investing $Billions on the long-shot bet that new US LNG export terminals will result in more demand, take a look at LNG speculators' previous long-shot bets. Results have been dismal.
Two projects — on the West Coast, the other on the East Coast — provided some good news this week for a Canadian liquefied natural gas industry that has been weakened over the past year as major companies slashed capex budgets and liquefied natural gas prices fell in tandem with crude oil prices over the past year.
Webmaster's comment: Interestingly, there is no mention of Downeast LNG president Dean Girdis's two LNG Nova Scotia proposals in Halifax, NS. Also, although Saint John LNG (a.k.a., Canaport LNG export project) is shown, it has withdrawn its proposal to export LNG.
Less than half of British Columbians are supportive of the provincial government’s push for liquefied natural gas (LNG), and only 23% support the process of hydraulic fracturing, according to a poll released on Thursday by Insights West.
The drop in support for LNG expansion is accompanied by hardened views on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking – the procedure by which oil and gas companies inject water and chemicals into the ground to fracture underlying shale rock formations and extract natural gas. Three-in-five British Columbians (62%) say they are familiar with fracking and more than half (55%) say the procedure is currently being done in the province. However, only 23% of residents support fracking, while 61% (+14 since August 2013) are opposed to it, the release said.
Only 15% of British Columbians (-6 since August 2013) think LNG will bring significant benefits to all BC residents, while 42% (+3) believe it will exclusively benefit some communities. Three-in-ten British Columbians (28%, +6) say LNG will not bring benefits to most B.C. residents, the release said. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
In January, Shell delayed a decision on whether to pursue its LNG Canada joint venture project. In February, AltaGas Ltd. shelved its Douglas Channel LNG plant indefinitely, citing an inability to find customers in Asia for the natural gas. And this month, the Jordan Cove LNG project in Oregon was effectively nixed by American energy regulators when they rejected the pipeline that would feed it on grounds that there wasn’t demonstrated market demand to warrant the project.
The promise of LNG — investment, jobs, taxes and royalty revenue — is becoming more uncertain by the day.
The Brattle group’s study, LNG and Renewable Power: Risk and Opportunity in a Changing World, finds intensifying links between global natural gas and electricity markets. This rapid evolution of renewable energy markets has caught many by surprise.
Last year saw a record for global clean energy investment, reaching over a third of a trillion U.S. dollars, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. In 2014, four times more renewable power capacity was added around the world, compared with natural gas-fired power. And while 2014 saw the lowest investment in new natural gas power since 2008, it was the biggest year on record for renewable energy.
The Brattle study suggests there is significant investment risk in proposed LNG export projects in North America. It finds that over the 20 years of a typical LNG contract, renewable power will quite possibly become cheaper than the LNG sales prices needed to justify the cost of LNG investments — and that’s before factoring in a cost on carbon pollution. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
61 per cent of British Columbians have concerns about fracking—and that’s affecting what they think of LNG
Public perceptions of B.C.’s nascent liquified natural gas industry are souring, according to a survey conducted by polling firm Insights West. Forty-three per cent of respondents said that they were in favour of the government’s support for LNG, while 41 per cent were opposed—that’s down from 50 per cent in favour and 32 per cent opposed when B.C.-ers were polled in August 2013.
Among the eroding perceptions: the benefits B.C.-ers think LNG will bring. A paltry 15 per cent of British Columbians said that they agreed with the statement that LNG would bring significant benefits to all B.C. residents (down from 21 per cent in 2013), while 28 responded that they did not believe that LNG would bring benefits to most B.C. residents. And while the poll found more positive sentiments toward certain aspects—54 per cent said that they believed LNG would boost jobs, and 54 per cent also felt that it was more environmentally than coal or other fuels—the culprit may be the industry's practice of fracking, said Mario Canseco, VP of public affairs at Insight West.
Only 23 per cent of residents support fracking, while 61 per cent are opposed—up 14 per cent since Insights West last asked the question in August 2013. Among the concerns cited, 61 per cent cited perception of containment ponds being an environmental hazard, 62 per cent cited contamination of the water supply or alteration of the landscape, 57 per cent cited earthquakes, and 51 per cent cited higher carbon emissions. [Colored emphasis added.]
State-owned Petronas and its project partners have been waiting for nearly three years for a permit to build the Pacific NorthWest LNG facility in Northern British Columbia. The project has come under contention as aboriginal and environmental groups have said it would threaten a salmon habitat.
Earlier this month, Canada's National Post newspaper reported that Petronas was threatening to walk away from the project. However, Pacific NorthWest LNG president denied that Petronas would abandon the project if the federal government did not approve it by the end of March.
Analysts say Petronas has already sunk some $12 billion in the project, roughly a third of its entire cost. Struggling with lower energy prices, the company earlier this year announced $12 billion in spending cuts over the next four years.
With federal, provincial and First Nations environmental approvals in place, the Woodfibre LNG project has hired a Houston, Texas-based company to provide a detailed analysis of what it would cost to build an LNG plant under the terms of those permits.
Among those, “we still have a number of permits to get,” said Giraud. “The oil and gas permits are quite large. They can take months to achieve.”
A new FortisBC pipeline that would feed natural gas into the plant is also subject to further regulatory approval, including reaching agreements with the Squamish Nation.
The federal government gave its stamp of approval Friday to the $1.6-billion liquefied natural gas project, which plans to process and export 2.1 million tonnes of LNG each year from the site of the former Woodfibre pulp mill site on Howe Sound, southwest of Squamish. The project would send an estimated 40 double-hulled tankers to Asia each year.
Mona Benge, who lives in Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, called the decision “extremely disappointing. I had such hope based on the prime minister’s comments (during the election campaign) that even though governments grant permits, only communities grant permission.”
Benge pointed to the re-industrialization of a recovering marine environment in Howe Sound as a concern. “The whales are back. The herring are back. All of that will be impacted,” she said. “It’s bad for the environment.
It all started off so well. Justin Trudeau launched his career as Prime Minister with big promises to First Nations and the growing number of Canadians concerned about the environment. He installed indigenous MPs in key portfolios like Justice and Fisheries; vowed a new respect for Aboriginal people and their rights; re-introduced the climate to Environment Canada.
But five months later, it appears former New York Governor Mario Cuomo was right when he famously said, “You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.” And the prose Justin Trudeau is authoring these days tells a very different story than it did on the campaign trail.
He cannot approve LNG projects and pretend to care genuinely about climate change.
These, unfortunately for Justin, are not grey areas. There is no room for “balance” or a “middle path” — simply because of a stubborn little thing called facts.
Some local First Nation groups are up in arms about "misleading" comments made by B.C.'s Natural Gas Minister Rich Coleman on Facebook, regarding the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG project.
In the post Coleman writes that the provincial government, "has the backing of local communities and conditional support of the First Nations along the entire natural gas pipeline route and at the terminal site."
But the Union President of B.C. Indian Chiefs Stewart Phillip, is calling that a false statement and he's reminding people that there is still a large group opposing a liquefied natural gas export facility on Lelu Island.
The B.C. budget claims the province is making money from shale gas. But last month The Tyee showed the province is pouring more cash into the industry than it is getting back.
Dig deeper, and four more claims made by the B.C. government turn out to be liquefied natural gas whoppers as well.
Webmaster's comment: Read the article for details.
Whopper #1: Vastly less gas to sell than claimed
Whopper #2: Vastly fewer LNG jobs than claimed
Whopper #3: No, LNG prosperity is not close at hand
Whopper #4: Yes, Site C dam is for powering frackers
The developer of the Jordan Cove Energy Project said this week that it had reached an agreement with its first customer for a proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal in Coos Bay.
The announcement came 11 days after federal regulators [FERC] denied a license for the massive project, saying its developers hadn't demonstrated demand for the facility and its feeder pipeline. Regulators concluded there wasn't sufficient public need for the project to overcome negative impacts on landowners.
Jordan Cove's Canadian developer, Veresen Inc., has suggested it intends to appeal the decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. It has 30 days from the March 11 decision to do so. Its preliminary agreement with a consortium of Japanese utilities covered a quarter of the terminal's capacity, and Veresen said talks with other potential customers are ongoing.
"The ink is barely dry on FERC's denial and all of a sudden they have a buyer?" Douglas County landowner Stacey McLaughlin asked in a statement. "This deal reeks of desperation and is certainly suspect after threatening landowners with eminent domain for more than a decade. Given this timeline of events I can say we are even more determined now to do whatever it takes to protect our homes and this assault on our lives." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Jordan Cove LNG will appeal a denial to build a 232-mile-long natural gas pipeline across Oregon and a processing terminal in Coos Bay.
In early March the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced the Jordan Cove natural gas liquefaction terminal and Pacific Connector pipeline did not adequately demonstrate a need to build the new natural gas facility in Oregon.
A major dirty fuel project in Oregon is back to fight another day.
Earlier this month, in a decision that caught everyone from activists to the Governor’s office by surprise, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected plans to build a massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal, known as Jordan Cove, in Coos Bay, Oregon. The project also would build a pipeline cutting across more than half the state.
FERC’s judgment was heralded as a long-awaited victory by those who have been fighting the project for more than a decade. Lost in the headlines, however, was its window for the project still to be built.
Leading up to FERC’s decision, it had not been an easy road for Jordan Cove. Its two backing companies failed to negotiate deals with 90% of residents along the 232-mile pipeline path and would likely have relied heavily on federal eminent domain law. This practice of seizing private land (and compensating owners accordingly) for a project deemed in the public interest is a controversial legal tool, and one that is especially reviled in rural Oregon.
How the project has already come crawling back
…FERC left Veresen a chance to reapply for permits if the company could prove significant demand for LNG. Unfortunately for concerned Oregonians, that’s exactly what happened this week. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
WARRENTON — Oregon LNG has appealed a city ruling against a proposed terminal on the Skipanon Peninsula, claiming the hearings officer drew erroneous conclusions that would make any marine industrial development virtually impossible.
Columbia Riverkeeper, an environmental group that opposes the $6 billion terminal and pipeline project, has also appealed portions of Kearns’ ruling.
Earlier this month, Kearns, who was appointed by the city to review the project, denied Oregon LNG’s land-use applications to build a bidirectional liquefied natural gas terminal.
Though the appeal requests that the City Commission affirm Kearns’ rejection of the terminal, Lauren Goldberg, the staff attorney representing the Hood River-based environmental group, asked that the commission amend the decision to read that Oregon LNG has not demonstrated a “substantial public benefit” to the LNG terminal as required by the Warrenton development code.
She also argued, contrary to Kearns, that Oregon LNG’s development on the shoreline would exclude the public from shoreline access to areas traditionally used for fishing, hunting and other activities, in violation of the city code.
The falling dominoes that are major liquefied natural gas projects show that the industry needs a re-think on how it is structured and operates.
[T]he scrapping of Woodside Petroleum’s Browse floating LNG project off the coast of Western Australian state goes a long way to confirm that the model that has so far underpinned the development of the industry is no longer viable.
Asian buyers now hold the whip hand in LNG pricing, given the rapid growth in supply from new projects in Australia, five of which have started in the past two years and three more planned to start by 2017. In addition, the United States has exported its first LNG through the Sabine Pass facility and has four more projects currently under construction.
The problem is that all these new projects have altered the supply-demand balance to the point where it’s hard to see the market being able to absorb all the available LNG, even if prices continue to slump. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: Wake up, Downeast LNG! You are a lost cause.
It’s been a rough start to 2016 for many companies hoping to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals in Canada, with the price for the product continuing its freefall and many projects delayed due to onerous approval processes.
But LNG companies certainly aren’t letting the bad news dissuade them from pressuring government: since the Liberals were elected in mid-October, LNG companies have lobbied federal officials in 63 different meetings.
Pacific NorthWest LNG Meets with Officials 21 Times, Including 15 MPs
The proposed facility has been the subject of significant criticism ever since Petronas submitted its environmental assessment application in 2013 due to potential impacts on critical juvenile salmon in the Skeena watershed.
Three ministers — Hunter Tootoo (Fisheries and Oceans), Chrystia Freeland (International Trade) and John McCallum (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship) — were among those met with by the [LNG Canada Development] joint venture. LNG Canada Development has also been experiencing delays due to low prices. A final investment decision expected will be made later this year.
Between November 3, 2015, and January 28, 2016, [Woodfibre LNG] met with federal officials in eight different meetings, with the most high-profile of the lot being with CEAA president Ron Hallman and vice-president of operations Heath Smith on November 19, 2015. The company still has to attain approval from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada.
In recent months, [Bear Head LNG] met with Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. Gary Doer eight times and treasury board president Scott Brison twice. However, in what could be interpreted as not-so-great news, both the chief operating officer and chief financial officer of the company “left to pursue outside opportunities” in early March. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
So badly has the landscape for LNG deteriorated that Woodside Petroleum — along with it’s partners Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Japan Australia LNG — has shelved it’s $40 billion Browse LNG project off western Australia. Asian LNG prices have collapsed, falling 45% over the past year according to a Financial Times in the face of new supply and softening demand.
With so much capacity coming onstream in Australia, with the Middle East adding further capacity to its already leading position, with Iran just a few years away from adding further supply and with Asian demand softening, maybe U.S. consumers do not have too much to worry about domestic prices being raised by a flood of LNG leaving the country.
America’s liquefaction export plants will find markets willing to take their cargo. The UK already says its domestic market price has fallen in response to potential supply from U.S. shale producers encouraging suppliers to moderate prices in the face of the threat, but the world is not screaming out for LNG supplies today in the way it was a at the end of the last decade. Does that suggest both LNG and crude prices are set to fall? Probably, yes, and for similar reasons of oversupply and a softening market.
Source: MetalMiner [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox, Megan Holleran and five others were arrested in the driveway of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today while waiting for commissioners to join them for pancakes topped with the last drops of maple syrup from the Holleran family farm in New Milford, Pennsylvania. They and about two dozen other activists were protesting FERC’s approval for the clear-cutting of a wide swath of maple trees at the Holleran farm for the construction of the Constitution Pipeline.
“It is clear to me that FERC has to be the most destructive agency in the United States right now. They are faceless, nameless, unelected and ignore citizen input. I think of FERC as the Phantom Menace. The agency’s commissioners have been rubber-stamping fracking infrastructure all over country that threatens local communities and the planet by accelerating climate change.”
Climate activist Tim DeChristopher, wearing a chef’s cap and a “Pancakes not Pipelines” apron, cooked the pancakes on a solar-powered cooktop set up on the sidewalk in front of FERC. DeChristopher said FERC had “cut down life-giving maple trees to make room for a death-dealing pipeline.” The agency has been “able to get away with this shameful behavior by operating in the shadows,” he continued. “We’re here today to invite FERC employees into the open, to engage in a human way with the people whose lives are impacted by FERC’s decisions.”
Holleran said FERC had given approval for the trees to be cleared on her land before the pipeline had all the required permits. “We followed all the rules. We asked them to wait before doing irreparable harm to our farm. This could happen to anyone,” she said during the protest.
Beyond Extreme Energy will continue its actions at FERC during the Rubber Stamp Rebellion from May 15 to May 22. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
March 24, Washington, DC — Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox, Megan Holleran and five others were arrested in the driveway of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) while waiting for commissioners to join them for pancakes topped with the last drops of maple syrup from the Holleran family farm in New Milford, Pa. They and about two dozen other activists were protesting FERC’s approval of the clear-cutting of a wide swath of maple trees at the Holleran farm.
Beyond Extreme Energy organized the action, one of many the group has led at FERC. BXE is working with groups and individuals across the United States to revoke FERC’s mandate to operate an arm of the oil and gas industry. It seeks an end to FERC permits for new pipelines and other projects that allow the expansion of the fracked-gas industry. BXE has made this demand in an escalating series of protests at FERC beginning in 2014 and including disruptions at the monthly FERC meetings, described in the March 20, 2016, New York Times article “Environmental Activists Take to Local Protests for Global Results.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Study also finds companies fracked into underground sources of water and at much shallower depths than previously known, close to drinking water wells.
