"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
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2015 September 29
The federal prosecutor in a Saint John case involving the deaths of thousands of songbirds at the Canaport gas terminal in 2013 agreed to an adjournment of pleas Monday to allow for "a reasonable chance of resolution" in the case.
Irving Oil Ltd., Canaport LNG and Repsol were to enter pleas in the case on Monday. They are charged with violating the Migratory Birds Convention Act, and a charge under the Species at Risk Act, in connection with a 2013 incident where 7,500 song birds flew into a gas flare at the Canaport gas terminal and were killed.
The parties are scheduled to return to court on Nov. 5.
Repsol’s Canaport import terminal in Canada is scheduled to receive one liquefied natural gas cargo on October 8, according to port data.
Webmaster's comment: This same Canaport LNG has received federal approval to construct LNG export facilities to ship LNG to Asia, since its import facility is currently losing its shirt. From world LNG market developments, it appears that the Canaport LNG export terminal is likely to end up losing its shirt, as well. Downeast LNG yearns to be part of the "we've lost our shirt" club.
Taxpayers shouldn't give the industry an advantage in the marketplace when people and businesses need incentives to use cleaner energy.
Subsidies, as a rule, distort financial incentives and leave the economy less efficient. Subsidies on fossil fuels are doubly foolish: They also divert investment and consumption from cleaner energy, and cost taxpayers a bundle.
Yet last year, for all the talk from world leaders about cutting greenhouse-gas emissions, the richest nations spent more on subsidies for coal, oil and natural gas than they did a decade ago. Those subsidies – a mix of direct spending and tax breaks – amounted to $65 billion among the 34 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and another $103 billion in China, India, Brazil and other large countries outside the OECD. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Plans to develop the only liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Florida are being scrapped as a result of increased domestic LNG production, reports Bloomberg.
Port Dolphin Energy LLC is canceling development of its 1,200 million cubic feet a day port in Manatee County due to a small number of buyers and “catastrophic changes” in the market, according to Bloomberg via the Houston-based developer. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: This was an LNG import project.
Port Dolphin Energy (Port Dolphin) has filed a motion requesting that FERC vacate the order in which Port Dolphin received certificates and waivers to construct an onshore pipeline in Florida to import regasified LNG from Port Dolphin’s proposed offshore Deepwater LNG Port. Port Dolphin stated that due to changed market conditions where the United States is positioned to become an exporter rather than an importer of natural gas, Port Dolphin has been unsuccessful in its efforts to negotiate commercial contracts for the proposed Deepwater Port. Port Dolphin stated that it has submitted a request to the U.S. Maritime Administration to approve the surrender of its deepwater port license. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: The real mystery is why it took so long — just like Downeast LNG's inability to realize it is a moot project.
Site preparations for the proposed liquefied natural gas plant and massive LNG storage tanks in Nikiski would require stripping up to 4 million cubic yards of loose soil, soft peat moss and other vegetation. That’s more than enough to cover a rough trail 10 feet wide, a foot deep from New York City to Houston.
Crews would then need to excavate as much as 6 million cubic yards of frost-susceptible material — up to 6 feet deep in some areas — to prepare the site for construction. Some of the material could be reused as fill, while other material would need to be trucked in to complete the base.
The project would use 800,000 cubic yards of gravel, 300,000 cubic yards of concrete, 300,000 cubic yards of armor rock, 100,000 tons of structural steel, 6,500 pilings, 7 miles of electrical wiring, almost 200 miles of aboveground piping, and 20 miles of buried pipe.
The trestle to reach the loading berths could be as much as 3,200 feet long — more than half a mile — to reach water deep enough for the LNG carriers to safely maneuver.
In addition to the LNG plant at Nikiski, the project includes 806 miles of pipeline to reach the plant site from North Slope gas fields and a gas treatment plant to remove carbon dioxide and other impurities before the gas enters the pipeline.
LELU ISLAND, B.C. — A northern British Columbia First Nation says it is seeking aboriginal title to the land where a Malaysia-led consortium hopes to build a $36-billion liquefied natural gas terminal.
The Lax Kw’alaams First Nation says it will launch an action claiming title to Lelu Island and Flora Bank, where the Pacific NorthWest LNG project would be built.
The nation says the area is a critical fisheries habitat located in the estuary of the Skeena River and it is concerned that construction would irreparably harm salmon stocks.
Liberal leader talks up marine protection in West Van, but won't weigh in on riding's hot debate.
