"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
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2011 February 28
The Canadian province of New Brunswick possesses a variety of rich mineral deposits including ‚Ä¶ fuels (oil, natural gas and coal)‚Ä¶. All known hydrocarbon deposits are located in the Late Devonian-Carboniferous Maritimes Basin, which underlies the eastern part of the province. New Brunswick‚Äôs marginal importance for Canadian exports has increased over each of the past four years, with the percentage of domestic exports from the province reaching a historical high relative to the national total.
On Sunday, New Brunswick Premier David Alward concluded a meeting with Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe in Washington, D.C., with a rekindled desire to take a deeper look at shale gas development in New Brunswick. Three New Brunswick cabinet ministers recently flew to Arkansas to examine the state‚Äôs handling of the shale gas industry. Arkansas is one of only four states with a projected balanced budget, and has largely avoided the fiscal crisis sweeping the United States in part through revenues obtained from shale gas resources. [Red bold emphasis added.]
In its application, KM LNG says the majority of the natural gas supply for the proposed exports will come from shale gas resources located in northeastern British Columbia. The natural gas would then be liquefied at the proposed Kitimat LNG Terminal and transported by tankers to markets primarily located in Asia Pacific. [Red bold emphasis added.]
File assigned to new cabinet minister; project founders; interest in LNG exports
While the waiting game continues for the MGP, the pace continues to pick up around the Kitimat LNG [export] project, adding to a view that future gas production from northeastern British Columbia poses the biggest threat to the economic prospects for Arctic gas development.
Platts LNG Daily [subscription required] summarizes remarks from two industry analysts who noted the advantages of expanded LNG regasification terminals and greenfield LNG export projects. Speaking at a Platts LNG conference this week, Amber McCullagh of Wood Mackenzie argued that Gulf Coast LNG facilities, such as Sabine Pass LNG or Freeport LNG, have several advantages over proposed LNG projects. In particular, McCullagh noted that the Gulf Coast LNG facilities already have infrastructure in place and also have the advantage of being in close proximity to large shale gas plays. By contrast, Majed Limam of Poten and Partners, argued that Kitimat LNG's nearer location to attractive Asian destinations will create savings on shipping costs and allow that project to compete with LNG terminals already in existence. [Red bold emphasis added.]
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has approved Freeport LNG's request for authorization to export LNG to nations that currently or in the future enter free trade agreements (FTAs) with the United States. Freeport LNG's export proposal contemplates the export of 9 Mtpa of LNG over a 25-year period. At present, fifteen nations have FTAs with the United States.
David William Frederick, an opponent to the Weaver's Cove LNG project proposed in Fall River, Mass., has submitted research to FERC on the title to the so-called "wedge lot." Frederick argues in his submission that his research demonstrates that the developers of the Weaver's Cove LNG project do not have control over the project site. [Red emphasis added.]
Subsequent to Sonde‚Äôs January 28, 2011 press release with respect to the proposed sale, the Office of the Governor for the State of New Jersey publicly issued a statement indicating that it would not approve a licence for the Project. In light of the increased uncertainty regarding the Project the terms of the transaction were renegotiated with the Purchaser agreeing to assume control over the Project‚Äôs future. Pursuant to the sale, Sonde received a U.S.$1.0 million cash payment upon closing in respect of reimbursable expenses, and is entitled to receive deferred cash consideration of U.S.$12.5 million payable upon the Company‚Äôs first successful gas delivery. [Red bold emphasis added.]
Government is holding discussions with the foreign shareholders of Atlantic LNG about the possibility of increasing tax revenues when LNG cargoes are diverted to countries where prices are higher than the US and Spain. In a response to the concerns raised by Energy Minister, Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan about the amount of revenue coming to government from Atlantic LNG, bpTT said yesterday: ‚ÄúThe contracts held between the Atlantic LNG shareholders and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago prescribe the share of profits between the shareholders and the government.
Now Alaskans find themselves in the strange position of potentially having more gas available and a longer life for Cook Inlet supplies, but no place to store the gas, not at least until sometime in 2012-13, when storage projects under way will come on line.
Johnson‚Äôs priorities for the visit include a meeting with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, to talk about how Alaska can help turn the soon-to-be shuttered Nikiski LNG plant into a gas import and storage facility. The idea is to keep a steady supply of gas in the grid over the next few years, while Enstar constructs a permanent facility nearby.
Rumours have been floating around for a while that two Canadian producers are looking at the possibility of developing a second liquefied natural gas export terminal -in addition to the one currently proposed at Kitimat, B.C; one of those companies could very well be Encana.
Subject to the terms and conditions of the MOU, Sabine, Endesa, and Enel Trade have agreed to proceed with negotiations to contract up to 1.5 million tonnes per annum ("mtpa") of bi-directional LNG processing capacity at the Sabine Pass LNG terminal located in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, subject to certain conditions precedent, including but not limited to the receipt by each party of requisite internal approvals, Sabine's receipt of regulatory approvals and making a final investment decision to construct the liquefaction facilities.
Sempra Energy‚Äôs ‚ÄúEnergia Costa Azul‚ÄĚ LNG Plant has been embroiled in controversy since it was proposed and opened. According to an investigative report by San Diego, CA KGTV News, an ABC affiliate, authorities in the U.S., including the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Securities Exchange Commission, have all launched parallel investigations into allegations that Sempra Energy‚Äôs, Mexican LNG Unit, ‚ÄúEnergia Costa Azul,‚ÄĚ may have engaged in criminal conduct in Mexico. See attached lawsuit and video ‚Ä¶; See also; video news story of ABC affiliate KGTV CH10 ‚Ä¶.
‚ÄúGazprom has everything ready for regular gas deliveries to the United States. It remains to wait for an acceptable price,‚ÄĚ deputy CEO of the gas monopoly Alexander Medvedev said at Gazprom Investor Day.
As for the shale gas in the United States, Medvedev said ‚Äúwe see no shale gas threat to our business and even note the factors which can promote our business development.‚ÄĚ He did not elaborate, but said in the long run shale gas ‚Äúwill play a positive role for the world gas market and the gas market in the United States.‚ÄĚ
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: An acceptable price might occur ‚Ä¶ and Hell might freeze over, unless "acceptable price" means Gazprom sells below world market prices.
The figures look as follows. In the second half of 2010 Gazprom sold about 600 million cubic metres of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the USA. Gazprom is sure that in the future this amount will exceed 900 million cubic metres. At present this gas monopoly has created all conditions for increased deliveries to the USA. Recall that Gazprom already deals on the US market. Its US branch, Gazprom Marketing and Trading, successfully sells natural gas to the US and is even one of the twenty largest operators. In four years this company is planning to enter the top ten. This plan is feasible, especially because Russia has a very small representation in the US gas market, said Konstantin Simonov, the director of Russia‚Äôs National Energy Security Foundation, in his interview for ‚ÄúThe Voice of Russia‚ÄĚ.
‚ÄúThe Atlantic market is absolutely new for us. We went there with very small volumes and today we are only trying to crack it. This is why the forecasts that have been made are not unachievable, especially if we do not forget that Russia is only taking its first steps in the US market. I‚Äôd like to stress once more that we should not ignore the Atlantic market when talking about LNG deliveries‚ÄĚ.
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: This reads more like Soviet-era propaganda than realistic contemporary market information.
2011 February 27
Regulators and local officials can‚Äôt get a grip on a host of critical issues.
For months El Paso Corp. has pushed for quick federal approval of its petition to truck LNG on city streets, stonewalling questions from local officials who must assess the risks. The company‚Äôs tactic of ignoring public concerns is also strategic.
Without all the facts, regulators and local officials can‚Äôt get a grip on a host of critical issues. For instance, if 115 LNG trucks ‚ÄĒ not 58 ‚ÄĒ fill the streets daily, what safety and security measures do we really need?
The gas market revolution is key. Development of our enormous domestic shale gas reserves is driving down natural gas prices ‚ÄĒ off 70 percent from their mid-2008 peak. It is also reshaping the global gas market including for LNG. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, our shale gas output will grow to 25 percent of all U.S. natural gas production by 2035.
