"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
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2016 January 28
Proposals for the construction of LNG terminals have been ongoing for decades in spite of the lack of approval from the Canadian government and the stringent conditions imposed by the US Coast Guard relative to required permissions. Robert Godfrey’s presentation to FERC, made today, emphasizes the rights attributed to local native treaties which clearly trump the rights of the corporation Downeast LNG.
This introduces an interesting question as the Government of Canada moves towards establishing Marine Protected Areas in the Bay of Fundy. The Quoddy Region was mentioned as an area of particular interest for consideration. This can provide a wonderful opportunity for co-operation in the development of long-term plans for protection and fair use of resources. Alternately it could kick off little needed conflict. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Paul Mercer, an engineer and administrator focused on sustainability issues at Maine Maritime Academy, would take over an agency that often has been at the center of the governor's push to rein in regulations unfavorable to business.
Yet with his private sector experience, Mercer would mark a departure from the attorneys, policy advisers and longtime state employees who have led the DEP for much of the past two decades.
An engineer and Maine native, Mercer serves as the assistant to the president of Maine Maritime Academy – his alma mater – on sustainability initiatives. He is a former associate professor and chairman of the school’s engineering department and has worked on renewable energy, biomass energy and power generation in the private sector.
“The natural environment, land, air and water of the state of Maine is our most valuable resource,” Mercer said. “We must protect it and do so in such a manner that we can maintain and support existing businesses and industry. We must promote and encourage new and innovative businesses and focus on a sustainable economy.”
He would replace Patricia Aho, who stepped down in August after a four-year tenure during which she clashed with environmentalists and was the subject of a Maine Sunday Telegram investigation that found the former lobbyist weakened programs and opposed laws that would have affected former clients.
The data reveals that the LNG cargo transported onboard the Statoil-chartered Arctic Princess is heading for the Canaport LNG terminal located in Saint John, New Brunswick.
It is expected that the 147,980 cbm LNG tanker will arrive at its destination on January 29.
A consortium of conservation groups and land trusts has protested an intervention petition into Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.’s proposed Northeast Energy Direct project and called for a formal hearing into what it says are inaccuracies in the company’s filing with the Federal Regulatory Commission.
Northeast Energy Solutions Inc., whose members include Franklin Land Trust and a 130-member statewide land-trust alliance that includes Mount Grace Land Trust, formally objected to a Jan. 6 intervention application by Irving Oil Terminals Operations Inc., saying the company’s plans to export liquefied natural gas at a proposed terminal in Saint John, New Brunswick, were misidentified as an “industrial” use of gas from the planned NED pipeline, which would be constructed through eight Franklin County towns on its way from Pennsylvania shale oil fields to Dracut, north of Lowell.
Dracut is the hub for the Maritimes and Northeast pipeline running through New Hampshire, Maine and New Brunswick to Point Tupper in northern Nova Scotia, with plans to have its southward flow reversed to carry U.S. gas northward into northern New England and Canada.
The Jan. 20 filing by NEES calls for a formal hearing on Irving’s proposed intervention, pointing to what it says are contradictions between TGP’s application to FERC and Irving’s intervention describing itself as “an end-user of natural gas in New Brunswick.”
Canaport, the LNG import terminal in Saint John, New Brunswick, owned by the Spanish energy giant Repsol and Irving Oil, is seeking approval for a 1.2 Bcf/day export terminal.
The filing asserts TGP “is not being accurate and forthright with regulators, elected officials, stakeholders and the public. It is unjustifiable for Tennessee to state that ‘NED is being developed specifically to provide much needed natural gas for regional electrification and local distribution companies that need to serve increasing customer demand in their New England service territories.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Focusing on whether Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.’s proposed 416-mile project through Massachusetts is even needed, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments has called for federal regulators to conduct formal evidentiary hearings to resolve that “particularly controversial issue.”
“Given the sharp controversy over whether the NED Project is actually needed, and in light of the pipeline’s long-term impacts on landowners and ratepayers and potential consequences for regional energy choices, if the commission is inclined to approve the pipeline, a formal hearing is required to resolve the factual dispute over the need for the NED Project,” COG Executive Director Linda Dunlavy wrote in the petition on Friday.
The COG maintains that the project is “substantially undersubscribed, even after Tennessee Gas’ decision to downsize the pipeline from 36 inches to 30 inches. In addition, Tennessee Gas’ assessment of future demand directly conflicts with a study on need for gas commissioned by the Massachusetts Attorney General and other credible industry studies,” the petition says. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
A coalition of 165 environmental groups, led by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, have asked Sens. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to launch an investigation into FERC, alleging that the commission is biased toward pipeline companies.
In a four-page letter Thursday, the groups petitioned the lawmakers to ask the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Specifically, they want the GAO to look into how FERC reviews and approves proposals for natural gas pipeline infrastructure and liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities.
"FERC has become a demonstrably biased agency that has become a partner with, rather than a regulator of, the pipeline companies it purports to oversee," said Delaware Riverkeeper Maya K. van Rossum. "In addition, FERC is misusing legal loopholes and ignoring court orders to advance gas infrastructure projects while preventing the public from exercising their rights to judicial review or fair public participation in the process.
