News & Updates

'Gas interests lining up against TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline'

Oct 21, 2014

The head of Quebec’s leading gas utility says TransCanada Corp. has badly fumbled its effort to line up Central Canadian support for the proposed $11-billion Energy East pipeline project and can expect fierce resistance from natural gas interests when it seeks federal regulatory approval.

In an interview, Gaz Métro chief executive officer Sophie Brochu said natural gas customers in Quebec and Eastern Ontario need assurances the new system will deliver as much gas, at the same price as the current one.

“I refuse [to accept] that the Children’s Hospital of Montreal pays a higher price for its gas because Western Canada needs to export its oil to the international markets,” Ms. Brochu said. “What TCPL [TransCanada Pipelines Ltd.] is asking now is that the gas customers subsidize the oil shippers and I don’t believe this is in the best interests of Canada.”

Executives from TransCanada insisted Wednesday that there is no cross-subsidization, and that any reduction in volumes simply reflects lower demand for Canadian gas in the United States.

“What we’re really redeploying here is that capacity that is not used for export anymore,” said Karl Johannson, the company’s executive vice-president in charge of gas pipelines. “We’re not redeploying any of the capacity that we have traditionally serviced the Canadian domestic market with.”

He added that gas customers should benefit as underutilized capacity is taken out of the system.

TransCanada is proposing to convert capacity on its natural gas mainline to carry 1.1 million barrels a day of Western Canadian crude to refineries and export terminals in Quebec and New Brunswick.

The company will use an existing gas pipeline as far as Cornwall, Ont., and then build a new line through Quebec and New Brunswick.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper hailed the project as a nation-building exercise when it was officially unveiled in August, 2013, as did a host of politicians from across the country. But Ontario and Quebec governments have both held hearings, and are being urged by their gas utilities to oppose the project in its current form.

The dispute raises the spectre of an east-west battle over the proposed pipeline when TransCanada files for regulatory approval later this month.

At issue is a 420-kilometre section from North Bay to Cornwall, which carries not only Western Canadian gas but supply coming up from the United States. The local gas distributors, including Ontario’s Union Gas and Enbridge Gas Distribution, insist all the capacity on that section is required.

Ms. Brochu said the distributors will ask the National Energy Board to force TransCanada to build a new oil pipeline from North Bay, and leave the gas line intact, an approach TransCanada rejects.

“Our position would be the same in Ontario and Quebec,” Ms. Brochu said.

“We are of the strong view that all the current capacity on the North Bay-to-Cornwall segment is fully required, which means there is no surplus line that can be removed from service.”

Quebec has ambitious plans to increase the use of natural gas in communities not currently serviced, and in transportation. The TransCanada plan could undermine that effort to make the province more competitive and environmentally sustainable, she said.

TransCanada’s Mr. Johannson said the Central Canada gas utilities and industrial users have enjoyed years of surplus capacity on the gas line, which has given them to negotiating power, and potential for customer growth.

“But the reality is that there is far more capacity than the domestic market needs and by us redeploying that right now, we can reduce the cost of service on our system, and get an opportunity to make our system more efficient at a reduced cost for our customers,” he said.

In order to make up for lost capacity on the mainline, TransCanada has pledged to build a new gas pipeline from Southern Ontario to Cornwall.

As a result, the gas utilities say they’ll face higher tariffs, especially if there are cost overruns. TransCanada argues the overall costs on the system will be lower.

Both sides say they’re confident the National Energy Board will accept their arguments.



Source: McCarthy, Shawn. "Gas Interests Lining up against TransCanada's Energy East Pipeline." The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail, 15 Oct. 2014. Web. 17 Oct. 2014. <

'Budweiser Puts Its Diesel Trucks Out To Pasture, Switches To Natural Gas'

Oct 17, 2014

Last week Anheuser-Busch announced that it was going to replace all 66 of the heavy duty trucks at its Houston brewery. This was no obvious business move. The trucks in its existing fleet are not old or falling apart. Like the Clydesdale horses of yesteryear, these are tough, reliable diesel-powered workhorses that pull 53-foot trailers loaded with 50,000 pounds of beer.

Yet A-B is putting all these diesel workhorses out to pasture — and replacing them with 66 new trucks, that intead run on compressed natural gas.

It’s significant that A-B feels comfortable swapping for an entire fleet that runs on CNG. The intention of shifting to natgas, says James Sembrot, A-B’s senior transportation director, is to reduce carbon emissions and fuel costs, while doing something green(ish). The Houston brewery is among the biggest of the 14 that A-B operates nationwide. The closest breweries to this one are in Fort Collins, Colo. and St. Louis. Each truck rolls virtually around the clock — putting in an average of 140,000 miles in a single year hauling beer to wholesalers. They move seventeen million barrels of beer each year.

In other words: if Texans want to put Bud Light in their mouths (and hell yeah they do) then these trucks gotta haul.

For the past six months Anheuser-Busch InBev has been testing two CNG trucks within the fleet. “We’ve been running the tar out of them, with no issues at all. We’re thrilled,” says Billy Lawder, director of transportation engineering at A-B.

It was Ryder System (NYSE: R) that initally brought this idea to A-B. Ryder owns those 66 now-antiquated diesel trucks. Nationwide, Ryder owns and leases 160,000 heavy-duty trucks. Five years ago none of Ryder’s trucks ran on CNG. Now it suddenly has 1,000 of them, made by the likes of Freightliner, Volvo and Navistar. In 2011 it opened its first NGV maintenance facility in California, and will be building out its Houston garage for the A-B fleet. In a sense, Ryder is playing catch-up. UPS and Fedex have been buying smaller trucks that run on CNG and other alternative fuels for years. But Ryder was interested exclusively in heavy duty haulers, for which powerful CNG engines are only now being perfected.

According to Scott Perry, the s.v.p. at Ryder who managed the A-B relationship, the move toward heavy-duty CNG is possible thanks to the efforts of Cummins CMI +0.22%, which last year introduced its 12-liter CNG-powered engine.


Bud’s new CNG truck. (Photo courtesy Anheuser-Busch)

The other vital piece of this deal: state subsidies. Texas taxpayers, through a programoverseen by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, gives out grants of $45,000 toward the purchase of a new natural gas powered vehicle. For A-B’s 66 new rigs, the grants will total about $3 million. Texas currently has 100 NGV filling stations, adding 35 just in the past year. Texas is producing ever increasing volumes of natural gas from shale plays like the Eagle Ford. At the same time, Texas (and its oil industry) has been in crosshairs of the Environmental Protection Agency. For the state, subsidizing NG trucks both supports the Texas drillers and shows a commitment to reducing emissions. Not only do NGV’s emit 23% less carbon dioxide than diesel trucks, but also much less carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and virtually zero particulates.

