"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
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2016 April 29
Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman says she brought a "dire" message to federal officials Ottawa last week, hammering home the impacts the latest oil and gas downturn is having on Northeast B.C.
The meetings were aimed to promote a liquefied natural gas industry in B.C. and urge a speedy decision on Pacific Northwest LNG, the $36-billion initiative being spearheaded by Malaysia's Petronas and its Canadian subsidiary Progress Energy.
The trip was arranged and hosted by MP Bob Zimmer. The group also met with François-Philippe Champagne, the parliamentary secretary to the finance minister, and Opposition infrastructure and communities critic Dianne Watts.
Washington DC — Setting a new lopsided quarterly record, renewable sources (i.e., wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower) outpaced — in fact, swamped — natural gas by a factor of more than 70:1 for new electrical generating capacity placed in-service during the first three months of calendar year 2016.
According to the latest just-released monthly "Energy Infrastructure Update" report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) Office of Energy Projects, nine new "units" of wind provided 707 MW, followed by 44 units of solar (522 MW), 9 units of biomass (33 MW), and one unit of hydropower (29 MW). By comparison, only two new units of natural gas (18 MW) came on line. There was no new capacity reported for the quarter from coal, oil, nuclear power, or geothermal steam.
Further, solar (75 MW), wind (72 MW), and biomass (33 MW) accounted for 100 percent of new generating capacity reported by FERC for just the month of March. Solar and wind were the only sources of new capacity in January as well.
While often touted as being a 'bridge fuel,' natural gas is increasingly becoming an unnecessary bridge to nowhere. As renewables continue to rapidly expand their share of the nation's electrical generation, it's becoming clear that natural gas will eventually join coal, oil, and nuclear power as fuels of the past.
[N]either EIA nor FERC fully accounts for all electricity generated by distributed, smaller-scale renewable energy sources such as rooftop solar…. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
2016 April 26
[This same letter appeared recently in the Telegraph Journal. —webmaster]
Critical provincial and municipal elections are just around the comer on May 9. Community members around Passamaquoddy Bay need to be aware of an important safety and economic issue that faces us all — and that St. Andrews and Campobello Island residents have the power and opportunity to resolve this problem for all of us. The issue is the remaining LNG project in Passamaquoddy Bay, Downeast LNG.
While intermittent responses over the past 12 years from the Canadian federal and provincial governments have objected to the passage of LNG [tankers] through Head Harbour Passage and into Passamaquoddy Bay, they have not taken decisive action which could have, and still can, immediately stop the LNG projects. Ottawa has refused to enact a regulation or law prohibiting LNG ship transits into the bay. The Province of New Brunswick has actually discouraged Campobello Island and St. Andrews councils from using their local power, voices and votes to enact a local zoning bylaw that could and would stop Downeast LNG dead in its tracks.
…[B]oth St. Andrews and Campobello Island have the ability to pass a local bylaw prohibiting large foreign or domestic federally-defined hazard zones from encroaching on zoned residential and recreational areas. The new bylaw would immediately mean that Downeast LNG ships would literally be prohibited from transiting into and out of Passamaquoddy Bay, and to do so would be in violation of that law — a place Downeast LNG and their investors do not want to be. It would also mean that the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) would be aiding and abetting that illegal activity. Thus, enacting such a bylaw could stop the LNG permitting at FERC.
In 2014 this local bylaw was proposed to the Campobello Council, but no action was taken. It was also proposed in 2015 to the St. Andrews Council, which rejected it. Save Passamaquoddy Bay 3-Nation Alliance headquarters in Eastport proposed this concept, pointing out the power these two local communities have to act for all of the rest of us.
You can be assured that if I were mayor of St. Andrews right now, the bylaw would already be in place. Ways exist to take this decisive action related to the LNG threat that has dogged our area for way too long. This bylaw can be locked in place now. To enact this solution is to stand against big U.S. corporations, deep U.S. pockets, threats from U.S. developers, real estate devaluation and harm to our vital tourism — and fishing-based economy — not to mention disruption of our safety, security, quality of life and children's future.
When voting on May 9 for council candidates, vote for candidates who will enact a bylaw prohibiting LNG hazard zones from endangering your lives and livelihoods. Ask the candidates, push them to recognize this as a logical and attainable solution, and vote accordingly.
[Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Score one for the fracktivists.
New York State has rejected a planned 125-mile long natural gas pipeline that was strongly opposed by environmentalists. Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration ruled late Friday the Constitution Pipeline project failed to meet the state's water quality standards.
The decision is a major blow to the pipeline, which was dreamt up four years ago as a way to transport natural gas fracked in Northeast Pennsylvania to Boston, New York City and other markets in the region.
The Sierra Club put out a statement saying the Constitution Pipeline decision "represents a turning of the tide" that could "inspire a domino effect" on other states feeling emboldened to nix similar projects.
On Monday the backers of the Constitution Pipeline, which include Williams Companies and Cabot Oil & Gas, blasted the New York decision as a purely political one and threatened legal action to overturn the ruling.
Sheila Hollis, a former energy regulator who is now a partner at the law firm Duane Morris, said it's very difficult to build any major new energy infrastructure project -- regardless of who is supporting it or the source of the power.
Webmaster's comment: The Constitution Pipeline would have enabled some natural gas to be exported as LNG from Maine and Nova Scotia. Ms. Hollis' view is typical of energy regulators and law firms that support the fossil energy industry.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued an order denying Sierra Club’s request for rehearing of DOE’s order, which authorizes Dominion Cove Point LNG (DCP) to export 281 Bcf/year of LNG over a 20-year period from DCP’s proposed LNG export terminal at Lusby, Md. to nations without a Free Trade Agreement with the United States. On rehearing, Sierra Club asserted that DOE’s environmental review of DCP’s export proposal failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act because FERC’s Environmental Assessment of the project, which DOE adopted, did not take a “hard look” at the indirect and cumulative impacts of LNG exports, such as the environmental effects of the proposed export terminal on the adjacent neighborhood and induced natural gas production. Sierra Club also argued that DOE “should have assessed the cumulative impacts of drilling induced by all other approved and pending [non-FTA] export projects as part of its cumulative impacts analysis.” DOE rejected Sierra Club’s arguments stating, among other things, that because “the footprint of [DCP’s] Liquefaction Project is entirely within the existing Cove Point Terminal—where much of the land has been previously disturbed by multiple prior projects—the environmental impacts are small in number and well-defined.” In addition, DOE stated that “induced natural gas production attributable to DCP’s Project is not ‘reasonably foreseeable’ and we therefore reject this argument.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Competition is not disappearing fast enough in a very soft global LNG market.
Cheniere (NYSEMKT:LNG) is one of those complex businesses with many moving parts, so it's best to identify first how you could lose money before how you'll make money. The value proposition of Cheniere is the same as it's always been, and that is to leverage the cheap and abundant U.S. shale gas as feedstock for liquefied natural gas to be sent abroad where prices had been much higher. In fact, the natural gas in the U.S. has gotten cheaper and more abundant since the concept was hatched many years ago, but global LNG prices have since fallen sharply as a glut of the product is flooding into the market. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) - An energy company has agreed to slightly move a planned South Texas natural gas facility to accommodate endangered ocelots.
The company plans a liquefied natural gas plant at the Port of Brownsville. Concerns were raised that the site would prevent wildlife from moving between the Boca Chica area, south of the Brownsville Ship Channel, and the Laguna Atascosa (a-tuhs-KOH'-suh) National Wildlife Refuge to the north.
Ralph Cowen with the Brownsville Navigation District, which oversees the port, says Annova agreed to lease a few more acres and slightly move the planned facility.
"As LNG opportunities present themselves to the Haisla we wanted to ensure benefits for our people beyond a few payments here and there," said Haisla Chief Councilor Ellis Ross. "Joint ventures such as this one with Ledcor provide our people with training opportunities and employment, and an ability to partner with and learn from leading Canadian companies."
Webmaster's comment: Unfortunately, employment has trumped health and survival.
The Skeena River snakes out of fir-lined fjords on the misty northern coast of British Columbia, and washes over a thousand-acre sandbar. Flora Bank is a biological bottleneck over which millions of finger-length young salmon enter the sea each spring. Scientist Allen Gottesfeld calls Flora Bank the “Grand Central Station” for the watershed. All streams in the Skeena system lead here.