"License for FERC's abuse of power and blatant bias is provided by the agency's funding mechanism which makes it an agency funded 100% by the industry it regulates, and is advanced by the revolving employee door that exists between FERC and its regulated community." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
“Someone’s going to die, it’s just inevitable,” said Calvert County Commissioner Mike Hart [R - District 1], who frequently travels [Cove Point Road/Little Cove Point Road intersection in Lusby].
The still-treacherous intersection is in the shadow of Dominion Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Plant. That facility is undergoing a massive expansion within its confines, with a high volume of vehicles traveling narrow Cove Point Road. Dominion paid for the 2014 improvements, which were done by SHA. Little Cove Point Road connects the massive subdivision of Chesapeake Ranch Estates to Cove Point Road.
Eagle LNG Partners [in Jacksonville, Florida] has submitted an application with the US Department of Energy (“DOE”) requesting long-term, multi-contract authorization under Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act to engage in exports of natural gas in the form of liquefied natural gas (“LNG”).
The application seeks authorization to export up to 49.8 Bcf, or ~1.0 million tons per annum (mtpa), of LNG per year to both free trade agreement (FTA) and non-free trade agreement (non - FTA) countries.
Sean Lalani, President of Eagle LNG, says, “Natural gas from the United States will decrease electricity costs and result in lower economic and environmental costs for the Caribbean region, which is part of our intended market.” Lalani, adds, “Eagle is working to provide dependable and continuous power solutions to the region. Natural gas ensures a reliable and affordable fuel for electricity generation.”
Webmaster's comment: This is one of at least two southern-US projects competing with behind-the-curve Dean Girdis' LNG Nova Scotia proposal in Halifax. Girdis' project is years behind and 1,000 miles farther away from the intended market than Eagle LNG Partners' project and another project in Louisiana.
The Sierra Club asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday to reconsider its decision to approve a liquefied natural gas export project in Louisiana, saying the regulator failed to consider what global-warming impacts might arise from expanding natural gas infrastructure to feed foreign LNG demand....
EU head wants Jamaica to open up electricity sector to more players
[Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell] noted also that phase three of the Wigton Windfarm project in Manchester is to start next month to provide 60 megawatts of wind energy. He pointed out, too, that Liquefied Natural Gas — “the most significant energy issue that has eluded us for many years,” — is to become a reality as of April when the Bogue plant in Montego Bay starts to receive LNG.
“With many of our commercial pricing arrangements tied to a US destination, this country is realising netbacks well below the market price applicable to the true destination of our cargoes. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that the contractual arrangements of LNG are not now working in the best interest of Trinidad and Tobago,” [Energy Minister Nicole Olivierre] said.
“All available evidence suggest that the current oversupply of gas is more than just a temporary phenomenon,” she said.
To the deep beat of drums, hereditary chiefs and elders from coastal and inland First Nations entered the Highlander Hotel and Convention Centre, packed with more than 300 people. They were there for a show of strength and unity against government and the onslaught of gas development in the heart of their traditional lands, the “bread basket” of the Lax Kw’alaams people.
On Saturday January 23 the Lelu Island Declaration was signed by the nine allied tribes of Lax Kw’alaams as well as other hereditary and elected chiefs from neighboring nations, sending a clear message to government and industry that the Skeena watershed will not allow the $11 billion Pacific Northwest Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project to be built.
Trudeau’s government has been pretty quiet about LNG development in B.C., despite directing his cabinet to formalize a federal crude oil tanker ban for the North Coast. But New Democratic Party (NDP) provincial legislators, as well as Member of Parliament (MP) Nathan Cullen, were all on hand to show their support for the Lelu Island defenders and the Lax Kw'alaams people as they signed the declaration. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
VANCOUVER— Premier Christy Clark had sharp words Monday for what she calls the "forces of No'' in British Columbia who mount resistance efforts to government initiatives purely out of a fear of change.
First Nations leaders quickly shot back at the premier, labelling her comments "paternalistic'' and "mindless.''
[Premier Clark] criticized a coalition of First Nations, environmentalists and Opposition New Democrats who signed a declaration demanding a protection zone near a proposed multibillion-dollar LNG project at Lelu Island near Prince Rupert.
But the Lelu Island and Flora Bank region at the mouth of the Skeena River, is considered vital to the ecosystem of B.C.'s second-largest salmon-bearing waterway.
Lax Kw'alaams hereditary Chief Yahaan said the project is a threat to a centuries-old salmon-fishing culture. He said Clark doesn't understand the ties his people have to the river and the salmon.
"Her mentality, the mindless phrases that come out of her mouth,'' said Yahaan. "Saying that we're the people of No. We're the indigenous people of this land. We live here. We know about the environment. She doesn't." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
AltaGas DCLNG was authorized to export up to a gas equivalent of 1 Bcf per day for 25 years and Kitsault Energy up to 3 Bcf per day of gas, for 20 years.
On January 13, 2016 the British Columbia Supreme Court determined that the Province breached its duty to consult the Gitga'at First Nations in respect of Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline. The court found that a province cannot rely on federal efforts to satisfy its duty to consult with First Nations. Interestingly, the Court also found that while the provincial government may rely on federal environmental assessments to make its decisions, it cannot abdicate its decision-making authority altogether.