“It’s easier to make these investments when you have partner states like Texas,” says Ryder’s Perry. “The industry should stand on its own two feet. But these programs are what it really takes to get the built out into the market place.”

How many more natural-gas-powered vehicles (NGVs) are in Ryder’s future? A lot, especially when taxpayer money is available. Perry points to forecasts from the likes of the U.S. Energy Information Administration as well as Resources For the Future, concluding that nearly a third of heavy-duty trucks could be NGVs by 2035, up from barely 2% today.

But that’s only going to happen if a bunch of other conditions are met (with or without government subsidies).

– The trucks have to be reliable and plentiful.

– There needs to be sufficient build out of re-fueling and maintenance infrastructure.

– Natural gas has to stay cheaper than oil (on an energy-equivalent basis).

The first condition appears to be in the bag. It’s one thing for Ford to offer CNG-fueled F-150s, or for G.M. to roll out a CNG Chevy Impala, but when a truck is hauling 50,000 pounds of beer, it needs some power. The Cummins engine churns out 400 horsepower and 1,450 foot-pounds of torque and has so far been in hot demand. After a few years they won’t be that much harder to make than traditional diesels.

The second condition is manageable.  America has about 120,000 filling stations selling gasoline. But there’s only 1,000 spots to get CNG, half of them built by Clean Energy Fuels CLNE -7.98%, the public company founded by T. Boone Pickens. A-B’s Houston refuelling point is located 3 miles from the brewery and is operated by Questar, which started building an NGV-fueling corridor in Utah back in 1981.

You could drive a CNG big rig all the way across the country if you needed to, but A-B’s switch is easier because all the trucks come back home to the same garage. And their CNG tanks are so big that they can roam all the way out to the edge of their territory, and back, without refuelling. If only makes sense that the initial CNG adoptions will be made by companies moving goods via this kind of “hub and spoke” network.

The third condition is the great unknown. Will natural gas stay cheap enough relative to petroleum to make this bet worthwhile?

Right now natural gas on the U.S. Gulf Coast sells for about $4 per thousand cubic feet (or roughly a 1 million BTU). Light, sweet crude oil goes for $90 a barrel. To equal the energy in one barrel of oil, you’d need roughly 6 million BTU (or 6,000 cubic feet) of natural gas.

Do the math ($4 per mcf x 6 mcf per BOE = $24 per BOE) and you can see that for 70% less than the price of a barrel of oil, you can get the same amount of energy in cleaner-burning natural gas.

That’s a bargain, but that price differential doesn’t trickle all the way down the value chain to the price of a gallon of diesel or CNG.

According to Clean Energy Fuels, over the past three years the cost of a “gasoline gallon equivalent” of CNG has been about $2.85 — equating to a 95-cent-per-gallon discount versus diesel.

That means that at the pump CNG is just 30% cheaper than diesel. But the discount of natural gas from oil was 70% — where’d the rest go? Those new CNG filling stations we mentioned all have to be paid for, and new compressors and tanks — and it all costs considerably more than would the same kind of gear to deliver gasoline and diesel because those oil-based fuels have the enormous benefits of scale, depreciation and amortization.

And that’s just on the supplier side. On the user side there’s plenty of costs for Ryder, and ultimately A-B, to bear as well. These CNG trucks cost around $190,000 each, which is a whopping $75,000 more per truck than buying a tried-and-true diesel (or just $30,000 more after the $3 million in Texas grants).

What’s more, the CNG trucks need a special maintenance facility designed to cope with exceedingly rare situations in which chance emissions of natural gas could potentially lead to uncontrolled combustion. That costs millions.

Lastly, there’s the career risk. Natural gas supplies have been surging in this country, but then so have oil supplies. What’s going to happen to the CNG price when we start exporting LNG around the world? Meanwhile, we have oodles of diesel. America’s refiners are this year making record volumes of diesel, more than 4.7 million barrels per day. And we make so much extra that in less than four years we’ve doubled ourdiesel exports to 1.2 million barrels per day.

So how much diesel is A-B not using, thus how much money is the company saving? A-B’s Sembrot tells me that the old trucks were getting 6.2 miles per gallon of diesel and running 140,000 miles per year. That equates to 1.45 million gallons of diesel to go 9.2 million miles. At about $3.80 per gallon, that’s roughly $5.5 million in total diesel costs per year. If they save about 30% per “gallon equivalent” when buying CNG, that’s a savings of about $1.65 million per year.

Looked at another way, the anticipated savings in fuel costs amounts to 10 cents for every barrel of beer those 66 trucks will move in a year.

And don’t forget the carbon. Ryder figures that the CNG trucks will emit 23% fewer greenhouse gases, reducing the carbon dioxide emissions of the Budweiser fleet by 2,000 tons a year.

That sounds good. But is that a lot? Not particularly.

By comparison, total U.S. carbon dioxide emissions equal 17 tons per person per year. And considering that the market price of carbon dioxide — at least in places with working cap-and-trade regimes — has been less than $20 per ton, A-B is keeping no more than $40,000 worth of carbon dioxide out of the air.

And the carbon saved is less than negligible when compared with the carbon dioxide emissions of the entire beer producing process. A few years back the New Belgium Brewing Company did a fascinating study of the carbon footprint of a 6-pack of Fat Tire Amber Ale. They found that when you add up everything from growing barley to making glass, to transportation and even the carbon dioxide flatulence emitted by the yeast during fermentation, the total comes to 3.2 kilograms of CO2 per six-pack (I assume A-B’s carbon footprint is roughly the same as New Belgium’s.)

There’s about 28 six-packs worth of beer per 31.5 gallon beer barrel, so that works out to 90 kg of carbon dioxide per barrel. Given that A-B’s trucks move 17 million barrels through Houston each year, that equates to 1.5 billion kgs of carbon dioxide, or 1.5 million tons.

So reducing emissions by 2,000 tons — will shave about one tenth of one percent off of the Houston brewery’s total carbon footprint. Hmmmm…

This goes to show just how hard it will be, in a carbon-constrained future, for manufacturers to identify tweaks they can make that will achieve meaningful shrinkage of their carbon footprints. For Anheuser-Busch the adoption of natural gas trucks is a significant initiative that should reduce costs and reduce emissions.  For America, it only makes sense to bring some diversity to the fuels we use for heavy-duty transport.

