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The loss of Japan's nuclear power plants is luring buyers eager for cheap U.S. shale gas,...

The loss of Japan's nuclear power plants is luring buyers eager for cheap U.S. shale gas, potentially enriching U.S. companies such as Sempra Energy (SRE) and Dominion Resources (D). But companies hoping to export LNG don't yet have permission from the Department of Energy to ship to countries such as Japan that lack free-trade agreements with the U.S.
Comments (15)
  • Japan has shut down their last turbine(nuclear). They're buying coal from China. No other source. I don't know if they have CNG turbines but i suspect they do. That will help their national grid. Why don't we ship/Japan is not under trade agreement scrutiny. We support them as we do Israel.
    24 May 2012, 07:58 PM Reply Like
  • I've tracked many LNG tankers going into Japan lately. Their need for natural gas seems high, so it might make a good export market, though I think most of the cargoes are coming from the Middle East and Australia.



    A look at the list of countries with a USFTA so far does not look promising for the potential of needing natural gas imports. It would be damaging to the economy to restrict LNG shipments to those countries on the USFTA list.

    24 May 2012, 09:44 PM Reply Like
  • Typical, a country that we spend billions of $$$ in support has a need and we can't bureaucratically Deal with them.
    25 May 2012, 08:58 AM Reply Like
  • arthursrt, The Alaskan LNG export facility extended its export permit in mid 2011, intending to export to Japan. But then the owners (COP) decided in late 2011 that there was no market for their exports (apparently Japan had cancelled?) so they shut down their Alaskan facility. The only "bureaucratic" component of that process was the permit, which was granted without a hitch. It was the company itself that decided to not export.
    30 May 2012, 08:43 PM Reply Like


    The Kenai plant is dated and uneconomical The glut is in the lower 48, while the small Kenai plant's supply is limited and declining. But more to the point, we see utter hostility by the govt. toward energy exportation. We know from experience the anti-energy Dems will demagogue any company seeking to export energy, so those dynamics have to be considered going forward. COP and others very much look to export from AK. Your point in specious.


    Good comment from the pro-energy Dem AK senator: "Yet again, Rep. Markey is trying to shut down any Alaska development. I find it laughable that after 30 years of blocking the development of Alaska’s oil and gas resource for American manufacturers, farmers and families he is now demanding we supply them. I eagerly await his sponsorship of bills to support development of ANWR and the Arctic OCS to address his newfound concern for American consumers.”
    30 May 2012, 09:38 PM Reply Like
  • "we see utter hostility by the govt. toward energy exportation"


    Right, that's why the administration approved the first-ever LNG export facility in the lower 48 and pre-approved three LNG import facilities for export. Something that no prior administration has done.
    31 May 2012, 12:31 AM Reply Like
  • No lower 48 LNG exportation ever before Obama? Please research your statement basis.


    Besides, there has never been such a surplus of production spurring general exportation. Previous projects were geographical and political. It's not logical to grant credit for an accident of history. Nor is it proof of ideological favor, for the law doesn't disallow such. That's the very point we're arguing about: ie, what should the law be. Your argument is circular.


    We see the forces aligned against exportation now, when realization of the enormity of the potential industry is clear. From the Sierra Club to the progressive caucus in Congress, to Markey's bill, to the spirit of the Obama admin. I define that spirit as the anti-energy, anti-production, anti-industrial collection of his political appointees. I'll be incredulous if you don't see that.


    From The Sierra Club, one of the pre-eminent mainstream conservation groups in the nation and world, representing a core Democrat constituency, the party of government after all:


    “As we push to retire coal plants, we’re going to work to make sure we’re not simultaneously switching to natural-gas infrastructure...” “And we’re going to be preventing new gas plants from being built wherever we can.”
    31 May 2012, 03:27 AM Reply Like
  • drs70, where in the lower 48 is there (or has there previously been) an LNG export facility?


    "That's the very point we're arguing about: ie, what should the law be. Your argument is circular."


