LNG Danger To Our Communities   TimRileyLaw.com  760-683-5898

Consumer Protection Attorney Tim Riley Warns About Liquefied Natural Gas

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  ¤Liquefied Natural Gas¤


Does the Energy Industry Have Our Community's Best Interest At Heart?

ALERT  LNG Opponents Overpower Another Liquefied Natural Gas Energy Project  LngDanger.com

WARNINGLNG Vessel Liability is Limited by 1851 U.S. Law TimRileyLaw.com

WARNINGSandia Report of 7 Mile LNG Vapor Cloud TimRileyLaw.com

March 31, 2014   Reuters... “Early Monday, a “processing vessel” at the Williams facility near the small town of Plymouth, Washington, exploded, spraying chunks of shrapnel as heavy as 250 pounds as far as 300 yards, according to local emergency responders.

The flying debris pierced the double walls of a 134-foot LNG tank on site, causing leaks. Five workers were injured, and local responders warned that vapors from the leaks could trigger a more devastating, second explosion. A county fire department spokesman said authorities were concerned a second blast could level a 0.75 mile 'lethal zone' around the plant.

Everyone within a two-mile radius of the site was evacuated... Blast at U.S. LNG site casts spotlight on natural gas safety


May 2009

Former CIA Official Warns Against LNG Terminal WJZ - Baltimore, MD, USA  According to Charles Faddis, the retired head of CIA's Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism Unit, security is the safety issue. Faddis warns that an urban LNG operation creates two targets: the LNG plant itself and the enormous LNG tankers bringing in the frozen gas. According to the story, "the explosive power of a liquefied natural gas operation may be too good a target for terrorists to pass up."

February 2009

February 26, 2009  Authorized Public Screening  LNG opponents to show documentary on fuel dangers Providence Journal - Providence, RI WARREN - Opponents of a proposal to put a liquefied natural gas offloading facility in the middle of Mount Hope Bay are trying to raise concerns about the project with a showing of the 2004 video "The Risks & Dangers of LNG" Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Kickemuit Middle School, 525 Child St. The 45-minute video is being billed by the Kickemuit River Council and Warren Councilman Joseph DePasquale as "the film Weaver's Cove and Hess [Corporation] don't want you to see," a reference to the two developers of the project. Produced by two consumer protection advocates from Oxnard Shores, California, the video was made to demonstrate LNG's vulnerability to accidental disaster and terrorism. It also tries to show that a tanker breach could produce massive destruction to our coastal communities.

EDITORS NOTE: Other groups who are also interested in hosting Public Screenings of the film need to contact the Law Office of Tim Riley at 760-683-5898 to discuss the licensing fees and terms.

July 2008

Samsung to Deliver World's Biggest LNG Tanker for Exxon Project Bloomberg Samsung was contracted to make 11 tankers, each of 266,000 cubic-meter capacity...


NOTE: “The energy content of a single standard LNG tanker (one hundred twenty-five thousand cubic meters) is equivalent to seven-tenths of a megaton of TNT, or about fifty-five Hiroshima bombs." according to Brittle Power Energy Strategy for National Security, Part 2  Disasters Waiting to Happen / Chapter 8: Liquefied Natural Gas (First Prepared as a US Pentagon Study) By Lovins & Lovins at page 88 

May 8, 2007  AP Centerpiece: Down in the bayou, America's natural gas future? Boston Globe Tim Riley, a lawyer and consumer advocate based in Oxnard Shores, Calif., said not enough is known about the potential hazards of an LNG spill for the government to be able to continue licensing terminals safely. "The sheer volume is what makes it eminently dangerous," said Riley, co-producer of a film called "The Risks and Danger of LNG." ALSO: LNG Plants Rising to Meet Energy Demand Forbes, NY; SEE ALSO:  LNG Plants Rising to Meet Energy Demand International Business Times, NY

May 2, 2006   New Sandia Report of 7 Mile LNG Vapor Cloud Emediawire “This new Sandia 7 mile ‘worst case’ scenario is even more frightening than their earlier ‘worst case’ reported in December of 2004, which determined an offshore flammable LNG vapor cloud could extend approximately 2 miles,” said co-producer Tim Riley... In their film, The Risks and Danger of LNG, the Riley’s provide a vivid and riveting counter-point to the LNG industry safety claims by exposing the documented hazards of LNG. They point out the unreliability and inconsistency of LNG computer modeling, and urge the federal government to conduct large-scale offshore LNG spill tests. In the film Hayden Riley states, "We tested the nuclear bomb, we tested before sending man into outer space, yet our federal government still hasn't conducted the necessary large-scale LNG spill tests.” “Until these tests are performed and fully understood, the LNG approval process should be halted worldwide. This is one of the strongest messages of our documentary film,” said Tim Riley who also co-wrote the compelling movie.


The Energy Industry Claims: LNG CARRIERS ARE SAFE


Created By Lloyd's Register  


WHO IS… Lloyd's Register?  

Query:  Are They Associated With Lloyds of London?   

According to Their Own Website They Are:

"Not to be confused with … Lloyd's of London, the international insurance market, with whom we are frequently confused."


Query:  Are They Associated With LNG? 

According to Their Own Website They Are:

“At the forefront of LNG technology, Lloyd's Register has been associated with the development and application of gas ship systems over many years. Its experience benefits the world's LNG operators - a market-leading share of over 30% of the LNG fleet in service is classed by Lloyd's Register.”


In November of 2001,

Lloyd's Register report:

CLAIMS: Tankers are safe because they have double hulls

Concluding: That the LNG Carriers were “Sufficiently Safe” 

FACT:  Just One Year Later

   On October 6, 2002, 

a small terrorist boat in Yemen  

Rammed and pierced a double-hulled

French oil tanker Limburg causing a massive fire and spilling approximately 90,000 barrels of oil.

Terrorism now suspected in French tanker blastWashington Post


The Double-Hull Safety Claim Is For The


After Enron - 9/11  - USS Cole & the Alleged California Energy Crises  

No One Is That Gullible Anymore



 ¤Liquefied Natural Gas¤

LNG "Safety" Studies


Mobile Register *


“Scientists challenge study used to promote LNG safety 

LNG supporters promote study data, but study's lead scientist tells newspaper his work was not designed to prove tanker ships safe for nearby communities ”  

By BEN RAINES and BILL FINCH,  Staff reporters, Mobile Register*  

Full Story: http://www.al.com/news/mobileregister/index.ssf?/base/news/1066555410127601.xml


    "Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists attacks, an obscure scientific study by a little-known Oklahoma consulting company has been widely used by federal officials to ease concern in U.S. communities about the dangers of liquefied natural gas."

    "But the study's mild assessment of LNG fire dangers is generating a growing controversy in the scientific community, and even the study's author acknowledged in an interview last week that it is being misused by federal officials."

    "Department of Energy officials and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission documents have promoted the Quest Consultants Inc. study as evidence that the public would have little to fear from any LNG tanker spills or resulting fires.”

    ‘The fire that would ensue ... would be of unprecedented size and intensity,’ wrote James Fay, professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in a scientifically reviewed analysis of the Boston Harbor situation, which was cited in a 2002 report to Congress.’”

    “Because Quest's numbers are so out of line with other studies, and because the company's assumptions and results have never been peer-reviewed, the ‘estimates must be considered to lack the credibility necessary for public confidence,’ said Jerry Havens, a University of Arkansas chemical engineering professor, whose scientific work lies at the heart of federal regulations for LNG terminals.”  

Copyright 2003 al.com

    * 2002 OAKES AWARD FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JOURNALISM WENT TO MOBILE REGISTER FOR SERIES ON MERCURY IN FISH AND AWARDED TO BEN RAINES of the Mobile Register for an extended series on methylmercury contamination in the nation™s seafood supply. Ben Raines exposed the fact that federal and state government had failed to test the fish or warn the public. http://www.oakesaward.org/pdf/Oakes_Award_PR_2002.pdf


Boston Herald.com

Danger Zone: LNG Attack Could Torch Parts Of Hub

November 7, 2003

By Jay Fitzgerald

Full Story: http://www2.bostonherald.com/news/local_regional/lng11072003.htm


“A terrorist attack on a giant liquefied natural gas tanker in Boston Harbor likely would devastate nearby neighborhoods in Boston, Charlestown, and Everett, a forthcoming federal study suggests."

"That directly contradicts two key reports that helped the U.S. Coast Guard justify the resumption of LNG shipments through the harbor in the months after Sept. 11, 2001.”

        “The reports cited by the Coast Guard two years ago were quickly compiled without scientific review in the immediate weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. They minimized the impact of a major spill if an LNG tanker was attacked, saying any resulting fires would be relatively small and contained."

            "But NOAA's study, a summary of which was obtained by the Boston Herald, generally sides with a more devastating scenario long portrayed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor emeritus James Fay, said Bill Lehr, a researcher on the NOAA study."

            "Fay, whose work has frequently come under bitter attack by industry groups, has warned that a strike against an LNG tanker - such as the boat bomb used against the USS Cole in 2000 - could spark a huge inferno that would kill and scorch nearby residents, set waterfront buildings ablaze and shoot searing electromagnetic waves into neighborhoods that could spark even more fires. ”

 © Copyright by the Boston Herald and Herald Interactive Advertising Systems, Inc.



Study Backs Up Mayor's LNG Tanker Concerns

Tanker Owners Insist They Are Safe

POSTED: 6:43 p.m. EST November 7, 2003

UPDATED: 7:48 p.m. EST November 7, 2003

Full Story: http://www.thebostonchannel.com/news/2621316/detail.html


     “BOSTON -- Since the Sept. 11 attacks, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has been outspoken about the potential consequences of a terrorist strike on an liquefied natural gas tanker, and Friday, a report prepared by federal scientists backed him up. ” 

“‘The situation is we don't know when it is going to happen. And I'm not an alarmist, but if it did happen, would we have the equipment to deal with this issue?' said Menino."

"Menino commissioned his own report on LNG tankers in Boston Harbor that concluded that emergency preparedness was severely limited by the lack of critical input from Distrigas and the United States Coast Guard as well as the lack of critical data regarding potential thermal radiation hazards or anticipated heat exposure".

"Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor James Fay said an attack on an LNG tanker could be devastating."

“‘If it should occur, there would be a very, very large scale fire -- bigger than anything seen anywhere. Because of the size of the fire, that hot thermal radiation can move to much greater distances and still be harmful,’ said Fay."

"Fay also said the heat could instantly affect homes and people within a half-mile radius of the fire. But Distrigas said such an attack to their tankers is highly unlikely."

"‘We live in the real world, not in the academic world. In the real world, you have an 1,000-foot ship with two steel hulls and two other container systems before you get to the cargo. So, we don't assume -- you can look at things from an academic standpoint, and an academic standpoint, as we see it, is only looking at half of it,’ said Distrigas representative Rick Grant.” 