One of the last great undammed salmon systems in Canada, the Skeena still supports five Pacific salmon species. It has yielded some of the biggest Chinook and steelhead ever recorded. Its fish feed indigenous First Nations, and supply sport and commercial fisheries up and down the British Columbian and Alaskan coasts. And Skeena help underpin the food chain for the world-renowned Great Bear rainforest, a 250-mile long archipelago of islands and coastal enclaves populated by white “spirit bears,” supersized bald eagles, and healthy pods of orcas. That all makes Flora Bank one of the most important stretches of salmon habitat on the West Coast.
And yet Canada’s Trudeau administration is now conidering granting permission to a conglomerate of Asian state oil companies to build an $11.4 billion liquefied natural gas cooling and export terminal over Flora Bank. One of the most threatening components in the project is a Golden Gate-sized bridge that would be built over the bar to carry processed gas from neighboring Lelu Island out to waiting ships. Scientific studies suggest the enormous towers for the bridge could permanently alter the countervailing forces of tides, wind, and river current that have created and sustained Flora Bank for thousands of years. The heavy dredging, drilling and blasting during the bridge and terminal’s construction threaten enormous impact.
…[I]f we lose Flora Bank, we also lose a battle in the crucial struggle to stabilize our climate: approving this energy-intensive project to extract and ship climate-lethal methane reverses all the good climate progress made by world-leading British Columbia. And it would fly in the face of the fresh climate promises that Justin Trudeau wrote in ink on Earth Day in New York.
But British Columbia’s leadership is willing to risk all of that, for the lure of inflated jobs numbers and promised royalties from the gas industry. The province accelerated the project with friendly legislation last summer that exempted it and future natural gas terminals from new taxes and carbon emission constraints. Premier Christy Clark marches lockstep with the gas project developers, led by the Malaysian state oil company, Petronas. Clark and her natural resources staff and ministers have flown to Ottawa to personally lobby the Trudeau administration on the project this spring.
Because of Flora Bank’s importance to Skeena people and fish and to the world, British Columbia activists are now calling out internationally for help. As Trudeau and his cabinet mull over the fate of this place, it’s time for all who care about the interconnection of wild places, wild food, and local cultures and economies to speak up. It’s time for people who care about the global climate to speak up. One very important sandbar hangs in the balance. It’s here today. Let’s not let it disappear tomorrow.
Email the Trudeau cabinet to reject Petronas’ Pacific Northwest LNG project. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
In its recent publication, Canada's Energy Future (CEF), Canada's National Energy Board (NEB) projects that both Canada's natural gas production and its domestic natural gas consumption will increase through the next decade. Exports of natural gas by pipeline to the United States are expected to continue to decline. The planned construction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals on Canada's western coast, which would send LNG exports to Asian markets by 2019, plays a key role in maintaining Canada's overall natural gas exports.
Liquefied natural gas exports to other destinations. With the decline of natural gas exports to the United States, LNG exports are expected to be the primary driver of Canadian natural gas production growth, with production growing from 15 Bcf/d in 2015 to nearly 18 Bcf/d in 2025. The NEB analyzes two additional cases in CEF to explore the impact of LNG exports on production. In a low-LNG case, where no liquefaction facilities are constructed, production remains at the 2015 level of 15 Bcf/d through 2040. In a high-LNG case, where LNG exports reach 4.0 Bcf/d by 2023 and 6.0 Bcf/d by 2030, production increases to 22 Bcf/d by 2040. Based on these results, CEF anticipates that future Canadian natural gas production growth will rely on the construction of LNG export capacity.
Water experts across Canada have reacted with anger and surprise to the closure of one of the nation's most celebrated and effective water study programs at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs.
For 15 years, the Program on Water Issues (POWI), directed by Adele Hurley, brought together the nation's best scientists and policymakers to debate and report on the nation's hot button water issues in an independent, non-partisan forum.
But last month, the Program on Water Issues closed its doors after the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, a private Toronto-based philanthropy, withdrew its funding. The decision to end the program ignores a recommendation from the foundation's outgoing director and CEO, Tom Axworthy, that funding remain in place for another year to give his replacement time to assess the program.
"I found no cases where rigorous groundwater monitoring has been done at any fracking pad. Exactly zero, not a single one. Anywhere, ever," Cherry said.
As the U.S. prepares to enter the European gas markets with its first delivery of liquefied natural gas, Norway and Russia are expected to increase production to lower prices and make exporting less desirable to the U.S.
The first liquefied natural gas (LNG) delivery from the U.S., which is expected to arrive in Europe this week, is expected to spark new market competition in European gas markets.
By courtesy of its hydraulic fracturing technology, the U.S. has become the largest natural gas (shale gas) producer in the world, surpassing Russia, and is now on its way to becoming a major gas exporter. Europe will become the third continental customer for U.S. LNG with a delivery set to arrive in Portugal this week, while the U.S. is expected to increase global LNG supplies by 15-20 percent next year. However, Russia's gas giant, Gazprom, whose biggest customers are in European countries, along with Norway, the second biggest supplier of gas to Europe after Russia, are expected to step up their efforts to prevent losing market share to U.S. gas.
Bros said that if the two countries want to protect their market share against U.S. LNG, they need to pump out more volume to reduce the price to a level that makes U.S. LNG sales to Europe unprofitable. "This way, the owners of U.S. LNG contracts would be better off not producing," the expert added. Bros explained that Russia could show its strength by cutting its prices again to sell additional volume in Europe, as it did in 2015 after the opening of the Lithuanian terminal. When Russia faced competition with the new terminal, Gazprom responded by discounting the price of its gas by 23 percent even before the terminal's launch.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The first European-bound shipment of US LNG is expected to arrive in Spain on Tuesday, according to media reports. The US gas will be sold at a competitive $4.30 per million British thermal units (Btu). Russia’s Gazprom is able to export natural gas to Europe at a cost of around $3.50. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: Russia and Norway are planning on protecting their markets from US encroachment. Gazprom can afford to drop its price to Europe significantly, just to make US LNG unprofitable to export. Ironically, Russia's Gazprom plans to use free market competition to out-market US LNG.
2016 April 21
The energy giant Kinder Morgan Inc. has pulled the plug on its controversial natural gas pipeline proposed through parts of Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire, after failing to sign up enough utility customers and facing stiff consumer and political opposition.
Kinder Morgan said on Wednesday that its Northeast Energy Direct project didn’t receive the commitments from big customers that it needed to proceed with the $3.3 billion plan, which would involve building a 188-mile pipeline from a point west of Albany, N.Y., to Dracut.
[T]he decision could provide a big boost to the other large pipeline construction project proposed for New England, Spectra Energy Partners’ Access Northeast, which has the financial backing of utilities Eversource Energy and National Grid.
Kinder Morgan’s initial decision to proceed with the project, through its Tennessee Gas Pipeline subsidiary, was based on existing contracts it had with some gas utilities, as well as the expectation that others would sign on to buy gas from the line. Executives at the Texas company were also counting on an unprecedented shift pursued by state regulators in New England that would allow electric customers to be charged for pipeline construction costs.
In a statement, Kinder Morgan suggested it did not have enough business to justify moving ahead with the project, saying “there are currently neither sufficient volumes, nor a reasonable expectation of securing them, to proceed with the project as it is currently configured.”
“Kinder Morgan is stopping the pipeline because it is both expensive to ratepayers and simply not needed,” George Bachrach, president of the Environmental League of Massachusetts, said in an e-mail. “Massachusetts has the capacity to develop its own energy in solar, wind and hydro. In the process, we can create new industries and jobs here, rather than exporting our dollars and jobs to fossil fuel states.”
…US Senator Edward Markey praised Kinder Morgan’s suspension, saying the pipeline could have turned New England into a “throughway to export US gas to overseas markets” without benefitting residents here, by sending the gas to Canada for export. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: This bodes ill for the LNG export projects proposed by Downeast LNG and in Nova Scotia. Where will they obtain the natural gas to export? My, oh my.
In an unusual move Thursday, FERC issued a lengthy press release laying out in exceptionally extensive detail all of its actions, investigations and consultations in its preparation of draft environmental impact statements (DEIS) issued for Columbia Pipeline Group's Leach XPress and Rayne XPress expansion projects.
