The Weaver’s Cove LNG terminal project was abandoned over a year ago, in June 2011, but Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin continues his effort by seeking standards that would help prevent such a project in the future.
On Wednesday, Kilmartin, joined by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, renewed a request to the federal government for rules for the location and siting of LNG import and storage facilities. Wednesday’s request comes in the form of an appeal filed in connection with an earlier petition for rulemaking directed to the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration within the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT).
This is the latest step in a petition that was first filed in September 2004. In early February, a lower official in the USDOT had denied the original request.
In support of the request, Attorney General Kilmartin stated, “While the State obviously had concerns about Weaver’s Cove’s proposal to construct an LNG facility in a densely-populated urban environment in Massachusetts, with tanker traffic transiting through actively-used Rhode Island waters, within close distance of populated shorelines, Rhode Island’s motives were – and remain – much more broad. Indeed, these motives apply to any number of other locations in close proximity to populated areas and heavily-used waters of Rhode Island on which future LNG developers may set their sights. The petition expresses concern not just about whether a single project goes forward, but over the need for USDOT to set standards that apply to any number of sites that could put Rhode Island’s citizens and natural resources at risk.”
Kilmartin added that “USDOT has continually failed to establish minimum safety standards for determining the location of LNG facilities and has only established minimum federal safety standards for the design of those facilities. We seek to correct this to prevent another unsuitable proposal like Weaver’s Cove in the future.”
The Weaver’s Cove LNG facility was proposed in December 2003 and became the target of an 8-year fight waged by the Attorney General’s office and other state officials to protect Narragansett Bay from hazards and closures.
Kilmartin said, “While that fight reached a successful conclusion when the developer withdrew the proposal in June of 2011, we do not want to have to have a repeat of that threat.”
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The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a report that natural gas prices have continued their downward trend this winter as a result of warmer-than-normal temperatures, ample natural gas in storage, and growing production.
Average spot natural gas prices for January were at $2.68/MMBtu.
Spot natural gas prices in January 2012 reached their lowest level in 10 years except for a 4-day period over the Labor Day weekend in 2009.
Population-weighted heating degree days since November 1, 2011 are down 12% nationally from the 30-year average.
Total working natural gas in underground storage in the lower 48 states was 3,098 Bcf for the week ending January 20, 21% above the storage levels from one year ago.
Daily dry gas production averaged about 64.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcfd) in January, up almost 10% from last January.
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Gas and condensate inflow was reported in the prospecting well during the exploration operations. The well testing will be followed by the reserves estimation.
The new field was the second discovery in the Kirinsky prospect.
Gazprom carries out geological exploration in the Sakhalin shelf as part of the state-run Development Program for an integrated gas production, transportation and supply system in Eastern Siberia and the Far East, taking into account potential gas exports to China and other Asia-Pacific countries. The Program was approved by the September 2007 Order of the Russian Federation Industry and Energy Ministry. Gazprom was appointed by the Russian Federation Government as the Program execution coordinator.
Gazprom holds subsurface use licenses for the Kirinskoye field, the Kirinsky prospect (including Yuzhno-Kirinskoye field) and the Vostochno-Odoptinsky and Ayashsky licensed blocks within the Sakhalin III project. Natural gas produced by Gazprom within the project will be delivered into the Sakhalin – Khabarovsk – Vladivostok gas transmission system.
Based on the results of the geological exploration performed between 2009 and 2010, Gazprom increased the Kirinskoye gas and condensate field reserves from 75 billion cubic meters of C1+C2 gas to 137 billion cubic meters of C1 gas. The recoverable condensate reserves rose from 8.6 to 15.9 million tons. It is projected to commission the field in 2012.
In September 2010 Gazprom discovered the large Yuzhno-Kirinskoye field in the Kirinsky prospect. The field’s C1+C2 gas reserves make up 260 billion cubic meters, the recoverable condensate reserves – 29.9 million tons.
Gazflot (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gazprom) acts as the geological exploration operator.