DOE Publishes New LNG Export Study – Seeks Comments

How much American-extracted natural gas should get exported? That question is the focus of a newly published study, titled “Macroeconomic Outcomes of Market Determined Levels of U.S. LNG Exports” (full copy below). The study is the fifth in a series commissioned by the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE). The study/research, performed by NERA Economic Consulting (NERA), looks at the impacts on the U.S. for various export scenarios. Export a lot? A little? Somewhere in between? There are 21 proposed LNG export facilities in the pipeline right now, requesting permission to export to “non-FTA” (non-Free Trade Agreement) countries. DOE wants to make the right decisions about how many of them to approve. This study and its numbers will help guide their decision-making. The study is now available for public review and comment, until July 27…
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NG Advantage’s Virtual Pipe Comes to the Rescue in Downstate NY

NG Advantage, the pioneer in “virtual pipeline” trucked CNG service, majority-owned by Clean Energy Fuels, 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). We’re sure the entire situation left a sour taste in NG’s mouth. Even so, this past winter NG didn’t turn its back on New York State, much to their credit. National Grid, one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world (covering Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and the UK), had a problem in Long Island during the winter months. As temps got super low, National Grid needed more natural gas to meet the spike in demand from customers. NY is pipeline-phobic, so what could National Grid do? They turned to NG Advantage and NG rose to the occasion, trucking CNG (compressed natural gas) from facilities in Massachusetts and Vermont to Long Island, helping supply National Grid customers in the Empire State. Here’s the story of a company that didn’t turn its back on NY…
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Cove Point LNG Shutting Down for Maintenance This Fall

Cove Point LNG, built by Dominion Energy, began exporting Marcellus Shale gas in April (see First-Ever Shipment of Marcellus LNG Leaves Cove Point, Maryland). Even though it’s only been up and running for about two months, there’s already talk of shutting Cove Point down. You may recall that two countries have contracted for all of the exported LNG coming from Cove Point: India and Japan (see Dominion’s Cove Point LNG Facility Achieves Important Milestones). Dominion Energy CEO Tom Farrell is currently visiting Japan to commemorate the first two shipments of Marcellus LNG arriving there. Yesterday Farrell shared that although Cove Point is doing just fine, the plant will undergo “brief maintenance” of “a few weeks” in the autumn. Scheduled downtime. Does that mean LNG will quit flowing out of the facility each day? According to Farrell, it “depends” on how full the storage tanks are ahead of the planned downtime…
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First Marcellus Molecules from Cove Point Arrive in Japan

On April 22, the LNG tanker Sakura left Dominion Energy’s Cove Point LNG export facility loaded with Marcellus molecules, heading for Japan (see Cove Point LNG Ships First Marcellus Cargo to Japan). It was the second-ever load of Marcellus molecules to depart the Cove Point facility. About a week later the ship transited the Panama Canal (see 1st Cove Point Marcellus Shipment to Japan Goes Thru Panama Canal). On Monday, the Sakura finally docked at the Negishi LNG terminal in Japan, closing the loop on the first of many such shipments of Marcellus gas that will go to the Land of the Rising Sun…
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LNG Exports to Add $1-$2 Trillion to U.S. Economy by 2050

Here are some numbers that are, frankly, hard for us to wrap our heads around. LNG Allies, a nonprofit trade group, recently issued a study they conducted showing that LNG exporters will add between $716 billion and $1.267 trillion in cumulative “direct, indirect, or induced value added” to the U.S. economy by 2050. Yes, trillion, with a “t”. During the same period of time, the study says value added to the economy from supplying the natural gas to those LNG plants (that is, all of the drilling and fracking), will be worth $948 billion to nearly (gasp) $2 trillion! No wonder President Trump is pushing hard to get more LNG export plants online. Here’s a quick overview, followed by a copy of the study/slide deck…
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Goldboro LNG in Nova Scotia Negotiating Deal to Sell LNG to Europe

