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…
Continue reading

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”…
Continue reading

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…
Continue reading

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…
Continue reading

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…
Continue reading

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…
Continue reading

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…
Continue reading

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…
Continue reading

Nova Scotia LNG Export Project Signs Agreement with Labor Unions

MDN has tracked the progress of an LNG export plant planned for the eastern shore of Nova Scotia, called Bear Head LNG, for the past several years (see our Bear Head LNG stories here). Of all the Canadian LNG export projects, Bear Head appears to have the most momentum. The project has received most of the necessary permits it needs to proceed. An official from the project says it is “shovel-ready” and can begin at any time. However, they aren’t ready to begin just yet. The reason we track the project is because the most probable source of natural gas to feed the plant would come from the Marcellus Shale via the Maritimes & Northeast pipeline, converted to be bidirectional (see FERC Approves Atlantic Bridge Project for New England/Canada). For the first time in nearly a year, we have some new news to report on Bear Head. LNG Limited, the company behind Bear Head, announced this morning it has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with two labor union groups to supply skilled workers to build the plant–when it gets built. While a timeline is not given, the announcement says Bear Head will need “several hundred workers” over “the next several years” to build the facility. Which we take as a positive sign that this project is close to starting…
Continue reading

Trump Rips into Germany re Russian NatGas Pipe at NATO Meeting

Trump at NATO breakfast – credit: CNN

At first blush this story, which is an international story in the news yesterday and today, may not seem to have a tie-in with the Marcellus/Utica. But it does, very much so. President Trump, in addressing a NATO meeting yesterday in Brussels, Belgium, delivered a blistering verbal attack against Germany. He told those assembled that (1) the U.S. is done being the Europe’s piggy bank, we pay the lion’s share of the NATO budget to defend Europe against Russian aggression, and yet (2) Germany, whose defense bills we’ve been paying for, for more than a generation, insists on building a natural gas pipeline (the Nord Stream 2) that will further enrich Russia and make all of Europe virtual slaves to Russia via natural gas supplies. What’s wrong with this picture?! We’re paying to protect Europe from Russia, and they turn around and spit in our faces by deeply embedding Russia into their own economic futures. Enough. What’s worse is that a former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, is a senior official in Russia’s state controlled energy companies Gazprom and Rosneft that will build the pipeline. He is enriching HIMSELF. It is totally disgusting. Trump told current German Chancellor Angela Merkle, ENOUGH! We will not stand for it. The not-so-subtle threat made by Trump at the NATO meeting is that if Germany persists in building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, NATO can forget about our money to protect them. They will have to pay their own bills from now on. It’s about time somebody told Europe if they would rather get into bed with Russia rather than us, fine. You go right ahead. You’ll loose our $upport. How does all this relate to the Marcellus/Utica? Via our LNG exports to Europe…
Continue reading

Europe Building New Cracker, to be Fed by Marcellus/Utica NGLs

Here’s some exciting news: The first ethane cracker plant to get built in Europe in the past 20 years has just been announced by INEOS. Based in Switzerland, INEOS is a young but rapidly growing chemical company with roughly $40 billion in sales per year. INEOS’ competitors would be companies like BASF, Bayer and Dow Chemical. INEOS has its fingers in a lot of pies. For example, the company currently has two ships that shuttle Marcellus and Utica Shale ethane from Philadelphia to Scotland and Norway (see Ineos Gets Ready to Begin Ethane Exports from Marcus Hook, PA). INEOS has also been tapped to provide the technology for an ethane cracker plant to be built in Belmont County, OH (see PTT Taps Swiss Company INEOS for OH Cracker Plant Technology). INEOS already owns their own cracker plant in Scotland (see Cracker Plant in Scotland “Brought Back to Life” Thx to Marcellus Ethane). Now the company plans to build a €2.7 billion (US$3.2 billion) cracker plant and propane dehydrogenation unit in northern Europe. A specific country/location has not yet been selected. An INEOS official said, regarding the new cracker facility: “All our assets will benefit from our ability to import competitive raw materials from the US and the rest of the world.” Our translation: We love cheap Marcellus/Utica NGLs, and this plant will use lots of it…
Continue reading

Canadian Goldboro LNG Inches Toward Final Investment Decision

The Goldboro LNG export facility in Nova Scotia continues its march (shuffle?) 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). And in May, we told you the facility is lining up customers for its LNG in Europe (see Goldboro LNG in Nova Scotia Negotiating Deal to Sell LNG to Europe). It’s now time for Pieridae to decide. If they don’t begin construction on the project in the next nine months, they risk losing Nova Scotia environmental approval…
Continue reading

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…
Continue reading

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…
Continue reading

The Battle for Dawn Hub Begins: M-U vs. Western Canada

Canadian natural gas customers in Ontario and Quebec can expect to begin paying less for their gas, courtesy of their American cousins. Starting last week, Marcellus/Utica gas is now flowing all the way to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, via the Rover Pipeline connected to the Vector Pipeline (see M-U Gas Now Travels to Dawn Hub in Canada via Rover Pipeline). Western Canadian producers beat Rover to the punch last year when TransCanada radically reduced prices to cart gas thousands of miles away to the Dawn Hub (see Canadian Lowball Shipping Works, Grabs Market Share from U.S.). Now that M-U gas is also hitting the Dawn Hub, there’s an abundance (over abundance?), which has driven prices to their lowest in 10 years. The battle for Dawn Hub, between M-U and Canadian gas, has begun, and Canadian gas customers are already winners…
Continue reading

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…
Continue reading