"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
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Calais LNG still dumped by Goldman Sachs
30 Aug 2010
Webmaster’s Note: The following article is available only through paid subscription.
St. Andrews — Any LNG (liquefied natural gas) development in Passamaquoddy Bay would have a devastating effect on the fisheries in the area, says Deer Island fisherman Dale Mitchell.
All the Canadian route is fished for lobster, and in Head Harbour Passage, lobster boats set 5,000 traps per square mile. He noted that Calais LNG has already said vessels would not pass through U.S. waters and [would] stay in Canadian waters....
He spoke about how light pollution — even lightning and bright moonlight — affects the movement of the herring into weirs. A lighted tanker together with an LNG plant as well as ancillary industries would all affect the herring, said Mitchell.
Fall River’s waterfront is not the appropriate location for a natural gas facility of this magnitude, a project that would include an LNG offloading station in the middle of Mount Hope Bay and a four-mile-long underwater pipeline leading upriver to Weaver’s Cove, where a giant storage tank would hold the volatile fuel. Any effort to finally eliminate such a threat to resident safety and the economic development of the waterfront is welcome.
Webmaster’s Comments: Even the world LNG industry's own terminal siting best safe practices indicate the Weaver's Cove Energy LNG project at Fall River is inappropriate.
Earlier this month the Department of Ecology for the State of Washington denied an application for water quality certification filed by NorthernStar Energy, LLC for the Bradwood Landing Pipeline project. In its denial letter, available in the FERC eLibrary under Docket No. CP06-365, the Department of Ecology noted that NorthernStar failed to submit enough information for the Department to complete its review of the project. NorthernStar can resubmit its certification request at a later date.
Webmaster’s Comments: This appears to be an additional nail in the coffin of an already-dead Bradwood Landing LNG project. Earlier this year, NorthernStar filed for liquidation bankruptcy.
28 August 2010
With the US gas market swamped by shale gas discoveries, prompting LNG cargoes to be switched to higher-value Asian and European markets, it's once again a lean time to be developing new US LNG import terminal projects. The grim outlook for imports, along with the recent Gulf of Mexico oil spill, have led several ventures to suffer delays and financial troubles. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Bad news for Downeast LNG and Calais LNG keeps on pouring in.
Besides the recession, which has taken its toll on mega-projects everywhere, there has been a sea change in the natural gas business since the Guysborough County plant was first conceived. Up until a few years ago, it was believed North America would soon run out of natural gas and plans were made to import it from overseas to terminals like Goldboro.
But technological advances have now made it far more feasible for natural gas to be tapped from previously inaccessible deposits in our own backyard. As it turns out, the shale gas beneath our feet on this continent can be drilled more cheaply than natural gas in offshore wells. Moreover, there are ample domestic reserves, which diminishes the rationale for LNG imports. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Increased competition for natural gas supply from Western Canada has created a new opportunity for New Brunswick to ship Maritime gas into Quebec and Ontario via a hypothetical future pipeline corridor along the Trans-Canada Highway, says a report obtained by the Telegraph-Journal.
The Stantec report says market conditions, trouble bringing liquefied natural gas to North America, as well as economic uncertainty within Quebec and on a global scale are preventing two proposed LNG terminals, each with a capacity of 500 million cubic feet of gas per day, in that province from moving forward - Rabaska LNG in Ville Guay-Beaumont and Gros Cacouna LNG near Rivière-du-Loup.
Earlier this week, Repsol Energy North America president Phillip Ribbeck told the Telegraph-Journal it's not economic right now, but Canaport LNG would consider serving markets in Central Canada down the road, if the demand was there; Repsol owns 75 per cent of the Saint John terminal and operates the facility, which meets 20 per cent of the New England gas market's needs.
Stantec admits that the proposed Quebec facilities represent a threat to New Brunswick's stake in Central Canada's natural gas markets and points out that Quebec's Utica shale gas play may be developed in the future.
Webmaster’s Comments: This news article implies that Canaport LNG has considerable unused capacity, indicating the lack of need for more LNG infrastructure in the Northeast US. It also indicates there is an untapped supply of domestic shale gas in Quebec that could further reduce market need for additional LNG import infrastructure. (The two proposed Quebec LNG terminals, Rabaska LNG and Gros Cacouna LNG, would violate LNG industry terminal siting best practices.)
Webmaster’s Comments: Due diligence and industry compliance by Weaver's Cove Energy would have been even better. The project site is inherently inappropriate.
"I don't think any company has a right to truck hazardous material through this city without having a discussion with this council and staff about the dangers and liability of that proposal," Johnson said. "... This is a very crucial issue that involves the safety of our citizens."
Located at the Bond Salt Dome in Simpson County, Miss., Mississippi Hub is strategically positioned to access the shale basins of east Texas and Louisiana, traditional gas supplies in the Gulf of Mexico and along the U.S. Gulf Coast, as well as liquefied natural gas imports. With its multiple interstate pipeline interconnects, the facility is ideally located to serve growing demand centers in the southeast and northeast regions of the U.S.
26 August 2010
Plans to build a massive liquefied natural gas terminal on the east coast of Nova Scotia may have been scrapped due to a lack of demand, but the prospects for Saint John's own LNG terminal still look good, says a top executive with Repsol.
Ribbeck admitted that recent developments of shale gas in both the United States and New Brunswick, may decrease demand for imported natural gas. But, he said, shale gas development in the province might not pan out, or power generators in the United States currently running coal or nuclear plants might look to switch to a different fuel.
"There's enough capacity on the East Coast of North America to handle our expected imports of LNG for the next couple of decades," he added, noting that forecasts for large increases in LNG shipments to North America turned out to be wrong.