With English Bay as the backdrop, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau stood on the sun-drenched pier in West Vancouver's John Lawson Park yesterday to announce his party's plans to protect the marine environment -- but refused to take a clear stance on a big marine environment debate currently raging in the potential swing riding.
Trudeau made no mention at all about the debate in the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea-to-Sky Country riding over the proposed $1.7-billion Woodfibre LNG plant near Squamish. The plant would produce 2.1 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas a year and showcase Trudeau ally and B.C. Premier Christy Clark's ambition to build an LNG industry on the west coast.
Neither the Squamish Nation nor District of Squamish support the project, unless their lengthy lists of conditions are met.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s final environmental impact statement for Jordan Cove Energy Project and the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline is scheduled for release on Wednesday, a huge milestone for the project that’s been mired in controversy for more than a decade.
“LNG is becoming a lot less competitive on the international market,” [Western Environmental Law Center staff attorney Susan Jane Brown] said. “The whole reason to do this project, at least now, is for export. And Jordan Cove has not been able to demonstrate that it’s got clients or buyers for this gas. Without being able to do that, there is a real question whether this project is in the public interest, which is what FERC needs to decide when it grants that certificate.”
“LNG is becoming a lot less competitive on the international market,” she said. “The whole reason to do this project, at least now, is for export. And Jordan Cove has not been able to demonstrate that it’s got clients or buyers for this gas. Without being able to do that, there is a real question whether this project is in the public interest, which is what FERC needs to decide when it grants that certificate.”
FERC has issued 10 final EISs since February 2014 — a wave of LNG facilities approaching final decisions in a national industry awash in natural gas.
…[I]n recent months, China’s LNG imports have slowed dramatically, Japan’s solar power generation is on the upswing, Australian LNG exporters are looking for customers elsewhere, and the Lake Charles LNG terminal in Louisiana has been postponed. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
NORTH BEND, Ore. -- Hundreds of protesters marched across the McCullough Bridge on Saturday
Several of the protesters traveled the pipeline route from Malin to Coos Bay, a total of 232 miles.
Many of the speakers said they want Governor Kate Brown to take a stance on LNG.
"She currently is not for or against the project publicly,” explained Hike the Pipe organizer Alex Harris, “however, her ambivalent stance is tacit consent for this going through, and that's unacceptable for a governor. She needs to know she's politically vulnerable and she needs to respond to the will of the people and not the will of corporations."
ASTORIA — Confident that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will eventually issue a license for Oregon LNG’s $6 billion liquefied natural gas terminal and pipeline on Warrenton’s Skipanon Peninsula, opponents are calling on Gov. Kate Brown to take a stand against the project.
Dan Serres, conservation director for Columbia Riverkeeper — the Hood River-based environmental group opposing the LNG project — said the draft statement has “significant omissions,” such as studies the commission admits should have been included and the public hasn’t had a chance to read.
But opponents, recognizing that the commission has never denied an LNG project, also took up a new charge: Get the governor to exercise her authority and direct state agencies to deny the project.
More than 200 protesters took over Ferry Road Park on Saturday, including local groups like Citizens Against LNG and Coos Commons Protection Council, and statewide organizations like Hair on Fire Oregon, 350 Eugene, Raging Grannies and more.
The event marked the end of a 36-day journey across southern Oregon. Hike the Pipe, a group launched by Ashland native Alex Harris in May, hiked the length of the proposed Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline from its origin in Malin to the finish line in Coos Bay.
Liquefied natural gas is the least preferred energy source on Maui, with some residents accepting LNG as a “bridge” to renewables, and others ruling it out altogether because of the concern of getting hooked on another non-renewable, foreign source, according to a new report.
Both Hawaiian Electric Co., which is the parent of Maui Electric Co., and Hawaii Gas have plans to import LNG in bulk shipments, starting in 2019.
But those plans took a big hit when Gov. David Ige came out in opposition of the state utilizing LNG as a replacement for oil as the state moves closer to its 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2045. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
ARLINGTON, Va. — The United States’ foray into the liquefied natural gas (LNG) market is expected to result in billions of dollars — and jobs — for the country. But declining oil prices cast some doubt onto the potential for success.
Fereidun Fesharaki, chairman of FACTS Global Energy, an international energy consultancy group, said the long-term U.S. LNG plan is “irrational exuberance” during a Sept. 25 address at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. The title of the event was “The Global LNG Market Outlook: Too Many Sellers, Not Enough Buyers.”