"'They'll tell you they have a double hull and tanks and all that stuff, but what about coming from the air? There are all different ways (that) there can be an attack on an LNG tanker,' said Menino."

 Copyright 2003 by TheBostonChannel



In the real world …



Boston Herald.com

Mayor:  Ban LNG Ships in Hub

By Jay Fitzgerald

November 8, 2003

Full Story: http://business.bostonherald.com/businessNews/business.bg?articleid=748


    Mayor Thomas Menino yesterday demanded a ban of giant tanker ships bearing liquefied natural gas in Boston Harbor, saying that federal and industry officials were playing ``Russian roulette'' with the city's safety.

      Menino said Boston simply isn't prepared to handle a major LNG blaze or the searing shock wave from such a fire that both reports say could slam into the city.”

 © Copyright by the Boston Herald and Herald Interactive Advertising Systems, Inc.


Mobile Register


Markey seeks response to LNG questions

U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., Says Feds May Be Misusing Quest Study To 'Minimize' Possible Hazards

  By BEN RAINES and BILL FINCH, Staff Reporters

Full Story: http://www.al.com/news/mobileregister/index.ssf?/base/news/1068286574205820.xml


         “A senior member of the U.S. House homeland security committee said Friday that he had sent letters to the Bush administration questioning the use of "a faulty study" to assess the dangers that liquefied natural gas tankers pose to populated areas.

          Markey suggested that selected study findings were being wielded to ‘minimize,’ in the public's mind, the scope of the hazards.”

        Markey's letters expressed concern that numerous federal agencies, including FERC, may be using misleading data to perform the safety analysis.

        “In his letter to Spencer Abraham, head of DOE, Markey called it a ‘bizarre and Orwellian rewriting of history’ that DOE officials would tell the Mobile Register that the agency was ‘not involved’ with the Quest study in any way.

        Markey quoted from letters written to him by Bush administration officials in 2001 stating that ‘Quest Consultants, an engineering firm, has been hired by DOE to perform studies related to security on vessels transporting LNG and on the onshore LNG storage tanks.’

         "The author of the Quest study, John Cornwell of Oklahoma, told the Register in October that he had warned DOE officials who commissioned the study that it was being used inappropriately.”

       Copyright 2003 al.com


                       US Senator Edward J. Markey was a US House Representative and a senior member on the House Select Committee on Homeland Security as well as Energy and Commerce Committees, when he questioned the Bush administration on the use of  "a faulty study" regarding LNG safety




11-19-03   1614 ET

As LNG Imports Soar, Safety Concerns Are Hotly Debated
By Spencer Jakab

NEW YORK (Dow Jones) -- Surging U.S. imports of liquefied natural gas are facing a public backlash over the safety of the huge tankers used to transport the fuel.

Analysts expect LNG's market share to grow from just over 1% of overall gas supply last year to about 13% by 2025. Much of it is shipped in
tankers that typically hold the equivalent of 20 billion gallons of natural gas and which some worry could be the target of terrorists.

"It's such a tremendous source of destruction that they don't need a bomb," said Tim Riley, a lawyer in Oxnard Shores, Calif., who has been a vocal critic of plans to build an LNG receiving terminal near his community.

Foes of LNG development point to the fact that the potential energy content of a single LNG tanker, which contains natural gas that is supercooled to 260 degrees Fahrenheit and concentrated to 1/600th of its normal gaseous volume, is equivalent to 700 tons of TNT or about 55 times the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

But representatives of the industry and the U.S. Department of Energy insist that LNG has an admirable safety  record since large-scale commercial shipment began in the 1960s.

Doug Quillen, an executive with ChevronTexaco Corp. (CVX), writes: "Liquefied natural gas tankers have been run aground, experienced loss of containment, suffered weather damage, been subjected to low temperature embrittlement from  cargo spillage, suffered engine room fires, and been involved in serious collisions with other vessels - no cargo  explosions reported."

Critics, however, cite an LNG spill in Cleveland in 1944 of 5% of the volume contained in a modern tanker that left 128 people dead and 225 injured. The industry counters that it has since learned much more about how to safely store the  supercooled liquid, including the use of double-hulled nickel-alloy tanks, and that storage and unloading facilities are no longer located near residential areas. "LNG tankers are inherently much more robust than typical crude, fuel and chemical tankers," according to Quillen.
Studies Say Tanks Could Be Ruptured
Opponents such as Riley are unconvinced. "Look at the USS Cole – forget double hulls." A study prepared for the Pentagon in 1982 by Amory and L. Hunter Lovins on energy security concluded of LNG tanks that "proneness to brittle fracture implies that relatively small disruptions by sabotage, earthquake, objects flung at the tank by high winds, etc. could well cause immediate, massive failure of an above grade LNG tank." A General Accounting Office study similarly concluded that "tanks afford limited protection even against non-military small arms projectiles."

But the industry's safety arguments point out that even if such an incident cannot be ruled out, LNG is not explosive, as proven by both laboratory tests and years of practical experience. A video statement by chemistry Nobel Prize recipient Dr. Alan Heeger on Shell's website says that  "anything capable of piercing a double-hulled carrier or storage tank would almost certainly ignite the escaping gas," thus limiting the fire to the immediate vicinity. Shell is part of Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. (RD).

Indeed, many countries, especially in East Asia and Europe that are far more dependent on LNG imports than the U.S. have never experienced such accidents. LNG is only flammable once it has turned back into gaseous form and only once it has reached a concentration between 5-15% in the air, its so-called "lower flammability limit" or LFL.

But LFL is what makes LNG so dangerous according to Riley. He points out that a local study done in 1977 said a severe 125,000 cubic meter tanker spill could create a vapor cloud that would spread up to 30 miles before ignition.

Energy executives, the DOE and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have cited a study by Oklahoma-based QUEST consultants that analyzes various scenarios involving tank punctures and atmospheric conditions and concludes that any fire would remain relatively close to its source, about  470 feet, and would create "radiant flux levels" harmful to  humans within roughly 1,770 feet for a 5 meter puncture. This study was cited when LNG tankers were allowed to reenter Boston Harbor after a brief ban following the Sept. 11 attacks.
QUEST Study Becomes Source Of Controversy

As if the subject were not rancorous enough, now the QUEST study itself is a source of controversy. Prominent scientists, notably Dr. James Fay of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have disputed its findings and have pointed out that it was never subject to peer review or submitted to a scientific journal. The author of the study even expressed surprise in an interview at its widespread use and said that it was done on short notice for what he understood to be internal purposes. For reasons that remain unclear, the DOE at one point denied commissioning the study but later backtracked when QUEST confirmed it was hired by the department.

Rep. James Markey, who represents the district in Massachusetts where one of the four U.S. LNG import facilities is located, demanded clarification in public letters to Energy secretary Spencer Abraham and FERC Chairman Pat Wood on Nov. 7.
"It's peculiar given that the author of the study said it was a quick and dirty study and not meant for these purposes," said Jeff Duncan of Markey's office.

Professor Fay, an expert on hazardous material dispersion, says the extent of spills could go well beyond proposed site boundaries for sites being planned. He wrote earlier this month:
"For all credible spills, including terrorist attacks on the storage tank and LNG tanker, the danger zone for humans extends nearly two miles from the terminal site," a distance several times greater than the QUEST study suggests.

Whatever the outcome of the safety debate, observers of the industry doubt that development can be halted due to the  pressing economic need for such facilities. The only exception would be if there were an accident that put a chill on development the way that the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl events stopped the nuclear industry in its tracks.

Ben Smith, an LNG expert and managing partner of gas industry watcher Enercast.com, thinks that protests may delay development or make it more expensive but won't halt it. "You have to compare it to the alternatives and right now LNG is the best option," he said. Still, he says that concerned citizens such as Riley play an important role. "We  need these people out there lobbying so that the right precautions are in place."

By Spencer Jakab, Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-4377;
(END) Dow Jones Newswires


Dow Jones Newswires

12-05-03  0049ET

“Author Claims Natural-Gas Tanker-Port Study Being Misused”     

December 5, 2003 12:49 AM ET   

Wall Street Journal Staff Reporter Russell Gold contributed to this report.

FULL STORY: http://www.quicken.com/investments/news_center/story/?story=NewsStory/dowJones/20031205/ON200312050049000030.var&column=P0DFP


“A scientific report that has been cited to vouch for the safety of a liquefied-natural-gas tanker port near Boston has been widely misused in efforts to gain approval for tanker-port locations, Friday's Wall Street Journal reported, citing the author of the report.”

 Copyright 2003 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.   


Mobile Register

Study talks of possible LNG disaster as result of accident


 By BEN RAINES and BILL FINCH Staff Reporters

 Full Story: http://www.al.com/news/mobileregister/index.ssf?/base/news/107079212971420.xml


"A confidential study commissioned by the owner of Boston's liquefied natural gas terminal suggests that an accident involving an LNG tanker could quickly evolve into a chain reaction of explosions and fires.

     Such a scenario would almost inevitably lead to a catastrophic failure of the ship and a spill of LNG that would be much larger and much more dangerous than anything so far considered in federal studies and assessments of LNG hazards.

    Virtually every study used by federal regulators considers the loss of less than one-fifth of the cargo onboard a typical LNG tanker to be the "worst-case" accident scenario. Most published scientific studies estimate that such a limited spill could result in a fire a half-mile wide.

   By contrast, the confidential study -- commissioned by Tractabel LNG North America LLC, which owns the Boston Distrigas LNG terminal -- proposes several scenarios in which even a relatively small rupture in one of the five cargo tanks onboard a ship could "escalate" and lead to ruptures in multiple tanks."

    "The Lloyd's study, completed in October 2001, was originally commissioned to determine whether the decades-old Distrigas LNG facility in Boston Harbor could be reopened safely. That terminal was shut down following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

     Since then, the study has been referenced in numerous news accounts, congressional reports, letters to members of Congress and presentations by the U.S. Department of Energy and the LNG industry. In many cases, the Lloyd's study has been cited alongside a controversial study by the Oklahoma-based Quest Consultants Inc. as proof that LNG tanker operations pose only limited threats to the public.

     But the actual contents of the Lloyd's proprietary study -- titled 'Explosion and Gas Release from LNG Membrane Carriers: Generic Consequence Assessment' -- apparently have never been made available to the general public."

    "Many government documents and written industry presentations that refer to the Lloyd's study mention only three or four of the 19 conclusions in the executive summary, and none reviewed by the Mobile Register focus on the disastrous scenario described above."

    "In fact, the Lloyd's study predicts that a hole much smaller than the 1-meter hole could still lead to the chain-reaction fracturing, explosions and fires that would involve the entire contents of the ship."