The press release was obviously directed at the multitude of attacks by climate change enthusiasts, who in the last year have switched much of their ire against fossil fuels from attempts to stop shale fracturing at the wellhead to slowing or derailing new natural gas pipeline and liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has become a target, with protesters attempting to upset Commission meetings and filing lawsuits charging the agency fails to do a thorough job in its environmental reviews. The Sierra Club and others have lost several lawsuits attempting to overturn FERC authorization of the Dominion Cove Point export LNG terminal in Maryland, which is now under construction (see Daily GPI, June 3, 2015)
Thousands of letters of protest have rained down on FERC over the last few years, objecting to every pipeline and LNG project. Earlier this year a group of 165 protest groups of various stripes sent a letter to lawmakers asking them to request the Government Accountability Office to launch an investigation of FERC, which they claim is biased against [sic; in favor of] pipelines (see Daily GPI, Jan. 19). In one lawsuit filed in federal court, environmental group Delaware Riverkeeper Network argued that FERC is "biased toward approving jurisdictional natural gas pipeline projects" because of its funding structure (see Daily GPI, March 4).
In what has become a routine occurrence, FERC's open meeting Thursday was interrupted by protesters who shouted allegations that the agency routinely gives rubber stamp approval to projects the protesters believe will damage the environment, before they were escorted from the room. In December, FERC members testifying before a House subcommittee said increased opposition to energy infrastructure projects threatens to further impede their development (see Daily GPI, Dec. 1, 2015).
In this case "FERC staff determined that construction and operation of the projects would result in limited adverse environmental impacts, with the exception of impacts on forested land," according to the DEIS. "Construction of Columbia Gas's Leach XPress Project would result in significant impacts on forested lands,” but because of “Columbia Gas' proposed mitigation and to recommendations in the draft EIS. FERC staff concludes that the impacts on forested lands would be reduced to less than significant levels." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: FERC's "striking back" was with a fly swatter. FERC continues to live in an alternate universe — an illegal universe, at that. The fossil-fuel-friendly agency consistently violates the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), along with other laws, including the Freedom of Information Act.
The increasing heat that FERC Commissioners are feeling on their necks is well deserved.
2016 April 20
BANGOR, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage's nominee to the Maine Board of Environmental Protection won very narrow approval [April 5th] from a legislative committee in a 6 to 5 vote, largely along party lines.
LePage nominated Kathleen Chase, a former Republican representative from Wells, to sit on the seven-member board, which is responsible for interpreting and enforcing Maine environmental policies.
The Natural Resources Council of Maine testified strongly against Chase's nomination, citing her record in the House, including her sponsorship of a bill they say would have exempted all wetlands in the state from shoreline zoning protections.
Pete Didisheim, of NRCM, told the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, that no nominee for the BEP in the past 20 years has had "such an adversarial stance toward Maine's environmental laws." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: The Maine Board of Environmental Protection (MBEP) was the state agency that vetted the Downeast LNG project in 2007, and would likely be the permitting agency in the event Downeast LNG again entered state permitting.
The Gallant government says it will grant a request from Saint John council to kill an 11-year-old tax concession at the Canaport LNG development 14 years ahead of schedule.
Property taxes to the city from the LNG development will jump by $7.52 million per year if the tax deal is repealed, which the province will pay to the city early next winter.
But an increase that large will likely lower its equalization grant by close to $4 million, which would be distributed to other have-not communities. That scenario lowers the gain to Saint John of repealing the tax deal to $3.5 million.
Last year, CBC News obtained the lease agreement for the LNG property, which shows Irving Oil collects $12.25 million US in annual rent for leasing it to the LNG development — an arrangement that was not disclosed to the city in 2005.
The battle over Dominion Energy’s Cove Point liquefied natural gas export terminal in Lusby, MD, is now in the hands of a federal appeals court, even as construction on the facility continues. The D.C. circuit court of appeals heard oral arguments from attorneys representing environmentalists, industry and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Thursday over whether or not FERC violated the National Environmental Policy Act by approving construction of the export terminal without conducting an environmental impact statement.
The Sierra Club, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the Patuxent Riverkeeper and EarthReports Inc. sued the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission after the commission rejected the environmental groups’ appeal to consider the upstream impacts of exporting LNG, and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions.
The environmentalists also argued in their brief to the court that the LNG export terminal will result in increased greenhouse gas emissions at a time when the U.S. is working to reduce its climate warming impacts and signed an agreement to do so as part of the Paris climate talks in December.
The groups have asked the court to put a halt on construction while the case is pending appeal.
FERC has said natural gas production is not connected to the export terminal. The agency says Marcellus Shale production would continue with or without the existence of Cove Point. And it says Cove Point could export gas from other parts of the country. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: FERC ignores the reality that many natural gas wells have been shut down due to the natural gas glut — production does not blindly continue. Apparently, supply and demand theory only work when it is to the advantage of FERC applicants.
Creole Spirit is the sixth cargo to be exported by Cheniere Energy Inc's project and the first to come to Europe.
FERC has issued an order authorizing Sabine Pass LNG to introduce feed gas, refrigerants and process fluids in certain areas related to the commissioning of Train 2 LNG production at Sabine Pass LNG’s Cameron Parish, La., export facility.
FERC issued an order today granting Magnolia LNG, LLC’s application to construct and operate a liquefaction and LNG export terminal at Lake Charles, La. and Kinder Morgan Louisiana Pipeline LLC’s application to construct an interconnected pipeline. In approving the applications, FERC rejected arguments by Allegheny Defense Project and Sierra Club that FERC should find that Magnolia LNG’s application is contrary to the public interest because (1) “in addition to the direct impacts from construction and operation of the terminal, the exportation of gas will induce natural gas production activities with attendant adverse environmental impacts,” and (2) the project “will result in indirect environmental impacts from the combustion of exported gas in importing markets and exports may result in increased domestic gas prices that will result in increased reliance on coal as fuel at industrial and electric generation facilities, causing further adverse environmental impacts.” FERC concluded that construction of the proposed facilities is an environmentally acceptable action if they are constructed and operated as described in the final Environmental Impact Statement and with the environmental mitigation measures included as conditions in the order.
Webmaster's comment: In FERC's eyes, LNG terminals operate "outside the environment."
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued an order authorizing Flint Hills Resources to export approximately 3.62 Bcf/year (approximately 120,000 gallons/day) of LNG, over a 20-year term, from a liquefaction facility owned by Stabilis LNG Eagle Ford, LLC in George West, Texas. The exports would go to nations which have in place a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States. The order states that DOE will issue a separate order on Flint Hills Resources’ application to export LNG to non-FTA nations.
BROWNSVILLE — A liquefied natural gas facility has existed in Lusby, Maryland, on Chesapeake Bay since the early 1970s, though only as an LNG import and storage terminal.
Stefanie Herweck of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Sierra Club visited Lusby recently and delivered a presentation on her experience to a well-attended gathering of LNG opponents Monday night at the Historic Alonzo Building.
Herweck said the experience of residents of Lusby contains lessons for what Valley residents could face if LNG export terminals are built at the Port of Brownsville.
Three companies, Annova LNG, Rio Grande LNG and Texas LNG, have announced plans to develop facilities at the port. Those plans are being reviewed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which must approve the projects before they can move forward.
One of the lessons from Maryland’s Cove Point, however, is that FERC won’t necessarily deny a permit, even if a project negatively affects the surrounding community, Herweck said. Although remote siting is the industry standard, FERC approved construction of Dominion’s export terminal in an area with nearly 2,500 residential homes within the two-mile radius hazard/evacuation zone, she said.
Webmaster's comment: "FERC won't necessarily deny a permit"??? It would be earthshaking, just as it was when FERC denied permitting the Jordan Cove LNG project in Oregon.
Garry Reece, who lost to John Helin in November’s mayoral race, said the new mayor overstepped his authority in declaring the elected Lax Kw’alaams Band Council’s conditional support for exporting liquefied natural gas from Lelu Island in northwestern British Columbia.
Mr. Reece and other aboriginal critics of Pacific NorthWest LNG held a news conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, saying the federal government should reject the plans to build the terminal on Lelu Island. The energy consortium, led by Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas, is counting on approval from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the federal cabinet.
In the spring of 2015, Mr. Reece oversaw a series a meetings in which members of the Lax Kw’alaams overwhelmingly opposed the project. But in the band election five months ago, he finished in third place in balloting for mayor, trailing Mr. Helin and Carl Sampson Jr.
“The B.C. government has been saying that we’ve changed our minds and support the project,” Mr. Reece said in a prepared statement. “That’s simply not true, and John Helin had no business sending a letter to that effect without consulting his elected council, hereditary chiefs and our community. That letter does not represent the position of the Nine Allied Tribes of Lax Kw’alaams.”