In an effort to avoid redundancy in the approval process, the Province and the National Energy Board (the "NEB") entered into an agreement intended to promote a "coordinated approach". More specifically, the agreement provided that the Province would defer to the NEB's environmental assessment instead of conducting its own assessment, and issuing its own environmental assessment certificate, as would ordinarily be required under the Province's Environmental Assessment Act, SBC 2002, c-43 (s 17). Although the agreement could be terminated on notice, the terms of the agreement would otherwise prevent the Province from imposing its own conditions on the approval of the pipeline and related projects.
The Gitga'at First Nations (and other petitioners) complained that by agreeing to waive its discretion to issue an environmental assessment certificate, the Province could no longer protect the interests of the Province, or meaningfully consult and accommodate First Nations. The Court agreed. The Honourable Madam Justice Koenigsber declared the agreement invalid to the extent that it removed the Province's discretion to issue an environmental assessment certificate pursuant to section 17 of the Province's Environmental Assessment Act and ordered the Province to consult the with Gitga'at about the potential impacts of the pipeline on areas of provincial jurisdiction. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Within the next few weeks, Oregon LNG may submit new permit applications to the Department of State Lands to build a liquefied natural gas terminal and pipeline on Warrenton’s Skipanon Peninsula, Bill Ryan, the department’s assistant director, said Tuesday evening at a public meeting in Astoria.
The energy company originally submitted state land use applications for the terminal and pipeline in 2013 that were deemed incomplete. The department found fault with the company’s plans for mitigating the impact of the proposed $6 billion project on state waters.
In addition, the department noted that Oregon LNG’s applications lacked evidence that the project is compatible with local land use rules.
Last year, the state Land Use Board of Appeals upheld Clatsop County’s 2013 decision to deny a permit for Oregon LNG’s pipeline that would link to an export terminal on the peninsula.
If Oregon LNG manages to resolve the local land use issue and submits complete applications, the department would then send them out for public review. Citizens and regulatory agencies on the local, state and federal levels would examine the applications while the department does a technical review.
The federal government is overhauling how it examines major energy projects in order to put more focus on greenhouse gas emissions, and is extending the deadlines for reviewing and deciding on the Energy East and Trans Mountain oil pipelines.
Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna announced new interim measures Wednesday for reviewing energy projects. The government will take more time to craft a permanent environmental assessment regime for resource development that it hopes will improve public confidence in the process.
In the meantime, the interim principles will apply to major natural resource projects subject to federal environmental assessments, such as oilsands developments, pipelines, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and mining projects.
The ministers announced a specific set of measures for TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline and Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline, including assessing the upstream greenhouse gas emissions associated with the projects – that is, emissions from extracting or producing the petroleum – and making the information public.
The government will also undertake “deeper consultations” with Indigenous peoples potentially affected by the projects and provide funding to support the consultations. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
The federal government plans to require a separate climate test for proposed pipelines and a planned LNG export terminal, which are now under regulatory review, to determine their impact on Canada’s greenhouse-gas emissions, a move that could impose new delays on billion-dollar projects.
The climate analyses are part of proposed measures – which include additional First Nations consultations – that Ottawa will impose on Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion and TransCanada Corp.’s Energy East, both currently before the National Energy Board, a government source confirmed Monday. The measures will also apply to Pacific NorthWest’s planned LNG export terminal, currently in front of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
Former NEB chair Gaétan Caron said the board has long refused to consider what impact a specific pipeline would have on GHG emissions in the producing or refining sectors because there are too many uncertain variables. “The NEB has determined in the past that the upstream and downstream climate-change effects of a pipeline are not relevant because that pipeline in and of itself has no bearing on the rate of production of hydrocarbons in Alberta or the rate of consumption at the other end of the pipeline,” he said.
Environmentalists have warned that the expansion of liquified natural gas export terminals on the coast will drive up greenhouse-gas emissions in the province by encouraging the production of shale gas in northeast B.C., while the industry argues the gas will help drive down global emissions by replacing coal in Asian power grids. Pacific NorthWest LNG – which is controlled by Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas – wants to build an $11.4-billion terminal on Lelu Island in the Port of Prince Rupert. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, has announced a proposal to reduce the waste of natural gas and to reduce methane emissions on public and tribal lands. The full press release from January 22, 2016 can be found here.
The proposed rule would “require oil and gas producers to adopt currently available technologies, processes and equipment that would limit the rate of flaring at oil wells on public and tribal lands, and would require operators to periodically inspect their operations for leaks, and to replace outdated equipment that vents large quantities of gas into the air.”
In its recommendations, EPA suggests LNG project applicants should provide information regarding “the potential for increased natural gas production and the potential for environmental impacts associated with the potential increase.”
EPA also recommended that in addition to greenhouse gas emission from the construction and operation of the project, LNG applicants should include emissions associated with the production, transport, and combustion of the natural gas. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Wood Mackenzie notes that the big supply interest will be the first-quarter start of mainland US LNG exports from Cheniere’s Sabine Pass terminal and that this year’s largest growth in output will come from Australia. Here, new projects Australia Pacific LNG and Gorgon LNG will bring their first volumes to market shortly and Queensland Curtis LNG and Gladstone LNG are ramping up their exports.