    "James Fay, professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, often described as the father of modern LNG hazard theory, has also expressed concerns that a breach in one compartment on a ship could lead to an escalating fire."

      "Fay said in an interview earlier this year that it would be'impossible to exaggerate' the intensity of an LNG fire."

Copyright 2003 al.com. All Rights Reserved


The Associated Press

Article published Dec 18, 2003

Shelby seeks Coast Guard safety check on proposed LNG terminal

Full Story: http://www.timesdaily.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20031218/APN/312180773


       Shelby, R-Ala., made the request Monday in a letter to the commandant of the Coast Guard, saying he's troubled that federal authorities may be using scientific studies improperly in a push for new terminals.

        "'The lack of consensus among federal permitting agencies and the scientific community regarding the risk of a catastrophic event fuels many of the ongoing concerns raised by my constituents," wrote Shelby, describing the controversy surrounding conflicting safety studies.

    He said recent comments from authors of at least one risk assessment now in use 'indicate that this assessment is being used improperly by several government entities.'

    Shelby said he's 'troubled by this allegation and believes that the improper use of scientific papers and/or documents does not provide the government or the community with a proper evaluation of the possible risks resulting from an LNG event.'"  


As  a  Result...

Mobile Register

January 24, 2004

Feds widen LNG safety study

Results could affect proposals to build two liquefied natural gas terminals in Mobile

Full Story: http://www.al.com/news/mobileregister/index.ssf?/base/news/107493938733370.xml


Environment Editor


Officials with the U.S. Department of Energy said Friday that they have decided to greatly expand a liquefied natural gas safety review that had previously failed to take into account several important studies on the issue.

In early December, amid allegations that federal officials had misused and mischaracterized several LNG studies while pushing to open LNG import terminals in populated areas, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham instructed his agency's Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico to conduct a review of LNG safety studies.

"They've gotten the message from all of their colleagues that we need to revisit all of this," said James Fay, a professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology who is often considered the father of modern LNG hazard research. "We need a genuine scientific investigation of all that has been done in the field of LNG safety. This new announcement may provide some assurance that such a safety review will be done..."


As  a  Further Result...

Feds Expand Safety Study

Even Wider !!!

Mobile Register

January 31, 2004

Federal agency calls for major LNG review

FERC seeks study of hazards from accident or terrorist attack

Full Story: http://www.al.com/news/mobileregister/index.ssf?/base/news/107554600960400.xml



The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission plans a broad review of the hazards posed by an accident or terrorist attack on a liquefied natural gas tanker making a delivery in a U.S. port.

Listed on a federal Web site where government jobs are described for contract-bidding purposes, FERC's solicitation of a "Vapor Dispersion and Thermal Hazard Modeling" study instructs scientists to explore many of the critical safety issues highlighted in Mobile Register reports over the last several months. The study has not been announced publicly. FERC officials did not respond Friday to requests for comment...

Markey continued, "I'm curious, however, why FERC appears to have waited so long to start asking these questions, why FERC previously has been citing studies that appear either flawed or inapplicable to many of the regulatory actions the agency is being asked to take, and how it intends to use this study once the contractor submits the final report."

The "scope of work" described in the document extends to virtually every aspect of LNG vessel safety. The core requirement is to evaluate the "flammable vapor and thermal radiation hazards created by unconfined LNG spills on water." The document even specifies the steps the contractor is expected to take in making that determination, from examining how different hole sizes in the tankers would affect the spill size, to calculating how far heat radiation from a tanker fire would spread, and what it would do to people and structures...


May 14, 2004  1:03 PM ET



US lacks 'real-world' model to evaluate LNG safety


By Tom Doggett

WASHINGTON4 (Reuters) - U.S. regulators have no scientific models to accurately predict what may happen in an accident or act of sabotage involving a tanker filled with liquefied natural gas (LNG), a new report said on Friday.

 The potential dangers of hauling LNG has raised concerns since the September 11 attacks and as energy firms propose building some 30 new LNG receiving terminals to supply the U.S. market.

LNG is natural gas chilled to minus 259 degrees Fahrenheit for transportation aboard tankers from Algeria, Trinidad, Qatar and other exporting nations.

Currently four U.S. terminals operate in Maryland, Georgia, Massachusetts and Louisiana. But with domestic gas production flat, several companies want the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve plans to build new terminals.

LNG now accounts for about 2 percent of U.S. gas supply, but the government estimates imports will make up 11 percent of domestic supply by 2015.

However, a new report commissioned by FERC said current scientific models don't reflect how LNG is shipped or likely to spread from a spill in various weather conditions.

"No models available were identified that account for the multi-hull structure of an LNG carrier and the physics of a release of cryogenic LNG," the report said.

The report prepared by ABS Consulting recommended that FERC use another recognized model to review the effect of spills from a hole in single-hull LNG carriers, even though LNG is transported in double-walled ships for better safety. That model can only provide a "rough guide" to the impact, it said.

FERC made the report public on Friday.

ABS also said the current method of estimating the spread of an LNG spill on open water does not account for wind, water currents and waves.

"No existing model for an LNG spill appropriately accounts for these effects. It should be recognized that the recommended model is based on the assumption of smooth quiescent water," the report said.

When natural gas is cooled to LNG it shrinks to less than 1/600 of its original volume. After it arrives at a U.S. terminal by tanker, LNG is returned to a gaseous state.

As a liquid, LNG will neither burn or explode, ABS said.

But if a tanker spill were to occur, the LNG would turn back into a gas as it reacts with air and water temperatures. The gas vapors released could ignite.

The report warned that "an event of such magnitude" to rupture an LNG carrier's outer hull, inner hull and cargo tanks "may also provide ignition sources" for the spilled LNG.

FERC said it will use the scientific models recommended in the report to evaluate the safety of proposed LNG projects, even if they don't reflect real-world conditions.

"Nobody has the real-world data to really know for sure what's going to happen" because there have been no major LNG spills, said FERC spokesman Bryan Lee. "You can't look at this (report) and draw a conclusion as to whether or not LNG is inherently dangerous or not."

Critics of LNG projects have expressed concern about the safety of residents and businesses located near a receiving terminal. They contend that an LNG tanker, or its facilities onshore, could become targets for sabotage or terrorism.

A deadly accident at an Algerian LNG complex in January has been linked to a cracked pipe that allowed the gas to escape and explode. The blast killed more than two dozen people.

"The public can take comfort in the fact that LNG has been safely transported by ship for nearly a half century," FERC chairman Pat Wood said in a letter accompanying the report.

Copyright 2004, Reuters News Service

To Read The Entire Report: Study on LNG Consequence Modeling Report Issued [PDF] 


May 14, 2004

Oil&GasJournal Online

US FERC proposes safety model for future LNG terminal permits


Maureen Lorenzetti, Washington Editor  


WASHINGTON, DC, May 14 -- The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Friday said it wants public comment on a new technical report that outlines the safety modeling the agency will use when evaluating future LNG terminal applications.

The public comment period lasts 2 weeks. Other government agencies, including the departments of transportation and energy, as well as the US Coast Guard already reviewed and commented on the report.

Contact Maureen Lorenzetti at Maureenl@ogjonline.com.  


May 15, 2004

Boston Globe

Full Story: http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/05/15/report_cites_risk_of_wide_damage_in_lng_blast/ 

Report cites risk of wide damage in LNG blast

By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff  


WASHINGTON -- A new government report says that a liquefied natural gas leak in Boston Harbor could catch fire and even explode, threatening people more than three-quarters of a mile away.

The new report, by ABS Consulting, a risk assessment firm, concluded that if the tanker's hull and cargo tanks were successfully breached, a pool fire could burn victims up to 4,600 feet away. Such an event could cause "severe pain" within 13 seconds, second-degree burns within 30 seconds, and third-degree burns within 50 seconds of exposure, the report said.

The ABS report also concluded that in some scenarios, a leak could create a flammable vapor cloud that might travel several thousand feet before dissipating into a stable state. If the vapor leaked into a confined space inside the tanker or another structure, it could also explode.

"It suggests that some of the accident scenarios involve enormous fires that could cause deaths, severe burns to people several thousand feet away, and hot enough to burn wood and melt steel closer in," said Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Malden. The main DistriGas LNG facility in Everett is in his district.

The latest study is likely to renew calls to block the tankers, in part because the report says the 2001 study, which was conducted by Quest, a government contractor, did not use sufficient models to determine the worst-case scenario of a collision or attack that spilled LNG into the harbor.

"It rejects the modeling methodology used in the Quest study," Markey said. "This is important because the DOE-funded Quest study was used by federal officials to argue for reopening Boston Harbor to LNG shipments following Sept. 11, and it has been cited by the [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] in several regulatory proceedings around the country."

He added, "The fact that [the] contractor is now recommending an alternative methodology means that we need to go back and reassess what the worst-case accident consequences are and what they mean."

Bryan Bender can be reached at bender@globe.com

© Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company


May 20, 2004

Mobile Register

Report on LNG reaffirms dangers

Some scientists, however, say the report is flawed for failing to address terrorist scenarios


By BEN RAINES and BILL FINCH, Staff Reporters

Full Story:

 A much-anticipated federal report agrees with a finding by other scientists -- though seldom cited by regulators -- that a limited liquefied natural gas spill on water could burn people as much as a mile away.

But scientists who have examined the report, conducted by Houston-based ABS Consulting Inc. at the request of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said it contains some flawed assumptions and fails to analyze what could happen if a terrorist attack led to the catastrophic loss of an LNG tanker and its 33-million-gallon cargo.

That scenario -- which many scientists say could be similar to the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen that killed 17 Navy sailors and blew a 40-by-40-foot hole in the destroyer -- has been identified by numerous scientists and safety officials as the most significant threat to public safety posed by LNG ships.

The ship damage theorized in the ABS report involved holes no larger than 16 feet in diameter and spills that involved no more than 20 percent of the ship's cargo.

FERC officials, who oversee the approval process for siting LNG facilities, have indicated that the new ABS report, which was released last week for public review, will be a cornerstone in their decision-making.

The safety of LNG has become a nationally contentious issue over the past year, as federal officials and oil companies have sought to locate as many as 40 new LNG docking terminals near communities around the nation.

Amid the controversy, proposals by ExxonMobil Corp. and Cheniere Inc. to build facilities near populated areas on Mobile Bay have been put on the back burner, company officials said.

LNG is a superchilled, highly concentrated form of natural gas that can be easily transported long distances. But scientists note that the liquefied natural gas has unusually dangerous properties when spilled on water.

Several scientists noted that the ABS report is likely to end the use of a controversial study performed by Quest Consultants Inc. It had been widely promoted by Department of Energy and FERC officials to downplay hazards tankers pose to nearby communities.