OTTAWA — The fight over a mega gas pipeline project in British Columbia reached Ottawa Tuesday as chiefs and stakeholders opposed to the proposal shared a stage to get their message out.
“If they approve this project, I think (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) declared war on the people who are concerned about this system,” said Gerald Amos, chair of the Friends of Wild Salmon on behalf of the chiefs assembled.
Chiefs and other stakeholders from up and down the Skeena River on the B.C. interior coast south of Prince Rupert, B.C., flew to Ottawa to counter what they believe is a heavy lobby by Petronas-led Pacific Northwest Gas LNG to push the project through.
“What are we saying to Justin Trudeau? This is a poster child. Lel[u] island and the Petronas project is the poster child for everything that is contained in every single letter that went out to his ministers. Climate change, greenhouse gases, relations with First Nations,” said Amos. “Everything is wrapped up in one issue in Petronas on Lel[u] island and he has a challenge on his hands.”
First Nations leaders from British Columbia were scheduled to travel to Ottawa this week to make their case against a proposed liquefied natural gas project near Prince Rupert.
Hereditary Chiefs of Lelu Island, Wetsuwe'ten and Gitxsan First Nations join other leaders to protest what they say are misleading claims of indigenous support for the Petronas-led Pacific Northwest liquefied natural gas project. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
LNG groups say the cuts are ‘alarming’
As it awaits a decision on Pacific NorthWest LNG, gas driller Progress Energy said it is drastically cutting its spending on the project, from $5 billion over the next three years to $500 million in the next two years.
An organizer with a pro-LNG group in Fort St. John says he's "alarmed" by news.
"From a starting point of already bad, this is worse," said Alan Yu of Fort St. John for LNG.
"The light at the end of the tunnel is dimming."
Amid a global glut of natural gas, and implacable opposition from environmentalists and some First Nations leaders, British Columbia's dream of exporting liquefied natural gas to world markets is at risk of becoming a pipe dream.
Consider some of the recent policy announcements regarding LNG. In January, the federal government announced that it will require LNG terminal environmental reviews to consider both the direct and upstream greenhouse gas emissions of these projects. Details as to what this means, of course, will be announced at some later date.
WARRENTON — Oregon LNG confirmed Monday that a $6 billion terminal and pipeline project on the Skipanon Peninsula was scrapped because Leucadia National Corp., the New York-based holding company that financed the project, decided to cease funding.
Company representatives had told Warrenton city officials Friday that funding was the reason behind the decision to end operations, but the company did not publicly make a formal announcement until Monday.
Brett VandenHeuvel, the executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper, the Hood River-based environmental group that fought the project, said liquefied natural gas is “the wrong direction and locks us into dirty fuels.
“The world is moving more rapidly towards clean energy. The United States and Asia and many other countries are rapidly developing clean energy, and we can’t lock ourselves into these giant terminals that are not moving (us) forward towards clean energy.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
The owners of Jordan Cove are asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reconsider its decision of March 11 rejecting its certificate to build the $6 billion terminal that would deliver liquefied natural gas to Japan, Korea and other Pacific Rim markets.
The commission on May 8 is to decide whether to reconsider, reverse its previous denial or reject the application entirely.
“If they deny it, then we’ll have to reapply and that’s what we’ll do,” said Bob Braddock, senior adviser on the Jordan Cove project. [Colored emphasis added.]
The companies backing the Jordan Cove energy project in southern Oregon have appealed a federal decision denying permits needed to move forward.
The Canadian energy firm Veresen and the Williams pipeline company propose to build a natural gas liquefaction facility and export terminal in Coos Bay. Construction of a 230-mile pipeline that [would] connect the terminal with natural gas supplies in the inland West is being proposed as well.
The companies filed a “request for a rehearing” with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on [April 8th].
Federal regulators have several options in front of them. They can grant or deny a rehearing or extend the process timeline. They have 30 days to respond.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) opposes the importation of LNG for electricity generation, calling it a "distraction" from efforts to hit the 100% mandate. At a renewable energy conference in August, Ige told Hawaii stakeholders they should focus on cleaner solutions instead of importing another fossil fuel.
HECO, however, says that LNG could be integrated into the exisiting power supply system with minimal infrastructure upgrades and that it would phase the fuel out by 2045, though the exact resources it would substitue remain unclear.
WASHINGTON, April 20 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate passed the first broad energy bill in nine years on Wednesday, legislation containing modest measures popular with both Republicans and Democrats to modernize the power grid and speed the permitting process for liquefied natural gas exports.
The Energy Policy and Modernization Act would increase U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), eventually helping to give European consumers alternatives to relying mainly on Russia for gas.
Lawmakers from both the House and Senate will next iron out differences over the bill. The Senate bill, for instance, requires the Department of Energy to issue a decision on LNG projects within 45 days of an environmental assessment, while the House bill directs the DOE to make the decision on permits after 30 days. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
The first exports of U.S. shale gas are already helping to prevent prices for the fuel from revisiting a 17-year low.
Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana has received almost 35.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas since pipeline deliveries to the facility were first reported on Oct. 23, with most of that volume arriving in the last six weeks. Gas futures have climbed 7 percent over the past month as the shipments limit the size of the biggest seasonal supply glut in four years.
Natural gas futures have rebounded 26 percent since dropping to $1.611 per million British thermal units early last month, the lowest intraday price since August 1998. Gas for May delivery rose 5 percent to $2.037 at 12:24 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Cheniere’s gas demand so far this year has helped support prices by 5 to 10 cents per million Btu, said Cooper. While volumes are still relatively small, by this time in 2017, Sabine Pass’s total consumption will reach 200 billion cubic feet or more, he said.
And more export help is on the way. Cheniere expects to finish commissioning the first plant, known as Train 1, at the Louisiana terminal by the end of this month and begin the startup process for Train 2 in August, Meg Gentle, president of marketing for the company, said in the LNG 18 conference in Perth April 13. Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s BG Group Plc is contracted to receive volumes once Train 1 is completed, according to company filings.
Webmaster's comment: The recent natural gas futures price boost may be only temporary, since large-volume competitors (e.g., Australia) will be adding their volumes to the market.
Thomas Coffin, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the federal district court in Eugene, Oregon, has ruled in the case Juliana v. United States, that a climate change lawsuit, brought by twenty-one youth from the ages of 8 to 19 years-old, may proceed. The lawsuit specifically asserts that the federal government of the United States is in violation of their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property by allowing and supporting ongoing production and combustion of fossil fuels.
Magistrate Coffin referred to the children's case as an "unprecedented lawsuit" that involves "government action and inaction" leading to "carbon pollution of the atmosphere, climate destabilization, and ocean acidification." In ruling that the lawsuit may go forward, Magistrate Coffin stated the following in his legal decision: "The debate about climate change and its impact has been before various political bodies for some time now. Plaintiffs give this debate justifiability by asserting harms that befall or will befall them personally and to a greater extent than older segments of society."
The fight about climate change now not only will be considered by politicians within legislatures, but it is joined within the judicial branch. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: This court case points, in part, to FERC's intractable permitting violations re NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act).
Even before oil prices plunged, the price of shale gas was already under siege from a domestic supply glut caused by the shale drilling frenzy. All told, prices dropped from its all-time high of over $15/mcf when the shale boom began in 2005 to $1.57/mcf — the lowest levels since 1998 — in March.
In February, the first ever export of LNG from shale gas reached Brazil, leaving from Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana. Last month, a second shipment of American shale gas reached India — but that gas sold for just roughly $5/mcf at the Dabhol LNG import terminal there.
In other words, unfortunately for the shale drilling industry, those new shale exports are entering a world market that is also suffering from its own sudden collapse in prices.
LNG prices hit 18-year lows this month, in part due to collapsing demand from China and other Asian countries for commodities and in part because other countries have also invested heavily in building export facilities at the same time as the U.S.
“U.S. LNG will materialize at a time when the biggest market (Japan) is witnessing a demand reduction and when supply is growing again massively thanks to Australia,” said Thierry Bros, senior gas analyst at Societe Generale, told Reuters in October. “This is the worst possible timing for this new LNG that has no dedicated market.”
Those who expect that LNG exports will reverse the fortunes of shale gas drillers may be in for a rude awakening. “The low and volatile energy price environment is forcing developers to tighten belts and we can expect more proposed projects to delay investment decisions,” James Taverner, a Tokyo-based analyst at IHS Inc., told Bloomberg. “There are far more LNG projects competing to go ahead than the market can absorb.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
In 1978, the DOJ told Congress IOGCC should be disbanded. It wasn't. In 2005, the group claimed credit for the Halliburton loophole after ‘years of hard work.'
