Sunday, November 12, 2006
Bullet being fired into N.S. offshore industry
By Roger Taylor
I DOUBT anyone in the Nova Scotia business community is opposed to Repsol YPF and Irving Oil building their Canaport liquefied natural gas terminal in Saint John — not even those who plan to build their own LNG facilities in the Strait of Canso area.
It’s quite another matter when it comes to the New Brunswick plant bypassing the tolls on Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline.
The backers of Canaport LNG want it to have its own direct route to New England, rather than hooking into the nearby M&NE pipeline on the Canadian side of the border. They have teamed up with Emera Inc. of Halifax, which would build the $350-million Emera Brunswick pipeline if it gets approval from the National Energy Board.
The bypass is specific to Canada because the so-called bullet pipeline would be tapped into the M&NE pipeline once it crosses the border at St. Stephen, N.B. And no one believes that’s a coincidence.
The tolls charged to all the customers who used the M&NE pipeline on the Canadian side of the border help to subsidize the cost of transmitting all the gas in the pipeline. The more users of the Maritimes and Northeast pipeline, the cheaper it is for everyone to ship natural gas to the United States.
The board is holding a hearing in Saint John to help determine whether the bullet pipeline is a good idea. The panel has already decided it will only look at the case for the New Brunswick pipeline and will not take into consideration the economics of the M&NE line.
Having its own pipeline to the U.S. means Canaport LNG will have an advantage over shipments of natural gas to New England via M&NE pipeline. Besides that, it will have a chilling effect on any potential Nova Scotia LNG proceeding and could even jeopardize gas projects off the Nova Scotia coast, because the economics would be less attractive.
Construction of the New Brunswick bullet line to Maine would be a severe blow to the economic potential of Nova Scotia. Just ask anyone involved in plans for an energy centre at the Strait of Canso. One of the Strait projects would, in theory, create a $4.5-billion petrochemical chemical complex in Goldboro, Guysborough County. It would use liquefied natural gas as feed stock for the petrochemical plant, and the component of natural gas not needed for the petrochemical business would be shipped to the U.S. by M&NE Pipeline.
Maple LNG, Suntera and Keltic Petrochemicals Inc. of Halifax are the partners behind the Goldboro proposal. Keltic president Kevin Dunn is very concerned about the effect the New Brunswick pipeline would have on the privately funded multibillion-dollar petrochemical concept he has been working on for five years.
Dunn had been planning to outline the reasons for his opposition to the New Brunswick pipeline and his concern was that the Nova Scotia government wouldn’t be vigorous enough in its arguments against the project, but he decided to hold off making a statement Friday.
Instead, he has put it off until Tuesday, just to double-check his notes and make sure his arguments opposing the New Brunswick pipeline are absolutely clear. There’s little doubt, however, that the future of Dunn’s dream for his home province could be in jeopardy if the bullet line gets the green light from the energy board.
If it weren’t for the Sable Offshore Energy Project and its need to transmit natural gas from Nova Scotia’s offshore to markets in the United States, there would not be a pipeline to sparsely populated northern Maine in the first place.
So it would be short-sighted for the regulator to say that nothing is wrong with ignoring the Maritimes and Northeast pipeline in Canada while conveniently hooking into the same pipeline in Maine.
The Goldboro project isn’t the only one affected. The dream of creating a $650-million LNG plant at Bear Head, Richmond County, as endorsed by the government agency Nova Scotia Business Inc., would also be in jeopardy if the New Brunswick pipeline were allowed to go ahead.
Anadarko Petroleum Corp. now owns that project but is in the process of finding someone to acquire it; no word on whether the New Brunswick pipeline is putting a damper on finding a potential buyer.
EnCana Corp. this week filed plans to develop a scaled-down Deep Panuke offshore project. There is nothing certain about that deal going ahead as planned, so it is disconcerting to think that potential changes to pipeline economics might cause the Calgary energy company to have second thoughts.
The sketchy economics of capturing onshore coal-bed methane in Nova Scotia and injecting it into the M&NE pipeline so that it could be sold in New England — a long-held dream of many — would be further questioned. And there are other onshore projects in New Brunswick that could be affected by the bullet.
The Nova Scotia government says it will strongly defend the interests of Nova Scotia at the National Energy Board hearing, but there are some — including some Anadarko executives — who believe the government hasn’t always felt that way.
There is no way to determine on the basis of a government news release how strongly lawyers for the government will fight in Saint John. Nova Scotians will have to judge for themselves when the hearing in Saint John resumes next week.
Roger Taylor’s column appears Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
I showed up at the Remembrance day celebration and I noticed many people were walking around taking pictures.
Of course, I recognized the Irving photographer with a young student learning the trade.
Then I saw this guy with a jacket - STU Journalism!
I said to myself? Shouldn’t it say - Irving Journalism???
It’s the Irvings who are training their future soldiers to work for the paper.
You see? They take 100 pictures and will use maybe four to five of them!
A blogger on the other hand will use them all.
But I do understand that you have to control people walking around during the ceremony.
Anyone can be a blogger!
You just cannot let all bloggers on the loose?
I truly understand this but since I got 500 people per day and 150,000 people who has visited this site? I guess that I am the blogger.
I bumped into this guy after the ceremony and he’s from Alberta.
He came to me and introduced himself. He said - I’m from Alberta and I heard you on the CBC program the Current!
He visited my blog and has been a regular ever since.
This blog goes all around the world.
Just this morning while taking a picture of the broken eggs on the window? A stranger walked by and told me he enjoyed the pictures of the Legislature against the Saint John River.
I didn’t know the guy but it was nice to hear complements from strangers of the blog.
Someone told me yesterday that I should have a jacket that would SAY - BLOGGER in the back!!!
Hey? God knows who visits this site???
I got no money but strange things have happened to me ever since I began this blog.
Maybe there’s someone out there who would do a Jacket with the name BLOGGER in the back???
Who knows? Mail that Extra Large jacket at
75 Carleton Street
Stranger things have happen and I promise ya that I will wear it with pride!!!...lol
Yes, our vets are indeed dying off but I believe the tradition of Remembrance Day will be around forever!!!