Hydraulic fracturing and other oil and gas operations contaminated the groundwater in Pavillion, Wyoming, according to a new study by Stanford University scientists. The findings raise concerns about possible water pollution in other heavily fracked and geologically similar communities in the U.S. West.
Pavillion has long been a flashpoint in the national debate over the potential impact of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on drinking water. Town residents began complaining of tainted drinking water in the 1990s, as oil and gas development boomed in the area. The Environmental Protection Agency released a draft study in 2011 indicating that oil and gas activities contaminated the town's water. But after blistering criticism from industry and Wyoming politicians, the EPA shut down its probe in 2013 and turned over sampling to state regulators. The state's studies have so far found no proof of contamination.
Published in Environmental Science & Technology, the Stanford study identified chemicals in Pavillion's water related to substances that companies reported using in local fracking operations and acid stimulation, an oil and gas production method. The researchers also found that energy companies frequently fracked at much shallower depths than previously thought, sometimes very close to drinking water wells. In addition, companies fracked into underground sources of drinking water, or USDWs, defined under federal law as aquifers that could supply a public water system. Fracking into USDWs is legal, but the oil and gas industry has long insisted that fracking occurs far deeper than where aquifers are located.
The study further determined possible pathways of water contamination. For example, researchers found that because of Pavillion's distinct geology, where natural gas often exists alongside water, hazardous chemicals could migrate from fracking zones along fissures into the aquifer. Faulty cement barriers around the steel casing inside an oil or gas well also create the potential for fracking chemicals to seep underground. Finally, as many as 44 unlined earthen pits were used before 1995 for disposal of diesel- and chemical-laced fluids from drilling and production. Tests of nearby groundwater showed dangerous concentrations of diesel-related and volatile organic compounds, such as benzene, a known carcinogen, and the neurotoxin toluene.
"With hydraulic fracturing into USDWs [underground sources of drinking water], the decision is being made that gas is more important than drinking water resources, and that trade off is not well understood," DiGiulio said. "It is legal to do that but it's not clear if the impact is legal, and this paper is meant to raise discussion about it."
"When you look at everything as a whole, it seems implausible that all this is due to natural conditions," DiGiulio said. "When you look at the compounds, it's a virtual fingerprint of chemicals used in the field." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Philanthropic arm of one of the world's richest families backs away from fossil fuels industry.
Philanthropic arm of one of the world's richest families backs away from fossil fuels industry.
"While the global community works to eliminate the use of fossil fuels, it makes little sense, financially or ethically, to continue holding investments in these companies," the fund said in a statement. "There is no sane rationale for companies to continue to explore for new sources of hydrocarbons." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
- The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would significantly broaden the agency's regulatory scope with respect to gas pipelines.
- The proposed rule creates "Moderate Consequence Areas" as a new category for regulation and also requires that older pipelines that have not previously required testing be pressure tested.
- Automatic or remote-controlled shut-off valve requirements were omitted, leaving that for another rulemaking.
The impetus for the rulemaking was the 2010 pipeline incident in San Bruno, Calif., which killed eight people and injured more than 50, while destroying 38 homes. An Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) followed in 2011, along with National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations, statutory requirements via the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011, and a Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommendation, all of which factored into the proposed rule. However, some of the issues raised by Congress and the administration – and emphasized in the SAFE PIPES Act – were left out of the proposed rule. Notably, automatic or remote-controlled shut-off valves were omitted, with PHMSA stating that it will address this and other issued in a separate rulemaking.
State-owned Perupetro reveals that on Sunday, March 20, Shell’s G class LNG carrier Gemmata with a capacity of 138,104 cbm, departed Peru’s plant at Pampa Melchorita.
Our leaders thought fracking would save our climate. They were wrong. Very wrong.
Global warming is, in the end, not about the noisy political battles here on the planet’s surface. It actually happens in constant, silent interactions in the atmosphere, where the molecular structure of certain gases traps heat that would otherwise radiate back out to space. If you get the chemistry wrong, it doesn’t matter how many landmark climate agreements you sign or how many speeches you give. And it appears the United States may have gotten the chemistry wrong. Really wrong.
There’s one greenhouse gas everyone knows about: carbon dioxide, which is what you get when you burn fossil fuels. We talk about a “price on carbon” or argue about a carbon tax; our leaders boast about modest “carbon reductions.” But in the last few weeks, CO2’s nasty little brother has gotten some serious press. Meet methane, otherwise known as CH4.
In February, Harvard researchers published an explosive paper in Geophysical Research Letters. Using satellite data and ground observations, they concluded that the nation as a whole is leaking methane in massive quantities. Between 2002 and 2014, the data showed that US methane emissions increased by more than 30 percent, accounting for 30 to 60 percent of an enormous spike in methane in the entire planet’s atmosphere.
…But this new Harvard data, which comes on the heels of other aerial surveys showing big methane leakage, suggests that our new natural-gas infrastructure has been bleeding methane into the atmosphere in record quantities. And molecule for molecule, this unburned methane is much, much more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide.
In fact, it’s even possible that America’s contribution to global warming increased during the Obama years. The methane story is utterly at odds with what we’ve been telling ourselves, not to mention what we’ve been telling the rest of the planet. It undercuts the promises we made at the climate talks in Paris. It’s a disaster — and one that seems set to spread.
Obama had plenty of help selling natural gas — from the fossil-fuel industry, but also from environmentalists, at least for a while. Robert Kennedy Jr., who had enormous credibility as the founder of the Waterkeeper Alliance and a staff attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, wrote a paean in 2009 to the “revolution…over the past two years [that] has left America awash in natural gas and has made it possible to eliminate most of our dependence on deadly, destructive coal practically overnight.” Meanwhile, the longtime executive director of the Sierra Club, Carl Pope, had not only taken $25 million from one of the nation’s biggest frackers, Chesapeake Energy, to fund his organization, but was also making appearances with the company’s CEO to tout the advantages of gas, “an excellent example of a fuel that can be produced in quite a clean way, and shouldn’t be wasted.” (That CEO, Aubrey McClendon, apparently killed himself earlier this month, crashing his car into a bridge embankment days after being indicted for bid-rigging.) Exxon was in apparent agreement as well: It purchased XTO Energy, becoming the biggest fracker in the world overnight and allowing the company to make the claim that it was helping to drive emissions down.
…As for Robert Kennnedy Jr., by 2013 he was calling natural gas a “catastrophe.”
…[H]ere’s the unhappy fact about methane: Though it produces only half as much carbon as coal when you burn it, if you don’t — if it escapes into the air before it can be captured in a pipeline, or anywhere else along its route to a power plant or your stove — then it traps heat in the atmosphere much more efficiently than CO2. Howarth and Ingraffea began producing a series of papers claiming that if even a small percentage of the methane leaked — maybe as little as 3 percent — then fracked gas would do more climate damage than coal. And their preliminary data showed that leak rates could be at least that high: that somewhere between 3.6 and 7.9 percent of methane gas from shale-drilling operations actually escapes into the atmosphere.
If the Harvard data hold up and we keep on fracking, it will be nearly impossible for the United States to meet its promised goal of a 26 to 28 percent reduction in greenhouse gases from 2005 levels by 2025.
…A Canadian government team examined the whole process a couple of years ago and came up with despairing conclusions. Consider the cement seals around drill pipes, says Harvard’s Naomi Oreskes…. The technical problem is that when you pour cement into a well and it solidifies, it shrinks. You can get gaps in the cement. All wells leak.”
With that in mind, the other conclusion from the new data is even more obvious: We need to stop the fracking industry in its tracks, here and abroad. Even with optimistic numbers for all the plausible leaks fixed, Howarth says, methane emissions will keep rising if we keep fracking.
So, thank God, now that we know there’s a problem, we could warn the rest of the planet before it goes down the same path.
Except we’ve been doing exactly the opposite. We’ve become the planet’s salesman for natural gas — and a key player in this scheme could become the next president of the United States. When Hillary Clinton took over the State Department, she set up a special arm, the Bureau of Energy Resources, after close consultation with oil and gas executives. This bureau, with 63 employees, was soon helping sponsor conferences around the world. And much more: Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks show that the secretary of state was essentially acting as a broker for the shale-gas industry, twisting the arms of world leaders to make sure US firms got to frack at will.