It is expected that the LNG market turmoil will likely hit new heights in 2016 with so much additional volume in the market. LNG prices have dropped nearly 60 percent since its high last year. In April 2014, the LNG import price was $17.34 per thousand cubic feet, and this past June it was $6.29, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: Downeast LNG has been irrational from the get-go.
Total debt for half of the companies in a Bloomberg index of more than 60 producers has risen to a level that represents 40 percent of their enterprise value. It’s a sign of distress that shows equity values falling in the face of oil’s crash, said Rob Thummel, a managing director and portfolio manager at Tortoise Capital Advisors LLC who helps manage $15.6 billion.
As companies run low on cash, they may be forced to idle drilling rigs, confront bankruptcy or seek more expensive financing and sell assets. In the past year, U.S. oil producers used 83 percent of their operating cash flow to pay for debt service, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. A year ago, it was less than 60 percent.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency reports that natural gas and petroleum systems are the largest anthropogenic source of methane in the U.S., and the second-largest globally. Methane is the primary constituent of natural gas; it’s about 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide, making it a colossal greenhouse gas. And every day the vast networks of underground gas lines in the country leak it into the atmosphere.
But over time, I learned a surprising truth: The bulk of the gas leaks identified are left leaking. Those between five to 15 feet from a house or structure would receive a check-up after six months. Leaks more than 15 feet from a building were noted but required no special attention. Many of the leaks persisted for years and even decades. My boss, a man of great professional dedication, was so familiar with the leaks on his turf that he kept their dates and locations locked in his memory. He could point to a circular burn in a nondescript suburban lawn as we drove past and say, “There’s another. I found that one 10 years ago.”
…On my worst days, I stopped caring whether I was even covering the lines at all. It wasn’t just the monotony of the job that eventually got to me. It was the futility: the knowledge that the vast majority of the leaks would never be repaired and would continue leaking indefinitely. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Samina Fazil said that according to a latest report by FGE, an international energy consultancy company, the prices of LNG has come down by 60 percent as compared to last year but it will nosedive soon.
The market is oversupplied while demand in Japan and Korea which are using half of the Asian LNG production is going down. Similarly demand in China has also been reduced. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
The price of Asian spot cargoes for November delivery slumped to $6.80 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), 10 cents below last week’s assessment.
In the meantime, a run of low demand plaguing Asia’s top LNG importers Japan and South Korea continued to weigh on prices and contribute to a supply glut made worse by a wave of new LNG export plants in Australia and the United States.
…[F]resh supplies overwhelmed scarce demand. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
2015 September 12
National Energy Board has approved export licences for Canaport and LNG project in Cape Breton
The National Energy Board (NEB) says its decision to issue three competing LNG export licences in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia within a month of one another does not mean it expects any of the projects will actually happen.
In August the NEB approved an application by Nova Scotia's Bear Head LNG Corporation for a 25-year licence to import enormous quantities of natural gas for conversion and export as LNG at an as yet-to-be constructed facility in Cape Breton.
It also approved a nearly identical application for Pieridae Energy (Canada) Ltd. for a proposed LNG export facility in Goldboro, N.S.
Then last week week it issued a third licence to do the same at the Canaport LNG facility in Saint John, which is currently configured only to import liquefied natural gas.
One other LNG export project is also on the drawing board near Halifax, but in its application for a licence Canaport's majority partner Repsol, under the name Saint John LNG Development Company, said it was unconcerned with the competing applications.
"Saint John LNG concluded that ... market forces will not support all of the proposed projects," noted the NEB in its decision. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: Downeast LNG's president Dean Girdis is involved in two LNG proposals in Nova Scotia under the business name Nova Scotia LNG. One of those proposals is an LNG bunkering project (fueling LNG-powered freighters). The other is to supply LNG to the Caribbean. Girdis is apparently blithely ignoring the whopping amount of natural gas being produced in the Gulf of Mexico region, with numerous LNG export projects proposed there. Girdis is even ignoring the proposal in Florida to export LNG to the Caribbean — 1,000 miles closer to the market than Girdis's Nova Scotia project.
The cost of proposals to expand natural gas pipeline capacity to Maine outweigh the benefits, according to a report drafted by a consulting firm hired by the Maine Public Utilities Commission.