“[However] low prices will force most LNG projects targeting final investment decisions (FID) in 2016 to defer – but not all, with western Canada and smaller-scale FLNG projects the most likely to proceed. In aggregate, 20mta of LNG FIDs are imminently possible in 2016, which could prolong the period of oversupply.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
2016 January 19
With the United States poised to become a net exporter of natural gas, some pipeline foes suspect that the controversial Northeast Energy Direct pipeline through Franklin County would deliver relatively low-cost liquefied natural gas to European and Asian customers as well as the New England energy market.
And, some pipeline critics fear, exporting too much natural gas from U.S. hydrofracked shale-oil fields will only serve to lower world natural gas prices while raising domestic prices. These findings are suggested in a study released by the U.S. Department of Energy last month.
The U.S. Energy Information Agency has predicted more conservatively that the country will become a net exporter of LNG in 2018, the same year Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.’s proposed 412-mile NED pipeline would, if approved, begin operation, crossing eight Franklin County towns on its route from Pennsylvania shale fields to Dracut, north of Lowell.
Dracut is also the hub for a host of pipelines, including Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Gas transmission line carrying gas from the Texas Eastern line in Pennsylvania in the south, and the Maritimes and Northeast line running through New Hampshire, Maine and New Brunswick to Point Tupper in northern Nova Scotia.
Vincent DeVito, a Boston attorney for Northeast Energy Solutions — a coalition of environmental organizations and land trusts including Franklin Land Trust — says the scale of the NED pipeline compared with the customers it has contracted with for sale of its gas points to the likelihood that a future customer will be a liquification facility/LNG exporter.
Robert Godfrey, who has been looking at LNG proposals for 11 years for the Eastport, Maine-based environmental group Save Passamaquoddy Bay, says he doesn’t believe that all of the export ventures, being eyed at the same time that Pacific Coast LNG terminals are also under consideration, will succeed in being built.
But he says that in addition to issues that his organization has about safety and the environmental consequences of the Downeast terminal in the mouth of the Bay of Fundy, he has personal concerns about the implications of the effects on climate change.
“We’re headed down a catastrophic path related to climate,” he says. “Adding more pipelines means more burning, it means we’re becoming more dependent on fossil fuels. … It’s insanity.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Lusby, MD - Maryland’s largest construction project has reached the halfway point of completion. The $3.8 billion project at Dominion Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Plant in Lusby began in late 2014. According to Dominion spokesman Karl Neddenien, the effort to build natural gas liquefaction and export facilities is “on schedule, on budget” and is on pace to reach completion by the end of 2017.
The latest protest against the Cove Point project will be aimed at one of the plan’s financial backers. According to the organization We Are Cove Point, a demonstration is planned for high noon Thursday, Jan. 21 outside a Bank of America location near the White House in Washington, DC.
Law360 reports that in the court appeal of FERC’s orders approving the Corpus Christi LNG export terminal, FERC stands by its policy that, in its environmental review of Corpus Christi LNG’s export project application, FERC was not required to consider the environmental effects of potential increased gas production caused by the project. Sierra Club and other environmental groups have challenged FERC’s policy on this issue and related issues. FERC argued in its brief that “the location and timing of any future production are speculative. Without knowing where, in what quantity, and under what circumstances additional gas production will occur, the environmental impacts resulting from such activity are not ‘reasonably foreseeable’ within the meaning of the [National Environmental Policy Act] regulations.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: Exporting LNG and resulting increased natural gas production — a link that the natural gas industry says will 'increase US energy security' — somehow are not linked, and have no related environmental implications, according to two-faced FERC.
As people in the Rio Grande Valley and beyond debate the benefits and risks of establishing three or more gas liquefaction plants at the Port of Brownsville, one of the worst-case scenarios is playing out in the Los Angeles area.
As people in the Rio Grande Valley and beyond debate the benefits and risks of establishing three or more gas liquefaction plants at the Port of Brownsville, one of the worst-case scenarios is playing out in the Los Angeles area.
As usual, no one saw it coming. But when disaster struck last October for the residents of Porter Ranch, California, no one could see it arrive, either. The plume of methane gushing from Southern California Gas's storage field in nearby Aliso Canyon was invisible. But people sure could smell it. The rotten-egg smell of methyl mercaptan, which is added to natural gas to help detect leaks, was inescapable.
Today that gas is still leaking, with no guarantee of when it can be stopped. At least Governor Brown has declared a state of emergency -- albeit more than two months after the leak was detected.
…Hindsight's useful, but the only way to prevent future disasters is to start practicing some foresight. Unless we allow ourselves to clearly see how fossil fuels affect our future, we'll find ourselves in this same situation all over again.
