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



 

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Gulf of Mexico

Caribbean

Alaska

British Columbia

Hawaii

Canada

United States

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World


2016 May 24

Gulf of Mexico

LNG company files for FERC approval; opposition responds (May 6) — The Brownsville Herald, Brownsville, TX

NextDecade LLC, one of three companies that want to build a liquefied natural gas export terminal at the Port of Brownsville, on May 5 filed an application with the U.S. Federal Regulatory Commission for authorization to build and operate Rio Grande LNG, the proposed export facility, and Rio Bravo pipeline, a planned 137-mile pipeline to provide natural gas to the plant.

In response to NextDecade’s FERC filing, Jim Chapman of the anti-LNG group “Save RGV From LNG” released a statement describing the company’s plans as “a threat to the local South Padre Island and Port Isabel economy, which is currently thriving and actually supports the entire Rio GrandeValley region.”

“Rio Grande/NextDecade LNG is touting the 200 jobs they bring, but they don’t talk about the several thousands of existing jobs which will be threatened by massive industrialization and pollution,” he said. “Fishermen, oystermen, shrimpers and beach and nature tourism depend on clean air, clean water and a high-quality fish and wildlife habitat.”

Caribbean

Cuba Natural Gas (May 20) — JDSupra

With the recent shift in U.S. government policy regarding Cuba, is now the time for the energy industry, particularly liquefied natural gas (LNG) project developers, to consider Cuba?

It is no secret that low oil prices are affecting the global LNG market. For example, spot LNG prices in Asia have fallen from more than $20 per mmbtu in 2014 to less than $5 per mmbtu today.2 At such low prices, after taking into consideration shipping and gas liquefaction costs, it may be difficult for LNG sourced from the United States to be competitive outside of the Americas. It is also no secret that some energy companies with firm commitments to purchase LNG in the United States are exploring options to sell down some of their excess LNG supply.3 While likely off the radar of many, Cuba might be one strategic option to consider to mitigate some of this exposure. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Caracas revives Trinidad LNG plan — Argus Media

Kingston, 24 May (Argus) — Caracas is reviving a plan to ship its offshore natural gas to Trinidad and Tobago´s underutilized Atlantic liquefaction plant, but a commercial scheme to develop the Venezuelan gas remains elusive.

Atlantic, owner of the 14.8mn t/yr liquefaction plant at Port Fortin, has not commented publicly on the agreement. Atlantic is owned by BP, Shell, China's sovereign wealth fund CIC unit Summer Soca and Trinidad´s state-owned NGC.

Alaska

Former LNG executive is leading candidate to replace former AGDC head Fauske (May 17) — Alaska Dispatch News

Meyer is one of about a half-dozen candidates vying for the job of running AGDC, the corporation charged with representing Alaska's interests in the development of the proposed $55 billion natural gas pipeline project from the North Slope to Cook Inlet. Gov. Bill Walker also met with Meyer several times in March.

Exxon hopes Point Thomson is down payment on a gas line (May 15) — KTOO Public Media, Gavel, AK

Nearly 40 years after it was first discovered, Exxon Mobil Corp. has started production this spring on the Point Thomson field.

In the future, Exxon Mobil hopes an 800-mile pipeline, which would carry natural gas from the field (and from Prudhoe Bay to the west) to Cook Inlet, for export to Asia and the rest of the world. That’s the Alaska liquefied natural gas project.

Because while Point Thomson is producing liquids right now, it’s actually a gas field. And it’s not just any gas field. It is a huge gas field.

British Columbia

Massive land deal sought for B.C.'s north coast — Terrace Standard, Terrace, BC

The Nisga’a Lisims Government is working on a real estate deal with the provincial government which would see it purchase approximately 22,000 hectares of provincial crown land on the north coast.

“The Nisga’a Treaty provides the Nisga’a Nation with constitutionally-protected rights and legislative jurisdiction that would facilitate the construction and operation of an LNG facility on lands owned by the Nisga’a Nation,” reads the promotional material.

As an inducement to encourage LNG development, the Nisga’a have already reached an agreement with one of the Prince Rupert-bound pipeline builders, Prince Rupert Gas Transmission, owned by TransCanada.

Premier starts trip to Asia to promote LNG and B.C. (May 23) — EnergeticCity.ca

VICTORIA, B.C. – Premier Clark has started an asian trade mission to help promote B.C. and the LNG industry in this Province.