In an effort to lower power prices, the Maine Legislature in 2013 authorized the PUC to spend up to $75 million a year to buy up to 200 MMcf/day of gas through an "energy cost reduction contract" (ECRC) that would be paid for by electric ratepayers if it was cost effective.
Through a solicitation process, the PUC received project offers from Spectra Energy, Tennessee Gas Pipeline and Portland Natural Gas Transmission System.
Each of the pipeline proposals has "a noticeable but not game-changing effect" on Algonquin city-gate gas prices and the difference in pricing effects between the projects was small, the report said.
The Conservation Law Foundation said Friday that the report supports the environmental group's opposition to the plan to expand pipeline capacity for Maine via an ECRC contract. "The conclusions drawn by the PUC's expert consultant in their report should prevent Maine from entering into such a contract any time soon," the group said. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: New natural gas pipeline development in Maine is necessary for Downeast LNG's proposal. It isn't looking good for Dean Girdis.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued an order granting Floridian Natural Gas Storage Company LLC long-term multi-contract authorisation to export LNG by vessel to free trade agreement (FTA) countries.
Floridian seeks to export LNG in a volume equivalent to approximately 14.6 billion ft3/yr of natural gas, less the portion of that volume that may be under firm contract directly or indirectly to Carib Energy (USA) LLC. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: Floridian Natural Gas Storage Company is proposing to supply LNG to the Caribbean. Floridian is 1,000 miles closer to the Caribbean than Dean Girdis's Nova Scotia LNG proposal in the Cape Breton Island area.
Excelerate Liquefaction Solutions (ELS) has filed a letter requesting that FERC permit withdrawal and terminate proceedings related to ELS’s proposed floating LNG export terminal at the Port of Port Lavaca-Point Comfort, Texas, and interconnecting pipeline. ELS stated that “[f]ollowing an internal evaluation of the economic value of the Project, [it] has determined that it will no longer pursue the Project.” ELS also stated that it would be withdrawing an affiliate’s application with the U.S. Department of Energy to export LNG to nations without a Free Trade Agreement with the United States. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: The LNG export project dominoes are beginning to topple.
Worries are growing that B.C. liquefied natural gas projects will face delays and cancellations as high construction costs and low LNG prices erode the confidence of international energy players.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency started its review of Pacific NorthWest LNG in April, 2013. The process had been expected to take two years at most, but the agency has repeatedly asked for more information. “We believe a decision from CEAA could extend until early 2016,” Peters & Co. warned.
Other projects also face uncertainty on their timing. “High capital costs, the required development of infrastructure, the extended regulatory approval process and weakness in Asian LNG prices increase the risk of deferral or cancellation of projects in the near-term,” according to the 21-page study, which examines LNG proposals, natural gas producers, work-camp operators and pipeline companies.
B.C. has 20 proposals in the works. The National Energy Board has approved 11 B.C. licences to export liquid natural gas, but industry experts say only three or four projects at most will become a reality. In April, Moody’s Investors Service Inc. issued a stark outlook for North America’s LNG industry, saying a looming global glut means it does not make economic sense to invest billions in each venture – casting doubt on most of the B.C. proposals. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Nuclear power restarts in Japan, depressed oil prices and upcoming new liquefaction capacity paint a bearish outlook for global liquefied natural gas (LNG), analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA) said in a recent note.
The analysts said the drop in oil prices has "considerably reduced" the advantage of Henry Hub-based pricing for U.S. LNG exports.
"In Europe, with current UK NBP [National Balancing Point] prices at $6.16/MMBtu, assuming a tolling fee at $2.80/MMBtu and including LNG transportation costs from the U.S. Gulf Coast to Europe of $1.00/MMBtu, U.S. Henry Hub would have to trade below $2.00/MMBtu to be attractive for new European long-term contract buyers," they said. And for Asian markets, assuming transport costs of $2.60/MMBtu, Henry would have to trade below $2.20/MMBtu.
Henry prices aren't low enough to incentivise new Henry-based long-term contracts for supplies to either European or Asian destinations. "Put it differently, at current calendar-2016 Henry Hub prices of $3.00/MMBtu, UK NBP and Asian spot prices will have to trade above $7.25/MMBtu and $8.85/MMBtu, respectively, to attract new long-term contract buyers," BofA said.
And global demand for LNG has been weakening in Japan, South Korea and India, the analysts said. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
The push to build new pipelines to transport abundant shale supplies appears to be having a materially adverse impact on pipeline safety.