The abundance of domestic natural gas and the collapse in its price are creating export opportunities. Market specialists predict U.S. gas supplies will be cheaper than in Europe and Asia for years to come, enabling companies to sell American gas abroad.
Plummeting U.S. gas prices are devastating business at LNG import terminals. Across the country, our imported LNG inventory fell to under 11 percent of overall holding capacity in 2010. The bottom has dropped out of the imported LNG market. As John Deutsch, the former U.S. undersecretary of energy and a participant in last year‚Äôs MIT study on the future of natural gas, said, ‚ÄúIt no longer makes economic sense to import LNG.‚ÄĚ [Red bold emphasis added.]
US LNG-import terminals are signing agreements to export North American gas, but many variables affect the economics of these potentially risky ventures, writes Nikos Tsafos
Within nine months, the idea of exporting gas from the US Lower 48 as LNG went from cocktail-hour hypothetical to front-page news with extraordinary alacrity. Two Gulf coast regasification terminals ‚Äď Sabine Pass and Freeport ‚Äď have announced plans to export LNG from the US, while other companies are conducting feasibility studies to understand the conditions under which exports may be profitable. [Red bold emphasis added.]
Tentative sales agreements in place for Cheniere; Dominion a third LNG importer to plan exports
PLANS TO turn abundant US shale-gas resources into liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports have gathered steam, with energy firms eyeing new liquefaction plants and signing sales agreements. But the route from shale to sail may still be stormy.
This would be a remarkable U-turn for the US gas market ‚Äď which only a few years ago was predicted to become the world's largest LNG importer until the success of shale-gas extraction ‚Äď and exports could allow US LNG investors to claw back some of the billions spent on building unused import terminals.
Following Freeport LNG's plan to build an export plant in Texas in November last year, Dominion Resources said at the end of January it may also build an export facility at its Cove Point import terminal in Maryland, in the US northeast, possibly tapping the Marcellus shale for gas supplies. [Red bold emphasis added.]
LNG demand in the Asia-Pacific is strong, but growing shale gas volumes in the United States ‚Äď a trend unforeseen when these LNG projects were conceived and implemented ‚Äď has lowered the expected demand curve thereby eating into the potential profitability of these new facilities and postponing the vision that investors originally had of the role of these giant projects.
Forecasters expected the US would need substantial imports of LNG as domestic gas production and imports from Canada fell. They fell into the classic forecasting error of projecting present trends into the future and not being fully aware of a real game-changer, what Nicholas Taleb, has called a "Black Swan".
Instead, the US now imports only small amounts of LNG from Egypt, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Qatar, Trinidad and Tobago and the Yemen at prices that averaged just $4.81 per thousand cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. These prices are only a shade higher than the depressed Henry Hub domestic marker price.
So these huge LNG production and regasification capacity projects went ahead and have created a mismatch between demand and capacity mismatch in the United States. US regasification capacity is currently around 15 bcf/day, according to our database of regasification facilities. ‚Äď equivalent to no less than one quarter of the whole of current U.S. natural gas consumption. Yet these facilities are being utilised at a tiny fraction of their capacity. LNG regasification volumes in the U.S. were just 2 million cu ft a day, or a mere 13% of installed regasification capacity, in January of this year, for example. [Red bold emphasis added.]
[Note: The following link will open a PDF file.]
U.S. unconventional natural gas reserves and production, particularly shale gas, have grown rapidly in recent years. In 2009, shale gas reserves increased 76%, while production rose 47%, according to a recent U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. The new shale gas resources have changed the U.S. natural gas position from net importer to potentially a net exporter. Other countries are now exploring their own shale gas resources. [Red bold emphasis added.]
BIW deal would bring pipeline to city
BATH ‚ÄĒ Bath Iron Works has reached an agreement with Maine Natural Gas Corp. that would bring a natural gas pipeline to Bath, likely lowering costs and carbon emissions at the shipyard, as well as providing the city with access to a previously unavailable fuel source.
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: Proximity to a natural gas pipeline is no guarantee the resource will be available to community residents, as is evident by the natural gas spur line to Verso Paper in Bucksport, and proximity of the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline to Baileyville, Princeton, and Calais. However, Bath is densely populated, making it a good prosopect for profitable pipeline distribution. Unfortunately ‚ÄĒ and even though natural gas is plentiful in Maine via the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline ‚ÄĒ most communities are small and distant from the transmission pipeline, making them unprofitable communities for natural gas distribution.
In a follow-up interview, [Steve Torres, corporation counsel for Fall River,] explained that the congress was by invitation only and that Hess was not invited. He added that Hess attends all of their meetings and he ‚Äútakes it as a personal affront.‚ÄĚ
Massachusetts and Rhode Island public officials and concerned residents gathered at the Second Congress of Councils on Wednesday, joining forces in the lengthy fight to kill the proposal to put a liquefied natural gas facility here.
‚ÄúWe in Fall River are trying to gather as many supporters as possible to kill this project,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúThis is all with the hope of stopping this project and moving forward in the City of Fall River. We can‚Äôt do this alone. To see this project come to fruition would be detrimental to the city‚Äôs public safety.‚ÄĚ
Christie‚Äôs veto of liquefied natural gas project lauded
While Gov. Chris Christie‚Äôs veto of an offshore LNG facility safeguards the coastline for now, ocean advocates say they will continue to work for permanent shore protection in the form of federal legislation.
‚ÄúWe need federal permit legislation to make sure that these threats will no longer lurk or loom along our coast,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúNow we need to move to the next level, which is the Clean Ocean Zone (COZ), which is legislation that we‚Äôve been working on for the last 10 years.‚ÄĚ Zipf was scheduled to be at a public meeting in Long Branch on Feb. 9 on the proposal by Liberty Natural Gas to construct and operate an offshore port to receive foreign vessels transporting LNG to the U.S. for regassification.
The point is that the crisis in North Africa and the Middle East is bad economic news for the world, particularly non-oil-producing energy users like Jamaica. Indeed, these events should concentrate Jamaican minds on the need for an effective energy policy.
On the face of it, the country is moving in that direction with the administration's declared commitment to converting from oil to liquefied natural gas (LNG) as the fuel for the bulk of energy generation. Except that not only has the process been mired in conflict-of-interest controversy, but the basis on which the Government reached its decision has been lacking in transparency.
[O]ur administration has failed - and continues to do so - to clearly outline the financial and economic assumptions for its decision in favour of LNG and how these compare with other potential energy sources. Nor has it been willing to share with the public recent studies that apparently found major flaws in the project's design - even after the Government had named a preferred bidder for an LNG storage and regasification facility and invited bids for 480 megawatts of electricity-generating capacity based on natural gas. Even as the Government presses ahead, there is no indication that the potential end-users, the monopoly electricity transmission and distribution company and the alumina refineries, are on board.
The proposed liquefied natural gas terminal on the Skipanon River is a bit like that. Without an annotated guide, it‚Äôs well nigh impossible to grasp the meaning of the latest turn of events, much less identify the corporate players.
The theme in the Skipanon LNG‚Äąstory is that some choices are better left alone. Gearin didn‚Äôt need to do the LNG deal. At a time when his vision for the Port of Astoria was succeeding, the LNG lease became his Vietnam War and an element in his undoing. The Port Commission didn‚Äôt need the LNG lease either. The eventual cost of Gearin to the commission (and the taxpayers) has been about $800,000. Those costs have spilled over to county government as it deals with the successive owners of the Skipanon lease.
2011 February 15
Whenever we shut down an export facility in Alaska knowing that we have 35 trillion cubic feet of gas 800 miles away on the North Slope, and decide that it's easier to import gas, it should be cause for concern. This, at the least, should serve as a wake-up call to Alaskans. [Red bold emphasis added.]
‚ÄúThose guys [the other two proposals] said if the governor says he‚Äôs going to veto it, then I‚Äôm not spending any more money on it,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúLNG was either arrogant or in a dream world to think that the governor was not going to veto their project. This governor never, ever, ever gave a hint of wavering on this issue.‚ÄĚ
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: Likewise, the Government of Canada has been emphatic and unrelenting in its position to prohibit LNG ships from transiting into and through Passamaquoddy Bay. There is no probability for Downeast LNG's success.
