Morning Headlamp: “Full and over-hyped LNG Bandwagon”; No gas, no project for IEP

“Full and over-hyped LNG Bandwagon.” A $27 billion energy project in Canada just became the latest casualty of a worldwide glut of natural gas. Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd abandoned on Tuesday its plans for the Pacific Northwest LNG terminal, a plant that would have liquefied Canada’s gas and sent the fuel by tanker from the western shores of British Columbia to markets in Asia. Petronas cited market conditions in its decision. Pacific Northwest LNG joins a growing list of projects that have been killed in recent months by plummeting LNG prices, throwing the economics of export terminals from Australia to Russia to Mozambique into question. Prices have crashed as increasing volumes of gas from Australia and America’s shale formations hit the water, inundating the market with so much supply that analysts say demand may not catch up until the next decade.

Pick up the pace on pipelines. Two bills streamlining oil and gas pipeline permitting and a third easing ozone regulation have been passed by the US House of Representatives (OGJ Online, June 29, 2017). HR 2883 transfers authority over pipeline border crossings from the president to the Commission and sets time limits for approvals. If the legislation becomes law, FERC would have to act on border-crossing applications within 120 days of its completion of environmental reviews and on exports or imports of natural gas to or from Mexico or Canada within 30 days.

Burning the midnight oil. In June 1977, the first barrel of oil flowed down the trans-Alaska pipeline. That oil and the pipeline that carried it forever changed the state. Forty years later, Alaska’s Energy Desk explores that rich history.

No gas, no project. Slow progress securing a sufficient natural gas supply is causing problems for the Interior Energy Project. A gas contract is key to the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority lead project to provide a lower cost, cleaner burning fuel to the Fairbanks-North Pole area. IEP team leader Gene Theriualt said a gas deal with Cook Inlet producers is expected this summer. Another aspect of the Interior Energy project is merging FNG into the Fairbanks North Star Borough’s Interior Gas Utility, to form a single non-profit entity to distribute gas. The merger has been slowed by a funding issue. Theriault described a temporary restriction included in project funding legislation. “It said that we were not able to expand the scope of work under the existing loan until we identified the source of gas,” Theriault said.

Nome waits for ship to come in. Nome Joint Utility Systems (NJUS) staff and City of Nome’s public works department have been set to welcome the Vitus Energy fuel barge coming over the horizon bringing diesel fuel to add to existing inventory to bring the supply NJUS tanks to over three million gallons. However, the shipment, expected around July 24, will not come until late next month. John K. Handeland, utility manager, explained that Vitus is bringing a new barge that will allow the vendor to deliver Nome’s fuel in two loads. “With adequate product on hand, I opted to wait, as opposed to having Vitus use their smaller barges before the end of July, which would have required nine to 10 trips back and forth, at added time and cost,” Handeland explained. NJUS has 2.2 million gallons on order, the price of which has already been financed through Northrim Bank.

Court says “no” to Arctic seismic and “yes” to Enbridge pipeline. The Supreme Court of Canada has quashed plans for seismic testing in Nunavut, delivering a major victory to Inuit who argued they were inadequately consulted before the National Energy Board gave oil companies the green light to conduct this disruptive activity.  The Inuit have said the sound wave technology a Norwegian consortium sought to use in search of oil would have profoundly impacted marine life in the area. In a similar decision released Wednesday, the top court ruled unanimously that Enbridge could proceed with its reversal of the Line 9 pipeline in southwestern Ontario, arguing the Chippewas of the Thames were given enough say ahead of the project’s construction.

First Reads:

US House okays bills speeding pipeline permits
Oil & Gas Journal, OGJ Editors, July 21, 2017

Worldwide gas glut claims $27 billion victim in Canada
Arctic Now/Bloomberg, Natalie Obiko Pearson, Ryan Collins and Tim Loh, July 26, 2017

Midnight Oil
KTOO, Alaska Energy Desk

NJUS Awaits Fuel Barge, Money In Hand
Nome Nugget, Sandra Medearis, July 21, 2017

Supreme Court quashes seismic testing in Nunavut, but gives green light to Enbridge pipeline
CBC, John Paul Tasker, July 26, 2017

Slow gas deal causing problems for Interior Energy Project
Alaska Public Media, Dan Bross, July 25, 2017