The September 7, 2022 Reuters story by Valerie Volcovici and Nichola Groom reported an end to the 18-year hazardous pollution rule exemption for turbines at two of Cheniere’s Gulf Coast LNG terminals. Gas turbine owners had until September 5th to comply with NESHAP (National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants), which the Biden administration put into effect after an 18-year stay.
Emissions of known carcinogens like formaldehyde and benzene face new restrictions in turbines used by LNG facilities. Approximately 250 US gas turbines are affected by the new rule, with nearly a quarter of them Cheniere’s. This will likely reduce LNG shipments to Europe since the company accounts for about 50% of U.S. exports, while also lowering US commodity prices (more on that below).
“We applaud the EPA for enforcing the law and making sure the people living near these plants in the coastal bend and southeast Texas/southwest Louisiana get the same clean air protections as everybody else.”Ilan Levin, associate director of the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP)
Benzene is a clear, colorless, highly flammable and volatile, liquid aromatic hydrocarbon with a gasoline-like odor. Benzene is found in crude oils and as a by-product of oil-refining processes. In industry benzene is used as a solvent, as a chemical intermediate, and is used in the synthesis of numerous chemicals. Exposure to this substance causes neurological symptoms and affects the bone marrow causing aplastic anemia, excessive bleeding and damage to the immune system. Benzene is a known human carcinogen and is linked to an increased risk of developing lymphatic and hematopoietic cancers, acute myelogenous leukemia, as well as chronic lymphocytic leukemia. (NCI05) Source
Formaldehyde is a colorless poisonous gas synthesized by the oxidation of methanol and used as an antiseptic, disinfectant, histologic fixative, and general-purpose chemical reagent for laboratory applications. Formaldehyde is readily soluble in water and is commonly distributed as a 37% solution in water; formalin, a 10% solution of formaldehyde in water, is used as a disinfectant and to preserve biological specimens. Environmentally, formaldehyde may be found in the atmosphere, smoke from fires, automobile exhaust and cigarette smoke. Small amounts are produced during normal metabolic processes in most organisms, including humans. Source
The September 7, 2022 NGI story by Jeremiah Shelor further reported that natural gas futures continued to slide early Wednesday as traders mulled potential impacts to LNG exports from the reinstated pollution rule. The October Nymex contact plunged 64.1 cents on Tuesday and was down another 12.6 cents to $8.019/MMBtu at around 8:55 a.m. ET on Wednesday.
“The company has 62 affected gas turbines at its facilities that had national emission limit waivers over the past 18 years, which were recently lifted by the EPA …We see it unlikely that the EPA will mandate broad, immediate service interruptions to comply with the Clean Air Act should testing reveal Cheniere’s turbines are noncompliant.”Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. (TPH) analysts
EIP (Environmental Integrity Project) has developed the “Pennsylvania Citizens’ Toolkit” to help citizens, advocacy groups, and elected officials become better informed about expanding oil and gas operations and the permitting approval process. The toolkit guides citizens through the basic components of the process, while providing information about how to be more engaged and prepared to fight back.