"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
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31 December 2007
Based on the most recent census statistics, there are 775 eligible residents on Texada. They were asked if they agreed with the following statement: "I oppose WestPac LNG Corporation's proposal to build and operate a LNG facility on Texada Island, the passage of LNG tankers through the [Strait of Georgia], the construction and operation of a gas-fired electricity generation plant and the building of a high-voltage power line on Texada Island."
WestPac home invaders, go back to where the buffalo used to roam. Stu Leson (WestPac president), go back to Texas. Mark Butler (former WestPac president), seek redemption. Come over from the dark side and reveal to British Columbians the real dangers of this greedy, insane proposal.
"The reality is these projects are one and the same, and what FERC really needs to do is pull its head out of the sand and acknowledge they ought to be evaluating the Bradwood project and the Palomar project at the same time." (Dec 21)
On one hand, the commission's approval of Bradwood Landing's land-use application is utterly serious. At the same time, the commission's unwillingness to reckon with global reality is something out of a bad movie about small-town people selling their souls for a few jobs.
Even at this early stage, there are distinct signs that LNG could swiftly transform from a polite and cooperative house guest into an oblivious glutton that always forces its way to the head of the line, no matter the cost to fishermen and others.
LNG is a classic example of economic colonialism, the sort of business run from thousands of miles away that has abused our hospitality in the distant past. [Red and bold emphasis added.] (Dec 20)
29 December 2007
Tankers heading toward the planned terminals would have to sail a narrow strait between two Canadian islands in Passamaquoddy Bay, raising Canadian concern about the impact on shipping lanes, whale watching, and potentially explosive cargo, the Journal said. The ships would be escorted by armed guards to protect against terrorist attack, interfering with Canadian boat traffic, the newspaper said.
Webmaster's Comments: Since the US isn't a party to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, it can expect no rights or protections under that treaty, and can expect no resolution via the United Nations. What the State Department is saying with respect to this issue in Passamaquoddy Bay, essentially is, "You have to respect our rights [rights that don't exist, but that we claim], but we don't have to respect yours."
Weaver's Cove Energy has proposed to invest over $500 million to build an LNG terminal in Fall River. We looked at dozens of sites throughout New England, and determined that Fall River offered the best mix of ingredients needed for a successful LNG terminal: a deep-water port, proximity to the natural gas pipeline system, and a site large enough to meet or exceed federally mandated safety measures.
The second argument is that it is better to place LNG terminals offshore. However, offshore LNG technology is neither technically nor commercially proven. [Red and bold emphasis added.] (Dec 22)
Webmaster's Comments: It's amazing how many LNG terminal developers sound so much alike, while at the same time ignoring their own industry standards (see SIGTTO).
The de facto (SIGTTO) world standards for LNG terminal siting includes:
- Terminal siting including the LNG ship transit must be located where LNG vapors from a spill cannot harm civilians. The industry standards do not allow for "small-probability" risk the risk is simply not allowable, meaning, "keep LNG tanker routes and terminals well away from people." That strategy is to protect the industry, since any catastrophe that harms the public will harm the industry, by resulting in the probable halt of LNG importation. (Source: "Site Selection and Design for LNG Ports and Jetties," SIGTTO, 1997.)
Webmaster's Comments: Although the editorial uses the term "explosion" excessively, and perhaps inappropriately, a fireball from an LNG spill would still burn people up to a mile away. In addition, if there were no initial "explosion" or fireball, the drifting gas could freeze, asphyxiate, or burn civilians; or could explode in confinement, such as in a building.
Although the LNG developers like to accuse opponents of "fear mongering," the LNG industry, itself, through its standards-development organization, SIGTTO, warns against locating LNG terminals and LNG shipping lanes where vapor from an LNG spill would harm civilians. That warning isn't entirely benevolent; by ensuring safety to everyone, the future of the LNG industry is protected.
Rogue LNG developers like Weavers Cove Energy, Downeast LNG, and Quoddy Bay LNG, are a clear threat to the future of the industry, by ignoring the industry's sensible, fact-based standards established from over 20-years of research and experience.
Just like in 2006, Dundalk-Edgemere went through a year of activity in the attempt by Virginia-based AES Sparrows Point to build a $400 million liquefied natural gas facility at the site of the former Bethlehem Steel Shipyard. (Dec 27)
Texada Action Now (TAN), a local community association formed to help combat the proposal, has collected the signatures of 84% of the adult population of Texada Island on a petition opposing the LNG plant. "The known risks that come with the tankers and the LNG project are not acceptable to Texada Islanders," said Chuck Childress, TAN chairman. "We consider Texada an affordable paradise and want to keep it that way. This project is not wanted, not needed, and certainly not green." (Dec 20)
4. Opposition swells over big pipeline proposal
This is a battle that's just warming up; expect it to be one of next year's top stories, too. The issue has united some odd bedfellows property rights advocates and environmentalists who otherwise are often at odds to fight both proposals.
Each company has made preliminary applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which held an emotionally wrought public hearing in Forest Grove in which FERC officials acted as if a brick wall separated them from the audience, and another in McMinnville for the so-called Palomar line, which was unusual for the high degree of interaction between policy-makers and the public. [Red emphasis added.]
