After years of construction and battles against activists, Maryland’s Cove Point LNG Export facility is set to come online this quarter.
It has been a long and bumpy ride for Maryland in the last few years in regards to natural gas. Since moving to Maryland in late 2008, there has been no shortage of confusion, delusion, and hope that the state will make the right call for our economic future.
Three years ago, one of my very first posts on NaturalGasNow was discussing Cove Point, a liquid natural gas (LNG) export facility. Cove Point was then an import facility and Dominion, a Virginia-based energy company, was undergoing the $3.4 billion upgrade to transform this little-used facility to become an export hub of LNG. Little did I know at the time, that the Three Amigos in opposition: former-gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur, Ann Bristow, Ph.D. of the Savage River Watershed Association and Paul Roberts, a founding member of CitzenShale, an anti-fracking environmental group, would become all too common names in the ongoing fight for all natural gas fights.
While those Stooges and other environmental groups convinced Governor Larry Hogan to ban fracking, a law that just went into effect, they were unsuccessful in preventing Cove Point’s progress. The revamped export facility is on schedule to come online soon, as in this quarter. IAF Advisors’ Kyle Cooper, managing director of research, said Cove Point “might start shipping by November.” Right now, the facility is performing tests to ensure a successful startup and Dominion’s CEO said it was 95%.
Cove Point’s proximity to the Marcellus Shale will make this facility critical to future LNG exports. Just as we have watched Cheniere Energy’s LNG export facility in Sabine, TX, the only current export facility, blow away expectations, Cove Point is expected to export 1.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of Marcellus/Utica Shale gas to India and Japan.
The marketed capacity is already spoken for under 20-year service agreements with Pacific Summit Energy, a U.S. affiliate of Japan’s Sumitomo Corp and GAIL Global (USA) LNG LLC, a U.S. affiliate of GAIL (India) Ltd. Marcellus gas is going to be lighting the far east through agreements with Tokyo Gas and Kansai Electric, how cool is that?
Just when you think it was over, the opposition comes back in full force. We Are Cove Point (WACP), an activist group that has been fighting the export facility since day one, is still trying to hamper the overall project. Dominion recently asked the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) for amendments to its Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to remove the unnecessary emission limit on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) so it can use combustion turbines to supply backup powers if needed to keep the liquefaction process reliable. This would potentially increase the 2.53 tons per year of emissions. Karl Neddenien, Dominion’s media and community relations manager at Cove Point said:
“most of this increase is attributable to small diameter components such as instrument valves and tubing connectors and access plugs on heat exchangers,” “we are confident fugitive emissions will be minimized, and we will continue to control and minimize emissions to the lowest achievable emission rate, the most stringent emission reduction standard enforceable under the Clean Air Act.”
The WACP crowd showed up to the public hearing handing out stickers that said “DOMINION, GO HOME” and “SOUTHERN MARYLAND, STAND UP” while claiming the PSC should revoke all permits and not grant new ones. I wonder if they truly believe we should just close the facility down based on conspiracy theories and rhetoric. Since the hearing, the PSC is still taking public comments.
While WACP produced a scary pre-generated message to sign on their website, you can also send in comments to tell the PSC that we stand by America’s future and don’t support the scare tactics of activists. Send comments to:
David J. Collins
Maryland Public Service Commission
6 Saint Paul Street
Baltimore, MD 21202-6806