"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
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30 April 2007
"We are in the business of permitting (piers)," said [John Hughes, Delaware Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources]. "In my read, I can't issue a Delaware permit because the future use of the dock is bulk transport which is not permitted under the Delaware Coastal Zone Act."
AES Corp., the Arlington, Va.-based developer of the $400 million project, will need to quantify how the gas imports would lower customers' bills if they hope to sway the governor, according to a spokesman.
Wholesale natural gas prices nearly doubled between 2001 and 2005, according to the Energy Information Administration, hitting $7.33 for a thousand cubic feet at the wellhead. By the time that gas reaches residential customers, its price has risen to nearly $13.
Along with Maryland Reps. Dutch Ruppersberger D-Baltimore County and Elijah Cummings, D-Howard County, Mr. Sarbanes proposed legislation to allow state and local governments to veto new liquefied natural gas facilities in their backyards, overruling the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. [Red emphasis added.] (Apr 28)
Maryland Second District Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger is the U.S. House co-sponsor sponsor of legislation that would give state and local officials the final say over approval of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, similar to the one proposed for the Dundalk area.
WASHINGTON -- Workers in Georgia are expected to turn a valve in early May that will send up to 220 million cubic feet of natural gas per day through a new 167-mile pipeline to the power-hungry state of Florida.
The big question is whether reliance on imported LNG will keep prices high or even raise them further. [Red emphasis added.] (Apr 29)
Webmaster's Comments: Contrary to the issue addressed in the above story, LNG proponents frequently advocate that imported LNG will lower the price of natural gas, or keep it lower.
The LNG ships are expected to arrive at the terminal, which is yet to be approved by federal officials, about twice each week. And, although the Coast Guard won't say what kind of armaments the escorts would include, it has been known to use small vessels mounted with M-60 machine guns on the river. (Apr 27)
Citing investor concerns over new coal-based power plants, [U.S. Energy Information Administrator Guy Caruso] suggested that stricter penalties for carbon emissions could benefit LNG importers, but that clean-coal technology or high gas prices could lessen the advantages of LNG.
"It is easy to dismiss the concerns of elected officials and the general public as Nimbyism (not in my backyard) or Bananaism (build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything). However, to do so contributes to the lack of dialogue between the industry and the community and ensures that there will be no public acceptance of a project." [Red emphasis added.] (Apr 27)
Webmaster's Comments: The LNG industry's own standards (as published by SIGTTO) for dozens of reasons recommend against siting terminals under the conditions present in Passamaquoddy Bay. Calling opposition to LNG in Passamaquoddy Bay "NIMBYism" is condemning the LNG industry, itself.
Algiers: Algeria, a main liquefied natural gas (LNG) source for Europe and the United States, will expand its output capacity to be a top LNG exporter by 2011, its Energy Minister Chakib Khelil told state radio yesterday.
It takes a decade to train a skilled LNG operator and trainers are also in short supply, he said. [Red emphasis added.] (Apr 29)
27 April 2007
Fundy North Fishermen's Association and Fundy Weir Fishermen's Association, both from Southwest New Brunswick, have teamed up to intervene in the State of Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) hearings on the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in Passamaquoddy Bay.
"The supply situation is having an effect on the whole industry. It’s a question of timing," Mr. Bonini said in an interview after a meeting with ExxonMobil officials in Barcelona at a global LNG conference.
A global LNG expert told the conference that the outlook appears to be bleak for new projects trying to find a gas supply. [Red emphasis added.] (Apr 26)
Gov. Martin O'Malley said the state's billion-dollar economic engine at the port of Baltimore would be crippled if anything went wrong at a proposed liquefied natural gas facility on Sparrows Point. Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. predicted that local emergency responders could not begin to evacuate residents and workers or fight a fire at the plant. (Apr 24)
Cheniere Marketing and GDF Trading will be entitled to sell one cargo per month to the other party on an ex-ship basis at the at the Isle of Grain LNG terminal, located in the U.K., and the Cheniere Sabine Pass LNG terminal located in the US Gulf of Mexico, respectively. The agreements have a term of 15 years….
Gov. Sarah Palin supports letting Conoco Phillips and Marathon export liquefied natural gas from their plant on the Kenai Peninsula for another two years, provided they set aside enough natural gas to supply Southcentral consumers.
The LNG plant is a huge consumer of Cook Inlet's natural gas supply, taking more than one-third of the annual production, or as much as is used to create electricity and heat Southcentral homes and businesses combined. [Red and bold emphasis added.] (Apr 24)
Webmaster's Comments: This demonstrates only some of the fuel-inefficiencies of relying on LNG, as compared to plain natural gas.
Barcelona, 26 April 2007 James A MacHardy, Secretary General [sic] of the Society of International Gas Tankers and Terminal Operators (SIGTTO), began the third day of LNG15 with an analysis of the current state-ofplay of LNG transport and terminals. SIGTTO is made up of 159 members who between them account for 95% of the world’s LNG transport and terminals.
The biggest problem for projects that are just beginning or being expanded is finding qualified seafarers. [Red & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's Comments: "SIGTTO" was consistently misspelled in the news release, and has been corrected in the citations above.
SIGTTO General Manager MacHardy sent a letter in 2004 to FERC, offering assistance regarding LNG safety. There has been no indication that FERC has accepted the SIGTTO offer.
Encouraging people to join and stay in the LNG shipping trade has become one of the most acute problems facing the industry, James MacHardy, general manager of the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators, said yesterday.
…he warned that “we are witnessing an increasing number of minor incidents.” He put that down, in part, to a lack of trained personnel and called for companies and organisations that undertake training to be regulated.
With some vessels approaching the 40-year age mark seven LNG tankers are over 35 years old the industry “needs to start preparing the public for acceptance of LNG carriers beyond 40 years”. [Bold red emphasis added.] (PDF, 704 KB)
[Phani Raj of Technology Management Systems, Inc.] urged the industry to "make every effort to convince the public" that LNG is comparable to the gasoline that the public uses and relies on every day.