[Op-ed writer] Don B. Hennig is a professional engineer. In 1973, he was responsible for review and evaluation of environmental and public safety issues associated with proposed importation of LNG to Staten Island for the New York State Public Service Commission. (Dec 27)
Webmaster's Comments: It isn't "people working together," it's big money - big energy attempting to manipulate the public. At the Banks meeting the public was having none of it.
Auerbach recently founded the Northwest Property Rights Coalition to fight the use of eminent domain in the federal pipeline siting process. The group already has 50 members. [Red emphasis added.] (Dec 27)
ASTORIA (AP) Federal officials say they are concerned about a potential conflict of interest with an environmental consulting group that’s working on two linked energy projects in the northern Oregon Coast.
19 December 2007
Capt. Roy Nash, U.S. Coast Guard, issued a point-by-point denial of Weaver's Cove LNG's request for reconsideration of the agency's decision to declare the proposed tanker route to Weaver's Cove LNG "unsuitable" for LNG vessel traffic.
Gordon Shearer, president and CEO of Weaver's Cove/Hess LNG Inc., told The Standard-Times editorial board that he would have been surprised if Coast Guard Capt. Roy A. Nash had reversed his sharp denial of a navigation permit in the brief appeal period after his original October ruling against the company.
[P]ilots, who would be employed on the shipping of LNG tankers up Narragansett and Mount Hope bays and then the Taunton River to Fall River, held that the river is navigable for the LNG tanker ships. That view was rejected by Capt. Nash, who maintained in his latest letter to Hess that there is simply no room for human error at any time along the route.
Webmaster's Comments: Kudos to US Coast Guard Capt. Roy Nash for standing up for safety, even when "cowboy" pilots are blinded by greed. The Weaver's Cove/Hess LNG Inc/Fall River LNG terminal project fails industry LNG terminal siting safety standards (SIGTTO).
Shearer's dismissal of offshore LNG terminals as "unproven" feigns ignorance regarding the LNG terminal 116 miles offshore from Louisiana that offloaded its entire LNG cargo during Hurricane Katrina. That offshore technology has been in use in the North Sea for over 20 years.
SIGTTO member Weaver's Cove Energy is proving to be an irresponsible member, threatening the reputation of the industry.
FERC also is at fault for issuing a permit for this project in the face of obvious industry safety violations.
SEA BRIGHT - After Exxon Mobil Corp. announced plans to seek regulatory approval for a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal off the coast of New Jersey Dec. 11, state officials and local activists are speaking out against the plan.
Conner said at a time when the provincial government is setting legislated targets to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the project would move the province in the wrong direction. (Dec 18)
The proposal fails to fully consider the safety of local communities, or Oregon's role in preparing for emergencies, the governor added. And there are no assurances that Northern Star will make up for emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, or set aside enough money to retire the terminal when its life is done or if it goes bankrupt.
Kulongoski said state agencies were already analyzing the proposal when Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which took authority for that process away from states and gave it to FERC. [Bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's Comments: Unlike Maine's Governor Baldacci, Oregon's Governor Kulongoski is responsibly opposing unsafe LNG terminal siting, even though he doesn't oppose LNG.
FERC representatives have indicated in public meetings that the agency isn't in the business of analyzing the need for natural gas or choosing between competing proposals. It leaves that decision to the market.
Carrier said [FERC's] position -- if FERC sticks to it -- is inconsistent with federal law. Carrier said the state will press the case for a comprehensive need analysis as part of FERC's final environmental review, to be completed in the spring.
"That's a complete abdication of their responsibility," Carrier said. "Any environmental impact statement begins with a needs justification. It's fundamental to us that they have a need to justify the action." [Bold and red emphasis added.]
Webmaster's Comments: Natural gas pipelines are considered by FERC to be necessary for "public convenience" something that implies "need." FERC's argument that they aren't "in the business of analyzing the need for natural gas" is flawed.
18 December 2007
Valuing and investing in the quality of place is a new way of thinking for Maine. "In the old way, Maine’s surroundings were nice but not relevant to economic development. Today, Maine’s surroundings remain nice, but are now the very key to our economic future,’’ the report concludes. Much can be done to sustain the quality of place without spending much money land use planning, tax credits for downtown and historic structure development, negotiating conservation easements on key properties come to mind but new spending is necessary to move this work along.
Webmaster's Comments: This editorial is a refreshing reversal by the Bangor Daily News editorial staff. They have previously advocated the "Wall-mart" and "LNG" mentality, welcoming any promise of any jobs by any kind of business even when those businesses are destructive to economy and way of life.
Webmaster's Comments: Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG prospects are looking even more dreary, given this US Government analysis.
AEO2008 projects higher energy prices to consumers for most delivered fuels. For example, in 2030, the average delivered price for natural gas (in 2006 dollars) is more than $1 higher in the AEO2008 reference case than was projected in AEO2007. In part, the higher prices are a result of higher prices paid to fossil fuel producers at the wellhead or minemouth; but they also result from updates made to assumptions about the costs to transport, distribute, and refine the fuels to make them more consistent with recent trends. For example, the margins between the delivered and wellhead prices of natural gas are higher than previously projected, as a result of declining use per customer and the cost of bringing supplies from new regions to market.
[Bold red emphasis added.] (Dec 2007)
Webmaster's Comments: Even more bad news for Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG.
