Category Archives: Lake Charles

USA: Magnolia LNG Wins DOE Approval for FTA Exports

Liquefied Natural Gas Limited said that the Office of Fossil Energy of the Department of Energy (DOE), United States, has granted authorisation for Magnolia LNG to export up to 4 mpta of LNG, from its proposed LNG project site at the Port of Lake Charles, Louisiana.

The DOE authorisation is valid for LNG sales to commence within 10 years and is then for a period of 25 years from first LNG sales; which sales are permitted to all existing, and any future, countries that have, or enter into, a Free Trade Agreement with the Government of the United States.

The Magnolia LNG Project comprises the proposed development of an 8 mtpa LNG project on a 90 acres site, in an established LNG shipping channel in the La ke Charles District. The project is based on two 4 mtpa development phases, each phase comprising 2 x 2 mtpa LNG production trains, and will use the Company’s wholly owned OSMR ® LNG process technology.

The DOE authorisation, follows the Company’s recent si gning of a Site Option to Lease Term Sheet, with the Lake Charles Harbour & Terminal District (Port Authority. The Company is now:

  • Negotiating a definitive and binding Real Estate Le ase Option Agreement with the Port Authority, together with the agreed form of Lease to be executed on Magnolia LNG, LLC exercising the site Lease Option;
  • In discussion with a number of parties who have expr essed interest to enter in to a Tolling Agreement, under which the Tolling Party will be responsible for arranging gas suppl y to the Magnolia LNG Project and the LNG buyers and ships. The Magnolia LNG Project will treat and liquefy the gas, store the produced LNG and load the LNG onto the LNG buyer’s ships, in consideration of a Capacity Fee and Processing Fee; and
  • Progressing work on the Magnolia LNG Project’s Pre File Application, which is required to be submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Co mmittee and represents the commencement of the project’s required permits and approvals process.

Managing Director Maurice Brand said “We are very pleased that the DOE authorisation had been received in accordance with the Company’s developmen t schedule. Our ability to meet key milestones will be a critical factor in discussions with potential Tolling Parties.”

USA: Magnolia LNG Wins DOE Approval for FTA Exports LNG World News.

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Southwest Louisiana: Magnolia LNG Project to Boost Jobs

Gov. Bobby Jindal and Maurice Brand, Magnolia LNG Managing Director and Joint Chief Executive Director, announced the company’s plans to develop a $2.2 billion natural gas liquefaction production and export facility at The Port of Lake Charles.

The LNG project would create 45 new permanent jobs, with an average salary of $75,000 per year, plus benefits. LED also estimates the project would result in 175 new indirect jobs. In addition, the LNG project would require an estimated 1,000 construction jobs.

The company expects to make a final investment decision to move forward with the project in late 2014, after it secures permits and completes financing. The mid-scale LNG facility would be located on 90 acres at the port’s Industrial Canal, off the Calcasieu Ship Channel. Magnolia LNG would produce 4 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas per year, and construction would begin in 2015 pending the company’s attainment of permits and final financing.

Gov. Jindal said, “Magnolia LNG’s decision to move forward in developing a new LNG facility is great news for our state. Magnolia is the latest company that is choosing to invest in Louisiana because we have one of the best business climates in the country and we are continuing to foster an environment where companies want to create jobs.

“We’ve fostered a strong business climate because we have overhauled our ethics laws, revamped workforce development programs, eliminated burdensome business taxes, instituted reforms to give every child an opportunity to get a great education, and now we are taking on tax reform in order to make Louisiana the best place in the world for businesses to invest and create jobs for our people. In addition to our strong business climate, Louisiana’s abundance of natural gas, pipelines and accessible waterways, as well as our outstanding workforce, were key factors in Magnolia’s decision to choose our state. Facilities like these will help create and sustain thousands of jobs in the energy industry across our state and will ensure quality jobs for Louisiana families for years to come.”

Magnolia’s project would be positioned for direct access to several existing gas pipelines. Using its patented Optimized Single Mixed Refrigerant process, or OSMR™, Magnolia LNG would produce liquefied natural gas more efficiently with fewer emissions than other LNG processes. OSMR adds conventional combined heat and power technology with industrial ammonia refrigeration to enhance the performance of the liquefaction process. Magnolia LNG would distribute to domestic markets as well as countries that have free trade agreements with the U.S. The company also will explore a potential expansion to 8 million metric tons per year in the future.

