"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
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29 Apr 2009
Noting that the Sable Offshore Energy Project in Nova Scotia will be offline in the coming months, several industry analysts told Platts Gas Daily [subscription required] that they believe the Canaport LNG import terminal will emerge as a critical gas trading hub for the Northeastern United States owing to the terminal's significant send-out capability and substantial storage capacity.
What we get instead are bills adding to the penal laws and outlawing abuses as gross as using a cell phone in your car. And if employers happen to run afoul of an environmental law, the attorney general wants to put them in jail.
Webmaster’s Comments: The Democrat Herald obviously believes in throwing caution to the wind, hell-bent for leather, regardless of the consequences.
[T] he US scene has been complicated in the last 2-3 years by the advent of prolific gas supplies from unconventional sources, especially shale plays in Texas and the Rocky Mountains. Discovery and development of massive shale reserves in Louisiana, Arkansas, New York, and Pennsylvania have only added to the overhang of supply potential.Top
Fahy believes spot LNG will come to the US "only at distressed [price] levels," near what we are seeing today. "US [natural gas] storage is full," he said. Storage and firm supply contracts for Spain and Japan similarly discourage spot cargoes. [Red & bold emphasis added.]
28 Month 2009
[T]he push to clean up the environment by switching from coal and oil to natural gas (which has resulted in significant environmental benefits) has not been met with a commensurate buildup in gas supply. This situation is like requiring everyone to use state-of-the-art wood stoves and then outlawing woodlots.
There is a solution — the permitting and construction of one or more of the Maine liquefied natural gas projects proposed for Passamaquoddy Bay. When the LNG is vaporized and injected into the gas pipeline system, it represents an enormous increase in local natural gas supply and will put significant downward pressure on gas prices in Maine. It is like everyone having their own woodlot next to their house.
Ironically, it is our Canadian neighbors to the north (the source of our current gas supply) who are opposing the Washington County projects and refusing passage of LNG ships through Canadian waters into Passamaquoddy Bay.
We are in favor of helping our neighbors, but they need to be in favor of helping us. The commercial and provincial interests in Canada involved should immediately drop their opposition to the Passamaquoddy Bay projects; the fate of those projects will be decided by American, state and federal agencies after all necessary studies and reviews are completed. Maine elected officials need to send a clear signal to the Canadian opponents: Maine will not even consider assisting Maritime Canada and Irving Oil until they drop their opposition to attempts by Mainers to do the same kind of energy development that Irving and the provinces are also doing. That’s what real friends and neighbors do.
Webmaster’s Comments: Mr. Poole’s colorful similes claim there isn’t enough natural gas to meet Maine’s needs. On the other hand, Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline has applied with FERC to export natural gas to Canada! Who do you believe?
Poole advocates Canada invite violation of industry best safety practices. Why would any responsible person advocate that? And why would they advocate violating best practices when there is a viable solution that might ensure LNG project success?
If LNG developers actually believe their projects are needed and want some chance for success, they should do what Downeast LNG, Calais LNG, and now-defunct Quoddy Bay LNG failed to do:
- LNG developers need to perform due diligence by selecting project sites that abide by industry best safety practices. To do otherwise is disingenuous folly.
Mr. Poole’s opinion suffers from a serious lack of credibility.
A bill proposed by Texas State Rep. Tommy Merritt (R-Longview) would impose a fee for the transfer of liquefied natural gas, as well as crude oil and petroleum products, to or from marine terminals in Texas. HB 4667 sets the fee at $0.25 per barrel of oil equivalent of liquefied natural gas and could affect shippers using the Freeport LNG terminal.
The U.S. Coast Guard has granted conditional approvals to all three of Oregon's liquefied natural gas proposals, declaring that the waterways leading to the Bradwood Landing, Oregon LNG and Jordan Cove facilities "could be made suitable" for LNG delivery tankers.
For Bradwood Landing, the delivery route stretches 38 miles up the Columbia River. The Oregon LNG facility is eight miles up the Columbia on the Skipanon Peninsula in Warrenton, and Jordan Cove's waterway runs through Coos Bay.
Webmaster’s Comments: Once again — due to Congressionally-required regulations that minimize value of human life and ignore the LNG industry's own advice — the Coast Guard has approved inappropriately-sited LNG terminals. That industry advice warns against terminal siting where civilian populations could be affected by vapors from an LNG release from the ship or terminal. (See LNG Terminal Siting Standards Organization.) The industry calls it a bad idea, but Congress and the Coast Guard call it a good idea. Who does Congress work for, anyway?
"Suppose someone started pulling permits to build a house on land that you own," said Marc Auerbach, chairman of the Northwest Property Rights Coalition. "They don't contact you. They have no rights to the land, but they just start pulling permits. How would that make you feel?"
Webmaster’s Comments: Rancorous behavior — from LNG project opponents and from LNG project proponents — is inappropriate.
In an effort to more closely regulate the construction or modification of waterfront liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquefied hazardous gas (LHG) facilities, the U.S. Coast Guard is proposing rules that would be similar to existing rules currently being imposed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on onshore LNG terminals.
Webmaster’s Comments: This new rulemaking does not apply to Deepwater Ports (offshore ports; ports over three miles from shore).
Expanding U.S. production part of the problem
Webmaster’s Comments: U.S. supply is so great that Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline has applied with FERC to export natural gas from the U.S. to Canada!
Analyst at Pritchard Capital said, "The US rig count has declined by 53% since the early September rig count peak, but we estimate that US gas production is 2.7 bcfd above year ago levels for the first quarter.
Barclay analysts reported, "The number of [US gas] wells drilled but not completed continues to rise, and we estimate there are over 1,000 in the Barnett shale, up from 500 at the start of the year. We view this as the creation of additional spare capacity in an already well oversupplied industry.…" [Red & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Natural gas is everywhere! Additional LNG import terminals are pointless.
27 Apr 2009
Platts LNG Daily [subscription required] reports that the Canaport LNG import and regasification terminal will receive its initial cargos in mid-June and July this summer. A company spokesperson told Platts that deliveries of regasified LNG would begin twenty days after the first cargo arrives at the terminal.