…a result of higher delivered natural gas prices, lower economic growth, and a reassessment of natural gas use in the energy-intensive industries.
[Bold red emphasis added.] (Dec 2007)
Webmaster's Comments: Downeast LNG's and Quoddy Bay LNG's argument that their projects are needed, and that they will bring down the cost of natural gas, is debunked by LNG industry experts, FERC personnel (former FERC Chairman Wood), and now by US Government projections.
A Université Laval economist testified yesterday that the $11 million a year the Rabaska consortium proposes to pay the city of Lévis would be less than $2 million a year by the time their 50-year agreement comes to a close.
As designed, Freeport LNG’s facilities [at Quintana, Texas] could accommodate Q-Max vessels, but Freeport notes that the shipping channel is currently too small to receive such large ships. However, Port Freeport and the Army Corps of Engineers have proposed to widen the ship channel….
Webmaster's Comments: This is discomforting news to anyone who lives, works, or travels near a natural gas pipeline anywhere that temperatures drop all the way down to +20°F like Maine, for instance.
HOUSTON (Reuters) - A motorist was killed and another was injured when the Columbia Gulf natural gas pipeline in northeast Louisiana exploded on Friday afternoon near an interstate highway, said a Louisiana State Police spokeswoman. (Dec 14)
Webmaster's Comments: Apparently, natural gas pipelines, often located near people, aren't as safe as FERC and the Department of Transportation would like people to believe.
Webmaster's Comments: This report makes one wonder how unconfined natural gas something that the LNG industry and FERC says can't explode exploded, according to news accounts, and exploded enough to shake houses miles away. (Natural gas confined in a pipeline can't explode, since the pipe contains no oxygen.)
There is an average of one US natural gas pipeline "incident" every three days, according to data from the US DOT Office of Pipeline Safety.
17 December 2007
Coast Guard Capt. Charles D. Michel, chief of the Office of Maritime and International Law, cited Head Harbour Passage as a "close to home example" of how failure to accede to the [UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)] treaty could negatively affect American consumers near the U.S./Canada border. (Dec 14)
Webmaster's Comments: Quoddy Bay LNG's Brian Smith needs to break his habit of misinformation. He ought to ask international maritime law experts whether or not the US can claim rights under UNCLOS.
Ted MacDorman, the attorney who provided Downeast LNG with his opinion regarding Head Harbour Passage, answered that question at a maritime law panel in 2006, saying that the US has no rights under UNCLOS. Treaty rights require both affected parties to agree. So far, the US hasn't agreed to the treaty; thus, it has no rights under that treaty. LNG vessels for the Quoddy Bay LNG and Downeast LNG projects have no rights under UNCLOS.
CG Capt. Michel made the false assertion that the proposed Quoddy Bay LNG and Downeast LNG projects are actually needed and would be approved by the Coast Guard, by FERC, by the State of Maine, and by the Army Corps of Engineers. Capt. Michel has pre-judged and politicized the Coast Guard's own Waterway Suitability Assessment something that the Coast Guard previously said would not happen. In addition, he ignored the US statutory requirements for the Coast Guard to prevent LNG transits in waterways that are unsuitable for that purpose. If the US has that authority, then so does Canada, and Canada has exercised that authority.
Otherwise, Capt. Michel is arguing that the US Coast Guard has no authority to prevent LNG UNCLOS-defined "innocent passage" transits in unsuitable waters even though Congress requires the Coast Guard to prevent such passage. Capt. Michel appears to be arguing that the Coast Guard should defy Congress!
The snow-driven gridlock that brought Boston to its knees for almost an entire day proves the city is helpless in the face of genuine disasters such as LNG explosions or dirty-bomb attacks, city councilors say. (Dec 15)
“We are writing [FERC] to compel [the] AES Corporation to thoroughly investigate an alternate route of a small section of the proposed Sparrows Point pipeline in Upper Uwchlan Township,” said the letter, dated Nov. 28. “Within [four] properties, there is a point where three pipelines intersect, a stream with surrounding wetlands needs to be crossed and a woodline leads right to a 300-year-old oak tree. ... We continue to pursue a solution that would have the least impact to residential properties.” (Dec 13)
He added that the new supplies of natural gas would reduce the region's air emissions by lessening the need for coal-fired power generation, and would be "in line with the state's new energy master plan."
The Crown Landing project is on hold, pending the outcome of a legal battle between New Jersey and Delaware over the proposed location for the terminal. The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case last month. (Dec 13)
Webmaster's Comments: How does burning more hydrocarbon fuel add up to less polution?
The [Exxon Mobil BlueOcean Energy] proposal is the seemingly sensible answer to BP's ill-advised idea of putting a LNG facility on the Delaware River shore of New Jersey, not just illegally in the State of Delaware's territory but also presenting safety concerns to tens of thousands of residents.
The idea of building a terminal far away from populations is a reasonable way to meet the ever increasing demand for LNG, used to generate electricity, heat homes and serve as raw material in a number of industrial uses. [Bold emphasis added.]
The Vista del Sol LNG project, to be located near Ingleside, Texas, has already received the necessary regulatory approvals but was shelved by Exxon so that the company could focus on its Golden Pass LNG import terminal project.