When Congress severely limited the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate hydraulic fracturing in 2005, it was a victory for a quasi-governmental organization that has been quietly working for decades to restrict federal oversight of oil and gas.
The group, the 80-year-old Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, began fighting for a fracking exemption as early as 1999. Congressionally sanctioned as an interstate compact, the IOGCC characterizes itself as a government entity, which allows it to call its lobbying of lawmakers "education." But in reality, it is led by regulators from industry-friendly oil and gas producing states, and a full third of its members come from the industry itself. The group has worked behind the scenes for decades to prevent federal regulation so stridently that in 1978, the Justice Department argued it should be disbanded because it had evolved into an advocacy organization.
That seemed particularly true when the group pushed to exempt fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act. The IOGCC passed a resolution in 1999 advocating a bill introduced by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and six years later, claimed credit when a similar measure finally became law at the start of George W. Bush's second term.
What sets the IOGCC apart from trade groups, think tanks and political advocacy organizations is the IOGCC's position as an interstate compact. Authorized by an act of Congress, it can use a loophole in the Lobbying Disclosure Act to lobby without disclosing it to the public. But it's not enough of a government organization to be required to comply with open records laws.
Holman, the Public Citizen lobbyist, said the IOGCC "sounds just like a private trade association, but they've gotten a charter from Congress, and they're using it to evade" the Lobbying Disclosure Act. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
The backers of a proposed $6 billion liquefied natural gas export terminal and pipeline on the Columbia River have decided to end the project, known as Oregon LNG.
The project on Oregon’s North coast faced numerous obstacles, including local opposition, denial of a key land use permit, a glut of LNG hitting the international market this year, and a recent decision by federal regulators not to permit a competing facility, Jordan Cove, proposed for Coos Bay, due to lack of demand for LNG.
“Gas and oil are very cheap right now, and that impacts the finances of these projects, whether or not they make sense,” [said Brett VandenHeuvel, director of Columbia Riverkeeper].
“Market conditions have changed since many LNG export projects in the United States were initially proposed. Proposed LNG terminals in the United States face not only increased competition from other domestic and foreign terminals that have been completed, but they also face uncertainty in global LNG demand,” [Energy Information Administration] wrote. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
2016 April 17
Natural gas may not survive in the province if it is subjected to ongoing fierce price competition like it is currently enduring from propane, the head of Enbridge Gas New Brunswick suggested on Tuesday.
Enbridge has asked the EUB to let it increase residential rates by 49 per cent to $7.24 per gigajoule, up from $4.85.
On Monday, Enbridge revealed 73 of its commercial customers had to be paid an average of $6,700 each to not switch to propane last year, and executives told the company's rate hearing the same is likely required to hang onto critical business customers again this year, even with price discounts.
Enbridge acknowledges it lost more than 200 commercial customers to lower cost propane last year and failed to sign up another 300 commercial accounts it had been budgeting to add to the provincial distribution system. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: What? Natural gas isn't cheap? The LNG/natural gas industry hasn't been telling the truth?
The state's highest court will hear arguments May 5 in a case which will determine whether Massachusetts electric utilities can enter into long-term contracts for natural gas pipeline capacity, and then sell that gas to power generators on the spot market.
The electric utilities further wish to pass their costs on to ratepayers — an arrangement which would, in effect, let Eversource and National Grid help finance new interstate natural gas pipelines planned by Kinder Morgan and Spectra.
In the case before the Supreme Judicial Court, the Conservation Law Foundation and Engie Gas & LNG LLC, which imports liquefied natural gas at its shipping terminal in Everett, are appealing an October 2015 order issued by the Massachusetts Dept. of Public Utilities.
The Conservation Law Foundation and Engie both argue in recently filed briefs that the DPU does not have authority to approve the contracts, and that their order contravenes the state's 1997 Restructuring Act, which mandated that electric utilities were to separate themselves from the power generation business.
Major natural gas pipelines proposed for Massachusetts include Kinder Morgan's Northeast Energy Direct and Access Northeast, a project jointly proposed by Spectra Energy, Eversource Energy and National Grid. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
PENDLETON – National Fuel has told federal regulators that it intends to delay in-ground work on its natural gas pipeline project in Niagara County for a year.
That means no excavation will be carried out until 2017 – if the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approves the project at all – on an expansion of existing pipelines in Pendleton.
The project, called Northern Access 2016, is part of a plan to export to Canada the gas National Fuel obtains in Pennsylvania by use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Kinder Morgan Inc. units Elba Liquefaction Co. LLC and Southern LNG Co. LLC have awarded the contract for the engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning and startup of the Elba Island liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project to IHI E&C International Corp. The approximately $2 billion project would consist of 10 trains connected with the existing regasification terminal at Elba Island near Savannah, GA, which would be modified to receive LNG from the new liquefaction facilities (see Daily GPI,Feb. 8). Modifications to the existing Elba facilities would include compression for vapor handling and new pumps for loading the LNG on vessels for export. Royal Dutch Shell plc is the customer for 100% of the liquefaction capacity and ship-loading services being developed by the project. When completed, Elba will have the capability to handle 2.5 million tonnes per annum of LNG. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Houston, 5 April (Argus) — Southern California Telephone & Energy LNG (SCT&E LNG) has signed a fourth non-binding deal for its planned LNG export project in Louisiana.
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) was reached with "a reputable Asian energy company" that owns and operates an LNG import terminal and plans to build more terminals, SCT&E LNG said, without elaborating. The potential multi-billion-dollar deal is for offtake of 2mn t/yr, equivalent to about 256mn cf/d (7.2mn m³/d) of gas.
The potential customer has the option of acquiring equity in the export project on Monkey Island, along the east side of the Calcasieu ship channel in Cameron parish, Louisiana.
The $9.3bn, 12mn t/yr project is scheduled to come on line in 2022. SCT&E LNG is a subsidiary of Temecula, California-based wireless communications and energy company SCT&E.
Webmaster's comment: This adds more woe to Downeast LNG. The US LNG export volume is already a multiple of international demand. There is no room for a project that does not have permits to construct.
Bloomberg reports that the second shipment of LNG produced at Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass LNG terminal in Cameron Parish, La. was purchased on a spot basis by Gail India Ltd. The shipment is expected to reach the Dabhol import terminal on India’s west coast by mid-April. According to the report, the delivered price of the cargo is about $5/MMBtu, compared to the $4.30/MMBtu price paid by northeast Asian customers for spot cargoes.
Although the ultimate fate of the project is still undecided, the project partners approved a budget of approximately $230 million for field work for the 2016 season.
The 2016 season’s geophysical work will include some onshore work near the proposed site of the LNG production facility in Nikiski and offshore work in the Cook Inlet from three vessels, all up to 240 feet in length. The vessels will collect data about the bottom surface and subsurface of Cook Inlet, evaluate seabed features and identify soil conditions.
Offshore, surveyors will be doing bathymetry — submarine topography — to gather information to determine the best route for the proposed pipeline. O’Connor said the work would begin as soon as April or May.
A rare prehistoric glass sponge reef estimated to be nearly the same length as the stretch of highway between Prince Rupert to Port Edward was discovered in Chatham Sound two years ago and only now environmental groups are taking notice.
A rare prehistoric glass sponge reef estimated to be nearly the same length as the stretch of highway between Prince Rupert to Port Edward was discovered in Chatham Sound two years ago and only now environmental groups are taking notice.
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) … non-profit environmental group has been trying to get the glass sponge reefs protected in B.C. for at least 15 years. Much of the group’s focus has been on the Hecate Strait and Georgia Strait reefs. In 1987, four reefs in Hecate Strait were discovered and some of the reefs were determined to be more than 9,000 years old. These reefs are a living example of the reefs that existed during the Jurassic Period and they provide a sanctuary, habitat and nursery grounds for aquatic species.
Spectra Energy is creating a 200 metre or greater buffer between the pipeline’s proposed route and the glass sponge reefs.
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — A new video series from the BC LNG Alliance features residents from Fort St. John, including Mayor Lori Ackerman.
The series, called ‘What I Know’, is made up of 15-second TV spot style videos featuring residents from across northern B.C., and figures from the oil and gas industry.
