Wednesday, August 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Natural gas exports will raise prices – soon

elias column sig

By
From page A8 | May 03, 2014 |

Because of hydraulic fracturing in states such as North Dakota and Wyoming, Californians and other Americans have enjoyed lower natural gas prices over the past two winters than anytime in the past 15 years. That continues right up to this moment.

But if the natural gas industry and the Obama administration have anything to say about it, today’s relatively low-cost heating and cooking may soon be matters of nostalgia.

That’s the meaning of the three approvals already issued by the Obama-appointed Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for either building new terminals to export liquefied natural gas or to convert existing import plants to export facilities. More are likely to be approved soon.

Californians should well remember liquefied natural gas, natural gas frozen into a fluid state near its source and then shipped around the world for use in places that don’t produce their own. The new American export plants, carrying benign-sounding names like Cove Point and Sabine Pass and Jordan Cove, aim to send liquefied natural gas to places like Europe, Japan, Korea, China and India. They’ve gotten new impetus from ongoing disputes between Ukraine and Russia, source of most of Europe’s natural gas.

Less than 10 years ago, Californians were battling over whether and where to put plants for importing liquefied natural gas, the result of a decision by the state Public Utilities Commission to give up some of the state’s reserved space on pipelines bringing gas here from Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado.

The answers were no and nowhere. Proposals for plants near Eureka, Oxnard, Long Beach and Santa Monica all died because companies promoting liquefied natural gas imports never proved the state would ever need gas imported by sea. The later discovery of vast quantities of gas right in California, available if the massive deposits in the Monterey Shale geologic formation are ever fractured, or fracked, means California may soon need no imported gas at all.

So this state dodged a financial bullet, not getting stuck with hyper-expensive liquefied natural gas.

But prices here will nevertheless rise because of the export licenses now being handed out for gas the industry has defined as “surplus.”

This likely fact of life emerges in a remarkable letter sent to Alaska’s Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski last fall by a top federal Energy Department official.

Murkowski has pressed for quick approval of a liquefied natural gas export facility in her state, warning that “The United States has a narrowing window of opportunity to join the global gas trade.” Seeking oil- and gas-related profits and jobs for Alaska, Murkowski never acknowledges the certain effect exports will have on domestic gas prices, sure to rise if the current surplus goes overseas.

In California, price effects will probably be immediate with the opening of planned liquefied natural gas export plants near Coos Bay, Ore., and near Prince Rupert on the coast of British Columbia. Both would take allegedly surplus gas from western Canada fields that now supply California and the Pacific Northwest.

But Federal Energy Regulatory Commission doesn’t care, according to its letter to Murkowski. “We take very seriously the investment-backed expectations of private parties,” wrote Deputy Assistant Energy Secretary Paula Grant. Would the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rescind an export license if domestic gas prices rise precipitously because of that permit? No, said Grant. “DOE has no record of having vacated or rescinded an authorization to import or export natural gas over the objections of the authorization holder.”

The Energy Department is also ignoring protests by other U.S. industries whose recession recoveries have partly been fueled by low gas prices.

A group of firms led by Dow Chemical has demanded that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – which works hand-in-glove with the Energy Department – slow the rush to sell off America’s energy bonanza.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the companies say, should “clearly articulate in advance its criteria” for deciding what is in the public interest.

So far, no response, which indicates that even with a majority of commissioners appointed by an allegedly consumer-oriented Democratic president, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is no more responsive to the interests of utility customers than it was during the energy crunch of 2000-01, when Republican George W. Bush was president and the commission refused to stop predator companies that cheated Californians out of more than $10 billion.

It all assures gas prices here will rise sharply in the next year or two unless California’s congressional delegation unites to put the brakes on liquefied natural gas exports, and soon.