Last Friday the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) provided its response to designs for water intake screening systems proposed by NorthernStar Energy, LLC to mitigate juvenile fish entrainment at its Bradwood Landing LNG terminal. NMFS stated that because NorthernStar cannot guarantee that all LNG vessels servicing the Bradwood Landing LNG terminal will be retrofitted to use a proposed wharf-based screen system, the system cannot meet NMFS’ screening criteria and guidelines.
A Comparison of Coast Guard Reports Shows the Oregon LNG Project to be Less Intrusive than Competing Project [Bradwood Landing]
In contrast, a previous Coast Guard report for a competing project called for a full-time, all-weather camera and radar surveillance system covering 38 miles of the Columbia River. The competing project is located 30 miles upriver of Oregon LNG.
U.S. production of natural gas has been the largest contributor to excess supply versus demand. After years of no growth in domestic supply, U.S. production had been growing rapidly over the past few years due to the success of drilling techniques for production from shale rock. [Red emphasis added.]
“The decline in global LNG exports in 2009 is driven by reduced exports by six of the 14 largest exporters -- Algeria, Nigeria, Qatar, Indonesia, Egypt and Equatorial Guinea,” JPMorgan said in the report. “Producers are making individual decisions to reduce supply in the face of a weak global gas market.”
NG is a major power source for electrical utilities, and it has been building up in storage at levels well above seasonal averages as manufacturers cut back on production. The EIA reported Thursday that natural gas in U.S. storage is now 36 percent greater than it was at this time last year. On Friday, American Electric Power said that electricity use by industrial customers in its region fell 15 percent. That falling demand can also be seen clearly in recent unemployment figures, with energy intense industries like manufacturing hit particularly hard.
[H]ydromethanation is a catalytic process that does not rely on combustion and therefore does not produce the nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulphur oxide (SOx) and particulate emissions typically associated with the burning of carbon feedstock. Instead, the process captures nearly all of the impurities found in coal, petroleum coke and biomass and converts them into valuable chemical-grade byproducts, while allowing for the capture and sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2).
'As one of the largest industrial users of natural gas, Dow is highly committed to finding reliable, competitive sources of clean energy,' said Rich Wells, Vice President of Energy for Dow. 'As we continue to evaluate future natural gas supplies, we are pleased to be working with GreatPoint Energy in developing an alternative approach to natural gas production which we believe will be highly attractive.'
GreatPoint Energy's cost of production is expected to be significantly lower than current prices of new drilled natural gas and imported liquefied natural gas (LNG). The natural gas produced through hydromethanation, called bluegas', meets all natural gas quality specifications, can be transported through the thousands of miles of pipelines already in place around the world and can be used interchangeably with drilled natural gas and imported LNG. [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: LNG faces yet another lower cost competitor.
26 Apr 2009
Placing an LNG terminal in the ocean would take a lot more work and therefore would be more expensive. But it is time to consider the Atlantic, because the [Broadwater] plan put forth by Shell Oil and TransCanada is not going to get built.
A ambitious plan to create a 60−acre island off the coast of the Rockaways received a drubbing from dozens of residents of the peninsula Sunday afternoon who said it would amount to a terrorist target and an environmental disaster.
New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has already determined that the proposed port and sub-sea pipeline may result in significant adverse environmental impacts and that compliance with state law requires preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
…Port Dolphin Energy LLC filed a response to questions posed by Manatee County, Fla., regarding the company's proposed LNG deepwater port project. The filing addresses topics ranging from onshore natural gas pipeline siting to measures planned to mitigate onshore environmental impact.
COOS BAY, Ore. -- The U.S. Coast Guard has completed a review of a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal on Coos Bay, saying the bay currently isn't suitable for LNG carriers but upgrades could change that.
Jordan Cove Energy Project, L.P. has filed a preliminary response to FERC's March 23, 2009 request for environmental data regarding the company's proposed LNG import terminal. The filing notes that Jordan Cove expects to submit a complete response in approximately four weeks.
In a deal we expected to get a bit more press, Gazprom (OTC: OGZPY) and Shell (NYSE: RDS) announced a deal on Thursday that will allow Gazprom to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Shell's terminal in Baja California. The gas will then be transported via pipeline to Southern California. From Russia with love.
In this time of depressed U.S. natural gas prices - down 74% to around $3.50 per MMBtu from last July's high of $13.31 per MMBtu - why in the world would Gazprom be making a deal to bring in more supply?
By all accounts, the natural gas market is oversupplied right now. [Red emphasis added.]
Platts LNG Daily reports that a number of speakers from both consulting firms and energy companies predicted that imports of LNG to the United States would increase. The speakers cited global market conditions, as well as the United States' position as the market of last resort, in making their predictions at the Southeast LDC Gas Forum.
Webmaster’s Comments: As the article implies, such a rise is in no way an indication of need for additional import infrastructure.
24 Apr 2009
Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, LLC has filed a request with FERC to amend its authorization under Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act and its Presidential Permit to allow the company to export natural gas to Canada using existing cross-border facilities, including its interconnection with the Brunswick Pipeline, which will transport regasified LNG imported via the Canaport LNG terminal.
The following link is to a PDF file.
Take notice that on April 8, 2009, Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, LLC (Maritimes), 890 Winter Street, Suite 300, Waltham, Massachusetts 02451, filed an application in Docket No. CP96–810–009 pursuant to section 3 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA), seeking an amendment to its authorization under NGA section 3 and its Presidential Permit to allow it to export natural gas from the United States to Canada utilizing Maritimes’ existing crossborder facilities. Maritimes proposes no new facilities in its application. The full design capacity of the cross-border facilities is 833,317 dekatherms per day plus the quantity necessary for system fuel requirements. [Red and bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: “FROM the United States TO Canada”!!!
This is an apparent indication of the natural gas glut, including in New England, resulting in part from the new LNG terminals offshore from Gloucester, Massachusetts — and demonstrates the absurd claims of Downeast LNG and Calais LNG that their projects are needed.
The agreement provides Maritimes & Northeast with greater certainty about a tariff that has been in limbo for some time. The settlement also helps Repsol Energy, the operator of the Canaport liquefied natural gas terminal in New Brunswick, Canada, sign LNG delivery contracts. Repsol has urged the pipeline not to impose stringent gas quality standards that could shut off LNG supplies.