ConocoPhillips Alaska will shut in some producing wells in the North Cook Inlet field and the Beluga River field this summer after it ceases exports from the Kenai natural gas liquification plant in April or May, a company official told a state legislative committee in Juneau Tuesday.
Last summer, both TransCanada and the BP-ConocoPhillips venture solicited bids aimed at gauging interest from customers in shipping gas through the pipeline. Neither has revealed the results of those bids, and TransCanada has said it needs more time to work out conditions. That's made lawmakers and others question whether there is really enough interest and whether the state should continue to subsidize it. House GOP leaders last week introduced a bill that sets a deadline for TransCanada and Gov. Sean Parnell to prove that the gas line is economically feasible.
Now, proponents of other gas projects are smelling blood in the political waters and they're circling Juneau armed with power points and proposals. Legislators' angst over the TransCanada project, the closing of the Nikiski gas export plant and the notion of importing gas to a state that is supposedly full of it has certainly churned up the talk about other possibilities for getting Alaska gas off the Slope and put to use in Alaska. [Red emphasis added.]
Mexican federal and state authorities were locked Monday in a dispute with the mayor of Ensenada over a liquefied natural gas terminal owned by Sempra Energy (SRE) that local officials attempted to shut down.
The incident is the latest chapter in a long-running land dispute between Sempra and a local rancher. In 2006, the rancher, Ramon Eugenio Sanchez Ritchie, claimed that Sempra had unlawfully acquired a 250-acre parcel of land that belonged to him near the LNG terminal site. In May, a Mexican court tribunal ruled that Ritchie was the rightful holder of the land and ordered Sempra to hand the property over to him.
In Ritchie‚Äôs latest complaint, filed with the city of Ensenada in January, the rancher accused Sempra of violating Ensenada‚Äôs land-use codes by building an industrial facility on land zoned for tourism activities, said C. Cortes, a spokesman for Ritchie.
2011 February 14
Energy is a looming problem for everyone with so much instability in oil producing foreign markets. LePage said he favors short term solutions, something that can happen in 10 to 15 years, to get ‚Äúenergy costs back into single digits.‚ÄĚ While nuclear power and hydro power are potential long term solutions, the federal government has to deal with major issues. Natural gas and LG [sic; LNG] natural gas are more readily available with less red tape. [Bold brown emphasis added.]
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: Gov. LePage obviously is uninformed about the US 100-year natural gas glut and concomitant pipeline projects that have mooted additional LNG import infrastructure.
Cheniere Energy Partners, through its unit Sabine Pass Liquefaction, has signed a a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) to supply liquefied natural gas to Basic Energy in the Dominican Republic from its proposed export plant in Louisiana. [Red bold emphasis added.]
Thomson noted that Apache Canada and EOG Resources are moving toward a final construction decision for their proposed KM LNG natural gas liquification plant at Kitimat, which would be key to opening exports.
Currie added that Asia and Europe‚Äôs existing natural gas supplies are expensive, so developing a relief valve for North America‚Äôs glutted market would be helpful on both sides. [Red bold emphasis added.]
An earthquake of low magnitude, 2.0 on the Richter scale, occurred at Mill Cove in Robbinston at 3:06 a.m. on January 31. Cathy Footer, the Robbinston town clerk, was awake at the time of the quake and says she did not feel any movement but did hear a noise she first attributed to the furnace or a truck passing by. She has not heard any comments from other members of the community concerning the early morning quake.
The quake occurred in the Mill Cove area that is also the proposed site of the Downeast LNG project. Dean Girdis, president and founder of Downeast LNG, says the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requires a detailed seismic analysis as part of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Girdis says, "The whole fault line is fine for an LNG project." Downeast LNG has been required to submit models of the fault area to FERC. "Everything came out fine," comments Girdis. Other agencies have required additional models. [Red bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: Regardless of the intensity of the quake, there is ironic prescience in its location ‚ÄĒ nearly exactly beneath the proposed Downeast LNG pier. The Downeast LNG project that is now over 1 year & 7 months late in answering FERC's technical questions arising out of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Those answers were due on 2009 July 6.
Matthew, the tanker carrying the cargo, can move as much as 126,540 cubic meters of LNG, or about 2.72 billion cubic feet of natural gas, equivalent to 4.4 percent of estimated daily U.S. gas production.
One of the worst aspects from the Liberty LNG project was the many falsehoods fed to us by Liberty in the their attempt to get government approval. One such piece of propaganda was the statement that natural gas would have been imported by various countries around the world to help ease the natural gas burden in New Jersey.
Yet, our domestic natural gas supply is plentiful and relatively cheap compared to Europe and Asia. North America has some of the largest reserves of natural gas in the world, so why import it? [Red bold emphasis added.]
(Source: Datamonitor)Port Dolphin Energy, LLC, has received environmental permits from the State of Florida to allow construction of on site components for its offshore Liquified Natural Gas, or LNG, terminal.
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: Unlike the failing Downeast LNG and Calais LNG projects, the Port Dolphin LNG terminal is safely offshore, away from civilian populations.
Downeast LNG's Dean Girdis argues that LNG terminals need to be in "protected waters." By looking at the LNG terminals that have been constructed in locations scoffed at by Girdis ‚ÄĒ Canaport LNG, shoreside on open waters in NB, Canada; EcoEl√©ctrica, shoreside on open waters in Pe√Īuelas, PR; Gulf Gateway, miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico; and Northeast Gateway and Neptune LNG, both miles offshore in Massachusetts Bay ‚ÄĒ his obstinancy to move to an appropriate, industry-compliant location has resulted in his flailing, failing project.
Dr Gladstone Hutchinson, the director general of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), has made the case, perhaps with even greater clarity than we have, for the need for a full, frank and open discourse on the energy source that Jamaica should adopt to drive its economy into the future.
This newspaper believes that cheaper, efficiently supplied energy could be the game-changer for the Jamaican economy. But deciding on a fuel source and moving to implementation based purely on secret information, available only among a few government officials, is not the way to go about policy formulation and/or implementation. [Red emphasis added.]
Conoco, Marathon say gas supplies to utilities will continue; some concerned about cold weather needs
Lockhart said the problem of handling large seasonal swings in demand from the Alaskan utilities "won't be an issue because we have sufficient storage," for Marathon's customers, which include regional gas and electric utilities.
Canada‚Äôs government is currently reviewing PetroChina‚Äôs proposed acquisition of a 50% stake in Encana‚Äôs shale gas and deep-well western natural gas deposits for CAD5.4bn. The assets include a daily processing capacity of 20Mm3, 3400km of gas transmission pipelines and a major underground storage facility.
Under the Investment Canada act, both parties must demonstrate that the deal will have a net benefit to Canada. It is expected to allow Encana to accelerate the development of its natural gas fields. The deal will also require approval from Chinese regulators.
Ensenada Mayor Enrique Pelayo Torres ordered that a natural gas import terminal, Sempra LNG or LNG Energia Costa Azul, be shut down due to ‚Äúirregularities and flagrant violations of the law.‚ÄĚ Upon his orders, over 50 municipal police, dressed in SWAT-like uniforms, forced their way through the plant‚Äôs gates at around 4 p.m. on Friday, but did not move into the facility any further due to a ‚Äúhardened steel turnstyle.‚ÄĚ They did however, put seals on the plant‚Äôs gates.
After a letter from the president of the Mexican Energy Regulatory Commission Javier Salazar Diez de Sollano, was sent to Pelayo stating that the plant was operating within the law, police left the facility. The MERC letter also clarified that it is the responsibility of federal officials to determine whether the plant stays open, not local law enforcement.
Sempre LNS is owned by Sempra Energy, and has remained controversial for a number of years, as lawsuits in both Mexico and the U.S. are filled with accusations of corruption, taking land illegally, and firing ‚Äúwhistleblowers,‚ÄĚ though Hulse denies the allegations and claims that those behind them are only looking to extort the company.
