North America LNG / LPG News
'Underdog' LNG Firm Has High Hopes for Maine Site
by Diana Graettinger Bangor Daily News
January 23, 2007
Right now they see themselves as the "underdogs" but
developers of an LNG facility in this border community believe they
have the best plan.
North East Energy Development LLC of Maine and Texas is a new
face attached to an old project.
Two years ago a group, known as BP Consulting, later known as
Calais LNG, announced plans to build a liquefied natural gas
facility in Calais.
Former Passamaquoddy tribal Councilor Fred Moore and Rep. Ian
Emery, R-Cutler, founded BP. The plan called for a $500 million
facility to be built on a more than 300-acre site in Red Beach
between Devil's Head Park and St. Croix Island, near Route 1. Red
Beach is a village within Calais. The plan called for a pier to be
built in the St. Croix River, across from the Canadian shipping port
at Bayside, New Brunswick. The gas would be piped along the pier to
two storage tanks.
Moore and Emery sought and received the backing of the Indian
Township tribal government and for a time it appeared they would be
a rival developer to two other plans - the Oklahoma-based Quoddy Bay
LNG, which hopes to build a facility at the Passamaquoddy's sister
reservation at Pleasant Point near Eastport, and the Washington D.C.-
based Downeast LNG, which wants to build a facility in Robbinston.
Last year, Moore withdrew from the project to accept a position
with Quoddy Bay LNG and Emery went searching for new partners. Moore
said Monday that the terms of his separation agreement with BP
Consulting precluded him from commenting on his departure.
Enter North East Energy Development Co.
On Monday, Art Gelber, speaking from his office in Texas, said he
became involved with the project, at least peripherally, early last
year, but took a more active role last summer.
According to his Web site, Gelber is a geophysicist by training.
He founded Gelber & Associates in 1990. Early in his career, Gelber
served as a global crude oil trader for Conoco. He also has worked
as a geologist for Mitchell Energy and as an associate engineer for
Gulf Oil, the Web site said. Gelber & Associates is a nationally
recognized energy consulting and advisory firm specializing in
energy trading practices and protocols, the Web site added.
"In Australia and New Zealand, Gelber's commercial pursuits
included oil and gas exploration and market opportunities for the
sale of production," the Web site states. He can be seen on CNBC
commenting on the energy market.
Gelber said he anticipates he will be in Washington County
sometime in late February. "This is the best project and that's why
I'm involved with it," Gelber said. "We are sort of the underdog
here and we're hoping that we won't be underdogs forever. You can't
win a game if you're always behind. It would be a long-term shame if
we weren't able to move this project forward."
Both Quoddy Bay and Downeast LNG already have filed applications
with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. North East has not.
But Emery remained optimistic Monday about the project's future.
"Although our intentions were certainly genuine and [we did] the
best that we could with the original group, things got really
complicated," he said. Emery did not elaborate.
Emery confirmed that the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township
is no longer involved in the project. Tribal officials announced
Sunday they were working with their sister community at Pleasant
Point on the Quoddy Bay project. A vote on whether Indian Township
would sign a tax agreement with the developer is expected to be held
at the end of February.
The state representative praised Gelber. "Art is a guy from this
industry who has a lot of experience and knowledge," Emery said.
"That's why I've reached out to him and he's taken an interest in
the project. So moving forward I feel we have the best project for
Calais City Manager Linda Pagels and Assistant City Manager Jim
Porter said Monday the city continued to favor the project. "This is
the same project, just reconfigured a little bit," Pagels said.
Pagels said that if LNG were to be developed, it would be
advantageous for the city. "Nothing has changed. We still have a
positive view on LNG and what it can do for this area," she said.
Porter said if the plan moved forward, the first step would be
for the company to appear before the Planning Board to talk about
the scope of the project.
Linda Godfrey, coordinator of Save Passamaquoddy Bay, the group
working to keep the bay free of LNG operations said, "We thought Ian
Emery's Calais project was dead when we learned that three of his
partners had withdrawn - Fred Moore, Cianbro Corp., and the
Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township.
"It is especially surprising that Rep. Emery has proceeded alone
in this since when asked last year if LNG was such a great idea why
he didn't propose it for his home community of Cutler, he answered
'the lobstermen would never allow it.' One wonders why Rep. Emery
feels the fishermen in Passamaquoddy Bay and Cobscook Bay are less
(C) 2007 Bangor Daily News Bangor, ME. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved
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Calais, ME United States