FERC Issues Final Approval for Rhode Island LNG Plant

Fields Point LNG – click for larger version

In June, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a favorable environmental assessment for a plan by utility company National Grid to build a teeny tiny LNG liquefaction plant in Providence, Rhode Island (see FERC Issues Favorable Enviro Assessment for Rhode Island LNG Plant). The Fields Point LNG plant, facing stiff opposition from a group of RI House and Senate members, will cost $180 million to build. The plant will liquefy 20 million cubic feet (MMcf) of natural gas per day and store it. Good news: earlier this week FERC granted final approval for the project.
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Elba Island, Ga. LNG Export Startup Delayed (Again) – Now 1Q19

The East Coast’s second LNG export plant to come online, after Cove Point in Maryland, will be Elba Island in Georgia. In July, Kinder Morgan, the builder and primary sponsor of the project, pushed back startup for the plant from the third until fourth quarter of this year (see Elba Island, Ga. LNG Export Startup Delayed to 4Q18). In what appears to be a pattern, Kinder has just delayed startup again–now estimated to be first quarter of next year.
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Cove Point LNG Plant Restarts After 3 Wks Offline for Maintenance

On September 21, Dominion Energy stopped pulling gas from pipelines into the Cove Point LNG export facility (on the shoreline of Maryland) in order to conduct scheduled maintenance (see Cove Point LNG Plant Down for 3 Weeks of Maintenance). Cove Point liquefies and exports some 3/4 of a billion cubic feet (Bcf) each day. True to their word, over the weekend (three weeks later) Dominion began pulling gas again. By the way, all of the gas feeding Cove Point comes from the Marcellus/Utica region–most of it headed to Japan and India.
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Con Ed Plans 2-5 CNG/LNG Storage Facilities in Westchester County

Clinton’s $1.7M Westchester County estate

Only in New York. Utility company Con Edison is proposing to build up to five compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage sites in Westchester County, NY–to increase the local supply of natgas available for customers. Con Ed wants to invest in “renewable” natural gas and “offer new incentives for Westchester customers who upgrade their heating equipment or install heat pumps to reduce natural gas usage.”
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XNG Virtual Pipe Facility in NH Hits Roadblock re Town Zoning

NG Advantage, a pioneer in “virtual pipeline” trucked CNG service, tried to build a compressor station/trucking hub in a Binghamton, NY suburb, but that effort failed earlier this year due to local opposition (see NG Advantage Virtual Pipeline Project Near Binghamton is Dead). Let’s be honest. Nobody wants an endless stream of trucks driving through their neighborhood, especially a populated neighborhood. That was the issue in Fenton (and neighboring Hillcrest) where NG planned to build their facility. A similar situation has sprouted up in New Hampshire. Different company, XNG (Xpress Natural Gas), but similar in that a local town, Chesterfield, NH, is opposing a plan by XNG to locate a truck terminal in the town. The town zoning board refused to grant a special exemption for the “short-term-parking” terminal. XNG sued in county court and the judge ordered the zoning board to rehear the matter. The board issued a second rejection and the matter is back in court, which you can read about below. The point of our post is to tackle the “not-in-my-back-yard” (NIMBY) issue. These types of CNG/trucking facilities are still relatively new. They are needed and no doubt more will get built. And, these types of facilities face increasing NIMBYism. It’s a real concern. The philosophy of no pipelines, and now a philosophy of no natural gas deliveries via truck, is a societal issue we must deal with. Eliminating natural gas in a geography spells loss of companies and loss of jobs. It also spells super-high prices for electricity. Somehow, for the good of society, we must negotiate through these issues. Can reasonable people reach a reasonable compromise? Are there any reasonable people left?…
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Phila. Gas Works Floats New Plan for LNG Export Facility

Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW), the largest municipal-owned utility in the country, and perhaps the oldest at 181 years old, floated a new proposal yesterday to partner with a private company to build a new LNG export facility at its Passyunk Plant, located in south Philly. This is not the first proposal to build an LNG export plant proffered by PGW. In 2015, City Councilman David Oh organized a meeting to discuss the feasibility of locating an LNG export facility inside city limits. PGW already has a small LNG facility in the city, but currently that facility is set up to import LNG, not export it. Councilman Oh wanted to explore the possibility of converting the site to export LNG. The very corrupt Philly City Council nixed a potential deal to sell PGW to UIL Holdings in 2014 (see Philly City Council Kills the Phila. Gas Works $1.86B Deal). Since that time, City Council members like Oh have tried to save face and figure out how they might turn around the near-bankrupt PGW. One of the most promising ideas is to set up a small export operation. A meeting to discuss that idea was held on the campus of Drexel University in April 2015. A meaningful portion of those attending were anti-drilling nutters who wouldn’t shut up and had to be escorted out by Drexel security personnel (see “Peaceful” Protesters Removed from LNG Export Hearing in Philly). With that as background, apparently PGW thought enough time had passed that maybe they could float a new, scaled-back plan to export LNG. However, the private company they want to cut a deal with, Liberty Energy Trust, is the same company that selfishly helped scuttle the sale of PGW to UIL back in 2014…
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Cove Point LNG Plant Down for 3 Weeks of Maintenance

In early June MDN told you that Dominion Energy’s Cove Point LNG export plant is due to shut down–after being online for just a few months–for scheduled maintenance (see Cove Point LNG Shutting Down for Maintenance This Fall). The shutdown will be for “a few weeks” and occur “in autumn,” according to Dominion’s statement back in June. Although we can’t track down an official announcement from Dominion, LNG World News is reporting the shutdown is here now, and that it will last for three weeks, beginning with this week. Does that mean all Marcellus LNG exports will stop for the next three weeks? In June, Dominion CEO Tom Farrell told Reuters: “Asked whether there would be any interruption in LNG exports from the site on the coast of the state of Maryland, Farrell said that would depend on whether gas storage tanks with capacity to hold nearly 15 billion cubic feet of the commodity were exhausted”…
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Could Atlantic Coast Pipe Feed LNG Exports from South Carolina?

This is all kind of speculative, but we find it intriguing and exciting. If you’ve read MDN for any length of time, you’re read about Dominion Energy’s 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which will run from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina–near the border with South Carolina. Unfortunately construction is currently on hold following revocation of some permits by a federal court, and an order from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in August to stop work on the entire project, for now (see FERC Shuts Down ALL Work on Atlantic Coast Pipeline). That won’t last–progress is being made to rework the necessary permits to the court’s liking, and Dominion has asked that FERC lift the stop work order for the rest of the line in the meantime (see Atlantic Coast Pipeline Asks FERC to Lift Stop-Work Order). At any rate, here’s where it gets interesting. Late last year a top Dominion official speculated that his company will look to expand Atlantic Coast into more of North Carolina, and extend it across the border into South Carolina, after the initial project is complete (see Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s Future Plans: Expand in NC & SC). In addition to building Atlantic Coast, Dominion is also in the process of buying South Carolina-based SCANA Corporation, the main electric and gas utility for most of South Carolina (see Dominion Buys SCANA, Mulls Atlantic Coast Pipe Expansion into SC). Antis are now connecting the dots and say if Dominion buys SCANA and if Dominion extends Atlantic Coast into SC, they believe an LNG export facility will get built in either Georgetown or Charleston to export Marcellus/Utica gas coming south…
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Dominion Takes Out $3B Loan for Cove Point Facility

This another one of those high finance thangs we don’t fully understand. Dominion Energy spent $4 billion to build their Cove Point LNG export facility in Lusby, Maryland. Somehow and somewhere they got money to build it–investors perhaps, or maybe Dominion had some cash tucked away under the corporate mattress. Dominion wants to get some of that debt off its books, so it has just structured a three-year loan with 20 lenders for $3 billion, reducing the company’s “parent level debt”–as opposed to child or subsidiary level debt. What it all means, if we’re understanding it correctly, is that Dominion is moving debt from the parent company’s balance sheet to the Cove Point subsidiary company’s balance sheet. Prior to this, Cove Point “owed” the money to Dominion itself (all in the family), and now, instead, the Cove Point subsidiary will owe that money to lenders directly. That’s our take. Hopefully it won’t take long for Cove Point to pay off the debt…
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Nova Scotia Goldboro LNG Buys Driller, Getting Gas from Canada