The market for LNG imports in the region slowed down for two reasons, said Gaul. First, countries outside of North America were willing to pay more for natural gas, and second, the development of shale gas resources occurred quite quickly and successfully. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Canaport LNG has a 25-year contract for its natural gas output, meaning there would be no competition from Downeast LNG or Calais LNG for at least 25 years.That moots Passamaquoddy Bay LNG supporters' frequent argument that Irving and its parent company Fort Reliance (a 25% owner in Canaport LNG) opposes the Maine projects. There is an ocean of domestic natural gas at North America's disposal. Irving has publicly stated they do not oppose LNG projects in Maine. They have no reason to do so.
Calais LNG Arthur Gelber's firm (Gelber & Associates) states gas contracts have weakened
Despite record-breaking heat throughout much of the US this summer, abundant supplies have kept the contract from a sustained rally, Schork said. "We've had a heck of a summer, but the market peaked in June and we've been going down ever since."
Analyst Pax Saunders with Gelber & Associates said that in addition to mild weather and a lack of storm threats to Gulf of Mexico production, the gas contract has been weakened by broader economic data, including disappointing home sales and durable goods reports.
Webmaster’s Comments: Gelber & Associates founder Arthur Gelber is a principle management partner with Calais LNG.
Natural gas prices typically rise again as winter approaches and home owners crank up the heat. But overall, PFGBest analyst Phil Flynn said natural gas should become cheaper as drillers tap into larger sections of underground shale. America's vast natural-gas shale deposits are just beginning to be exploited, and the industry is expected to produce much more in coming years. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
McGovern and Frank, along with Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown, Gov. Deval Patrick, Rhode Island Gov. Donald Carcieri, Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan and virtually all state and local government officials representing the Fall River area, have strongly opposed the LNG proposal and have fought it since it was first introduced eight years ago.
Frank and McGovern have written for the Energy and Water Appropriations bill in the House. A provision added to the Energy and Water Appropriations bill in the House, written by the congressmen, would ban any federal funds from being used to further the LNG project in any way, including a prohibition on using funds to advance the permitting process. If the bill is signed into law, the long fight to stop the LNG terminal will effectively be over.
More than eight years ago, Weavers Cove Energy proposed locating a facility in Fall River. The project has had strong bipartisan opposition from leaders including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Patrick, Carcieri, as well as the Attorneys General and the entire congressional delegations of both states. [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: The Weaver's Cove Energy LNG project is in an inappropriate location and is not needed for energy security in the Northeast. This project deserves its opposition.
Savannah's City Council is asking its attorney to determine whether the city has legal grounds to fight an LNG proposal that calls for transporting up to 58 tanker trucks of fuel [per day] along DeRenne Avenue.
"I don't think any company has a right to truck hazardous material through this city without having a discussion with this council and staff about the dangers and liability of that proposal," Johnson said. [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Although tanker trucks carry far smaller volumes of LNG than ships, meaning the affected area would be small in comparison, the proposed number of LNG trucks per day — over two per hour — does increase the odds of an incident. Additionally, the volume of gas contained in an LNG truck (approx. 600 times the LNG volume) is considerably larger than the volume of other trucked hydrocarbon fuels (propane expands to approx. 270 times the liquid volume), making the potential area of impact from an LNG incident greater.
Turns out the City Council and Mayor of Savannah aren't very happy with LNG and their plans to truck liquefied gas down DeRenne Avenue; especially since they weren’t even invited to a community meeting on Monday.
The council was also in consensus over sending a letter to LNG stating their displeasure with how things are being handled. The City is even more frustrated with the proposed trucking route since it involves the corridor they’re about to pour millions of dollars into improving.
Public discussion prior to executive session at a recent special meeting of the Cordova City Council brought new information and pointed criticism from both sides of the debate over AIG Co. and its proposal to purchase tidelands adjacent to the new boat haul-out for development of a liquefied natural gas facility.
Bishop said that the city should have reliable and complete background information prior to proceeding, including market analysis, a business plan and proof of financial fitness. [Red & bold emphasis added.]
The United States used significantly less coal and petroleum in 2009 than in 2008, and significantly more wind power. There also was a decline in natural gas use and increases in solar, hydro and geothermal power according to the most recent energy flow charts released by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
25 August 2010
Weaver's Cove Energy CEO Gordon Shearer invited FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff to tour the proposed site of the LNG import facility. The invitation follows recent efforts by a number of congressional representatives to prevent further administrative reviews of the LNG proposal.
With domestic natural gas supplies soaring--and gas prices tumbling--developers of liquefied natural gas import terminals are increasingly pulling the plug on their projects, with FERC documents this week showing two such facilities on the Gulf Coast biting... [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Calais LNG and Downeast LNG want the public to not notice that their projects have no purpose; however, the news about the decline of importing LNG is unavoidable.
Unconventional natural gas will account for majority of natural gas supply and will be the key driver of natural gas production growth in North America
The North American natural gas industry is expected to witness a steady growth in production from 72.4 Bcf/d in 2008 to 82.1 Bcf/d in 2020, at an AAGR of 1.2%. The unconventional natural gas is expected to account for 52% of the total production in 2020. In US, the unconventional natural gas already accounts for approximately 50% of the production. By 2020, the share is expected to increase to 58%. In Canada, the unconventional natural gas production is expected to account for 30% of the production in 2002, up from approximately 5% share in 2008. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: North America is drowning in natural gas, mooting the need for additional LNG import development.
Shale gas output from Haynesville, Marcellus, Eagle Ford or Granite Wash have skyrocketed since the fourth quarter of last year. These plays are proving to be extremely dynamic, benefiting from continued improvements in gas rig efficiency and well productivity. In the Haynesville alone, production is up about 2.4 bcf/d this year relative to last. According to the latest data, the number of producing wells is up sharply over the past months and the inventory of permitted wells waiting on completion, fracturing or other operations is large. Permitted wells that are not yet drilling are also back at a record high. Shale gas is still leading the way.
Webmaster’s Comments: News demonstrating lack of need for Calais LNG and Downeast LNG keeps pouring in.
