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.
We talk a lot here in the RBN blogosphere about the bearish market effects of the Shale Revolution, and frequently highlight the U.S. Northeast natural gas region — rapidly growing gas production from the Marcellus/Utica; oversupplied, trapped-gas conditions; and resulting regional price discounts. These dynamics are driving massive investments in pipeline reversals, expansions and new capacity to move the gas to market. Northeast producers are counting on that increase in takeaway capacity to relieve price pressure and balance the market. But all this gas moving out of the region needs a home. Fortunately, new demand is emerging, from exports (to Mexico and overseas LNG) and into the U.S. power sector. One of the big growth regions is the U.S. Southeast, where power utilities are investing heavily in building out their fleet of gas-fired generation plants and are banking on this new, unfettered access to cheap Marcellus/Utica gas supply. Today’s blog provides an update on power generation projects coming up in the southern half of the Eastern Seaboard, based on a recent report by our good friends at Natural Gas Intelligence — “Southern Exposure: Gas-Fired Generators Rising in the Southeast; But Will Northeast Gas Show Up?”
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 availability of pipeline flow data makes the U.S. natural gas market uniquely positioned to grasp with reasonable accuracy where it stands with regional or national supply and demand on a daily basis. If you understand how to wrangle and finesse this robust data source, you can make a pretty good estimate of where the supply is, where it is headed, how it’s being consumed, and ultimately, what that all means for prices. Today we wrap up our series on natural gas production estimates and how the industry uses pipeline flow data to track gas production trends in real time.
The acquisition of Williams Companies by Energy Transfer will create a midstream behemoth. The deal is expected to close during the first half of 2016 subject to regulatory approval. Once complete the main holding company Energy Transfer Corp (ETC) will be a C-Corp entity sitting atop Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs – see Masters of the Midstream for a more complete explanation of these structures) containing the assets of Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), Williams Energy Partners (WPZ), Sunoco LP (SUN) and Sunoco Logistics (SXL). The combined natural gas pipeline network will carry as much as 45% of U.S. Lower 48 dry gas production. Today we take a look at the natural gas infrastructure assets in the deal.
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.
With U.S. natural gas production continuing to hit all-time records, the big question for the gas market is demand. Where is all that gas going to go? Well, we are pretty sure that most of the supply growth will be absorbed by the triad of new gas fired power generation, industrial demand and exports. The funny thing is that most of the volumes associated with these demand sources are located in one region – the southeastern U.S., with a heavy concentration of demand in Louisiana, home of the Henry Hub. This shift is turning what was a major supply area into an epicenter of natural gas demand, with the need for extensive new transportation paths into, rather than out of, the region. Today, we explore the implications of this transformation.
The southern half of the Eastern Seaboard is a logical market for the natural gas surplus that will be flowing out of the Marcellus/Utica in coming years. Annual gas consumption in the fast-growing Maryland-to-Florida region now tops 8.7 Bcf/d and is rising quickly, largely due to the ongoing shift from coal-fired to gas-fired power generation. The region is close to major gas production areas in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio, and already has Williams’ Transco mainline, the gas-transportation equivalent of an eight-lane highway, as well as other Trunkline interstate pipes running right through it. In this episode of our series on moving gas out of the Marcellus/Utica, we look at pipeline projects Williams and others are planning to transport gas to Southeast consumers.
The idea of using natural gas produced in Pennsylvania to generate power in South Florida would have been considered implausible or even unthinkable just a few years ago. But now it seems likely that by mid-2017 Marcellus-sourced gas will, in fact, be moving deep into the Southeast. Williams’ planned Atlantic Sunrise project will make its Transco mainline bi-directional as far south as Station 85 in southwestern Alabama. From there, Spectra Energy and NextEra Energy’s Sabal Trail pipeline will move Marcellus and other gas into central Florida, and NextEra’s Florida Southeast Connection line will take gas still further south. Today In the second of a two part series, we conclude our analysis of the transformational Atlantic Sunrise project.
There will be no RBN blog published on Monday, January 20th in honor of the Martin Luther King holiday.
Spectra Energy and NextEra Energy’s planned Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline from near Transco Station 85 in southwestern Alabama to near Orlando in central Florida will do more than provide additional gas-delivery capacity to Florida and the welcomed redundancy of a third pipeline to the Sunshine State. The big news is that Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise project by July 2017 will enable large volumes of Marcellus-sourced gas to be shipped south (backwards!) along the Transco pipeline all the way to Station 85. That (and Sabal Trail) will give Marcellus producers something unthinkable until now: access to major gas users as far south as Miami. Today we lay out the basics of what is being planned.
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.
Northeast regional interstate pipeline companies are coming to terms with significant supply growth expected between now and 2017. Companies that traditionally delivered natural gas to the Northeast from outside the region are busy reconfiguring their assets.
In two previous postings in this series we examined the major infrastructure projects being developed by interstate natural gas pipelines in response to the growth of Northeast natural gas production in the Marcellus shale. We reviewed projects developed by Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP), and then Spectra Energy (see TGP and Spectra). This time we look at the projects being pursued by Williams Companies through it Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Company (Transco) and its Master Limited Partnership (MLP) Williams Partners.