For years we’ve had a Canadian LNG export project on our radar, bringing you news about the project, hoping that prodigious amounts of Marcellus/Utica gas would be used at the plant. The project is called the Goldboro LNG project, planned by Pieridae Energy for the coast of Nova Scotia. Two weeks ago we told you that $3 billion of German money will be used to propel the $10 billion project to begin (see With $3B from Germany, Canadian Goldboro LNG Looks Like Done Deal). While it looks like the project will happen, alas, it will happen without liquefying Marcellus/Utica molecules. Last Friday Pieridae announced it is purchasing Canadian driller Ikkuma Resources Corp. Ikkuma has major acreage and producing wells (both conventional and shale) in Western Canada, mostly Alberta. With TransCanada Pipeline’s new lowball shipping charges (see TransCanada Pipe Begins Lowball Shipping to Compete with Marc/Utica), Pieridae will be able to ship its own gas to Nova Scotia, liquefy it, and sell it. We’re disappointed, but we certainly understand. You can’t build a multi-billion dollar LNG plant on the *hope* that US politicians in New York and New England will suddenly get their heads right and allow pipelines to flow cheap Marcellus gas north into Nova Scotia. We get it. It’s just a shame–because our gas is more than thousand miles closer to the Goldboro plant, cheaper to ship–IF the pipelines were in place to do so. Because of anti-fossil fuel freaks in New England, that’s not the case. Pieridae wants to get going and can’t wait forever. They’ve purchased their own reliable supplies, and with TransCanada’s low-ball shipping from west-to-east, Pieridae is pulling the trigger. The FID will happen soon, and Pieridae will be totally self-sufficient. Good for them. Bad for us…
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With $3B from Germany, Canadian Goldboro LNG Looks Like Done Deal

Location for proposed Goldboro LNG plant – click for larger version

Canadian company Pieridae Energy is on the cusp of making a positive final investment decision (FID) to build a $10 billion LNG export facility on the coast of Nova Scotia. In February, Pieridae enlisted the help of Morgan Stanley and Société Générale to help raise the $10 billion needed to build Goldboro LNG (see Pieridae Energy Hires Morgan Stanley, SG to Help Fund Goldboro LNG). In May, Pieridae began lining up customers in Europe (see Goldboro LNG in Nova Scotia Negotiating Deal to Sell LNG to Europe). In a press release issued yesterday, Pieridae says they have hired yet another adviser, KfW IPEX-Bank (in Germany), to help it get a $3 billion loan from the German government. Canada’s Financial Post is reporting if the German loan goes through, Pieridae is prepared to pull the trigger and commit (and begin to build) the project this year. Which is a good thing, because if Pieridae doesn’t begin construction on Goldboro LNG by the end of this year, they risk losing Nova Scotia environmental approval…
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Cove Point LNG’s Exports End Up in Far-Flung Countries

The world of LNG (liquefied natural gas) is a strange world for us. We’re still learning about it. LNG is important for the Marcellus/Utica region as our molecules increasingly get shipped to other countries. Our molecules get shipped directly from the Dominion Cove Point LNG export facility in Lusby, Maryland, and by Cheniere’s Sabine Pass LNG export facility in Louisiana. Yes, some of our gas makes it to Louisiana and is liquefied and shipped out. However, the Cove Point facility is the focus of this post. Since early 2013, all of the LNG export capacity from Cove Point has been spoken for, by India and Japan, signing 20-year contracts (see Dominion’s Cove Point LNG Facility Achieves Important Milestones). You would think if they contracted for the LNG, they’d ship it to their respective countries and use it. But you would be wrong (see Half of India’s Contracted US LNG Won’t End Up in India). Once a company or a country owns a shipload of LNG and the ship sets sail and is on the open seas, the owner can sell it, trade it, swap it–do anything they want with it. Both Japan and India are and have been doing just that. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently released data on U.S. LNG exports covering year to date through June 2018. In looking over the shipment data for Cove Point, the shipments not only went to India and Japan, they also went to Jordan, Kuwait, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Pakistan, Panama, and the United Kingdom! Marcellus/Utica molecules are literally being used around the world. The best part? Our drillers get higher prices for the gas than they can get here at home. Prices for the gas coming from Cove Point fetched anywhere from $5.27 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) to $8.16/Mcf…
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Anti Fossil Fuel Zealots in Oneonta, NY Oppose CNG Terminal

