natural gas

Feds rush toward LNG in Coos Bay

The state of Oregon is fighting federal efforts to push through a liquid natural gas terminal in Coos Bay, Oregon, reports Ted Sickinger of The Oregonian.

The Jordan Cove Energy Project terminal is being developed by Fort Chicago Energy Partners LP and Energy Projects Development LLC to import up to 1 billion cubic feet of gas per day, mostly for customers in Northern California.

That supercooled natural gas, which would also be sold to Pacific Northwest buyers, would travel through a 234-mile long Pacific Connector pipeline to be built over forests and marshlands.

Opponents include the state of Oregon, environmentalists and landowners who  say the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the LNG terminal in Coos Bay without fully studying the environmental effects of building the infrastructure to pump gas from the Coos Bay terminal to California via an interstate gas pipeline near Malin, Oregon.  The feds also gave too much power to the developers to condemn private property, they say.

Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Attorney General John Kroger vowed to press the commission to reconsider, and held out the possibility of appealing to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  They've done so already with another commission-approved LNG terminal on the lower Columbia River.

North Slope drilling continues, affects birds

ExxonMobil completed drilling its second well on Alaska's North Slope, reports the Associated Press. Both wells in Point Thomson, a natural gas and condensatefield, are expected to be drilled to their final depths by the end of 2010. The field contains an estimated 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, which is only 25 percent of the North Slope's resources. ExxonMobil plans to cycle gas by injecting it back into the reservoir, making it the largest gas cycling plant worldwide. It also plans to connect a pipeline to the TransAlaska Pipeline System.

The gas in Point Thomson is crucial for the development of a proposed multi-billion dollar pipelinethrough Canada and into the lower 48 states. ExxonMobil is backing TransCanada Corp. in the creation of the pipeline, and BP and Conoco Phillips are working on their own pipeline project, called Denali, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Development of the North Slope has spawned controversy for years about the cost of the pipeline necessary to get the gas out, as well as environmental impacts. A recent study shows the massive project has had a negative impact on birds who nest in the area, reportsAndrew C. Revkin in the New York Times.

– Emily Linroth

B.C. plans on using natural gas revenue to boost economy

British Columbia is creating its own “stimulus package” by cutting royalties on drilling new natural gas wells in an attempt to boost its economy and combat Alberta, reports David Ebner of the Globe and Mail. From September through next June, all wells drilled in B.C. will be charged only 2 percent royalties, compared to a plan developed by Alberta earlier in the year that charges 5 percent. Energy Minister Blair Lekstrom says the program he dubs a “stimulus package” will generate revenue that will go toward education and health.

– Emily Linroth

Feds nix oil and gas deal in nation's 3rd largest wildlife refuge

A long-planned deal to allow oil and gas exploration in Alaska's Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge is off. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, after considering more than 100,000 public comments, scotched the deal at the refuge north of Fairbanks, which is the nation's third-largest wildlife refuge and is about the size of Indiana. Fairbanks-based Doyon Ltd.  isn't unhappy about the decision because the deal involved a land swap, and geologists in recent years said the land the firm already owns within the boundaries of the refuge also has significant potential to produce oil and gas, according to Kyle Hopkins' story in the Anchorage Daily News. Wonder if this decision would have been made this way in the last administration?