Webmaster's comment: This pro-LNG propaganda indicates a greater effort to sway public opinion in favor. Opponents need to up their own game.
British Columbia’s premier Christy Clark is set to travel on a trade mission to South Korea, the Philippines and Japan in May, in an attempt to promote the province’s LNG export opportunities.
The only thing hotter than Metro Vancouver house prices is the hot seat facing the premier as she gets closer to announcing the next iteration of B.C.’s climate policy. How will she fit a bright, shiny liquefied natural gas (LNG) future into a carbon-constrained policy envelope? Her government seems to be stepping on the gas and the brake at the same time. Yes for LNG, and yes for greenhouse gas emission reductions. Yes, we can have it all.
Christy Clark has been dining out on these successes for the past three years, but her after-dinner speech is getting thinner than the chances of an LNG plant going ahead before the next election. Her government has frozen any further moves to address GHG emissions and only talked about green job investments between breaths of excitement for a bright, shiny LNG future. But now with the Paris commitment, the new federal government’s embrace of a low-carbon future, the diminishing chances of a bright, shiny LNG future, rising B.C. GHG emissions and no chance of meeting legislated 2020 reduction targets, getting real about GHG reductions is unavoidable. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Support for the B.C. Liberal government’s plan to create a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export industry has slipped since just after the 2013 election, an Insights West poll has found.
At the same time, the new survey shows British Columbians are increasingly concerned about hydraulic fracturing, a process that has attracted opposition from environmental groups, some First Nations and some residents in northeast B.C.
“We went from half of the people saying yes let’s do it (LNG), to essentially a split between those who support going for LNG and those who don’t want to see it. And I think that it is really related to the animosity that many feel toward fracking,” Insights West vice-president public affairs Mario Canseco said in an interview Wednesday. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Oregon LNG informed city officials on Friday that the company will withdraw a proposed $6 billion terminal and pipeline project on the Skipanon Peninsula.
The company’s move ends a decade of acrimony over a liquefied natural gas project that galvanized residents to protect the Columbia River and caused political upheaval in Clatsop County.
Mayor Mark Kujala said he was told by a company representative that Leucadia National Corp., the New York-based holding company behind the project, was no longer willing to bankroll the effort.
Oregon LNG had proposed a terminal on the Skipanon Peninsula and an 87-mile pipeline to link with a natural gas connector in Washington state. The company wanted to export natural gas from western Canada and the Rocky Mountains to markets in Asia.
Last year, the state Land Use Board of Appeals upheld Clatsop County’s 2013 decision to deny a permit for a portion of the pipeline. The county’s Board of Commissioners had initially approved the pipeline in 2010, but the vote was reversed when new commissioners were elected after a political backlash. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: Another bad idea gives up the ghost.
COOS COUNTY -- Landowners in Coos County are voicing their opposition to the proposed LNG Pipeline.
The meeting was rescheduled but protestors showed up anyway.
A federal agency denied the Jordan Cove Project and Pacific Connector permit last month.
A Jordan Cove representative says Veresen Inc., the company developing Jordan Cove, is preparing to submit their request for a rehearing of that decision.
NextEra’s “extensive experience reducing reliance upon consumption of large amounts of oil through fuel switching to natural gas” will help Hawaii transition to a clean energy future, its brief argues. It can support moving the state from its current reliance on fuel oil for 70% of its generation to greater use of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D), however, opposes Hawaiian Electric's current plan to import LNG for electricity generation, calling it a "distraction" from work needed to meet the state's 100% renewable energy mandate by 2045.
Critics such as the Sierra Club have latched onto that point, pointing to Florida Power & Light, a regulated utility owned by NextEra as a cautionary tale. FPL, critics say, is too reliant on natural gas and has attempted to stymie the growth of rooftop solar in its service area.
It is “NextEra’s Florida brand of 'clean energy transformation,’ which is neither clean nor transformative, particularly for Hawaii," Moriwake argues in his Sierra Club brief. Increasing the use of LNG and smart meters “does not fit Hawaii’s clean energy vision.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Naomi Oreskes says our fossil fuel strategy 'doesn't add up.
When asked what she thinks of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's recent remark that fossil fuel development can fund clean energy to combat climate change, Naomi Oreskes just shakes her head.
"It's an equation that doesn't add up," the Harvard climate professor said with a smile in an interview with the Tyee on Monday. "It's like when [U.S. President] Obama talked about the 'all of the above' energy policy. In theory, that sounds great, but it doesn't work."
Oreskes said Canada cannot seriously address climate change while also building more giant pipelines to deliver Alberta's oil sands bitumen or British Columbia's fracked natural gas to proposed export terminals on both coasts.
For one thing, she said, building giant new bitumen or natural gas pipelines today will commit Canada to fossil fuels for 50, 70, or even 100 years into the future -- a problem she called "infrastructure lock-in" -- when the world has only about 30 years to decarbonize 80 per cent of the global economy if we wish to avoid two degrees of planetary warming and "trillions of dollars" in economic damages.
"My view [on pipelines] is... don't do it!" the professor said. "Because once you go down that road, you may not be able to turn back. And if you can't turn back, then you're looking at four degrees of climate change, metres of sea level rise, and massive intensification of extreme weather events."
The National Energy Board (NEB) is the first North American regulator to require pipeline companies to publish their oil and gas emergency procedures manuals online. The NEB has issued a Board Order that directs NEB-regulated pipeline companies to publish their emergency procedures manuals online for public viewing by September 30, 2016.
Companies are required to publish all emergency procedure manual information online, with the exception of information that would compromise infrastructure protection and personal security and safety. Although excluded from online availability, they remain in company emergency procedures manuals provided to first responders and to the NEB.
Webmaster's comment: The first and only instance of making emergency procedures available to the public, albeit late, is a refreshing move in the right direction. If only the US would make the same requirement.
On March 10, the Obama Administration announced that it will begin drafting proposed methane standards for existing oil and gas sources. These forthcoming regulations would presumably apply to production, gas processing, as well as the transportation and storage segments. Even though EPA has yet to issue final standards for new and modified sources, this announcement is not surprising. By regulating new and modified sources of methane directly under Section 111(b) of the Clean Air Act, EPA is legally obligated to regulate existing sources of methane under 111(d) of the Clean Air Act in the future. However, the announcement does raise the question of how and whether the methane regulations for existing sources will differ from those soon to be adopted for new and modified sources.…
A leak and shutdown in South Dakota comes as TransCanada seeks to build another large, cross-country pipeline touting its leak detection technology.
An oil spill that surfaced in South Dakota over the weekend prompted Canadian pipeline company TransCanada to shut down its Keystone I pipeline, a predecessor to the controversial Keystone XL project.
TransCanada had still not confirmed the leak as of Tuesday, calling it a "potential incident." According to Chris Nelson, chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, the leak was first reported by a passerby. TransCanada reported to the U.S. Coast Guard on Saturday that 187 gallons of oil had leaked, Nelson said.
The leak is the most recent of dozens reported since the pipeline, which moves 500,000 gallons of oil per day from the tar sands of Alberta to refineries in the U.S., was commissioned in 2010.
According to Nelson, the leak was not revealed by the company's own leak detection systems. Environmentalists familiar with pipeline leaks said the equipment's failure to detect it is cause for concern.
An investigation of 10 years of federal leak data by InsideClimate News in 2012 found leak detection systems used by pipeline companies detected only 5 percent of pipeline spills in the U.S. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: Although this article is about an oil pipeline, and although oil pollution is a different problem than methane pollution, it illustrates that fossil fuel pipelines are problematic for the environment.
UK gas prices could fall to seven-year lows this summer as Russia and Norway prepare to flood Europe with gas in a battle to defend their market share against the rise of US shale.
The two gas-rich nations are Europe’s largest suppliers of pipeline gas and both are expected to boost supply this year, even as market prices crash, in a bid to undercut the price of US cargoes of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Analysts at Société Générale said: “This shows that Norway and Russia aim to defend their European market share prior to the arrival of US LNG. The probability of a price war in the coming months is increasing.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: Prospects for Downeast LNG look worser and worser.
Norway will allow increased production from its biggest natural gas field as Europe’s second-largest supplier of the fuel prepares for increased competition with Russia and the U.S.
