2010-03-25 / Letters to the Editor

Our project will benefit consumers

In response to John Shannon’s March 18, “It’s time for Hess to withdraw proposal” opinion piece, Weaver’s Cove Energy would like to offer a few points of correction.

First, we don’t discount the concerns of the public, nor do we call those who have issues “NIMBYs.” Those are Mr. Shannon’s words, not ours. We have and will continue to work to understand these concerns and address them by improving our project design going forward.

However, Mr. Shannon reserves most of his criticism for the impact our project would have on local energy prices. According to Mr. Shannon, the Energy Information Administration’s 2009 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) “is predicting significant surplus (up to 40%) natural gas supplies for the New England Region for the next twenty years.” We went to the AEO, but the only reference we could find to New England was on maps of U.S. census and electricity regions in the Appendix. Perhaps Mr. Shannon could enlighten all of us by explaining exactly where he got his information. While we agree the Marcellus Shale may be an important new source of natural gas, its costs, especially delivered to New England, are less certain.

As to his claim that the “existing facilities of New England have been, and continue to be, substantially underutilized,” we find no such reference in the AEO. Rather, we’d note that the Everett terminal remains fully utilized, and the offshore and Canadian terminals have been heavily utilized this past winter, yet the price of gas in New England remains stubbornly higher than in the rest of the country. Perhaps Mr. Shannon was referring to the existing LNG “peakshaving” storage facilities located throughout New England, in which case we would agree with him. Indeed, a primary purpose of our project is to bring a new, competitive supply of LNG to that market, which cannot be served by offshore or Canadian terminals, since it must be trucked as a liquid from onshore LNG terminals located in the region.

Mr. Shannon complains about our private use of marine resources and highlights the need to develop renewable energy resources, including wind farms. Yet the plans for all offshore wind farms involve the development of swaths of the ocean by private developers, subsidized by the federal government and above market electricity prices at the expense of energy consumers. We’d also note that wind power is classified as “intermittent energy supply” requiring backup from other supplies, most likely natural gas-fired power plants, which can be started and stopped quickly as wind speeds fall and rise.

While we appreciate Mr. Shannon’s concerns over the well-being of Hess’ shareholders, we can assure him that we believe our project will benefit both our shareholders, as well as the region’s energy consumers, who face among the highest energy prices in the country.

As for being an “ideologically financially driven Waterloo,” that would depend on whether your perspective is Napoleon’s or Wellington’s. We prefer Wellington’s chances.
Gordon Shearer
President & CEO
Hess LNG

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