Gas hydrates retain large amounts of methane – one cubic meter of solid hydrate can produce 164 cubic meters of methane, the principal component of natural gas. Estimates indicate hydrate deposits contain more organic carbon in the form of methane than all the world’s fossil fuel reservoirs combined. NETL, the laboratory of DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy, has been in the forefront of investigating environmentally safe, economic ways to extract and transport methane locked in these hydrate deposits.
Conventionally, natural gas is cooled and compressed to reduce its volume for transport as either compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG). This increases the cost of natural gas for the end-user and is also not energy efficient; additionally, some of the gas is lost to vaporization of LNG during transport.
Ultimately, NETL researchers believe the new process will significantly reduce production, transportation, and storage costs associated with current LNG and CNG processes while enhancing and making more efficient the use of natural gas from stranded resources. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Bad news for LNG keeps pouring in.
24 August 2010
The impact in the U.S. is we, eight years ago, expected that we would be importing vast amounts of liquefied natural gas, and now, because we have this large-scale domestic production, we won’t need to.
In this country, it’s entirely possible if things continue on trend that we would have the ability to export gas extracted from shale, liquefy it, and export it overseas. That’s if we didn’t use all of it domestically.
U.S. gas reserves have increased eight fold over the last 10 years. And projections we saw from the National Security Council this morning showed just that estimates from EIA for the United States, China, and Canada show that we might be looking at somewhere near 30 percent of future gas supply coming from unconventional sources – that shale-type gas, coal bed methane as well.
So for the U.S., this has been a game-changer in the sense that we thought we were on the decline and now we’re very significantly on the rise. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: The US State Department is indicating a lack of need for more LNG import facilities like Calais LNG and Downeast LNG.
“It's not happening.” [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Everyone realizes North America is drowning in domestic natural gas, mooting the need for additional LNG import infrastructure such as proposed by Downeast LNG and Calais LNG.
In a brief interview after his talk, Brown said he has not had a chance to read the House bill amendment that U.S. Reps. Frank and Jim McGovern said last week could kill the proposal for a liquefied natural gas terminal in Mount Hope Bay.
The amendment, the Congressmen said, would block the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from spending any money to deliberate the project, and would block any funding that would be used to authorize vessels carrying liquefied natural gas to serve the terminal.
Webmaster’s Comments: As with Downeast LNG and Calais LNG, the LNG industry indicates the Fall River Energy LNG project violates terminal siting best safe practices.
On August 4, 2010, Southern LNG submitted an application to FERC to load LNG on trucks for regional distribution. The application contemplates reactivating the truck loading facilities at the Elba Island LNG terminal and beginning operations in November 2012. The filing notes that eight to ten tanker trucks will be loaded per day, which could expand to nearly 60 tanker trucks per day over the next decade. [Red emphasis added.]
PWE is a promising partner with a significant position in the Cordova Embayment, which boasts a high quality shale gas resource comparable to the top tier shale gas resources in North America. PWE has been conducting initial drilling operations since 2006 and, based upon third party evaluations, Mitsubishi believes that the shale gas resources in this project are approximately 5 - 8 trillion cubic feet (MC estimate, over 100~160 million tons in LNG equivalents). The potential of this enormous resource could greatly exceed Japan's natural gas annual demand.
Effect of the Agreement will serve as a fillip for development of shale gas in these sections, where the current plans of the JV are to lift current output of approximately 30 million cubic feet per day to approximately 500 million cubic feet per day (approximately 3.5 million tons of LNG equivalents per year) based upon current and anticipated economic, regulatory and market conditions. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
The global economic crisis has led to a significant drop in global demand for natural gas, which has led to a huge slump in natural gas prices, according to a new report from GBI Research titled, “Natural Gas Industry to 2016 – Abundance of Unconventional Gas Changing the Industry Landscape.”
[T]he major factor of increasing natural gas supplies from unconventional sources is expected to adversely affect the industry. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
23 August 2010
The Fall River location is problematic, to be sure. But New Englanders get about 20 percent of their energy from natural gas and LNG imports ensure an adequate supply and reasonable prices. Perhaps the delegation could apply the same dogged determination to finding an alternative site as they have to killing this project.
Webmaster’s Comments: Since there is a vast overbuild of LNG infrastructure — including in the Boston area — the Fall River project (Hess Energy's Weaver's Cove LNG) is moot. Besides, the Weaver's Cove project is located inappropriately, even according to the LNG industry. If the developer believes the project is needed, it needs to find an industry-compliant site. The onus does not fall on the delegation that is appropriately opposing the project's siting.
The congressmen said the move would effectively block the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from spending any money to deliberate the proposed project, including the approval of the off-shore berthing site designed for Mount Hope Bay. Frank said the bill has bi-partisan support, including the backing of Republican U.S. Senator Scott Brown, and described the action as veto proof.
“So there’s no ambiguity moving forward, this appropriation bill means there will be no federal money to advance an LNG facility here,” McGovern said. “If the company wants to say otherwise, they can continue to lie to their shareholders.”
Webmaster’s Comments: As with Downeast LNG and Calais LNG, the Weaver's Cove LNG project is not needed for US natural gas security of supply. There is a 100-year natural gas domestic supply, and existing LNG import facilities are operating on average at only around 10% of capacity. There is no need for additional LNG import infrastructure.
Created by Ellen Winsor, a town councilor, the LNG Working Group is collecting resolutions from towns along Narragansett Bay calling for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reject Weaver’s Cove Energy’s application to construct the off-shore berthing station in Mount Hope Bay and the associated land-based facility in Fall River. That effort has led to resolutions from the Rhode Island communities of Tiverton, Bristol, Cranston, Newport, Portsmouth and Warren, as well as Fall River and the Pokanoket Tribe of the Wamponoag Nation in Bristol as signers.
Last week Cameron LNG filed a letter from the U.S. Coast Guard with FERC that outlines the initial reaction of the USCG to Cameron's proposed export operations. The Captain of the Port for Port Arthur, Texas, J.J. Plunkett, stated in his letter that the proposed changes to the Cameron LNG facility do not constitute "new construction" and that the "waterway impacts associated with export operations at the Cameron LNG terminal should not change or exceed those envisioned in the original Environmental Impact Statement, Environmental Assessment, and Waterway Suitability Assessment."
Energy and Mining Minister James Robertson has championed the need for a cheaper energy source in the form of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), seeing it as critical to the survival and growth of Jamaica's productive sector including cost sensitive ones such as bauxite and alumina which currently rely on oil fired kilns which are uneconomic based on the volatile price factor of the fuel.
Although Gov. Parnell refuses to release the results of Exxon and TransCanada's open season that closed on Aug. 1, we do know that any bids received were heavily conditioned. We also know that the United States no longer needs Alaska's gas. Breakthroughs in tapping shale gas formations have led to gluts in North American natural gas markets. The federal government estimates the Lower 48 now has a 100-plus year supply of natural gas, and that its price will be depressed for at least 35 years. Consequently, TransCanada's CEO says an Alaska project is not a priority.
Ted Stevens and Don Young both recently recognized that Canadian and Lower 48 gas markets are saturated and our future lies in Asia. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
20 August 2010
Today's Federal Register includes a final rule issued by the U.S. Coast Guard creating security zones, safety zones, and regulated navigation areas surrounding the Northeast Gateway and Neptune LNG deepwater ports located offshore Massachusetts. The rule goes into effect on September 20, 2010.
After learning U.S. Reps. Barney Frank and James McGovern were filing language that they say will kill the proposed Weaver’s Cove LNG terminal, local officials touted the possibilities of developing the waterfront without the threat of tankers carrying liquefied natural gas a short distance away.
“By killing this project we will be able to make an investment in the waterfront,” Mayor Will Flanagan proclaimed after Frank and McGovern announced the amendment they would be adding to the Department of Energy’s appropriation bill. [Bold red emphasis added.]
The project, proposed by Weaver’s Cove Energy LLC, has drawn opposition from local residents and officials in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, who say it would pose unacceptable risks to the heavily populated area. Tankers carrying LNG would have to pass through Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay to get to the site.
“We’re going to take this project off life support, and we’re going to kill it,” Flanagan said. [Bold red emphasis added.]
The congressmen will prevent the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from spending money on this proposed project to build an off-shore berthing site for Mount Hope Bay by adding an amendment in the House appropriations bill for the U.S. Department of Energy.
The bill will be voted on before Oct. 1, the start of the federal fiscal year. [Bold red emphasis added.]
Congressmen Barney Frank and James McGovern Thursday announced they will be including an amendment in the House appropriations bill for the Department of Energy stating that “no funds made available by the act may be used to take any action to authorize the construction of any liquefied natural gas terminal or its infrastructure to be located within five miles of the city of Fall River, Massachusetts, or to authorize vessels carrying liquefied natural gas to serve such terminal.”
“This action will lift a huge albatross from the city of Fall River and eliminate the Hess/Weaver’s Cove proposal that is preventing investors from coming to Fall River’s waterfront,” [Mayor Will Flanagan] said. [Bold red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: The Weaver's Cove LNG proposal is even goofier and more inappropriate than the now-dead Quoddy Bay LNG proposal.
Congressmen McGovern and Frank, along with Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri, Fall River Mayor Michael Flanagan, and virtually all state and local government officials representing the Fall River area, have strongly opposed the LNG proposal since it was first introduced eight years ago.
And right now, the company is building a new pipeline system that will produce five times that amount when finished. Over 500 million cubic feet of natural gas, each day. That's $1.68 billion annually. Facilities in Africa, the Middle East and Alaska aren't even close to producing that amount in a day. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Last week Sabine Pass Liquefaction, LLC submitted an application to the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy to export LNG. The application seeks authorization to export up to 16 mtpa of LNG for 30 years from the Sabine Pass LNG terminal. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Yesterday FERC issued an order denying a request for rehearing on Freeport LNG's trucking proposal. The request was filed by a local citizen who expressed concerns regarding potential hazards associated with delivering LNG via truck to the Freeport LNG facility.
Unconventional natural gas has had a dramatic effect on the US gas market and, amongst other things, has undermined the expected rise in imported gas in the form of LNG. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: The US is drowning in domestic natural gas, and is tripping over grossly-overbuilt LNG import infrastructure that is operating on average of only around 10% of capacity, with an additional double the LNG import capacity already permitted but not constructing due to lack of market. Downeast LNG and Calais LNG are projects without a purpose.
17 August 2010
"... Calais LNG stated that if it did not have this backing by August 11 that it would withdraw its applications before the board.... Now, Calais LNG seeks another last-minute extension because its financial backing is not yet secured." He added that Calais LNG does not currently have the financial capacity required by the state's Site Location of Development Law.
You have to burn a lot of fossil fuels to get it down to minus-260 degrees [the temperature at which the gas liquifies,] then you stick it in a ship and burn a lot of fossil fuels traveling over the ocean to get it to wherever you want it.
“By the time you get it to the United States, it is almost as dirty as coal, which is the worst of the worst, so it really is not going to help reduce our carbon footprint,” Zipf said, adding that [LNG] is 40 percent more polluting than domestic natural gas. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
David Wu, standing on the shores of the Columbia River at the Cannery Pier Hotel in Astoria, announced that he will introduce a bill to the U.S. House of Representatives that will return the siting of liquefied natural gas facilities to state authorities.
"I just don't think LNG is a panacea for all our woes," Wu said as he outlined the proposed legislation, which is a companion measure to one introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden to the U.S. Senate. [Red emphasis added.]