The delegation said this week it would do everything possible to keep Alaska's proposed gas pipeline contract from going to Sinopec ZPEB, a joint venture of two oil-industry companies backed by the Chinese government.
"I will tell the Chinese they have no possible hope of getting gas from us," said U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, who sits on the China-U.S. Interparliamentary Conference. "I don't see it happening. With the shortage of natural gas in the United States, that gas is not going to be allowed to be exported." (Dec 13)
Webmaster's Comments: Finally, someone recognizes the folly of shipping Alaskan natural gas (in LNG form) overseas. Will Alaska also stop shipping LNG to Japan?
"The simulation confirms that our site is well-suited for even the largest vessels, such as the Q-Max," said Peter Hansen, Oregon LNG chief executive officer. "The simulation also shows that the tankers can safely navigate the Columbia River Bar."
The location of the project site has other advantages. Because the site and the tanker transit route are distant from population centers, bridges and other major infrastructures, "the site is ideal from a safety and security standpoint," Hansen added.
Webmaster's Comments: Contrary to the Oregon LNG's news release, the simulation indicates only that navigating to the site could be easy. The problem is that the proposed site's LNG ships' three hazard zones (Sandia National Laboratories'-defined "Zones of Concern") engulf nearly the entire City of Warrenton. In addition, the proposed pier is exposed to other heavily-laden shipping traffic in the nearby shipping lane. Both problems violate LNG industry SIGTTO best practices.
The draft said all other vessels would be expected to move outside the 500-foot security exclusion zone for 15 minutes or more before resuming their position. And commercial fishermen might face longer delays. "This is not true" was his written response. [Joe Desmond, NorthernStar's senior vice president for external affairs,] said "exclusion zones" don't exist. (Dec 24)
Webmaster's Comments: This is an example of an LNG developer telling half-truths. It's strictly correct that there are no "exclusion zones" around LNG vessels; however, there are "Safety and Security Zones" that exclude other vessels from approaching or being near LNG vessels and their transit route.
The decision rejected staff arguments that the project is too large and too disruptive to the environment and dashed the hopes of liquefied natural gas opponents, many of whom are organizing to challenge the ruling in court.
Webmaster's Comments: The county's approval, in an information vacuum and in the face of staff advice against the project, is puzzling.
By a vote of 3-2, with commissioners Patricia Roberts and Sam Patrick against, the board agreed that the Bradwood LNG project, proposed for a site 20 miles east of Astoria on the Columbia River, is "small- to medium-scale" as required by county land-use laws. (Dec 13)
"Frankly, they've reached a conclusion that appears to defy the law of physics," said Brent Foster, executive director of Columbia Riverkeepers. "This is one of the largest industrial projects in Oregon in three decades. This decision doesn't even really pass the laugh test." (Dec 14)
About 150 people opposed to a liquefied natural gas pipeline that would cut across Oregon gathered Wednesday outside NW Natural's headquarters in Portland and called on Gov. Ted Kulongoski (who considers his political legacy to depend upon his record on climate change) to oppose the pipeline and the LNG terminals proposed on the Oregon Coast. (Dec 13)
13 December 2007
On November 2, 2007, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published its finalized list of "chemicals of interest," thereby triggering the 60-day reporting requirement under the DHS’s Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS),1 for myriad businesses, colleges and universities that possess any of the identified chemicals at or above the screening threshold amounts.
In 2005 and 2006, the Secretary of Homeland Security identified the need for legislation authorizing DHS to develop and implement a framework to regulate the security of high-risk chemical facilities in the United States. (Dec 4)
Webmaster's Comments: The Department of Homeland Security list of high-risk chemicals includes methane natural gas, the principle component of LNG. See page 9 for the "methane" listing in the following DHS document:
http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/chemsec_appendixa-chemicalofinterestlist.pdf (2.1 MB)
Webmaster's Comments: More bad news for Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG.
Note: The headline erroneously states that the pipeline would contain LNG. The article clarifies that it would contain regasified LNG natural gas. Due to LNG's transient cryogenic nature, there are no LNG pipelines anywhere in the world.
State Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-South Shore), who has championed a state ban on building LNG facilities in any New York city of 1 million or more people, said ExxonMobile's plan seems sound, especially given the great distance from land.
Webmaster's Comments: While the proposed offshore terminal location might possibly be an appropriate location, Sen. Lanza apes FERC's lack of respect for lives in small communities.
A leading opponent of the Broadwater project, Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said in an e-mail: "This just proves our point that there are alternative locations other than the middle of Long Island Sound. ... Looks like the Broadwater barge is sinking under the competition."
A 42-inch pipeline running from the Golden Pass LNG facility through Port Arthur en route to Calcasieu parish will be the subject of a public hearing at 9 a.m. on Jan. 2 at City Hall, council members voted Tuesday.
LNG terminals across Oregon Farmers, fishermen and environmentalists thronged the Portland headquarters of Northwest Natural Gas Co. Wednesday to protest three proposed liquefied natural gas terminals near the coast and related pipelines that would snake across hundreds of miles of Oregon countryside.
Webmaster's Comments: The pipeline would not carry LNG, but would carry natural gas (regasified from LNG) away from LNG terminals. Because of LNG's transient cryogenic nature, there are no LNG pipelines anywhere in the world.