Pretending that natural gas is a "clean energy solution" leads to all kinds of magical thinking. It's a mindset that can lead to compromising on safety, which is certainly what happened at Aliso Canyon. When, years ago, a safety valve began to fail in the well that is leaking today, the "solution" adopted by SoCalGas was to remove it. Legally, they weren't required to replace it. Incredibly, they didn't. You can fix the law, but you can't fix stupid. Mix stupid with fossil fuels and disaster is always just around the corner. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Bloomberg reports that “Europe is set to be the key destination” for U.S. LNG supplies. Per Wood Mackenzie analysts’ predictions, 55% of U.S. LNG exports will go to Europe by 2020 due to the disappearance of the large spread between European and Asian LNG prices and Europe’s proximity to U.S. LNG export terminals. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: LNG export projects were betting on large profits from Asian buyers. That dream has gone up in smoke.
A new report from the Brattle Group finds that due to declining costs, renewable energy sources are becoming increasingly competitive to LNG for power generation in overseas markets. According to the press release, the report suggests that as a result, the predicted glut of global LNG supplies may be more than a temporary condition. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: Renewables are becoming increasingly competitive, making them the best solution, both economically and ecologically.
2016 January 11
Eagle LNG Partners Jacksonville LLC has filed its monthly report on the status of the development of its proposed liquefaction and LNG export terminal along the St. Johns River in the City of Jacksonville, Florida. Eagle LNG stated that in December 2015 it entered into an agreement with CH-IV to provide Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) activities for the project and has completed a technical evaluation that will enable Eagle LNG to increase the overall capacity of the facility from 900,000 gallons/day to 1,500,000 gallons/day of LNG. Eagle LNG expects to file draft Resource Report 13 and any updates to the other Resource Reports by May 2016.
Citing increased domestic natural gas production, a Norwegian company pulled the plug on a project to bring imported natural gas by pipeline from offshore tankers to Port Manatee in the Tampa Bay area.
A subsidiary of Norway-based natural gas company Hoegh LNG gave official notice of its intent to vacate all federal permits obtained to build a submerged port in open water connected by a 28-mile pipeline to Port Manatee.
It would [have been] the second pipeline that makes landfall at Port Manatee, running alongside another that Gulfstream Natural Gas built in 2002.
The United States will enter the market for liquefied natural gas (LNG) later this week when Cheniere Energy Inc. begins loading the first tanker ever to export LNG from the lower 48 states. The tanker, dubbed the Energy Atlantic, is scheduled to arrive at Cheniere’s Sabine Pass terminal off the coast of Louisiana on Tuesday.
…Sabine Pass has capacity to export just over 1 billion cubic feet a year. Besides the Cheniere terminal, three other LNG export terminals are under construction, with additional export capacity of about 33.8 million tonnes per year.
Australia and Qatar are currently the largest producers of LNG in the world, and the U.S. ranks third. It is unlikely that more export terminals will be built in the United States due to the current low price for LNG. In addition to the price of the natural gas, currently about $2.40 per thousand cubic feet, it costs approximately $3.00 to $3.50 to liquefy the gas and another $2 or so to transport it. The current price for LNG in Japan and South Korea has dropped to around $6.65 per million BTUs (one thousand cubic feet is roughly equivalent to one million BTUs). [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
FERC issued a notice of its intent to release its environmental assessment for the Cameron LNG export terminal expansion project (Project) on February 12, 2016. Other federal agencies having jurisdiction over the Project would have until May 12, 2016 to complete their review. The proposed Project, near Hackberry, La., would increase the terminal’s LNG production capacity by 515 Bcf/year.
Construction on the liquefaction and export project began in October of 2014. The new liquefaction facilities will be comprised of three liquefaction trains capable of exporting up to 12 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa), or approximately 1.7 billion cubic feet per day of liquefied natural gas.
Cameron LNG also filed an application with the US FERC to increase the project’s capacity. The expansion project includes two additional trains (trains No. 4 and No. 5) and one additional LNG storage tank (tank No. 5) capable of increasing production capacity by 9.97 Mtpa or 1.41 Bcfd.
If approved, Cameron LNG’s total export capacity will be 24.92 Mtpa, or 3.53 Bcfd.
FERC issued a notice seeking comments on the scope of its environmental review of the onshore pipeline portion of Delfin LNG’s proposed deepwater port liquefaction and LNG export terminal, located in Cameron Parish, La.
Atlantic is admitting that “unprecedented levels of gas shortfalls throughout 2015 and lower LNG prices have resulted in a significant decline in revenues,” but the company is saying it remains confident in the long-term outlook for the LNG business.
In late October 2015, the Business Guardian reported exclusively that the Venezuelan government had agreed to send some of its portion of the natural gas in the Loran/Manatee cross-border field to T&T to be processed as liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The United States once accounted for 80 per cent of LNG exports but, today, it is selling its own hydrocarbons. Cheniere Energy Incorporation was expected to begin production of LNG this month at the Sabine Pass Terminal in Louisiana. This LNG would be exported to Lithuania and Western Europe.
He noted that the Atlantic LNG trains were built at “a fraction of the cost of new LNG facilities coming on stream, on average, five to seven times cheaper than the new plants being built.” As a result, “Trinidad’s LNG has a strong competitive advantage against many LNG sources.”
Webmaster's comment: Pipe dreams and moke and mirrors.
A letter, publicly released January 8 but dated December 22, signed by both Haisla Chief Councillor Ellis Ross and Mayor Phil Germuth, asks Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to consider a visit to the area in early 2016 “to see first-hand how we are working together with industry to build a liquefied natural gas export industry that will benefit all Canadians.”