But what about the world? I wanted to know what would happen to the 66 diesel trucks being replaced? Ryder’s Perry explains that the rules governing those $3 million in Texas TCEQ grants require that for every NGV purchased, a diesel-powered truck must be taken off Texas highways. The preferred method of disposal is for the diesel engines to have a hole bored through the engine block, with the rest sold for scrap. Ryder is undertaking an alternative disposal method: shipping them entirely out of North America so they can spend the rest of their productive lives in a part of the world not blessed with such plentiful natural gas or generous taxpayers.

The Houston brewery’s full fleet of CNG trucks should be in place by the end of the year.




Source: Helman, Christopher. "Budweiser Puts Its Diesel Trucks Out To Pasture, Switches To Natural Gas." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 9 Sept. 2014. Web. 17 Oct. 2014. <> 

'Choking Smog Puts Chinese Driver in Natural Gas Fast Lane'

Jul 7, 2014


Powering vehicles with natural gas, a cleaner alternative to diesel fuel and gasoline, is catching on faster in China than in any other nation as President Xi Jinping seeks to reduce smog.

About 3.8 million cars, trucks and buses in China, the world’s biggest energy consumer and emitter of greenhouse gases, will be filling up with compressed or liquefied natural gas by 2020, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That’s almost double the current number, making Asia’s largest economy the fastest-growing market.

The emergence of natural gas as a motor fuel emitting 32 percent less than diesel is buttressed by China’s network of almost 4,900 refueling stations and a $400 billion gas import deal with Russia. The fuel is also about 30 percent cheaper than its diesel equivalent as LNG trades at a three-year-low in Asia. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has promised to ban dirtier vehicles as smog in the capital, Beijing, increasingly exceeds World Health Organization limits and forces residents to don masks outdoors.

“Natural gas vehicles have significant growth potential in China because they’re more economical than conventional models and because the government is committed to fighting pollution,” Ricky Wang, an analyst at ICIS-C1 Energy, a Shanghai-based commodity consultant, said by phone on July 1. “Gas demand from the transport sector is booming.”

India, Pakistan and Iran are among other fast-growing markets for natural gas-powered vehicles, said Tony Regan, founder of Tri-Zen International Inc., a Singapore-based consultant with clients including Royal Dutch Shell Plc and OAO Lukoil. The U.S., enjoying a rising supply of low-cost natural gas because of the boom in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, was one of the first to use LNG as a truck fuel.

Heeding Demands

In China, leaders are starting to heed demands for cleaner air in the nation, which the World Bank estimates has 16 of the planet’s 20 most-polluted cities.

Exposure to PM2.5 pollution, the small particles that pose the greatest risk to human health, contributed to an estimated 8,572 premature deaths in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xi’an in 2012 and more than $1 billion of economic losses, according to a study by Greenpeace and Peking University’s School of Public Health.

China is now the largest and fastest-growing market for LNG used in trucking, Regan said. By 2015, 220,000 heavy trucks and 40,000 buses in China are expected to run on LNG, he said in an e-mail July 2.

LNG Alternative

“While natural gas has been used as a fuel for vehicles since the 1930s, this was mainly for cars and taxis,” Regan said. “CNG was the first way to use gas as a motor fuel, but there is growing awareness of how much cheaper LNG is than diesel and how suitable that is to fuel trucks, trains and buses.”

Even so, China’s ability to switch drivers to natural gas will be constrained. The country is far behind the U.S. in using fracking to expand domestic production of gas. In the U.S., the technology has unlocked natural gas trapped in formations like the Marcellus shale. China’s electricity makers also are competing for gas to replace coal, meaning the nation will face a long-term shortage, according to Charlie Cao, a Beijing-based analyst at New Energy Finance.

“The lack of fueling infrastructure has been the single largest constraint to the natural gas vehicle market,” Cao said. “Drivers have to compete for already limited gas supplies, especially in the peak heating season, when the tight gas flows are prioritized for residential use.”

China will have 200 million vehicles running on all types of fuel by 2020, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. That means natural gas will fuel only about 2 percent of the total even as the use of gas surges.

Compressed Gas

Compressed natural gas, or CNG, currently dominates China’s market and accounts for 97 percent of vehicles running on natural gas, Cao said. LNG has a smaller share in transport because of higher costs for liquefaction and a shortage of infrastructure for deliveries.

Still, transportation is forecast to surpass manufacturing as China’s biggest downstream consumer of LNG by 2016, Gordon Kwan, the regional head of oil and gas research at Nomura Holdings Inc. (8604) in Hong Kong, said in an e-mail last month.

China’s LNG-powered fleet will more than double to 180,000 vehicles and use 5.3 million metric tons for a 40 percent share of LNG consumption by 2016, Kwan said.

“Natural gas vehicles are more economically attractive and technically mature than other new-energy vehicles,” Cao said. “Electric or hybrid vehicles, for example, still requires government subsidies to compete with the gasoline and diesel-fueled passenger vehicles. Building the gas fueling stations is also less capital-intensive than the charging networks.”

Filling Stations

While China is struggling to keep up with demand, it had 51 percent more natural gas refueling stations at the end of 2013 than the year before, ICIS-C1’s Wang said. She expects about 6,000 natural gas pumps at the end of 2014, up 24 percent from last year.

China National Offshore Oil Corp., the nation’s biggest operator of LNG receiving terminals, plans to triple its filling stations supplying the fuel to 400 this year. China will have more than 12,000 such stations by 2020, with Cnooc taking 20 percent of market share, it said on April 2.

Shaanxi Automobile Group, western China’s largest truck maker, and Dongfeng Yangste Motor Co., the region’s biggest bus manufacturer, are among those producing natural gas vehicles that are outwardly indistinguishable from conventional models.

Gas Deal

China signed a 30-year deal in May to import natural gas from Russia through a new pipeline. The agreement with OAO Gazprom, Russia’s pipeline-gas monopoly, is forecast to provide 38 billion cubic meters of gas annually, according to Alexey Miller, Gazprom’s chief executive officer. China is set to increase imports via Turkmenistan as well.

LNG costs 30 percent less than China III-standard diesel as of May this year, according to ICIS-C1 Energy.

LNG in northeast Asia dropped in the week ended June 30 to $11.25 per million British thermal units, the lowest price since March 2011, New York-based Energy Intelligence Group said on its World Gas Intelligence website. Prices for August delivery may decline next week as more spot cargoes are offered, according to three traders surveyed by Bloomberg.

