Anchor’s Aweigh: Marcellus Shale Leaves Cove Point, Future Arrives

delaware riverkeeper - Jim Willis reportsJim Willis
Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)


The first real shipment of Marcellus Shale LNG leaves Cove Point, launching a future of US energy dominance and sustained rural Northeast economic revival.

Finally. Finally! Finally!!! The very first cargo of Marcellus Shale gas has been liquefied, loaded and as of Sunday night, set sail from Dominion’s Cove Point LNG plant, heading for we’re not sure where yet. We’ve waited YEARS for this day! Let’s pop the cork on a bottle of the bubbly and celebrate.

Cove Point

Last week MDN told you that a ship called the Patris was due to dock at Cove Point and load the first shipment of Marcellus molecules. It appears that information was incorrect. It was correct at the time! Either the Patris was redirected somewhere else, or we’re not sure what happened.

But, news has just broken that late Sunday night, close to midnight, a ship by the name of Adam departed Cove Point loaded with the very first Marcellus shipment. Several more ships are said to be headed for Cove Point now.

International shipping isn’t our specialty, so we won’t quote chapter and verse for which ships and when. This first shipment that left Sunday belongs to Japan, but there’s no indication it will actually go to Japan.

As we’ve noticed and have been reporting, both Japan and India (which will take all of the LNG Cove Point can produce) are in the game of swapping cargoes they own, sending Cove Point cargoes to customers closer to the point of origin in return for receiving cargoes that originate closer to their own shores.

When we hear where the first Marcellus cargo lands, we’ll let you know. In the meantime, here’s the information we can find about the very first load of Marcellus Shale gas to get exported from Cove Point.

From Reuters:

The first contractual liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo from Dominion Energy Inc’s newly constructed Cove Point LNG export plant in Maryland in the United States left the facility on Monday, Thomson Reuters Eikon ship tracking data showed.

The cargo is expected to act as a drag on spot LNG prices as it coincides with the resumption of exports of the fuel from the Papua New Guinea LNG plant, which had been shut following a powerful earthquake.

The 160,000-cubic meter LNG tanker Adam LNG left Cove Point on Monday with a draft of 91 percent, suggesting it was full, according to the data. Its destination was not immediately clear.

The facility has exported two commissioning or test cargoes already, which were sold to Royal Dutch Shell. The first cargo from the facility left the terminal in early March heading for Britain’s Dragon LNG terminal.

Dominion Energy was not immediately available for comment outside operating hours.

But the company said last week the terminal had entered commercial service for natural gas liquefaction and exports.

After completing a planned outage for maintenance, the facility has been ramping up to full production of LNG from natural gas provided by its export customers since late March, the company said.

The 177,000-cubic meter tanker LNG Sakura and the 163,000-cubic meter tanker Meridian Spirit are heading to the Cove Point terminal, according to Eikon data.

Cove Point is the second LNG export plant in the lower 48 U.S. states after Cheniere Energy Inc’s Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana, which exported its first cargo in February, 2016.

Dominion sold the project’s capacity for 20 years to a subsidiary of GAIL (India) Ltd and to ST Cove Point, a joint venture of units of Japanese trading company Sumitomo Corp and Tokyo Gas Co Ltd.

Some of the LNG for ST Cove Point will go to Tokyo Gas and some will go to Kansai Electric Power Co Inc, according to Sumitomo’s Pacific Summit Energy (PSE) unit.

Cove Point

From Platts:

Dominion Energy has exported what appears to be the first commercial cargo from its Cove Point terminal in Maryland, S&P Global Platts vessel tracking software cFlow shows.

The Oman Shipping-owned Adam tanker departed Cove Point about 11:30 pm local time Sunday (0330 GMT Monday) with a nearly full load, en route toward the Suez Canal with the destination unspecified, vessel tracking data shows.

A Dominion spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday. The company said last week that commercial service had started, though it did not disclose when the first cargo under long-term contracts with Gail India and a joint venture of Sumitomo Corporation and Tokyo Gas would be exported. Shell had a deal to export all of Cove Point’s commissioning cargoes, suggesting the cargo that left aboard the Adam was a commercial delivery.

The Adam moored at Cove Point’s export platform early on Saturday with a draught of 9.0 m and left a little over 36 hours later with a draught of 11.4 m, just short of the vessel’s maximum draught of 11.8 m, cFlow data shows. The draught is the depth of the vessel below the waterline. Vessels sink lower as more LNG is loaded.

Cove Point feedgas flows have rebounded to a high of 616 MMcf/d for Monday from the recent low of 163 MMcf/d on Thursday and an average of 535 MMcf/d over the last four days, S&P Global Platts Analytics data shows. As of now, the Adam is heading back to where it came from, the Suez Canal. Cove Point is still expecting two more unladen vessels in the coming week as the Kawasaki Sakaide and the Meridian Spirit continue to travel toward the plant with an estimated arrival of April 19 and 21, respectively.

Editor’s Note: And, off we go into a bright new future for Marcellus Shale and the communities benefitting by it. Hail to the future!

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3 thoughts on “Anchor’s Aweigh: Marcellus Shale Leaves Cove Point, Future Arrives

  1. Jim, great news, thanks for tracking this and letting us know.

    Note that the phrase you were looking for is “Anchors Aweigh”, not “Away”. The sailors are raising them, not throwing them overboard.

  2. Pingback: Cove Point Sending Our Marcellus Shale Gas Across the GlobeNatural Gas Now

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