Reuters reported that the city of Ensenada said in a statement on Friday it was shutting down the plant temporarily because the company had failed to provide local officials with information for handling emergencies.
SWAT-style municipal police stopped by steel barrier; plant continued operating during standoff
A tense standoff at a big natural gas plant that supplies Mexican and U.S. customers, including those in San Diego, ended only after Baja California officials and the Mexican army stepped in, the plant‚Äôs owner said.
A Mexican city ordered U.S. firm Sempra Energy to shut down its Costa Azul liquefied natural gas terminal, citing saftey concerns, but the company said it was protected by a court order and was operating normally.
2011 February 11
The governor has continued to insist that "most of the [regulatory] proposals" he developed came "directly from business owners and managers who have attended the Red Tape Workshops," but the wish list itself tells a different story: it literally has the marks of corporate lobbyists all over it.
The official copy of the wish list LePage submitted to the legislature has lobbying powerhouse PRETI FLAHERTY BELIVEAU & PACHIOS's distinctive eight-digit document tracking numbers stamped on each page, suggesting it originated not in Augusta, but at the law firm's offices at Portland's One City Center.
The governor's communications director, Dan Demeritt, confirms that the document was compiled by Ann Robinson, the head of Preti's lobbying group, who served as co-chair of LePage's transition team and remains his head advisor on regulatory reform. "Ann Robinson is still advising the governor on regulatory reform matters," Demeritt told us last Friday. "Her computer is at Preti Flaherty, so that's why it has their stamp on it."
[Robinson] and her colleagues at Preti Flaherty lobbied against several of the laws slated for repeal on behalf of corporate clients. Since the inauguration she's re-registered as the official lobbyist for PHRMA, drug maker MERCK, the TOY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, and other corporations that [would] profit from the changes. Robinson ‚ÄĒ who didn't return our calls ‚ÄĒ has found herself in the enviable position of being able to ghost-write the governor's regulatory policies on behalf of her paying clients, even though they don't manufacture anything in Maine.
And it's not just Preti that's had the governor's ear. LePage named PIERCE ATWOOD managing partner Gloria Pinza to his transition team, which, as the lobbying firm's website points out, was "providing input into policy proposals and identifying skills needed to fill key positions" in the new administration. It may not be a coincidence that the governor wishes to nominate Pierce Atwood lobbyist Patricia Aho as deputy commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection.
Lobbying disclosures on file with the state Ethics Commission show both PhRMA and Merck paid Robinson to defeat the KID-SAFE PRODUCTS ACT, a 2008 law that phased out toxic chemicals in toys, car seats, baby clothes, and other children's products. The AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE and drug maker ASTRAZENECA paid Aho to do the same. The governor's wish list calls for "revisions to prohibitions of chemicals and materials in products" saying that "if the state is going to regulate consumer products at all, it should only do so when clearly justified on risk-benefit or cost benefit basis." [Red, brown, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: This article contains considerable damning evidence that Gov. LePage is using lobbyists paid by outside interests to formulate Maine environmental and other regulatory policy.
It should also be noted that Preti Flaherty represented Calais LNG and, as far as we know, Pierce Atwood still represents Downeast LNG.
There is serious danger that this may impact Maine LNG permitting in Maine, especially in Passamaquoddy Bay.
Feb 11 (Reuters) - Cheniere Energy (LNG.A) has signed a pact to supply liquefied natural gas to Basic Energy in the Dominican Republic from its proposed export plant in Louisiana, the company said on Friday.
The companies will now work toward firming up the agreements. Any deal is dependent on Cheniere getting approval to build the export plant, which it has said could be online by 2015. The export plant will be built on the site of Cheniere's existing import terminal at Sabine Pass. [Red bold emphasis added.]
The commitment certainly seems to confirm China's long-term orientation, because it comes at a time when the North American market is awash with gas, Canadian gas exports to the U.S. continue to slump, and there is no other place for natural gas currently to go. PetroChina's investment is undoubtedly being made with an eye to the planned $3.5-billion project to ship LNG out of Kitimat and link Canadian gas to Asian markets. [Red bold emphasis added.]
Randy Eresman, CEO of the Calgary-based natural-gas giant, says that in inking the joint-venture agreement with the Chinese firm, the issue of shipping natural gas to China did not surface. But he reconfirmed Encana is looking at the proposed Kitimat liquefied natural-gas terminal, backed by Apache Canada and EOG Resources, as a potential escape valve for North America‚Äôs oversupplied natural-gas market. The glut is suppressing prices and is gnawing on Encana‚Äôs fortunes. [Red bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: "Poor gas market fundamentals," means low prices and natural gas overabundance.
(ADPnews) - Feb 10, 2011 - Colombian gas distribution company Promigas (CLB:PROMIGAS) will continue the talks for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Jamaica despite the withdrawal of US investment company AEI from Promigas, Colombian daily Portafolio reported.
After more than two years of aggressively promoting LNG as the fuel of choice to power Jamaica's economy into the future, the Jamaican authorities do not yet have a definitive fix on the level of economic savings that will be achieved from the use of natural gas, a senior technocrat indicated Wednesday night.
"LNG may potentially lower the cost of electricity generation, however it is not entirely clear ... that the final effect will be a significant reduction to end-user electricity prices," said Hutchinson, who spoke at the functionahead of Prime Minister Bruce Golding and Energy Minister James Robertson.
Dan Clark, manager of Cook Inlet assets for ConocoPhillips Alaska, told The Associated Press the company could not secure the sales and supply agreements necessary to keep the plant in operation beyond April or May.
Clark said the companies decided independently that the plant should be closed. He cited as factors a "general deterioration" in the liquefied natural gas, or LNG, market and the volume of gas at the plant.
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: The Kenai LNG export terminal has been the only US LNG liquefaction & export facility. Now that nearby natural gas supply from existing conventional wells is waning ‚ÄĒ and since Alaska's vast natural gas supplies are not available due to lack of pipeline infrastructure ‚ÄĒ the facility is ceasing to export. Other news reports also imply that competition from world LNG oversupply may also be a determining factor.
Lowman said it was too early to say whether the company will have more gas to sell to locally now that none is being shipped out of state. But the closure does reinforce the need for gas storage, Lowman said. The company has not signed on as a customer for the proposed Cook Inlet Natural Gas Storage Facility in the central Kenai Peninsula area, but supports gas storage efforts throughout the state, she said. [Red bold emphasis added.]
NEW YORK, Feb 10 - ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil said on Thursday they plan to shut the Kenai liquefied natural gas plant in Alaska in the coming months as depleting domestic resources and market changes in Asia make exports inviable.
Exports from Alaska could cease by April or May this year, a Conoco spokeswoman said. The small-scale plant, which has been shipping LNG to Asia since 1969, will be mothballed for potential future use.
"It's a sad day when we shut down an export facility knowing that we have 35 known (trillion cubic feet) of gas on the North Slope that's just 800 miles away and one of the things we're looking at is importing LNG from some foreign country," said House Speaker Mike Chenault.
Natural gas production from the company's Tyonek and Beluga facilities will continue and the company will continue to supply natural gas to Southcentral utilities, she said, adding that it was too early to say whether supplies to the local utilities might increase given that some gas would no longer be exported.
Now the scramble is on to bring more natural gas to the Railbelt, either from the huge North Slope reserves or new Cook Inlet production that the state is trying to spark with tax credits and other incentives. But energy experts say any new projects that might be launched wouldn't come on line in time to save the region from a gas shortfall expected to hit in 2013. Importing LNG is a reality, they say.
Sen. Bill Wielechowski, an Anchorage Democrat who has specialized in energy issues, says the "silver lining" in the closure of the Nikiski LNG export facility is that it will free up more gas for Southcentral. [Red bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: Closing the LNG export terminal will improve Alaska's energy security.
The decision of shutting down the export plant shows the small facility didn't have the economy of scale to compete with a growing number of large suppliers in Asia, said Fadel Gheit, an analyst with Oppenheimer & Co. It also shows that although natural gas in the U.S. is now abundant it's still more expensive to produce than in other areas of the world. "We cannot really be competitive selling LNG from the U.S.," Gheit said.