Switching from diesel to natural gas for trucks and buses can pay for itself after 12 to 15 months and it saves 686,000 yuan over a lifetime of 10 years, Cao said.

“The growth of gas in the transportation sector is expected to be significantly faster for the foreseeable future,” said Thomas Chhoa, Shell’s Singapore-based general manager for Global LNG to transport. “Natural gas for mobility is widely available, cleaner burning than other conventional transportation fuels, cost competitive and technically ready,” he said in a webcast hosted by the company in April.



Source: "Choking Smog Puts Chinese Driver in Natural Gas Fast Lane." Ed. Pratish Narayanan. Bloomberg, 4 July 2014. Web. 04 July 2014. <>

'Kitchener gas pricing policy strikes balance between stability, market prices'

Jun 23, 2014

Kitchener councillors approved a new natural gas pricing policy this week that sets prices more in line with market rates.

Kitchener Utilities, owned by the city, currently uses a blended system to buy natural gas, buying fixed-price gas on contract for up to five years and buying market or variable-rate gas when warranted. Its rates are set once a year.

The city argued its blended method gave customers more price stability while minimizing risk.

But councillors asked for a review of the policy after a public outcry arose in the wake of a Record comparison of customer costs between Kitchener Utilities and Union Gas, a private operator serving Waterloo and Cambridge that charges market prices. The comparison revealed the average Kitchener utility customer paid about $1,150 more in gas supply costs over the past five years.

Kitchener Utilities' new gas pricing policy, which takes effect in July, is a "market responsive" approach that strikes a balance, said Coun. Dan Glenn-Graham, who moved the recommendation to change the policy.

The new policy shortens the term for fixed-price gas contracts from up to five years to three. As well, it increases the proportion of market-price gas the utility buys.

The new policy will likely produce prices for its customers that are closer to market rates, while still providing some price stability. City staff warned councillors, though, that a more market-responsive policy will mean customers are less protected from market shocks.

Customers should see lower prices than under the previous policy when market prices are down, since the utility will be less locked-in to a long-term price. But customers will also likely pay a higher price than market when prices are on the way up.

The gas price will be set yearly, as it is now, said deputy chief administrative officer Pauline Houston, "but the change from one year to the next may be a larger swing than it has been in the past."

That swing could be either up or down. If the market continues to be as volatile as it has been in the past several years, rates could rise or drop by as much as 20 per cent a year.

The policy will take effect once it's approved by council, likely next week, but customers won't see much change until 2015, Houston said, since the utility already locked in much of its gas purchases for next year under the old policy.

City staff argued that customers still wanted to have some stability, based on the findings of a survey that found a majority of residents said they preferred stable rates. Customers weren't asked, however, if they were willing to pay a premium for that stability.

Staff will review the new policy every one to three years.



Source: Thompson, Catherine. "Kitchener Gas Pricing Policy Strikes Balance between Stability, Market Prices." The Record. The Record, 11 June 2014. Web. 20 June 2014. <>

'For a Canadian Province, Gas Boom Presents a Conundrum'

Jun 9, 2014

As nations rush to ship vast new stores of natural gas across oceans, the climate change implications of the fuel are coming under increased scrutiny.

Perhaps nowhere is the debate so intense as in British Columbia, a province in western Canada where there are plans to export large quantities of natural gas to Asia. Environmentalists fear that the production and processing of the gas for export could upend the province’s aggressive climate change policies, which include an emissions-reduction goal and an unusual carbon tax system.

If facilities to export the gas are built, they “will make it virtually impossible for British Columbia to meet its greenhouse gas targets,” said Kathryn Harrison, a professor of political science at the University of British Columbia. For a province that has been a leader on climate change issues, she added, “that’s a huge change of direction.”

It is difficult to know exactly how British Columbia’s natural gas boom will affect its climate goals and policies, although the province’s government has promised to develop the resource in the most environmentally friendly way possible. What is clear is that British Columbia is a case study of competing priorities — determination to battle climate change on the one hand, and eagerness to take advantage of a job-creating energy bonanza on the other.

Six years ago, when the province began imposing a carbon tax, no drilling boom was in sight. The comprehensive tax was the first of its kind in North America, and environmentalists have hailed it as a relative success because greenhouse gas emissions fell after it was enacted, although other factors such as an economic slowdown were also at work. The province also established a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 33 percent from 2007 levels by 2020, although Dr. Harrison said the objective was “not on track.”

Shortly after the climate moves came into effect, a drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing unearthed new deposits of natural gas in British Columbia. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, deploys a mix of water, sand and chemicals at high pressure to release gas or oil trapped in rocks. Soon, the province’s fields began producing copious amounts of gas, and production rose about 40 percent from 2008 to 2013. But drillers had trouble selling the gas to one of their mainstay markets, the United States, because of a parallel American gas boom.

So British Columbia began looking to export its surplus to Asia. Eager buyers are at hand. China, which is struggling with air pollution, is eager to find substitutes for coal in its power plants, and Japan wants replacements for nuclear power. Large companies lined up to build multibillion-dollar gas export facilities in the province. Thirteen such facilities are now planned, according to the provincial government, but not all are likely to be built.

Drillers say that the world should welcome the boom, partly because it will help China move away from coal, which burns less cleanly than natural gas. Environmentalists counter that the calculus is more complex, because natural gas could take the place of renewable energy that nations like China and Japan also want to build.

Environmentalists also warn of leaks from natural gas production and pipeline facilities, which can send the potent greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere. Industry representatives say that British Columbia’s standards for reducing methane releases are already high.

Much debate in British Columbia centers on the 13 facilities planned to export natural gas. These facilities transform natural gas into a liquid so the fuel can fit compactly onto ships. The process of liquefying the gas has two basic parts, according to Tom Rufford, a lecturer at the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Queensland in Australia. First, the facilities remove contaminants such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, butane and water. Then, acting like giant refrigerators, they cool the gas to minus 258 degrees Fahrenheit so that it becomes liquid. The liquefied natural gas, or L.N.G., then gets loaded into tanks for transport.

The plants that liquefy the gas are generally powered by natural gas. The energy needed to remove contaminants and liquefy the gas can amount to roughly 10 percent of the energy contained in the gas produced by the plant, Dr. Rufford said. He added that the facilities were “very efficient to start with, compared to some other industrial processes,” like coal-fired power plants.