To take just one example, an article in Mother Jones based on the WikiLeaks cables reveals what happened when fracking came to Bulgaria. In 2011, the country signed a $68 million deal with Chevron, granting the company millions of acres in shale-gas concessions. The Bulgarian public wasn’t happy: Tens of thousands were in the streets of Sofia with banners reading Stop Fracking With Our Water. But when Clinton came for a state visit in 2012, she sided with Chevron (one of whose executives had bundled large sums for her presidential campaign in 2008). In fact, the leaked cables show that the main topic of her meetings with Bulgaria’s leaders was fracking. Clinton offered to fly in the “best specialists on these new technologies to present the benefits to the Bulgarian people,” and she dispatched her Eurasian energy envoy, Richard Morningstar, to lobby hard against a fracking ban in neighboring Romania. Eventually, they won those battles — and today, the State Department provides “assistance” with fracking to dozens of countries around the world, from Cambodia to Papua New Guinea.
There are a few promising signs. Clinton has at least tempered her enthusiasm for fracking some in recent debates, listing a series of preconditions she’d insist on before new projects were approved; Bernie Sanders, by contrast, has called for a moratorium on new fracking. But Clinton continues to conflate and confuse the chemistry: Natural gas, she said in a recent position paper, has helped US carbon emissions “reach their lowest level in 20 years.” It appears that many in power would like to carry on the fracking revolution, albeit a tad more carefully.
…[F]ossil fuels are the problem in global warming — and fossil fuels don’t come in good and bad flavors. Coal and oil and natural gas have to be left in the ground. All of them. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
The global LNG boom is turning into a war of attrition amid a glut in the seaborne natural gas market.
The conflict reaching from Australia to Qatar to the U.S. claimed a major casualty this week when Woodside Petroleum Ltd., with partners Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc, scrapped plans for the $40 billion Browse liquefied natural gas project in Australia amid the market slump. More cancellations or delays are expected as current supply kills any incentive to invest, according to BMI Research. Regulators this month rejected Veresen Inc.’s request to build a terminal in Oregon partly because it couldn’t prove there was enough demand.
“The current pricing environment is simply killing off the weaker ones and Browse was definitely one of those,” said Madeline Jowdy, senior director of global gas and LNG at PIRA in New York. “It’s going to look like a bloodbath in the 2017 and 2018 timeframe with cutthroat LNG prices.”
Just two years ago, exporting LNG from the U.S. sounded like a lucrative opportunity for shale drillers. Buyers in Northeast Asia were paying up to $20 per million British thermal units more than spot Henry Hub gas prices. That premium has collapsed, this week trading around $2.70. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Turkey has for the first time imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the US in 2016, said the message from Turkey’s Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA).
The country has imported 83 million cubic meters of LNG, which accounts for 7.15 percent of the country's LNG consumption.
Former NASA scientist James Hansen argues the new study requires much faster action reducing greenhouse gases.
Leading climate scientist James Hansen used a study published Tuesday to continue to hammer home the warning that humanity is nearing "the point of no return" when it comes to reversing or even mitigating the adverse effects of climate change.
The conclusion that deep cuts in net emissions of carbon dioxide are required to avoid a global calamity is "a scientific conclusion," he said. "It's not advocacy. It's telling you what is needed."
Hansen, the former director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and currently the director of the Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions program at Columbia University Earth Institute, has been one of the foremost voices urging rapid and comprehensive action to slow greenhouse gas emissions. Hansen, 74, developed one of the world's first climate models 35 years ago and has produced prediction after prediction about rising global warming that proved to be correct.
"This is a tragic situation—because it is unnecessary. We could already be phasing out fossil fuel emissions if only we stopped allowing the fossil fuel industry to use the atmosphere as a free dumping ground for their waste," Hansen said in a video accompanying the study's publication, repeating previous statements he's made on instituting a carbon tax.
… He and 21 young people between the ages of 8 and 19 are currently suing the federal government for promoting "the use of fossil fuels, thus increasing the concentration of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere to unsafe levels and creating the dangerous climate change and ocean acidification that we face today." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
2016 March 21
An outfit calling itself Steelhead LNG, financially backed by Calgary private equity fund Azimuth Capital Management, until recently known as Kern Partners Ltd., in partnership with the Malahat Nation are proposing to install a half-kilometer long floating natural gas liquification facility.
But that still leaves our local CVRD government. The current zoning while for heavy industry does not include use for an LNG facility, so there would have to be a rezoning process to go through.
Let’s take a look at what page 110 of the South Cowichan Official Community Plan states on this issue, and let’s remember that the OCP is the law for that area of the CVRD:
“Policy 16.5: New industries considered hazardous due to the transport, handling, bulk storage, or use of liquefied natural gas, radioactive or other dangerous or toxic materials will not be permitted to locate within the Plan area.”
The South Cowichan OCP Prohibits LNG Facilities In Bamberton. Chair Jon Lefebure , Brian Carruthers and Planning GM Ross Blackwell should Read the Official Community Plan. [Colored emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: A municipality in British Columbia has done what Save Passamaquoddy Bay has advised Campobello Island and St. Andrews to do — enact a municipal bylaw outlawing LNG, or hazardous substances with large foreign or domestic federally-defined hazard zones. Doing so would effectively outlaw LNG ship transits that would extend hazard zones over residences on Campobello Island and in St. Andrews. It would mean that Downeast LNG would be conspiring to violate the law, and FERC would be aiding and abetting that conspiracy.
That could cause FERC to immediately dismiss Downeast LNG. But, Campobello and St. Andrews mayors and councils refuse to do it. The St. Andrews mayor has even wrongly claimed that such a bylaw requires Provincial approval. It does not. St. Andrews is blindly following advice to do nothing from the Province's Washington, DC, energy industry-connected lawyers.
In the meantime, all of us — including citizens of Campobello Island and St. Andrews — worry about what may happen to our safety, economy, and environment while Campobello Island and St. Andrews councils sit idly by, twiddling their thumbs. Kill Downeast LNG now — don't wait until its on its feet and is too late!
[Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna] has granted the federal environmental review agency an extra three months to review pollution-prevention plans for the proposed $36-billion Pacific NorthWest LNG export facility in northern B.C.
McKenna says in a statement today she wants to give the project developers, who are backed by Malaysian state-owned energy giant Petronas, more time to clarify its pollution-reduction and construction plans before she presents the project to the federal cabinet for approval.
Webmaster's comment: Environment Minister McKenna's apparent statement mentioned above is less forthcoming than reasons provided in the article "Fish habitat worries stalls [sic] approval…", below.
Company recently told environmental agency that some of its proposed conditions were not feasible
A federal review of the $12-billion Pacific NorthWest LNG facility in northwest B.C. has been granted a three-month extension.
The extension was granted by federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna at the request of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency which has continuing concerns about the project’s effect on fish habitat.
In a statement this weekend, the agency said it received new information recently from the company, which contains additional details about the project and changes to its construction schedule and methods. The agency said Pacific NorthWest LNG indicated that some key potential mitigation conditions suggested by the agency to avoid or reduce significant environmental harm to fish and marine mammals were not feasible.
The delay is another blow to the project’s consortium led by Malaysian state-controlled Petronas. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
PORT EDWARD - The District of Port Edward submitted a letter offering their full support of the Pacific NorthWest LNG project.
The letter adds that many people in Port Edward enjoy boating, fishing, and benefitting from the Skeena River salmon population. The district is satisfied with the “extensive studies that PNW LNG has conducted” and the CEAA’s review of the project.
Webmaster's comment: Port Edward councillors apparently aren't aware of the CEAA's environmental concerns that have just set the project back.
Historically, the United States has been the main buyer of Canada's oil, natural gas, propane and other petroleum goods. In the last five years, this relationship, symbiotic for so long, has seen profound changes as commodity prices have fallen and U.S. production has undergone a dramatic reversal of fortune because of the emergence of prolific shale oil and gas plays.
…Several Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) facilities are proposed for British Columbia's coast, but there is considerable uncertainty whether any of them will be built. If they aren't, there is little doubt Canada's natural gas industry will suffer, especially as the U.S. market dries up.