The letter continues that “both our communities strongly support LNG. We are comfortable with the industry’s safety record and its plans to minimize environmental impacts in our valley and on our waters. Our people have already started benefitting from the employment, training, and entrepreneurial opportunities that have appeared in the last few years as these developments have progressed.”
Webmaster's comment: Jobs versus environment is a false choice. Continued and increased reliance on fossil fuels merely compounds the climate crisis threatening everyone's well being.
Pacific NorthWest LNG, led by Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas, is well aware of analysts’ warnings of a worldwide glut of LNG from 2016 to 2019 and possibly beyond. The current price spread between natural gas in Canada and LNG contracts in Asia is narrow, making most B.C. proposals uneconomic in today’s circumstances.
Some aboriginal organizations support Pacific NorthWest LNG, but the venture’s backers must deal with opposition from the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation.
But Greg Horne, energy co-ordinator with the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition, said aboriginal-commissioned scientific reports conclude the project will ruin the eelgrass on Flora Bank, a sandy area that nurtures juvenile salmon next to Lelu Island. “There is now abundant scientific evidence that shows this LNG facility on Lelu Island will spell catastrophe for Canada’s second-largest wild salmon fishery.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
The National Energy Board permit will allow LNG Canada to export up to 1,494-billion cubic metres of liquefied natural gas from a terminal that will be located near the B.C. north-coast community of Kitimat.
The licence must still be approved by the prime minister and his cabinet.
The project is one of 20 LNG proposals in B.C. Four have received environmental approval from the province, while two have been granted permission to proceed by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
LNG Canada announced today that the British Columbia (B.C.) Oil and Gas Commission has issued an LNG Facility Permit for LNG Canada’s proposed liquefaction and LNG export terminal at Kitimat, B.C. LNG Canada stated that the permit, which focuses on public and environmental safety, is one of the key permits required for the construction and operation of the proposed project, and LNG Canada is the first B.C. LNG project sponsor to receive the permit. LNG Canada is a joint venture of Shell Canada Energy (50%), an affiliate of Royal Dutch Shell plc, and affiliates of PetroChina (20%), Korea Gas Corporation (15%) and Mitsubishi Corporation (15%). [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: This project has not yet made a Final Investment Decision (FID).
Energy-related developments in the Salish Sea between Washington and British Columbia underscore the need for a transnational approach to assessing the risks to the entire ecosystem, according to a study by the SeaDoc Society, a program of the UC Davis Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center, and the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, part of the area’s indigenous Coast Salish people.
The study, published in December in the journal PLOS ONE, identified six development projects proposed and underway in both Canada and the U.S. that would increase marine vessel traffic in the Salish Sea. They include plans to transport coal, shale oil, crude oil and natural gas.
“We need to deal with this at the level of ecosystem, not just project to project,” said lead author Joe Gaydos, SeaDoc Society chief scientist and a UC Davis wildlife veterinarian. “When you look at these cumulatively, they have a high possibility of affecting the Coast Salish people and everyone else. The environmental impact statements aren’t looking at the threats collectively.”
The Salish Sea is shared by Washington, British Columbia, and indigenous Coast Salish governments. Roughly 7 million people live in the area, which includes Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Strait of Georgia.
Though an interconnected ecosystem, the Salish Sea is managed separately across its borders. Consequently, when governmental bodies evaluate proposed developments, they rarely take into account projects occurring outside of their jurisdiction, the study notes.
The organization representing contractors and service providers to the B.C. oil and gas industry says time is running out to invest in LNG, after what it calls one of the worst years for LNG in the province.
"The only producers that can play this game are people with a large budget and a big pocketbook. Because it's already knocked the smaller producers off the pole."
The Greenhouse gas industrial reporting and control act (GGIRCA) came into force in British Columbia on Friday, the province’s ministry of environment said.
The new act, that puts an emissions cap on British Columbia’s LNG facilities making them “the cleanest in the world“, combines several pieces of existing greenhouse gas legislation into a single framework, the statement issued on Friday reads.
Webmaster's comment: The legislation makes BC's LNG facilities "the cleanest in the world" — even though there are no LNG facilities in BC — by regulatory fiction rather than by actually making the process the cleanest in the world. Apparently, BC's LNG projects will actually emit around "three times more carbon dioxide per tonne of LNG than the world’s leading facilities in Australia and Norway." [See B.C.'s LNG plants won't be cleanest: report, CBC News, 2013 Sep 23.]
Energy company Oregon LNG has withdrawn a lawsuit filed against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before a judge could officially dismiss it. The move will theoretically let the company refile the complaint.
Magistrate Judge John V. Acosta ruled against Oregon LNG in late December. But the ruling isn't official without the signature of a federal district judge, and the company voided the lawsuit before that could happen, reported The Daily Astorian.
Oregon LNG failed to prove that the Army Corps abandoned property on Warrenton's Skipanon Peninsula, according to Acosta's ruling. The company wants to build a liquefied natural gas facility there, but the Corps has nearly 60-year-old rights to the property.
