Tag Archives: Crystal River

Ghost company: Strom LNG

A ghost company with no assets, not even an office or the land it claims for its Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) liquefaction facility, no investment, and no business partners. What reporters from Tampa Bay Times found was even worse than what what we found by attending a Port Tampa Bay board meeting: Port Tampa Bay has no agreement with Strom, and wants none. The reporters’ findings take us back to 2014.

Strom Inc. previously listed an Ybor City building as its physical location, which it no longer occupies. Pictured is the building. [ MALENA CAROLLO | Tampa Bay Times ]
Strom Inc. previously listed an Ybor City building as its physical location, which it no longer occupies. Pictured is the building. [ MALENA CAROLLO | Tampa Bay Times ]

Malena Carollo and Jay Cridlin, Tampa Bay Times, 20 July 2021, A company asked to ship gas through Tampa’s port. Then it ‘disappeared.’
A plan to transport liquefied natural gas from Citrus County to Tampa has activists concerned — even though details are scant.

The Tampa Port Authority’s June board meeting started like always, with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. Then came the call for public comments.

Most port board meetings feature one or two speakers, if any. This one had nine, queued up both on Zoom and in person. All had the same concern: An April report to the U.S. Department of Energy filed by a fuel company called Strom Inc.

Seven years ago, Strom obtained a license from the federal government and has quietly pursued a plan to move a fuel called “liquified natural gas,” or LNG, from a 174-acre facility in Crystal River to one of Florida’s ports via truck or train. Its April report indicated that Port Tampa Bay has tentatively agreed to be its choice.

The fuel is a form of natural gas that is cooled to become a liquid. It is most often used in countries that don’t have infrastructure to extract and transport the gas form of the energy source. Opponents say the fuel can be dangerous to transport, calling rail shipments “bomb trains,” and should bear public discussion before a decision is reached to move it through a city. That’s what prompted the cavalcade of speakers at the port.

Their questions came as a surprise to port leaders, because as one official told the speakers: Port Tampa Bay has no agreement with Strom. It is not negotiating with Strom. And it has no plans to export liquefied natural gas of any kind.

In fact, much of the information Strom has provided to the federal government about its efforts to produce and export liquefied natural gas, the Tampa Bay Times found, is outdated by years.

Not only does Strom have no agreement with Port Tampa Bay, it has no investors or outside backing, no natural gas supplier and does not own the Crystal River property on which it told the Department of Energy it plans to start building a production facility this year.

“It’s kind of like a ghost company,” said Don Taylor, president of the Economic Development Authority for Citrus County, who years ago worked with Strom as the company pursued economic incentives to build in Crystal River. “They just kind of disappeared, and we never heard from them again.”

There’s much more detail in the article, which is well worth reading.

The reporters even got a response out of the head of Strom, Inc.:

In an email to the Tampa Bay Times, Dean Wallace, Strom’s president and co-founder of its parent company, Glauben Besitz, LLC, called the discrepancies in its Department of Energy filings Continue reading

Port Tampa Bay has no agreement with Strom LNG, and wants none 2021-06-15

Update 2021-07-21: Ghost company: Strom LNG.

The many speakers against Strom, Inc. exporting LNG through Port Tampa Bay were heard at the Port board meeting yesterday morning. Port staff misunderstood Strom’s filing, but the Principal Counsel made a very strong statement against that or other LNG export or import through Port Tampa Bay.

[Strom, Port Tampa Bay, Attorney and CEO, Panelists]
Strom, Port Tampa Bay, Attorney and CEO, Panelists

In the Port’s own zoom recording, at 01:52:30, Charles E. Klug, Principal Counsel, Port Tampa Bay, said: Continue reading

Late again: Strom Inc. semi-annual report to DoE FE about Crystal River LNG 2021-04-04

Strom, Inc., is late again, like last year when it didn’t file its April report until June 12, 2020.

[Missing Strom LNG semi-annual report, Port of Tampa, Jamaica and Puerto Rico]
Missing Strom LNG semi-annual report, Port of Tampa, Jamaica and Puerto Rico

This does not bode well for Strom’s Crystal River liquid natural gas (LNG) facilities “to commence commercial operations in the fourth quarter of 2022”, as it promised then and again in its October 2020 report, which it filed on October 26, 2020.