The Goldboro LNG export facility in Nova Scotia continues its march toward construction. As we reported in February, Pieridae Energy (the builder) has enlisted the help of Morgan Stanley and Société Générale to help raise $10 billion to build it (see Pieridae Energy Hires Morgan Stanley, SG to Help Fund Goldboro LNG). Last May, MDN told you that Pieridae Energy had signed a labor agreement to build the Goldboro LNG export facility along the shore of Nova Scotia, Canada (see Update on Goldboro LNG – Labor Agreement Signed to Build). The U.S. Dept. of Energy approved the plant for exporting to non-free trade agreement counties in February 2016, an indication that Marcellus/Utica gas may flow to the plant (see Goldboro LNG Project Gets Final DOE Approval – Good for Marcellus). If the gas to feed the new export facility does come from the Marcellus/Utica, it will come via the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline. However, Goldboro can also source gas from TransCanada’s pipeline system, from Western Canada. We remain hopeful that M-U gas will be the preferred feedstock. There is new news to report on this project. Pieridae announced earlier this week they are in the midst of negotiating a 10-year contract with a “European utility” to purchase up to 1 million tonnes per year of LNG…
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Dominion Energy 1Q18: Important Updates on Key Projects

Late last week Dominion Energy issued its first quarter 2018 financial and operational update. Dominion is not only a large utility company (electric and gas), but also a huge pipeline company. Dominion has it’s fingers in a lot of Marcellus/Utica pies, so we like to keep track of the company and what it says about various critical projects for our region. Dominion CEO Tom Farrell had a lot of interesting updates, including updates for: Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a $6.5 billion Dominion pipeline from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina; Cove Point, the $4 billion LNG export facility that began commercial operations in April; Greensville County (VA) Power Station, a $1.3 billion natural gas-fired combined cycle power plant; and the proposed merger with SCANA Corporation, the main electric and gas company for much of South Carolina. Buckle up, there’s lots of news here…
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1st Cove Point Marcellus Shipment to Japan Goes Thru Panama Canal

LNG Sakura – now on its way to Japan

A sharp MDN reader recently emailed us to ask about that first shipment of Marcellus Shale LNG exported from Cove Point that is heading to Japan, wondering if the ship would transit through the Panama Canal to get to Asia. We had to say we didn’t know! But now we do know. And the answer is “yes”–that ship is going through the Panama Canal. Last week MDN reported that the second shipment of Marcellus molecules from Cove Point had been loaded onto the LNG carrier Sakura, and that the Sakura is heading to Japan (see Cove Point LNG Ships First Marcellus Cargo to Japan). Before June 2016, large LNG carriers could not pass through the Panama Canal. In 2016 new locks were installed to make it possible for larger ships, like the Sakura, to transit through. By using the Panama Canal, ships save an extra 7,800 miles, bypassing a trip around the tip of South America. Since 2016 more than 300 LNG carriers have used the Canal. Here’s the news that the Sakura is already through the Canal and now in the Pacific Ocean, steaming toward Japan…
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Cove Point LNG Ships First Marcellus Cargo to Japan

LNG Sakura

Last week MDN reported that a ship called Adam had departed the Cove Point LNG facility in Maryland with the very first shipment of Marcellus molecules (see First-Ever Shipment of Marcellus LNG Leaves Cove Point, Maryland). Although the first shipment of Marcellus LNG was/is owned by Japan, the destination for the cargo was/is still unknown. The second shipment, ever, of Marcellus LNG from Cove Point left port yesterday–also owned by Japan. However, the ship’s manifest indicates this second shipment IS heading to Japan…
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Half of India’s Contracted US LNG Won’t End Up in India