Much has been made of the significant supply glut in the U.S., where natural gas inventory levels are well above five-year average levels. But the U.S. natural gas supply is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of the fuel that some nations simply throw away. It is estimated that Iraq, which is home to some of the largest deposits in the world, burns off $70 billion worth of natural gas each year at its oil fields. If increased regional stability and continued technological advancements allow Iraq to harness that gas and sell it to overseas consumers, the natural gas market in the U.S. would experience a flood of biblical performance. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Cheniere Energy said in June that it was planning to build an LNG export terminal at Sabine Pass in Louisiana, the first in the lower 48 states. Banks such as JPMorgan and Barclays are boosting their LNG trading in North America as US gas prices fell 24% this year amid increased output from wells in shale formations from Texas to Pennsylvania.
“We are looking for opportunities to do exports that make more economic sense.” [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: The market for Calais LNG and Downeast LNG continue to take a nosedive.
13 August 2010
"We got some additional data requests that we need to provide to the board," said Ian Emery, Calais LNG's Development Manager." In additon to that we're finalizing financial arrangements with new investors and so we do appreciate the extension that's been provided to our company to be prepared to go through the hearing process this fall."
Webmaster’s Comments: Not ready, an unneeded project, and no money.
[Note: This article was also published in iStock Analyst. — SPB webmaster]
Calais LNG had highlighted Goldman Sachs’ financial support as a sign of the project’s strength. Gelber claimed he was not aware why Goldman Sachs subsidiary GS Power Holdings LLC had decided to sell off its interest in the project. [Bold red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: If Arthur Gelber does not know why Goldman Sachs dumped his project, he is not as astute an energy investment consultant as he makes out to be. Goldman Sachs left because Calais LNG came too late to the party. It has no prospect for profit.
The Calais LNG request on Aug. 9 had asked the board to extend the company's self-imposed deadline of Aug. 11 by a month. The company originally had said that if it did not find a new financial partner by Aug. 11, it would withdraw its application for the project, but the Aug. 9 request said it was talking to a potential partner and needed more time. Calais LNG was forced to seek a new financial partner after GS Power Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., decided to withdraw from the project.
"Simply put, the Roosevelt Campobello International Park Commission believes that Calais LNG was not, and is not ready to support its applications before the board, and does not have the funding to carry out the project for which it seeks approval," Superintendent Ronald Beckwith Jr. wrote. [Bold red emphasis added.]
"The chair was willing to put the hearing on hold but at some point that may not be a viable option," [Maine Board of Environmental Protection executive analyst Cindy Bertocci] said, adding that the environmental data will become obsolete after too long a delay. [Bold red emphasis added.]
The Bangor Daily News says critics point [sic] believe the project is no longer viable because of changes in the energy market and the withdrawal of GS Power Holdings from the project. Robert Godfrey from Save Passamaquoddy Bay calls it "an ill-prepared, ill-sited and ill-timed project." [Bold red emphasis added.]
“All parties continue to be poised at the brink of hearing this matter’s merits. Yet, Calais LNG unequivocally concedes that its application is incomplete. It is at square one – presently attempting to negotiate financial banking,” said SPB attorney Ronald A. Shems in a letter to the BEP dated Aug. 10.
The Maine Board of Environmental Protection today granted Calais LNG an additional delay in the permitting process. In response, Save Passamaquoddy Bay researcher Robert Godfrey stated, “We continue to believe that Calais LNG, by its own admission in multiple filings to the State of Maine, has not adequately completed its permit applications and cannot demonstrate financial capacity that is a legal prerequisite for state environmental permitting.” [Bold red emphasis added.]
The Caribbean LNG bid is unusual. A firm in which the main shareholder is a politically appointed ex-top honcho of the body which has to approve and monitor the deal raises eyebrows in any country. [Red emphasis added.]
“I fear that without the option of continued exports at Kenai, producers will be confronted with additional disincentives to maintain current production levels, potentially darkening the chances of contracts closing even that narrow gap,” Hawker wrote.
Ramras said his concern was that even with LNG, GTL and NGL, “when you aggregate all of Alaskans together, with or without a subsidy, there simply aren’t enough of us to take the capacity for half a b (half a billion cubic feet a day) in a pipeline. There aren’t enough of us; there’s not enough industry in Alaska at this point.”
What if you find a project that could create industrial demand, Ramras asked Fauske, but it costs as much as the in-state gas pipeline: “We’ve got to be careful that you’re not basing the construction of the in-state gas line on anticipation of a one-off project that may have just as much underlying capital cost.”
12 August 2010
- Maine DEP letter granting Calais LNG's latest permitting-delay tactic (PDF; 216 KB).
- Maine DEP Site Development Law Financial Capacity Standard (PDF; 70 KB).
Our statement to the media is...
We continue to believe that Calais LNG, by its own admission in multiple filings to the State of Maine, has not adequately completed its permit applications and cannot demonstrate financial capacity that is a legal prerequisite for state environmental permitting.
We cannot imagine that after a world-class investment bank like Goldman Sachs, via its wholly-owned subsidiary GS Power Holdings, has backed out of financing Calais LNG that any other credible investor would consider risking money on such an ill-prepared, ill-sited, and ill-timed project.
Webmaster’s Comments: 'No-pulse' Calais LNG keeps on haunting.
A lawyer representing Calais LNG had sent a letter earlier this week to the board, saying it needed until Sept. 11 to line up a financial backer. Last month, the company abruptly pulled out of a long-planned hearing on its permit application for the project. A week later, the company said its lead investor, GS Power Holdings LLC, was selling its share and it was looking for another investor.
Calais LNG asked the board to give it until Aug. 11, and the board agreed. But on Monday, the company said it was engaged in talks with potential financial partners and needed more time. The board granted that request today.
The Roosevelt Campobello International Park Commission noted that Calais LNG had made three requests for an extension, an indication that the company doesn’t have the funding to carry out the project and should withdraw its application. [Bold red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: 'No-pockets' Calais LNG lacks a nickle and veracity. It should be obvious to everyone.
"And since financial capacity is something that does not have to exist for the processing of the application, she did not feel it was appropriate require withdrawal at this point in time," said Bertocci.