    No it's not. The President doesn't make up the laws as s/he goes along, so that can't possibly be the point. The President administers the laws, including the 1938 Natural Gas Act.


    Your use of a quote from someone completely unconnected to the Administration only proves that you're going to lengths to deceitfully pin things on Obama. What you're doing is no different from someone taking the most embarrassing of Palin's or Trump's or Limbaugh's comments and asserting that that comment represents Romney's stated position.
    31 May 2012, 11:03 PM Reply Like
  • We agree then that the president and EPA can't make up the law. Hence the issuing of permits is an accident of history that cannot be ascribed to the Obama admin as proof of a pro-exportation bent. Going forward, the only way to strand nat. gas is to pass laws restricting exportation. Hence, that's what we're talking about: what should the law be.


    As for the quote, I cited. The Sierra Club, the Dem senator from AK, etc. The forces of govt, be they agencies or NGA's, are aligned against exportation. We luckily are a nation of laws and not fiat, and exportation will continue- Sierra Club, Obama, and the Progressive Caucus be damned. I'm not trying to mislead or misquote. I'm giving my opinion and citing. My guess is that the admin will focus on bogus fracking issues or the safety of terminals to stall and delay progress.


    The previous lower 48 export terminal was in Lake Charles in the 50's.
    1 Jun 2012, 12:12 AM Reply Like
  • dsr70, you're being utterly disingenuous -- both here and above. Your attack was directed at the administration, not at the laws. You're just being sophistical at this point, twisting what you previously wrote and claiming it really says something else. I swear, if I ever meet an honest person from the right with integrity and forthrightness, the shock alone will probably do me in. Right wing ideology and honest dealing are like oil and water -- they'll never mix. Never.
    1 Jun 2012, 12:21 AM Reply Like
  • It was directed at the "govt." That is a very broad term, for as you know, the administration of law is complex and involves an awful lot of people. Obama has a re-election to worry about, so obviously political pressure plays on him to the benefit of energy from time to time. Astonishing the level you twist facts to fit your desired outcome.


    You exhibited the same shameful behavior in the debate over coal plants, where my contentions have now been utterly vindicated by the auction rates we're now seeing for wholesale electricity in the near future. Meanwhile your fantasy land notions of commerce drive our nation to poverty.
    1 Jun 2012, 01:56 AM Reply Like
  • So Japan cancelled. They shut down all nuclear plants. What is fueling their boilers? They are importing NG from someone? Who?
    31 May 2012, 02:58 PM Reply Like
  • Lots of cargoes seem to be originating from Qatar or Indonesia, when I check ship tracking information on LNG carriers. A few companies renegotiated longer term contracts to allow them to send more LNG shipments to Japan. Even with that, there is a potential energy shortage facing Japan this summer.
    31 May 2012, 03:29 PM Reply Like
  • They've also simply cut electric production and consumption. Rolling blackouts and such. This is another reason to just shake your head at the Obama decision. Japan, one of the stablest and friendliest countries is facing blackouts and you won't accelerate exports to them? Insanity.

    31 May 2012, 03:50 PM Reply Like
  • More supply is not going to help a shortage of power plants. The only thing lower natural gas prices could provide for Japan is a cost reduction. Even with that, companies wanting to make the journey would face a very long transit distance. LNG cargoes lose natural gas during transit, and the charter rates rarely make sense on very long voyages.


    Cheniere (LNG) could benefit from a shift on LNG export permits, just for example, yet most of their cargoes would head towards Europe. That route would be more profitable than running towards Japan, for nearly the same payout rates.


    There was a permit applied for recently, for an LNG terminal in Oregon. I think if you want to play American politics with this issue, you should complain more about that facility being denied. I don't base my investment decisions on politics, but I do base them upon profit potentials of the companies involved in the industry. Exporting LNG to Europe makes better sense for the companies involved in that potential market. The only factor politics should have in that is delaying an investment decision in Cheniere (LNG) or the few other companies wanting those export permits.
    31 May 2012, 04:47 PM Reply Like
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