In short, medium, and long-term, natural gas supply adequacy remains in doubt and will constrain growth of LNG. [Red emphasis added.] (Apr 24)
26 April 2007
What is constant is that Split Rock is a cultural and ceremonial gathering ground, which makes it indeed relevant to "the general background" of the land we are as much a part of the land as we are the "heartland" waters that have sustained us. [Red emphasis added.] (Apr 25)
Within the reality that each of us now face global climate change our work is even more critical for creating justice for Indigenous people facing environmental and cultural destruction. For us, environmental racism is DownEast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG both vying to control our inherent wealth our holy waterscapes our sense of place our dignity our heartland simply because the Governor of Maine thinks it's best. [Red emphasis added.] (Apr 10)
Protesters at Pleasant Point carried signs reading "This Land is Not For Sale" and "Leaders Selling out to Big Business" and they sang songs in their native Passamaquoddy language as company officials from the Oklahoma-based Quoddy Bay LNG tried to tell federal staffers about their multimillion-dollar project. (Apr 25)
"We just don't have to crush an important part of this national park to meet the energy needs of the nation," said Bruce Berman of the nonprofit group Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, an opponent. "There are other options."
"The Town Council of the Town of Jamestown has consistently opposed the Weaver's Cove LNG proposal and writes this letter to inform you of our ongoing opposition to this project based on the negative environmental, economic and disruptive navigational and recreational impacts this project will have on Narragansett Bay and our community," according to the letter.
Save The Bay is among several organizations opposing the LNG project because of dredging as well as security zones for the tankers while in area waterways. It recently launched its own website for opposition, www.stopweaverscove. com.
"What's happening with the LNG plant proposed in Dundalk is a classic example of why state and local governments need to be involved in the process," Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin said in a telephone interview yesterday.
Sutherland Partner Thomas H. Warren will speak at the Platts 6th Annual Liquefied Natural Gas Conference, May 21-22, 2007 at the Hilton Post Oak in Houston, Texas regarding "Evolving Netback Pricing in LNG Sale and Purchase Agreements (SPAs)." (Apr 25)
Webmaster's Comments: Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan is the lawfirm representing the Province of New Brunswick as an intervenor in the Passamaquoddy Bay LNG projects' FERC proceedings.
The House Resources Committee completed amendments Tuesday on its version of the bill and was expected to vote the measure out of committee later in the day. Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee completed work on the senate bill last week, and passed the measure on to the Senate Finance Committee, which began hearings on Monday. (Apr 24)
"The Emergency Services Report contains valid concerns that communities along the river just don't have the police and fire capacity to deal with the day-to-day safety problems with LNG tankers, much less dealing with a terrorist attack or explosion," said Astoria resident Peter Huhtala.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 directs LNG developers to draw up a formal Emergency Response Plan detailing what local resources are needed and how the costs will be covered. According to Tamara Young-Allen, a FERC spokeswoman, the plan is not approved at the same time as the federal LNG terminal license. Allen said after the five-member commission has decided upon a proposal, the decision to approve the ERP is delegated to the director of energy projects. (Apr 25)
Webmaster's Comments: The news article is misleading. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 does not specify that the LNG developer develop a comprehensive Emergency Response Plan. There is no minimum requirement specified in the Act for an Emergency Response Plan outside the terminal, or that the developer pay even a penny in reimbursement.
Quoting directly from the Energy Policy Act of 2005:
‘‘(e)(1) In any order authorizing an LNG terminal the Commission shall require the LNG terminal operator to develop an Emergency Response Plan. The Emergency Response Plan shall be prepared in consultation with the United States Coast Guard and State and local agencies and be approved by the Commission prior to any final approval to begin construction. The Plan shall include a cost-sharing plan.
‘‘(2) A cost-sharing plan developed under paragraph (1) shall include a description of any direct cost reimbursements that the applicant agrees to provide to any State and local agencies with responsibility for security and safety
‘‘(A) at the LNG terminal; and
‘‘(B) in proximity to vessels that serve the facility.’’.
The gathering in Sacramento originally was scheduled for April 10, but Holden asked city officials to scuttle the meeting after Councilman Tim Flynn insisted on attending. Holden worried that three members of the panel constituted a quorum and, without proper legal notice, a potential violation of state open-meeting laws.
In recent hearings, the State Lands Commission and California Coastal Commission rejected the company's proposal. BHP Billiton, however, will also need approvals from the Federal Maritime Administration and Schwarzenegger. The governor has until May 21 to make a decision.
The bill, S. 1174, would gut a part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that solidified the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's final permit authority over LNG projects. Under the Cardin/Mikulski bill, FERC could not act before getting consent from the state agencies charged with assessing environmental and land-use issues.
A recent report by the Government Accountability Office, Congress' research arm, questioned the adequacy of federal data on the potential LNG hazards, Mikulski noted. "Yet federal agencies are all too quick to rubber-stamp these facilities," she said. [Red emphasis added.] (Apr 24)
WASHINGTON - In a major victory for the oil industry, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has adopted looser air pollution limits for sprawling petroleum production and exploration operations, according to an agency order released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). As a result, petroleum facilities will be allowed to emit additional tons of hydrocarbons each day.
MacClarence, a 20-year environmental engineer, had persuaded the State of Alaska to require aggregation in the BP permit, but under intense lobbying from the Alaska Oil & Gas Association, the state reversed its stand in July 2003. Initially, EPA echoed those concerns but eventually also reversed its position. In the order, EPA Administrator Johnson denied that his agency "altered its position on aggregation ...because of aggressive lobbying by the Alaska oil and gas industry…" but admitted that "EPA did meet with the applicant, at the applicant's request, on two occasions to discuss aggregation…" (Apr 25)
The ranking Republican on the US House Energy and Commerce Committee, Joe Barton, said Wednesday there is "not a prayer of a chance" for any legislation authorizing additional offshore oil and natural gas exploration and development to pass this session of Congress. (Apr 25)
23 April 2007
"It’s one of the most important LNG conferences because all the suppliers and major companies working in LNG will be there," said Mr. Ciacciarelli in a recent telephone interview from his office in Saint John.