The Premier will travel to the Philippines, Japan and South Korea. The delegation includes representatives from approximately 78 businesses and organizations on her seventh trade mission to Asia, travelling to South Korea May 23-25, the Philippines May 26-27, and Japan May 28-31.

Fort St. John eager for natural gas project [Opinion] (May 20) — Calgary Sun, Calgary, AB

Fort St. John has long been the hub for BC’s natural gas sector, servicing the gas fields and assorted pipelines that feed natural gas to homes and businesses across the province. It is to BC’s natural gas industry what Fort McMurray is to Alberta’s oil sands.

But the collapse in oil and gas prices battered Fort St. John as jobs dried up and unemployment soared. Now the community is looking at BC’s proposed liquefied natural gas industry as a source of future prosperity. In particular, they want the feds to approve the Petronas-backed Pacific Northwest LNG project, a $36 billion export terminal planned for near Prince Rupert that would source its natural gas from the Peace region surrounding Fort St. John.

Webmaster's comment: No one can be blamed for wanting employment. The problem is government continuing down the same suicidal fossil fuel path rather than investing heavily in renewable technology and its associated jobs.

The consensus builder (May 20) — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

All 20 proposals to build LNG processing facilities in British Columbia have stalled amid the uncertainty hanging over the global industry, which is suffering from a worldwide glut of fuel, depressing prices. Five of the B.C. proposals are envisaged for the Kitimat region, where the Haisla’s traditional territory is located. Only two of those Kitimat-area projects are seen by analysts as having any chance – one led by Royal Dutch Shell PLC and the other proposed by Chevron Corp. and Woodside Petroleum Ltd. The numbers just don’t add up for the other three, experts say. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Woodfibre signs deal to sell LNG to China (May 12) — Coast Reporter, Sechelt, BC

The company announced Monday its Singapore-based affiliate Woodfibre LNG Export Pte has signed an agreement with Guangzhou Gas Group Co. to deliver liquefied natural gas to the Chinese gas company for 25 years starting in 2020.

The sale represents half of Woodfibre LNG’s potential liquefied natural gas capacity. The facility is slated to produce 2.1 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year, and Guangzhou will purchase about one million tonnes, according to Byng Giraud, Woodfibre LNG vice-president of corporate affairs.

My Sea to Sky spokes-person Eoin Finn stressed the agreement is not binding.

“Typically, before any capital funding can be loaned for an LNG contract, binding agreements must be in place for 70 per cent-plus of the production volume over the life of the plant. That is clearly not the case here. Neither party is legally bound by this.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Hawaii

Hawai’i at the energy crossroads — Part 3: Choosing the future, now (May 23) — Clean Technica

The proposed conversion to LNG has major drawbacks. Firstly, it’s unlikely to result in any significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. While cleaner at the smokestack, natural gas is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. A 2014 Cornell University analysis found that unless expensive infrastructure upgrades are made and upstream emissions are well-regulated and enforced, natural gas-fired electricity generation produces more lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than coal. At best for LNG in O’Hawai’i, according to the University of Hawai’i, there may be modest greenhouse gas reductions.

Additionally, the purported cost savings of LNG – 6 to 25 percent according to the University of Hawaii study cited previously – rely heavily on the cost of oil and a faulty presumption that renewable energy (including energy storage) will continue to cost more. If oil prices remain low, electricity from LNG will actually cost more than fuel oil.

These LNG estimates do not include the potential for infrastructure cost overruns, future transport cost increases, or the likely smaller-than-proposed shipments given the state’s mandate for a 100% shift to renewable energy (even though that same mandate has a loophole that could guarantee fossil fuel production past 2045). The price also excludes the cost of environmental damage near gas pipelines and wells sited in mainland communities that bear the extraction costs.

State legislators also clearly feel swapping one fossil fuel for another is bad policy. They passed a law to minimize the use of LNG for anything other than a “cost-effective transitional, limited-term replacement of petroleum for electricity generation” that would not “impede the development and use of other cost-effective renewable energy sources.” An enormous investment in LNG, no matter how it’s done, would likely do just that. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Critics call HECO's liquified natural gas plan a ploy to get support for utility's sale (May 20) — KGMB — Hawaii News Now

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Critics say a Hawaiian Electric proposal to bring liquified natural gas into Hawaii is a disingenuous ploy to drum up support for its proposed $4.3 billion sale to NextEra Energy.

Earlier this week, Hawaiian Electric announced it had negotiated a deal to import liquefied natural gas from Canada. But it says the contract is contingent on the PUC approving NextEra Energy's request to buy the utility.

Gov. David Ige has opposed any plans to import LNG, saying liquified natural gas would distract the state from seeking renewable energy sources

Canada

Trudeau pitches automakers — (The Canadian Press) Castanet.net

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau personally invited Japanese auto executives Tuesday in Tokyo to invest more in Canada.

Japan, the world's biggest importer of LNG, is hoping Canada will issue necessary environmental permits to allow companies to export it from British Columbia.

[Kenjiro Monji, Japan's ambassador to Canada,] said LNG is still very important energy source for his country, which makes Canada one of the most promising potential exporters to Japan. He noted that Japanese companies are involved in several LNG projects in Canada.

United States

Exposed: Spectra-funded group lobbied for FERC Commissioner's reappointment, then FERC approved Spectra’s gas pipelines (May 20) — DeSmogBlog

A business advocacy group lobbied for the reappointment of a federal energy commissioner while one of its own members sought approval for several projects from the same federal regulator, a DeSmog investigation has found.

During [the past three years], regional pro-business lobbying group the New England Council, of which Houston-based Spectra Energy is a member, lobbied President Barack Obama and the US Senate for the reappointment of FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur to a second term.

A DeSmog investigation has found other instances suggesting an ongoing and exclusive relationship between LaFleur, NEC, and lobbyists working for Spectra Energy.

Also during this period, the NEC arranged at least two closed-door meetings between LaFleur and its energy industry members, including Spectra. These exclusive meetings were held in the offices of a multinational law firm that was hired by Spectra to represent it in a different environmental case. The most recent meeting was held in December 2015.

According to a Senate lobbying disclosure document, the NEC had lobbied specifically for LaFleur’s reappointment beginning in April 2014, two months after Spectra officially filed a request for approval of the AIM. These lobbying expenses exceeded $40,000, the files reveal.

Protesters force FERC to close monthly meeting (May 19) — RTO Insider

WASHINGTON — Citing safety concerns, FERC closed its monthly meeting to the public Thursday, allowing only staff, guests and credentialed members of the press inside commission headquarters.

The meeting was broadcast via the Internet, which Chairman Norman Bay said allowed the commission to meet its “statutory requirement” under the Government in the Sunshine Act to allow the public to observe the meeting.

“The decision to conduct this open meeting by webcast only was not made lightly,” Bay said. “It was made after consultation with law enforcement and our security staff, and the primary concern was preserving the safety of the public and commission staff. The webcast allows us to maintain the ability of the public to observe and listen to the commission meeting.”

The decision to close the meeting — possibly the first time the commission has held a webcast-only open meeting, according to Bay — came amidst a week of intense protest activity by environmentalist group Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE). Members of the group demonstrated outside the homes of Commissioner Tony Clark on Monday and Bay and Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur on Wednesday. They were also already camped outside commission headquarters prior to the start of the meeting but had departed by the time the meeting ended.

Bay declined to say what activity the commission was expecting to take place. BXE’s modus operandi is to interrupt meetings with statements criticizing the commission’s approval of natural gas infrastructure before being escorted out by security. Known members have been barred from the meeting room, relegated to a side room to watch the meetings on TV. (See Meet the People Making Life a Little More Difficult for FERC this Week.) [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

“The commissioners know that we’re nonviolent activists,” Tuhus said. “That’s a fundamental precept of our organization. … The commissioners know that.”

Webmaster's comment: FERC is using the "safety" issue as a disingenuous propaganda tool. In reality, FERC limited public access to the meeting to thwart interruptions by demonstrators.

Fossil fuel investments growing riskier for insurers, report warns — InsideClimate News

With nearly $500 billion invested, a new analysis recommends insurance companies take a harder look at the consequences of climate change and a lower-carbon future.

The 40 largest insurance companies in the United States have $237 billion invested in electric and gas utilities, $221 billion tied to oil and gas companies and nearly $2 billion locked into coal, a new report reveals.