You’d think the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) would send Strom a reminder. But as usual, we may have to do it. And we have questions. Continue reading

FERC gets inland LNG half right, for Puerto Rico, and maybe more soon 2021-03-18

FERC actually told New Fortress Energy (NFE) it has 180 days to file an application for authorization to operate its Puerto Rico liquid natural gas (LNG) facility. I’m happy to admit I did not expect this.

[FERC Order and WWALS LNG facilty map]
FERC Order and WWALS LNG facilty map

Yet FERC failed to tell NFE to shut down meanwhile: “We also find that allowing operation of the facility to continue during the pendency of an application is in the public interest.” Translation: it would cost a fossil fuel company income.

But the best part is in a concurring letter. Continue reading

Strom LNG reports late to FE: reverse merger expected 2020-11-01

Update 2021-04-04: Late again: Strom Inc. semi-annual report to DoE FE about Crystal River LNG 2021-04-04.

Apparently Strom Inc. of the long-touted future LNG export operation in Crystal River, Florida, thinks some public company is so desperate for cash that it will let Strom take over its board for money.

“Additionally, Strom, Inc. is actively in early stage negotiations with a third-party entity regarding a reverse-merger and anticipate filing a report upon completion.”

What money? From a “term-sheet agreement” from un-named financiers that Strom has been claiming since at least April 2020. Lots of big talk, little LNG export action. Which is good news for Crystal River and Tampa, since the most likely export route for Strom would be by truck to Port of Tampa.

[Report, Map]
Report, Map

Strom also has big plans for exporting to “China, Latin America, and several Caribbean countries.”

“Specifically, Strom has received specific interest from LNG users in the Bahamas, China, Belize, Panama, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Honduras and is pursuing all qualified leads. These requests for LNG will far exceed Strom’s authorized capacity, and we will explore our options as we execute agreements. In accordance with Ordering Paragraph D of the Order, Strom will file any such long—term contracts with the DOE/FE following their execution.”

Specifically, interest is not a contract.

This is interesting:

“Strom has secured certain preliminary agreements for equipment and has selected AECOM to fill the role of our EPCM for the Project. AECOM is well versed in Oil and Gas and has been involved in a myriad of FERC approved Oil and Gas projects.”

Yes, AECOM was involved in for instance Elba Island LNG in Georgia.

But Strom LNG in Crystal River, FL, is not a FERC-approved project. Back in 2014 when Strom still planned to locate in Starke, FL, Strom filed with FERC for a Notice of Petition for Declaratory Order re Strom, Inc. under CP14-121. But FERC dismissed that request for lack of fee payment. No other FERC docket for Strom has appeared, so apparently Strom has neither FERC approval nor a declaratory order for Strom’s “mobile liquefaction unit be eligible to export LNG with exemption from FERC’s jurisdiction under the Natural Gas Act.”

As usual, Strom’s report was late. At least, unlike most of its earlier reports, it arrived before a WWALS member had to ask FE where it was.

Strom, Inc., Semi-Annual Report for October 2020

Here’s is Strom’s report, for FE Docket # 14-56-LNG, Order No. 3537. See also the PDF. Continue reading

The illusion of pipeline invincibility is shattered –WWALS Brief to FERC in Sabal Trail Rehearing

Let’s cut to the chase in the letter we filed with FERC yesterday:

11. Historic new circumstances add up

The sun never set on the British Empire. Until it did.

No one circumstance ended that Empire, but it is easy to point at major events that accelerated its demise, such as the independence of India and the Suez Incident. Its fall started after the illusion of its invincibility was shattered by Gandhi’s campaign of civil disobedience and other events such as World War II.

The illusion of invincibility of the inland colonial empire of pipelines has been shattered by recent court orders about the ACP, DAPL, and others, and especially by the shut down of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the shuttering of the Constitution Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. All of those pipelines were expected to be built, and DAPL actually was built before being ordered to shut down and empty. Now the world knows that pipelines are not inevitable.