To accommodate Calpine, the settlement caps the Wobbe Index at 1395 for two years or until 30 Bcf of regasified LNG comes onto the pipeline system. Maritimes & Northeast's tariff has an upper limit of 1400.
Repsol [77% owner in Canaport LNG], which also endorsed the settlement proposal, is the anchor shipper on Maritimes & Northeast's Phase IV pipeline project, which doubled the pipeline's capacity to 833,000 Dt/d, and almost certainly means that New England generators will integrate regasified LNG into their fuel mix. Canaport is expected to begin operating in the next several months. [Red emphasis added.]
Energy forecasters are predicting a glut of LNG and depressed natural gas prices this summer, a result of the recession, a warm winter, new domestic wells and the opening of new import terminals. [Red emphasis added.]
QUINTANA — A town councilman has asked for a public hearing with Freeport LNG and federal regulators in an effort to resolve the standoff over the company’s request to bring liquefied natural gas onto the island using 18-wheelers.
Webmaster’s Comments: This issue exists solely because there are few LNG imports.
Nearly eight months after the Alaska Legislature gave TransCanada the green light to pursue the $30-billion pipeline project, TransCanada on Thursday requested permission from the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to start the commission's "prefiling process.
Webmaster’s Comments: This pipeline will further eliminate need for additional LNG import facilities in the Lower 48 States.
A First Nation, the Git'gat band of Hartley Bay in British Columbia, has expressed concern with a recent agreement between a natural gas pipeline developer, the provincial government, and two of the other First Nations regarding the Pacific Trail Pipeline. A leader for the Git'gat band told the Canadian Press (carried via Lexis Nexis [subscription required]) that the agreement with First Nations did not include his community even though LNG vessels would pass along the band's coastline.
Part of that agreement, Sansone said, was to submit a list of speakers, who would be limited to two minutes of speaking time each, and concentrating their comments on the effect LNG projects would have on environmentally-friendly energy and jobs.
"What happened instead was he called up Bradwood Landing's Joe Desmond and basically allowed him to go on forever," Sansone said. After that, Sansone said, Rep. Brad Witt, D-Clatskanie, asked Desmond "softball questions" that ate up more time.
NorthernStar Energy LLC has submitted additional information to FERC regarding its planned Bradwood Landing LNG import terminal, including information on water use and simulations of hydrodynamics and sediment transport.
Let us mark Earth Day 2009 by admitting that Clatsop County is engaged in a long-term death struggle against becoming an economic colony. The liquefied natural gas terminal proposed for Bradwood is classic economic colonialism. The project is owned by Texans, and its LNG terminal would import natural gas to feed the vast energy needs of California.
Under the terms of economic colonialism, the colony's duty is to be politically naive and impotent while being grateful for charitable assistance from the foreign power and watching its environment be trashed. [Bold red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Likewise is the case with Downeast LNG and Calais LNG.
"Natural gas is going to be there for a while," he said, noting that production companies in recent years have discovered that "we have twice as much" gas in the US "than we previously thought." [Bold red emphasis added.]
A build within expectations would be larger than last year's 25-Bcf injection and the five-year-average build of 35 Bcf, according to EIA. As a result, the year-on-year surplus of 438 Bcf and the 311-Bcf surplus over the five-year average each should expand. [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: SO MUCH GAS!
Analysts with Credit Suisse issued a report last Thursday which predicts that increased LNG imports to the United States could discourage domestic natural gas production in the short-term. According to Platts LNG Daily, the report also notes that the global LNG market could experience a significant upward price correction by 2011, which may lead to a subsequent decrease in US LNG imports. [Bold red emphasis added.]
This year and next year will see critical decisions being made on many of the world's LNG terminals, but these terminals will not help mitigate against security of supply problems, said Hiroshi Hashimoto, natural gas analyst at the International Energy Agency, Tuesday.
"As an energy security measure, LNG will remain marginal and supplemental" to other forms of energy supply, he said. [Red & bold emphasis added.]
23 Apr 2009
Energy Saint John facility will be able to handle demand when Sable project goes down
The new liquefied natural gas terminal in Saint John will be operational in June and fully capable of meeting demand in the northeastern United States, offsetting any supply shortages from offshore Nova Scotia, a top LNG official says.
A Canaport official confirmed Wednesday the terminal is expected to receive its first shipment in June from Trinidad and Tobago, in time for the Sable project's scheduled 20-day shutdown. [Red & bold emphasis added.]
Phillip Ribbeck, president of Repsol Energy North America, told Platts LNG Daily [subscription required] that his company's Canaport LNG import terminal, currently under construction in St. John, New Brunswick, will be able to fill the natural gas supply gap that some end-users are concerned may affect the U.S. Northeast. Ribbick also expressed his doubt that the New England region has adequate demand to support more than one new LNG terminal. [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Ribbeck’s assessment that Canaport LNG completes the need for incremental natural gas supplies in New England is spot-on. On top of that is the Deep Panuke natural gas mine for which the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline are already involved in permitting. Downeast LNG and Calais LNG are pipe-dream projects with no future.
A Canadian liquefied natural gas import terminal will be able to meet gas demand in the US Northeast regardless of what happens with the Sable Offshore Energy Project, an official with that terminal said this week.
Responding to recent concerns from Northeast end-users that problems with Sable Island production could disrupt gas supplies to power plants and other gas-intensive industries, Ribbeck said Canaport "is the most obvious project that would address that," with 6.6 Bcf of on-site storage that should eventually increase to 10 Bcf. "We are the entity that would basically be meeting that need."
…Ribbeck maintained that "there's not enough market...there" to warrant the construction of those US-based facilities. "We don't see a need for those other terminals [Downeast LNG and Calais LNG; and Weavers Cove Energy in Fall River, MA]," he said. [Red emphasis added.]
Royal Dutch Shell PLC and TransCanada Corp. lost an appeal to the U.S. Commerce Department to overrule the state of New York's rejection of their proposed Broadwater liquefied natural gas terminal in Long Island Sound.
