Export impact: Group calls for pipeline hearing

Recorder Staff
Last modified: 2/5/2016 10:44:45 AM
A consortium of conservation groups and land trusts has protested an intervention petition into Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.’s proposed Northeast Energy Direct project and called for a formal hearing into what it says are inaccuracies in the company’s filing with the Federal Regulatory Commission.

Northeast Energy Solutions Inc., whose members include Franklin Land Trust and a 130-member statewide land-trust alliance that includes Mount Grace Land Trust, formally objected to a Jan. 6 intervention application by Irving Oil Terminals Operations Inc., saying the company’s plans to export liquefied natural gas at a proposed terminal in Saint John, New Brunswick, were misidentified as an “industrial” use of gas from the planned NED pipeline, which would be constructed through eight Franklin County towns on its way from Pennsylvania shale oil fields to Dracut, north of Lowell.

Dracut is the hub for the Maritimes and Northeast pipeline running through New Hampshire, Maine and New Brunswick to Point Tupper in northern Nova Scotia, with plans to have its southward flow reversed to carry U.S. gas northward into northern New England and Canada.

The Jan. 20 filing by NEES calls for a formal hearing on Irving’s proposed intervention, pointing to what it says are contradictions between TGP’s application to FERC and Irving’s intervention describing itself as “an end-user of natural gas in New Brunswick.”

TGP’s application for its pipeline project says it has a precedent agreement to sell Irving 10,160 dekatherms of gas a day for 15 years as an industrial end-user at a new location in the Canadian Maritimes.

Canaport, the LNG import terminal in Saint John, New Brunswick, owned by the Spanish energy giant Repsol and Irving Oil, is seeking approval for a 1.2 Bcf/day export terminal.

“As term of industry, an ‘industrial end-user’ is typically a facility that uses an energy supply on site,” NEES attorney Vincent DeVito writes. “However, Irving Oil asserts that they intend to transport gas beyond a facility accepting gas for on-site operations.”

The filing asserts TGP “is not being accurate and forthright with regulators, elected officials, stakeholders and the public. It is unjustifiable for Tennessee to state that ‘NED is being developed specifically to provide much needed natural gas for regional electrification and local distribution companies that need to serve increasing customer demand in their New England service territories.”

In Irving’s response to FERC on Wednesday, the company denied any inaccuracies suggested by NEES, adding, “The statements that NEES references speak for themselves, and the Commission is fully capable of analyzing these statements. Irving Oil nevertheless objects to any suggestion that it has made an inaccurate or misleading statement in this proceeding.”

DeVito told The Recorder, “The significance is that the TGP application is riddled with inaccuracies and, as such, should be rejected by FERC. Also, I note that Irving did not object to our requesting a hearing so FERC should conduct a hearing as we requested.”

Richard Wheatley, a spokesman for TGP parent company Kinder Morgan, recently told The Recorder, “We have no LNG export customers. We currently have one industrial customer in Atlantic Canada, Irving Oil, which is listed in the Nov. 20 NED Project FERC Certificate filing. The Atlantic Canada market has the same type of customers/shippers as New England, including industrial users, gas distribution concerns and electric generators.”

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