Some environmental groups in British Columbia, such as Clean Energy Canada, want the facilities that liquefy the gas to use electricity derived largely from wind farms and local hydroelectric facilities for power, instead of mechanical energy and electricity from on-site natural gas-fired turbines. One relatively small proposed facility, called Woodfibre L.N.G., plans to use grid electricity rather than gas.

But some in the industry say that using grid electricity — which in British Columbia is largely made from hydropower — is impractical. Greg Kist, president of Pacific NorthWest L.N.G., a proposed $11 billion liquefaction facility majority owned by the Malaysian oil and gas giant Petronas, said his project planned to use gas, rather than electric power from the grid, because of the substantial energy requirements of the plant and the time frame in which power is needed.

“There’s very limited sources of power at that scope and scale in order to provide power for the facility,” he said. His plant would process natural gas that is relatively free of contaminants like carbon dioxide — one of several measures that will save energy, he said. The facility could begin construction next year.

Rich Coleman, British Columbia’s deputy premier and minister of natural gas development, was unavailable for an interview. But a ministry representative said in an email that the province’s carbon tax leadership would guide its decisions on liquefied natural gas. “The province is working to ensure B.C.’s L.N.G. operations are the cleanest in the world. Discussions are taking place with industry now to make this a reality.”

Environmentalists are skeptical. A report last year from Clean Energy Canada estimated that typical liquefied natural gas facilities in British Columbia would produce almost three times as much carbon pollution per unit of liquefied gas as a facility in Norway and another in Australia, which the report cited as global leaders. (The figures include the production and piping of natural gas as well as the process of turning it into a liquid.)

But gas producers say that British Columbia’s carbon policies will influence their efforts. “I think B.C. is and will continue to be a leader in many aspects of environmental policy,” said Dave Collyer, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. Natural gas, he said, would fit into that framework.



Source: Galbraith, Kate. "For a Canadian Province, Gas Boom Presents a Conundrum."The New York Times. The New York Times, 28 May 2014. Web. 06 June 2014. <>


Russia-China Gas Deal - Why It Matters and What it Means for Canada

May 30, 2014

After more than a decade of negotiations, China and Russia have agreed to a natural gas deal worth about $400 billion that represents a major step not only in global energy markets but also in geopolitics.

The deal will spark development of massive gas fields in Eastern Siberia and the construction of some 4,000 kilometres of pipelines, efforts that together are expected to cost $55-billion (US).


Despite the size and scope of the deal—it will last for 30 years and require Russia to eventually deliver 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year, according to a post China National Petroleum's website—it may not have a significant short-term financial effect.

Still, the deal signals changes for several key global issues, not just energy. 

Although the exact pricing of the deal has not been disclosed, most analysts have been anticipating its details for some time. Some of those analysts have pegged the value of the deal at around $400 billion. Renaissance Capital analyst Ildar Davletshin wrote in a Wednesday note that he estimates "a limited financial impact" on the valuation of Russia's Gazprom. In fact, he writes that if total exports to China remain at 38 billion cubic meters, then construction on a natural gas pipeline to China may actually decrease the company's overall value.

Keith Crane, director of RAND Environment, Energy, and Economic Development Program, said he agrees that the deal doesn't change anything for either party in the short term, especially as the price remains undisclosed.


Some much needed investment capital

Still, Crane said that the ultimate legacy of the deal may be that it will give Gazprom a badly needed source of investment capital. While this will largely finance the pipeline to China—the company is responsible for all infrastructure on its side, and the Chinese will handle construction in their own country—Gazprom is also involved in other projects. Among them is the planned "South Stream" pipeline through the Black Sea, which he said could see some benefit from added liquidity.


Impact on natural gas markets

Once the natural gas pipeline to China is completed, Crane said, the global gas markets will become more integrated. According to economic theory, greater integration brings greater price efficiency, so the direct connection of East and West markets should theoretically herald better market conditions. Integration has been a trend in the market for some time through liquefied natural gas, he explained, but there is no better way than a direct pipeline to make this change.


Boost for Putin at "Russia's Davos," and a June meeting with Obama

Although Gazprom may not see short-term benefit from the deal, at least one man in Russia will reap immediate gains. At the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which began Thursday, Putin will be able to boast to his country's economic elite at "Russia's Davos" that their nation remains enticing for foreign investment, said Lauren Goodrich, senior Eurasia analyst at geopolitical intelligence firm Stratfor.

"It will be [Putin] riding high, not only this deal, but a string of very large deals with China," Goodrich said. "[He'll say] 'The West keeps on saying that we're bad for investment, but we have a lot of investment coming in.'"

When Putin meets with President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a World War II commemorative event on June 6, he'll also be able to flaunt this $400 billion deal as a sign that his country is not at the mercy of Western sanctions, Goodrich said. The ability to demonstrate financial security in the face of continued threat of sanctions was essential for the Russian leader, she said.

"Putin had to get this deal done today, period," Goodrich said.


Russian-European trade dynamic

In addition to allowing Putin to take a stronger stance against Merkel and Obama, the deal will also affect the nature of Russia and Europe's energy trade, experts say. In essence, Crane said, Gazprom was facing a monopsony, or a single buyer, in the European Union: It sent over 80 percent of its natural gas exports westward, according to Stratfor, while European consumers benefit from an increasing variety of gas options.

"It is important for Gazprom to get outlets for its gas, if it alienates Europe much more. Plus, it has a need for a bigger market," Malcolm Graham-Wood, founding partner at energy consultancy HydroCarbon Capital, told CNBC.

Goodrich said the deal will not only give Russia more options, but force its European customers to "at least keep decent relations with Russia on the energy front," lest Gazprom divert more of its supply to the East.

The deal is a message from Mr. Putin to Europe to “do your worst. We are not reliant on your friendship. If you want to apply sanctions and behave unreasonably to us, we will turn to our good buddy the Chinese,” said Bobo Lo, a British academic who has spent decades studying Russia’s foreign policies and geopolitics.

Or, as Russian parliamentarian Alexei Pushkov put it in a tweet, U.S. President Barack “Obama should abandon the policy of isolating Russia: it will not work.”


Russia's new approach to China

While "Russia has historically shunned China," this deal represents a turning point in Sino-Russian relations, Goodrich said—not necessarily making them political allies, but at least making them significant economic partners. She said that Russia has had a "historical nervousness of having China inside the country," but sanctions from the West have forced that to change in a "big, big way."

Now China will not only have an energy partnership with Russia, but Beijing is also in talks to acquire a stake in Gazprom's Vladivostok liquefied natural gas terminal and a 19 percent stake in Russian oil company Rosneft, according to Stratfor.