In upholding Paterson’s ruling, the Commerce Department concluded that despite the energy benefits, the LNG terminal would be too detrimental to the aesthetic of the Sound and undermine decades of federal, state, and local efforts to protect the region, according to a statement.
The ruling prevents the issuance of any federal permits necessary for the construction and operation of the project. It does not, however, prevent Broadwater from developing alternate proposals for federal and state review. [Red emphasis added.]
New York objected to the Project under the Coastal Zone Management Act, asserting that the proposal was inconsistent with the Long Island Sound Coastal Management Program. Broadwater appealed the State’s objection to the Department of Commerce on June 6, 2008.
The decision was based on the appeal record, which includes information developed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), additional briefs and documents offered by the parties, the views of interested federal agencies, as well as a “friend of the court” brief filed by the Attorney General of Connecticut. [Red emphasis added.]
Crown Landing filed its request on Nov. 26, 2008, requesting an extension until Oct. 31, 2013, saying it has been unable to begin construction due to delays in obtaining necessary permits and approvals.
Crown Landing further stated that current market conditions severely hamper the construction and development of LNG terminals in the U.S. and that a reconfiguration of the project must be developed, filed with FERC, and approved by FERC before construction can begin. [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: There’s a glut of domestic natural gas, and there is a glut of LNG. There is no reason for additional LNG import terminals.
Residents argued trucks would damage the island’s roads, hurt its appeal as a resort community and harm birding patterns. LNG lawyers said trucks wouldn’t damage the island’s way of life or its roads, and big rigs are a backup option in case its primarily request — a boil-off-gas reliquefication facility — is denied.
[Oregon Attorney General John Kroger's] office has filed an appeal to stop the construction of an LNG terminal near the mouth of the Columbia River. He says the terminal runs afoul of both state and federal law. [Red emphasis added.]
Witt and the governor appear on opposite sides of the liquefied natural gas issue.
Webmaster’s Comments: Save Passamaquoddy Bay 3-Nation Alliance agrees in principle with Witt's assertions regarding integrity and civility, if not with his support for improperly-sited LNG projects in Oregon.
HB2015 requires the state to determine a need exists for natural gas before allowing a company to build an LNG terminal and corresponding pipelines on state lands. The bill also stipulates that LNG structures must be consistent with Oregon's climate change strategies before the state would allow siting them on state lands. [Red emphasis added.]
California teen stands up to a multinational billion-dollar company to protect the planet, her family, and her community.
The biggest obstacle was ignorance in my community because so many people are just not aware of what is going on. It took us a long time to convince people that they needed to speak up and show that they care about the community where they live. A lot of people were concerned about the proposal, but they were afraid. It was very hard to fight against that.
Both institutional and retail investors are looking past the huge natural gas storage levels in both the US and Canada, the looming threat of large LNG (liquid natural gas) shipments being dumped into the US this summer looking for either storage or sale at any price, low customer demand due to recession and the large amounts of shale gas being discovered in North America. [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: The bad news for LNG import terminal developers keeps on coming.
In its Annual Energy Outlook 2009, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that U.S. natural gas net imports, including LNG, will account for 3% of the U.S. natural gas supply by 2030, down from 16% in 2007. The EIA also predicts that U.S. LNG imports will peak at 1.5 Tcf in 2018, but will decline to 800 Bcf in 2030. [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: When the number of shipments are as low as they currently are, it doesn't take much to increase the percentage.
17 Month 2009
Washington County Sen. Kevin Raye, who is also the Republican leader of the state's Senate, said legislators are "wary" of the energy corridor piece in legislation Gov. John Baldacci is trying to get passed.
"It requires the approval of the Maine legislature and the Maine legislature is very reluctant to proceed in an environment where Canadian officials are still actively seeking to block the LNG development," Raye said.
Webmaster’s Comments: Legislators should be “wary” of LNG developers and supporting politicians who cavalierly ignore the LNG industry's own terminal siting best safety practices — practices that clearly warn against putting the thousands of peoples’ lives along the LNG ship transit route in Passamaquoddy Bay at unnecessary risk.
State Senator Raye had also attempted to get FERC to deny expansion of the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline if the improperly-sited LNG proposals in Passamaquoddy Bay were not permitted by Canada to transit into the bay. FERC appropriately booted out Senator Raye’s demand. Sen. Raye’s previous and current demands are self-defeating folly. He’s asking to deny energy to Maine and New England simply because local LNG developers were inept and irresponsible in their site selections.
If State Sen. Raye and the LNG industry — even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary — believe more LNG import terminals are needed and the resulting jobs would be good for Washington County, then they should select a terminal site that abides by the LNG industry's standards. Instead, they’re intent on picking a needless fight with a sovereign country that is defending its citizen’s lives and economy.
The two energy companies behind the project, Shell and TransCanada, argued that the terminal — a quarter-mile-long barge with a sunken pipeline attached — was critically important to meeting the region’s growing energy demand, supplying fuel that was cleaner than oil and coal. They also said it would be safe, environmentally friendly and as far from people as possible.
This week the Commerce Department denied federal permits to the project. Particularly because Broadwater would bring a major industrial operation to an undeveloped part of a fragile estuary, the department ruled that its “adverse coastal impacts outweighed its national interest” and would have damaged the sound’s “unique scenic and aesthetic character.”
Webmaster’s Comments: Unlike Downeast LNG and Calais LNG, the Broadwater terminal and ship transit route would apparently be safely away from civilian populations, but — like Downeast LNG and Calais LNG — would present “adverse impacts that outweigh its national interest.”
New York’s needs for incremental natural gas aren’t sufficient national interest for the project. Maine’s unsubstantiated, unquantified need for incremental natural gas pales in comparison. Downeast LNG and Calais LNG are insignificant to the nation’s interest.
16 April 2009
John B. Kassel, 51, from Middletown, NY has lived in Vermont for 30 years and is a graduate of Middlebury College and Cornell Law School. Most recently he served as co-managing partner and co-founder of Shems Dunkiel Kassel & Saunders, a Burlington-based law firm, where he counseled non-profits and businesses on the creation and permitting of renewable energy projects.