With nearly a half-trillion dollars in bonds, equity and other holdings tied to the fossil fuel industry, an analysis published Tuesday by the sustainability group Ceres says insurers should be evaluating their investment exposure to climate change risks.

According to McHale, insurers face a lot of uncertainty in damage payouts to customers, because they don't know when, how often or how large those payouts will be. To ensure they have enough money to respond, insurers have historically been very conservative in their investments—and that's usually meant a lot of investments in fossil fuel companies and utilities.

But these "carbon assets" are increasingly viewed as risky, she said. In the short term, major fluctuations in energy markets could put the value of these investments at risk.

US to streamline LNG export process (May 22) — Splash24/7

An improved, quicker process of getting US-produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments to foreign markets took a step closer to reality with the House of Representatives passing a defence-related bill that includes LNG provisions.

The new provisions would mean export applications being reviewed within 30 days and then decided on within a further 30 days.

The House’s version of the NDAA must still be reconciled with the Senate’s one, and there are some significant differences. Once reconciled it must then be signed by the president.

Webmaster's comment: President Obama is expected to veto this bill.

Big Oil has big plans for solving gas glut — Energy Journal (May 16) — The Wall Street Journal

‘Big Oil’ hopes to boost natural-gas demand to drag prices of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, higher, Robb M. Stewart reports, and one way is for it to become a fuel for cruise liners, container ships and road trucks.

But U.K. consultancy Wood Mackenzie expects the global gas glut to take years to clear, with 70 million metric tons of LNG uncontracted by 2021. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

A U.S. gas war with Russia? (May 15) — Foreign Affairs, Tampa, FL

On April 21, the first Europe-bound shipment of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) left the Gulf of Mexico and crossed the Atlantic, a move that has been widely regarded as the first step in an impending gas war between the United States and Russia. As the theory goes, Russia has a grip on the European gas market, which it uses to bully its close neighbors and shush any major European states that push back on its geopolitical ambitions. U.S. LNG, it follows, will break Russia’s stranglehold. It is a cheaper and more reliable alternative. In turn, Russia will either lose market share or compete by lowering its prices. But either way, Europe wins, economically and geopolitically.

The economic argument is simplistic but not incorrect, although the geopolitical argument is dead wrong. It overstates the importance of U.S. LNG to Eurasian politics, and it reinforces the false impression that Europe’s energy security lies abroad. New supplies, from the United States or elsewhere, are good for consumers since they will further depress prices. But Europe’s energy security is in European hands alone; obsessing too much about what U.S. LNG can do risks distracting from the challenges, including strengthening Europe’s internal energy market, which remains woefully fragmented, especially in Eastern Europe.

If half of U.S. LNG exports, 40 billion cubic meters a year, were to land in Europe, Russia would see no material decline in its own exports. And even if all 80 billion cubic meters of U.S. LNG made it to Europe, which is unlikely given the pull from other regions, Russia would still most likely maintain its position as the continent’s largest supplier (together with Norway). [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Wave of fossil fuel project cancellations follows Keystone XL rejection (May 6) — InsideClimate News

Grassroots climate activists have been effective in stirring public opposition; industry mostly sees market forces at play.

Six months after the Obama administration rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, at least 20 other proposed energy projects—mines, pipelines, plants, related rail projects and export terminals—have been canceled, rejected or delayed, according to research compiled and mapped by InsideClimate News.

Sustained grassroots resistance and public opposition have played a role in at least some of these decisions; other influential factors include unfavorable economic conditions such as low oil prices, as well as governments' environmental concerns and project siting issues.

Since then, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected two project applications—for the Oregon-based Jordan Cove LNG project and Pacific Connector Pipeline—and delayed the decisions on two other facilities. For five of the projects, the bids or key permits were rejected by either a federal panel or state or local officials. Companies chose to cancel four other projects, including Arch Coal's abandoning its planned Otter Creek coal mine in Montana. The remaining facilities are delayed.

Community, environmental justice and green groups from 12 countries are hosting more than 20 local protests and rallies from May 3-15 as part of the Break Free campaign, which was first announced at the Paris climate talks. Protesters are going to the sites of operating or planned fossil fuel projects, demanding that they be shut down or canceled, in some cases risking arrest.