"It's just one more legal defeat for Oregon LNG in kind of a long string of them," said Columbia Riverkeeper attorney Miles Johnson. "It makes it harder for them to see how they're going to get this project off the ground." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Oregon LNG has voluntarily withdrawn from litigation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before a federal district court judge could officially dismiss the energy company’s claims.
“The direct implication is that there won’t be an official court judgment saying that Oregon LNG ‘loses,’” said Miles Johnson, a clean water attorney for Columbia Riverkeeper, a Hood River-based environmental group opposing the LNG project. “The court’s opinion in this case makes it clear that Oregon LNG wasn’t going to win the case, but there won’t be a final judgment out there saying that.”
Asked if Oregon LNG’s move surprised the Army Corps, Michelle Helms, an Army Corps public affairs specialist, said, “‘Unexpected’ would be a good way to say it.”
Had Oregon LNG waited for the federal district court to finalize Acosta’s judgment, the company’s case would likely have been dismissed “with prejudice” — meaning the case would have been dismissed permanently.
Asked about liquefied natural gas proposals on the Oregon Coast, Wyden said he has tried to ensure public participation at every step of the Jordan Cove LNG project near Coos Bay, which recently gained federal environmental approval. Wyden said he wants the Coos Bay project to succeed or fail on merit, while he is more skeptical about the Warrenton proposal.
“The company up here really has not been interested in public opinion,” Wyden said of Oregon LNG, which is trying to get approval for an LNG pipeline through Clatsop County and an export terminal on the Skipanon Peninsula.
Meanwhile, he said, the U.S. needs to focus on confronting climate change and switching to more renewable energy sources like wind and solar. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
California governor’s state-of-emergency declaration includes requirement that gas utility pay to fully mitigate the leak's emissions of methane.
California Gov. Jerry Brown ordered Southern California Gas Co. to pay for a mitigation program to offset damage to the world's climate from a massive methane leak at an underground natural gas storage facility in Los Angeles.
The directive was part of Brown's Jan. 6 declaration of a state of emergency. The ongoing leak has caused more than 2,300 people to evacuate their homes and forced school closures in the Porter Ranch neighborhood of northwest Los Angeles. Brown's proclamation also directed state agencies to protect public health and safety, oversee efforts to stop the 12-week-old leak and ensure that SoCal Gas is held accountable for costs and any violations.
The leak, in the Aliso Canyon, is the largest known emissions source of its kind and comes during a growing realization of the magnitude of methane emissions associated with the oil and gas industry and the critical role that the gas plays in global warming, said Mark Brownstein, vice president of the climate and energy program at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).
Since Oct. 23, a ruptured natural gas well that is part of one of the country's largest underground natural gas storage facilities has leaked more than 80,000 metric tons of methane into the atmosphere. The well's cumulative emissions equal approximately 2 percent of all natural gas industry emissions nationwide over the course of a year, said Anthony Marchese, a mechanical engineer at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
The nation's entire oil and gas industry currently leaks more than 7 million tons of methane a year, not counting the ongoing Aliso Canyon leak. The effect that these numerous, smaller leaks have on climate change over a period of 20 years is equal to that of 160 coal-fired power plants over the same time period, according to an EDF calculation based on Environmental Protection Agency data. Oil and gas companies are not required to fund mitigation efforts for climate damage from these smaller leaks, but environmentalists say the size of the current leak in Los Angeles could change how regulators view all emissions. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: This provides an example of government formalizing methane and fossil fuel as being contrary to the public interest, holding industry responsible for its consequences.
The unfolding disaster comes six years after a study warned of lax oversight at America's underground natural gas storage facilities.
An official of the California Air Resources Board earlier this week declared the leak at the company's Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility the single biggest contributor to climate change in California. Methane is a greenhouse gas that's dozens of times more potent than carbon dioxide. By one estimate, the leak is the greenhouse gas equivalent of driving 7 million cars each day and will most likely continue for weeks before it can be capped.
Officials believe the gas is spewing from a damaged 7-inch diameter pipe 500 feet below the surface. From there, the gas likely fills a cavity between the 7-inch pipe and an outer 11 3/4-inch "casing" pipe that is cemented to the surrounding rock. Because the outer pipe and cement only reach to a depth of 990 feet, engineers suspect the gas is flowing down under the outer casing and seeping through the surrounding rock to the surface, according to Jason Marshall, chief deputy director of the division of oil, gas and geothermal resources at the state Department of Conservation.
The blowout wasn't entirely unexpected, based on a 2009 review of U.S. underground natural gas storage facilities. The peer-reviewed study concluded there was a high risk of leaks because of weak regulatory oversight. Environmental litigators are now likening the Aliso Canyon blowout to Deepwater Horizon, the 2010 oil spill that continued for months in the Gulf of Mexico.
Soon after the Aliso Canyon leak was detected Oct. 23, engineers tried to plug the leak by pumping in pressurized water and mud. After seven attempts, however, the crews stopped out of concern that the pressure they were exerting might do more harm than good.
SoCal Gas is now offering air purification and weatherization services to affected residents and is installing mesh screens at the site of the blowout to try to trap an oily mist that nearby residents have detected falling on their homes and vehicles. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
The U.S. government said it was providing technical support to California utility regulators working to stem a leak from a natural gas storage facility.