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: The US cannot be competitive selling LNG overseas? Tell that to Sabine Pass LNG, Cove Point LNG, and Freeport LNG ‚ÄĒ all of whom are planning on selling US-source LNG to overseas customers. The energy security impropriety of selling US natural gas overseas is another matter.
The Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects Larry Persily also reacted to the LNG closure. He says he thinks that this announcement helps make the case for the project he is overseeing that aims to get a gas pipeline from the North Slope to the Lower 48.
Persily says because so many gas producers are in the global market, it makes export of LNG too costly compared with supplying North America, which burns three times as much gas as China, India, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan combined.
[T]his should lend a sharper sense of urgency -- not panic, but urgency -- to get Alaska's vast stores of gas to market, both in-state and abroad. Rep. Chenault is among those growing impatient with gas line prospects, and the LNG closure points up Alaska's weakness in merely reacting to market forces, rather than taking a role in driving them.
ConocoPhillips is considering importing liquefied natural gas to Alaska in the future, at the site of the Kenai LNG export plant which is being mothballed in the coming months, a company spokeswoman said Thursday.
The bias challenge came from Mike Connors, an attorney who represents Oregon Pipeline LLC, which, as part of the larger Oregon LNG project, seeks to run 41 miles of a 121-mile LNG pipeline through Clatsop County.
2011 February 9
The Eagle Ford Shale and North Barnett Shale in Texas and the Bakken Shale in North Dakota will be the drivers behind ConocoPhillips' expected increase in shale production in the U.S. The company said U.S. shale production is expected to increase to more than 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day by 2013.
One argument that used to be heard about the way LNG pricing would go is that it might eventually be tied to the US Henry Hub price. The school of thought was that with plans for dozens of new LNG import capacity on the boards in the US, a seller of a cargo of LNG anywhere in the world would need to ask themselves the question: can I do better in the US?
That's over. The shale gas revolution has put US gas prices $5-$6/Mcf less than LNG elsewhere in the world, including Asia, and import facilities are either not getting built or their owners are petitioning the US government for permission to become an LNG export facility. Just today, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie blocked the Liberty Deepwater Port, which had been the last surviving LNG terminal proposed for the New York region. [Red bold emphasis added.]
Ten years ago, few crystal balls foresaw the lightning impact and development of shale gas on the world‚Äôs energy scene. In the last 10 years ‚Äď during which shale gas became commercial in the US ‚Äď its use has grown from near zero to about 20% of the already enormous US gas stream. Booked shale gas reserves, at present rates of production, may still be onstream 100 years into the future, a figure that will increase if gas begins to approach oil on a price parity basis. [Red bold emphasis added.]
A glut in the United States as vast new shale plays come on-stream has kept prices at around $4.50 per million British thermal units. Across the Atlantic producers can expect to get $8.50 or higher while long-term contracts in Asia can reach as high as $15.
So at first blush the commercial logic for exporting looks unassailable. Several pioneers, such as Cheniere Energy and Freeport LNG, plan to set up the infrastructure to make this possible. Dominion Resources said last week it may build an LNG export plant on the site of its existing import terminal in Maryland.
It would not be the first time that Cheniere and its ilk have been badly wrong footed. Hugely expensive LNG import facilities ‚ÄĒ built in expectation that the United States would become more dependent on foreign sources ‚ÄĒ now lie idle. Such terminals operate at below 10 percent capacity, according to consultancy Wood Mackenzie. Cheniere shares have lost 80 percent of their value since peaking in 2006.
UNCONVENTIONAL gas from Canada's Montney shale play could be converted into synthetic oil products to exploit the dramatic structural divergence of North American oil and gas prices. [Red bold emphasis added.]
EIA expects gross pipeline imports of 8.7 Bcf/d in 2011 and 8.2 Bcf/d in 2012, year-over-year decreases of 4.2 and 5.5 percent, respectively. Projected imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) average 1.1 Bcf/d in 2011, a 4.4-percent decrease from 2010 levels. LNG imports in 2012 grow modestly to 1.2 Bcf/d. High domestic production, high inventories, and low U.S. prices relative to European and Asian markets should continue to discourage LNG imports. [Red bold emphasis added.]
A meeting next week of Rhode Island communities could result in a resolution being sent to foundations, chambers of commerce and others likely to oppose LNG tankers traversing Narragansett Bay, Torres said.
Trenton, NJ ‚Äď Further demonstrating his commitment to protect New Jersey's coastal waters and natural resources, Governor Chris Christie today invoked his authority under the federal Deepwater Port Act, vetoing a proposed deepwater liquefied natural gas operation 16 miles off the coast of Asbury Park. The action prevents Liberty Natural Gas from constructing and operating its proposed offshore port to receive foreign vessels transporting liquid natural gas (LNG) to the U.S. for regassification.
"The Liberty Natural Gas project could stifle investment in renewable energy technologies by increasing reliance on foreign energy sources, which would undermine all of the progress made by New Jersey to promote sustainable energy.''
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: Another unneeded LNG import project bites the dust.
"I take very seriously our obligation to protect the environmental health of our coastal waters," Christie said in a statement. "We must ensure that our 126 miles of shoreline remain an economic driver for tourism and that our fishing and shellfish industries remain healthy and productive now and for future generations."
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: Gov. Christie's action again demonstrates that political party affiliation is not a determining factor regarding opposing inappropriate LNG terminal siting.
As promised, Governor Christie vetoed the ill-fated, ill-advised, ill-conceived Liberty Natural Gas project that sought to industrialize the ocean by constructing an import facility for foreign liquefied natural gas.
Offshore Liquified Natural Gas Project Background: Three liquefied natural gas import facilities were pending off the Jersey Shore: Liberty Natural Gas ‚Ä¶ off Asbury Park; Atlantic Sea Island Group ‚Ä¶ off Sea Bright, NJ; and ExxonMobile‚Äôs BlueOcean Energy project ‚Ä¶ off Sea Girt. Following the Governors announcement, and changes to the global LNG market, the latter two companies withdrew their plans last year. Only Liberty Natural Gas proceeded, taunting the Governor‚Äôs promise of a veto. [Red bold emphasis added.]
‚ÄúThe Governor‚Äôs veto today keeps New Jersey‚Äôs eye on the prize ‚ÄĒ environmentally and economically, we need to be developing clean renewable energy and becoming more energy efficient instead of relying on dirty and dangerous options like liquid natural gas on the Jersey Shore,‚ÄĚ said Dave Pringle, director of the New Jersey Environmental Federation.
For the past few years, Liberty Natural Gas has been trying to construct an offshore port for the delivery of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The port would be located about 15 miles off the coast of Asbury Park, NJ, and a gas pipeline would be constructed along the sea floor that would deliver an estimated 1.2 cubic feet per day to the region's hungry energy market. However, the project has serious environmental, social, and economic implications which could not be overlooked. The decision has finally been made by Governor Chris Christie: there will be no offshore LNG port off the coast of New Jersey.
According to Governor Christie, who has shown his appreciation for preserving the environment, the project would present unacceptable and substantial risks that would affect NJ residents, the environment, economy, and security. It would affect almost 6,000 acres of seafloor over prime fishing grounds. Discharge from wastewater, regasification effluent, and storm water runoff and add to the environmental degradation. The state has been working hard to improve its water quality, and the proposed project would threaten that work.
Freeport LNG has submitted Resource Reports 1 and 10 to FERC. The reports provide additional information, including a detailed project description in Resource Report 1, regarding the planned Freeport LNG export project.
Promigas, the Colombian gas pipeline company, says that it will remain part of a consortium with which the government is negotiating to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in Jamaica - a decision that has been warmly welcomed by the Jamaican authorities.
[T]he project has been mired in controversy over whether Moore, when he was chairman of the PCJ, had inside knowledge that informed the Exmar bid and whether other potential bidders were fairly treated. These issues are being investigated by the Office of the Contractor General.
PORT OF SPAIN, Feb. 9 -- Trinidad and Tobago‚Äôs Energy Minister Carolyn Seepersad Bachan reported she will seek Cabinet approval to renegotiate the formula on how the profits are distributed from her country‚Äôs export of LNG.