China's important stake in Russia

As Russia sees a new economic partner in China, Beijing has found an investment in the future of its neighbor. It is tough to make any firm predictions, but this new stake may give China some leverage inside of Russia, Goodrich said. Still, this will mostly be relegated to economic sway, not direct political clout, she added.


'So much more secure'

Perhaps more important for Beijing than a stake in Russia is the promise of greater energy security gained by the deal. The Chinese energy market is "incredibly vulnerable" to the situation at sea, Goodrich said. Recent tensions in the South China Sea, in which China unilaterally began drilling near islands claimed by Vietnam, only underscore how important it is for Beijing to secure more land import options, she said. China, she added, becomes "so much more secure" with the added diversification of its energy supply. But beyond the source of the gas, the Gazprom deal helps China address its rising energy consumption.

"It makes sense for China to sign up for as much reasonably priced gas it can," Graham-Wood said.


China's battle with pollution

China faces a significant uphill battle in terms of pollution, but an increase in natural gas can only help, Crane said. As Beijing seeks to close more coal power plants it hopes to meet the population's consumption needs with natural gas, he added, explaining that this switch "could have a pretty significant impact" on air quality.


Russia's entrance into East Asia

While modern Russia has long made overtures to East Asia, the construction of a Gazprom-connected pipeline into China will give Moscow a physical stake in the region, Goodrich said. And once the project is completed, Russia can begin to look to other countries for partners—or rivals.

"Russia can start playing these countries off each other," Goodrich said. "And this will create a fun new dynamic because this will be the first time we'll be able to see Russia play around again in East Asia."


Impact on Canada

Under the deal, China agrees with a single stroke to buy from Russia’s OAO Gazprom nearly half the volume of natural gas consumed by all of Canada.

And for Canada, that new source of natural gas is another sign that its own ambition to become a major exporter of the commodity faces intensifying global competition. Energy companies are planning several liquefied natural gas export projects on the British Columbia coast, but Canada is well behind other international players.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark insisted the province is still well-positioned to become an LNG exporter. She said Asian buyers, including China, still want their suppliers to include countries that offer reliability over the long term.

“We’ve certainly seen the way that Russia likes to do business these days, and we certainly know that the Chinese want a dependability of supply. We can supply that,” Ms. Clark said at a Vancouver news conference on Wednesday. “Being honourable, being trustworthy, providing the assurance that we are not going to play politics with energy. I think that’s worth a lot to our potential customers out there, especially for China.”

Shamsul Azhar Abbas, the chief executive officer of Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas, also played down the impact of the Russia-China natural gas deal on Canada’s fledgling LNG industry, and specifically the Petronas-led Pacific NorthWest project.

“What I am interested in is whether it will compete directly with our Canadian project, and the answer is no. The beautiful part of our project is that we have a buyers’ consortium,” Mr. Shamsul said during an interview at an international LNG conference in Vancouver.

The Pacific NorthWest LNG joint venture is being planned for Lelu Island, near Prince Rupert in northwestern British Columbia. “As far as China is concerned, they have a very huge need for energy,” Mr. Shamsul said.

Russia and China expect the first gas to flow in four to six years. Although financial terms were not disclosed, China is expected to pay about $20-billion up front toward the enormous cost of building pipelines that will deliver gas to Beijing, and further south to the Yangtze River area.

Gazprom expects to sell the gas for about $350 per thousand tons, or $9.91 per thousand cubic feet. While that is far above prices in North America, where gas has lately traded for around $4.50, it’s well below the pricing for Pacific liquefied natural gas.

The more important question for global energy markets involves the deal’s influence on the way gas is moved on ships. For Australia, Mozambique, the United States and Canada, China has held promise as a lucrative new market for sea-borne liquefied natural gas. The pipeline from Russia is the “least-cost trade pathway,” meaning it is cheaper than any other potential source of imports for China, said Kenneth B. Medlock III, senior director at the Center for Energy Studies at Rice University in Houston, which has developed a global model of the natural gas trade.

(That gas will be worth $10.50 to $11 by the time it reaches Shanghai, Mr. Medlock said, which slightly reduces its pricing advantage.)

Meanwhile, Russia is looking to quickly seize LNG market share as well. The development of the Eastern Siberian gas fields will allow Russia to tap additional supplies that can be exported onto tankers through the Pacific port at Vladivostok. And China, in a separate deal, agreed to buy a smaller volume of LNG from the Yamal project, which will help support construction of that undertaking in Russia’s Arctic.

The combined effect stands to disrupt LNG markets as Russia elbows in with large new supplies. That places new pressure on countries like Canada, whose bid to be early to market has been eclipsed by Russia.

The earliest discussions of LNG shipments from Canada’s West Coast pointed to a potential bonanza, with Asian prices far higher than those in North America. And although rising natural gas demand means the Asian market remains for the taking, the Russian deal underlines the need for Canada to think differently about exporting to the Pacific, said Peter Tertzakian, chief energy economist at ARC Financial Corp. in Calgary.

“The trick for Canada is to make sure we get to market with a good, low-cost product,” he said. “Because there’s no point in getting to market only to find out you’re the high-cost producer.”



Adapted from:

Rosenfeld, Everett. "Why the Russia-China Gas Deal Matters.", 22 May 2014. Web. 30 May 2014. <>

Vanderklippe, Nathan, and Brent Jang. "Massive Russia-China Gas Deal to Shake up LNG Markets." The Globe and Mail., 22 May 2014. Web. 30 May 2014. <>

‘Not one drop of poisoned water’

May 20, 2014

In a new book about hydraulic fracturing, Ezra Levant refutes environmentalist claims about damage done while accessing fossil fuels miles below the ground.

All the anti-fracking hype is designed to make you believe that the U.S. government has been asleep at the switch when it comes to monitoring environmental safety. The activists want you to believe that a film director named Josh Fox can grab a video camera and, within a few months of driving around the country, easily expose a catalogue of hazards that all the experienced and educated scientists at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), not to mention all the state regulators, missed.

Fox even implies that U.S. President Barack Obama has been naively misled on the issue by the dastardly oil and gas industry. In July 2013, Fox wrote an open letter to Obama, in which he reminds the president how frequently he’s met with industry representatives. He implores the president to meet with him and seven families who “have all had their lives ruined” by fracking.“We seek to discuss with you the dark side of fracking, a perspective that has not yet been presented to you with adequate weight or emphasis,” he writes. Of course, if anyone knows just how informed the president of the United States is, it must be a crusading New York City filmmaker.