The notion that the industry could collapse without LNG isn't new. Industry representatives have expressed a similar sentiment in the past, although the sense of urgency now is noteworthy. Natural gas prices are free falling, and there is little movement on the LNG front in B.C.
Last month, Shell postponed a decision on its proposed plant in Kitimat, B.C. A few weeks later, AltaGas shelved development of its Douglas Channel LNG plant near Kitimat because of poor economic conditions and worsening global energy prices.
While Canada's gas industry fully supports construction of LNG export plants on the west coast, there are concerns about the environmental impact of such facilities.
For instance, the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG project could become the largest carbon polluter in Canada if upstream emissions are taken into consideration, according to the Pembina Institute, an environmental think tank. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
At last week’s meeting, the board of directors released a statement saying it’s aware of its responsibilities to give “appropriate consideration” to all land-use applications to the district in accordance to the Local Government Act.
The statement comes after the board unanimously voted at its meeting on Feb. 10 that it wants no part of the $37.5-million proposal to build an LNG facility in Mill Bay, or any other LNG proposal in the district.
Director Lori Iannidinardo introduced that motion after reviewing chatter on social media regarding plans by the Malahat Nation and Vancouver-based Steelhead LNG to develop an LNG facility at the Mill Bay site.
Low gas prices, which would typically depress production, have not had that effect. "Marcellus and Utica natural gas production, the primary source of all new U.S. production, reached record levels in 2015," FERC noted in its report.
LNG exports could add some demand to the mix, but it is unclear what the long-term price implications will be. "Staff estimates that exports could reach 8.5 Bcfd by 2020, once all of the six terminals where construction has begun or which have secured funding, are completed," the report found.
2016 March 19
Local environmentalists said global market conditions and the FERC denial now cast doubt on proposals by Texas LNG, Annova LNG and Rio Grande LNG to build a pipeline from the Eagle Ford Shale to feed export terminals in the Port of Brownsville.
The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority Interior Energy Project team evaluating proposals for providing a liquefied natural gas supply for Fairbanks favors a plan by Salix Inc. to build an LNG plant in the Cook Inlet region, the team told the AIDEA board today. LNG would likely be transported to Fairbanks by truck, although shipment on the Alaska Railroad is also a possibility.
The U.S. Department of Energy has renewed authorization for liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from the North Kenai ConocoPhillips facility, reports Reuters.
The approval is to export about 40 billion cubic feet of natural gas from its Kenai LNG export terminal in Alaska over the next two years starting Feb. 19.
The federal minister of environment and climate change has approved the environmental assessment of a controversial LNG project near Squamish, B.C.
The Squamish mayor and residents of the coastal town have repeatedly voiced their concerns and opposition to the proposed Woodfibre LNG project, which is expected to produce and export up to 2.1 million tonnes of LNG per year.
That certificate includes 25 conditions meant to mitigate the negative impacts construction and operation of the plant will have on things like marine life and water quality.
Webmaster's comment: Woodfibre LNG fails to meet the LNG industry's own terminal siting best practices (SIGTTO).
The Office of the Wet'suwet'en have submitted a 38-page opposition letter to the CEAA regarding the Pacific NorthWest LNG project "on behalf of all past and present Wet'suwet'en."
It cites the negative effect the Office believes it would have on fish that migrate through Wet'suwet'en territory. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
New debate is raging over whether the project's hefty greenhouse gas emissions can be justified. Opponents say green-lighting the Prince Rupert-based plant will make it impossible for B.C. and Canada to meet emissions reduction targets. But supporters say "clean burning" B.C. gas will offset oil and coal in Asian nations, making Pacific NorthWest a benefit for the global climate.
Running the plant itself would add another 5.28 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year to the atmosphere—an 8.5% increase in total provincial emissions. The majority of Pacific NorthWest's B.C.-based emissions—between 6.5 and 8.7 million tonnes of CO2 per year, or 10 to 14% of the provincial total—would happen in Northeast B.C., where the gas will be sourced. B.C. and federal government reviews of the project have cited emissions as a "significant adverse environmental effect."
The federal Liberal government faces the first big test of its high-ambition climate pledge as it readies a decision on whether to approve the Pacific NorthWest LNG project – which would rank as one of the largest single sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the country.
Environmentalists are urging Ottawa to reject the liquefied natural gas project – led by Malaysia’s state-owned energy giant Petronas – on the grounds that it is inconsistent with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise of climate leadership.
The Liberals have pledged to be world leaders in reducing climate change, even as they talk about the importance of building new infrastructure to get Canada’s crude oil and natural gas to overseas markets and lessen industry’s dependence on one customer, the United States. During a high-profile visit to New York on Thursday, Mr. Trudeau said Canada will play a leadership role on climate change, despite the challenges such an effort will entail.
In a draft review released last month, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency noted that the proposed LNG plant in Prince Rupert, B.C., would be the third-largest GHG emitter in Canada’s oil and gas industry. The plant itself would emit 5.8 megatonnes a year, while upstream emissions associated with extraction of natural gas to feed the plant would be between 6.5 and 8.7 megatonnes. Together, that represents nearly 20 per cent of the province’s total GHG emissions in 2013. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
CALGARY - Malaysia’s Petronas is frustrated that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s climate-change priorities are introducing new uncertainty for its proposed $36 billion Pacific NorthWest LNG project in northern British Columbia and has threatened to walk away if it doesn’t get federal approval by March 31, according to a source close to the project.
…[T]he new federal Liberal government is toughening up environmental reviews of major energy projects to regain “public trust” and as it strives to meet international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“They have given Trudeau to March 31 to either approve it as it stands now or they are going to leave,” the source told the Financial Post. “They started off with the Conservatives, and the (environmental) standards are very high. They said OK we will meet those standards and they did in all the engineering and design of the project. This last greenhouse gas thing that Trudeau came up with really threw them for a loop.”
Webmaster's comment: The best thing that could happen would be for Petronas to pack up and leave.
OTTAWA — The federal government has officially slapped a definition on “upstream emissions,” which are now being factored into all environmental reviews for major oil and gas projects.
“’Upstream’ includes all industrial activities from the point of resource extraction to the project under review,” the government said in a notice of the proposed regulations issued Friday in the Canada Gazette.
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr announced in late January the federal government would overhaul how it examines major energy projects, in order to put more focus on greenhouse gas emissions — including the assessment of so-called upstream emissions created by extracting or producing petroleum. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: This is exactly what the US should be doing, but FERC refuses.
More than 30 groups representing consumer advocates and environmental organizations have filed a petition asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to create an office of public participation.
In 1978 Congress directed FERC to create the office, but it never happened.
Tyson Slocum is Energy Program Director at Public Citizen, a Washington D.C. group that filed the petition. He says when it comes to FERC, the deck is stacked against the public interest.
If FERC sides with the petitioners, the 1978 statute provides for what’s known as “intervenor compensation.” It allows entities that substantially contribute to a proceeding to receive payment to cover their legal costs for intervening. The state of California has a similar program. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
ResistAIM Confronts FERC Commissioners for ignoring Governor Cuomo’s request to halt construction on Spectra’s AIM Pipeline.
Washington, DC On Thursday March, 17, 2016 at 11:05 AM, ResistAIM Pipeline, a group of concerned New York State (NYS) residents, led by Nancy Vann – a Peekskill landowner whose property was taken by Spectra for pipeline construction – stood up in the monthly public meeting of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to ask the commissioners why they have ignored NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo’s urgent request to immediately halt construction on Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project. Governor Cuomo directed four NYS agencies to conduct an independent safety assessment of the AIM Pipeline and its proximity to Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. The Governor told the New York Times, “The safety of New Yorkers is the first responsibility of state government when making any decision.”
As Spectra fast-tracks construction of the pipeline, municipalities and organizations from Boston to New York are preparing to take FERC to Federal Court to challenge the pipeline approval. Despite these numerous outstanding legal challenges, the ongoing New York State risk assessment, and Governor Cuomo’s request to halt construction, Federal law allows Spectra to proceed with construction, leaving impacted communities no recourse to address their concerns while faced with imminent harm from pipeline construction and operations. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: FERC is facing growing public unrest against its applicant pandering.