The twin-island nation‚Äôs energy minister added that the netback formula assume the export of LNG to the North American market while the current reality is that the US market is oversupplied with LNG and cargo diversions to Europe and Asia is the norm. [Red bold emphasis added.]
Alaskan state lawmakers have introduced legislation to abandon the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA), which promises US$500mn of state funding to build the proposed Alaska Gas Pipeline. The pipeline is designed to commercialise gas from the Alaskan North Slope through a pipeline link to a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at Valdez. The withdrawal of state support would severely damage the prospects of the project going ahead, especially considering the current depressed gas market prices in the US.
The National Energy Board has announced that it will hold a public hearing in Kitimat next month, to consider an application submitted by KM-LNG Operating General Partnership, for a 20-year licence to export natural gas in the form of liquefied natural gas.
"Acquiring the PTP is an important step in building a comprehensive system that will enable Apache and EOG to tap Asian markets for our abundant natural gas resources in the Horn River Basin and elsewhere in Western Canada," said Janine McArdle, president of Kitimat LNG.
TransCanada expects British Columbia shale gas supplies to climb to more than 5 bcfd by the end of the decade and the Horn River pipeline is the company's second major pipeline connecting its Alberta System to these supplies. The first extension of the Alberta System into British Columbia was the Groundbirch pipeline, which came into service in December 2010. Horn River and Groundbirch shippers have committed to Alberta System transportation contracts reaching 1.9 bcfd by 2014.
City of Ensenada's City Council action proposes resolution to permanently shut down the LNG plant for land use, public safety and environmental law violations by Mexican authorities
Plant closure will halt natural gas delivery to Sempra Energy customers
SAN DIEGO, Feb. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- After an almost five-year legal battle surrounding ownership of a parcel of land that acted as a "set back cushion" required to run its Mexican LNG Unit "Energia Costa Azul," plant in Baja California, MX, in compliance with Mexican local, State and Federal laws, Sempra Energy; a San Diego based energy company, has suffered yet again, another devastating blow, according to Ramon Eugenio Sanchez Ritchie, after the Ensenada City Council, this past Friday, February 4th, placed on the Agenda, a Proposed Resolution attaching a scathing document concluding its investigation surrounding claims regarding setback requirements, land use violations, public safety violations, environmental issues and for having illegally obtained licenses and permits to develop, construct and operate its LNG plant in the City of Ensenada.
Parties on both sides of a wrongful termination case against San Diego-based Sempra Energy say they have spoken with the federal government about the matter, although they portray the contact differently.
2011 February 7
Imports of liquefied natural gas to North America will be unchanged at 1.2 billion cubic feet a day this year ‚Äúas the region continues to struggle with domestic oversupply,‚ÄĚ the Barclays analysts said. [Red bold emphasis added.]
Pacific Northern Gas is to receive payment for its stake in the project in two parts, the first, for $30 million, when the deal closes; the second, for $20 million, when Apache and EOG decide to build the Kitimat LNG facility. The deal is expected to close by the end of February.
When Pacific Northern Gas became involved in the project in 2005, the Kitimat terminal was proposed as an import facility with the pipeline connecting it to the North American market. However, new gas extraction techniques have created a gas surplus in North America and the pipeline is now to link new markets in Asia with northeastern B.C. [Red bold emphasis added.]
Hearings are scheduled this week by the U.S. Coast Guard and Maritime Administration to allow for public comment on a proposal by Liberty Natural Gas to build an industrial facility off Asbury Park to import foreign liquefied natural gas (LNG).
‚ÄúThe United States has a robust supply of domestic natural gas and is energy independent; we do not need and we should not be seeking foreign sources from countries like Libya and Tunisia.‚ÄĚ [Red bold emphasis added.]
Trinidad & Tobago plans to review long-term contracts for the sale of liquefied natural gas to terminals in the United States as it seeks to fetch higher prices from other buyers, Energy Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan said.
Speaking at a business conference, she said the traditional LNG market structure was based on comparatively rigid long-term contracts that linked suppliers from the twin-island Caribbean nation with specific US-based terminals, Reuters reported.
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: US terminals are buying Trinidad & Tobago LNG at long-term contract prices, and then re-exporting it to Asia for a higher price. No one can blame T&T for seeking new contract arrangements with its US customers. New contracts may put the kibosh on US re-exporting.
Calgary-based Apache and Houston-based EOG are partners in the Kitimat LNG project, which is undergoing engineering and design work; a final investment decision is expected later this year, with construction starting early in 2012. The project is designed to ship natural gas from Canada, where prices have been depressed, to Asia, where gas prices are tied to oil prices and have been far higher.
The initial terminal would export five million tonnes per year of gas. However, the export option has proven so attractive that Apache plans to funnel only its own gas through the terminal ‚Äď leaving competitors dependent on North American markets ‚Äď and has already begun discussing expansion plans. [Red bold emphasis added.]
Growing Demand for Liquid Natural Gas
U.S. imports of LNG in 2007 were approximately three times the amount in 2000. The U.S. Energy Department estimated a 42% hike in LNG imports in 2010 to 1.76 billion cubic feet per day, and expects the supply to increase an additional 2.8% in 2011 to 1.81 billion cubic feet per day.  The demand for natural gas has also shot up in emerging economies like China and South Korea, partly due to poor infrastructure and lack of pipeline availability.
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: This article does not take into account the latest information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA "AEO2011 EARLY RELEASE OVERVIEW" indicates that, compared to 2010, natural gas imports from Canada will increase in 2011, and US LNG demand will decrease in 2011.
2011 February 5
Washington, D.C. ‚ÄĒ A $92 million research investment in the 1970s by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is today being credited with technological contributions that have stimulated development of domestic natural gas from shales. The result: more U.S. jobs, increased energy security, and higher revenues for states and the Federal Government.
Spurred by the technological advancements resulting from this investment, U.S. shale gas production continues to grow, amounting to more than 8 billion cubic feet per day, or about 14 percent of the total volume of dry natural gas produced in the United States. [Red bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: The US boom in natural gas production belies arguments for adding LNG import infrastructure.
Tentative LNG sales agreements in place for Cheniere; Dominion a third LNG importer to plan exports from US
PLANS TO turn abundant US shale-gas resources into liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports have gathered steam, with energy firms eyeing a new liquefaction plants and signing sales agreements. But the route from shale to sail may still be stormy.
This would be a remarkable U-turn for the US gas market ‚Äď which only a few years ago was predicted to become the world's largest LNG importer until the success of shale-gas extraction ‚Äď and exports could allow US LNG investors to claw back some of the billions spent on building unused import terminals.
Following Freeport LNG's plan to build an export plant in Texas in November last year, Dominion Resources said at the end of January it may also build an export facility at its Cove Point import terminal in ... [Red bold emphasis added.]
THE Canadian province of New Brunswick is betwixt and between in the North American shale-gas equation. By most early estimates, it has abundant prospects, including a thick vein estimated to hold 60 trillion cubic feet (cf) of gas-in-place in one sweet spot.
Here is a game changer. The natural gas market is about to become an export market. The U.S. has abundant natural gas and now two companies plan to take advantage of the opportunity, as reported in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required). [Red bold emphasis added.]
The energy transportation company is exploring the option of tapping the vast unconventional gas reserves in the US northeast, including the Marcellus Shale Formation, for exports from the project.
Holding a public hearing to receive only the testimonies that reassure your own personal world view is not the way to handle opposing views in a democracy. Gov. LePage's environmental roll-back is phase one of what will eventually become an omnibus regulatory reform bill that will be considered and vetted by the Committee on Regulatory Fairness and Reform. Members of the public have a right and a duty to present their concerns at the committee's hearings throughout the state. [Bold, red & brown emphasis added.]
"The threat to our environment is very clear as illustrated through the governor's proposal to weaken our current environmental protections and protections for our public health," Drouin said. "So it has brought new allies together."