“Southwest Louisiana’s attractive infrastructure and strong workforce made Lake Charles an ideal location for our planned facility,” Brand said. “We especially want to thank the Port of Lake Charles Commission for their partnership in identifying such an ideal location for this project. Whilst the company remains focused on securing the appropriate contracts, agreements and permits, we expect to commence construction of our first U.S. venture by 2015.”

Magnolia LNG will seek federal Department of Energy free trade agreement approval in 2013. The company will submit a pre-filing application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in March, before it completes the selection of project partners by June 2013. The company plans to begin hiring in early 2015, with commercial operations to begin in 2018.

“The Port of Lake Charles has been able to provide a unique combination of location, infrastructure and transportation capabilities to help bring this project to the region,” said Port Executive Director Bill Rase. “Magnolia LNG will be a significant and welcome addition to Southwest Louisiana’s energy corridor. The Port’s staff and board of commissioners look forward to doing business with the company.”

LED began working with Magnolia LNG in late 2012. The company’s proposed 90-acre site would include a long-term lease with The Port of Lake Charles. When Magnolia decides to proceed with construction, the company is anticipated to make use of LED incentive programs, such as the Quality Jobs Program and Industrial Tax Exemption Program.

“This project is another demonstration of our capacity for strengthening Southwest Louisiana and the state to become a stronger energy producer,” said President and CEO George Swift of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. “We are appreciative of Magnolia LNG to make this investment in our region and for the Port of Lake Charles to once again to serve as the catalyst for this project. We look forward to their final investment decision next year.”

Magnolia LNG Project to Boost Jobs, USA LNG World News.

USA: Sierra Club Opposes Cameron LNG Export Plans

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The Sierra Club filed a formal protest to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on Tuesday, challenging a proposal to export billions of cubic feet of domestic natural gas from a facility on Lake Charles in Cameron Parish, LA.

The Sierra Club’s protest challenges natural gas companies’ efforts to secure liquefied natural gas (LNG) export licenses without acknowledging its damaging effects. DOE is currently studying the effects of exporting as much as a fifth of the domestic gas supply, and the Sierra Club calls for similar studies of the public health and environmental damage caused by increased fracking.

The Sierra Club’s challenge contends that the Cameron export proposal would lead to increased air and water pollution in Louisiana and Texas and raise domestic natural gas prices. The filing calls for a full Environmental Impact Statement to study the extent of this proposed facility’s environmental damages before DOE makes any final decisions. Weighing these threats is particularly important because the oil and gas industry currently exploits numerous loopholes and exceptions in federal safeguards, putting the health and safety of Americans at risk.

This filing is the fifth protest the Sierra Club has brought before DOE and other regulatory bodies, opposing LNG export facilities. The other challenges were filed against Cove Point, MD, Sabine Pass, LA, Coos Bay, OR, and Freeport, TX.

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Feds approve Cheniere’s plan to export natural gas

imageApril 16, 2012 at 6:01 pm
by Jennifer A. Dlouhy

Houston-based Cheniere Energy on Monday cleared the final major hurdle to exporting natural gas when federal regulators approved the firm’s plan to build a plant in southwest Louisiana for liquefying the fuel.

The decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission puts Cheniere on track to convert its existing Sabine Pass terminal for receiving liquefied natural gas by 2015 — a timeline that would make it the first LNG export facility in the lower 48 states. One operates now in Alaska.

The company aims to export up to 3.5 million tons per year from the facility in Lake Charles, La. Cheniere plans to build the liquefaction plant in two stages, adding 191 acres to the existing terminal’s space. The facility would still be able to receive liquefied natural gas from tankers.

“Obtaining approval from the FERC is one more milestone for our liquefaction project,” said Cheniere CEO Charif Souki. “We will now finalize the financing arrangements in order to commence construction.”

About half a dozen other companies, including Texas-based Freeport LNG, also are pursuing exports to take advantage of the glut of natural gas produced in the U.S. using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques that free hydrocarbons from dense shale rock formations.

Exports would allow natural gas producers and processors to capitalize on higher prices globally compared to the United States. In the U.S. Monday, natural gas futures settled just over $2 per million British thermal units after hitting 10-year lows last week.

In Cheniere’s case, the strategy is a bid to put its receiving terminal to work. The Sabine Pass terminal went online in 2009, just as U.S. natural gas production surged and killed the need for LNG imports.