The parcel of land will be sold to Quoddy Bay LNG if its project receives approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the state Board of Environmental Protection. [Red and bold emphasis added.] (Apr 21)
Effective immediately, developers planning projects large enough to warrant a state environmental review will have to assess how the projects contribute to the pollution that leads to global warming, Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian A. Bowles told the Globe.
The review process could change dramatically with the consideration of greenhouse gases, possibly allowing the state to prevent construction of certain developments, such as a power plant. In the past, the proponent of a power plant had to demonstrate why it should be built at a certain spot. Now, the applicant may also need to show why the plant would need to burn coal; for example, rather than generate electricity from solar.
…Branford has led the opposition against a proposal by Broadwater Energy, a partnership of Shell Oil and TransCanada, to build a floating liquefied natural gas terminal about 10 miles south of Branford in New York State waters. Since the project was proposed two years ago, Branford residents have repeatedly turned out at meetings to oppose it, most notably in January, when more than 700 residents packed the high school auditorium in a session that went past midnight.
“Rather than at a breaking point, Branford is probably more galvanized and unified than it was five years ago,” said John E. Opie, 59, an engineer who is a lifelong resident and a Republican selectman. “I don’t see any weakening in our spirit. I think it’s toughened us.” (Apr 22)
"Our two states have a huge common stake in this shared threat," Blumenthal said. "My hope is that New York will join Connecticut in vehemently and vigorously opposing a project imperiling the scenic and visual quality of the public trust lands and waters of the Sound. Its sheer scale will blight the visual quality of miles of coastline of the Sound. It will be visible from both shores as the largest man-made object in the Sound, permanently scarring the horizon." (Apr 20)
A congressional subcommittee plans a hearing May 7 on Long Island on whether the Coast Guard can protect facilities such as the proposed Broadwater liquefied-natural-gas terminal in Long Island Sound.
Meanwhile, the chief executive of the Long Island Power Authority, a potential customer for the terminal's gas, criticized as premature a recent vote of conditional support for Broadwater by the Island's largest business organization, of which LIPA is a member. [Red emphasis added.] (Apr 19)
…Monday, a proposed $400 million liquified natural gas plant and the $250 million 88-mile stretch of pipeline in Eastern Baltimore came under scrutiny by U.S. Coast Guard security officials who protect the Port of Baltimore.
During a hearing, Gov. Martin O'Malley and county leaders opposed the proposed plant. The company lobbied for its development touting its industrial benefits. Officials with the U.S. Coast Guard and the federal agency regulating and permitting the plants said they needed more time to review the matter.
Now the Baltimore Democrat [Rep. Elijah E. Cummings] has some weighty questions for Coast Guard officials, including whether they can handle the additional security jobs associated with the proposed facility in Maryland.
The hearing in Baltimore is the first of two sessions on the topic of LNG to be held away from Capitol Hill. Another hearing, to be held in New York where another company is proposing to build an LNG facility, is planned for next month.
In a letter sent mid-March, Wyden asked Kelliher to answer seven key questions about FERC's LNG approval process. Among other questions, Wyden asked how FERC will ensure the safety of people on Astoria's waterfront, fill emergency response resource gaps, protect salmon and their habitat and incorporate local and state government voices into the final siting decision.
He also inquired about what tools FERC is using to determine the overall safety of the Bradwood LNG project as proposed - especially given the potential for LNG tankers to carry loads beyond those which have been reviewed for safety. (Apr 19)
SACRAMENTO Fueled by growing concerns over global warming, California lawmakers have launched new environmental efforts in hopes of harnessing reinvigorated public attention and overcoming intensive lobbying pressure from heavy-hitting opponents. (Apr 22)
21 April 2007
Quoddy Bay's request "has no relevance" to the Maritimes pipeline expansion project, comments Marylee Hanley, manager of government and public affairs for Maritimes and Northeast, which is owned by affiliates of Duke Energy, Exxon Mobil Corporation and Emera Inc. "None of the issues raised by Quoddy Bay are within FERC's jurisdiction." [Red emphasis added.] (Apr 13)
In its filing, the group calls on the board to reject Downeast LNG's application based on: Downeast LNG's failure to show that any financial entity has committed to funding the construction, operation or maintenance if the permits were to be obtained; the Canadian government's recent decision to prohibit LNG tankers from passing through Head Harbour Passage, which would be Downeast LNG's sole supply route for natural gas; the improbability that Downeast LNG's proposal could be constructed in the time period required by state regulations, which call for permit holders to begin construction within two years and complete it within five years. [Red emphasis added.] (Apr 13)
Some tribal members have been concerned about the tribe selling off its land and resources and also believe that the land is worth more to the tribe than the $1.56 million. Reportedly the land has a significant amount of rock that could be turned into aggregate, or crushed stone used in construction, although Quoddy Bay LNG is not interested in removing any aggregate from the property. [Red emphasis added.] (Apr 13)
By an 18-vote margin, 229-211, voters approved the Financial Framework Agreement, and by a 31-vote margin, 205-236, they turned down a referendum question on forming a special negotiating committee concerning the liquefied natural gas project. They also re-elected, by a 13-vote margin, selectman H. Richard Adams, who has been supportive of the Quoddy Bay LNG proposal. A total of 442 voters cast ballots, out of 630 registered voters, for a turnout of 70%. (Apr 13)
As a crowd of about 50 learned at an American Association of University Women candidate forum Wednesday night, three incumbent Port commission candidates are proud of what the agency has accomplished under the current leadership.
[Seaside businessman John Dunzer] is "a big supporter" of LNG, but he doesn't think the Skipanon Peninsula, where the Port has leased property to an LNG development company, is the right place. (Apr 19)
I am furious with those river pilots who care more about their ability to handle LNG tankers than about what the long-term implications are if they do ("Experiencing a real-life view of LNG," The Daily Astorian, March 13). (Apr 20)
I led the State Lands Commission to reject the proposed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal off the Oxnard/Malibu coast because of the plan’s deficiencies in protecting the environmental health of our communities, the ocean and our shoreline; and because of the potential for this project to increase the creation of greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change.