The Clatsop County Board of Commissioners had a lot to consider for its regular meeting Wednesday night. And they decided to postpone the Columbia River Estuary Task Force presentation of environmental-impact comments summarizing NorthernStar Natural Gas Co.'s Bradwood Landing project until after today's deliberations on its land-use applications.
NorthernStar Energy LLC, the company hoping to build a liquefied natural gas facility on the Columbia River at Bradwood Landing, 20 miles east of Astoria, won't get the city of Warrenton's agreement without some significant changes in the measures providing for public safety. The public safety plans for the Bradwood project were put forward in a federal Draft Environmental Impact Statement in October.
According to federal law, NorthernStar cannot begin construction until local emergency response agencies have signed off on a cost-sharing plan, Polasek said. City Attorney Hal Snow said it's vital for the agreement to be in place before NorthernStar gets a permit from FERC.
Webmaster's Comments: Although Astoria desires an emergency response cost-sharing plan prior to FERC issuing a permit, FERC doesn't require emergency response plans until after they issue the permit. Thus, any pre-permit bargaining between LNG companies and communities occurs without knowing the actual emergency response costs.
After reviewing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's 600-page Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Bradwood project, proposed for a site 20 miles east of Astoria, three Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce employees hired by Clatsop County found the feds glossed over some serious impacts to the local area. (Dec 12)
"As the process to approve this and other LNG ports proceeds, it is imperative that the city continue to voice its opposition and keep the state of California and the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission informed of the real threat LNG ports pose to the environment, public safety tourism and property values in Malibu and the surrounding areas," the resolution reads. (Dec 12)
12 December 2007
[US Coast Guard] Capt. Charles Michel said the issue is a good example of why the United States needs to endorse the international treaty on the Law of the Sea. "Without being a party to the Law of the Sea Convention, we cannot avail ourselves of the dispute-resolution provisions," he said.
"Right now, U.S. citizens are likely going to end up paying more for their natural gas and probably have less of it because of our inability to become a party to the (treaty). I don't know how much closer to home that can hit." [Red emphasis added.] (Dec 11)
Webmaster's Comments: Several observations:
- Capt. Michel confirms that, since the US isn't a party to the UN Law of the Sea treaty, and due to Canada's position, LNG ships can't transit Head Harbour Passage under that treaty.
- There are several problems with Capt. Michel saying that Prime Minister Harper was "playing to his local political constituency":
- Canada's policy to disallow LNG transits in Passamaquoddy Bay conforms perfectly with the LNG industry's own terminal siting standards (see SIGTTO) Passamaquoddy Bay, for around 30 reasons, violates those standards. Harper's government is merely exercising good judgement.
- Capt. Michel contradicts former FERC chairman Pat Wood, current FERC knowledge, and experts in the LNG industry by predicting that "US citizens are likely to end up paying more for their natural gas and probably have less of it" as a result of no LNG transits into Passamaquoddy Bay.
- Prior to leaving his position in 2005, then-FERC Chairman Wood stated that only 79 new LNG terminals are needed to meet future US natural gas demands.
- According to FERC's LNG webpage (as of 2007 Dec 12; See the last sentence in the last paragraph below the heading, "How many projects might be built?"), "Many industry analysts predict that only 12 of the 40 LNG terminals being considered will ever be built." (Some of those 40 are expansions of existing projects, including non-terminal peak-shaving facilities.)
As of 2007 Oct 31, according to FERC (PDF, 128 KB), there are:
- 5 existing US lower-48 states LNG import terminals, including four shoreside and one offshore;
- 21 FERC-approved, including 18 new terminals and 3 expansions;
- 4 MARAD-approved import terminals; (MARAD = Marine Administration; they have permitting authority for offshore LNG terminals; FERC is not involved in permitting these terminals)
That's 22 approved new US terminals, plus 3 expansions (25 total), many more than needed to fulfill the demand for natural gas.
- 4 Canadian-approved import terminals;
- 4 Mexican-approved import terminals, including 1 expansion;
Note that some Canadian and Mexican terminals intend to send natural gas via pipeline to the US.
- LNG industry experts have indicated that the two LNG offshore terminals near Gloucester, Massachusetts, along with the Canaport terminal , will over-supply the natural gas needs of northern New England by 400%. Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG simply aren't needed.
- Natural gas prices are a function of many complex forces, including Europe's and Asia's willingness to pay more (with lower transportation costs).
- Capt. Michel's remarks including the statement that PM Harper "blew off" President Bush are clearly political and inflammatory. By the US Coast Guard playing politics, Capt. Michel has violated the public trust, and has damaged Coast Guard credibility.
The U.S. is not about to go to war with Canada over the possibility our northern neighbor will bar liquid natural gas tanker ships from passing through Canadian waters to New England -- a restriction that would impose a severe hardship on the region. (Dec 11)
Webmaster's Comments: This article is based on the same misguided, inappropriate quotes from USCG Capt. Charles Michel.
…Capt. Nash's point-by-point rebuttal of the appeal contained a sharp rebuke to Weaver's Cove for impugning his professional integrity by leveling the accusation that nowhere else has a port captain "substituted his judgment for the judgment of professional pilots."
Capt. Nash said he did take the pilots' views into account, but noted their monetary stake in the matter…. "Ultimately, I am the only financially disinterested party with the statutory responsibility and authority … for ensuring the safety of the federal waterway."