"I don't believe it was regulation that caused the economic troubles we're having," [Fayette logger Harry Dwyer] said. "If anything it was the lack of adequate regulation that got us to where we are...lax enforcement and non-existent regulations. So I think that de-regulating is a false answer to our problems. I would also offer that the regulations that we have now are improvements that have taken years and to get to and to undo them is a real step backwards." [Red bold emphasis added.]
Ever since Governor Paul LePage released a six-page list of proposed environmental rules and regulations he'd like to relax or repealed...environmental groups and others have wanted to know where the list originated. The governor says most of them came from his red tape audit meetings held with business owners and leaders around the state. But some environmentalists are skeptical since the document itself is linked to one of the most powerful lobbying firms in the state; one that represents a wealth of corporations and interest groups that have a financial stake in weaker environmental laws.
When the governor's list of proposed rollbacks came out late last month the document contained a small eight-digit number on the lower left-hand corner...the same font and style that the law firm Preti-Flaherty routinely uses when it sends documents and communication to state agencies and when it submits written testimony to the Legislature on behalf of clients.
Rep Duchesne said. "What really disturbs me, I guess, is the line seems to get blurred with the Administration as to who's doing the governor's work. And when you're seeing proposals coming out in the governor's name that have the lobbyist's...potentially the lobbyist's tracking code on it, you have to wonder what the source really was."
The identifying number raised some eyebrows at the Statehouse because Ann Robinson, a partner in Preti-Flaherty's Augusta office, is a co-chair of the governor's transition team. She's also a lobbyist for clients such as the New York-based Toy Industry Association which opposed the Kid Safe Products Act that sets up a process for identifying toxic chemicals of concern in Maine; and the Washington, D.C.-based Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America known as PHRMA which Mike Beliveau of the Environmental Health Strategies Center says has also actively opposed Maine environmental legislation.
PHRMA [Washington, D.C.-based Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America] contributed more than 100 thousand dollars to the Paul LePage campaign for governor. And records from the Maine Ethics Commission show that over the past five years PHRMA has compensated Robinson nearly 40-thousand dollars for her work on its behalf. But the law firm has more than a dozen lobbyists representing a wide range of clients. Among them: paper companies, building contractors and energy firms including Calais LNG which paid Preti's chief lobbyist, Severin Beliveau, more than 130-thousand dollars over the past two years before withdrawing its application for a liquefied natural gas project. Beliveau declined to be interviewed for this story and in a brief telephone call Anne Robinson said the governor had tasked her with policy and regulatory review and it should come as no surprise that she helped compile the list of proposed reform. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: This news article reveals several damning connections between the LePage administration and big-moneyed, anti-environmental, and pro-LNG lobbyists.
In essence stronger environmental standards as implemented over the past two decades are "economy neutral." They neither hinder nor help the economy in aggregate. On a state to state basis measurable economic growth has not been stifled, state competitiveness has not been undermined, and jobs sacrificed at the alter of environmentalism.
Perhaps more to the point those who live and work in states that have vigorously pursued environmental quality and are now contemplating rolling back environmental standards as a quick fix to jump-starting their economies out of recession should reconsider. Based on the evidence there is no reason to expect that loosening environmental standards will have any effect on the pace of state economic growth. [Red & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: Meyer's environmental-economic rating for 1990‚Äď1992 Mississippi ‚ÄĒ the state that Gov. LePage wants Maine to emulate re hazardous waste disposal ‚ÄĒ ranked as the 2nd worst (49th from best).
Maine ranked 14th from best during 1990‚Äď1992 (see Meyers' sutdy, The Economic Impact of Environmental Regulation).
[A 1990s] MIT study has found that strict environmental regulations and controls do not hurt economic growth in contrast to the beliefs and consequent policies of both the Reagan and Bush administrations.
He found that during the Reagan New Federalism era, 1982-89, "states with stronger environmental policies did not experience inferior rates of economic growth and development compared to states with weaker environmental regulations." In fact, he wrote, during that period "the environmentally strong states [the first 17 in the ranking] outperformed the environmentally weak states [the last 18] by substantial amounts." (The 15 states in the middle of the ranking were defined as environmentally moderate. Among the New England states MA, ME, VT, and CT were ranked environmentally strong; NH weak, and RI moderate.)
He concluded: "It is clear from the data and analyses presented in this report that the states can pursue environmental quality without fear of impeding economic prosperity. For those who continue to argue that environmentalism hurts economic growth and prosperity the burden of proof now clearly falls on their shoulders." [Red bold emphasis added.]
The analyses presented in this study clearly refute the environmental impact hypothesis in either its forceful or subtle variant. States with stronger environmental policies and programs did not exhibit hobbled economic growth or development compared to those with weaker environmental records. Moreover, rather than detect the absence of a systematic relationship between pursuit of environmental quality and economic growth and development - which would have been sufficient to dismiss the environmental impact hypothesis -- the data revealed a clear and consistent positive relationship between the states' environmental effort and their economic performance. States with higher environmental rankings outperformed states with lower environmental rankings on four of the five economic growth indicators. This surprising yet solid finding allows us to dismiss the environmental impact hypothesis with even greater confidence.
The benefits of environmental protection are obvious and demonstrable. It is clear from the data and analyses presented in this report that the states can pursue environmental quality without fear of impeding economic prosperity. For those who continue to argue that environmentalism hurts economic growth and prosperity the burden of proof now clearly falls on their shoulders. [Red bold emphasis added.]
The Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline brings offshore Nova Scotia gas into the province. The Irving Oil/Repsol liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Saint John brings large quantities of natural gas from abroad and ships it mostly into the United States. We have local wells near Sussex from which natural gas is extracted and shipped to markets south of the border.
LNG opponent Robert Godfrey said, "We have already experienced the expensive impacts from rushed state environmental permitting as happened with the Calais LNG project. At Calais LNG's request, and legislators requests, the permitting was rushed to the point that even the applicant could not keep up -- so they requested numerous delays." [Red bold emphasis added.]
MACHIAS, Maine ‚ÄĒ Down East residents sent a clear message to Gov. Paul LePage on Monday: Keep environmental protections in place, and do not water them down by adopting federal standards, but ease the cumbersome permitting process that often hampers development and growth. [Red bold emphasis added.]
At the request of Congressman Anthony Weiner, the U.S. Coast Guard has agreed to hold a public hearing for New York City residents concerning a proposal to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal 23 miles off the Rockaway shoreline. The hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 8 at Beach Channel High School, 100-00 Beach Channel Drive.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission held a meeting at the Savannah Civic Center Wednesday night to get public comments on the plan, which the company says could help eliminate the need for diesel fuel.
Residents opposed to plans that would send up to 58 tanker truckloads a day of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, through Savannah asked federal regulators Wednesday night for more information and a more thorough assessment of the project's risks.
While many residents were concerned with a lack of information, some pointed out what they felt were errors in the information that had been provided. Beth Kinstler called into question a 172-page report about "significant structures" along the trucking route. It sounded lukewarm to Kinstler about some of Savannah's most beloved neighborhoods and buildings; the Owens- Thomas House, for instance, was deemed "potentially significant."
FERC officials made it clear that while they can consider LNG trucking in their environmental assessment, the commission doesn't actually regulate trucking. That's the job of the U.S. and Georgia Departments of Transportation. FERC invited officials from those agencies to the meeting but none attended.
None of these things have taken place to any great degree. That's why many people are concerned. But until a much greater effort is made at gathering, explaining and sharing credible information, reasonable people can't make an informed decision about Southeast LNG's proposal.
[T]he company's tone, as perceived by many in the public, has done little to calm fears. Southeast LNG should take a different tack of openness, starting with Savannah Fire Chief Charles Middleton. Despite months of public discussion, Chief Middleton said he still lacks details on accident modeling and emergency response training requirements. That's troubling. If an accident occurs, he's got to deal with it.
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: With the pre-existing 10 LNG import terminals largely idle due to the domestic 100-year natural gas glut, one wonders what Gulf LNG plans to do with any imports. Perhaps another LNG export project is in the making.
However, the shortage issue may reflect the logistics of delivery. The Wall Street Journal reported that natural gas futures have dipped, as supply appears to have surpassed demand. [Red bold emphasis added.]
