Lars Larson on LNG and Oregon’s needs

Thursday we got into quite a debate because the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had decided to finally give approval to Oregon’s LNG importation terminal. They are planning to put it in just upriver from Astoria.

I think it is a great idea. Now I know some people disagree. Those people say, “We don’t need more LNG. No more natural gas in the state of Oregon.”

The governor disagrees with me, but let me give you facts. Fact is, the cost of natural gas has tripled in the last five years. It’s going up again this fall. That’s hurting people badly.

Two, they’re not going to spend $600 million to create an LNG importation terminal unless they think they are going to be able to sell it here. The only way to sell it here is if you bring it in at a lower price than it is already selling for right now.

Seems to me, Oregon could use that extra LNG. We could use the big private investment and we could use some way to control our natural gas costs.

Congratulations to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“For more Lars click here”

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Posted by at 09:00 | Posted in Measure 37 | 12 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Jerry

    Agreed.
    Ted, as usual, is too busy counting his pay raise money to do anything that would actually hope Oregonians.

  • Bob Clark

    I support the need for more natural gas supplies, but am wondering if the developers of this project and the associated pipeline (Palomar) should not bear the entire financial risk of the project. If LNG turns out to be frequently more expensive than other natural gas supplies, and it is currently, then I am skeptical captive Northwest Natural company customers should be contracting for the LNG supply on a longterm fixed rate basis. In fact, something maybe should be worked out where the developers get the benefit if they are successful in lowering gas costs for Northwest Natural customers but on the hook fully if gas costs are not lowered.

  • John Fairplay

    The argument that “Oregon already has enough natural gas to meet its needs” has always struck me as odd. Should we limit the production of all goods and services in Oregon to only the amount Oregonians can use? What if every state did that? What would we eat – nursery stock and grass seed?

    I have yet to hear a really good argument against the LNG terminal(s) and pipeline(s). I do agree that the taxpayers should have zero exposure. The firms involved in LNG should bear the costs and risks – and reap whatever rewards might come. The best result would be two or more companies bringing LNG into Oregon and competing to sell that product to Oregonians.

  • Anonymous

    The enviros don’t want us drilling off the coast for domestic NG and they don’t want us building terminals to import LNG. Guess we can all denude our forests and pollute our air by burning wood to heat our homes.

  • Walter

    I’m an enviro moonbat and I’m all in favor of natural gas. I think it’s a great alternative to coal and oil until we get to the point where we can power our George Jetson cars on banana peels and empty beer cans. (well, I guess I can’t be too moonbatty since I like the idea of — OH NO! — fossil fuel)

    But I have a problem with Bradwood Landing LNG terminal, in that FERC hasn’t really addressed the fact that since the Bradwood Landing application was put in, increased exploration has increased our supply of domestic natural gas to the point where we may not need foreign LNG for 100 years or more.

    Even that bastion of liberalism, the Wall Street Journal, acknowledged in August that the U.S. has a domestic “glut” of natural gas now, and not only is it cheaper than foreigh LNG, but terminals elsewhere in the country have applied to FERC to begin EXPORTING rather than importing!

    So maybe we build Bradwood Landing as an exporter, I don’t know what the economic feasibility would be of that, but if it makes economic sense, I’m for it. But It seems that because Northern Star has already been approved to import foreign LNG by FERC in spite of these new revelations, they might be pushing more expensive foreign natural gas on us rather than the cheaper domestic natural gas that will be available by the time Bradwood comes on-line.

    Again, I don’t know ALL the details, but this might have come up sooner if the feds hadn’t taken the approval process out of our hands altogether.

  • JesseO

    The failure in Lars’ economic logic is that they may not sell it here (domestic gas is a lot cheaper than LNG in Oregon). They’ll sell it where it’s most profitable. Which could be California, and could be elsewhere. Or it may be an export terminal and we’ll be shipping US gas to Japan. Putting the LNG terminal here doesn’t mean Oregon will use the gas that goes through it.

    So, we’ll be doing the dirty work for California. And we’ll be funding Russia’s aggression by buying their LNG.

    If Lars had bothered to study it, he would have read the Oregon Dept of Energy study demonstrating we don’t need LNG.

    • S

      JesseO,

      The question is whether or not we should be so provincial about state lines. Are we doing California’s dirty work or helping supply America with energy? Oregon jobs depend upon California’s economic success so undermining their energy supplies will cost us jobs.

      This is about U.S. energy not Oregon energy. There are also economic benefits from the terminal and pipelines. Those benefits apply not only to landowners but also to local governments in the form of franchise fees for rights of passage.

      If the investors are willing to put up their own money then obviously this is a good financial risk for Oregonians who are putting up very little money. More natural gas supplies will also help stabilize an unstable energy market. The benefits clearly outweigh the potential costs.

  • JessseO

    Why then do so many landowners and voters oppose LNG that’s supposed to benefit us and give us jobs?

    The voters have spoken, and said NO to LNG by a 2-1 margin, despite being outspent more than five to one.

    Investors shouldn’t be able to trump them.

    • Steve Plunk

      I’m not sure exactly how many landowners oppose the proposal. I’m also not sure what vote you are talking about. I didn’t get to vote on anything and I’m an Oregonian.

      Perhaps the opposition was convinced they could get more money if they played hardball. Perhaps they aligned themselves opponents to be neighborly. Perhaps they have been convinced that the terminal benefits the fat cats and Californians.

      Public utilities serve the entire public and are entitled to impact some if they are compensated properly. I can’t help but think it comes down to money for many of the opponents.

      All that said, I understand your points and appreciate the dialogue.

      • dean

        Steve…NW Natural is not a public untility. It is a private utility regulated by the public.

        • Steve Plunk

          Dean, Let’s not play word games. Any utility regulated by the PUC is considered a public utility, it serves the public. I know that, you know that, it seems you are just trying to muddy the waters.

          I recall back in college their were those who would drag a debate down by concentrating on trivial issues. Semantics, minor aspects related to the topic, all kinds of ways to avoid the actual argument. I’ve used the word before with you but again, it’s tiresome. Let’s stick to the real argument like civil adults.

          • dean

            Steve…for me it most definitely is not a word game nor a trivial issue. Private utilities answer first and foremost to their shareholders. Public utilities answer to their constituents, the ratepayers. There is a very clear legal and practical difference, and if there were not PGE would not have fussed over Portland’s attempt to take them over a few years ago.

            Now…back to LNG. What we have are PRIVATE entities who will use PUBLIC DOMAIN laws to condemn other people’s land to lay their pipelines. That is one basis for the opposition. Personally, I have no position on either LNG proposal by the way, but as one who works in natural resources I think all of these big projects that disturb a lot of land need thorough review, and have to be shown to be in teh public interest before they are approved. Its not a simple as saying private capital is for it, therefore we should all get out of the way.

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