Kassel will assume his new post on May 1. [Bold red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Shems Dunkiel Kassel & Saunders represents Save Passamaquoddy Bay. This new president at CLF can only be good news for Save Passamaquoddy Bay.
A disruption of natural gas flow from Canada put Maine, which relies heavily on natural gas to generate electricity, at risk, says a group that advocates for businesses that use a lot of energy. Does this show that Maine should have its own source of gas, name liquefied natural gas? There are proposals to build LNG terminals in Washington County. Does this situation mean that one or more of these projects should be permitted, despite objections from some local residents and the New Brunswick government? [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: “Some local residents”? Objections from “the New Brunswick government”? Where, exactly, has the Bangor Daily News been? Objections come from the vast majority of Passamaquoddy Bay-area residents. The Canadian federal government is prohibiting LNG transits into the bay. The LNG proposals for Passamaquoddy Bay are moot, while the natural gas/LNG projects nearing completion (Canaport LNG, Deep Panuke natural gas well, and Neptune LNG) will satisfy incremental needs for natural gas in Maine and northern New England.
WASHINGTON, D.C.: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved Cameron LNG LLC's request for an extension of time until and including Dec. 31, 2009 to place into service the Cameron liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal near Hackberry, La.
For months, the summit offered the hope of a new, more positive, approach to coordinated regional energy policy. But the array of financial challenges facing the global economy has since divided the attention of policymakers. Now, prospects for comprehensive dialogue on energy security in the Americas can only be described as diminished.
Trinidad & Tobago's development has led to its enviable position as the top LNG supplier to the United States. Underscoring their commitment to incentivizing investment, the government has announced plans for a revised fiscal regime for deep-water gas exploration.
The agreement with aboriginal bands along the pipeline corridor from Summit Lake to Kitimat could mean millions in economic development benefits and job opportunities for the First Nations, said spokesmen for the three principals.
The bike ride was organized by Green Jobs Not LNG, a student group opposed to two proposed liquefied natural gas terminals and the pipelines that would snake from the terminals on the Columbia River through Washington County along Gales Creek and eventually to Molalla in Clackamas County.
But Vaughan said the idea of LNG as an issue bigger than a bunch of neighbors upset about a big pipeline running through their backyards, turned around last April when Gov. Ted Kulongoski was caught off guard by a student's LNG question at Focus the Nation, a national town hall put on by public broadcasting stations across the country.
…U.S. natural gas supply is expected to come increasingly from domestic gas-filled shales. Key to the emergence of shale gas production has been the refinement of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies. These technologies enable industry to produce more natural gas from the shale formations economically and with less disturbance of surface environments. [Red emphasis added.]
10 Apr 2009
Webmaster’s Comments:Jobs don’t justify bad safety practices. Besides, Girdis is deluding himself if he actually beleives his project can obtain the US Coast Guard requirement: Canadian permission for LNG ship transits into Passamaquoddy Bay.
Last week FERC Staff provided substantive comments on Calais LNG's draft Environmental Resource Reports 1 thru 11 and 13. FERC's comments address issues associated with LNG vessel transit, environmental impacts of the project, safety and security matters, as well as many others.
Officials from the United States Coast Guard and perhaps from the Atlantic Sea Island company will be on hand in Rockaway for a meeting that will address residents' concerns about a proposed Liquefied Natural Gas terminal that is planned for a sea island fifteen miles off the peninsula's shoreline...
"It's a very dangerous place to put something like" a manmade island, said Nicholas Coch, a professor at Queens College's School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. "For a Category 3 storm, we could get a Category 4 or 5 storm surge."
The Virginia-based energy company that wants to build a liquefied natural gas terminal at Sparrows Point and a pipeline to Pennsylvania said Tuesday that it will delay required surveys of rare, threatened or endangered plant and animal species until summer
PORT ARTHUR, Texas - The Coast Guard will establish the Liquefied Gas Carrier National Center of Expertise in Port Arthur, Texas, April 9, 2009. This NCOE will be the third such center of expertise and is part of the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Enhancement Program.
The center is a training facility that will focus on establishing and maintaining expertise in cryogenic and compressed gas carrier technology and operations, and provide Coast Guard personnel with the technical knowledge and skills they need to carry out their missions. The center's ultimate goal is to improve marine safety. In addition to LNG, other gases that are shipped on specialized carriers, such as liquefied petroleum gas and anhydrous ammonia, also will be part of the center's focus.
Webmaster’s Comments: Will the Coast Guard be teaching SIGTTO best practices? Since SIGTTO best practices aren’t US law, and since Congress and FERC ignore SIGTTO — even though they’re the best safety advice of the LNG industry — my guess is they will not. (See LNG Terminal Siting Standards Organization for an abbreviated list of SIGTTO terminal siting best practices.)
A press release said the center is a training facility that will focus on establishing and maintaining expertise in cryogenic and compressed gas carrier technology and operations, and provide Coast Guard personnel with the technical knowledge and skills needed to carry out their missions.
U.S. Coast Guard commandant Adm. Thad Allen was in Beaumont Thursday and said the expertise center will leverage what already is being done at the Marine Safety Unit in Port Arthur, including homeland security and marine safety activities covering five ports in Southwest Louisiana and Southeast and East Texas as well as more than 140 miles of coastal waterway.
3 proposed LNG facilities near Corpus Christi have yet to break ground
The recommendations letters were issued Friday to each facility by the Coast Guard captains of their respective ports, said Chief Petty Officer Mike O’Berry. The announcement was made through a news release that included all eight facilities.
They are Calhoun LNG in Point Comfort; Freeport LNG Phase II in Freeport; Golden Pass LNG in Sabine Pass; Port Arthur LNG in Port Arthur; Creole Trail LNG in Cameron, La.; Sabine Pass LNG Phase II in Cameron Parish, La.; Casotte Landing LNG in Pascagoula, Miss.; and Gulf LNG Clean Energy in Pascagoula, Miss.
The Coast Guard is responsible for ensuring that ships transporting liquefied natural gas to the United States meet international and domestic standards for construction and operation that promote safe transport. In addition to LNG, other gases that are shipped on specialized carriers, such as liquefied petroleum gas and anhydrous ammonia, also will be part of the center’s focus. [Bold & red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Why does the Coast Guard ignore the LNG industry’s own terminal siting best safety practices? … as published by the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operator., representing over 95% of the world’s LNG industry.