Webmaster’s Comments: To the contrary, Maine site development law specifically requires demonstration of financial capacity prior to the Department of Environmental Protection processing the applications. (Read the Maine site development law's financial capacity prerequisite, using the link to the PDF, above.)
Maine regulators decided Thursday not to throw out an application for permits to build the proposed Calais LNG import terminal despite the company's trouble in finding an investor after its original backer pulled out in July.
But [Maine Board of Environmental Protection chair Susan Lessard] noted arguments from opponents of the project, who said this week that the company's repeated delay requests were standing in the way of the application's public vetting.
The developer promised to withdraw the application by Wednesday if it couldn't find another financial backer. Instead of ending the project, though, the company said it now needs until September 11 to line up new financing.
R.I. officials say Weaver's Cove is obstructing opposing views
Committee Chairman Dan Wright said the group has met just about weekly since its inception, with those meeting routinely, including a person representing Weaver’s Cove in attendance and videotaping the proceedings.
Based on those recordings, according to letter from attorney Gregory L. Benik, of the Warwick, R.I., law firm Benik and Associates, Weaver’s Cove is alleging Wright “made false statements in a public meeting about the formal communications between the LNG Threat Committee and other entities and individuals.”
The letter states that Wright claims he has disclosed all documents the committee has received, but the videotape shows that Wright possessed documents that were referred to, and shared those with other members of the committee without acknowledging or disclosing those documents to the public.
Wright, however, feels the letter from Benik lacks substance, questioning why it wasn’t accompanied by any videotapes or references to a particular meeting, quote, or document that would refer to the company’s allegations.
“This is corporate intimidation,” Ruggiero said in a statement. “Instead of Hess/LNG collaborating with local communities, they are using corporate intimidation against our towns and citizens. Communities up and down Narragansett Bay are organizing because of the potential environmental and economic damage to our bay and local economies. We must be vigilant against this arrogance.” [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: If Weaver's Cove/Hess Energy had a legitimate complaint, they would cite the specific instances they claim are illegal acts, and would submit the evidence on the video tapes to the appropriate legal authorities and the news media. It does appear to be an attempt by the Weaver's Cove to stifle opposition.
11 August 2010
- Calais LNG's permit withdrawal postponement request (PDF; 96 KB).
- Roosevelt Campobello International Park's opposition response (PDF; 1.03 MB).
- Save Passamaquoddy Bay's opposition response (PDF; 46 KB).
- Maine DEP premitting financial capacity prerequisite (PDF; 70 KB).
In a letter, attorney David Van Slyke, who's representing Calais LNG says, while the developers are actively engaged in negotiations with potential financial partners, discussions have not progressed as far as Calais LNG had hoped. The company is requesting that the deadline be pushed back a month to September eleventh.
Conservation Law Foundation vice-president Sean Mahoney says CLF is against giving the development group any more time, "they had a self-imposed deadline of August 11, which they haven't met. And I think we're in a position now where, you know the old saying of fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me," said Mahoney.
Last month a subsdiary of Goldman Sachs withdrew its financial backing for the Calais L-N-G project. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Goldman Sachs spent $24 million on Calais LNG and have now deserted the project. Calais LNG has no value or future.
[Note: This article was also published on Aug 11 in LNG World News — SPB webmaster]
A lawyer representing Calais LNG sent a letter to the board today [Tuesday] saying it needed until Sept. 11 to line up a financial backer. Last month, the company abruptly pulled out of a long-planned hearing on its permit application for the project. A week later, the company said its lead investor, GS Power Holdings LLC, was selling its share and looking for another investor. Calais LNG asked the board to give it until Aug. 11, and the board agreed.
The Roosevelt Campobello International Park Commission said this is Calais LNG's third attempt at an extension, an indication that the company doesn't have the funding to carry out the project and should withdraw its application. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
The company in July asked the Board of Environmental Protection to push back public hearings on the $1 billion project until Aug. 11, saying it needed time to find an investor to replace GS Power Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which backed out of the project. The BEP agreed to postpone the hearings.
Opponents of the project spoke out against the request, including the Conservation Law Foundation, which argued the development firm does not have the financial ability to move forward with the project. [Bold red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Visit the NRCM page to read more. If you are an NRCM member, please cast your vote for Vera! [Signing in as a member is required to vote.]
Eni has “significant capacity and storage rights” at the Cameron terminal in Hackberry, Louisiana, according to a release from the bank. Under the multiyear agreement, Barclays will market natural gas supplied from imports for downstream delivery.
The Cameron terminal can convert LNG to natural gas and send out 1.5 billion cubic feet a day of natural gas to regional pipelines, according to Sempra Energy, owner of the terminal. Eni signed a 20-year contract with Sempra in 2005 to contract 40 percent of the capacity. The site can store 480,000 cubic meters of LNG.
Barclays initiated its LNG services with a deal in December, to market Excelerate Energy LLC’s liquefied-natural- gas cargoes landing at the Northeast Gateway Deepwater Port, 13 miles off the Massachusetts shore.
Webmaster’s Comments: US LNG import volumes currently equal the approximate capacity of just one LNG terminal. The US has 10 operating LNG import terminals. Plus, there are 13 additional LNG import terminals already permitted but not constructing due to lack of demand.
If US LNG imports increase by the predicted 10%, then LNG import terminals will still be operating on average of only around 10–11% of capacity — around 89–90% of capacity will remain idle. Proposals by Calais LNG and Downeast LNG have no market justification — as Goldman Sachs has demonstrated by deserting Calais LNG.
Yesterday, FERC requested information regarding the Kenai LNG export facility in advance of the Commission’s annual inspection of the terminal. FERC's inspection is scheduled for September 21-22, 2010.
EIA forecasts gross pipeline imports of 9.05 Bcf/d in 2010, an increase of about 0.1 percent from 2009. EIA expects gross pipeline imports of 8.95 Bcf/d in 2011. Forecasted imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) average 1.35 Bcf/d in 2010 and 1.42 in 2011. Higher LNG prices in European and Asian markets could divert the growing world supply of LNG away from the United States.