"It puts the Quest report in the cemetery," said James Fay, professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and often described as the father of modern LNG research.

The Quest study, commissioned by the DOE to determine whether it would be safe to reopen a Boston Harbor LNG facility in the days after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, predicted fire sizes resulting from an accident that were far smaller than fires predicted by most other scientific studies.

A Mobile Register investigation last year found, among other things, that Quest based its fire sizes on the assumption that large waves would limit the spread of LNG.

As the ABS scientists note, however, the waves used in the Quest model are unrealistic, both because they are theo rized to be essentially motionless, and because LNG vessels frequent harbors where wave action of any kind is limited.

The new ABS study ultimately predicts fire sizes from a limited spill that could cause serious burns on humans who are more than 4,000 feet away, consistent with predictions found in most of the scientific literature.

But a number of LNG scientists who have reviewed the report said it makes some mistaken assumptions that may need to be revisited.

The report, for example, characterizes spills as perfect circles -- something not likely to occur in any spill pouring from a hole in the side of a ship, according to Fay. The scientists were also critical of the use of a surface friction model originally designed for room temperature oil, not superchilled LNG.

Fay said he and a number of other scientists are likely to insist that ABS and FERC reconsider those assumptions. If they are reconsidered, Fay notes, the report could effectively predict some of the largest hazard zones in the scientific literature, at least for the limited ship damage considered by ABS.

But leading LNG scientist Jerry Havens, who designed much of the software used by ABS in drawing its conclusions, said the study has a more serious limitation, because it fails to consider what could happen if an escalating LNG fire and explosions led to the loss of an entire ship.

Such a scenario was partially examined in a study of LNG hazards by the London-based Lloyd's Register of Shipping.

"There are more important things on the table than arguing about the fire sizes for a small release, like they are doing in the FERC report," Havens said. "They are simply putting off the larger, more important question, which is what is going to happen to the tanker when it is engulfed in a fire. That's the critical question in all of this: What is the vulnerability of the tanker in terms of losing its entire cargo during a fire?"

FERC officials could not be reached for comment. But the ABS reports said limited spill scenarios were chosen because there were no existing scientific models that accounted for the structure of an LNG ship and the effects the spilled LNG would have on the ship.

Copyright 2004 al.com. All Rights Reserved.


To Learn About ABS Consulting

Consider visiting their website: http://www.absconsulting.com/mkt_marineOffshoreLNG.html

Here are a few quotes from their website for your immediate attention:

“ABS Consulting is a key player in the worldwide expansion of the LNG market.”

“The following are the major types of LNG-related services that our integrated company offers worldwide:

“From the front end to the distribution network, ABS Consulting has extensive LNG capabilities and experience.” 



Petroleum News, North America's Source for Oil and Gas News

Week of May 23, 2004

No undue delays for LNG projects, FERC says

Federal agency works to finish LNG safety report; consultant says difficult to predict fire potential from spills


Larry Persily, PN Government Affairs Editor

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says it will not “unduly” delay any of the dozen pending applications for new liquefied natural gas receiving terminals along U.S. shores as it works toward a final report on LNG safety risks.

FERC issued a consultant’s report May 13 on the risk of fire and explosion from LNG tankers coming into port or tied up at a dock, specifically looking at how much damage could result if terrorists were able to blow a hole in a ship and its gas storage tanks.

The commission’s final report on LNG tanker safety is expected by the end of the year, FERC Commissioner Joseph Kelliher said at a natural gas conference in Denver. Until then, the federal agency would hold off approving any new terminals, he told Dow Jones Newswires, although a commission spokesman later clarified FERC’s position that it would not unduly delay approval of any pending applications.

The agency is accepting public comment on the consultant’s report until May 28.

Lack of information makes modeling difficult

The report, prepared by Houston-based ABSG Consulting Inc., said it is difficult to predict the effects of an LNG spill for several reasons:

• “No models are available that take into account the true structure of an LNG carrier, in particular the multiple barriers that the combination of cargo tanks and the double hulls in current LNG carrier provide.

• “No pool spread models are available that account for wave action or currents.

• “There is no data available for spills as large as the spills considered in this study.”

But, after stating those caveats, the report said an LNG tanker could catch fire and even explode, threatening people three-quarters of a mile away if terrorists were able to breach a ship’s double hulls and also its cargo storage tanks. Under some conditions, the report said, a gas leak could create a flammable vapor cloud that would, at the right mixture with air, ignite and travel several thousand feet before dissipating.

“It suggests that some of the accident scenarios involve enormous fires that could cause deaths, severe burns to people several thousand feet away, and hot enough to burn wood and melt steel closer in,” said U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., whose district includes the DistriGas LNG facility at Everett, Mass.

LNG tankers were temporarily barred from Boston Harbor and the Everett facility after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., and opponents of LNG terminals proposed for the East, West and Gulf coasts worry the new facilities could make their communities the target of terrorist attacks.

 Maybe a dozen new terminal predicted by 2025

In addition to the 12 pending FERC applications for new LNG terminals, developers have proposed more than two dozen other sites to receive shipments of imported gas to meet America’s growing supply shortage. Most proposals, however, are expected to die off in the face of community opposition and/or economics. International oil and gas consulting firm Wood Mackenzie Ltd. expects the nation could see perhaps seven new terminals by 2010-2012, and the U.S. Department of Energy expects as many as a dozen by 2025.

The ABSG Consulting report for FERC noted that although communities worry about the risk of LNG spills and fires, the industry has a good record: “These vessels have a remarkable safety record and provide an essential link in the movement of LNG from production locations to consumer locations.”

The report said the lack of research and proven “pool spread models” make it difficult to predict how much gas would spill out of a tanker, whether it would ignite or disperse, and how far any damage might extend.

“Clearly, there is an opportunity to develop pool spread models that consider more realistic analysis of the spill behavior on the water surface,” the report said. “Large-scale spill tests would be useful for providing better data for validation of models.

“It is also important to note that this study addresses the potential consequences of large-scale LNG cargo releases without regard to the sequence of events leading to such an incident or their probabilities of occurrence. As such, this report does not and was not intended to provide a measure of risk to the public.”

FERC, in its final report later this year, will attempt to model the risk that comes with allowing more LNG tankers and receiving terminals in the country.



Boston Herald

Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Fire official fears LNG deaths: Industry decries report while gas foes blast its regulators


By Jay Fitzgerald

A top Boston Fire Department official blasted a federal agency yesterday for being untrustworthy and not caring enough about a possible liquefied natural gas disaster in Boston Harbor that he says could lead to 10,000 deaths.

The biting remarks by Deputy Chief Joseph M. Fleming came as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission accepts comments on a new report that warns of possible ``serious incidents'' involving LNG ships and terminals.

The report, by ABS Consulting and commissioned by the federal agency, has stirred intense controversy as proposals to build LNG terminals across the nation are scrutinized. LNG plants are proposed for Fall River, Somerset and Providence.

In one comment, Suez S.A. unit Distrigas of Massachusetts Corp., importer of LNG through Boston Harbor to a plant in Everett, said some of the report's conclusions are ``patently false'' and too pessimistic about LNG hazards.

Distrigas, citing what it called an excellent 40-year safety record of LNG shipments, urged the agency to commission other studies before it makes any long-term siting decisions concerning LNG terminals.

Other experts have weighed in on the ABS report - pro and con - before the agency.

But the Boston Fire Department dropped a bombshell when it said that based on a 1976 study and ABS's new calculating method, as many as 10,000 people could be killed by a severe LNG tanker disaster. It cited ABS calculations about heat from an LNG catastrophe.

The 1976 study indicated that the ``maximum probable number of fatalities'' resulting from a severe LNG tanker accident in the Boston area could reach 3,000. The casualties would occur from vapor clouds and intense heat sweeping through neighborhoods, the fire department comment notes, citing what it said was a study for Distrigas' Everett plant.

Chief Fleming, in an interview yesterday, said he's not saying 10,000 people surely would die. ``Part of it is extrapolation'' based on ABS formulas for the intensity of heat, he said.

Even though it's accepting comments on the ABS report, energy agency staffers already have cited some of its findings in a preliminary environmental impact study for a proposed LNG terminal in Freeport, Texas. The staff report, which recommends approval of the terminal, has yet to be endorsed by agency commissioners.

Fleming said he's disappointed that the ABS report is being used in the siting of terminals, even while the agency is accepting comments on its merits.

``I do not trust FERC as far as you can throw them,'' Fleming said, noting another controversial study that was used to justify the resumption of LNG shipments through Boston Harbor after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

An agency spokesman acknowledged the ABS report was cited recently, but would not respond to critics.


The Providence Journal

June 3, 2004

LNG safety report spurs criticism

All parties in the debate over a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal in Fall River find fault with a federal report.



FALL RIVER -- The first government-sponsored report to investigate the safety of transporting liquefied natural gas by ship has provoked responses from critics, as well as proponents, of a terminal proposed for the city.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which licenses all LNG facilities, released the 75-page report May 14. The report did not assess the probability of an accident involving LNG, but did describe hazardous fires that could result from a gash in a vessel transporting LNG.

The public then had two weeks to officially respond to the report.

Comments streamed in from environmentalists, city officials, and project proponents in Fall River, where Weaver's Cove Energy has proposed building an LNG storage tank and dock to unload ships.

Fall River Mayor Edward M. Lambert Jr. argued that LNG terminals and shipping routes should be kept far away from populated areas in light of the report's findings.

Lambert's comments argue that, given the predicted wide scope of a fire from an LNG tanker, an exclusion zone should be required around the ships, prohibiting them from passing by crowded residential areas.

Lambert urges the commission to reject the Weaver's Cove proposal. "FERC should apply the models outlined in the ... report to a variety of worst-case scenarios and not even one of them, as remote as the probability may be determined to be, should be considered an acceptable risk," the mayor wrote.

Scientists also weighed in on the debate -- LNG expert Jerry Havens, of the Chemical Hazards Research Laboratory at the University of Arkansas, looked at the proposed Fall River terminal at Lambert's request.

In his comments, Havens said he could not weigh in as to whether the facility should be built. Rather, he applied the report to Fall River, the country's first urban terminal to be proposed since the terminal in Everett was built in the 1970s.

He said current regulations do not require consideration of incidents involving ships. A gas leak from a ship could be more serious than a similar leak from a storage tank, because the spread would not be contained by a dike or other containment device, and could spread more quickly, Havens said. On the water, a danger zone for fire radiation could extend a mile, with the gas vapor potentially spreading for several miles, he said.

In light of the new report, Havens said the regulatory commission must consider the consequences of on-water spills. He said events could occur that could even exceed those analyzed in the report.