‚ÄúThe use of natural gas has been the subject of intense controversy even among the technical personnel and it is for that reason that the Government said we want to seek another opinion‚ÄĚ the PM continued.
Houston-based AEI, the parent firm of the electricity company, Jamaica Private Power (JPP), says it is selling $4.8 billion worth of assets in South America, including a 52.13 per cent stake in Promigas, the Colombian pipeline company that is part of a consortium that the Jamaican Government controversially named as its preferred bidder for an LNG project here.
New exploration drilling for natural gas by independents is under way in Southcentral Alaska this winter, spurred by generous state of Alaska incentives that in some cases pay for most of the drilling.
However, Colleen Starring, president of Enstar Natural Gas Co., says the pace of new exploration still isn't enough to forestall looming shortages of gas in the region or the likely need to import liquefied natural gas in a few years.
ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil now own a LNG plant near Kenai that exports Cook Inlet gas to Japan. The federal LNG export license expires in two years, however, and the companies have indicated an interest in having the plant play some future role in meeting local gas demand, including possible LNG imports. [Red emphasis added.]
‚ÄúPeople who come in to work on major construction projects don‚Äôt tend to spend money the way a local worker does at all, they‚Äôre not buying a mortgage, you spend the least that you can,‚ÄĚ Cullen said, summarizing the concerns about a possible boom and bust related to the upcoming construction phases.
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: If true, this was another example of false logic that there is no benefit to violating safety regulations, so companies do not, and will not, operate unsafely.
2011 February 1
Natural gas consumption by sector
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: Where is the "growing demand" for LNG that Downeast LNG says justifies its project.
NEW YORK, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Dominion Resources Inc is considering plans to build a liquefied natural gas export plant on the site of its existing import terminal at Cove Point, Maryland, by 2015, a company spokesman said on Tuesday.
Shipments to Cove Point have dropped significantly over the last few years, from 220 billion cubic feet (bcf) in 2005 to 147 bcf in 2007 and 43 bcf in 2010, according to figures from Waterborne LNG analysts in Houston.
These other projects [Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana and Freeport LNG in Texas] will likely include facilities to export and import LNG, but the Dominion spokesman said that it will likely focus only on export.
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: Significantly, Cove Point LNG will be concentrating only on LNG exporting ‚ÄĒ strongly indicating how well the Northeast is supplied with natural gas.
Right now, the Gulf lacks commercial liquid natural gas facilities to make possible large exports. McMoRan has considered turning unused offshore structures into an energy services facility, including an LNG, regasification and storage facility, but increased domestic supplies of natural gas, excess LNG regasification capacity and the economy have prevented the move. [Red & bold emphasis added.]
Any doubts that Maine‚Äôs new Governor Paul LePage is intent on rolling back decades of environmental protections were put to rest this week with the release of Phase 1 of the governor‚Äôs Regulatory Reform Proposals.
People who care about Maine‚Äôs environment, who understand that a strong and healthy environment is necessary for a strong and healthy economy, need to stand up and make their voices heard by the governor. Phone calls, letters, emails to the governor‚Äôs office and to legislative leaders are critical, as is a strong turnout at the remainder of the Regulatory Reform hearings. Before this train leaves the station, we need to do all we can to try and keep it from going off the rails. [Bold, red & brown emphasis added.]
LePage's spokesman, Dan DeMeritt, says opposition to the Kid Safe Products Law came from the Maine Grocers Association at the first red tape audit workshop in November. "Their concern is about the rule, and it's not just a concern about one chemical, it's a concern about a process and the process that businesses will have to go through moving forward."
Shelly Doak of the Maine Grocers' Association says her members are concerned about the process of identifying toxic chemicals under the Kid Safe Products Law, but have not actually taken a stance. "The grocers--Maine Grocers' Association--has been monitoring the rule-making proceedings that have been taking place over the last year or so and have not taken an active role, or have we taken a position on the rule," she says.
In fact, during the rulemaking process at the BEP over the past year-and-a-half, most of the opposition to the rule phasing out BPA has come from the Washington D.C.-based American Chemistry Council, which represents chemical and plastics manufacturers; and from the Toy Industry Association in New York which objects to the BPA rule for several reasons, including cost, and what it characterizes as a "testing burden."
But at least one small business organization is now beginning its own push-back of the governor's proposals. Nate Libby represents Maine's Small Business Coalition, which he says represents 2,500 members with fewer than five employees. [Brown, red & bold emphasis added.]
Image source: Google Earth with USGS real-time earthquake gadget installed.
The trembler's epicenter (the small yellow dot at the mouth of Mill Cove) is located almost exactly at the proposed Downeast LNG terminal pier. The yellow line in the water represents the international boundary.
But McIntyre said today that the first withdrawal effort came too closely on the heels of a divisive town battle over a proposed liquid natural gas terminal at Mitchell Field, which in 2004 split residents into two factions. He said that when the 2006 withdrawal process was initiated, some residents associated proponents of the LNG terminal with proponents of the withdrawal and based their opposition on that.
‚ÄúMy understanding is the connection of the bitterness of the LNG struggle and the school withdrawal issue is the core element in the failure of the latter,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúThere was so much unhappiness and bitterness about LNG, that it meant people couldn‚Äôt think about (withdrawal) with an open mind, with such a short time lapse between the two issues.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúWe are urging local governments to understand that by holding Hess stock they are reassuring the Hess‚Äôs board of directors that everything is fine. We are trying to send a message that we, in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, are washing our hands of the company as long as they continue to push this project forward,‚Äô‚Äô said Chris Gray, chairman of the LNG Working Group, in a statement.
Chief Middleton said he is still waiting for information - such as accident modeling and emergency response training requirements - that would allow his department to evaluate the proposal's safety and cost implications. The company's public filings haven't satisfied the city's requests.
Port Dolphin Energy, LLC, today announced it has received key environmental permits from the State of Florida to allow construction of onsite components for its offshore Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) terminal. When completed, specially designed vessel(s) operated by Port Dolphin's parent company, Hoegh LNG, will return LNG to a gaseous state onboard and move natural gas through the terminal's pipeline. Port Dolphin's infrastructure will enable gas suppliers to provide much needed natural gas to help serve the state's growing energy needs.
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: Contrary to claims by Downeast LNG, Port Dolphin Energy's LNG terminal demonstrates that LNG import facilities do not need to be sited up long inland waterways where hazards are greater. Terminals and transit routes should be located according to LNG industry best practices ‚ÄĒ where, in the case of an LNG release, LNG vapors cannot impact civilian populations. (For more on LNG terminal siting best practices, see LNG Terminal Siting Standards Organization).
‚Ä¶Gulf LNG is investing $1.1 billion into its liquefied natural gas terminal in Pascagoula that will import via foreign producers, convert it back to gas by heating it and pump it through pipelines throughout the region. The first shipments are expected to begin arriving later this year.
Webmaster‚Äôs Comments: The Gulf LNG terminal is under construction.
Utilities and oil and gas companies are securing new natural gas supplies for Southcentral Alaska, but they aren't finding new gas fast enough to offset the likely need for imported liquefied natural gas in a few years, Colleen Starring, president of Enstar Natural Gas Co., told a business group in Anchorage.
Enter the "stub to hub" line, something Anchorage businessman and financial adviser David Gottstein has been quietly pushing for the last year and a half. His idea: The state should finance, through bonds or direct investment, a big-diameter gas pipeline from the North Slope to a hub near Fairbanks, perhaps at Livengood.
From there it's just a short jaunt to gas-starved Fairbanks and close enough to Anchorage and Kenai that a utility could afford to finance a pipeline to take gas to Southcentral for local consumers, Gottstein said.
A Livengood hub, with some 400 miles of pipe from the North Slope, offers flexibility for the future, Gottstein said. If the price of gas rises and it becomes economical to sell large quantities commercially, it wouldn't be a colossal feat to extend the pipeline another 400 miles to Valdez for a future liquefied natural gas plant -- a dream of some Alaskans, like defeated Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker -- or another 1,300 miles into Alberta and the existing pipeline network leading to the Lower 48.