The higher limit may help Norway to catch up with Russia, the top European supplier which said it would this year exceed its 2013 export record. The two nations can send fuel to Europe at a lower cost than the U.S., which in February began shipments by tanker from the Gulf of Mexico coast. With European gas prices near their lowest since 2009 moving closer to those in the U.S., American shale gas has favored markets in Brazil and India
“With the global LNG market increasing, traditional producers must be wearily looking over their shoulder, especially given the expected wave of U.S. LNG expected to hit the U.K. and European shores over the coming months,” Nick Campbell, energy risk manager at Inspired Energy Solutions, said by e-mail. “It would be worthwhile taking a few years’ worth of pricing pain to force U.S. LNG to defer to other markets or remain at home.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
2016 April 4
In a novel project ConEd will deploy a mix of distributed solar, fuel cells and efficiency measures to address New York City's surging power demand.
Consolidated Edison, the iconic utility that provides New York City's electricity, discovered a problem in the summer of 2014. Within a few years, the demand for power in an area spanning parts of Brooklyn and Queens would outpace what existing infrastructure could supply, especially during the peak demand of the hottest summer days.
The traditional solution would be to add a substation. But that would cost $1.2 billion or more and represent a more-of-the-same approach to the electric grid—a central station with long inefficient wires, less resilience to the effects of climate change and more fossil fuel use. Con Ed was not thrilled.
So it came up with a completely different approach. Con Ed solicited ideas for smaller, cheaper, nontraditional and ideally more environmentally friendly solutions. So far, the company has received more than 80 suggestions and has turned many of them into the Brooklyn-Queens Demand Management project.
BQDM, as it's called, is a plan that reimagines the area's grid for 21st century climate changes, especially longer, hotter summers. While the specifics are not fully formed, BDQM is likely to harness state-of-the-art grid management, emissions-free on-site power generation and basic customer-side energy efficiency, which is already going into effect.
The cost: About $200 million, less than one-fifth the price of a substation. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: This means no increased demand for natural gas, perhaps negatively affecting recently re-located, re-proposed Liberty Natural's Port Ambrose deepwater port LNG import terminal offshore from New York and New Jersey.
Sabine Pass LNG’s second commissioning cargo that left the facility on March 15 aboard the 162,000 cbm Clean Ocean LNG carrier is reportedly set to unload in India at the Dabhol LNG terminal. This will be the first ever shipment of US shale gas to Asia.
First cargo from Cheniere’s Sabine Pass export facility in Louisiana was delivered to Brazil’s Petrobras, which is the likely destination for the majority of the commissioning cargoes from Sabine Pass LNG.
The number of potential destinations was limited according to Genscape, a company that has infrared cameras pointed at the export plant, as the LNG currently produced at the facility has a high ethane content, with Petrobras having the infrastructure to handle such cargoes. [Colored emphasis added.]
A final investment decision is expected in 2016 for a proposed terminal to process and export liquefied natural gas (LNG) out of Howe Sound.
Having secured federal, provincial, and First Nation environmental certificates, the company behind the Woodfibre LNG project in the district of Squamish has surmounted major regulatory hurdles.
Frustrated over Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s delaying tactics slowing federal approval of its Pacific NorthWest Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) project, Malaysia’s Petronas is threatening to walk away if it doesn’t get federal approval by March 31.
In January, the Liberal government announced major projects like the LNG project would now be subject to additional assessments concerning “direct and upstream greenhouse gas emissions.” A spokeswoman for CEAA [Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency] said the agency have to see determine how new federal requirements would impact Pacific NorthWest LNG.
This new hurdle for the Pacific NorthWest project comes as market conditions for LNG are deteriorating amidst continuing low natural gas prices. None [of] two-dozen groups that have proposed building LNG export terminals in Canada have gone forward due to a combination of regulatory delays, rising competition from United States LNG exporters, plummeting prices, and aboriginal and environmental group opposition. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's comment: At first blush, this article seems to indicate that Canada's new regulatory regime is good for the environment. Reading the last paragraph disabuses that idea by indicating that Pacific NorthWest LNG's failure would mean less LNG exporting competition for US LNG exporters — an anti-climate position in keeping with the Heartland Institute.
VICTORIA - British Columbia's Opposition New Democrats are urging a federal environmental agency to withhold approval of the proposed the $36-billion liquefied natural gas project near Prince Rupert.
NDP Leader John Horgan says in a letter to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG project does not meet First Nations and environmental approval conditions.
"Until and unless these deficiencies are addressed, we urge you to withhold final recommendation for approval," says the two-page letter signed by Horgan and environment critic George Heyman.
Hawaii Gas, which has plans to ship liquefied natural gas in bulk amounts to the Islands as a replacement for oil, among other uses, has sliced its project cost for this venture by $100 million, a company spokesman confirmed to PBN.
It has chosen an international company for its plan to ship in LNG in bulk amounts to the Islands, although it has yet to disclose the company’s name because it is still finalizing an agreement with this company.
Hawaii Gas estimates that its LNG bulk shipment plan would save the state in excess of $1.3 billion, or about 30 percent over a 15-year period, from the beginning of 2019 through the end of 2034.
Hawaiian Electric Co., which is involved in a $4.3 billion acquisition with NextEra Energy Inc., has a separate plan to ship in LNG at a cost of $235 million starting in 2019.
Webmaster's comment: Hawaii Gas could slash LNG costs by 100% by speeding up solar energy use.
The second cargo loaded at Peru’s export facility on March 27. The 136,600 cbm LNG carrier Galea sailed to Mexico’s Manzanillo terminal in the Colima state, shipping data shows.
2016 April 3
Law360, New York (March 31, 2016, 7:01 PM ET) -- Opponents of PennEast's proposed $1 billion pipeline through New Jersey and Pennsylvania called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday to block the project application, citing alleged deficiencies in PennEast's responses to agency questions that caused FERC this week to delay the project timeline by...
Law360, Los Angeles (March 31, 2016, 8:09 PM ET) -- The Sierra Club on Thursday urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reject Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Co. LLC’s application to upgrade 10,200-mile pipeline to deliver more natural gas to New Jersey, citing allegedly missing permits and a hasty timeline.
Law360, New York (March 8, 2016, 2:08 PM ET) -- Environmental groups on Monday said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's favorable environmental assessment of Kinder Morgan Inc.'s $2 billion proposed natural gas liquefaction project near the mouth of the Savannah River doesn't pass muster under national environmental law and a more stringent review is required....
Cheniere’s Sabine Pass LNG export terminal is expected to ship its fifth cargo since start-up as the 162,400 cbm BW GDF Suez Brussels LNG carrier heads towards the Louisiana facility.
Shipping data reveals that the vessel is scheduled to dock at the Sabine Pass LNG export facility on April 5.
According to Genscape Inc., that has infrared cameras pointed at the export plant, the fourth cargo departed from the facility aboard Energy Atlantic on March 28.
Gail India Ltd. bought the second shipment of liquefied natural gas from Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass plant in Louisiana in a deal that makes it the first Asian importer of U.S. shale gas.
The deal marks the beginning of U.S. LNG exports into the world’s biggest importing region of the super-chilled fuel, just as regional producers from Australia to Papua New Guinea ramp up supplies. India last year overtook South Korea as the world’s second biggest importer of the fuel on a spot and short-term basis as buyers took advantage of a slump in prices brought on by the crash in crude oil and an oversupply.
Gail India has agreed to buy 3.5 million metric tons of LNG a year for two decades from Sabine Pass. It has also booked 2.3 million tons a year capacity in the Cove Point LNG liquefaction terminal in Maryland. The shipments are expected to start in 2017 or 2018.
Skim the business headlines about U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, and you’ll see the words “perfect storm” and “bloodbath.” You’ll read about how proposed LNG export terminals are “dying on the vine” and find a list of cancelled and postponed LNG projects all around the world.
It’s a sharp contrast to the rosy economic picture that the LNG industry is painting for the residents of the Rio Grande Valley, where they want to develop an LNG export terminal at the Port of Brownsville.
But these predictions are banking on an LNG boom that’s already over.
In fact, analyses by the Canadian bank CIBC and the U.S Department of Energy concluded that there will only be a market for 6.5 billion cubic-feet per day of LNG from North America for the next eight years. The five U.S. LNG export terminals already approved and under construction will have a combined maximum capacity of 14 billion cubic-feet per day.
Several export terminal proposals in the United States and Canada have already been withdrawn or delayed. Last month, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), took the unprecedented step of denying approval for the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal in Oregon because the company was unable to line up customers. Without contracts, the company could not show that the public benefit of the project outweighed the significant negative environmental and economic impacts of the export terminal and its 234-mile-long feeder pipeline.
Alarm bells are going off among investors that fossil fuels like methane, with its heavy greenhouse gas emissions, face an uncertain future. In the light of a growing climate emergency, governments around the world are ramping up greenhouse gas regulations, and renewables are increasingly becoming the more preferred and affordable option. This shift toward a post-carbon world has led Britain’s financial services company HBSC to warn that coal, oil and gas companies are an increasingly risky investment due to the potential for stranded assets — product and infrastructure that they may not be able to use. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Texas LNG on Thursday informed it has filed an application with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission seeking permission to site, build and operate a 4 mtpa LNG export facility in Brownsville, Texas.
The project will be constructed in two phases. Planned production capacity for the first phase is 2 mtpa of LNG with the second phase, which will be developed at a later date increasing the capacity by another 2 mtpa.
Law360, Washington (March 31, 2016, 8:22 PM ET) -- The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Wednesday denied a request by environmental groups to halt progress on a $3 billion natural gas pipeline running from Alabama to Florida, saying that the groups had not shown that allowing construction to move forward would be unjust.
Shippers are protesting the proposed abandonment by sale of TC Offshore LLC's Grand Chenier System for reversal to serve a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal proposed for the Gulf of Mexico by Avocet LNG LLC.
The facilities in question were previously abandoned by sale from ANR Pipeline Co. to affiliate TC Offshore [CP11-543] (see Daily GPI, July 22, 2012); however, at that time their jurisdictional function didn't change. The recently proposed abandonment of Grand Cheniere by TC Offshore to Avocet would see the facilities taken out of their current service and reversed to feed Avocet's proposed offshore LNG terminal, making them non-jurisdictional to FERC.
Avocet is a unit of Fairwood Peninsula Energy Corp., as is Delfin LNG, which has its own offshore LNG project that would rely on the abandonment and repurposing of different existing pipeline infrastructure (the High Island Offshore System). This also is being challenged in a separate docket at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [CP16-20] (see Daily GPI, Dec. 23, 2015; Dec. 2, 2015; July 1, 2015).
For My Sea to Sky activist Eoin Finn, the fact federal environmental approval for the proposed Woodfibre LNG facility near Squamish came down on St. Patrick’s Day only added insult to him in light of his ancestry.
Opponents of the controversial project gathered at the gallery to galvanize the My Sea to Sky campaign and consider next steps.
As part of the evening, the group invited Bowen Island resident Bob Turner to present his 19-minute video, Howe Sound – Vancouver’s Wild Neighbour, which can be found on YouTube. He shot the video with his brother on a paddling expedition around Howe Sound. Along the way, they examine all the natural features and forms of life in the region, and how this might be threatened from re-industrialization, especially at a time when marine life has started returning to the waters.
Another My Sea to Sky organizer Vanessa Senecal mentioned that the group is hosting a free public session on April 30 at the library that will look at direct action as a possible approach in the campaign to stop the LNG plant.
[Finn] also mentioned taking the fight to the political arena, such as through writing to newspapers or elected officials, or reminding Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of a campaign promise stating that while governments grant permits, it is up to communities to grant permission for projects such as Woodfibre LNG.
The Globe and Mail reports that more than 130 scientists have signed a letter to Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna requesting that she reject a “scientifically flawed” draft environmental assessment for the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG export terminal near Lelu Island, British Columbia. According to the article, the draft assessment found that the LNG export terminal could be constructed without causing major ecological damage to the nearby Flora Bank, which contains juvenile salmon habitat. The scientists allege in their letter that the draft assessment “did not adequately consider decades of scientific research on salmon in the Skeena River estuary and instead relied on proponent-funded studies that were substantially more limited in scope and duration and that reached different conclusions compared to the larger body of available science.”
Hawaiian Electric Companies has submitted its Power Supply Improvement Plan Update to the Hawai’i Public Utilities Commission, laying out its direction in getting the state to 100 percent renewable energy over the next 30 years.
To achieve 100 percent renewable energy levels, Hawaiian Electric hopes to utilize a mix of private rooftop solar energy, feed-in-tariff solar energy, utility-scale solar energy, onshore wind energy, offshore wind energy, hydropower, and geothermal energy.
Proposed plans by Hawaiian Electric to achieve its 100 percent renewable energy goal include:
Additionally, Hawaiian Electric plans to ask the PUC for permission to move ahead with a contract that would import liquefied natural gas, also known as LNG, as early as 2021. The goal is to phase it out by 2040. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
- Taking the next steps to pursue the benefits of LNG, which can serve as a lower-cost, cleaner fuel during the transition to 100 percent renewable energy
The National Energy Board (NEB), the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission, the Yukon Geological Survey, the Northwest Territories Geological Survey and the British Columbia Ministry of Natural Gas Development today released the first detailed study estimating the marketable unconventional natural gas resources in the Liard Basin.
As changes in technology continue to enable industry to unlock new unconventional gas resources, a collaborative resource assessment reveals that the Liard Basin spanning the boundaries of British Columbia, Yukon and Northwest Territories is one of the largest shale gas resources in the world and Canada’s second largest known gas resource. There are already existing gas pipelines in the basin in all three jurisdictions because of conventional wells that have been producing for decades.
Perhaps no industry changes as quickly as the energy business, where technology, economics and even geopolitics can upend markets that have been in place for decades. Look no further than the emerging liquefied natural gas (LNG) export market.
A decade ago, it barely existed in the United States. Now, there’s been a rush to build plants along the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts, and Sempra Energy, the Fortune 500 company based in San Diego, has invested billions in one LNG export infrastructure project and has plans for two others.
But the energy landscape may be shape-shifting once again, as the low price of natural gas and fears of slackening demand in Asian export destinations may threaten to stop the LNG party just as it gets started.
“Market conditions have changed,” the U.S. Energy Information Administration warned in a report released last month.
“If you look at all the water impacts surrounding fracking, and moving this stuff, condensing it, putting it on giant tankers and shipping it, it’s incredibly energy intensive,” said Jared Margolis, staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity. “And it’s just exacerbating the climate catastrophe that we’re dealing with now.”
Sempra’s subsidiary already has an LNG facility outside Ensenda, Mexico, on the Baja Peninsula called Energía Costa Azul that has been importing LNG since 2008.
Now, working with a subsidiary of Mexico’s state-owned energy giant Pemex, the company wants to add an export component to the plant with the hopes of going online in 2022 or 2023.
“Comparing [natural gas] to coal is somewhat apples and oranges ... To say (natural gas) is slightly better, it’s kicking the can down the road. We need to make decisions now that are going to make a difference for the future.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]
Reuters reports that U.S. natural gas production in 2016 is expected to reach a record high of 79.68 Bcf/day according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) March 2016 Short-Term Energy Outlook. The forecast would be the sixth consecutive annual record high for U.S. gas production. Natural gas consumption is projected to increase to 76.79 Bcf/day, which would be the seventh consecutive annual record high. LNG gross exports are projected to increase to 0.5 Bcf/day in 2016 as a result of the recent startup of Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG export terminal in Louisiana, and average 1.3 Bcf/day as the terminal ramps up its capacity.
Growth in U.S. natural gas production may have been the catalyst for the development of massive LNG export projects that led to the first American exports setting sail in February, but market conditions today aren’t as brilliant as they were when this all started out.
The latest report from the Energy Information Agency (EIA), released last Friday, paints a fairly bleak picture—at least from the comparative high of two years ago.
“Market conditions have changed since many LNG export projects in the United States were initially proposed,” according to the EIA. Most significantly, these new terminals “face not only increased competition from other domestic and foreign terminals that have been completed, but they also face uncertainty in global LNG demand.”
The shale boom of the last decade led to a huge slump in natural gas prices, even though according to EIA data, the U.S. continues to be a net importer of the commodity. It has also been exporting some gas to Mexico by pipeline, and to the Pacific Rim by sea—but in tiny amounts.
By the time U.S. LNG gets to Europe, it might be uneconomical to sell there at prices that can actually compete with Gazprom’s. Not to mention that Iran has huge gas reserves, which are very likely to become pretty attractive for Europe now that the sanctions have been lifted.
Australia is one more cause for pessimism: it recently launched production at the most expensive LNG project in the world, the Gorgon, which hopes to cement its place as a major—possibly even the top—gas exporter globally. The timing may not be ideal, given the current price environment, but there is no halting the momentum of this project, which has much longer term aspirations.
In other words, the U.S., in its new role of a natural gas exporter, will face very stiff competition. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]