Gas goes global.Byline: The Register-Guard
Natural gas is making a trillion-dollar transition from a regional to a global commodity. Coos Bay Coos Bay (ks), city (1990 pop. 15,076), Coos co., SW Oreg., a port of entry on Coos Bay; founded 1854 as Marshfield, inc. 1874, renamed 1944. will be a nexus of this transition if a liquefied natural gas liquefied natural gas: see under natural gas.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG)
A product of natural gas which consists primarily of methane. Its properties are those of liquid methane, slightly modified by minor constituents. terminal is built there and connected by a pipeline to the continental gas network. People in Coos Bay and along the 223-mile pipeline right-of-way will need strong advocacy from state and federal officials to ensure that their interests are protected as a new natural gas infrastructure takes shape.
Historically, the North American North American
named after North America.
North American blastomycosis
see North American blastomycosis.
North American cattle tick
see boophilusannulatus. market for natural gas has been isolated from the rest of the world. The U.S. Department of Energy states that imports of liquefied natural gas, or LNG LNG (liquefied natural gas): see under natural gas. , contribute only 2.8 percent of the total supply. But flat or declining production from U.S. and Canadian wells, coupled with rising demand for gas, lead the Energy Department to predict that in 25 years imported LNG will supply 16 percent of a much larger market. The United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. now has five LNG terminals Liquefied natural gas is used to transport natural gas over long distances, often by sea. In most cases, LNG terminals are purpose built ports used exclusively to export or import LNG. . Forty more are proposed, including the one at Coos Bay.
Gas producers have shipped LNG commercially for 40 years. The gas is cooled to 260 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. At that temperature the gas becomes a liquid with 0.16 percent of its original volume, allowing it to be transported in 1,000-foot tankers. Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, with few gas resources of their own and no pipeline connections to producers, already rely heavily on LNG to run factories and power plants.
A number of factors are converging to spur the spread of LNG infrastructure worldwide. Technological advances have made LNG production, transport, storage and use more efficient, and therefore more economical. Concerns about global warming global warming, the gradual increase of the temperature of the earth's lower atmosphere as a result of the increase in greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution. have given natural gas an advantage over other fossil fuels - per unit of energy, burning gas results in only 40 percent as much carbon dioxide carbon dioxide, chemical compound, CO2, a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is about one and one-half times as dense as air under ordinary conditions of temperature and pressure. as coal. The seven biggest publicly traded oil companies' gas reserves are growing at four times the rate of their petroleum reserves. As an LNG network emerges to connect producing to consuming regions in ways that pipelines cannot, natural gas is becoming a world commodity, much like oil.
The oil and gas companies saw all this coming, and ensured that the energy bill approved by Congress in 2005 allows LNG terminals to be sited just about wherever the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the United States federal agency with jurisdiction over electricity sales, wholesale electric rates, hydroelectric licensing, natural gas pricing, and oil pipeline rates. decides to put them. Local and state authorities such as the Oregon Energy Facilities Siting Commission are limited to an advisory role.
Coos Bay was chosen primarily because it has an underused deepwater port, inexpensive industrial land and a comparatively small population. This makes Coos Bay a rarity on the West Coast - most other potential locations are heavily trafficked, cramped, costly and surrounded by neighbors numbering in the millions. The primary drawback is that a big new pipeline - three feet in diameter - would be needed to feed the LNG into the natural gas transmission network.
The terminal itself offers few causes for concern. It would be a larger version of the LNG storage tank A LNG storage tank (Liquified Natural Gas) is a specialized type of storage tank used for the storage of Liquified Natural Gas. LNG Storage Tanks can be found in ground, above ground or in LNG carriers. that has stood without problem on Newport's Yaquina Bay Yaquina Bay (pronounced ya kwin na or, rarely, ya keen ah) is a small bay partially within Newport, Oregon, United States, located where the Yaquina River flows into the Pacific Ocean. Its area is about 8 km² (3.2 mi²). for decades. No serious accidents involving LNG tankers at sea or in port have been reported. LNG is neither flammable nor explosive under most conditions. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. an EcoNorthwest study commissioned by the pro-LNG South Coast Development Council, the terminal and associated infrastructure would result in lower energy bills, create 400 jobs in Coos County and raise Oregon's economic output by $488 million a year.
The pipeline is another matter. Two years ago, completion of a 12-inch pipeline ended Coos County's status as the largest county in the continental United States United States territory, including the adjacent territorial waters, located within North America between Canada and Mexico. Also called CONUS. without access to natural gas. Developers initially proposed using that pipeline to connect the Coos Bay LNG terminal to the gas transmission network near Roseburg. Now they say they need a pipeline 10 times the size of the existing one, connected to the Canada-California gas transmission backbone near Klamath Falls. The 60-mile, 12-inch pipeline was beset by cost overruns and environmental problems. A 223-mile, 36-inch pipeline would encounter difficulties on an even larger scale.
Critics of the project maintain that LNG terminals to serve the California market should be built in California - ignoring the fact that nearly all of the Northwest's natural gas comes from outside the region. A stronger argument is that LNG terminals represent an economic commitment to long-term dependence on imported energy. Investments on a similar scale in conservation and renewables would reduce the nation's vulnerability to supply disruptions without adding to the trade deficit.
Yet LNG and work on conservation and renewables should not be in conflict - the country will need both in the decades ahead. The global LNG infrastructure is emerging, and the United States will be a part of it. The responsibility of state and local officials is to use their limited power to influence LNG siting and routing decisions to ensure that Coos Bay's and Oregon's communities and environment are well-protected.