Europe has often been touted as a natural home for American LNG given the EU’s concerns about energy security and its dependence on pipeline flows from Russia. However, the fall in oil and gas prices has made US LNG unattractive to European buyers. Significantly, the first cargo from Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass plant was sold to Brazil, and future shipments look set to head to Turkey, South America, the Middle East and Asia. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
2016 March 16
Company failed to find outside investors in multibillion-dollar project
Repsol Canada spokesman Brent Anderson told CBC News after a long review that included preliminary permitting applications with the National Energy Board, the company has been unable to find outside investors and has concluded the conversion is not currently economical.
"We've placed that on hold," said Anderson. "The current market conditions and project challenges make it unattractive for third parties and off-takers [customers] to join the project."
The conversion, which was estimated to cost between $2 billion and $4 billion to reverse the Canaport facility from importing liquified natural gas (LNG) to one that would manufacture and export LNG instead, had wide political support in New Brunswick, where the economy has been struggling.
Canaport LNG is a partnership between the Spanish Energy company Repsol and Irving Oil Ltd., and has been operating at a fraction of its designed capacity. Built to unload two LNG ships a week, Port of Saint John records show only three arrived this winter, one in December, two in January and none in February. As 75 per cent owner, Repsol has been investigating ways to make the facility more viable. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
2016 March 14
While the outlook for the North American liquefied natural gas (LNG) export business dims with every ratchet down in the price of oil and natural gas, sponsors of three proposed export terminals in Nova Scotia are convinced that when the turnaround comes, their straight shot across the Atlantic will give them an edge.
They would have a combined capacity of more than 30 million tonnes annually and would be located near the interconnection of the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline (M&NE) and a gas line making land from the province’s offshore.
Pieridae and a second project, Bear Head LNG, both have received U.S. Department of Energy approval to export American natural gas to both free trade and non-free trade agreement countries.
A third project, by H-Energy, a division of Mumbai based Hiranandani Group, is proposing a 13.5 million tonne per year capacity terminal for Melford, on the Strait of Canso (see Daily GPI, Dec. 31, 2015).
Why Nova Scotia? If you track the shipping lanes, sponsors point out, it’s a shorter haul from Nova Scotia, through the Suez Canal to India than it is from either the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) or from British Columbia.
But not everyone sees a rosy future for exports from the Nova Scotia coast.
When the first LNG tanker sailed out of Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass GOM export terminal on Feb. 24, headed for Brazil (see Daily GPI, Feb. 24), “the odds got a lot longer for Nova Scotia becoming home to an LNG export terminal,” said Ontario based energy analyst Tom Adams.
Enter the M&NE pipeline, which was completed in 1999 to carry natural gas from Nova Scotia’s offshore south and west to American consumers. Now some capacity is being used to carry gas north from the increasingly productive Marcellus and Utica shale formations in the United States.
“We actually have been reversing the pipeline as needed for several years,” said Steve Rankin, M&NE director of external relations.
The company is also expanding the pipeline’s capacity to reduce bottlenecks and prepare to meet the growing demand to the north. However, those expansions couldn't handle the demands of even one of the three LNG export terminals proposed for Nova Scotia. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: There is no mention of Dean Girdis's two LNG projects in Nova Scotia, under the moniker LNG Nova Scotia, once again demonstrating how Girdis operates waaaaay behind the market curve.
Solomons Island, MD — In protest of the construction of Dominion’s liquefied natural gas export terminal, dozens of activists and community members held a rally on March 13 on the boardwalk at Solomons Island that was accompanied by a flotilla of kayaks in the Patuxent River. Among those assembled were people fighting LNG export terminals in Texas and Oregon, as well as those fighting fracked gas infrastructure throughout the mid-Atlantic. The action was organized by a coalition of groups that coalesced at the recent Cove Point Spring Break camp, including We Are Cove Point, SEED, the Backbone Campaign and many others.
“We’ve been watching this situation in horror because the Cove Point project is so egregious. The fact that Dominion is willing to endanger the life and property of the surrounding community has taught those of us in other LNG frontline communities that this is being regulated by a system that is unwilling to act within the best interests of people,” added Stefanie Herweck, a resident of a community fighting multiple LNG export terminals in deep south Texas.
Around 130 people attended Cove Point Spring Break, a camp held this past week in Southern Maryland to bring together people fighting natural gas infrastructure projects. Panels included focuses on environmental justice, Pennsylvania pipelines, Virginia and West Virginia pipelines, the Cove Point terminal, and a “Connecting the Dots” panel that featured people working to stop the gas industry on each level, from fracking to pipelines to compressor stations to exports. The Backbone Campaign came from the Puget Sound in Washington to teach “kayaktivism” tactics, and other workshops covered organizing skills, action trainings and issues-based discussions. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
"Most of the contracts globally are tied to the oil price as a percentage. Typically with the decline in the oil price, we need to see some recovery before people are going to commit to long-term," said Maurice Brand, president and CEO of Magnolia LNG, a subsidiary of Australia's Liquefied Natural Gas Limited.
Nearly 250 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas were shipped around the world last year, but a recent report shows a drop in the demand for LNG but Brand is not discouraged.
"We are probably going to be the next group to receive all our approvals; we are well-placed to proceed; we are well-placed to start construction really as soon as we get all our final agreements signed off - hopefully this year. The world market is going to eat that up over time; most analysts are predicting an increase from 250 to 500 million tons over the next 30 years, so clearly growth is going to happen in the LNG industry and Lake Charles is a well place to participate in it.“ Brand added.
Webmaster's comment: Considering the LNG industry's inability to correctly predict anything, Magnolia LNG may be blissfully marching toward bankruptcy.
When Premier Christy Clark dismissed opponents of resource developments in B.C. as the “forces of no,” she singled out for specific criticism those aligned against the proposed LNG facility at Lelu Island, near Prince Rupert.
“I’m not sure what science the forces of no bring together up there except that it’s not really about the science,” she said. “It’s just about trying to say no.”
Last week, however, more than 130 Canadian and international scientists joined the no side, sending an open letter to Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna. The letter says the federal environmental assessment of the project “is scientifically flawed and represents an insufficient base for decision-making.”
Among the signatories, the forces of no counted 81 PhDs.
The “forces of no” it appears, are not uninformed rabble-rousers, but knowledgeable scientists and small-business operators.
“The project would result in 5.28 million tonnes of CO2 per year … a marked increase of greenhouse gas emissions both at the provincial (8.5 per cent increase) and national (0.75 per cent increase) level,” the CEAA draft report states. “The agency concludes that the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects as a result of greenhouse gas emissions.”
“The [greenhouse gas ] numbers are staggering,” Mr. Tollefson said of the GHG volumes tied to the LNG project. “It could be the biggest single point source emitter of greenhouse gas in the country.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
VICTORIA - More than 130 scientists have signed a letter saying federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna should reject a “flawed” environmental draft report for a proposed $36-billion liquefied natural gas plant on British Columbia's northwest coast.
However, B.C.'s Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman said the scientists reached the wrong conclusion.
The letter identified five primary flaws in the draft report including misrepresenting the importance of fish, especially salmon, in the area, disregarding science not funded by the project proponent and assuming a lack of information equates to few risks.
With no LNG projects confirmed, British Columbia's once booming gas fields are now one of the worst places in the province to find work.
"If these LNG plants don't go — at least one of them — these guys will quit drilling entirely," said Loewen. "As it is, it's almost ground to a halt."
"It's about as bad as it gets. Doom and gloom," said Art Jarvis, executive director of Energy Services BC, which speaks for 200 gas service companies.
Jarvis owns a contracting company, too. But he's had to lay off 80 per cent of his workers, and the cuts are still coming. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
The Skeena River is one of the last major intact salmon ecosystems in the world, providing more than $110 million annually in related economic benefits to northwest communities, says one of 47 fishing guides, fishing lodge owners and others connected to the angling industry here who do not want the federal government to approve Lelu Island as a site for a planned LNG plant and terminal.