Webmaster’s Comments: Predicted increases in LNG imports are insignificant related to LNG import capacity and domestic natural gas reserves. The US is drowning in domestic natural gas. LNG import terminals are operating at one-tenth capacity. Thirteen US LNG import terminals already permitted are not constructing due to lack of market. One US LNG import terminal (Sabine Pass) has applied to liquefy domestic natural gas and export LNG.
[T]he shale gas revolution in the United States has extinguished the need to import gas into North America, freeing up a lot of supply for the rest of the world. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes which used to make straight for the United States have now changed route and are sailing into Europe and Asia.
Webmaster’s Comments: It is clear to the world that Downeast LNG and Calais LNG have no future.
On August 3 at 15:00 pm. a cargo vessel collided with a southern right whales when is was arriving to a pier (Storni) of the city of Puerto Madryn. The incident occurred at a time when the ship Langeness 160 meters lenghts [sic], at very low speed entering collided with bulb bow to an individual of right whale about 200 meters from the pier.
Webmaster’s Comments: The above page also contains video and still images of the ship colliding with the whale.
9 August 2010
Webmaster’s Comments: The Weaver's Cove LNG project in Mount Hope Bay and at Fall River is a Rube Goldberg configuration of ill-conceived ideas. The proposal fails to meet LNG industry terminal siting best practices, and would likely create a 4.25-mile long exclusion zone through the middle of the waterway. "Conflicting use" of the waterway does not begin to describe the Weaver's Cove Energy proposal.
In April New Jersey's new governor, Chris Christie, said he would oppose all offshore LNG projects. The decision will be up to the federal Maritime Administration and the Coast Guard to make, because the island would be built in federal waters.
North Bend, OR – Opponents of PG&E’s Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline and the related Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility welcomed news that Oregon's Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) rejected CoosCounty's approval of the project yesterday [July 15].
In a perfect world, where regulatory agencies are serious and neutral and where regulators are never influenced by politics, turning life-and-death decisions over to a class of technocrats might have made sense. But in the real world, regulatory agencies are more often than not under substantial pressure from elected officials to acquiesce to demands from regulated industries. These agencies are also often staffed by bureaucrats who anticipate plum jobs in the industries they regulate once their government pensions have vested.
[S]tate and federal judges ought to once again assume their review authority over administrative agencies. Even in light of the Chevron decision, our federal Constitution and all state constitutions give the judicial branch the authority to review the actions of the other branches of government to make sure they’re in line with the governing laws and constitutional provisions. Reviewing courts should carefully scrutinize agency decisions and act aggressively in revisiting agency decisions that put communities at risk. If expertise is the issue, then judges who have technical backgrounds should be recruited and appointed to the bench. Alternatively, judges could specialize in particular areas of administrative law and develop a deep understanding of the technical issues in that area, just as practicing lawyers do.
5 August 2010
[Selectmen Chairman Robert A. Marquis] said there is no regional need for an LNG terminal, and that three other terminals opened since Hess LNG proposed the project would benefit the New England region.
Webmaster’s Comments: Weaver's Cove officials cannot make any claim regarding inconvenience to boating since they, themselves, do not know the measures FERC and the US Department of Transportation would require. Currently, all LNG cryogenic piping must be contained within the confines of the terminal; it is not allowed outside the terminal.
If FERC and the DOT were to allow the proposed 4.25-mile long LNG cryogenic piping to run from the receiving facility in the middle of Mount Hope Bay and up the Taunton River to the land-based LNG facility, would they require an Exclusion Zone above the underwater piping, like they do at all LNG terminals? If so, there would be a 4.25-mile long "fence" in the water, across which no boater could transit. That would mean a potential extra 8-mile transit out and around the receiving platform for some boat trips, rather than a direct straight-line transit.
For Weaver's Cove officials to claim there would be no inconvenience to boaters is disingenuous. They, themselves, do not even know if what they are promising would be true.
Yesterday FERC agreed to initiate the agency's National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) pre-filing review of Sabine Pass LNG's application to install liquefaction facilities at its existing regasification terminal.
Webmaster’s Comments: There is so much available domestic natural gas, the need for importing LNG into the US is so low, and US LNG import infrastructure has already been so overbuilt, Sabine Pass LNG — that has already been reexporting LNG it imports — is now building an LNG liquefaction terminal to export US natural gas in addition to reexporting imported LNG.
Oregon Pipeline Company, LLC reported to FERC yesterday that it has concluded a non-binding open season for capacity on its proposed natural gas pipeline. Oregon Pipeline stated that its affiliate, Oregon LNG, was the only company to bid and was awarded all of the capacity on the Oregon Pipeline.
Spokesperson for Citizens Against LNG, Jody McCaffree says that while she believes the Commissioners raised some good concerns, there were just too many other things overlooked. She says they're planning an appeal to the State Land Use Board of Appeals.
3 August 2010
Ocean advocates are welcoming a decision by Atlantic Sea Island Group to withdraw its proposal to construct Safe Harbor Energy, a 116-acre liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility on a man-made island 19.5 miles off the coast of Sea Bright.
“You have to burn a lot of fossil fuels to get it down to minus-260 degrees [the temperature at which the gas liquifies,] then you stick it in a ship and burn a lot of fossil fuels traveling over the ocean to get it to wherever you want it.
“By the time you get it to the United States, it is almost as dirty as coal, which is the worst of the worst, so it really is not going to help reduce our carbon footprint,” Zipf said, adding that it is 40 percent more polluting than domestic natural gas.
Webmaster’s Comments: LNG runs counter to cleaner, less expensive, domestic, more secure energy supplies.
Webmaster’s Comments: Jamaica has no domestic natural gas resource.
