Natural Gas Now Best Picks of the Week – August 1, 2020

Tom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

Readers pass along a lot of stuff every week about natural gas, fractivist antics, emissions, renewables, and other news relating to energy. As usual, emphasis is added.

You’re Saying It Makes No Sense, Then?

It doesn’t get much more clear than this; off-shore wind is idiotic:

Offshore wind is the renewable-energy industry’s shiny new toy. Led by New York, seven Atlantic-coast states have now imposed mandates to expand offshore wind use over the next decade, with the Empire State last week soliciting bids for an additional 2,500 megawatts of offshore power, on top of the 1,700 megawatts procured previously.

Advocates claim offshore wind will contribute to a low-carbon future, spur an economic renaissance and create thousands of jobs. Don’t buy it. The mandates are yet another boondoggle that will benefit a well-connected few, saddling everyone else with even higher power costs.

Consider Rhode Island’s 30-megawatt, six-turbine offshore wind project located off Block Island and operated by Deepwater Wind. A decade ago, Rhode Island’s public utility commission rejected the project, concluding that the sky-high prices it would charge the local electric utility would adversely affect consumers. Yet the Rhode Island legislature ignored consumer interests and forced the commission to approve a 20-year contract.

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At the start, in 2016, the local utility paid $245 per megawatt-hour for the project’s electricity, with a guaranteed increase of 3.5 percent each year. In 2035, the last year of the contract, the price will be an eye-popping $470 per MWh. By contrast, the average price of wholesale electricity in New England last year was about $31/MWh. In New York, average prices ranged between $22 per MWh upstate to $51 per MWh in Gotham.

Elsewhere, the dozen offshore projects now under development have lower-priced contracts, but they are still far higher than market prices. In New York, the first-year prices for the 816 MW Empire Wind and 880 MW Sunrise Wind projects will be $99/MWh and $110/MWh, respectively. And that’s cheap compared to electricity from some other wind projects in the Atlantic, which range from $77.76/MWh to $202/MWh.

How long will ratepayers tolerate this foolishness before they accept natural gas as the cleanest and most economic source of energy?

LNG Exports Doing Well on Some Fronts Despite Everything!

These are pretty amazing natural gas stats, considering decreased demand and a glut of product:

As the coronavirus pandemic pressured demand and prices, flexibility built into U.S. LNG contracts allowed buyers to cancel multiple cargoes.

However, although exports have been dropping throughout 2020 and individual projects have been impacted by rejections, U.S. exports and deliveries to Asia and Europe remain much higher than a year ago.

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Analysts said massive production capacity supported U.S. LNG, with strong exports achievable when the price differential between the U.S. and other markets is wide enough.

“What we saw in the first half of the year…was primarily the result of newly expanded terminal capacity and low prices, wherein a spread still existed to Europe and Asia from the Gulf (of Mexico),” said Jack Weixel, Senior Director for gas, power and energy futures at IHS Markit.

The U.S. exported 26.5 million tonnes of LNG in January to July this year, a 41% jump on the year earlier period, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.


Just Transition? More Like Leftist Politics and Unjust Enrichment!

I don’t know William Allison—he came to EID long after I left—but I sure like the way he writes:

For fringe Democrats seeking to completely ban responsible oil and natural gas development in the United States, the most popular phrase of the 2020 campaign has been the “Just Transition.”

The purported idea of the plan is to transition workers in the fossil fuel industry into new jobs in the renewable sector without disruptive losses in employment and pay.

But it’s really all a myth.

Studies have shown that government retraining programs for workers haven’t been successful and that transitioning workers consistently go through spells of unemployment and often are forced to settle for lower pay in new jobs. Nonetheless, fringe Democrats and the “Keep It In The Ground” activists supporting them have made it a top priority to stop all oil and natural gas development and related infrastructure, regardless of the many workers likely to be hurt in the process.

The “just transition” myth has been exposed most notably by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) who introduced legislation to ban fracking nationwide and discussed the need for a “Just Transition” in her Green New Deal.

Yet, when the COVID-19 pandemic caused massive economic damage and sent the demand for oil, plummeting, Ocasio-Cortez delighted in the news, even though thousands of workers were losing their jobs. She tweeted, “You absolutely love to see it.”

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Ocasio-Cortez quickly deleted the tweet, but as Energy In Depth reported at the time, it wasn’t exactly a typo as  fringe House Democrats had just introduced legislation preventing any CARES Act funds from going to fossil fuel companies during the COVID-19 pandemic. That bill didn’t even pretend to care about a “Just Transition.” Rather, the bill aimed to eliminate as many oil and natural gas jobs immediately as possible with absolutely no safety net for the workers.

This is how to fight, a phrase I find myself using more frequently recently, which is a reason for optimism! It means we’re on the offense and exposing brats such as AOC for who they are.

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1 thought on “Natural Gas Now Best Picks of the Week – August 1, 2020

  1. The 2 NYS offshore wind projects mentioned above – Empire and Sunrise – have nameplate capacity of ~1,700 Megawatts. That translates into Real World ~800 Megawatts output (using Orstad’s own figure of 48% capacity factor).
    The combined cost is said to be about $10 BILLION!

    For context, the new Cricket Valley CCGP that just became operational north of NYC costs ratepayers NOTHING as it was privately financed.
    This plant now produces WAY more (1,100 Megawatts) than the 2 offshore boondoggles COMBINED!
    Furthermore, wind plants produce the bulk of their (expensive) electricity between the hours of midnight to dawn … literally the lowest demand time.

    Regarding the underappreciated LNG situation … US LNG is on track to be cheaper than Qatari product (partially due to government subsidies, aka the Al Thani regime’s global machinations), way cheaper than Australia’s product (nose bleed capital costs, expensive Coal Seam Gas supply), and even Russian, Egyptian, Malaysian and Algerian piped gas (a closer look at the curtailment details might shock people) as the lifting/transporting costs need to be combined with the needs for governmental revenues.
    These suppliers are NOT free market entities.
    Rather, they are – largely – extensions of the arms of the central governments.

    When US producers show the world that sub $3 HH is possible, when bold entrepreneurs construct ultra cheap LNG plants via modularization, when scrappy outfits continue to innovate with storage/transporting matters, the world will soon both see and experience the incredible bounty to be unleashed with this abundant supply of natgas.

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