Northeast producers are about to get a new path to target LNG export demand at Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG terminal. Cheniere in late December received federal approval to commission its new Sabine Pass lateral—the 2.1-Bcf/d East Meter Pipeline. Also in late December, Williams indicated in a regulatory filing that it anticipates a February 1, 2017 in-service date for its 1.2-Bcf/d Gulf Trace Expansion Project, which will reverse southern portions of the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line to send Northeast supply south to the export facility via the East Meter pipe. Today we provide an update on current and upcoming pipelines supplying exports from Sabine Pass.
After years of debate and speculation regarding prospects for U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), the first cargo left the Gulf Coast around 8:30 pm EST Wednesday (February 24, 2016) from Cheniere’s Sabine Pass terminal, according to Genscape’s global LNG cargo monitoring service. The vessel carrying a little more than 3.0 Bcf of LNG is reportedly bound for Petrobras in Brazil. The incremental export demand that this LNG cargo and others like it to follow represent, is potentially good news for U.S. gas producers, with benchmark futures prices at Henry Hub, LA closing yesterday (February 25, 2016) near record seasonal lows at $1.711/MMBtu in the face of mild winter demand, record production and brimming storage levels. Today we look at how this first cargo was supplied and what that tells us about current and future impact to flows and regional prices.
As we stated in Part 1 of this series, New York City will need increasing amounts of natural gas as it continues its shift from oil-fired power plants and oil-based space heating. New gas pipeline capacity to and through the Big Apple has been added as recently as May 2015, but the nation’s largest city still faces wintertime gas-delivery constraints that cause costly spikes in gas and power prices. Given the challenges of adding new pipeline capacity in one of the most densely populated parts of the U.S., developer Liberty Natural Gas is planning an offshore liquefied natural gas terminal that by late 2018 would inject gas into the city’s existing pipeline network on an as-needed basis. Today, we continue our look at the economics of using imported LNG to supplement gas supplies in the Northeast.
The start-up of Sabine Pass, the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in the Lower 48, is only months away, and the complicated gas-delivery logistics behind the project are coming into focus. Surely one of the biggest challenges has been assembling the long-haul pipeline capacity needed to move several billion cubic feet of gas a day (Bcf/d) to Sabine Pass from deliberately diverse sources as far away as the Marcellus/Utica. After all, the nation’s pipeline network was initially designed to move gas from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast and Midwest, not vice versa. Today, we continue our look at the challenges of securing and moving huge volumes of gas to LNG export terminals, the emerging epicenters of U.S. gas demand.
The six liquefaction “trains” under development at Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal will demand nearly 4 Bcf/d of natural gas on average, the first 650 MMcf/d of that starting within a few months. And the five trains now planned at Cheniere’s Corpus Christi site—yes, now five, not three—will require another 3.2 Bcf/d. Taken together, that’s about 10% of current daily gas production in the U.S.; in other words, a monumental logistical task. Today, we start a series looking at the challenges of securing and moving huge volumes of gas to LNG export terminals, the emerging epicenters of U.S. gas demand.
For gas producers in Appalachia, this has not been such a good summer for basis – the price they get for their gas versus the benchmark at Henry Hub, LA. Basis in the eastern part of the Marcellus has been particularly weak, with negative differentials extending into New York. Even at some West Virginia points like Dominion South, producers have faced ugly basis for the past few months. But there are some points that have been relatively immune, including Columbia Gas TCO, which has been hanging in there at pricing pretty close to Henry. Even when parts of the Dominion South and TCO pipeline systems are on top of each other. Why are basis differentials in the Appalachian Mountains hopping around all over the place? Today we look into why some Northeast prices have taken a hit and others have not.
The hopes of Marcellus gas suppliers to move more of their product east are playing out in very different ways in metropolitan New York City and in New England. New pipelines to deliver gas from Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to the Big Apple and its environs already are installed and operating, easing the metro area’s supply crunch and shrinking regional price “basis”. But plans to expand gas-transmission capacity to New England are stalled, and some gas users there are facing another potentially supply-constrained expensive winter. Today we begin a new series looking at why—for the foreseeable future at least--it’s better to be a gas user in New York City than Boston.