"I will not abdicate that responsibility to marine pilots, to Weaver's Cove, or any other person or entity that duty is mine alone." [Bold red emphasis added.] (Dec 11)
Exxon Mobil said Tuesday that it would like to build a $1 billion floating terminal for liquefied natural gas about 20 miles off the coast of New Jersey, a move meant to deflect safety and environmental concerns about proximity to populated areas.
Webmaster's Comments: Offshore, away from people, easier expansion, fewer security problems, less public resistance.
Local activist groups like Clean Ocean Action (COA), a broad coalition of ocean advocates, are concerned that ASIG is trying to block the state of New Jersey from having a voice in the project's application review process.
"When you have a project that has absolutely no negative environmental impact but only would provide a cheaper source of energy for the millions of people in New Jersey and the tri-state area, it's a shame it has to be litigated," said Roginsky [a consultant to ASIG]. "Natural gas is: A) cleaner than oil, and B) not as expensive as oil. If this project gets built, there will be an influx of cheaper energy source into New Jersey, and I don't know how any environmentalists in good conscience could be against it."
Webmaster's Comments: "Absolutely no negative environmental impact"? How about pollution from regasifying the LNG, and from LNG ships' and escourt vessels' air pollution? It's hard to understand how anyone in good conscience can believe Atlantic Sea Island Group LNG speculators.
To prevent Enstar Natural Gas from having to cut off gas to customers, the gas supply to the LNG plant was cut 35 percent, from 244 million cubic feet to 150 million cubic feet, and gas supplied to the Tesoro refinery was cut by half, from 13 million cubic feet to 6 million cubic feet, Izzo told the conference. (Dec 9)
Webmaster's Comments: Is there some kind of mysterious logical disconnect in Alaska? The state needs natural gas, but they ship it to Japan.
Businessmen and residents in downtown Portland might do a double-take Wednesday, as tractors and fishing boats parade down Northwest Second Avenue as part of a protest of proposed gas pipelines. (Dec 11)
"It's basically where things are going to be put. Where they're going to dredge the LNG berth, where they're going to put the tanks, where they'll put the vaporizers. Just to get a feel of where the LNG terminal is going to be situated." (Dec 11)
Webmaster's Comments: Ever notice how FERC officials assume in their language e.g., "where the LNG terminal will be situated" that all proposed projects will be permitted? Absence of FERC objectivity shows through.
10 December 2007
In a letter to Weaver's Cove Energy executives and their representatives on Monday, Dec. 10, the Coast Guard reaffirmed its decision to not recommend Weaver's Cove in Fall River as a site for an LNG terminal because of the many hazards LNG tankers approaching a terminal there would face.
"After a thorough review of your request, including its exhibits and other documents referenced therein, I find no substantive issue, nor new information, that would suggest my recommendation of unsuitability was incorrect or made without due consideration of the record," Capt. Roy Nash, the Coast Guard Captain of the Port of Providence, said in the letter.
One industrial user that relied on those cheap gas supplies, the Agrium fertilizer plant, has closed. The future of another big gas user, the Conoco Phillips LNG export plant on the Kenai, is in jeopardy. It needs federal permission to keep exporting natural gas beyond 2009, and that is hard to justify when Alaska users are running short.
ICF Consulting has concluded that Washington and Oregon ought to encourage LNG projects in the Pacific Northwest as a means to diversify supply away from past over-reliance on imports from western Canada and the Rocky Mountains.
Webmaster's Comments: Or, Washington and Oregon could encourage alternative energy solutions.
9 December 2007
"I think in principle, it's a bad idea because it's a secure facility," said [Chuck] Watson, a Savannah-based professional hazards planner who generates security analyses on government and private facilities.
Recent expansions nearly doubled [the Elba Island LNG] storage capacity, and plans call for it to be doubled again by 2012. But it's situated in an area the LNG industry itself would not recommend now, Jennings said.
Elba has been criticized for perceived security and safety breaches in the past, including a March 2006 incident when a surge from a passing vessel pulled the LNG tanker Golar Freeze 15 feet from its dock as it discharged its load. Just three months later, a sailboat cruised into one of the interior slips at the facility and dropped anchor.
"Either it's a secure facility and you take reasonable measures to protect it, or you're not protecting it," [Watson] said. "I'd argue they did not." [Red and bold emphasis added.] (Dec 8)
Webmaster's Comments: The LNG industry rules dictate stronger safety and security measures rules that are also advocated by the quoted Savannah-based professional hazards planner than the US Coast Guard Captain of the Port on the Savannah River is willing to follow.
This is another example of how government ignores the wisdom of the LNG industry's own safety standards: the Captain of the Port irresponsibly calls the industry's safety standards a "perception problem."
"If NorthernStar is any indication, we're going to have the same problems with the pipeline environmental statements," Serres said. "FERC and these companies don't appear to want to safeguard the public or our environment." (Nov 30)
Webmaster's Comments: More bad news for Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG investors.