Technological improvements and investment commitments by the worldâ€s (sic) largest oil companies suggest that the gas to liquids industry (GTL) is likely to transform itself from a small, specialized producer to a large-scale fuel producer over the next decade. As expansion of GTL proceeds, the industry could become a major consumer of natural gas, placing it in direct competition with the growing liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry for access to natural gas supply. If competition leads to limited natural gas supplies, the result is likely to be higher prices for natural gas consumers at the same time the United States looks to world LNG markets to meet increasing domestic demand. [Red emphasis added.]
20 April 2007
Safer Waters in Massachusetts (Nahant SWIM, Inc) Polly Bradley letter raises several objections to the placement of LNG terminals in Massachusetts waters and specifically calls the Port Access Route Study (PARS) “fundamentally flawed.” SWIM characterizes their letter as “a supplemental submission to the docket.” (Apr 11)
For opponents of a natural gas terminal proposed in Long Island Sound, it was heartening news. A major off-shore facility similar to the local project was rejected in California, signaling that public outrage can effectively be mobilized to block powerful, well-funded opponents. (Apr 18)
At least 90 contract laborers working in a crude oil processing unit at BP p.l.c.'s (NYSE:BP) refinery in Texas City, Texas, were taken to the hospital with nausea and eye irritation, according to Beth Heinsohn of Dow Jones Newswires.
Webmaster's Comments: The BP refinery in Texas City is the refinery that exploded in 2005 March, killing 15 workers and injuring around 180. OSHA fined BP after that incident for wilfully violating over 300 safety rules. During the 20 years prior to that explosion, 10 people were killed in accidents at the refinery. (See "Probe of Texas City Refinery Explosion Finds Weak Oversight," 2007 Mar 20, CNBC. BP is also engaged in the LNG industry, but FERC doesn't take into account BP's lack of corporate safety culture when evaluating permitting BP's LNG applications.
The Kelso City Council has decided not to consider a resolution opposing a controversial liquified natural gas terminal proposed for Bradwood, Ore., because it would be too time consuming and, in the end, meaningless, members said.
"We're looking at something that has no clear answer and that we are very unlikely to have an effect on," said Councilman David Futcher, who made a motion out of the blue during Tuesday's meeting to "postpone any other discussion indefinitely" about the LNG project. (Apr 18)
It is insufficient to look at the Bradwood proposal merely as jobs creation. The siting of an LNG terminal on the Columbia River would transform the culture and the aesthetics of life on the lower river. Putting a terminal on the Skipanon River in Warrenton would alter the aesthetics of the lower river. (Apr 17)
California policymakers have two choices. They can allow the other LNG proposals to move along the permitting process until they, too, come to showdown votes of the Lands Commission and Coastal Commission. Or, they can create a front-end system of review that ranks the proposals based on which do the most to increase the state's energy supply, do the least harm to the environment and do the best job of ensuring public safety.
Legislation to require a statewide review would start by requiring regulators to openly address the fundamental question of whether California needs LNG. "It's never been done in the context of an evidentiary hearing process," she said. "This permitting free-for-all is not in the best interests of California." (Apr 18)
Steve Larson, the executive director of the Public Utilities Commission, announced Thursday that he's leaving his state job to go to work for Woodside Natural Gas, an Australian company hoping to build an LNG operation in the ocean about 22 miles south of Malibu.
Another Australian energy firm, Woodside, is expected to file its application soon to locate an LNG terminal 22 miles south of Point Dume. And two other companies are poised to apply for offshore LNG regasification projects near Oxnard and Long Beach.
The lead agency handling the Woodside application will be the City of Los Angeles, because its natural gas pipeline would come ashore near Los Angeles In ternational Airport. That means the L.A. City Council will have veto power on the project that is being marketed as OceanWay. (Apr 19)
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [FERC] will not accept requests from interstate natural gas pipelines to compensate customers or other downstream entities for any costs they may incur in using gas supplies that include revaporized liquefied natural gas (LNG) that meets approved standards for gas quality and interchangeability. (Apr 19)
The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Thursday adopted a policy that rejects requests by pipeline companies to be compensated for costs incurred from shipping certain types of natural gas on their systems. (Apr 19)
US-based LNG shipper Excelerate Energy and its partner, Belgian-based shipper Exmar, plan to jointly own three more on-board regasification vessels, raising their global LNG fleet to nine, Excelerate announced in the US Thursday.
Webmaster's Comments: Excelerate is the company that has developed "submerged buoy" technology for regasifying and offloading natural gas from specialized LNG vessels. Their LNG terminal 116 miles off the coast of Louisiana offloaded its entire cargo during hurricane Katrina.
Green Coast Related
Marine energy can be forecast USA Today
After sputtering along for nearly a decade, marine power appears poised to join the alternative energy juggernaut, though the technologies are still in the early stages and have no guarantee of success. Developers are using an array of contraptions from spinning turbines to bobbing buoys and undulating, snakelike cylinders to convert ocean or river movements into electricity. (Apr 18)
19 April 2007
Russia is planning to construct a 64-mile long tunnel under the Bering Sea as part of a plan to supply the U.S. with electricity, oil, and natural gas, according to Yuriy Humber and Bradley Cook of Bloomberg. The tunnel is part of a 3,700-mile transport corridor, known as the TKM-World Link, that would originate in Siberia and end in Alaska; the project is expected to cost $65 billion and to take 10 -15 years to complete. The tunnel alone will cost up to $12 billion and will include room for railroads, truck traffic, pipelines, and power lines. (Apr 18)
Webmaster's Comments: Russia, with over 30% of the world's natural gas resources, will be piping natural gas directly to the US, without liquefying it into LNG, without the current marine vessel transit delay and costs, and without the uncertainty that exists with LNG supply. The US government will also be part owner of the project.
What does this mean for the future of the proposed LNG terminals in Passamaquoddy Bay and elsewhere in the US?