The Environmental Protection Agency has found no proven cases of fracking-related contamination. Exactly zero. Not a single one, anywhere, ever

But the Obama administration has proven itself to be no booster of the fossil-fuel industry, and under Obama, the EPA has been no sleeping watchdog. In reality, they have been active and invasive, particularly when it comes to fossil fuels.

The track record of Obama and his EPA, in other words, is one of acute, often even baseless, precaution. Which is important to keep in mind when you read the EPA’s definitive review of fracking and its potential for contaminating groundwater. That is, they have found no proven cases of fracking-related contamination. Exactly zero. Not a single one, anywhere, ever.

“In no case have we made a definitive determination that the fracking process has caused chemicals to enter groundwater,” Lisa Jackson, then head of the EPA, told a reporter in 2012.

And the EPA has been on top of this issue for years, long before Josh Fox and his fashionable anti-fracking celebrity movement came on the scene. In 2004, the EPA released a study representing four years’ worth of the agency’s research into the safety and environmental effects of fracking. It “reviewed incidents of drinking water well contamination believed to be associated with hydraulic fracturing and found no confirmed cases that are linked to fracturing fluid injection into coalbed methane wells or subsequent underground movement of fracturing fluids.” It concluded, “The injection of hydraulic fracturing fluids into coalbed methane wells poses little or no threat to USDWs [underground sources of drinking water].” The study was sufficiently exhaustive, the EPA determined, that it did “not justify additional study at this time.”

The EPA’s long-term research and scientific evidence is the sort of thing that President Obama would rely upon in continuing to allow fracking. And it isn’t just the EPA proving it. On the state level, too, over and over again, these tales of contaminated groundwater have been found to simply have nothing to do with fracking. When Alabama regulators reviewed fracking activity in their state, they came up with the same result: “There have been no documented cases of drinking water contamination that have resulted from hydraulic fracturing operations to stimulate oil and gas wells in the State of Alabama.”Researchers came up with the same goose egg in Alaska: “There have been no verified cases of harm to ground water in the State of Alaska as a result of hydraulic fracturing.” And in Colorado, “no verified instance of harm to groundwater caused by hydraulic fracturing.” And “no instances” were identified in Indiana “that harm to groundwater has ever been found to be the result of hydraulic fracturing.” Kentucky looked into complaints from landowners about contaminated groundwater but the results were predictable. “In Kentucky, there have been alleged contaminations from citizen complaints but nothing that can be substantiated.” In Louisiana, regulators,too, are “unaware of any instance of harm to groundwater … caused by the practice of hydraulic fracturing.”

Fracking has been going on in Michigan for many years; there are thousands of fracked wells in that state. If fracking really did contaminate groundwater, even occasionally, it would surely have happened in Michigan. But investigations there found “there is no indication that hydraulic fracturing has ever caused damage to ground water or other resources in Michigan.” In fact, by 2009 when they reported that, Michigan’s Office of Geological Survey said it had never even received a single complaint or heard a single allegation that fracking had affected groundwater “in any way.”

In Oklahoma, they found evidence of groundwater contamination — from conventional oil and gas projects, that is. But from fracking? None. Despite the fact that “tens of thousands of hydraulic fracturing operations have been conducted in the state in the last 60 years,” they reported. In Tennessee: “No reports of well damage due to fracking.” In Texas: “Though hydraulic fracturing has been used for over 60 years in Texas … records do not reflect a single documented surface or groundwater contamination case associated with hydraulic fracturing.” Drillers have been fracking for oil in South Dakota since the Fifties, and for gas since 1970, and still the state reports “no documented case of water well or aquifer damage by the fracking of oil or gas wells.” Same deal with their neighbours to the west: “No documented cases of groundwater contamination from fracture stimulations in Wyoming.”

The Ground Water Protection Council, a non-profit organization whose membership consists of state-level groundwater regulators and whose very purpose is to “promote the protection and conservation of ground water resources for all beneficial uses, recognizing ground water as a critical component of the ecosystem,” issued a report in 2011 that reviewed fracking in Texas and Ohio. The study covered 16 years of activity, during which more than 16,000 horizontal hydraulic-fracking shale-gas wells were completed in Texas alone. In neither state did regulators identify “a single groundwater contamination incident resulting from site preparation, drilling, well construction, completion, hydraulic fracturing stimulation or production operations at any of these horizontal shale gas wells.”

Not only have regulatory investigations everywhere across the United States found not a single drop of drinking water contaminated by fracking, but it isn’t actually physically possible for something like that to happen. Why? Because in not one single case does a hydraulic fracture even come near the water table.

See, all of this fracturing is happening at nearly a mile, or deeper, below the Earth – that’s where the shale gas is. Water wells don’t go nearly that deep. Typically a well goes down several dozen feet, or maybe even a couple of hundred feet if the water table is exceptionally deep. America’s biggest hand-dug well, the Big Well in Greensburg, Kansas, dug in 1887, goes down 109 feet; the Well of Joseph in Cairo’s Citadel, in the Egyptian desert, goes down 280 feet. Those are deep wells, because they’re built over deep watertables. Water aquifers are often deeper: — they average around 500 feet below the ground. But fracking? That happens thousands of feet below the surface — typically between 6,000 and 10,000 feet underground.

Nowhere, anywhere, does any credible scientific evidence exist that fracking has made a single drinking water source ‘dirty’.

For the gas or the fracking fluid to get into the water table, or even an aquifer, from that kind of depth, they would have to pass upward through millions of tons of rock — like passing through a mountain. In the Barnett Shale, for instance, even the shallowest fractures are roughly a mile below the surface — thousands of feet below any aquifer or water table.

These facts have been on the record far longer than the media and activists had even heard of the term “fracking.” In 1995, the EPA under the Clinton administration — who were no slouches, either, when it came to environmental restrictions — declared that “there is no evidence that the hydraulic fracturing … has resulted in any contamination or endangerment of underground sources of drinking water (USDW).” The EPA had been studying fracking in Alabama as far back as 1989. “Moreover, given the horizontal and vertical distance between the drinking water well and the closest methane gas production wells, the possibility of contamination or endangerment of USDWs in the area is extremely remote.” That was Carol Browner writing, the environmentalist lawyer who served as EPA administrator under Bill Clinton and later became the director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy under the Obama administration.

The New York Times recently featured a letter from Yoko Ono, representing her group Artists Against Fracking, in which she repeated the lie: “Industry documents show that 6% of the wells leak immediately and that 60% leak over time, poisoning drinking water and putting the powerful greenhouse gas methane into our atmosphere,” she wrote. “We need to develop truly clean energy, not dirty water created by fracking.”