Global liquefied natural gas supply may rise less than expected over the next eight years because of higher project costs, which could lead to more shortages and higher prices, according to a report by UBS AG. (Dec 4)
ROME, Dec 4 (Reuters) - A sharp surge in costs to develop liquefied natural gas projects risks halting a growth boom in the industry that has been driven by soaring demand, an Exxon Mobil Corp. executive said on Tuesday. (Dec 4)
ALGIERS, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Algeria could give up long-term contracts for its natural gas exports and opt instead for short and medium-term agreements that allow more flexibility on price, Energy and Mines Minister Chakib Khelil said on Monday. (Dec 3)
Webmaster's Comments: Algeria's strategy will result in higher natural gas prices for customers.
(Houston Chronicle) - Opening federal lands to oil and gas exploration won't free the country from dependence on natural gas imports but it could head off the formation of another OPEC-like cartel, according to a study released by Rice University researchers.
Webmaster's Comments: Such drilling could also slow down implementation of alternative renewalble fuels.
Dubai is set to launch a liquefied natural gas (LNG) futures exchange. It … could signal the beginnings of a future LNG version of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries [OPEC]. (Nov 30)
Webmaster's Comments: This is a new LNG liquefaction facility. It also had serious problems when starting up, resulting in copious amounts of ash falling on the community of Hammerfest.
7 December 2007
One year before Chad LaFrance unleashed an inferno on Everett’s Main Street, I sat in the Boston City Council chambers listening to Richard A. Clarke, the elegant high priest of counter-terrorism, scare the bejeezus out of me with his imaginary version of hell.
Pretty much everything that Richard Clarke envisioned a year ago at City Hall - the great balls of fire and the radiant heat that would spread the destruction - it all came to pass on Main Street in Everett in the wee small hours of Wednesday morning. And it didn’t come via a missile, a hijacked plane or an IED. No, hell arrived courtesy of a truck driver with a shabby driving record, a sickly bank account and plenty of open road.
Webmaster's Comments: While the gasoline tanker spill and fire that occurred was a disaster, and had no security surrounding the truck's transit to help ensure safety, the "hell" that occurred was a "match fire" compared to what could happen in a catastrophic LNG release and fire from a ship in Boston Harbor.
Most accidents are the result of human error, never mind terrorists a fact emphasized by the world's LNG industry standards (see SIGTTO), and one reason that SIGTTO recommends against locating LNG terminals where spilled LNG vapor can affect civilian populations, like Boston, Eastport, Campobello Island, Deer Island, Sipayik, Perry, Robbinston, and St. Andrews.
At the time of the Bush administration approval, the Crown Landing development had not been reviewed under state procedures that Delaware had adopted under two environmental laws, the Coastal Zone Management Act and the Clean Air Act, Delaware alleged.
The absence of state review and consent under the two environmental statutes meant that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should not have issued a license for the Crown Landing proposal, according to Delaware's lawsuit. (Dec 2)
Webmaster's Comments: Likewise, FERC hypocritically calling itself a "safety" agency should not issue LNG terminal project permits prior to the Coast Guard's final Waterway Suitability Assessment and Letter of Recommendation.
"Trinidad has neither stranded gas nor low-priced gas anymore," said [Chairman and chief executive officer of BP Trinidad and Tobago (BPTT), Robert Riley].Based on a production rate of 4.5 billion cubic feet per day, the gas will last only 12 more years unless new discoveries are made. [Bold red emphasis added.]
Webmaster's Comments: Things are looking even worse if that's possible for Quoddy Bay LNG and Downeast LNG.
HOUSTON, Dec 6 (Reuters) - LNG company Excelerate Energy on Thursday confirmed "exclusive conversations" with RWE (RWEG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) but declined comment on a report that the German utility is buying a stake in Excelerate.
Excelerate … operates LNG ships and regasification terminals in Great Britain and offshore Louisiana. It is preparing to open another offshore terminal [at Gloucester,] near Boston, Massachusetts. (Dec 6)
"We have a technology we can apply quickly and to other natural gas markets that other LNG providers may not be able to serve," says Excelerate Energy CEO Rob Bryngelson. "We are offshore. Through our dockside technology, we can build a gas port in about a third of the time and at substantially less cost than a traditional facility. Each ship is a floating re-gasification terminal with the flexibility to move cargo around the world." [Bold red & underline emphasis added.]
Webmaster's Comments: Offshore, less expensive, faster construction, less risk to civilians, easier to expand a more sensible approach than used by old-technology, risk-inherent, and LNG standards non-compliant (see SIGTTO) Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG.
6 December 2007
The groups conclude that Downeast's statements to FERC are inconsistent with its statements and actions before the BEP, including Downeast's statement that none of its currently proposed alternative pipeline routes are workable. The filing is available in FERC's eLibrary under Docket No. CP07-52. [Red bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's Comments: Read the documents by downloading from the docket file list on FERC's eLibrary.
Potential for calamity at LNG facility
Emergency crews last evening were still cleaning up the aftermath from the gasoline spill that torched two triple-deckers, burned dozens of cars and forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents in the Sweetser Circle area of Everett.
Yesterday’s accident “absolutely demonstrates” how “cataclysmic” an accidental or terrorist-caused inferno would be at the Distrigas facility, said Markey, who says he favors a gradual phase-out of the LNG tankers in Everett.
