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APGA files motion against CNG export application

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

On 2 September, American Public Gas Association (APGA) filed a motion to intervene in protest of an application by Emera CNG to export approximately 9.124 billion ft3/y of CNG by tanker to free trade agreement (FTA) and non-FTA countries from a planned natural gas compression and loading facility to be located within the Port of Pam Beach, Florida.

According to the motion, ‘Emera’s request for authority to export domestic CNG to non-FTA Nations is inconsistent with the public interest and should be denied. The proposed exports from the proposed compression and loading facility…will increase domestic natural gas prices, burdening households and jeopardizing potential growth in the US manufacturing sector, as well as the Nation’s transition away from more environmentally damaging fossil fuels’.

‘Emera’s export plans will likely prove uneconomical. Currently, there are significant disparities between domestic natural gas commodity prices and prices in some nations that rely on CNG or LNG imports. These disparities provide would-be exporters with appealing arbitrage opportunities in the short term, but they will not last. Gas rich shale depoists are a global phenomenon that is just now beginning to be tapped.

‘Also, despite relatively low domestic natural gas prices, certain countries, such as Qatar, can produce massive quantities of natural gas at even lower prices. As other nations develop their resources and export capacity and as US natural gas prices increase due to the very exports Emera proposes, international and domestic prices will converge, leaving the US with the worst of all worlds, i.e. higher domestic prices that thwart energy independence and that undermine the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector that relies heavily of natural gas as a process fuel’.

The APGA also argues:

  • Any job creation that would be spurred must be weighed against those jobs that will be lost or those that may never be created in the first place due to higher natural gas prices.
  • Low and non-volatile natural gas prices are aiding the transition away from coal and foreign oil. LNG exports will undermine these national priorities as they raise natural gas prices.
  • The resulting increase in natural gas prices would undermine recent investments to expand natural gas as a transportation fuel.

More generally, the ‘APGA has long advocated that the data and assumptions upon which natural gas applications were being approved was stale given the pace of recent developments in natural gas markets. For example, a 2013 EIA study revealed that, by the end of 2014, US natural gas companies planned to nearly double the amount of natural gas export capacity from US markets to serve rapidly growing demand in Mexico. Clearly, studies performed in 2012 based on 2011 data could not fully capture the effects of such recent developments and their meaning for increased natural gas exports to non-FTA nations. APGA submits that under these circumstances, the prudent course of action for DOE/FE is to suspend further natural gas export approvals to non-FTA nations until the updated EIA study is completed’.

Edited from various sources by Emma McAleavey.

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