But the report came under attack from terminal developer Weaver's Cove Energy. In an eight-page missive, Weaver's Cove's lawyer's disputed the report's findings, saying the study was incomplete, and exaggerated the potential risks of an LNG fire.

Weaver's Cove's two lawyers from the Washington, D.C., firm of Baker Botts criticized the study for not being peer-reviewed. Further, they said the study failed to consider literature available to the public.

The study failed to take into account the use of double-hulled ships, which reduce the impact of an attack, and keep gas from escaping, the lawyers said. Additionally, the study over-estimated how quickly gas could escape from a tanker, they said.

They also argued that the report exaggerated the temperature of a possible gas fire.

The company asked the regulatory commission to accept companies proposing LNG facilities to enter their own studies for consideration during the application process, arguing that such studies could compensate for what it said were holes in the government report. Weaver's Cove already has commissioned its own safety study.

Although the comments all were entered officially with the commission, they will not be incorporated into the report. Rather, the commission will use comments it finds relevant, in conjunction with the report, in analyzing risk at proposed terminals.

Jessica Resnick-Ault can be contacted by phone at (508) 674-8401 or by e-mail at JRAult(at)projo.com.

The Providence Journal, projo.com

June 9, 2004

Congressional intervention on LNG sought

Green Futures has asked U.S. senators and representatives to assure that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will revise a safety report.



FALL RIVER -- In an appeal to Fall River's congressional delegation, a local environmental organization is requesting new regulations to guide the federal government's analysis on liquefied natural gas spills.

 The existing regulations followed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission do not address LNG spills, according to Alfred J. Lima, of Green Futures.

 Green Futures gave a list of initiatives to U.S. Senators John Kerryand Edward M. Kennedy, and U.S. Representatives Barney Frank and James McGovern.

 The organization asked the congressmen to assure that the regulatory commission revises a recent report on the methods it prefers for gauging the consequences of LNG spills.

June 28, 2004

Long Beach Press Telegram  


LNG study pick delayed

Proposed consultant's reports have been criticized; review planned.


By Eric Johnson

Monday, June 28, 2004 - LONG BEACH — The Harbor Commission on Monday delayed a decision to hire Oklahoma-based Quest Consultants, Inc. for a hazards assessment of liquefied natural gas because of concerns over the firm's previous work.

The commission gave port staff 30 days to determine the quality of Quest's prior reports on the safety of LNG, particularly one on an LNG terminal in Boston Harbor that has been criticized by LNG experts.

Mitsubishi Corp. plans to build a 27-acre LNG receiving terminal in the Port of Long Beach by 2007, the first such facility on the West Coast.

LNG is a supercooled, concentrated form of methane that some scientists consider to be a safety hazard if ignited in a spill. Proponents of LNG say it's safer than gasoline and cite the industry's nearly spotless safety record over four decades.

The port must conduct the safety study as the lead body under the California Environmental Quality Act, which requires that the impacts of storing and transporting LNG be assessed.

The requirement, according to the port's staff report, says any hazardous bulk liquid with a hazard rating of two or higher needs to be assessed.

The National Fire Protection Association assigns ratings from zero (no hazard) to four (severe hazard). LNG has a fire rating of four.

Mitsubishi included a safety assessment of LNG in its application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, but the port must meet higher safety thresholds.

"FERC uses a credible vs. incredible criterion to determine hazards, while the Port uses a 'worst-case' criterion," according to the staff report.

Quest gained notoriety in LNG circles for a safety analysis on Distrigas' 33-year-old LNG terminal in Everett, Mass., a suburb of Boston. The report was commissioned in the days after 9/11.

In November, an author of the Quest hazards report warned federal regulators not to extrapolate analysis from that report to other proposed LNG terminals.

Some scientists and industry officials also questioned the accuracy of the analysis.

FERC officials, however, have said that they would continue to use the Quest report.

Local activists, while encouraged that the port will conduct its own study, urged the commission to choose another consultant.

"Quest did a highly disputed report for Distrigas in Boston," said Don May, president of Lakewood-based California Earth Corps. "Even if they did a good report here, I think it would be a poor choice just because they've been discredited by the industry and scientists."

Long Beach activist Bry Myown, an opponent of Mitsubishi's project, said the port should hire an independent scientist rather than a commercial consultant. She also suggested having an open hearing to let the public shape exactly what the hazards report will assess.

Another firm the port considered for the safety analysis, Houston-based ABS Consulting, also admitted earlier this month that a report it prepared for FERC contains some inaccuracies.

That report came in for heavy criticism from LNG experts and federal scientists as well.

Phani K. Raj, called ABS' report "not only disconcerting, but shocking" and said it relied on "high school physics" in a tersely written comment to FERC.

The proposed Quest contract would be worth $122,545 over one year. The study would take eight weeks.


June 30, 2004

Federal legislators: More time needed to study LNG


JOHN MOSS , Herald News Staff Reporter 

FALL RIVER -- The local congressional delegation has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to extend its deadline for public comments on FERC’s study dealing with the potential dangers of an uncontrolled liquefied natural gas spill.

The legislators also asked FERC to commission a revised safety study to address modeling limitations noted in the study before issuing an environmental impact statement for the proposed LNG facility by Hess LNG at the former Shell Oil site off North Main Street.

Democratic U.S. Sens. Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry and Democratic U.S. Reps. Barney Frank and James P. McGovern released a letter Tuesday that they sent to FERC Chairman Patrick Henry Wood III.

The legislators expressed their concerns regarding FERC’s study, entitled "Consequence Assessment Methods for Incidents Involving Releases from Liquefied Natural Gas Carriers" by ABS Consultants.

"We are requesting that FERC extend the public comment period on its recently released ABS study and commission a revised safety study to address modeling limitations noted in the ABS study to gain a more comprehensive understanding of safety issues surrounding LNG before issuing an environmental impact statement for the proposed LNG facility by Weaver’s Cove Energy," stated the letter signed by the four legislators.

Reminding Wood that the ABS study has "stirred intense debate," the legislators said they believed the two-week public comment period on the ABS study announced May 13 is "far too short."

"Our constituents in the city of Fall River and the surrounding area need more time to review the technical materials included in the report so that they can provide adequate comment to FERC on the potential risks and dangers from an LNG spill or accident," they wrote. They asked that the comment period be extended to allow the ABS study to be adequately reviewed.

The legislators pointed out that, based on the ABS study results, a revised safety study should be commissioned to assess the potential risks of a potential LNG accident or spill.

"The ABS study concludes the current risk models do not adequately account for realistic conditions such as multi-hulled vessels and physical variables (i.e., wind and wave action)," they stated.

"Most importantly, the ABS study notes the lack of a detailed review of dispersion modeling to accurately evaluate the distance traveled by flammable vapors from an uncontrolled LNG spill," they wrote.

"Modeling the dispersion of flammable vapors under realistic conditions is essential information necessary to determine the appropriate location of a LNG facility, especially in a densely populated area like the city of Fall River."

The legislators concluded that extending the comment period for more in-depth analysis and issuing a revised safety study would "more accurately evaluate the potential risks from a LNG spill or accident."

In such a case, they stated, "this knowledge should be incorporated into assessing the proposed LNG facility in Fall River before issuing an (environmental impact statement) to insure that the safety issues surrounding LNG are addressed to the extent practical -- we owe this to our communities."

 John Moss may be reached at jmoss@heraldnews.com.

©The Herald News 2004  


July 11, 2004

Mobile Register

Tanker materials could add to LNG danger



The insulation most commonly used to keep cargoes of highly flammable liquefied gas cool during shipping is so flammable itself that dozens of workers have died in accidental shipyard fires during tanker construction and repair, according to research done by the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators.

While the professional society that did the research was concerned primarily with advising shipyards on how to build and repair empty tankers without setting them ablaze, scientists who study the hazards of liquefied natural gas transport say the study should be raising larger concerns among the federal agencies regulating docking terminals for loaded LNG tankers and among the communities that host them.

The flammability and heat susceptibility of widely used polystyrene and polyurethane insulation, scientists said, opens yet another possibility that even a relatively small shipboard fire of liquefied natural gas could quickly escalate into a catastrophic release of the highly concentrated gas onboard.

A fire resulting from the loss of a substantial portion of a tanker's cargo could spread over a mile wide and be capable of severely burning people who are up to two miles away.

In spite of criticism from scientists and legislators who say federal agencies have ignored the possibility that the insulation designed to protect the LNG could actually compound its hazards, officials with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard have continued to insist that the insulation is not an issue.

Officials with those agencies concede that polystyrene insulation would be damaged by fire. But scientists said they were perplexed when the officials insisted that flammable insulation such as polystyrene is never used on LNG tankers, since it's widely recognized as the most common type of insulation now installed for that purpose.

In a letter to a member of Congress, officials with the Department of Homeland Security state categorically that highly flammable "polystyrene insulation is not used on LNG carriers."

The statement is used again, nearly verbatim, in an Environmental Impact Statement for the Freeport LNG project in Texas, prepared by FERC, the agency that oversees siting of LNG terminals.

FERC approved that project in May, saying that bringing the liquefied gas tankers into Freeport constituted an "acceptable risk" in part because they did not, according to the document, contain flammable polystyrene insulation.

Industry Web sites reveal that polystyrene is one of the primary types of insulation on existing LNG tanker ships and on new tankers under construction.

"The majority of the world's present LNG fleet, including those on order, incorporate the Kvaerner Moss LNG tank design," reads a Kvaerner Web site. "The design of the cargo tank insulation is based on panels made of expanded polystyrene."

Scientists have argued that a terrorist attack on an LNG ship could lead to a number of problems, which could escalate to cripple the entire ship, ranging from small explosions that weaken the hull to stress fractures in the metal from contact with the superchilled LNG.

That could pose unusual hazards for communities such as Mobile, where Exxon-Mobil Corp. and Cheniere Energy Inc. have each proposed building LNG unloading terminals within a mile of residential areas along Mobile Bay.

Facing community opposition, the companies say they have put their Mobile plans on hold for the time being.

The scientists say they're particularly concerned that federal agencies governing the siting of facilities have continued to dismiss the problems posed by insulation. Documents exposing the vulnerabilities of the insulation used in the LNG tankers are widely available on the Web.

The polystyrene insulation used on LNG tankers is effective at keeping the LNG cargo cold -- at minus 260 degrees -- but it cannot protect the cargo from fire, they said.

A paper published by the Norwegian group Det Norske Veritas, titled "Gas Carriers -- Effects of Fire on the Cargo Containment System," also examines the impact of fire on foam insulation, such as polystyrene, and states that it would begin to fail at temperatures between about 200 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The report notes that the insulation would be exposed to temperatures in excess of 1,400 degrees in the event of fire.

The 2001 safety paper published by the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators describes insulation made from either polystyrene or polyurethane as "not only highly inflammable, but, when ignited, rapidly release large quantities of extremely toxic, dense black smoke."

For decades, prominent LNG scientists, including James Fay, professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have raised questions about the dangers posed by the insulation. In February, Jerry Havens, distinguished professor of chemical engineering at the University of Arkansas, sent letters to the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., repeating those long-held concerns.

The scientists argue that during a fire the insulation inside the ship would either melt or degrade, and the superchilled LNG on board would heat up. When it reaches temperatures above minus 259 degrees, LNG returns to the vaporous form of natural gas and expands in volume 600 times.

Scientists say the small pressure relief valves on the cargo tanks -- which are designed to vent the tanks during transit -- would be unable to contend with the extreme pressure that would build up in the tanks as the insulation burned or melted away in the midst of a fire.

Ultimately, they fear, the five cargo tanks onboard would rupture, discharge up to 33 million gallons of liquid natural gas into the waters of a crowded harbor and ignite a massive fireball that would be inextinguishable until it simply burned itself out.

A proprietary industry-funded report, produced by Lloyd's Register of Shipping, warns that such a scenario could occur if terrorists attacked an LNG ship with a boat bomb similar to -- or even smaller than -- those used to attack the USS Cole and the Limburg, a French oil tanker. The Lloyd's report describes an escalating series of failures, fires and explosions onboard that could, they theorized, continue until the ship and all of its cargo were consumed.

The Homeland Security agency responded to Haven's concerns in a letter to Markey.

"Foam polystyrene insulation, cited by Professor Havens, is not used on LNG carriers precisely because it's susceptible to melting and deformation in a fire," reads the May 19 letter from Pamela Turner, an assistant secretary for Homeland Security. "The relief valve capacity of LNG carriers is designed based upon exposure to fire."

Scientists familiar with the federal codes governing LNG ships said Turner was technically correct regarding relief valve capacity; however, they pointed out that the ability of the valves to relieve increasing pressure is contingent upon the insulation around the tanks remaining intact.

Once the insulation has been damaged, it is unlikely the valves could handle the rapid and dramatic rise in pressure inside the tanks, according to scientists.

"Most, if not all, foamed plastic insulation materials melt and become ineffective as thermal insulation at temperatures of a few hundred degrees centigrade, far below the temperatures they could experience in a fire ... If the cargo containment insulation were to fail in a fire, I believe that the entire LNG containment could be compromised," Havens wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. "If the insulation were thus compromised, the LNG would boil off much more rapidly ... the relief valves would not ordinarily be designed to allow the large flows that would result. If the relief valves could not relieve the pressure, the tank would be vulnerable to rupture."

The Lloyd's Register report -- paid for by Distrigas, owner of Boston's LNG terminal -- also discusses possible problems with the relief valves during a fire on an LNG tanker: "If the venting arrangement cannot handle the increased boil-off, overpressure of the tank may occur with the possibility of containment systems being blown out."

The letters from Havens to Markey and Ridge are posted on Markey's congressional Web site, along with the security agency's response.

"Clearly FERC is using the same questionable information that the Coast Guard provided to me regarding the use of flammable materials, such as polystyrene foam insulation in LNG carrier vessels," Markey wrote to the Mobile Register via e-mail. "The concern I have is that if federal regulators don't even know what kind of insulation is being used in these vessels, they can't be sure that this insulation will not rapidly melt or ignite in a fire. ... This is an important public safety issue that federal regulators need to be addressing now, before they approve additional requests to build new LNG terminals. Based on the testimony that the agencies recently provided to Congress, I'm not convinced that they have addressed this potential hazard."

Markey previously accused officials from the Department of Energy, FERC and Homeland Security of misusing scientific studies in an effort to "minimize" in the public's mind the potential safety threats posed by LNG terminals located in populated areas.

The Register previously reported that the author of a key federal LNG study known as the Quest Study told Energy Department officials that federal agencies were misusing his work.

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, has accused federal agencies of "improper use of scientific papers" while promoting LNG terminals in Alabama and elsewhere.

Officials with FERC, the Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security said they could not respond to questions from Register reporters last eek but left open the possibility that they would respond this coming week.


Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Mobile Register

Fire threat in LNG ships

Top U.S. security officials now admit that insulation in vessels is highly flammable


By BEN RAINES Staff Reporter

Top officials with the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Coast Guard now acknowledge that ships designed to carry liquefied natural gas are, in fact, constructed using tons of highly flammable polystyrene insulation.

The same officials had previously denied that the material was even present on the ships, maintaining in a letter to a member of Congress last May that polystyrene insulation "is not used on LNG carriers precisely because it's susceptible to melting and deformation in a fire."

Officials now describe that statement as "incorrect," and granted that many important questions remain about what might happen to an LNG vessel if terrorists attacked it. Some scenarios envision a fire a mile across, producing severe burns up to two miles away.

As early as February, some scientists brought concerns to Homeland Security officials about the widespread use of flammable insulation on ships carrying one of the nation's most dangerously flammable cargoes.

Shortly after, government documents began surfacing suggesting that there was no danger, simply because, according to the documents, the flammable insulation was not present on LNG ships.

In the past several months, the statement has turned up in congressional hearings, letters to Congress and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission documents that granted approval for new LNG terminals. Two such terminals have been proposed for the Mobile area, with a third proposed for federal waters 11 miles off of Dauphin Island.

The mistaken assertion originally appeared in a letter from Homeland Security to Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., whose suburban Boston district is home to the nation's only urban LNG port, long singled out by Homeland Security officials as a likely terror target.

In that letter, Pamela Turner, an assistant secretary for the federal security agency, rebutted concerns from the scientific community about the hazards posed by the insulation with the statement that it was "not used."

When natural gas is chilled to minus 260 degrees, it turns into a liquid, takes up 600 times less space, and can be economically shipped around the world aboard supertankers, just like oil. From a shipping perspective, the main difference between the fuels is that LNG vessels require tremendous amounts of insulation in order to keep the cargo below minus 260 degrees and in its condensed liquid state.

Beginning in February, a prominent LNG scientist warned Secretary Tom Ridge and other officials via personal letters that if terrorists attacked an LNG tanker, the heat from the ensuing fire would likely destroy the polystyrene cargo insulation.

The Mobile Register obtained a copy of one of those letters, written by University of Arkansas chemical engineering professor Jerry Havens, whose work has long been a central component of federal LNG regulations. The letter made clear that the problematic insulation was commonly used on LNG tankers.

Havens -- a former officer in the U.S. Army's chemical weapons division who is expert in biological warfare, nuclear weapons and the behavior of chemical fires -- warned "if the cargo containment insulation were to fail in a fire, I believe that the entire LNG containment could be compromised."

Writing in scientific journals and testifying before Congress, Havens has suggested the government was underestimating the public safety risks posed by an attack on an LNG vessel in a populated port area. His central criticism is that officials have never considered what would happen if all 30 million gallons on board an LNG vessel were ignited.

At this point, federal officials are making regulations based on a worst-case scenario accident that would involve less than a fifth of the natural gas aboard a tanker.

In the letter to Ridge, Havens referenced a confidential study, paid for by the LNG terminal operator in Boston Har bor and produced by Lloyd's Register of Shipping, that suggests an attack on an LNG tanker with a relatively small explosive charge could lead to an escalating series of fires and explosions that would ultimately consume the ship. Scientists both within the federal government and in academia have estimated such a fire would be a mile across and cause severe burns to people within two miles of the blaze.

Some in the scientific community have expressed alarm that the senior government officials in charge of protecting the nation's ports did not appear to understand critical facts regarding construction of LNG ships, even as the Department of Energy and FERC have sought to locate new LNG terminals in populated port areas.

Turner's statement went uncorrected by government agencies from May until Sept. 13, when a follow-up letter described the earlier statement as "incorrect." The follow-up letter states that the Coast Guard informed Markey's office on Aug. 30 that the earlier information was wrong.

In the interim, beginning in June, the Mobile Register published portions of numerous industry documents that show polystyrene is the primary insulation on LNG ships, and referenced a paper by the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators that states the material was so flammable that dozens of shipyard workers have been killed in accidental fires during tanker construction and repair.

The inaccurate statements regarding the presence of the foam insulation on LNG ships have been repeated in FERC documents, and were used by FERC to justify, in part, the construction of new LNG terminals in populated areas.

In its approval for a new terminal in Freeport, Texas, FERC wrote that bringing the LNG tankers into Freeport represented an "acceptable risk," partly because "polystyrene insulation is not used on LNG carriers."

Last week, a FERC spokeswoman said that several other pending permits for new LNG terminals contain the same statement by the agency. There was no word on whether those permits will be reviewed or whether the erroneous information will be repeated in future permit approvals.

FERC officials declined further comment for this story.

Capt. Dave Scott, with the Coast Guard in Washington, said that his agency was responsible for the error, and said it was made while conducting research into LNG issues. He said that since then, the Coast Guard has conducted further research and determined that, while the flammable insulation is used on LNG ships, the vessels are in compliance with all U.S. and international shipping regulations. In addition, he said his agency was satisfied with safety features designed into LNG ships, and warned that "there is no such thing as a terrorist-proof ship."

"We erred in saying it was not used. Of course it is used... Our position at the Coast Guard is that intentional damage to an LNG vessel is an unacceptable event. We are doing everything possible to make sure that doesn't happen," Scott said. "We recognize the dangers posed by gas ships. That's why we take the precautions we do."

He cautioned that protecting numerous LNG terminals in the nation's ports will require significant Coast Guard resources, more than if the terminals were built offshore, away from port facilities and the public. At least four offshore terminals are planned for the Gulf of Mexico, with permit applications well under way.

"If you can reduce the public safety impacts of something, all things being equal, then an offshore terminal would be preferable in many respects," Scott said. "That's not to say an inshore terminal could not be responsibly managed. But an inshore terminal may demand a higher level of Coast Guard resources to protect than an offshore terminal."

Scott said that the Coast Guard will act responsibly if a long-awaited LNG safety study under way by the Sandia National Laboratory indicates that LNG ships need safety improvements to lessen the risk of catastrophic fire or require increased security measures to protect the public.

Homeland Security officials indicated in their latest letter to Massachusetts congressman Markey that they are unsure what would happen to an LNG ship in the event of a terrorist attack.

The agency letter suggests that the same LNG safety study Scott mentioned "is expected to examine how the cargo tank insulation would perform under an extreme fire load, and the degree to which insulation decomposition could affect the survivability of undamaged cargo tanks."

That letter -- written by Homeland Security's Turner, who signed the earlier letter as well -- states "there is no economically feasible engineering or design solution that could mitigate the consequences of a large scale LNG release on the vessel's hull."

Turner made that comment in reference to scientists' concerns that the steel hull of an LNG ship might crack and fall apart after a terror attack due to the simultaneous temperature extremes posed by both an intense natural gas fire and the super-chilled LNG. In her earlier letter, she dismissed concerns about possible hull damage, writing that "special crack-arresting steel in strategic locations throughout the vessel's hull" had solved that problem.

The Mobile Register left a message for Turner, seeking comment, but she did not respond.

Copyright 2004 al.com. All Rights Reserved.


Rules Restrict Access 

To LNG Safety and Environmental 



March 19, 2004

The Patriot Ax

Full Story: http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=18181 

William J. Kelly

    The risks of planned liquefied natural gas terminals are being kept secret from residents where terminals are planned because of recent federal rules issued under the U.S.A. Patriot Act. Local and state officials on both coasts and in the Gulf, who are just becoming familiar with the rules, may be kept from gaining full access to the safety studies -- as well as residents in affected areas.

     To date, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has restricted access to more than 90,000 documents under the rules. "A considerable percentage of them are about safety and environmental compliance," said Sean Moulton, senior information policy analyst for OMB [Office of Management and Budget] Watch in Washington, who has examined the titles of the restricted items.

California Energy Circuit

March 19, 2004

Patriot Act 

Restricts Access TLNG Safety Studies

FULL STORY: http://www.californiaenergycircuit.net/displaystory.php?task=show&sid=331&un=&ut=&pd=&seid=1079807428

By William J. Kelly


    Californians concerned about the risks of planned liquefied natural gas terminals are unlikely to see safety studies for the proposed facilities because of recent federal rules issued under the U.S. Patriot Act. Local and state officials, who are just becoming familiar with the rules, who are just becoming familiar with the rules, are among those who may be kept from gaining full access to the safety studies.

    Last month, the California Energy Commission dropped a plan to publish a compendium of LNG safety studies for state residents and local governments to use as they consider terminal projects along the coast, said David Maul, director of natural gas and special projects for the commission. Maul’s staff found that most of the studies were considered confidential for either security or proprietary reasons.

     BHP Billiton, one of the companies that have proposed LNG terminals in California, plans to provide the public with a general description of the results of its risk assessment, but not the whole document, according to Kathi Hann, public affairs manager for the company. Because of concerns about terrorism and trade secrets, only state and local agencies concerned with the project will be able to receive the full assessment, she said.

    The federal commission claims legal authority for its strictures under the Patriot Act, though Moulton said the statute does not explicitly authorize the rules at issue.

    Of immediate concern is whether FERC will release in the weeks ahead a study done under contract by ABS Consultants to analyze the likely effects of a catastrophic accident on an LNG ship. FERC will have to examine the report before deciding whether it will be subject to the regulatory restrictions, said Young Allen.

 Copyright © 2003, 2004 California Energy Circuit, Inc. All rights reserved. Redistribution for profit prohibited



LNG firewall to keep locals out

Subscription Only March 2004



    Groups opposed to the siting of planned new LNG terminals in the US will have their access restricted to studies on the safety of projects and delivery tankers because of rules issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), says a watchdog group.

    "This is tied to the notice FERC posted two months ago where they were soliciting new LNG tanker safety studies," said Sean Moulton, senior information policy analyst for the OMB Watch, which monitors the activities of the federal government's office of management and budgets.
    FERC requested a study to evaluate the flammable vapour and thermal radiation hazards created by unconfined LNG spills on water resulting from an LNG cargo release.
    The study is to assess the vulnerability of an LNG tanker during an accident or terrorist attack by examining how different hole sizes in the hull would affect the spill size and how heat radiation from a tanker fire would spread and affect people and infrastructure.
    "A year ago, FERC passed the Critical Energy Infrastructure Information (CEII) rule and they recently decided to find out if it was working as envisioned by soliciting the study because they now consider LNG information to be covered by CEII.
    "This means community and environmental groups will be restricted in their access to safety studies," said Moulton.
    To date, FERC has restricted access to more than 90,000 documents under the rules with a majority of them dealing with safety and environmental compliance. While the rules were issued a year ago, their impact on regulators and citizen groups is only now being realized as the controls are starting to be applied to LNG terminal proposals.
    Under the program, groups can apply for access to the safety studies, but they would have to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
    "You have a situation where community groups are trying to get other residents involved in discussing the potential risks of LNG projects, but they won't be allowed to have the types of open discussions they want," said Moulton.
    Last month, the California Energy Commission dropped a plan to publish a compendium of LNG safety studies for state residents and local governments to use as they consider terminal projects along the Pacific coast, said David Maul, manager of the natural gas facilities siting division of the commission.
    Maul's staff found that most of the studies were considered confidential for either security or proprietary reasons.
    Public safety advocate Tim Riley of Oxnard, California said the confidentiality rules will only make residents more suspicious of planned terminals.
    "Energy CEOs should be very concerned about the average American's reaction to the fact that importing LNG is so unsafe and vulnerable to terrorism that the feds are going to use those FERC rules to restrict access to LNG safety studies from local and state officials and from residents where LNG terminals are planned," he said.



Critical Energy Infrastructure Information     

LNG safety information is restricted from citizens and local officials.

FERC: http://www.ferc.gov/legal/ceii-foia/ceii.asp

Critical Energy Infrastructure Information (CEII) 

CEII Defined:

     CEII is information concerning proposed or existing critical infrastructure (physical or virtual) that:

  1. Relates to the production, generation, transmission or distribution of energy;

  2. Could be useful to a person planning an attack on critical infrastructure;

  3. Is exempt from mandatory disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act"  

  4. Gives strategic information beyond the location of the critical infrastructure.

      USCG is overseeing LNG Deepwater Port applications off Malibu/Port Hueneme/Oxnard/Ventura/Santa Barbara, and apparently without any rules, is also withholding safety information:

     "The Coast Guard has no formal rules governing even limited public dissemination of sensitive safety data. Corbin said it simply would not be released, though the Guard is trying to keep local officials informed about the project’s status."  Los Angeles Business Journal, May 3, 2003

      QUERY:  The grave freedom of information issues aside:        

    “If it’s so unsafe and dangerous that we can’t have access to the information, then it’s outrageous that they would consider putting them in our residential areas,” said Tim Riley, an Oxnard attorney and anti-LNG activist.  Los Angeles Business Journal, May 3, 2003  Full Story Follows:


May 3, 2004

Los Angeles Business Journal

Terrorist Worries Restrict Access to Liquid Gas Plans 

Full Story: http://www.labusinessjournal.com/tofilelabjtc.htm 



    Security regulations adopted by the federal government after 9/11 are restricting the public’s access to information about proposed liquefied natural gas terminals across the state and nation, including in Long Beach and off the Malibu coast. 

But critics say the government’s regulations underscore the danger of the facilities. They also fear too much information will be restricted, a concern state and local officials share. 

“If it’s so unsafe and dangerous that we can’t have access to the information, then it’s outrageous that they would consider putting them in our residential areas,” said Tim Riley, an Oxnard attorney and anti-LNG activist. 

Sean Moulton, a senior information policy analyst with OMB Watch, a Washington-based good government group, said his review of FERC’s Web site indicates that thousands of documents pertaining to a variety of projects under the agency’s jurisdiction have been classified as restricted, likely meaning the public will have limited access to many LNG safety documents.

“They are restricting far too much information,” he said. “That is a bad way to run things.” 

The BHP terminal falls under the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard, whose rules regarding the release of safety information are being generated informally on a case-by-case basis.

“Clearly there is some information that for security reasons cannot be made available to the public, but there is no fixed definition for security-sensitive information,” said Bob Corbin, who is overseeing the review of the BHP project as assistant chief of the Deep Water Ports Standard Division of the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard has no formal rules governing even limited public dissemination of sensitive safety data. Corbin said it simply would not be released, though the Guard is trying to keep local officials informed about the project’s status.

While the idea of placing an LNG terminal offshore would appear to alleviate many safety concerns, Riley said a study done in 1977 for a proposed onshore terminal in Oxnard (that was never completed) found that it could create a burning cloud of gas 30 miles long under certain conditions.

Some experts believe that scenario is an overstatement of the risk, but Riley said even the possibility of it should have the government thinking twice about approving the offshore terminal near populated areas.

“I think they want to restrict anything that really lets us know how dangerous it is,” he said.


September 21, 2004

The Providence Journal
Lloyd's executive likens LNG attack to nuclear explosion

U.S. regulators don't share the concerns of the top official at the world's second-largest commercial insurer.

01:00 AM EDT on Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Journal Staff Writer

A terrorist attack on an LNG tanker "would have the force of a small nuclear explosion," according to the chairman of Lloyd's, a British insurer of natural gas port facilities like the ones being proposed in Fall River and Providence.

The assertion, which is contested by industry experts, was in a speech that the chairman, Peter Levene, delivered last night to business leaders in Houston.

Levene described Texas as a "state at risk" and said that securing its remote oil facilities is a "particular challenge."

"Gas carriers too, whether at sea or in ports, make obvious targets," said Levene. "Specialists reckon that a terrorist attack on an LNG tanker would have the force of a small nuclear explosion."

Levene did not name the specialists in his remarks, although a text of his speech contains a footnote. The footnote attributes the observation to the author of an article posted, in an abbreviated form, on the Web site of Jane's Terrorism and Security Monitor in July. The same abstract, apparently authored by the same person, Dr. J.C.K. Daly, was also posted on the Internet weblog Talk Show American.

Levene also did not specify Texas LNG port facilities and tanker ships that might be at risk.

Records kept by federal regulators show that several LNG port facilities have been proposed in Texas. They do not show any existing facilities.

Levene's company, Lloyd's, is the world's second-largest commercial insurer.

The chairman could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Some critics of the proposal in Fall River have spoken in apocalyptic terms of potential LNG disasters.

But to date, no official reports by government regulators have made comparisons between the various LNG catastrophes that experts have hypothesized and destruction from an atomic bomb.

One report does describe hypothetical fires that might erupt if gas leaks from a tanker in its liquid form changes into a gaseous form and ignites when it comes into contact with a flame.

In one instance, the blaze, in less than a minute, would be capable of inflicting third-degree burns a little less than a mile away.

Bryan Lee, a spokesman for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said federal regulators have not changed their analysis.

"Just about any expert will come up with a different assessment regarding LNG depending on the parameters and assumptions they have," said Lee, who emphasized the LNG shipping industry's safe track record.

Regulators, he said, will review the safety of different LNG proposals on a case-by-case basis.

"We stand by all of our analysis on this matter," he said.

David Manning, a spokesman for the company with plans for an LNG shipping facility at Fields Point in Providence, was taken aback by Levene's comments.