The Energy Ministry for Trinidad & Tobago told Platts LNG Daily [subscription required] that relatively low gas prices in the United States have had a "significant impact on gas revenues from LNG export and sales."
Imported liquefied natural gas, through reversing the LNG plant near Kenai, is seen as a short-term option until the other possibilities play out, but this has its own set of problems. LNG imports to Cook Inlet would only occur as a supplement to existing production and would most likely occur on a spot-cargo basis, a ship at a time. The price for LNG delivered on that basis could vary greatly, and would be unpredictable.
People familiar with LNG say a more viable option for the short-term might be utilities like Enstar purchasing gas from the LNG plant even after exports cease in 2011, if that is feasible. The plant could liquefy gas produced from the North Cook Inlet field, which has substantial remaining reserves, and store the LNG in the large tanks at the plant. [Red emphasis added.]
The agreement assists First Nations in securing a direct interest in Pacific Trail Pipelines Limited Partnership (PTP) which is developing a proposed 463 km natural gas pipeline from Summit Lake to Kitimat (KSL Project) costing an estimated $1.2 billion (2006 estimate). The KSL Project will enable PTP to transport natural gas from Summit Lake to Kitimat LNG Inc.'s proposed natural gas liquifaction export terminal (Terminal) to be located near Kitimat, British Columbia, and will be the first major pipeline constructed in that part of the province in over 40 years. [Red, bold & italic emphasis added.]
"Bike the Pipe" on April 11 is an event planned by a group of students from Pacific University and other schools throughout Oregon. They will bring together students and community members - who are concerned about the Liquefied Natural Gas pipelines - to ride along the proposed pipelines, and meet with and hear from impacted community members along the route.
The group has been invited to farms, forested areas along the proposed pipelines and the community of Gales Creek to learn more about the impact the two LNG pipelines would have. This event allows students participating in the event to build a relationship with the people in communities on the front lines of foreign fossil fuel development as well as experience the scenic beauty of Washington County's farm and forest land.
On Thursday, liquefied natural gas opponents in Astoria erected a billboard on Lief Erickson Drive scolding the Clatskanie Democrat for his sponsorship of House Bill 3058, which opponents argue steamrolls private property owners for the benefit of natural gas pipeline developers.
The bill would expand the definition of "applicant" in an existing statute to allow companies and state agencies to apply for state removal/fill permits on private land without the landowner's permission. Under the existing statute, only a landowner or someone authorized by a landowner can apply for a permit to add material to or remove it from the banks of state waterways.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife filed comments with FERC describing a discussion with representatives of NorthernStar Natural Gas about measures the company will take to limit the effect of marine operations associated with the Bradwood Landing LNG project on local fish populations.
Energy mix in flux; Unconventional to become prime source by 2020
Last year, consumers in Asia and Europe were busy buying up LNG resulting in prices hitting a record high of $25/MMBtu. But it has collapsed to $3.80-5.00/MMBtu range in Asian spot markets. This compares to an average spot price of $4.60/MMBtu at the UK National Balancing Point (NBP) and $4.00/MMBtu at the US Henry Hub for March. All because of the global recessionary conditions necessitating shut-in of LNG liquefication at some point of time soon. [Red emphasis added.]
Shale-gas exploration success in North America is creating a new gas-export industry, writes Thom Dawson, vice-president, Kitimat LNG
A market evaporates
US LIQUEFIED natural gas (LNG) import capacity continues to increase. But with domestic gas production on the rise and prices falling, the appeal of more-expensive LNG imports is waning, write Damien Gaul and Kobi Platt, office of oil and gas, Energy Information Administration. [Red & bold emphasis added.]
[D]oes the U.S. need to import gas, especially from Russia? A big chunk of President Obama's energy policy hinges on reducing dependence on foreign energy, especially oil. One of T. Boone Pickens' latest television ads mocks Europe’s dependence on fickle supplies of Russian gas, contrasting that with the U.S., "where we have a choice." [Red emphasis added.]
Russian energy giant Gazprom has bought capacity at Sempra Energy's Energía Costa Azul liquefied natural gas plant 14 miles north of Ensenada so it can sell gas from eastern Russia to the United States.
Webmaster’s Comments: Does it seem like a dumb idea for the U.S. to rely on natural gas coming from Russia?
6 Apr 2009
Speakers stressed the need for economic development in Washington County. The recent announcement that Domtar Corporation, the county's largest employer, would idle its Baileyville mill seemed to be on the minds of many area residents. Several speakers stated the lack of jobs in the area forces young people to leave the area and breaks the family circle.
Webmaster’s Comments: While Washington County needs economic development, development requires qualification that local LNG supporters chronically overlook. Local economic development…
- Should not put lives and property into federally-defined Hazard Zones.
- All Passamaquoddy Bay LNG proposals place thousands of local residents — some entire communities — in Sandia National Laboratories/FERC-defined 2.2-mile Hazard Zones that accompany LNG tankers.;
- Should not violate world LNG industry terminal siting best practices.
- All Passamaquoddy Bay LNG proposals violate their own industry's terminal siting safety best practices. See LNG Terminal Siting Standards Organization for an abbreviated list of the industry’s best practices the Downeast LNG and Calais LNG proposals violate.
- Should not threaten other local incomes.
- All Passamaquoddy Bay LNG proposals threaten the livelihoods of the fishing industry, the ferry transportation industry, and the tourism industry. See The Whole Bay Study for an economic analysis of impacts from any LNG project in Passamaquoddy Bay.
- Should not reduce residents’ property values.
- All Passamaquoddy Bay LNG proposals would reduce residential and business property values. See The Whole Bay Study for an economic analysis of impacts from any LNG project in Passamaquoddy Bay.
- Should present realistic, actual costs to communities prior to local, state, and federal permit approval.
- FERC-required Emergency Response Plans for affected communities along the LNG carrier route are not developed until after FERC issues its permit to construct, effectively denying local taxpayers and governments the ability to make enlightened economic decisions regarding the projects.