A boatload of anti fossil fuel zealots from Cooperstown put down their wine glasses long enough to pack an auditorium in nearby Oneonta to bloviate against a sensible plan to build a CNG “decompressor” facility to accept trucks loaded with CNG during wintertime and summertime when area supplies of natgas get dangerously low. We wrote about the proposed facility, described as “a decompression station for compressed natural gas deliveries by truck to supplement resources” two weeks ago (see Oneonta, NY Wants to Build NatGas Decompressor for Short Supplies). In brief, here’s the issue: On really cold and really hot days there’s not enough natural gas in the region, and some large users of gas, like the local hospital and state university, actually have to stop using gas and switch to burning oil as a backup. It’s nuts. To overcome lack of clean-burning gas supplies, the local econ development people are trying to chase down grants to build a decompression station which would be used for maybe two weeks out of the entire year. Wednesday night the Oneonta Town Board held a hearing to get more details about the project. The loons from Cooperstown (i.e., Otsego 2000) turned out in force, some 100 of them, to protest the plan. Why? Because it’s a “fossil fuel.” What did the loons offer as an alternative to this sensible plan to truck in CNG only on days when it’s needed? They recommend “retrofitting old buildings to save energy” (i.e. throw on extra sweaters and turn the thermostat down), or switch to renewables. You know, solar and wind nirvana. What about when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow? Just do without. It’d only be for a few days at a time…
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Dominion Energy 2Q18: Cove Point, SCANA, ACP & More

There is a LOT going on at Dominion Energy that impacts the Marcellus/Utica region. Yesterday Dominion posted its second quarter 2018 update and held a conference call with investors to discuss what happened during 2Q18, and what to expect in coming quarters. Discussed on the call: (1) The Cove Point LNG export plant went online in 2Q18 and so far has shipped 19 cargoes of LNG–60 billion cubic feet of gas! (2) The $1.3 billion Greensville County, VA gas-fired electric plant is 95% built and will go online later this year. (3) The Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Supply Header Project is under construction and on track to be online by fourth quarter of 2019. (4) The SCANA Corporation merger is moving along, and a big decision from a judge is coming by Aug. 7 about whether or not SC can unilaterally force SCANA to lower electric rates by 15%. If the judge tosses that law and the 15% price reduction is out, the merger is in. If the price reduction stays, the merger is (our conclusion) questionable. Yeah, there’s a lot going on. Below are excerpts from the quarterly conference call, the full 2Q18 update, and the latest slide deck…
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Marc/Utica Gas Trucked to Jacksonville, FL for Use in LNG Ship

Crowley’s El Coqui – LNG powered ship

There is a trend underway for ships to use LNG (liquefied natural gas), which cuts down on pollution from using diesel and other fuels. Good trend! There is a term associated with LNG used in ships you may not be familiar with: LNG bunkering, which is the practice of providing LNG to a ship to use for its own consumption. It’s not a no-brainer to fuel up an LNG ship. It takes special equipment. Last Wednesday Eagle LNG officially opened its Maxville (suburb of Jacksonville), Florida liquefaction facility to first liquefy then transport LNG to Crowley’s new LNG bunkering facility at the Port of Jacksonville (Jaxport) where the LNG will be used to fuel Crowley’s El Coqui, the world’s first LNG-powered ship designed to carry both containerized and roll-on/roll-off cargo. First liquefy the natural gas, then get it to the fueling station (bunkering) that loads it onto the ship. The cool thing is that some of the natural gas arriving at Eagle LNG’s facility is coming from the Marcellus/Utica region, “trucked” to Jacksonville…
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Oneonta, NY Wants to Build NatGas Decompressor for Short Supplies

The main economic development agency in Otsego County, NY, known as Otsego Now, is working on a plan to build a “decompressor” in the Oneonta area to help with natural gas supplies. The proposed facility is described as “a decompression station for compressed natural gas deliveries by truck to supplement resources.” Here’s the problem. On really cold and really hot days, there’s not enough natural gas in the region, and some large users of gas (they get gas from local utility NYSEG), actually have to stop using gas and switch to oil as a backup. It’s nuts. Apparently NYSEG (New York State Electric & Gas, owned by Spainish-based Iberdrola) isn’t in the mood to upgrade a local pipeline that brings gas to the area. So to overcome lack of gas, the local econ development people are trying to chase down grants to build a decompression station, to accept CNG from a virtual pipeline (trucked in CNG), converting the compressed gas back to normal pressure so it can flow through NYSEG’s less-than-adequate pipelines in the area to large gas users that need it…
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