The additional signatures bring to 80,000 the total collected on petitions over the past two years on Long Island, in Westchester County and Connecticut by Citizens Campaign for the Environment, the Farmingdale-based environmental group said. "The public opposition is widespread, strong and it's not going away," Adrienne Esposito, the group's executive director, said in a statement. (Dec 5)
Burkhard was unwilling to provide details about AEnergia's proposal under the state's new Alaska Gasline Inducement Act until the Palin administration's review was complete. He did say his proposed pipeline would go from the North Slope to Alberta. From there, the gas would be distributed to the Lower 48 through pipelines already built, and that AEnergia's proposal would "support an ancillary project to Kenai or Valdez," including an LNG project.
Webmaster's Comments: Shipping LNG from Alaska to Japan has had something to do with Alaska's future natural gas shortfall, and reflects the state's and the nation's flawed energy philosophy.
BP REPORT: Consumption of natural gas declines in U.S., increases worldwide.
The review is a respected, data-packed guide to supply and demand for major energy sources including oil and gas, coal, and nuclear and hydroelectric power. BP, which runs the largest U.S. oil field at Prudhoe Bay, has produced the review for 56 years.
U.S. gas production rose by 2.3 percent, the strongest gain since 2001. The growth was due to recovery from hurricane-related outages in the Lower 48, as well as more rigs drilling for gas, Finley said. (Sep 7)
Chuck Childress is the chairman of Texada Action Now (TAN), an organization that is opposed to WestPac's proposal. "When we go to the [Powell River] Regional District, they tell us there is no project," he said. "When we go to Victoria, they tell us there is no project. So, if there is no project, why would WestPac be moving from Calgary to Vancouver? To keep an eye on a nonexistent project?"
Webmaster's Comments: The "no project" response given by government merely means that there is no formal application yet on record. That type of "government-speak" provides an excuse for public employees to sit on their hands while projects get a good foothold.
There are more issues beyond energy bound up in the movement of this traffic close to population centres in a busy inland marine thoroughfare. Based on observations and knowledge of current commercial vessel traffic, there is a strong case that LNG tanker traffic is unsuitable in the Strait of Georgia from a navigation safety perspective. (Nov 29)
Webmaster's Comments: There is an equally appalling lack of leadership on the part of elected officials in Maine, as well US Sen. Olympia Snowe, US Sen. Susan Collins, and US Rep. Mike Michaud just don't seem to know if the proposed LNG projects are appropriately sited, or not. Instead, they try to redirect attention on whether or not local communities want the projects. US Rep. Tom Allen simply won't respond, at all even though he's spammed us with email, attempting to get our votes in his upcoming race to unseat Sen. Collins.
[T]ax assessors say it's impossible to check the figure for accuracy because it's based on the company's estimated $600 million value of a finished project, which isn't expected until 2011 if it's approved.
Webmaster's Comments: Emergency response plans for LNG terminals and ship transit routes typically aren't developed until after FERC issues a permit, so there's no way for communities or the state to know in advance what their costs will actually be.
Coos County Commissioners have given final approval to a liquefied natural gas import terminal. It’s one of four controversial gas terminals proposed along the Northwest coast. Correspondent Tom Banse reports this one’s a step closer to reality.
Webmaster's Comments: Although there is plenty of exaggeration on both sides of the LNG argument, the editorial page editor of the Democrat-Herald apparently isn't aware of the LNG industry's own standards (SIGTTO), and doesn't believe the US Coast Guard (Department of Homeland Security) or Sandia National Laboratories regarding LNG's risks, especially in inappropriately-sited locations. It is Sandia National Laboratories, at the request of FERC, who designated the 2.2-mile-wide hazard zones (a.k.a., "Zones of Concern") that accompany LNG ships, and the "Exclusion Zones" around LNG facilities zones that would engulf a large portion of the city of Astoria. The public didn't "invent" the physics of vapor dispersion or the physiology of burn injuries. And, the opposition didn't commit the atrocities of 9/11.
The world is a different place than it used to be a reality that must be responsibly considered when siting facilities that could place the public in harm's way. The terminals proposed for Oregon appear to be when compared to SIGTTO standards inappropriate, due to their proximity to civilian populations. Offshore siting would solve that problem.
Note: FERC, according to their LNG terminal siting guidelines, doesn't consider lives in small communities to be as important as lives in large communities though they ignore even those guidelines when they issue LNG terminal permits in places like Fall River, Massachusetts.
Webmaster's Comments: Excelerate Energy is the company that developed offshore "submerged buoy" LNG receiving technology. They built the first offshore LNG terminal in the US, 116 miles into the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana, that regasified and offloaded its entire cargo of LNG during Hurricane Katrina. Excelerate's technology proves that, unlike the proposed shoreside Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG projects located in a waterway that would for around 30 reasons violate the LNG industry's own SIGTTO standards for LNG terminal siting, LNG importation can be done without any potential harm to civilian populations.
Inventories are now 84 Bcf above the five-year average of 1.848 Tcf in the East, 46 Bcf above the average of 417 Bcf in the West, and 143 Bcf above the average of 902 Bcf in the producing region. [Bold emphasis added.]
INTERNATIONAL: Classification society ABS is seeing a resurgence of interest in floating solutions for the transportation of natural gas aimed at capturing stranded gas reserves around the world. Although natural gas is abundant, more than one-third of global gas reserves are thought to be stranded by field size and without commercially viable access to world markets. Estimates place these stranded gas reserves at more than 3,000 Tcf.
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