Until recently, scarce U.S. natural gas reserves suggested increasing dependence on expensive foreign supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG). No more. Next, natural gas emits about 50 percent less carbon dioxide -- the major greenhouse gas -- than coal. Substituting gas for coal in electricity plants could temper emissions. Finally, shale gas in Europe and Asia has huge geopolitical implications. It could reduce dependence on Russian natural gas and frustrate any gas cartel mimicking OPEC.
How much shale gas exists is unknown, but estimates are huge. The Potential Gas Committee is a group of geologists who regularly estimate future U.S. gas supplies. In 2000, the group's estimate equaled about 54 years of present annual consumption; by 2008, it was almost 90 years. "This isn't the end," says Colorado School of Mines geologist John Curtis. Globally, one study estimated the recoverable supply at 16,200 trillion cubic feet, more than 150 times today's annual world gas use. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: The US is swimming in natural gas reserves.
1 Aug 2010
Ian Emery says ownership change is a ‘hiccup.’ [See webmaster's comment roman numeral "I" below.]
In a telephone interview [Calais LNG development manager Ian Emery] admitted that the news last week that Goldman Sachs is in the process of selling its interest in the project to a new financial partner came as a shock but said the project will still go ahead.
“… We have a third of the permits we need. [See webmaster's comment roman numeral "II" below.] Now we need state approvals and work authorization.”
Emery said the expectations are that the project is going to move forward and they are looking forward to moving into the next phase which is construction. [See webmaster's comment roman numeral "III" below.]
For those who say there is no need for more LNG terminals, Emery said it is their view that Canaport in Saint John cannot meet the current demand and there are expectations of further demand in the future as people are switching from oil and coal to cleaner sources of energy. [See webmaster's comment roman numeral "IV" below.]
“Natural gas in the form of shale gas is not easily accessible. A lot of the shale gas currently being developed is not able to make it to New England markets so we are left with one source from the north coming from New Brunswick,” he said, adding that the Calais LNG project is an opportunity to enter the market to service New England in a competitive manner. [See webmaster's comment roman numeral "V" below.]
“We feel there is room for us to participate in that market and bring energy costs down and help business. [See webmaster's comment roman numeral "VI" below.] We desperately need jobs in Washington County.” [See webmaster's comment roman numeral "VII" below.]
“There are paper mills that would love to use natural gas but they don’t have access to it. [See webmaster's comment roman numeral "VIII" below.] A big part of my vision is once the facility is up and running we start developing these markets and supply areas not connected to the pipeline. That would create more jobs.” [Bold red emphasis added.]
Webmaster’s Comments: Ian Emery sounds more and more like Quoddy Bay LNG's Brian Smith and Don Smith as their now-failed project was collapsing around their ears. Emery's credibility is rapidly sliding downhill.
- Ian Emery claims Goldman Sachs jumping ship was just a "hiccup." Emery hyped Goldman Sachs financing the permitting. To then have them realize there is no profit to be made, then dumping the project, makes that "hiccup" more like the project's death rattle.
- Exactly which "one-third" of the numerous permits that are needed has Calais LNG already aquired? None of the following:
- FERC permit to construct terminal;
- FERC permit to construct sendout pipeline;
- State of Maine water quality permit;
- State of Maine air quality permit;
- State of Maine coastal zone use permit;
- State of Maine submerged lands lease for the pier;
- Army Corps of Engineers pier construction permit;
- US Department of Transportation natural gas sendout pipeline permit;
- US Coast Guard Letter of Recommendation to use the waterway for LNG transits;
- Permission from the Government of Canada to transit Canada's waterways.
- Ian Emery claims Calais LNG's next phase is construction. Oooops! They don't have any of the state or federal permits required for construction!
- Ian Emery claims Canaport LNG cannot meet demand. Is that why Canaport cancelled building their planned fourth LNG storage tank — because they couldn't meet demand? Quite the opposite is true. Canaport LNG stated they cancelled their fourth LNG storage tank because there is insufficient demand.
- Ian Emery claims domestic shale gas cannot get to New England markets. There are over 30 new pipeline and pipeline expansion projects already at play to do exactly what Ian Emery claims is impossible. These pipeline projects will even-out natural gas supply and prices across the United States, including Maine.
- Ian Emery claims importing LNG would lower energy prices. LNG is more expensive than domestic natural gas. Plus, LNG generates more greenhouse gases, due to at least four additional steps in the supply chain — 1) transportation to liquefaction facilities, 2) liquefaction, 3) transportation across oceans; 4) regasification. The new pipeline and pipeline expansion projects will provide natural gas at a cheaper rate than Calais LNG could.
- Ian Emery indicates Washington County needs jobs. That is true; however, an LNG facility in Passamaquoddy Bay would sacrifice more jobs and local economy than an LNG terminal would produce. Plus, an LNG terminal in Passamaquoddy Bay would unnecessarily put thousands of citizens in harm's way. If Emery were sincere, he would site his project offshore, where no civilian populations would be at risk, where there might actually be a possibility of success.
- Ian Emery states that there are paper mills that do not currently have access to natural gas. That also is true, but does not present the entire picture.
- As the manager at Domtar has indicated, Domtar cannot reduce its costs by using natural gas. Domtar already has lower-cost energy than natural gas would provide. Besides, they already have access to the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline gas if they wanted to use it.
- Verso Paper in Bucksport already has a natural gas pipeline feeding it from the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline — and yet, the Bucksport community has no natural gas access.
- Centrally-located Maine Liquid Methane Fuels (link) in Brewer is planning to liquefy gas coming from the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, and to truck it to paper mills and other businesses, institutions, and transportation companies in a 150–200-mile radius. That will cover most of Maine. Calais LNG is too late and in the wrong location.
Where is Arthur Gelber these days? Has he accompanied Goldman Sachs in jumping ship? After all, Gelber's career is in energy investment consulting. Having Goldman Sachs desert Gelber's Calais LNG project certainly must put Gelber in an akward position with his paying clientele.