Industry documents show no such thing. Statistics from environmental regulators show no such thing. Nowhere, anywhere, does any credible scientific evidence exist that fracking has made a single drinking water source “dirty.” On the contrary, a review of tens of thousands of wells, in state after state, and by the most rigorous federal environmental regulators, has turned up a complete blank on any fracking-related drinking-water contamination.

It is no overstatement to say that fracking has proven 100% safe for drinking water in the United States — making fracking probably one of the few resource-based industries on Earth that can actually boast such a statistic. How galling it is, then, that so much of the anti-fracking movement relies on spreading the opposite of that fact — on spreading an outright lie.



SOURCE: Levant, Ezra. "Ezra Levant: 'Not One Drop of Poisoned Water'" National Post12 May 2014: n. pag. Web. 16 May 2014. <>.

Changes may be coming to Kitchener's natural gas purchasing strategy

May 5, 2014

Councillors say they're keeping customers' demands for stability in mind as they propose slight changes to the way in which natural gas is purchased.

Kitchener Utilities, owned by the city, currently uses a "blended" system to purchase natural gas, buying fixed-price gas on contract for up to five years and buying market or variable-rate gas when warranted. Its rates are set once a year.

Most utilities, such as Union Gas, charge customers the market rate, and adjust prices quarterly.

A Record comparison of the two approaches showed the average customer in Kitchener paid about $1,150 more in gas supply costs over the past five years compared to Union Gas customers.

Now, councillors are proposing that the blended system be maintained, while perhaps purchasing fixed-price gas on contracts of only one or three years. Shorter fixed-price contracts would still offer stability, officials say, but would not lock the utility in for as long a period.

"It's kind of the middle of the road approach," said Coun. Kelly Galloway-Sealock.

Adopting this modified approach was approved at the committee level on Monday. Councillors John Gazzola, Scott Davey, Yvonne Fernandes and Zyg Janecki voted against the idea.

Staff are expected to report back to councillors with more information and specific policy details before the change is ratified by council.

The move comes on the heels of a recent survey which asked Kitchener Utilities customers how natural gas should be purchased.

A majority of residents said they preferred stable rates, but they weren't asked if they were willing to pay a premium for that stability.

"There needed to be a fair comparison between the two rate structures," Trysha Wharton told councillors on Monday. "I would suggest this (survey) was not done on an unbiased basis."



Davis, Brent. "Changes May Be Coming to Natural Gas Purchasing Strategy." Editorial. The Record. The Record, Web. 02 May 2014. <>.

Shale gas pipeline projects

Feb 27, 2014

Marcellus natural gas takeaway pipeline projects advance

Last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)approved three projects to increase natural gas takeaway capacity from the Marcellus Shale formation. On February 11, FERC approved the TEAM 2014 project expansions on Spectra's Texas Eastern Transmission Co. (Tetco) pipeline. TEAM stands for Texas Eastern Appalachia to Market. The next day, FERC issued an environmental impact statement (EIS) on a new pipeline and related compressor station project—Williams's Constitution Pipeline and the Iroquois Pipeline's Wright Interconnect Project (WIP). The EIS recommended conditional approval for the two projects, pending the adoption of measures to mitigate their environmental impact. WIP has a projected in-service date of March 2015, while the Constitution Pipeline projects the beginning of service in late 2015 or 2016.

The TEAM 2014 project would provide Tetco with capacity to move an additional 0.59 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) out of the Marcellus from interconnects in southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Expansions would allow for bidirectional flows on portions of Tetco that currently only flow gas from the Gulf and Rockies Express Pipeline into the Northeast. Two shippers—Chevron and EQT Energy—have contracted for the full amount of the capacity expansions. Rockies Express deliveries into the Northeast have declined over the past two years, and in November, FERC upheld a petition from Rockies Express Pipeline LLC allowing for the establishment of firm agreements to reverse direction and move gas east-to-west on the pipeline.

Chevron booked 0.29 Bcf/d of capacity to move gas on the expanded Tetco pipeline from Uniontown, Pennsylvania, to Lambertville, New Jersey, where Tetco connects with Spectra's Algonquin Gas Transmission (AGT) pipeline. EQT Energy booked the remaining 0.29 Bcf/d of firm capacity to move 0.24 Bcf/d of Marcellus gas south to Tetco's AA market zone in the Gulf of Mexico region, and 0.05 Bcf/d west to Lebanon, Ohio, where Tetco connects with the Rockies Express system. Outflows from the Northeast to other parts of the country as a result of these expansions would further decrease net flows of natural gas into the northeastern United States. These decreased flows have largely resulted from increasing Marcellus production, which enabled the Northeast to satisfy a greater portion of its own demand, and increasingly, send gas to other regions. TEAM 2014 would also help alleviate capacity constraints in transporting natural gas to northeastern markets, which contribute to high natural gas and power prices during periods of peak demand.

FERC also issued an EIS that recommended the construction, with modifications to the original plan, of the Constitution Pipeline. This pipeline would deliver up to 0.64 Bcf/d of Marcellus gas from Susquehanna County, in northeastern Pennsylvania, to Wright, New York, where the Wright Compressor Station is currently located. Iroquois would build a new compressor station at an adjacent facility under WIP, and modify the existing compressor station. Cabot Oil & Gas has a binding agreement for 0.49 Bcf/d of firm capacity on the Constitution Pipeline, while Southwestern Energy has an agreement for the remaining 0.15 Bcf/d.

The Iroquois Pipeline currently transports gas south to the Wright Compressor Station from its interconnect with TransCanada's Canadian Mainline in Waddington, New York. At Wright, Iroquois interconnects with Kinder Morgan's Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) northern 200 line, which can flow gas to New England customers via its interconnect with AGT south of Boston, but has delivered increasing amounts of natural gas to the Canadian Mainline via its Niagara Falls interconnect with TransCanada.

The Constitution Pipeline's ability to move Marcellus production to northeastern consumers would significantly benefit from construction of TGP's planned Northeast Expansion Project. This project would take gas from Wright to Dracut, Massachusetts, where it would connect with TGP's existing pipeline as well as a line jointly operated by Spectra's Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline and the Portland Natural Gas Transmission System. Open season for firm capacity agreements on the Northeast Expansion Project began on February 13, and will continue until March 28. Project capacity could range from 0.60 Bcf/d to 2.20 Bcf/d, according to TGP documents.


TEAM 2014: