State questions future for LNG

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Liberty CEO Roger Whelan told the Herald that the 2014 Draft Energy Plan shows the benefits that Port Ambrose would bring to the region. “[The plan] finds that natural gas, because of its economic and environmental advantages, remains the fuel of choice for New York, particularly for power generation in high demand areas like New York City and Long Island,” Whelan said in a statement. “The Port Ambrose project will deliver natural gas supplies directly into Long Island during peak demand periods, like the one we are experiencing now, which has spiked natural gas demand and prices to unprecedented levels.”

The Draft Energy Plan, a 682-page document that can be found at, does call for “expanding access to natural gas” as part of a strategy to reduce “reliance on petroleum products for heating buildings,” and it describes natural gas and electric infrastructure as “the secure backbone of the energy system.” But the plan makes an important distinction, which Whelan did not note, between domestic and Canadian natural gas production and LNG shipments from foreign shores.

The “need for substantial increased volumes of imported LNG has diminished for the near term,” the Draft Energy Plan states, citing booming hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as fracking, a form of natural gas drilling that involves injecting water and chemicals deep underground to fracture bedrock and allow gas bubbles to escape, in the contiguous 48 states.

The decline of LNG

Specifically, the Draft Energy Plan points out that domestic production of dry natural gas is at its highest level since 1973, whereas natural gas imports declined every year from 2007 through 2012. That year, LNG imports satisfied less than 1 percent of U.S. natural gas demand, and just two of the 12 active LNG import terminals in the country received regular shipments — “albeit with lower frequency than in past years,” the plan states.

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