Report Opens Door To Liquefaction Approvals

January 2013, Vol. 68, No. 1

Andrew Ware, director of corporate affairs and communications for Cheniere Energy, says DOE's policy on non-FTA exports is the "topic du jour" but that the DOE's importance pales next to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) when it comes to liquefaction facility approvals. "People are missing the forest for the trees," he explains. The FERC approved construction of Sabine's four "trains" in April 2012. Sabine spent $100 million obtaining FERC approval. The company spent $200,000 on its application to the DOE, which was approved last summer, after first being approved "conditionally" in 2011.

Donovan says the DOE will take up the 15 applications for non-FTA approval based on the date filed. Dominion Cove should be third on the list. Order of consideration will also be based on whether a liquefaction application has entered the FERC approval process. "We are in the midst of FERC’s prefiling process," explains Donovan. "So we expect to get quick consideration, once the DOE comment process is over."

The three non-FTA applications in the DOE's hands at the time it approved Sabine conditionally accounted for total exports of the equivalent of 5.6 Bcf/d of natural gas. After conditionally approving Sabine Pass in 2011, the DOE received interest from companies wanting to file additional applications to export LNG to non-FTA nations. The volume under consideration for export from these companies was equivalent to approximately 6 Bcf/day of natural gas.

GOP alleges shale "bias" at Federal Health Research Agency

Top Republicans on a critical House Committee say an Obama administration health official is anti-shale, and should not be involved in preparing any federal health studies looking at shale's health effects. The targeted official is Christopher Portier, the director of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), which is a part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The top-ranking GOP members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee wrote to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius arguing that Portier should be disqualified from involvement in any research studies on shale done for the Interagency Working Group to Support Safe and Responsible Development of Unconventional Domestic Natural Gas Resources. President Obama created that interagency group last April. It is headed by Heather Zichal, deputy assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change.