Gordon Shearer, CEO of Hess LNG, said there are fewer LNG terminal projects being developed in the Gulf Coast area because of concern over prices that importers will receive for their natural gas…. (Apr 18)
18 April 2007
As for the East Coast, [Hess LNG CEO Gordon Shearer] said, "Boy that one's tough; we've got one in Canada [The Canaport LNG project in St. John's (sic), New Brunswick] that's clearly in construction, I struggle to see many more. The problem on the East Coast is the opposition is going to be tremendous. Who's got the patience, the time, the energy, and in the end, the money to get through it?" [Bold red emphasis added.]
Podcast (Subscribe via iTunes. Two versions: Full presentation 1:03:03 & Edited version 15:14)
Shearer stresses four important issues:
- Locate LNG supply terminals near the market.
- It's much easier and more economical to expand existing LNG terminals than to build new ones.
- High natural gas prices are undermining the industry.
- We may be betting too much on natural gas.
Fasano is referring to a report by the U.S. Coast Guard that determined a "no go" zone encompassing .7 mile radius around a tanker bringing frozen natural gas to Broadwater's proposed terminal would be sufficient to protect the public. A similar zone would be established around the terminal.
The GAO also noted that none of the studies, some conducted by government agencies, took into account whether a cascading fire, moving from tank to tank, would increase the size of the resulting fire.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled five to four that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority under the Clean Air Act to impose restrictions on greenhouse emissions from power plants and automobile makers; essentially, today's ruling also allows states legal standing to sue the EPA for not regulating these emissions, according to articles by Mark H. Anderson of Dow Jones Newswires, Pete Yost of the Associated Press, and Greg Stohr of Bloomberg. (Apr 2)
17 April 2007
"The last thing that we need down where I'm fishing is another 800 traps per license. If you displace 25 fishermen [in Passamaquoddy Bay], add that 25 times 800 is what? I'm just picking 25, [because] I think that's a safe number, I think there's more than that there," Murray said.
Turning to Smith, Murray said, "The last best fishery we have left is lobsters. They cleaned out the codfish, no fishery. It looks like our last stand. If you're going to displace all of these lobstermen, what's left for us?" [Red emphasis added/] (Apr 14)
Before the recount was started, Foster said the group he represented did not believe that the ballot box had been "stuffed," but he requested a copy of the voter list to help clear up any discrepancies that might arise.
The $250 million Weaver's Cove project to build a liquefied natural gas terminal off Massachusetts' Taunton River faces intense opposition locally. Residents and local officials have rallied against the proposed terminal. They argue that the terminal is unsafe and would be deadly if it were attacked by terrorists.
The proposed import terminal has already secured a permit from the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. But it continues to battle opposition from local groups and members of Congress who say LNG is too dangerous to be shipped into a port so close to population centers.
...the LNG industry is largely in flux right now as supplies from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean and South America continue to be uncertain as the cost of building liquefaction capacity increases and as political turmoil puts some projects at risk.
"We certainly should be cautious. These projects should be evaluated because there are often conflicts between intended social benefits and the environment," [Long Island Sound Study Director Mark Tedesco] said. (Apr 16)
Allowing Delaware the right to block the construction, Lancaster stated, "As the sovereign owner of the land ... (Delaware) is entitled to exercise police power jurisdiction over improvements extending into its own territory."
Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-3), whose district includes the Logan Township site of the proposed plant, called the decision "a body blow to New Jersey's right of sovereignty regarding the future of its own coastline." He warned that this decision would affect more than the construction of BP's LNG facility. (Apr 14)
Delaware has the right to block a massive liquefied natural gas delivery pier proposed by energy giant BP for the New Jersey shore of the Delaware River, a U.S. Supreme Court special master has ruled.
In a ruling made public today, Special Master Ralph I. Lancaster concluded that Delaware, “as the sovereign owner of the land,” can regulate and police developments extending from New Jersey’s shoreline into the waterway.
The decision still subject to Supreme Court review amounts to a victory for Delaware officials who ruled BP’s proposal a violation of the state’s ban on new heavy industries and bulk unloading piers in the protected Coastal Zone (Apr 13)
In a three-page letter to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Joseph Kelliher, Wyden requested a "prompt response" to his concerns about how the federal LNG approval process will ensure the safety of people on Astoria's waterfront, fill emergency response resource gaps, protect salmon and their habitat and incorporate local and state government voices into the final siting decision.
He also inquired about what analytical tools FERC is using to determine the overall safety of the LNG projects as proposed - especially given the potential for LNG tankers to carry loads beyond those which have been reviewed for safety and in light of earthquakes, tsunamis and floods, which are "inherent to our coastlines." (Apr 13)
"The contribution of these emissions to global warming would result in numerous adverse effects to coastal resources due to sea level rise, ocean warming, and ocean acidification, which lead to secondary effects such as loss of habitat and species, increased coastal erosion, adverse economic effects to California's ports and fisheries, and other serious impacts to the California coast," the report says.
In addition to the state agencies and the governor having a say in the project, U.S. Maritime Administrator Sean Connaughton also is involved in the approval process. He has 90 days from the U.S. Coast Guard hearing to make a decision. However, even if he approves the project, BHP Billliton will not be able to use the two 24-inch pipes to bring the natural gas to land unless it can somehow overturn Monday's ruling. (Apr 16)
The US Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service has issued a final rule requiring that federal oil and gas lessees in the Outer Continental Shelf provide information on how their activities will conform to the federal requirements meant to protect threatened and endangered species, MMS said in a statement late Monday.
Webmaster's Comments: Will this also impact LNG terminal siting requirements?
In a research note published on April 16, 2007, energy analyst John Gerdes with SunTrust Robinson Humphrey/the Gerdes Group, said that the North American natural gas supply is "fragile," and that natural gas prices need to be $9/MMcf or higher in order to stimulate more drilling activity, according to Natural Gas Intelligence (NGI). Gerdes said that with natural gas prices around $7.50/Mcf, the E&P sector is "free cash flow negative [by] 15-20%."
For three decades, researchers have been evaluating the possibility of using carbon capture and storage (CCS), sometimes called carbon sequestration, in order to reduce the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere. There are three possible places to put carbon that is captured from burning fossil fuels: in the deep ocean, deep in the ground in geological reservoirs, or in plants. (Apr 4)
How could two federal agencies come to seemingly contradictory positions on a critical issue of public safety? That is a question that cries for an answer regarding plans that are moving forward for a huge liquid natural gas terminal in the busy confines of Long Island Sound. [Red emphasis added.] (Apr 14)
[Amy Kelley, a Broadwater spokeswoman] said the Long Island Association, the largest civic and business organization on Long Island, recently voted to support Broadwater. She said two smaller offshore facilities were recently approved in Massachusetts.
“That hardly indicates a turning of the tide against offshore facilities,” Kelley said. The LIA said it would support the Broadwater plan as long as Broadwater pays for security needed to protect the terminal; creates an environmental and not-for-profit fund for the region; reimburses the fishing industry and makes payments to the Riverhead school district. (Apr 15)
Inventories. On March 30, 2007, working natural gas in storage stood at 1,569 bcf (U.S. Working Natural Gas in Storage). Stocks are 127 bcf below the level for the corresponding week last year, but are 337 bcf above the previous 5-year average (2002 2006). Though inventories dropped below year-ago levels in February, this year’s end-of-March storage volume is the second-highest since end-of-March 1991. Working natural gas in storage is expected to remain above the previous 5-year average throughout 2007 and 2008.
…after a warmer-than-normal summer in 2006 (cooling degree-days were 19 and 14 percent above normal last July and August, respectively), an assumed return to near-normal temperatures during the summer of 2007 is expected to reduce consumption of natural gas by 1.0 percent in the electric power sector. [Red emphasis added.] (Apr 10)
13 April 2007
Smith testified in Annapolis, urging legislators to pass a bill that would have required a review by state environmental officials before LNG or oil facilities could be built in coastal areas of Baltimore City and Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties. The measure passed in the House of Delegates last month but was not allowed out of Senate committee for a full vote.
In addition to being owned by the same parent company, Gillette said the Bayou Cassotte LNG plant will use waste heat from the Chevron refinery to heat the frozen, liquefied natural gas and turn it back into a gas. She said the availability of heat from the refinery is one of the reasons that Chevron wants to located the LNG plant in Pascagoula.
And because of the growing price volatility of natural gas, the United States is expected to rely more -- not less -- on coal for electrical generation. … And because of the growing price volatility of natural gas, the United States is expected to rely more -- not less -- on coal for electrical generation. [Red emphasis added.]
As part its review, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requires that the LNG terminal operator develop an Emergency Response Plan with the U.S. Coast Guard and state and local agencies. The County is actively involved in developing the plan but neither the County nor other local agencies have the expertise on staff to assess the risks associated with an LNG, County Manager Scott Derickson said. (Apr 9)
The miner said it would review the California Coastal Commission's 12-0 vote in Santa Barbara, California, to deny the company's proposal. The California State Lands Commission earlier this week also rejected the bid from BHP. (Apr 14)
She cast it emphatically in favor of the LNG plant, whose environmental impact report said it would produce more than 60 tons of “reactive organic compounds” yearly. That's another term for carbon dioxide, the leading culprit among the greenhouse gases Schwarzenegger so likes to decry.
So in the same week that the governor was off to Washington and New York to speak of his dedicated opposition to greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide emissions, his chosen representative on the Lands Commission voted to okay the largest greenhouse gas-producing project proposed in California in the last 15 years. (Apr 12)
…Sempra has invested $2.2 billion in developing three LNG receiving terminals in Baja, Mexico, in Port Arthur, Texas and near Lake Charles, La. The $800 million Baja facility, known as Costa Azul, is the most interesting because it will be the first of its kind on the Pacific Coast. It is expected to process 1 billion cubic feet (bcf) per day of natural gas when it begins commercial operation next year. Officials hope to eventually increase daily production to 2.5 bcf. (Apr 11)
This offshore Southern California LNG receiving facility has attracted the commercial interest of two potential gas purchasers, each with significant demand profiles. Negotiations are also underway with a potential co-venturer in the development of the project with both the experience and financial backing sufficient to contribute to the successful development of the project. An announcement concerning this partner is expected in the second or third quarter of 2007. The first phase of development of this project will be the preparation of the application for a permit to construct own and operate the facility under the Deep Water Port Act. It is currently anticipated that the filing for this permit could be made by year end 2007. Given the timeframe for permitting and construction and the availability of LNG supply in the Pacific Basin, we expect this project may be operational in the year 2012. More information is available at our website www.esperanza-energy.com.
Under terms of a tender issued in June last year, a regasification terminal to be built at Manzanillo is due to begin supplying the CFE with 500,000 Mcf/d of natural gas from April 2011. But that would mean only the Spanish-Argentine company Repsol-YPF would have a reasonable chance of winning a separate contract to deliver LNG to the project, the sources say.
"By 2011, Repsol should be able to supply LNG from the Camisea project in Peru, but if the CFE wants to have a choice of supplier, it will have to put the project back a couple of years," said Gonzalo Monroy, Mexico City analyst of the IPD Latin America consultancy. (Apr 12)
Oil is a global commodity, but natural gas is not. When it is piped, prices are set as far as 15 to 20 years in advance through long-term contracts. However, liquid natural gas (LNG) is rapidly becoming a worldwide commodity.
By 2010, LNG's share of the world's total gas consumption will double. Thus, price gouging through production quota manipulation may come faster than many experts expect if the GECF becomes a new OPEC and if consumer nations do not unite and flex their muscle. Moreover, Russia and Iran are interested in increasing their geopolitical leverage against the EU in areas which often have little to do with energy. (Apr 12)
12 April 2007
In its filing, the group claims Downeast LNG fails to show that a financial entity has committed to funding the construction, operation or maintenance of the facility if permits are obtained. The motion also cites the Canadian government’s recent decision to prohibit LNG tankers from passing through Head Harbor Passage, Downeast LNG’s planned route for deliveries. Finally, the motion questions Downeast LNG’s ability to construct its facility in the time period required by state regulations, which call for permit holders to begin construction within two years and complete it within five years.
"In sum, Downeast LNG has failed to demonstrate that it has met any of these three requirements for BEP to go forward at this time with further application review," the groups said in a prepared statement.