But the letter from the guides and fishing lodge owners and others in the angling industry also states the economic case for not allowing projects which could hurt the second largest salmon river in the country. “My big concern is to risk all those jobs up here that can go for perpetuity,” said Rushton. “Terrace and all these communities rely on tourism and all the ecosystems that are tied into the Skeena River.”
Mark Cleveland, the head fisheries biologist at the Gitanyow Fisheries Authority and technical advisor for the Skeena Fisheries Commissions, was one of more than 130 scientists to call on the federal government to reject Lelu Island as an LNG site despite a Canadian Environmental Assessment Authority (CEAA) report which says the affect on salmon populations would be insignificant.
“It’s just pretty clear that if you get 20 times more fish in this one location than anywhere else in the Skeena estuary, it’s got huge value and it should be taken into account in any decision-making and right now they are not,” says Cleveland.
Cleveland said that the federal review ignores other important studies and relies too heavily on studies done by the company’s subcontractors. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
A worldwide glut of natural gas means it’s a lousy time to be trying to export the stuff, though proposals for liquefied natural gas exports from the Port of Brownsville are focused on the future, not the present.
Still, for exporters the short term looks bleak. AltaGas Ltd., a Canadian company, dropped plans late last month to ship liquefied natural gas from the north coast of British Columbia because it couldn’t find enough Asian buyers willing to sign long-term “off-take” contracts, according to The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Veresen Inc. ("Veresen") (TSX: VSN) has received an order from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") denying the applications of Jordan Cove LNG and Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline ("Pacific Connector") seeking authorization for the construction and operation of a liquefied natural gas ("LNG") export terminal and natural gas pipeline. Specifically, the FERC stated that the public benefits of Pacific Connector do not outweigh the potential for adverse impacts on landowners and communities.
"Clearly, we are extremely surprised and disappointed by the FERC decision," said Don Althoff, President and CEO of Veresen. "The FERC appears to be concerned that we have not yet demonstrated sufficient commercial support for the projects. We will continue to advance negotiations with customers to address this concern."
Jordan Cove LNG and Pacific Connector will file a request for a rehearing of the decision. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
2016 March 11
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission delivered a fatal blow to a plan to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Coos Bay area. On Friday, FERC denied permits for the Jordan Cove LNG Terminal and the Pacific Gas Connector pipeline proposed to run to it.
The Jordan Cove Terminal, proposed by the Canadian company Veresen, had been controversial from its introduction. It was first proposed to import natural gas from overseas sources, but plans were withdrawn and resubmitted for an export terminal when the gas-fracking boom produced a surplus of domestic gas.
Ultimately, the pipeline proved to be the undoing of the project. FERC's ruling denied the pipeline permit first, "because the record does not support a finding that the public benefits of the [pipeline] outweigh the adverse effects on landowners."
Two pages later, the ruling denies the permit for the export terminal, "because the record does not support a finding that the Jordan Cove LNG Terminal can operate to liquefy and export LNG absent the [pipeline]..." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: Hell has frozen over. This appears to be the only time FERC has ever denied a pipeline. And, this is only the second LNG terminal proposal to be denied permits by FERC — but those denials had to do with: 1) failure to comply with the US Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) Exclusion Zones around the proposed Keyspan LNG terminal in Rhode Island, and 2) the supply pipeline to Jordan Cove LNG, a pipeline projec that had obtained no evidence of demand, despite numerous requests from FERC for such evidence. In neither case was FERC concerned about the environmental impacts of the terminal projects.
Financial Post reports that executives from Veresen Inc., sponsor of the proposed Jordan Cove Energy Project LNG export terminal at Coos Bay, Ore., recently stated that the company is still looking to sign up its first customer for the LNG supplies to be produced and exported at the terminal. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: Guess what. Too late.
Today, FERC issued an order denying Jordan Cove Energy Project’s application to construct an LNG export terminal at Coos Bay, Ore. and Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline’s application to construct an interconnected pipeline. Regarding the interconnected pipeline, FERC found that “Pacific Connector has presented little or no evidence of need” for the pipeline, stating that “Pacific Connector has neither entered into any precedent agreements for its project, nor conducted an open season, which might (or might not) have resulted in ‘expressions of interest’ the company could have claimed as indicia of demand.” Regarding the LNG export terminal, FERC found that “without a source of natural gas, proposed here to be delivered by the Pacific Connector Pipeline, it will be impossible for Jordan Cove’s liquefaction facility to function” and, therefore, “the proposed Jordan Cove LNG Terminal can provide no benefit to the public to counterbalance any of the impacts which would be associated with its construction.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Federal regulators have rejected plans for a liquefied natural gas terminal in Coos Bay.
On Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission denied applications from two Delaware companies to site the massive Jordan Cove Energy Project in the Southern Oregon coastal town.
The companies in 2013 announced plans to run a 230-mile-long pipeline from Malin, a small town in Klamath County, to Coos Bay. There, liquefied natural gas from Canada and Colorado would be offloaded into massive tanks before being loaded onto ships bound for China.
In Friday's denial, the commission ruled that the drawbacks of the proposed pipeline would outweigh its public benefits. Specifically, the commission noted, the pipeline would have "adverse effects on landowners."
Building the pipeline would affect nearly 160 miles of private lands and 630 landowners, the commission found. Multiple landowners have voiced worry about losing property value and business productivity to the pipeline, and the commission worried some lands would need to be acquired through eminent domain.
Friday's rejection came with a caveat: The two companies are free to reapply in the future and the commission would consider their plans if they can demonstrate "a market need" for their product.
A proposal for a separate LNG terminal at the mouth of the Columbia River met a major stumbling block last week, when a lawyer for the city of Warrenton denied the Oregon LNG company's application for a permit to build the facility.
FERC’s PennEast Pipeline Review and Approval Process Violating Constitutional Due Process
BRISTOL, PA – The Delaware Riverkeeper Network filed a lawsuit March 2 against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Filed with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, the suit holds that FERC’s review and approval process for jurisdictional pipeline projects is infected by structural bias, violating Due Process rights in violation of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. DRN seeks changes to FERC’s funding structure, as well as other fundamental changes to the agency, to make it accountable and consistent with democratic governance.
FERC is unique among the 26 agencies of the federal government in its financial structure--it recovers the full cost of its operations through charges and fees assessed on the industries it regulates. “Because FERC gets its funding from the big companies it is supposed to be monitoring, it has become, perhaps inevitably, a corrupt, rogue agency,” says Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. “That’s why FERC has approved 100 percent of pipeline projects—literally every single one of them—that it has considered since 1986.”
Due process requires that an adjudicative agency be neutral in its decision-making process, the suit argues. Moreover, the Constitution not only mandates that adjudicative proceedings be free of actual bias--the Constitution also forbids the mere appearance of bias in adjudications. Since FERC is responsible for approving projects to generate all of its budgetary income, with the natural gas pipeline program being a substantial portion of its overall budget, FERC faces a conflict of interest, resulting in bias toward approving natural gas pipeline projects and impermissibly favoring pipeline company interests.
DRN is seeking a declaration that FERC engages in a biased process, one which deprives DRN and its members of its aesthetic, recreational, liberty, and/or property interests without Due Process and causes irreparable harm. Additionally, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network seeks a declaration that FERC’s reimbursement funding structure is unconstitutional; a declaration that FERC’s ability to grant the power of eminent domain is unconstitutional; and/or a declaration that FERC’s authority to preempt local and state laws with regards to natural gas pipelines is unconstitutional. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: Save Passamaquoddy Bay is a partner with Delaware Riverkeeper Network in correcting wrongs committed by FERC.
Many local landowners who've resisted eminent domain power handed to the Constitution Pipeline company have been left angry not only with the natural gas industry but also with the federal agency that regulates interstate transmission projects.
…[T]he Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's process for reviewing and approving pipeline projects is facing a federal lawsuit that aims to establish what pipeline foes say would be a more-level playing field in how such applications are evaluated.
The lawsuit, filed by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, argues that FERC is too intertwined with the industry it regulates to make it capable of making fair decisions, and is infected with so much structural bias that the constitutional right of due process is being violated.