"This is completely inconsistent with any of the science and analysis that is currently in the public domain," Manning said.

Governor Romney, meanwhile, is asking for more time to study a proposed liquefied natural gas facility in Fall River, saying federal regulators haven't adequately studied potential dangers posed by a terrorist attack on a tanker.

Romney sent a letter to FERC Secretary Magalie Salas yesterday, saying terrorism must be considered as a possible threat.

"There is simply no way that it makes sense to site an LNG facility in this location in the post-911 world," Romney wrote. "A thorough review would confirm this conclusion."


November 5, 2004

Ventura County Star

Environmental report says danger from proposed natural gas port low

Full Story: http://www.venturacountystar.com/vcs/ox/article/0,1375,VCS_238_3307247,00.html

By Sylvia Moore


The chances of a major accident at a proposed liquefied natural gas port off Oxnard's coast are very low, according to an environmental report released this week by three state and federal agencies.

The energy companies say their facilities would provide California and the United States with a much-needed supply of natural gas in the face of higher energy prices. Critics, including many Oxnard community activists, fear the facilities pose too many potential safety hazards and should not be built near populated areas.

Oxnard Mayor Manuel Lopez, who has publicly opposed the projects, said he and other city officials will soon examine the environmental report. Oxnard does not have veto power over the project but can let the state know what the city thinks.

"We'll have our staff go over it," Lopez said. "It is very critical to us in the coastal area. We're really going to have to scrutinize it."

Oxnard lawyer Tim Riley, an outspoken critic of the proposals, said Thursday that the BHP project should be shelved.

The report "provides no surprises on its way to fast-track approval of the ultra-hazardous, guinea-pig LNG project," Riley said in a statement. "We all must impress upon Gov. Schwarzenegger to timely veto both the BHP and Crystal LNG projects, which he has the legal authority to do.*

"He can protect us and our multibillion dollar tourism industry, or he can permit the industrialization of our precious coastline and beaches as billions of American dollars get exported to Australia. The governor must decide what he wants his legacy to be."

Copyright 2004, Ventura County Star. All Rights Reserved.


* Governor Schwarzenegger’s Legal Authority to Disapprove the LNG Deepwater Ports

TITLE 33 > CHAPTER 29 > § 1508

    § 1508. Adjacent coastal States Release date: 2003-05-29 (a) Designation; direct pipeline connections; mileage; risk of damage to coastal environment, time for designation (1) The Secretary, in issuing notice of application pursuant to section 1504 (c) of this title, shall designate as an “adjacent coastal State” any coastal State which (A) would be directly connected by pipeline to a deepwater port as proposed in an application, or (B) would be located within 15 miles of any such proposed deepwater port. (2) The Secretary shall, upon request of a State, and after having received the recommendations of the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, designate such State as an “adjacent coastal State” if he determines that there is a risk of damage to the coastal environment of such State equal to or greater than the risk posed to a State directly connected by pipeline to the proposed deepwater port. This paragraph shall apply only with respect to requests made by a State not later than the 14th day after the date of publication of notice of an application for a proposed deepwater port in the Federal Register in accordance with section 1504 (c) of this title. The Secretary shall make the designation required by this paragraph not later than the 45th day after the date he receives such a request from a State.

(b) Applications; submittal to Governors for approval or disapproval; consistency of Federal licenses and State programs; views of other interested States (1) Not later than 10 days after the designation of adjacent coastal States pursuant to this chapter, the Secretary shall transmit a complete copy of the application to the Governor of each adjacent coastal State. The Secretary shall not issue a license without the approval of the Governor of each adjacent coastal State. If the Governor fails to transmit his approval or disapproval to the Secretary not later than 45 days after the last public hearing on applications for a particular application area, such approval shall be conclusively presumed. If the Governor notifies the Secretary that an application, which would otherwise be approved pursuant to this paragraph, is inconsistent with State programs relating to environmental protection, land and water use, and coastal zone management, the Secretary shall condition the license granted so as to make it consistent with such State programs. (2) Any other interested State shall have the opportunity to make its views known to, and shall be given full consideration by, the Secretary regarding the location, construction, and operation of a deepwater port.

Governor Schwarzenegger Must Decide What He Wants His Legacy to Be

    The report "provides no surprises on its way to fast-track approval of the ultra-hazardous, guinea-pig LNG project," Riley said in a statement.

    "We all must impress upon Gov. Schwarzenegger to timely veto both the BHP and Crystal LNG projects, which he has the legal authority to do.

    "He can protect us and our multibillion dollar tourism industry, or he can permit the industrialization of our precious coastline and beaches as billions of American dollars get exported to Australia. The governor must decide what he wants his legacy to be."

Email Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger: governor@governor.ca.gov 

Email the Governor's Resources and EPA Chiefs:

Mike Chrisman: mike.chrisman@resources.gov

Terry Tamminen: tt@CalEPA.ca.gov

Emphasize that the Governor must timely disapprove BHP and Crystal Energy's LNG Deep Water Port Licenses



November 6, 2004

LNG Port Isn't Peril to Land, Report Says

By Steve Chawkins Times Staff Writer


Despite fears in coastal communities, a liquefied natural gas terminal proposed in the Santa Barbara Channel would do no harm on shore if it were destroyed in an accident or an act of terrorism, according to an environmental report released Friday.

The 1,200-page draft environmental impact report should reassure local residents, said a spokeswoman for BHP Billiton, the Australian minerals company proposing the massive project.

However, a number of environmental activists suggested the report was tailored to ensure the project's ultimate approval by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. While reserving judgment on safety issues, an attorney for the Environmental Defense Center criticized the $1.5-million effort for failing to thoroughly investigate whether imported LNG is needed in the first place.

The proposed terminal would be at sea 14 miles from the border of Ventura and Los Angeles counties. Tankers from Australia would unload the super-chilled liquid fuel at the terminal, where it would be reconverted into a vapor and pumped through an undersea pipeline into a web of natural-gas lines that already crisscross the state.

Known as Cabrillo Port, the BHP project is one of two liquefied natural gas projects in the Santa Barbara Channel vying for state and federal approval. The other, developed by Crystal Energy of Houston, would turn a dormant oil platform 11 miles offshore into an LNG terminal.

Supporters argue that the projects are safe, technologically advanced methods of bringing a much-needed resource to California. The environmental report only confirms that point of view, said BHP spokeswoman Kathi Hann.

The report concluded that even in the worst circumstances, an ignited vapor cloud would span an area of 1.6 miles around the terminal, less than company scientists had assumed, Hann said. The chance of that occurring would be less than one in 1 million, the report said.

The project's critics, however, point to a 1977 Oxnard study that forecast an LNG accident producing a 30-mile-wide blanket of flame.

"I don't know what's happened in the interim to change that," said Oxnard Mayor Manuel Lopez. "The laws of physics haven't changed."

Skeptical about the environmental report, Lopez described it as "a whitewash." The city councils in Oxnard and Malibu have voted to oppose both offshore projects. The agencies with direct authority over them are the Coast Guard and the State Lands Commission, which hired the San Francisco consulting firm Ecology and Environment Inc. to prepare the report.

The proposals are to reach Schwarzenegger's desk next spring.

Spokesmen for environmental groups said the report failed to address some crucial issues.

"We're very disappointed," said Linda Krop, chief counsel for the Santa Barbara-based Environmental Defense Center, arguing that the report did not consider the possibilities of increased conservation and additional reliance on renewable energy sources.

She recalled the urgency expressed by developers who wanted to build a California LNG facility in the wake of the gas shortages of the 1970s.

"By the time the studies were done, it was determined we didn't need one," Krop said. "This feels like déjà vu."

In addition to weighing the risks of an accident, the report evaluated the project's potential effects on fishing, recreation and shipping. It said BHP's collaboration with the Navy reduced the risk of errant missiles from the testing range at nearby Point Mugu.

While seismic faults lace the region, sophisticated engineering techniques should keep the terminal and its pipelines safe, the report concluded.

Noise from the terminal would be "noticeable" more than three miles away, but it could be muted with advanced equipment, the report said. It also recommended that construction be timed to not disturb migrating whales.

Several public meetings have been set to allow public comment on the draft environmental report, which can be read at http://www.cabrilloport.ene.com

They are at Santa Clarita City Hall on Nov. 29 at 7 p.m.; at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center on Nov. 30 at 1 and 6:30 p.m.; and at Malibu's Webster Elementary School on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m.

Copyright 2004 Los Angeles Times


December 21, 2004


Department of Energy Releases Liquefied Natural Gas Safety Study An analysis prepared by DOE's Sandia National Laboratory examines the safety implications of a LNG spill. The study provides guidance on the appropriateness of LNG models, assumptions and risk management to ensure the safety of human health and property relative to a potential LNG cargo spill over water. 

ENTIRE REPORT  CLICK HERE:  http://fossil.energy.gov/programs/oilgas/storage/lng/sandia_lng_1204.pdf


Jan 31, 2005

Lawmakers Seek Oil, LNG Tanker Security Probe

By Tom Doggett  


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bipartisan members of two House committees on Monday asked the investigative arm of Congress to assess how vulnerable crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers and terminals would be to attack by terror groups.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) probe would come at a time when more than two dozen new LNG import projects have been proposed by energy companies to meet growing U.S. demand for natural gas.

The GAO was asked to review "the vulnerabilities of foreign and domestic maritime energy transport" as well as efforts to improve security, preparedness and response to any attacks," according to a letter sent by the lawmakers.

The Republican chairmen and Democratic members on both the House Energy and Commerce and on the Homeland Security committees asked for the GAO investigation.

In December, a report by the Energy Department's Sandia National Laboratory concluded an attack on an LNG tanker could produce an intense fire that would burn nearby buildings, damage steel holding tanks and cause blistering burns on people a half mile away.

"What we don't know is whether the federal government is doing everything it could be doing to mitigate this risk and to assist state and local governments in addressing post-9/11 concerns about the terrorist threat to LNG and other maritime energy transport," said Democratic Rep. Edward Markey, one of the lawmakers seeking the GAO probe.

The lawmakers are also worried about oil shipments, pointing out the October 2002 attack off the coast of Yemen of the French supertanker "Limburg," which released 90,000 barrels of crude even though the tanker had a double hull.

Full story:  http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=politicsNews&storyID=7488584

All rights reserved. Users may download and print extracts of content from this website for their own personal and non-commercial use only.  © Reuters 2005


May 2005

Report Warns of 'catastrophic' risk at LNG terminal

A terrorist attack on a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal in urban New England could cause "catastrophic damage," former U.S. counterterrorism official Richard Clarke said in a report

READ THE ENTIRE REPORT:  http://www.riag.state.ri.us/LNG_Good%20Harbor2.pdf


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