According to a Pipeline Safety Trust analysis of federal data, new pipelines are failing at a rate on par with gas transmission lines installed before the 1940s.
"I think new models of anything — a new model of a car, a new computer, whatever — have problems when they're first put in. You have to get the kinks out. That's probably part of the explanation, but there's also some suggestions that we're trying to put so many new miles of pipeline in the ground so fast that people aren't doing construction … the way they ought to," Carl Weimer, director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, told attendees at a National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives annual meeting in Tempe, Ariz.
"If it's brand new, if it's all new materials, if everybody was doing their job correctly, why would we have an uptick in … failures?" [Robert Miller, chairman of the National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives, or NAPSR], who is also the Arizona Corporation Commission's pipeline safety section supervisor, said. "You can only attribute that, in my personal opinion, to poor construction practices or maybe not enough quality control, quality assurance programs out there to catch these problems before those pipelines go into service."
For instance, the National Transportation Safety Board in June found that poor pipe fusion in 2011 contributed to a March 2014 Harlem gas explosion that leveled two buildings on Park Avenue, killed eight people, injured at least 50 others and resulted in the evacuations of 100 families. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: The fossil fuel industry claims that they don't want accidents,
* Asian spot LNG prices down 60 pct since 2014
* Industry expects worse to come as output soars and demand slows
* El Nino to cause mild winter, further dent demand
* LNG could rival coal, iron ore as worst performing commodity
Asia's LNG market has already fared worse than slumping oil markets, with spot prices LNG-AS down 60 percent since 2014 to $8 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), ending half a decade of high prices.
China's LNG imports have slumped from double digit growth in recent years to a three percent fall in the first half of 2015 from a year earlier.
For Japan, the world's top LNG importer, the restart of its nuclear power plants is eating away at LNG's market share in an environment of generally falling energy demand.
Imports into South Korea have also fallen due to a slowing economy and rising nuclear power output.
Australia's soaring output [tripling its capacity to 86 million tonnes before 2020] comes at the same time as the United States starts exporting for the first time towards the end of this year.
A 25 percent fall in oil prices since June is adding to LNG weakness. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Spanish Google webpage translation [with some corrections by SPB webmaster] El pasado 19 de junio un buque cargado de gas natural licuado (LNG) sufrió un accidente atracado en el puerto de Barcelona, mientras descargaba. El FUWAIRIT, bandera de Bahamas, construido en 2004 por los astilleros Samsung de Corea del Sur, 266 metros de eslora y 74.067 toneladas de peso muerto, derramó una cantidad indeterminada de LNG sobre la cubierta principal y de allí al mar. On June 19 a loaded ship of liquefied natural gas (LNG) had a berthed accident in the port of Barcelona, while unloading. The Fuwairit, Bahamas flag, built in 2004 by the Samsung shipyard in South Korea, 266 meters long and 74 067 dwt, spilled an undetermined amount of LNG on the main deck and thence to the sea. El contacto del LNG, almacenado en los tanques del buque a -161º C, con las planchas de cubierta del buque provocó cuatro grietas de considerable tamaño a la altura del tanque de lastre 1 Br, según la información recabada por NAUCHERglobal en la Capitanía Marítima de Barcelona. En contacto con el agua, el LNG formó una espectacular nube de vapor, blanco y denso, que flotaba por encima de la superficie del mar y llegaba a tapar buena parte del casco del buque. Contact of LNG stored in the ship's tanks to -161º C, with deck plating of the ship caused four sizable cracks up to the ballast tank 1 Br, according to information gathered by NAUCHERglobal in the Harbour Master Barcelona. In contact with water, it formed a spectacular LNG vapor cloud, white and dense, floating above the sea surface and came to cover much of the ship's hull. Tras ultimar la descarga, el buque fue autorizado a fondear para realizar unas primeras reparaciones que impidieran la extensión de las grietas del techo del tanque de lastre 1 BR. Acabadas las reparaciones de fortuna, con acuerdo de la Capitanía Marítima ante el informe favorable de ABS, el FUWAIRIT fue despachado a Ferrol para pasar una revisión a fondo y realizar las reparaciones definitivas. After finalizing the discharge, the vessel was allowed to anchor for primary repairs that would prevent the spread of cracks in the ceiling ballast tank 1 BR. Fortune finished repairs, with agreement of the Harbour Master to the favorable report of ABS, the Fuwairit was dispatched to Ferrol to pass a thorough review and make permanent repairs.