The Quoddy Tides

Eastport, Maine

2008 Jan 25

Company revives third LNG proposal for Quoddy region

by Marie Jones Holmes

The Calais liquefied natural gas (LNG) project first announced at a Calais City Council meeting in August of 2005 is in the news again. Arthur Gelber of Gelber & Associates, a Texas-based company, was in the Calais area the week of January 13. "We are here in Calais to talk to members of the community to understand what their hopes and concerns are," stated Gelber.

Since the August 2005 meeting, there has been a change in project partners. The proposal was first put forth by BP Consulting LLC, founded by former Passamaquoddy Rep. Fred Moore III of Pleasant Point and Rep. Ian Emery of Cutler. The Indian Township tribal government was also involved. Both Moore and Indian Township are no longer involved. Emery remains as a partner with Gelber, who says the management team also includes James Lewis and Carl Myers. Gelber describes Lewis as a 40-year LNG veteran who is a vice president of ICF Consulting, a management, technology and policy consulting firm. Quoddy area residents may recall Lewis from LNG safety demonstrations that Quoddy Bay LNG held in February 2005. Lewis, then with Project Technical Liaison Associates Inc., based in Texas, had been hired by Quoddy Bay to demonstrate, as a safety expert, the non-toxic effects of LNG by using Cheerios and live goldfish and by drinking some LNG. [SPB webmaster's note: Lewis did not actually drink LNG. He did inhale the vapors, which may have been misinterpreted by the reporter at the time of the event. See SPB webmaster's footnote at bottom of page.] Myers has 35 years of experience in LNG operations, construction and regulations. Myers was with UGI Utilities, a Pennsylvania-based company that distributes and markets propane and natural gas and electricity for the eastern United States.

The project has also undergone several name changes. The Calais LNG proposal is now being undertaken by Northeast Energy Development LLC. Gelber says he first became interested in the project when Emery contacted him for his consulting services. He decided the Calais project had good potential and joined the partnership. Gelber and his team plan to be back in the Calais area in a couple of months to hold a public informational meeting.

Gelber says he is very optimistic about the proposed LNG project. "We have enough funding to do what we are doing," states Gelber.

He appears to have little concern about Canadian opposition to the site of the proposed project, which is located in the Red Beach area of Calais. The facility would be built on a 300-acre parcel on the U.S. side of the St. Croix River between Devil's Head and St. Croix Island. The largest portion of the parcel is the former Fenderson property now owned by Steven Carothers of Calais and Gail Roberts. The remaining acreage is mostly small parcels.

A 1,700-foot pier would extend out to reach a 45-foot depth of water to accommodate LNG vessels. LNG tankers would need to go through Head Harbour Passage, and Canadian officials have said they will oppose the passage of LNG tankers through Canadian waters.

Gelber believes his group could be approaching the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) concerning their plans sometime this spring or summer.

Opponents voice concerns

Linda Godfrey of Save Passamaquoddy Bay 3-Nation Alliance expresses several concerns about the recent announcement that the Calais LNG project is being revived. "They have ignored the LNG industry's own terminal-siting standards — as developed by the world LNG authority, Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators — and have not comprehended that Canada, a sovereign nation with rights equal to the United States, will not allow LNG transits into Passamaquoddy Bay."

Noting the Quoddy Bay LNG and Downeast LNG proposals, Godfrey states that, according to industry experts, there is no need for these three additional LNG terminals in the Northeast, world LNG supplies are scarce, and the price of LNG is high because of demand in Asia and Europe. Godfrey notes that a gas industry organization, the LDC Forum-Northeast, says in its 2008-event overview statement, "High prices, supply shortages, controversies about new drilling opportunities, Middle East turmoil, volatility in the financial markets, and the Democratic gains last November all contribute to increased scrutiny of the industry. We will never again be able to fly beneath the public radar."

SPB webmaster's footnote: Due to the extremely cold temperature of LNG (-260° F / -161° C), if someone were to actually drink it, here are some probable health-related outcomes:

Rapid death would be the likely outcome.


© 2008 The Quoddy Tides
Eastport, Maine
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.