- Should result in a net economic gain to Washington County and Maine.
- Each of the Passamaquoddy Bay LNG proposals would result in a net economic loss to the area. See The Whole Bay Study for an economic analysis of impacts from any LNG project in Passamaquoddy Bay.
- Should be in industries that are actually needed.
- There is no demonstrable need for the natural gas from the proposed Passamaquoddy Bay LNG projects.
- Should be sustainable.
- The natural gas industry — as with all hydrocarbon fuel industries — is not sustainable.
- Should not simply rely on the developer’s word regarding economic impacts.
- There is no requirement or advantage to developers to divulge negative economic impacts from their proposals; therefore, they don’t!
- The Passamaquoddy Bay LNG proposals withhold full disclosure of the negative economic impacts.
- FERC doesn’t develop communities’ Emergency Response Plan until after it has issued its permit to construct, there is no way of knowing the actual Emergency Response Plan costs of their projects to local communites; therefore, there is no way to ensure an economic benefit to local communities.
Mr. Barnes also said New Brunswick’s target market for energy exportation should be New England, “because we’re pretty confident they’re not going to build a nuclear plant in New England and you can be pretty confident they’re not going to build an LNG terminal, either.”
The opposition makes some sense. We value our traditional New England village centers and don’t relish the thought of an industrial behemoth squatting just out of town, like Maine Yankee did in Wiscasset.
Gov. Baldacci has been an advocate for LNG importation and wind power, when developed responsibly, as well as for tapping the potential to use our ample supply of wood for heating homes and commercial buildings. He should work to persuade a sometimes wary public to seize these opportunities.
Webmaster’s Comments: Governor Baldacci apparently doesn't believe his own advice, since he supports safety-non-compliant Downeast LNG and Calais LNG projects in Passamaquoddy Bay.
Baldacci needs to take a long look in the mirror regarding responsible LNG siting.
On Wednesday, a vocal group of Washington County residents said Maine should not allow Irving Oil or other Canadian companies to use state-owned rights of way until Maine gets assurances that LNG tankers will have unimpeded access to the terminal sites.
Washington County Commissioner Chris Gardner accused Canadian authorities of interfering in LNG projects that would benefit the economically distressed region while fast-tracking their own energy plans.
Baldacci spokesman David Farmer said Wednesday that the governor fully supports moving forward with the regulatory reviews of the Washington County LNG projects, as long as local residents want the facilities.
And the governor brought up Maine’s concerns about the Canadian position on LNG tankers during his meeting with Graham last week, he said. But Farmer said the Baldacci administration does not believe a disagreement over LNG should delay other energy projects that would benefit Maine citizens.
Webmaster’s Comments: News to Gov. Baldacci, Washington County Commissioner Gardner, and others:
- The Province of New Brunswick has no authority regarding LNG transits into Passamaquoddy Bay.
- The US Coast Guard requires Downeast LNG to obtain the federal Government of Canada’s permission for LNG transits into Passamaquoddy Bay; otherwise, those transits will be disallowed by the US Federal Government. Canada has already resolutely stated they will not allow LNG transits into Passamaquoddy Bay. Political support for LNG in Passamaquoddy Bay is pointless.
- Cutting off power or natural gas from New Brunswick would only serve to hurt Maine and New England — a self-destructive act. Is that Washington County’s elected representatives’ intent in making their demands?
Interestingly, Thompson, while championing New Brunswick’s Energy Hub concept that includes a liquefied natural gas import terminal in Saint John owned by Irving Oil and Repsol, is opposing the Washington County LNG projects that are part of Maine’s own emerging clean energy hub being developed in Washington and Aroostook counties.
Webmaster’s Comments: Washington County Commissioner Gardner has failed to grasp the differences between the Canaport LNG terminal site and the proposed Passamaquoddy Bay LNG sites. Passamaquoddy Bay cannot be made to comply with world LNG industry terminal siting best safe practices.
The commissioner also needs to know that US Federal LNG safety standards consider human lives in areas of less than 1,000 people per square mile to be “expendible,” while greater population concentrations are “worth protecting” from the 2.2-mile Federally-defined LNG ship Hazard Zones. We hope Washington County Commissioners hold a higher regard for Washington County residents’ lives than does the Federal Government.
While jobs are needed in Washington County, they must not be at the expense of people’s safety or at the expense of the local economy. Local politicians supporting the Passamaquoddy Bay LNG projects have irresponsibly chosen to the accept LNG developers’ presentations of the “plus” side of the economic and safety ledger without full disclosure of the “negative” side. That does a disservice to the electorate.
There might be an appropriate location for an LNG facility in Washington County, but it certainly isn’t in Passamaquoddy Bay. Washington County and Maine elected officials need to do a responsible job of studying the facts and protecting the public from inappropriately-sited projects. Thay haven’t been doing tha, so far, and are holding out false hopes to a public that deserves better.
Bush administration had initially denied Michigan Messenger's Freedom of Information Act request on the negotiations, saying that it would violate national security
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative under the Bush administration struck a secret deal with the European Union that could open up a door for foreign ownership of liquefied natural gas terminals and other dangerous chemical and energy facilities. The agreement could also create conditions in which federal, state and local regulations affecting those facilities could be challenged as barriers to international trade.
Details of the negotiations came to light after a Freedom of Information Act request by Michigan Messenger was denied by the Bush administration on grounds that the deal was “classified in the interest of national security pursuant to Executive Order 12958.”
“It was important to get this document because it shows that the Bush administration was using the [World Trade Organization] process to sell out U.S. public safety and give foreign firms new rights and privileges here even as state authorities were trying to regulate these dangerous LNG facilities,” said Lori Wallach, a trade attorney and director of Global Trade Watch. “Now the public and state officials have the information to stop this proposal from becoming a new binding U.S. WTO commitment.”
The GATS rule regarding Market Access dictates that WTO countries may not limit the size or location of a foreign-owned operation in a committed service sector. In addition, foreign service providers in committed sectors cannot be banned from operating the covered services, even if domestic operations are forbidden. Other types of safety or environmental protections imposed by federal or state law in the United States could also potentially be implicated as violating GATS requirements. Thus, the new storage and warehousing commitment undertaken by the United States could significantly expand foreign firms’ operations of LNG facilities and hazardous “tank farms” for gas, oil, and chemicals in the United States and restrict the ability of U.S. governments (federal, state, or local) to regulate these facilities to promote the public health and safety and to protect the environment.