Thomas Elias is a California author. Reach him at tdelias@aol.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • The MisterMay 03, 2014 - 7:26 am

    I told you... didn't I tell you... that Obama was quietly working a deal through the new TTIP trade deal with the EU for the EU to stop buying Russia's natural gas because we, the US, would supply them. Our oil fields have been producing less and less natural gas since the peak in 2011... and now Obama is taking from our shrinking supply to power an entire continent. Is he mad!? Our supply will be slashed and availability and rationing will become our greatest concern along with hugely increased costs. We, the US, have no obligation to Europe... they are not starving or freezing. Why would Obama devastate our energy supply and our economy by giving Europe OUR natural gas? He must be an idi0t or an evil SOB... and this issue is your proof.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Vacaville school board candidates sound off during forum

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Police seek unknown man after female walkers, joggers attacked

By Glen Faison | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Memorial flight honors beloved Gordon Valley man

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Council OKs pact for backup water supply to Travis

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1

Recology goes pink to trash cancer

By Glen Faison | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Group announces driver’s license law presentation

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

City reaches milestone for train station project

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 15 Comments | Gallery

 
Caltrans advises Highway 12 delays likely

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

Supervisors take no action in closed session

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3

 
Curtola park-and-ride bill goes to governor

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3

Sandy’s 101 Omlettes closes in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5

 
Man convicted of failing to register as sex offender

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5, 11 Comments | Gallery

 
DUI checkpoint nets arrests in Vacaville

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

 
Library’s teen board to meet next week

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

South Solano Dems schedule candidates meet, greet

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

 
 
Yippie job training program seeks applicants

By Glen Faison | From Page: A6

 
Geiger sworn in as Fairfield planning commissioner

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A6

Faith in Action puts out call for volunteers

By Glen Faison | From Page: A6

 
Love, a legend, come to theaters

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

Fairfield police log: Aug. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 16, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Aug. 17, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 16, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Aug. 17, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Holder brings his civil rights push to Ferguson

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Strong DOJ response to Ferguson seeks truth, calm

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

As protests rage, Obama struggles to find his role

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Ferguson pledges outreach efforts after shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

How can authorities restore order in Ferguson?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Some evacuees of Yosemite-area fire can go home

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Prison company pays $8 million in back wages

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Committee approves higher pension calculations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Veteran rock climber killed in fall in Yosemite

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
Officials say Lake Tahoe imperiled by wildfires

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

US officials: Video shows American’s beheading

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Texas Gov. Perry booked on abuse of power charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

NY took quick precautions after in-custody death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
AP Exclusive: US changing no-fly list rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Tens of thousands march on Pakistan’s parliament

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

No getting away from corruption in state government

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A11

 
Editorial cartoons for Aug. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Serve and protect? Certainly not

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 21 Comments

 
Question of the week: Does school start too soon?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

Government trying to steal rights

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Aug. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Aug. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Aug. 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Our daughter says she hates her mother and refuses to talk to us

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

10 Things: 10 fresh ways to dress corn on the cob

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Think beyond the slice with refreshing watermelon

By J.M. Hirsch | From Page: B6

 
.

Entertainment

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson set for DC Comics film

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Don Pardo, iconic TV announcer, dies at 96

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Wife to bury Kasem in Norway, cites heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

.

Sports

49ers sign defensive lineman Dorsey to extension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
49ers’ Dawson eager to get back out kicking after misses

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Rancho Solano women’s team vying for spot in nationals

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Joe Gibbs Racing hires Carl Edwards and Daniel Suarez

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Philadelphia’s Mo’ne Davis knows hoops, too

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Veteran NBA ref Bavetta retires after 39 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Raiders still waiting for Hayden to get healthy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

As Durant steps back, US team is moving forward

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Kluwe, Vikings reach settlement to avert lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Islanders announce sale of minority stake of club

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ohio State: Injured QB Miller done for the season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Past US Open champs Djokovic, Federer seeded 1-2 in U.S. Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Ballmer steps down from Microsoft board

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Competition heats up for Tesla’s gigafactory

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B7

Peanut, almond butter recalled for salmonella risk

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8, 1 Comment

 
McDonald’s to sell packaged coffee nationally

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Consumer prices edge up 0.1 percent in July

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Stocks rise as US home construction rebounds

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

US home construction jumps 15.7 percent in July

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Obituaries

George ‘Wayne’ Hause

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Sharon Ilene Boyd

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Richard Ray Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Horace James Sam

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Joseph ‘Joey’ Kenneth Meyers

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Defrances Jean Freeman-Jefferson

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Eddie Lee Staten

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
June Canaris-Heath

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5