When natural gas is cooled to 256 degrees below zero it becomes a liquid that tanker ships can transport. At its destination it is converted back into gas. Cheniere’s Sabine Pass terminal is outfitted with regassification and storage equipment now.

In approving Cheniere’s liquefaction plant plans, FERC also could also give a boost to U.S. producers with big natural gas portfolios.

But a rise in natural gas prices would increase consumers’ monthly bills and also would be bad news for chemical manufacturers that use natural gas as a building block to create other products.

Congressional Democrats have proposed legislation that would ban new LNG exports. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., who is pushing a ban, said the expert terminals would mean sending U.S. natural gas to China and Europe 00 and “exporting our manufacturing jobs abroad along with the fuel.”

“America should exploit her competitive advantage with lower natural gas prices to create jobs in the United States, not export natural gas to create more profits for oil and gas companies,” Markey said.

And environmentalists have asked top Obama administration officials to require a broader review of the consequences of the surge in natural gas drilling that probably would result from selling the fuel overseas.

Critics fear hydraulic fracturing can contaminate water supplies and cause localized earthquakes. Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said in a statement Monday that exports would increase production and hydraulic fracturing, “making a dirty fuel more dangerous and putting more American families in at risk.”

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Will the US Become the World’s Largest Exporter of LNG?

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Sabine Pass Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal, Cameron Parish, Louisiana. LNG ship, Celestine River, moored at the unloading berth of Cheniere Energy's $800M terminal following her maiden voyage with the project's first cargo. Image: Bechtel

 

By John R. Siegel

(Barrons) By 2017 the U.S. could be the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas in the world, surpassing leading LNG exporters Qatar and Australia. There is one big “if,” however. America can produce more gas, export a surplus, improve the trade deficit, create jobs, generate taxable profits and reduce its dependence on foreign energy if the marketplace is allowed to work and politics doesn’t get in the way.

In May 2011 Cheniere Energy received an Energy Department license to export LNG from its Sabine Pass LNG import terminal in Louisiana. Cheniere subsequently reached long-term deals with the U.K.’s BG Group, Spain’s Gas Natural and India’s GAIL. Cheniere is targeting operation in 2016 and plans to export up to 730 billion cubic feet of LNG annually, roughly 3% of current U.S. gas production.

Sabine Pass originally was built as an import facility to alleviate projected U.S. gas shortages. Shale-gas technology changed that assumption radically. Now Sabine Pass is attractive because it already possesses much of the infrastructure for an export plant: LNG storage tanks, gas-handling facilities and docking terminals. Only a liquefaction plant is needed to convert natural gas into LNG. Overall, Cheniere can create its export terminal for half the investment required for a new one.

With world oil over $100 per barrel, equivalent to $17 per million BTUs of gas, versus domestic natural gas at $2.10 per million BTUs, the opportunity is obvious: Cheniere can deliver its gas to Asia or European customers well below current market prices.

Six developers with existing import terminals are following the Sabine Pass model. And Cheniere has another project in Corpus Christi. With the expansion of the Panama Canal, Gulf LNG projects can economically target the lucrative Asia market. By 2017, the U.S. could be exporting upwards of 13 billion cubic feet of LNG per day.

But exporters must overcome growing opposition to LNG exports by environmentalists and industrial users of natural gas. Exporters must also get multiple permits from environmentally conscious federal officials. And Rep. Ed Markey (D.-Mass.) has proposed legislation to bar federal approval of any LNG export terminals until 2025. Those who most fear global warming don’t want anyone anywhere to use more fossil fuel, even “cleaner” natural gas.

It is uphill for the anti-gas crowd. High oil prices are driving a transition to natural gas, even as fuel for trucks and cars. In the U.S., the T. Boone Pickens Plan would displace gasoline and diesel fuel for compressed natural gas in large trucks. Pickens estimates savings of two million barrels per day of oil imports if the nation’s fleet of 18-wheelers converts to CNG. The Pickens Plan might fail legislatively because it calls for subsidies to fuel the transition. But if CNG’s nearly $2-per-gallon price advantage over gasoline continues, the concept will evolve via natural market forces, as it should.

THE ENERGY DEPARTMENT SAYS natural gas has grown its market share in the U.S. in the past three years from 28% to 30%. Globally, the trend is similar, and LNG is integral to the global supply chain.

Despite the recession, global LNG demand has been growing at a 6% to 8% annual clip for the past 10 years. When demand collapsed in 2009, prices in Asian markets fell 50% to about $5 per million BTUs. But the price drop was also driven by the rapid growth in U.S. shale gas. U.S. natural-gas supply — flatlined for a decade at 19 trillion to 20 trillion cubic feet annually — increased 15% in the past three years due to the shale-gas revolution. Technology advances created a supply perturbation. As U.S. gas prices plunged, LNG cargoes bound for the U.S. had no market.

Global LNG markets are growing again. By late 2010, the main Asian consumers — Japan, Korea and Taiwan — were seeking more LNG, while new customers such as Thailand were entering the market. The Japan tsunami put a call on LNG imports to supplant Japan’s nuclear shutdowns, and with increasing demand, Asian markets rebounded to the $15-per-million-BTU range. After the tsunami, Germany plans to close its nuclear plants. Most of Germany’s (and all of Europe’s) new supply will be gas-fired. Given the choices, would Europe rather grow its gas supply from Russia, North Africa or the U.S.? The policy implications should be obvious, even to the U.S.

Estimates of the job benefits from U.S. LNG projects depend on a variety of assumptions. Roughly 25,000 direct construction jobs would be created if all the projects are built. Increasing the U.S. natural-gas production base by another 13 billion cubic feet might translate to 450,000 direct and indirect jobs and $16 billion in annual tax revenue for federal and state coffers.

It’s easier to forecast improved trade balances. Exporting 13 BCF per day of LNG could generate about $45 billion annually. Reaching Pickens’ goals could offset another $70 billion annually of oil imports.

Exporting energy, however, rubs a lot of people the wrong way. Pickens wants cheap natural gas for his 18-wheelers and opposes LNG exports. Industrial gas users argue that a vibrant LNG industry would propel domestic gas prices higher. A study by Deloitte said that exporting six 6 BCF per day of LNG would raise wellhead gas prices by 12 cents per million BTU (about 1% on a retail basis). Advocates of “energy independence” argue that exporting LNG would tie U.S. natural gas prices to global markets.

The Energy Department’s Office of Fossil Energy is considering whether exporting LNG is in the public interest. In the meantime — shades of Keystone XL — the department has effectively put a moratorium on new LNG export licenses.

Energy’s decision-making process balances the extent to which exporting LNG drives up prices with the economic benefits of increased production and energy exports. The price assessment comes at a time when U.S. gas fetches the same price in constant dollars as it did in 1975. Producers are now shutting down production and lowering exploration budgets. The shale-gas “job machine” is now in reverse.

Energy’s price study, released in January, found that exporting six BCF per day would increase wellhead prices by 50 to 60 cents per million BTU by 2026. The study has a myriad of assumptions and scenarios, the most fundamental of which is future gas production. In 2007, Energy predicted the U.S. would be importing 12.3 BCF a day of LNG by 2030 due to falling gas production. But primarily because of the shale-technology phenomenon, wellhead prices have tumbled from $6.25 six years ago, even as demand increased by eight BCF per day. That demand figure is larger than the six BCF assumption of the Energy study. The Energy Department is not particularly to blame, as most forecasters got it just as wrong on gas production.

Ideally, the Energy Department should move quickly and recognize free-market principles. And the administration could send a clear policy signal that natural gas is integral to the country’s energy future and that exporting LNG is good economics and consistent with its 2010 State of the Union address to double U.S. exports over five years and create two million new jobs. But Energy is moving slowly, and administration signals on natural gas are mostly lip service. The economic-benefits study should have been done by the end of March. But last week, Energy delayed its release until late summer, and said there is no timeline to review results and develop policy recommendations. Translation: after the election.

While we are fantasizing, the government could stop singling out the job-creating energy industry for higher taxes, emphasize cost/benefit analysis before adding further regulation to energy production, and get out of the business of regulating LNG exports altogether, which smacks of protectionism. To that end, should we also give veto authority to the Agriculture Department over grain exports (to lower corn prices) and the Commerce Department over auto, airplane and smartphone exports?

JOHN R. SIEGEL is the president of J.J. Richardson, a registered investment advisor that manages a hedge fund in Bethesda, Md.

Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

By gCaptain Staff On April 8, 2012

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