The protests and acts of civil disobedience are aimed at drawing attention to the "gap between what our world's politicians are doing, and what we know is actually necessary to combat the climate crisis," said one of the campaign's planners, Lindsay Meiman, a spokeswoman for 350.org. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

US LNG is now a live test case for flexible volumes (May 12) — ICIS

Just short of 70mtpa in nameplate US LNG production has been commissioned or is on track for commissioning by 2019 from five projects: Cheniere’s Sabine Pass, Sempra’s Cameron LNG, Freeport LNG, Dominion’s Cove Point and Cheniere’s second project, Corpus Christi.

By the end of 2016, Sabine Pass Trains 1 and 2 will be in operation and, by 2017, another three trains from Sabine and Cove Point could start up (see chart). By 2018, this will ramp up to a schedule of up to five new trains online from Cameron, Freeport and Corpus Christi. By 2019, another four trains from Freeport, Corpus Christi and Sabine are due online. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

EPA begins crackdown on methane emissions (May 12) — InsideClimate News

New regulations cover new oil and gas facilities, but methane from existing sites remains unregulated, a crucial step to reaching greenhouse gas reduction goals.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced new rules … to significantly reduce methane emissions from new oil and gas facilities as well as those undergoing modifications. The regulations are the first federal standards aimed at curbing methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, emitted by oil and gas production.

Reducing emissions of methane, the primary component of natural gas, is key to combatting climate change. Methane is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas over a 20-year period, and 34 times more powerful over 100 years. The new standards would also cut associated pollution including volatile organic compounds like benzene, which is a carcinogen.

"Even when they are finished with this current round, 75 percent of the oil and gas equipment would still not be regulated," said Conrad Schneider, advocacy director for the Clean Air Task Force, a Boston-based environmental organization. "They cannot achieve their international commitments and targets without regulating existing sources."

Most of the industry's methane pollution comes from leaks and intentional venting that can be identified and curbed with existing, low-cost technology and better maintenance, Natural Resources Defense Council spokeswoman Kate Kiely said in a statement.

"It's essential to remember that no matter how stringent our methane pollution controls, burning fossil fuels pollutes the climate," Pagel of Earthworks said. "That's why there's no substitute for replacing fossil fuels as quickly as possible with truly clean energy alternatives like renewables and conservation." [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

REPORT: Pro-Trump coal exec says GOP nominee asked, ‘What’s LNG? — Twitchy.com

According to an article published on SNL Financial, Donald Trump met with Robert Murray, CEO and founder of coal company Murray Energy, and apparently didn’t know that “LNG” is the acronym for “liquefied natural gas.”

During the meeting, Murray said Trump had asked him about numerous facets of U.S. energy policy. At one point, Murray said he would suggest lifting obstacles to opening liquefied natural gas, or LNG, export facilities to reduce the supply gut of natural gas in the country.

He said that Trump was agreeable with the idea, but then had a question.

“What’s LNG?” Murray said Trump asked. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Trump agrees — and only then asks what he has agreed to?

Trump has demonstrated that he is not equipped to have decision making authority regarding the nation's energy policy.

Mexico

Peru dispatches LNG cargo to Mexico (May 23) — LNG World News

Peru’s only liquefaction facility at Pampa Melchorita dispatched another cargo of liquefied natural gas to Mexico last week.

Although the exact destination of the vessel has not been confirmed in the shipping data, the probable destination is the Manzanillo LNG terminal in Mexico’s Colima state.

World

World could warm by massive 10C if all fossil fuels are burned (May23) — The Guardian

Arctic would warm by as much as 20C by 2300 with disastrous impacts if action is not taken on climate change, warns new study

The planet would warm by searing 10C if all fossil fuels are burned, according to a new study, leaving some regions uninhabitable and wreaking profound damage on human health, food supplies and the global economy.

The carbon already emitted by burning fossil fuels has driven significant global warming, with 2016 near certain to succeed 2015 as the hottest year ever recorded, which itself beat a record year in 2014. Other recent studies have shown that extreme heatwaves could push the climate beyond human endurance in parts of the world such as the Gulf, making them uninhabitable.

Thomas Frölicher, at ETH Zürich in Switzerland and not involved in the new work, said: “Given that current trends in fossil fuel emissions would result in temperatures above [the 2C Paris] target, policymakers need to have a clear view of what is at stake both on decadal and centennial timescales if no meaningful climate policies are put in place. The unregulated exploitation of fossil fuel resources could result in significant, more profound climate change.” [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

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