"Whenever a pipeline project is proposed, unless the company itself pulls it back, FERC approval is a foregone conclusion," [Maya van Rossum, the leader of Delaware Riverkeeper Network] told The Daily Star on Monday.
She said FERC benefits from the industry it regulates, and has evolved into a "corrupt, rogue agency" as it derives it funding from the industry it regulates.
The lawsuit was filed last week in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.
Arguments of due process violation by FERC are also at the center of litigation brought by Stop the Pipeline, a local grassroots organization seeking to derail the Constitution Pipeline, in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
Anne Marie Garti, an environmental lawyer from East Meredith who helped prepare the lawsuit for the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic, said FERC "has not been letting people challenge the validity of the FERC certificate (for Constitution) while the pipeline company has been taking people's land. That is a huge due-process violation."
On Monday, the Second Circuit consolidated the lawsuit brought by Pace with one brought by Earthjustice on behalf of Catskill Mountainkeeper, which has made similar allegations about the FERC process.
Meanwhile, some 30 groups are pressing FERC to establish and fund an Office of Public Participation. The groups point out that while state utility commissions often fund advocates representing the interests of consumers, there is no such counterpart at FERC. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: FERC's world of unfettered pandering for Big Energy is beginning to collapse.
2016 March 2
Downeast LNG, that is proposing to build an LNG export terminal in Robbinston, Maine, filed a request with FERC seeking the commission to continue hold on the review in abeyance until June 1, 2016.
The United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission started the pre-filing review in August 2014 and was expecting Downeast LNG to file its formal application and final resource reports for the project in early 2016. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: All is not well at Downeast LNG.
Houston-based Cheniere Energy has exported the first shipment of LNG from the US, through the Sabine Pass LNG Terminal on the Gulf of Mexico.
TC Offshore LLC has filed an application with FERC to abandon, by sale to Avocet LNG, LLC (Avocet), its Grand Chenier System located offshore and onshore Louisiana for use by Avocet as part of a proposed Deepwater Port LNG export project. According to the application, Avocet’s proposed project would involve a mooring system to be built in federal waters near the terminus points of the Grand Chenier System and floating liquefaction natural gas vessels (FLNGVs) located at the moorings. Once acquired by Avocet, the natural gas flow on the Grand Chenier System facilities would be reversed to a southerly direction to the offshore mooring sites and the FLNGVs, where the gas would be liquefied, stored, and ultimately loaded onto carriers for export. Avocet is owned by Fairwood Peninsula Energy, which is also the parent company of Delfin LNG LLC, sponsor of a Deepwater Port LNG export project for offshore Louisiana.
Work has ceased on the Douglas Channel LNG project, located near Kitimat, British Columbia, due to ongoing poor market conditions, Kallanish Energy learns.
“The worsening global energy price levels and a challenging market environment have caused the consortium to withdraw from the project,” the group said. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Company says decision due to poor economic conditions and worsening global energy prices.
In another blow to B.C.'s nascent liquefied natural gas industry, AltaGas Ltd. is shelving the development of its Douglas Channel LNG plant near Kitimat.
The announcement comes just weeks after Shell Canada announced it was postponing its final investment decision (FID) on their huge LNG terminal proposal in Kitimat until the end of the year.
The Douglas Channel project is one of the smallest of the more than 20 proposed LNG projects in Canada with the potential to export about 2.4 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year, compared with 33 billion cubic metres for Shell's LNG Canada project.
The Saanich Peninsula First Nations are promising a battle on the land, the sea and in the courtroom if Steelhead LNG plans to go ahead with a liquefied natural gas plant on the former Bamberton development lands.
Standing on Tsartlip First Nation land looking across Saanich Inlet at the site of the former cement factory where Steelhead envisions its project, the chiefs of the Saanich Peninsula nations — Tsartlip, Tsawout, Tseycum and Pauquachin, known collectively as WSANEC — made it clear they are united in opposition.
“They can keep raising the ante, but this land and water is not for sale and we are not about to jeopardize the future of our environment.”
Skeena-Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen thinks there’s a deal to be made which could end the opposition and controversy surrounding the proposed Lelu Island location for the planned PacificNorthwest LNG project. That change would be for the company to move to another location.
Cullen even has another location in mind – the one on Ridley Island selected by the BG Group for its Prince Rupert LNG project.
Cullen did caution that any shift in Pacific NorthWest LNG location would require a complete environmental review, and he noted that companies cannot be compelled to undertake massive shifts in project plans.
MLA Jordan Sturdy distanced the B.C. government from the liquefied natural gas industry in a speech Friday.
“There is some perception that this government has been about all LNG, all the time,” he told about 50 people at a Squamish Chamber of Commerce lunch at the Squamish Adventure Centre. “That is not the case. Yes, British Columbia is interested in developing an LNG export industry, but ultimately it comes down to a private-sector investment decision.”
Fort St. John residents turned up in droves over the weekend to add their signatures to a letter calling on the federal government to approve the Pacific NorthWest LNG project.
Earlier this summer, project-leader Petronas and its partners sanctioned the $36-billion project near Prince Rupert on two conditions: approval from British Columbia's legislature, considered a formality, and the granting of an environmental certificate from the federal government. The project has already received the approval and necessary legislation to proceed from the province, and awaits a decision from the federal government.
Yu, a former technician who programmed two-way radios for the oilpatch and was laid off in January, began his efforts in December, which has since ballooned to a group of more than 1,300 supporters on Facebook. Yu wants to combat what he says is "well-funded and well-organized" opposition to natural gas pipelines and LNG facilities, pointing to a trio of Russian scientists who were in B.C. earlier this month to lend their support to opponents of the Petronas project.
All but one speaker oppose Woodfibre proposal; 8,000 sign petition against project
The space holds about 180 people, but so many showed up that organizers had to open up the stage and bring in chairs. Still more people stood in the halls near the door to hear the discussion, bringing the total to roughly 300 people.
The meeting was hosted by MP Pam Goldsmith-Jones as part of the federal government’s environmental assessment process. It was the first of three meetings around the riding, with others in the following days in West Vancouver and Gibsons.
…The opponents covered a range of reasons, including fracking safety and emissions, the threats to recovering sea life in Howe Sound, a lack of economic benefits to provincial and local governments as well as communities, the shift of benefits to Indonesia and owner Sukano Tanato, his business practices, concern about compressor stations and the need to protect the natural assets of the Sea to Sky Corridor.
“We’ve managed to get over 8,000 signatures on the Howe Sound petition,” Saxby said.
Canadian natural gas prices could plunge below $1 per thousand cubic feet by the end of March as a lukewarm winter and record gas storage conspire to bring prices down.
AECO, the Alberta benchmark natural gas prices, stood at $1.24 per mcf Wednesday, its lowest level in 18 years, as gas storage exceeded five-year average. AECO prices last fell below $1 on June 30, 1995, Bloomberg data shows.
Canadian natural gas prices are falling in tandem with U.S. Henry Hub benchmark that is at levels last seen in the previous century. The U.S. benchmark was trading at US$1.68 per mcf on Wednesday.
The first U.S. liquefied natural gas export ship set sail last month, but it will not be enough to absorb a record 2.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas storage — 50 per cent higher than its five-year average. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Chided by legislators over rule-making delays Tuesday, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration chief said the agency expects to finalize its rule governing hazardous liquids some time this year, and roll out a notice of proposed rule-making on gas transmission lines within weeks. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: PHMSA is the same agency that regulates LNG terminal vapor dispersion and thermal radiation hazards.
Natural gas prices have crashed to 17-year-lows in the past week, underscoring burgeoning supply in the global market just as U.S. exports its first ever shale gas cargo.
The decline brought February losses in natural gas to 26 percent. Prices recovered on Tuesday but the outlook remains depressed.
In an oversupplied market, BMI Research expects LNG contracts to evolve toward a cargo-by-cargo contract model rather than one based on traditional contracts spanning 15-20 years that require minimum delivery volumes yearly.
The first U.S. LNG cargo from Sabine Pass to Brazil's Petrobas on February 24 underscores that point as it was sold on a spot basis to Brazil's Petrobas even though the facility operated by Cheniere Energy was expected to be exporting long-term contracted cargoes. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]