The site near Los Angeles has been leaking since late October. The Southern California Gas Co., which controls the facility, has been unable to control the leak. The state says the leak appears to be the result of damage to well infrastructure located about 500 feet underground.
The site near Los Angeles has been leaking since late October. The Southern California Gas Co., which controls the facility, has been unable to control the leak. The state says the leak appears to be the result of damage to well infrastructure located about 500 feet underground.
"This leak is already the biggest single source of climate pollution in the state of California, equal to the exhaust of 7 million cars every day," the activist group Greenpeace said. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
More than two months after a natural gas storage well in Southern California began uncontrollably spewing methane gas, the governor of California has declared a state of emergency.
The well at the Aliso Canyon storage facility, just north of Los Angeles, is releasing tens of thousands of kilograms of methane per hour. An analysis in November showed the well, over the course of a month, put out a quarter of the state's total output of the potent greenhouse gas, reports NPR member station KPCC.
The leak isn't expected to be capped for months. It's invisible to the naked eye but can be viewed with infrared cameras.
As we've previously reported, the leak raises concerns about environmental impact — methane is a greenhouse gas that warms the atmosphere far faster than carbon dioxide — as well as the health of residents at Porter Ranch, a nearby residential community.
The gas company, which acknowledges that the odorant in natural gas is "unpleasant" but maintains that the leak "does not pose an imminent threat to public safety," has paid to relocate thousands of families living near the breached storage facility. Demand for rental properties in the area has skyrocketed, and member station KPCC has reported on potential price-gouging.
A methane leak of this scale appears to be without precedent, representatives of both an environmental group and the gas company told Lobet. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: "Doesn't pose an imminent threat to public safety"?!!! Methane is flammable and can be explosive! — once more proving that the fossil fuel industry cannot be taken at its word.
A leaking natural gas storage field continues to belch thousands of tons of methane into the air every week, causing health and climate concerns.
In 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will issue long-awaited rules to control methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. The regulations will emerge after years of activism and scientific studies on the climate risk posed by methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that's dozens of times more potent that carbon dioxide.
But the regulations will likely be overshadowed by the ongoing saga in Aliso Canyon, Calif., where a leaking natural gas storage field continues to belch thousands of tons of methane into the air every week.
The leak was detected on Oct. 23. Hundreds of residents in the Porter Ranch neighborhood of Los Angeles have relocated due to headaches, nausea, nosebleeds and other health effects. SoCal Gas, the utility that runs the facility, attributes the problem to a side effect of breathing in mercaptans—the odorizing chemical that's added to natural gas to make leaks detectable.
"This wasn't a leak, it was a blowout," [attorney R. Rex Parris] said. His office, the R. Rex Parris Law Firm, is part of a coalition of firms representing more than 1,000 Porter Ranch residents. "That whole well blew. It's the most massive leak in the history of this country in a populated area," Parris said.
Amy Townsend-Small, a University of Cincinnati professor who's studied methane emissions from the natural gas industry, said the size of the leak is staggering.
After six failed attempts to plug the leak, SoCal Gas said it will fix the problem by drilling a relief well—a process that will take three to four months. The company is simultaneously exploring other solutions, including pumping fluids into the well, SoCal spokeswoman Trisha Muse said in an email.
Parris and his colleagues have filed numerous lawsuits against SoCal and the government seeking damages and additional information on air quality data. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: The article also indicates that benzene levels in the surrounding air are 3–5 times higher than in urban Los Angeles. Hydrogen sulfide has also been detected. Both substances are toxic to humans.
Hawaii Gas has chosen an international company for the Honolulu gas utility’s $300 million plan to ship in liquefied natural gas in bulk amounts to the Islands, an executive from the company confirmed to PBN Friday.
“We have decided on a company that we made a final award to,” Joseph Boivin, senior vice president of business development and corporate affairs for Hawaii Gas, told PBN. “It’s an international company. The contracts will be finalized at the end of the first quarter.”
Boivin declined to name the company, although he noted that it will be responsible for the supply of LNG to Hawaii and ownership and operation of the planned floating storage and regasificiation unit.
The vessel’s final destination is likely to be the Manzanillo LNG import terminal in Colima state, although Perupetro has not confirmed it in its data.
2016 January 3
Emails and documents obtained by DeSmog reveal that the U.S. Department of Trade has actively promoted and facilitated business deals for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry and export terminal owners, even before some of the terminals have the federal regulatory agency permits needed to open for business.
This release of the documents coincides with the imminent opening of the first ever LNG export terminal in the U.S. hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) era, owned by Cheniere.
The documents came via an open records request filed by DeSmog with the Port of Lake Charles. The request centered around the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) the Port signed with the Panama Canal Authority in January 2015.
The records offer an inside glimpse of how — as the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) weigh environmental and energy policy concerns before handing out LNG export permits — other federal agencies have proceeded as if the permits are a fait accompli.
They also further raise the specter that, as some have highlighted, FERC and DOE merely serve as rubber-stamp regulatory agencies in service to powerful industrial interests. Further, they demonstrate how pivotal the proposed and nearly operational Panama Canal expansion project is for the LNG shipping industry moving forward. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]