Webmaster's Comments: Note that in Downeast LNG Rob Wyatt's baseless accusation aimed at us that's quoted in the article, Wyatt doesn't dispute the facts we presented in our motion to dismiss. Similarly, Downeast LNG is blaming Canada for the developer's own flawed terminal sight selection. (The LNG industry's own best practices standards, published by SIGTTO, indicate dozens of standards violations that would occur by locating an LNG terminal in Passamaquoddy Bay.)
Read the letter as published in the Wall Street Journal [Paid subscription required.] (Apr 11)
11 April 2007
New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham responds to the WSJ, and clarifies New Brunswick's role in the FERC process:
In response to your March 22 editorial "Maine Chance," which claimed that "Canada's protests don't hold water" when it comes to the two LNG facilities proposed for the Passamaquoddy Bay area of Maine: You mischaracterized Canadian and New Brunswick concerns over these two LNG facilities as "an emerging trade dispute" driven by "energy protectionism" on our part. You also are misguided in attacking the Canadian federal government's decision to deny LNG tankers transit through Head Harbor Passage.
Webmaster's Comments: Downeast LNG President Dean Girdis considers New Brunswick's participation in the FERC process an attempt to short-circuit it. (See AP story in the Boston Globe, "Canada formally objects to LNG tankers in Canadian waters.") Participation, according to Girdis, isn't participation.
And while [ U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy] urged the state to come through with the needed infrastructure improvements to make the project a reality, Kennedy also reiterated his opposition to the proposed LNG terminal at Weaver’s Cove, near Fall River, saying that it would kill any possibility for increased use of Newport harbor for commercial purposes.
The Long Island Association’s board of directors on Wednesday conditionally threw its support behind Broadwater’s proposed liquefied natural gas terminal, planned nine miles off the coast of Wading River.
The LIA said it would support the plan as long as Broadwater pays for the security needed to protect the terminal, creates an environmental and not-for-profit fund for the region, reimburses the fishing industry and makes payments to the Riverhead school district.
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin late Monday gave conditional support for a two-year extension of a federal liquefied natural gas export license for an Alaska liquefaction plant owned by ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil.
Sacramento -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger voiced his support for liquefied natural gas in California on Tuesday, a day after a state commission voted to deny an Australian company's bid to build the state's first liquefied natural gas terminal off the Ventura County coast.
Although Lt. Gov. John Garamendi and state Controller John Chiang were the deciding votes in a 2-1 decision against BHP Billiton, Schwarzenegger said he would continue reviewing the project and that "liquefied natural gas should be a part of California's energy portfolio,'' according to a statement he released after the end of the state Lands Commission meeting.
Garamendi said he had broad concerns about the potential environmental impact of liquefied natural gas, but rejected the report because of specific problems. The impact statement did not include alternatives to the BP Billiton project, nor did it establish whether there was a need for the project, he said. (Apr 10)
Crystal Energy's proposed facility off Oxnard, northwest of Los Angeles, might arguably spew less pollutants because it would use air as a heat source instead of fossil fuel to convert liquefied natural gas into its vapor form, officials said.
And a project by Woodside Energy wouldn't require a large, permanent terminal, using instead an underwater buoy attached to a flexible pipe leading to a larger pipe along the ocean floor. That project also might be subject to approvals by the Los Angeles City Council rather than the State Lands Commission, officials said.
STOCKTON An energy company planning to build a liquefied natural gas facility south of Weston Ranch and a school district opposing the plan are close to an agreement, according to those involved in negotiations.
Webmaster's Comments: This LNG facility would be 1,800 feet from San Joaquin General Hospital, 2,400 feet from the nearest homes, and 3,600 feet from Weston Ranch High School. (See "School-area natural gas site OK'd.")
The proposal, issued Friday, responds to a 2003 decision by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruling that the Department of the Interior--not the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission--is responsible for enforcing "open and nondiscriminatory access" to pipelines under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
After more than 20 years of research, a Los Alamos National Laboratory physicist has discovered how to liquefy natural gas using sound waves -- a technology seen as opening the door to gas reserves once deemed irrecoverable. Los Alamos National Laboratory, in conjunction with Houston-based Swift LNG, recently unveiled the new thermoacoustic process, which is licensed by the Los Alamos National Laboratory… (Apr 6)
Members of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum include Algeria, Bolivia, Brunei, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Libya, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. Norway is an observer. The founding fathers of the gas OPEC would be Russia, Iran, Qatar, Venezuela and Algeria. All their political leaders are in favor - from Vladimir Putin to Mahmud Ahmadinejad, from Hugo Chavez to Abdelaziz Bouteflika. That's what sends shivers down the spines of the United States and the European Union - testy Putin and favorite bogeymen du jour Chavez and Ahmadinejad laying down the law in yet another powerful club.
10 April 2007
Are We More Than A Tourist Destination? You Bet We Are!
For us, environmental racism is DownEast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG both vying to control our inherent wealth our holy waterscapes our sense of place our dignity our heartland simply because the Governor of Maine thinks it's best.
Significant Rock Formation: Split Rock
The developers for LNG for Maine (which include [Sen.] Raye and his closest associates) are proposing to "blast" parts of Split Rock a cultural and ceremonial gathering place in order to underlay a pipe for a Perry-based "Tank Farm." If that's not environmental racism, I don't know what is. (Mar 29)
In his public statements, Mr. Girdis is attempting to put the best face on his project, and to intimidate its opponents through bombastic, personal slurs. His reliability as a source of information undermines his efforts in this regard. The cited USCG letter consists of four pages of notations of missing or inadequate information submitted to FERC by Downeast LNG. Eight times, the USCG says Downeast statements are "misleading," "not entirely correct," "inaccurate," "not fully accurate," "somewhat inaccurate", or they "could be misconstrued," and "it would be more accurate to say...". Three times, the USCG "disavows any inference made by this [Downeast LNG] statement."
We rest our case. [Red emphasis added.] (Apr 4)
The United States has lost respect around the world because of our arrogant, might is right attitude and our transparent justification about "bringing democracy" to other countries. Haven’t we learned anything about the terrible results of these policies?