MDN brought you the great news earlier this week that late Sunday night the very first shipment of Marcellus LNG had left the dock at Cove Point, Maryland (see First-Ever Shipment of Marcellus LNG Leaves Cove Point, Maryland). We still don’t know where the first shipment will end up. In the world of Big Energy and LNG, sometimes the destination isn’t known until the ship is under way! The first shipment is owned by Japan. Between Japan and India, all of the Marcellus LNG produced at Cove Point is spoken for (i.e. contracted) for the next 20 years. However, that does not mean all of that LNG will end up in Japan or India. Far from it. Both countries are wheeler dealers, swapping LNG cargoes from around the world. Japan decided it could get LNG from a closer-to-home source and so has swapped/sold the first Marcellus Cove Point shipment to someone else (we’ll tell you who when we find out). It’s likely going to be the same for the first shipment owned by India. We recently spotted the following article from India which says HALF of India’s U.S. contracted LNG–from both Cheniere Energy along the Louisiana Gulf Coast, and from Dominion’s Cove Point facility–will NOT end up going to India but instead has already been swapped or sold, at least for the first year…
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First-Ever Shipment of Marcellus LNG Leaves Cove Point, Maryland

Finally. Finally! Finally!!! The very first cargo of Marcellus Shale gas has been liquefied, loaded and as of Sunday night, set sail from Dominion’s Cove Point LNG plant–heading for we’re not sure where yet. We’ve waited YEARS for this day! Let’s pop the cork on a bottle of the bubbly and celebrate. Last week MDN told you that a ship called the Patris was due to dock at Cove Point and load the first shipment of Marcellus molecules (see Dominion Announces Cove Point LNG Open for Business). It appears that information was incorrect. It was correct at the time! Either the Patris was redirected somewhere else, or we’re not sure what happened. But news has just broken that late Sunday night, close to midnight, a ship by the name of Adam departed Cove Point loaded with the very first Marcellus shipment. Several more ships are said to be headed for Cove Point now. International shipping isn’t our specialty, so we won’t quote chapter and verse for which ships and when. This first shipment that left Sunday belongs to Japan, but there’s no indication it will actually go to Japan. As we’ve noticed and have been reporting, both Japan and India (which will take all of the LNG Cove Point can produce) are in the game of swapping cargoes they own, sending Cove Point cargoes to customers closer to the point of origin in return for receiving cargoes that originate closer to their own shores. When we hear where the first Marcellus cargo lands, we’ll let you know. In the meantime, here’s the information we can find about the very first load of Marcellus Shale gas to get exported from Cove Point…
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Progress for UGI Energy’s LNG Peak Shaver in Bethlehem, PA

UGI LNG’s Temple I installation near Reading, Pa. with 3-million-gallon storage tank.

In February MDN reported that UGI is proposing a new LNG peak shaver for Bethlehem, PA. The project hit some early opposition, so UGI tweaked the design, keeping it alive (see UGI Energy Tweaks LNG Peak Shaver for Bethlehem, PA). An LNG peak shaver is a unit used for storing surplus natural gas, to have extra natgas on hand and ready during times of peak consumption during really hot summers or really cold winters. Sometimes your local gas utility will build and use a peak shaver (small LNG storage facility), so they don’t run out of natgas at a critical time, and to help with keeping prices lower by drawing down from storage if prices spike. Low prices make for happy customers. We’re interested in such facilities because of their potential as a new demand source for our plentiful gas supplies. UGI’s Bethlehem project includes building an 80-foot high LNG tank. Last week the Bethlehem Planning Board voted 3-0 to approve the tank, meaning more progress for the project…
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Dominion Announces Cove Point LNG Open for Business

Dominion Cove Point LNG is open for business–so says Dominion in a press release issued yesterday. As MDN reported late last week, the Gemmata LNG carrier had returned to Cove Point to load a second commissioning cargo of LNG (see 2nd Commissioning Cargo Now Being Loaded at Cove Point LNG). The commissioning cargo was not Marcellus/Utica gas but gas brought to the facility to be used in working out all the kinks–to be sure the facility operates as advertised. That’s now done. The LNG carrier Patris was due to dock at Cove Point Monday morning. As far as we can tell, that did happen. According to Dominion’s statement, the facility entered commercial service as of yesterday, which we take to mean the Patris is getting loaded as you read this. One article about the opening of Cove Point seems to imply the natural gas feeding it may not all come from the Marcellus/Utica. That’s bunk. We have information showing 100% of the gas will come from Marcellus/Utica drillers…
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NG Advantage Virtual Pipeline Project Near Binghamton is Dead

