US Senate rejects LNG siting amendment, passes OPEC measure

Nick Snow
Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON, DC, June 20 -- The US Senate rejected a proposal to give governors a final word in siting onshore LNG terminals but approved a measure authorizing the Department of Justice to prosecute members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries for violating US antitrust laws.

The proposals were offered June 19 as amendments to the Democratic leadership's energy legislative package that came to the floor last week. Of the two, the LNG terminal siting amendment proposed by Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) was more significant because it was the first effort to modify procedures established in the 2005 Energy Policy Act (EPACT). It failed by 53 to 37 votes.

The second amendment, so-called NOPEC (No Oil-Producing and Exporting Cartels), which passed by 73 to 20 votes, was similar to one the Senate passed in 2006 which did not survive in conference with the US House. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), who sponsored the 2007 version, requested a roll call vote that he hoped would increase its stature. The House passed a similar bill by 345 to 72 votes on May 22, Cardin said.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee leaders opposed both proposals. Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Chief Minority Member Pete V. Domenici (R-NM) said the LNG terminal siting plan would undermine EPACT and the NOPEC measure would violate the sovereign immunity principle and create other problems.

Cardin's proposal reflected concerns in Maryland and some other states that local and state officials don't have enough say in choosing where LNG terminals will be located. "This amendment is not about stopping LNG plants, but making sure they're located in the right places," he said.

Area of review
Cardin argued that the proposal would not affect the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's authorization under EPACT to site onshore LNG terminals. He said his proposal would amend Section 10 of the much-older Rivers and Harbors Act by adding a requirement for the Army Corps of Engineers to secure the approval of an affected state's governor before issuing permits to construct an LNG terminal.

"When we're talking about siting an LNG terminal, those who are the most affected—the state and the nearby communities—should have the most say," said Maryland's other senator, Democrat Barbara Mikulski.

Mikulski and Cardin said local concerns are being ignored as FERC considers a proposal for an LNG terminal at Sparrows Point, near Baltimore. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said his constituents are worried about the possible impact of a proposed LNG terminal in Fall River, Mass., on Narragansett Bay's recreation and environment.

Bingaman and Domenici maintained that giving a state's governor authority to veto any aspect of the LNG terminal permitting process would create delays as the US begins to compete more aggressively for overseas gas supplies. EPACT's provisions involve states and local communities during the National Environmental Policy Act review, when they can make their concerns known, Bingaman said.

He and Domenici also suggested that while supporting Kohl's NOPEC amendment probably would seem popular with voters back home who are frustrated over higher oil and gasoline prices, the measure simply was an empty gesture that lacks any legal foundation but could create serious problems.

Kohl, who chairs the Judiciary Committee's Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights Subcommittee, disagreed. He said the sovereign immunity doctrine makes an exception for commercial enterprises, and that there has not been any retaliation in other cases where DOJ has prosecuted cases against other foreign cartels.

Contact Nick Snow at nsnow@cox.net.

Related Articles

EPA proposes voluntary methane reduction program for gas industry

07/24/2015 The US Environmental Protection Agency proposed a voluntary methane reduction program for the natural gas industry that would allow companies to ma...

Petrobras workers stage 24-hr strike

07/24/2015 Workers at beleaguered Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) staged a 24-hr strike across Brazil to protest plans by the state-owned company to liquid...

MARKET WATCH: Oil futures hover below $49/bbl

07/24/2015 Light, sweet crude oil futures prices settled under $49/bbl July 23 on the New York market, which means US prices have slid more than 20% since the...

EQT reports high IP from Utica dry gas well

07/24/2015 EQT Corp., Pittsburgh, said a deep, dry gas Utica well averaged 72.9 MMcfd with an average flowing casing pressure of 8,641 psi during a 24-hr deli...

Separate Murkowski bill addresses crude exports, OCS revenue sharing

07/24/2015 US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-Alas.) introduced legislation that would end the ban on US crude oil expor...

OGUK updates guidelines for well abandonments

07/23/2015

Oil & Gas UK has released updated guidelines for abandonment of wells, including cost estimates.

MARKET WATCH: Oil futures plunge below $50/bbl

07/23/2015

Light, sweet crude oil futures prices plunged lower to settle below $50/bbl on the New York market on July 22.

Cornyn calls for more US energy exports in wake of Iran deal

07/23/2015 US Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said it would be geopolitically, economically, and strategically absurd for the US to maintain outmode...

Post-sanctions Iran initially won’t shake markets up, executive says

07/22/2015 Iran’s resumption of oil and gas exports, once sanctions are lifted under the recently negotiated nuclear limits agreement, probably won’t flood gl...
White Papers

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

When Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Taking the Headache out of Fuel License and Exemption Certificates: How to Ensure Compliance

Tue, Aug 25, 2015

This webinar, brought to you by Avalara, will detail the challenges of tax document management, as well as recommend solutions for fuel suppliers. You will learn:

-    Why it’s critical to track business partner licenses and exemption documents
-    The four key business challenges of ensuring tax compliance through document management
-    Best practice business processes to minimize exposure to tax errors

register:WEBCAST


Driving Growth and Efficiency with Deep Insights into Operational Data

Wed, Aug 19, 2015

Capitalizing on today’s momentum in Oil & Gas requires operational excellence based on a clear view of what your business data is telling you. Which is why nearly half* of oil and gas companies have deployed SAP HANA or have it on their roadmap.

Join SAP and Red Hat to learn more about using data to drive process improvements and identify new opportunities with the SAP HANA platform running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This webinar will also show how your choice of infrastructure impacts the performance of core business applications and your ability to achieve data-driven insights quickly and reliably.

*48% use SAP, http://go.sap.com/solution/industry/oil-gas.html

register:WEBCAST


OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected