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"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
                                           — US Senator Susan Collins, 2012 Jun 21



 

Latest News

Canadian Maritimes

Northeast

Gulf of Mexico

Alberta

Alaska

British Columbia

Guam

Canada

United States


2013 November 22

Canadian Maritimes

Bear Head LNG submits export application to Canada's National Energy Board (Nov 10) — Hydrocarbons-Technology.com

Bear Head LNG, a subsidiary of Australia-based Liquefied Natural Gas, has submitted an application to Canada's National Energy Board (NEB) to export about 12 million tonnes per year of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Bear Head is also seeking a licence to import up to 503 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas annually from the US.

Both the licenses would be for a 25-year term and if approved, Bear Head would be authorised to export eight million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of LNG starting in 2019.

It would increase to 12 mtpa in 2024, depending on market and supply conditions.

Bear Head LNG already has 12 permits in place to construct the liquefaction plant, including an approved environmental assessment.

Webmaster's comment: The fly in Bear Head LNG's ointment is that the US prohibits natural gas that has been exported to Canada from being exported to a third courntry.

Premier travels to Texas (Nov 12) — Government of New Brunswick

…Among other things, Gallant will be promoting the possibility of converting the Canaport terminal into an export facility. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

N.S. projects could hinge on U.S. OK (Nov 7) — The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, NS

The liquefied natural gas facilities proposed for Nova Scotia will likely depend on access to American gas, but the U.S. government hasn’t yet weighed in on that idea.

Now it will, after the U.S. Energy Department was asked for permission late last month to allow exports to various overseas markets through a facility planned for Goldboro, Guysborough County.

Pieridae’s Goldboro development is one of four LNG projects proposed in the Maritimes, three of them in Nova Scotia. It would use gas primarily from the Marcellus shale gas field in Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Ohio.

Pieridae proposes to pipe natural gas to the Maritimes on a line that would bring it across the border near Baileyville, Maine.

In the filing, the company asks for approval to ship from Canada without always being able to predict where the gas will end up. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Goldboro LNG, like Bear Head LNG, is staking its future on being able to obtain natural gas from the US. The US prohibits natural gas from going to Canada if Canada re-exports the natural gas to a third country.

Northeast

Opposition to offshore L.N.G. facility gears up (Nov 4) — Capital New York, NY

By the end of this year, developers of a controversial offshore liquefied natural gas plant are expected to release an environmental impact statement for the project, starting the clock for federal approval and the potential veto of governors Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo.

Opponents on Long Island and in New York City and New Jersey are already planning their attack.

The project, called Port Ambrose, is being developed by Liberty Natural Gas. It would import liquefied natural gas and deliver 400 million cubic feet of natural gas to Long Island and other areas during peak demand periods. Part of the project includes a 22-mile pipeline connecting to an existing pipeline between New Jersey and Long Island. Its stated purpose is to ease transmission bottlenecks that sent gas prices soaring during last winter's polar vortex.

In comments submitted to the U.S. Maritime Administration, Michael Delaney, the city's director of energy regulatory affairs under former Mayor Mike Bloomberg and current Mayor Bill de Blasio cited "navigation hazards and the potential for direct conflicts between the proposed L.N.G. facility and its associated ship traffic, and a large wind farm that would be located in adjacent waters."

Critics are questioning whether the project is even necessary. Downstate New York is already building out its natural gas pipeline capacity and supplies have never been more abundant. In fact, most New York utilities are predicting lower gas prices for the winter.

Once the plant's impact statement is released, the public will have a chance to comment. When public comments conclude, Cuomo and Christie will have 45 days to either sign off on the project or veto it. If either one of the governors vetoes the project, it will fail. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Company wants to build offshore port for highly flammable liquefied natural gas—What could go wrong? (Nov 5) — TakePart

A coalition of environmentalists and civic organizations is fighting to block construction of a liquefied natural gas port 19 miles off the New York coast that they contend would threaten marine life, fishing, and tourism as well as create a target for terrorism.

Construction would entail dredging of nearly 20 miles of seafloor to lay a pipeline connecting Port Ambrose to an existing offshore pipeline. “That would lead to disturbance and destruction of benthic [seafloor] habitat,” Ornell said.

Gulf of Mexico

FERC grants Port Dolphin Energy additional time to construct onshore pipeline for deepwater port (Nov 21) — LNG Law Blog

FERC has approved Port Dolphin Energy LLC’s (PDE) request to extend the deadline by which PDE must complete construction to December 31, 2018 and place into service the onshore portion of a pipeline to interconnect with PDE’s proposed Deepwater Port (DWP) terminal offshore of Tampa, Fla. The deadline is consistent with the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) December 31, 2018 deadline for completion of the DWP with which the onshore facilities would connect.

Delfin LNG completes acquisition of pipeline system for deepwater LNG port (Nov 21) — LNG Law Blog

Delfin LNG LLC (Delfin) filed a letter notifying FERC that it has completed its acquisition of the Enbridge Offshore Pipelines (UTOS) natural gas pipeline system. Delfin intends to repurpose the system for use as part of a Deepwater Liquefied Natural Gas Port located in West Cameron Block 167, 30 miles offshore Cameron Parish, La.

Alberta

Fracking linked to Alberta earthquakes, study indicates (Nov 13) — CBC News

[Jeff Gu] is one of three authors of a recently published study in the Journal of Geophysical Research, a peer-reviewed publication that looked at four years of earthquake data around Rocky Mountain House. The study concludes that waste-water injection into the ground is highly correlated with spikes in earthquake activity in the area.

It is the first study of its kind conducted in Canada that links industrial activity to induced earthquakes.

“There has been more and more evidence, increasing evidence, in the last few years in particular — in Arkansas, in Texas and actually more recently here,” Gu said.

Alaska

Sierra Club takes swing at Alaska's LNG project (Nov 19) — Natural Gas Intelligence

Alaska's project to commercialize stranded natural gas on the North Slope with a new pipeline and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal is drawing criticism from the Sierra Club. It claims the project "...will cause extensive environmental harm..." and likely increase global greenhouse gas emissions, arguments it's made against other LNG projects.

The proposed facilities include a liquefaction plant and terminal in the Nikiski area on the Kenai Peninsula; an 800-mile, 42-inch diameter pipeline; up to eight compression stations; at least five offtake points for in-state gas delivery; and a gas treatment plant to be located on the North Slope (see Daily GPI, May 7).

Sierra Club has argued against exports of LNG from the Lower 48 on similar grounds. DOE and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have said in response to previous challenges that they are not charged to consider the impacts of any natural gas production that is induced by export demand (see Daily GPI, July 31).

British Columbia

Key hurdle overcome for Petronas in Canada (Nov 21) — The Rakyat Post, Kuala Lumpur

A Canadian aboriginal community has signed a deal with British Colombia to allow a gas pipeline to be built in its territory, setting the stage for more pacts that could bolster liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects in the coastal province.

The Nisga’a are just one of 23 aboriginal communities that dot the proposed pipeline route, which would connect Petronas’ US$11 billion (RM37 billion) Pacific NorthWest LNG export terminal with gas fields in British Columbia’s northeast.

But uncertainties around taxation, the regulatory process and aboriginal consent have called into question whether any of the projects will ultimately be realised. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

LNG facilities in B.C. would cause carbon output to spike, report says (Nov 10) — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

From the well to the waterline, the greenhouse-gas emissions created by a liquefied natural gas industry in British Columbia could be responsible for generating more than half of the province’s total carbon output in 2020.

The February, 2014, draft report from the consulting firm Globe Advisors looked more broadly at the “life cycle” of natural gas right from the wellhead, showing that more than half of emissions are generated upstream of the LNG plants.

The report notes that carbon emissions are not the only concern. “The scale of development can have major implications for local communities, land use, and water resources. Serious hazards, including the potential for air pollution and for contamination of surface and groundwater, must be successfully addressed,” the report says. The liquefaction process “could cause difficulty downstream” as it removes components such as dust, acid gases, helium and heavy hydrocarbons.

Guam

Environmental expert opposes LNG (Nov 12) — Guampdn.com

The Consolidated Commission on Utilities, which oversees the island's water and power utilities, voted last month to move forward with a liquefied natural gas conversion plan drawn up by the Guam Power Authority.

Richard Wallsgrove, program director at Blue Planet Foundation in Hawaii, said natural gas isn't renewable and at each step in the process of extracting, liquefying and regasifying it, methane leaks into the atmosphere.

Wallsgrove said one of the biggest issues with using natural gas is that it doesn't solve the fossil fuel problem. He also noted that natural gas isn't renewable or sustainable and, eventually, the natural gas supply will run out.

Canada

Russia-China gas accord leaves Canada's LNG projects 'most vulnerable' (Nov 11) — BNN News

Russia’s move to broaden its energy ties to China is clouding the outlook for natural gas export projects on the drawing board in the U.S., Canada and Australia.

Gas-supply agreements between Russia, the world’s largest energy exporter, and China, the biggest consumer, are adding to pressure on projects that are already facing increasing competition, rising costs and the prospect of lower prices.

“It’s just bad news generally” for LNG around the world, said Peter Howard, president of the Canadian Energy Research Institute. “It’s going to get really crowded.”

“The more Russian gas going into China” means the less higher-cost LNG China will import from places like Canada, Reynold Tetzlaff, energy leader for Canada at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Calgary, said by phone. “So we can’t ignore it, that’s for sure. We do need to move quickly or the window starts to close.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

United States

PDF fileNatural Gas Exports: Washington’s revolving door fuels climate threat (Nov 21) — DesmogBlog.com (PDF)

As a December 2012 report commissioned by the Department of Energy confirmed, exporting natural gas will contribute to higher energy prices for U.S. consumers because it will deplete domestic gas reserves.

Big oil and gas companies have engineered this policy outcome through shrewd hiring of Washington insider lobbyists and public relations professionals: Obama and Bush Administration veterans, as well as former Capitol Hill staffers, who have moved through Washington’s revolving door to high-paying influence peddling jobs.

If the Obama Administration and the GOP-led Congress, prodded by industry lobbyists, pick LNG export acceleration as an area for bipartisan cooperation, they will hurt U.S. consumers and our environment and make global warming worse.

This report explores the people and companies involved in the influence-peddling lobbying apparatus dominating the LNG export process.

  • The Obama administration and key Democratic leaders increasingly embrace LNG interests
  • Many ex-Bush administration officials now lobby for or own LNG industry assets
  • The LNG industry has purchased support in Congress
  • The Koch brothers are profiting from, and promoting, LNG exports
  • LNG interests are manipulating public opinion

The LNG export lobbying machine, as this report demonstrates, is well mobilized and well organized — and highly dependent on operatives moving through the government-lobbying revolving door. What remains to be seen is whether this juggernaut will advance unimpeded, or whether voices for environmental protection and lower U.S. energy prices will eventually force a real debate. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Europe to suck up surplus global LNG supplies (Nov 21) — Maritime Executive

Europe is set to become a dumping ground for the world's unwanted gas supplies this winter as Asian demand for sea-borne shipments fizzles out, leaving dealers to seek out willing buyers at rock bottom prices.

Caught in a sharp downward spiral, Asian spot prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) have more than halved this year as top Japanese and South Korean buyers, sitting on high stocks, scale back purchases while falling oil prices add to woes.

"The LNG industry was focusing on Asia but that time is more or less over now. The focus will be more spread all over the world and so LNG will be back in Europe," Philippe Perfumo, deputy head of long-term gas at GDF Suez said in Paris this week.

"There is no global LNG spot market right now, there's just lots of supply and no demand," a trading source at an Asia-Pacific producer said, explaining the sharp downward moves.

[W]ith prices continuing to fall worldwide, LNG stored in Spanish, Belgium and Dutch terminals could force traders to release the supply into local gas grids at a loss. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Downeast LNG is again too late arriving at the party. Even LNG export terminal projects are already becoming white elephants, even before they are built.

Hazards of open pits for storing wastewater from fracking is focus of new study (Nov 20) — InsideClimate News

In 2013, industry produced 8 billion gallons of oil in California and 130 billion gallons of wastewater, according to the report.

Unlined open-air wastewater pits brimming with the toxic leftovers of fracking and other types of oil and gas development are threatening California's air and water quality, according to a study by two national environmental organizations.

The report was issued by Clean Water Action and Earthworks, both based in Washington, D.C.

"The discharge of wastewater into unlined pits threatens water resources, including potential sources of drinking and irrigation water, and impacts air quality due to the off-gassing of chemicals from the wastewater," according to the 28-page report, "In the Pits."

The study's conclusions reflect the same issues that worry people in states from Texas and Pennsylvania to Colorado and New Mexico where fracking—hydraulic fracturing—is creating billions of gallons of wastewater that often ends up in open pits.

In most states where fracking is booming, InsideClimate News found that air emissions from oil and gas waste are among the least regulated, least monitored and least understood components in the extraction and production cycle.

White House signals support for speedier LNG export approval (Nov 13) — Natural Gas Intelligence

A bill to speed approvals for U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects might get the backing of the Obama administration, with a bit of modification, according to Republican Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota.

Moniz "has some things he would like to incorporate," Hoeven told reporters Wednesday. Among the revisions requested by Moniz is a change to the 45-day clock so that it begins after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has completed an environmental impact statement (EIS) for a proposed LNG facility.

An EIS [Environmental Impact Statement] is required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and for LNG facilities, they often take months to complete. However, with an approved EIS, financial backers would have more assurances that a project would proceed. On the other hand, critics argue that a lengthy EIS process could discourage customers from signing export contracts.

Webmaster's comment: The bill to speed approvals is apparently for Department of Energy (DOE) approval to export, not FERC permitting. Both DOE and FERC approvals are required, and that would not change.

Federal regulators flag pipeline risks linked to reversing flow — MPBN

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine - Federal safety regulators are alerting pipeline operators about the possible risks associated with reversing the flow of oil and gas in their systems. In a recent advisory, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration also says switching product or flow reversal "may not be advisable" in some cases. This could have implications for the Portland-Montreal Pipe Line Company based in South Portland.

"And the reason that is, is because it changes the stress points, and I think that's particularly important on older pipelines like the Portland-Montreal Pipe Line that have had a lot of years of use," says Jim Murphy, who is senior counsel with the National Wildlife Federation in Vermont, where towns along the Portland-Montreal Pipe Line route have raised red flags about the company's interest.

Murphy says the fact that the agency has come out with a warning and recommendations for testing is significant, even though the bulletin is advisory only and does not contain new regulations.… [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Pipeline alert from federal regulator is first of its kind (Nov 17) — InsideClimate News

Reversing oil and gas pipelines or changing the product they're carrying can have a 'significant impact' on the line's safety and integrity.

"What PHMSA's saying is 'Look, we're seeing too many projects where you're changing the service, changing the flow direction, and you haven’t done adequate integrity management,'" said Kuprewicz. "That's my interpretation of it."

Federal regulations do not require companies to get approval before they reverse a pipeline, change the kind of petroleum being carried, or convert a natural gas pipeline to carry liquids (or vice versa). And they don't specify what tests should be completed before making the changes or spell out when a pipeline should be considered too vulnerable to undergo the planned changes.

The advisory comes too late for a long list of pipeline projects that were completed in the last several years. Two of those were cited by PHMSA’s bulletin because they subsequently failed.

Kuprewicz, the pipeline safety expert, welcomed the agency's guidance … because it prevents pipeline companies from continuing to cite outdated testing research and recommendations. PHMSA's new guidelines may not be legally enforceable, he said. "But advisory bulletins are ignored by pipeline operators at their own risk." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: At the pipeline operator's own risk? It's at the PUBLIC'S risk!

Understanding economic role of wilderness (Nov 12) — Missoulian, Missoula, MT

At the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, it is encouraging to learn that lands set aside for conservation can also have tremendous economic value. Wild places are key to attracting entrepreneurs, as well as a tidal wave of retiring Baby Boomers. And, more obviously, wild places create jobs in outdoor recreation, now a $646 billion industry.

The sweet spot are counties with a rural, scenic setting and with a nearby airport with daily service to major cities. In these “connected” counties there is a measurable positive association between wilderness, national parks and other protected lands and economic well-being.

U.S. production rising faster than policymakers or global markets realize, says Citi — Natural Gas Intelligence [Paid subscription]

Improvements on the unconventional gas side still are ongoing, analysts noted. Production could be more than 90 Bcf/d in 2020, up by almost half from 2011. For instance, technology has pulled production from the Appalachian Basin alone "from minimal levels to levels greater than most countries globally, falling short only of Russia and the U.S.”

EIA: More LNG exports would raise gas prices, CO2 (Nov 10) — Roll Call

Increased exports of liquefied natural gas would raise gas prices 4 to 11 percent above a reference case, which would lead to an increased use of coal for electricity generation, according to the Energy Information Administration.

“CO2 emissions would be slightly higher because of a higher consumption of coal in a higher-natural gas price scenario,” said Administrator Adam Sieminski, who spoke at an event hosted by export proponents LNG Allies. The price increase, presented in a recent report, would be about half as intense for residential customers, who are buffered somewhat by wholesale prices, he said. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

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