But USTR under the Bush administration did not consult with the roughly 20 federal, state and local authorities that regulate LNG facilities before entering into the secret EU agreement and didn’t inform them of the change after the agreement was reached nearly a year and a half ago. [Bold & red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: So far, the Obama administration is doing nothing to correct this abuse of power.
GLOUCESTER - SUEZ LNG NA LLC, a subsidiary of GDF SUEZ Energy North America, announced Tuesday that it will soon resume activities to complete the Neptune LNG Deepwater Port. The Deepwater Port will be located approximately 10 miles off the coast of Gloucester.
Upon completion, the Neptune Port will consist of an unloading buoy system where specially designed LNG vessels will moor and discharge natural gas by using onboard vaporization equipment. The natural gas will be transported via the pipeline lateral to the Spectra’s HubLineSM, which will deliver the natural gas to consumers in Massachusetts and throughout New England. [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Neptune LNG, Canaport LNG, and Northeast Gateway — projects already in operation or under construction — moot the proposed Downeast LNG and Calais LNG projects in Passamaquoddy Bay.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the federal Fish and Wildlife Service filed responses to plans to build an LNG terminal at Sparrows Point last week, and the Obama administration announced two presidential appointments to the commission that approved the project in January.
Until a few years ago, New York/New England was the world’s premium priced large scale market for natural gas. This is no longer the case. In the future, the region will have to compete with an expanding list of foreign and American buyers capable of and willing to outbid the area’s utilities for gas both on price and non-price terms, while providing a more favorable siting and permitting environment for LNG import facilities. The current regulatory model is not equipped to oversee or evaluate the prudence of global supply procurement and the new realities of supply portfolio management.
NEW YORK, April 1 (Reuters) - StatoilHydro's Arctic Princess liquefied natural gas tanker is expected to arrive at the Cove Point terminal in Maryland on April 12, according to AISLive ship tracking data on Reuters.
"When we talk about energy security for the whole hemisphere, it is going to be discussed by all the members of the Summit, not just the United States... every country wants to look ahead to the future knowing that it has the energy that it needs. We are all very much concerned about the environment which is another principle topic of the Summit," Davidow said.
"The current market situation has forced companies to prioritize capital programs. The Alaska region (of Marathon) is no exception," Carrie Lockhart, Marathon's Alaska production manager, said in a presentation to the Alaska Support Industry Alliance March 28.
Another option talked of is importing liquefied natural gas, or reversing the existing LNG plant near Kenai from a gas liquifaction facility to a regasification plant if it closes down as an LNG export plant. There are problems with this idea, however, in that LNG imports to Southcentral would most likely be done with shipments of spot cargoes to supplement local gas production. The LNG price of spot cargoes would be highly uncertain and may be expensive.
A more practical option, people familiar with LNG say, might be using the LNG plant as gas storage for peak demand periods, with gas converted to LNG during the summer and stored until needed during the winter. [Red emphasis added.]
The suits involve a dispute between federal and state regulators over their rights in approving LNG terminals. The states argue that federal laws give them, not the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, first crack at deciding whether the facilities should be built along their waters.
[T]he opposition of citizens and state officials such as Gov. Kulongoski and Attorney General John Kroger to proposed large-scale import of LNG for West Coast markets via three Oregon terminals (one in Coos Bay, two in the Columbia estuary) is not contradictory.
Gallagher correctly observes that federal and state incentives encourage natural gas use, and its many advantages versus oil and coal creates a "certain inevitability" for its growth. I agree. Natural gas clearly remains America's best energy option, especially compared to "clean" coal and more imported liquid fossil fuels such as LNG and oil.
Why import more foreign fossil fuel BTUs when we have domestic supplies at comparable costs and we need the domestic jobs from domestic production? With 100 years supply of natural gas maybe the Oregon terminals and pipeline proposals are really for export of LNG? [Red emphasis added.]
"New designs …place more investment in mobile infrastructure, primarily ships, which can be redeployed when the standby terminal is not in use. Five designs have emerged and are finding favor in such markets as Europe, South America, and the Middle East, where pipeline gas disruptions are a threat."
Webmaster’s Comments: This new design is also growing in the United States. Examples: Gulf Gateway, Northeast Gateway, and Neptune LNG. There are numerous advantages, such as:
- Market flexibility (as described in the above article);
- Better weathering in rough seas;
- Faster construction;
- Easier and safer navigation to and from the facility;
- More easily secured;
- No risk to civilian populations;
- Easier expansion;
- Easier permitting
Mr Suwaidi said the US would continue to take “any quantity” as long as producers were willing to accept the price, but he believed the UK market would be oversupplied for the next four or five years. [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: And yet, others indicate US storage capacity is full, and the US may not be able to accept LNG.
Webmaster’s Comments: This article seems to indicate lower US natural gas demand as the reason for the lack of LNG importing into the US, rather than greater demand in Asia and Europe that has been reported in the US media.
That’s one reason why the natural gas inventory numbers are growing. The other reason, of course, is that less gas is required because US industries are using less as the economy shrinks. At least one analyst thinks prices for natural gas have hit bottom and will begin to rise as economic activity picks up. But the price for that gas will range from $4-$6 per thousand cubic feet, a far cry from the $10/thousand cubic feet of a year ago. According to Platts, the Oppenheimer analysis concludes that gas prices could stay low due to LNG imports. The CEO of one US LNG importer, Cheniere Energy Inc. warns that US storage facilities may be unable to accept the volume of LNG that could be headed for the US. [Bold red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Harpole’s claim is preposterous. Just as the US is currently doing, they could shut down their natural gas rigs.
Webmaster’s Comments: Since LNG and natural gas are non-toxic, it is interesting the People’s Republic of China’s own news media reported it as toxic. In truth, natural gas can cause asphyxiation, which is undoubtedly what was meant by "poisoning" in the article.