Now our governor, our senators, and even this paper’s editorial page are challenging the right of Canada to express its opinion about the passage of tankers through its waters in the Passamaquoddy Bay and the St. Croix River. Surely we don’t want to make an enemy of Canada, too.
In a related development FERC Chairman Kelliher wrote to Ambassador Wilson on March 2 asking for more information from Canada and adding. ìBecause neither Quoddy Bay nor Downeast LNG have amended or withdrawn their applications, the FERC staff is continuing the process of preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS) for each project that will address the environmental impacts and the maritime safety and security of the projects. The US Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Sector Northern New England, is preparing a Waterway Suitability Report as to the waterway to accommodate LNG marine traffic.î [Errata: Accented characters such as "í", "î," and "ó" that may appear in this quote and the linked online story are the result of non-standard HTML coding by the Island Institute, publisher of The Working Waterfront.] (April edition)
Webmaster's Comments: FERC Chairman Kelliher seems to be implying that Canada is obligated to observe the FERC process as it relates to Canadian waters. Canada is under no such obligation.
If FERC, Downeast LNG, and Quoddy Bay LNG would simply observe the world's LNG industry best practices safety standards (see SIGTTO) regarding LNG terminal siting, there would be no international issue, since the LNG industry's own standards disqualify Passamaquoddy Bay as an LNG terminal location.
"We have repeatedly told Canadian officials that your project is subject to ongoing Federal Energy Regulatory Commission review and that your permit request should be allowed to go forward and conclude normally, without any prejudgment, outside political or other extraneous interference,'' wrote [Paul Simons, deputy assistant secretary at the State Department]. (Apr 5)
Webmaster's Comments: The US State Department, too, seems to believe that Canada is under some obligation to observe FERC's decisions regarding Canada's waters. Again, Canada has no obligation to observe the FERC process, and FERC has no authority over Canadian waters.
If FERC, Downeast LNG, and Quoddy Bay LNG would simply observe the world's LNG industry best practices safety standards (see SIGTTO) regarding LNG terminal siting, there would be no international issue, since the LNG industry's own standards disqualify Passamaquoddy Bay as an LNG terminal location.
Houston, TX Contango Oil & Gas Company announced recently a significant discovery at its Dutch prospect located offshore Gulf of Mexico at Eugene Island block 10. The Dutch #2 well is located approximately 1 mile from the Dutch #1 well and has extended the reservoir found by the Dutch #1 well. Both wells are operated by Contango Operators, Inc. (ìCOIî), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company. The two Dutch wells will produce from the same reservoir at a depth greater than 15,000 feet.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Energy Secretary Sam Bodman on Tuesday reiterated objections to a move by some top natural gas producing nations to form an OPEC-style group, even as the group insisted it was not a threat to consumer nations.
Webmaster's Comments: Apparently, the Energy Secretary and the US State Department are working against each other. (See next article & webmaster's comments.)
The ministers agreed to form a high level committee chaired by Russia, as host of the next ministerial meeting, to assess and evaluate the performance of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), they said in a closing statement.
The idea of a "gas OPEC," favoured by Iran in particular, gained momentum last August when Europe's two main natural gas suppliers, Gazprom of Russia and Algeria's Sonatrach, signed a partnership accord.
Webmaster's Comments: The US State Department invited Russia in 2006 to invest in US energy infrastructure. Gazprom is Russia's natural gas monopoly. If Gazprom were to own US natural gas infrastructure, and if Russia were also the leader of an LNG cartel (as it appears they would be), exactly how would that be good for US energy security, US consumers, and US economy? Who does the US State Department believe would benefit from such an arrangement?
If Europe’s gas imports indeed increase by 150 percent by 2030, as International Energy Agency (IEA) projections suggest, then one thing is certain: Russia alone will not be able to meet this increasing demand [for natural gas] even if the most optimistic scenarios about Russian gas production and export capabilities hold true.
Adding fuel to growing concerns about Europe’s increasing dependency on gas imports were Putin’s repeated statements in favor of the creation of a cartel of the world’s leading gas exporting countries, including Russia, Qatar and Iran. Putin recently announced he would dispatch a team of experts to the Qatari capital, Doha, in April 2007 to further explore a possible gas alliance.
[Russia's] new wealth marks a very significant development since it means that Russia feels it is no longer beholden to the West, and can pursue a more “independent” foreign policy line. This attitude is not only reflected in Putin’s rhetoric over energy export diversification from Europe to Asia or the building of a gas cartel, but shows at the level of public diplomacy (e.g. Putin’s speech at the Munich conference on February 2, 2007) or in Russia’s announcement that it plans to increase military spending substantially, including the modernization of its nuclear forces.
Webmaster's Comments: (1) Russian inability to meet natural gas demand, (2) Russia designing a natural gas OPEC, (3) more "independent" foreign policy by Russia, (4) Russia owning US energy infrastructure including LNG/natural gas. Should the US worry? You bet!
As part of her research for a master's degree in ocean sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, graduate student Shaye Wolf documented the large and diverse populations of seabirds that nest on the Coronado Islands, a group of small islands off the coast of Baja California, just south of the Mexican border. Now, Wolf's findings have helped save those seabirds from the potentially devastating effects of a liquified (sic) natural gas [LNG] facility that Chevron was planning to build next to the islands.
In addition, Wolf said, the LNG terminal would take up 100 million gallons of seawater daily, killing larvae and other small organisms in the water and disrupting a highly productive marine ecosystem that supports not only the seabirds but also fish and other marine life around the islands.
In January of this year, the [NAFTA Commission] recommended an investigation into whether Mexico had violated its own environmental laws in approving Chevron's proposal. That led to Chevron's announcement in March that it was abandoning its plans to build the LNG facility at the Coronado Islands site. [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster's Comments: Similarly, the Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG projects in Passamaquoddy Bay would take 13 million to 20 million gallons of seawater in ballast per LNG ship, and would heat tens-of-millions more gallons of seawater per ship for engine cooling. Likewise, there would be a price paid by larvae, eggs, and plankton, as well as by the species who rely on those items for food. What would the total economic and ecologic costs be?
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