In March MDN brought you the news that NG Advantage, which had big plans to build a virtual pipeline (gas compression & trucking facility) on the outskirts of Binghamton, NY, appears to have given up on the Town of Fenton location for the planned project (see NG Advantage Looks Beyond Fenton, NY to Build Virtual Pipeline). That impression is now further strengthened by comments coming from the Fenton town attorney at a meeting last week when he said, “My sense is that they [NG Advantage] are abandoning the project.” Abandoning in Fenton, yes. But not outright abandoning the project. Fenton, and indeed perhaps Broome County, is the biggest loser. But rumor has it that NG is looking elsewhere, nearby, for an alternative location. MDN’s sources keep whispering Hancock, NY as a possibility (in Delaware County). We’ve also heard Deposit, NY mentioned (sitting on the border of Broome and Delaware counties, not far from Hancock). MDN remains a top cheerleader to have NG bring their project to MDN’s own neighborhood, truck traffic and all, in the Town of Windsor. Sadly, no word on a Windsor option from our sources. So what did Fenton and surrounding communities achieve with their “victory” in defeating NG’s project in Fenton?…
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2nd Commissioning Cargo Now Being Loaded at Cove Point LNG

Gemmata returns to Cove Point

Yesterday our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, issued its weekly Natural Gas Update report. In one of the short bullet point notes we learned important new information about the Cove Point LNG export facility. We learned that the next ship to arrive and load up at the facility will NOT be the Patris, as we were led to believe (see Cove Point LNG Gets Ready to Ship First Marcellus Molecules in Apr). Instead, the first ship that loaded molecules at the facility, the Gemmata, has returned and is (as you read this) loading a “second commissioning cargo.” Which takes some explanation. The first commissioning cargo was gas brought to the facility by an LNG tanker and unloaded, regasified, and then put through liquefaction again–in order to test the facility. That first cargo was natural gas from Nigeria, brought in by Shell. And Shell shipped out the first commissioning cargo on the Gemmata on March 1 (see Cove Point Ships First LNG Cargo – But Not M-U Gas). This is the second commissioning cargo–so apparently the ship that brought in the original Nigerian gas was bigger than the Gemmata. The Gemmata unloaded its shipment of Nigerian gas in the UK, turned around and came back, docking at the facility on Tuesday of this week. Yes, the Patris is still on the way to Cove Point and will dock on April 9, next Monday, and will begin loading the first batch of Marcellus molecules…
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Cove Point LNG Gets Ready to Ship First Marcellus Molecules in Apr

Patris LNG tanker

In early March Dominion Energy’s Cove Point LNG plant shipped its first-ever load of LNG (liquefied natural gas), although the gas itself was imported from Nigeria, used in testing the plant (see Cove Point Ships First LNG Cargo – But Not M-U Gas). Last week MDN told you that a BP-contracted LNG tanker, Patris, is on the way to Cove Point but will not dock until April 9th (see Cove Point LNG: BP Ship Coming for 1st M-U Pickup; India Wants Swap). The Patris will be the first ship to carry Marcellus molecules from the facility to distant shores. It now looks like we have confirmation, of a sort, that indeed the Patris will dock and load Marcellus LNG on April 9. That confirmation comes from Platts, which reports that on Monday feed gas (from the Marcellus) spiked up to 640 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d), which is “the highest level in more than three weeks” of gas flowing into the facility. Here’s the latest on our continuing watch of Cove Point, a true game-changer for the Marcellus, and for companies like Cabot Oil & Gas that will send gas to the facility…
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