All these pipeline projects, like Sabal Trail, were opposed by nonviolent protests and political and legal actions. All those methods of opposition, combined with the sea-change in progress to renewable energy, eventually added up to a new and significantly different world than that in which Sabal Trail was permitted or re-permitted.

The shut down of DAPL and the abandonment of ACP as well as the court rejection of tolling orders make it a new world even since FERC’s June 19, 2020, Order granting a rehearing on Sierra Club’s motion.

FERC should initiate a new [Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement] EIS that should take into account Sabal Trail’s own track record of leaks and sinkholes, as well as leaks and accidents from [Liquid Natural Gas] LNG export and LNG transport in rail cars, the speeding demise of fossil fuels as evidenced by record low LNG export prices and bankruptcies of frackers, the court rejections of DAPL, ACP, and tolling orders and how much of Sabal Trail could never have been built through environmental justice communities without tolling orders, the coronavirus pandemic, and the rapid rise of renewable solar, wind, and battery power as evidenced by FPL and Sabal Trail partners Duke and NextEra, as well as by FERC’s own numbers. All of those new and significant circumstances make pipelines such as Sabal Trail toxic stranded assets, dangerous to the bank accounts of their investors, as well as to the environment, justice, and human health.

Conclusion

For the reasons stated above, WWALS asks FERC to grant Sierra Club’s motion for stay of the Commission’s letter order of April 22, 2020, to halt Sabal Trail Phase II, and to commence a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) taking into account all of the above new and significant circumstances.

[Third-party inspection, recission, stay, SEIS]
Third-party inspection, recission, stay, SEIS

For those who are not familiar with tolling orders, they are basically how, after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gives federal eminent domain to a private pipeline company, FERC lets that pipeline company take land before any payment to the landowner or even any agreement is reached. Without tolling orders, it’s not clear the FERC will ever get another pipeline built.

Here’s a longer explanation. Continue reading

Extended: PHMSA LNG by rail car exception until 2019-08-07 on 2019-07-09

The only extension request PHMSA admitted to today, as it extended the comment period for a month, was from two members of Congress. That request notes:

If Energy Transport Solutions intends to run 100+ rail tank cars on the Florida East Coast Railway, PHMSA would be placing large swaths of people and critical infrastructure (hospitals, schools, highways, and even the President’s Mar-a-Lago resort) in jeopardy.

[3.3.2 Probability of Delayed Ignition]
3.3.2 Probability of Delayed Ignition

PHMSA also took the opportunity to add an Updated Environmental Assessment (EA), and a Quantitative Risk Analysis (QRA), which is worthless: “The scope of the QRA addresses unit train movements along one example route located in the Northeastern United States.” The QRA has no maps nor any specific identification of populations, schools, hospitals, businesses, nor even identification of which route is the example, nor which other routes might be used for shipping LNG by rail.

This all to me sounds like PHMSA always intended to extend, and to add these less than useful documents.

PHMSA also claims it added “The Energy Transport Solutions, LLC special permit application (in redacted form)” but I can’t find that online, so we still don’t even really know who the applicant is.

Extension Notice

Continue reading

PHMSA LNG by rail car exception 2019-06-06

Alachua County, New Jersey legislators, WWALS, and the U.S. House of Representatives oppose this PHMSA LNG-by-rail exception, and you can, too.

[Special Permit- Draft-0001]
Special Permit- Draft-0001

PHMSA proposes to authorize LNG in ordinary cryogenic rail cars, in an exception for a subsidiary of the company that owns Hialeah LNG and already sends LNG in containers by rail for export. “In most cases, ETS would expect that the ultimate end-users of this LNG will be foreign generators of power for residential, commercial and industrial purposes,” says the Draft Environmental Assessment. Why should we risk our homes, schools, businesses, hospitals, etc. for private export profit from New Fortress Energy’s Hialeah LNG plant near Miami? Or for a liquefaction plant in Pennsylvania or New Jersey?

PHMSA posted this extension request on June 3rd, and the deadline for comment is this Monday, July 8, 2019. WWALS signed onto an extension request by Physicians for Social Responsibility. You can still send in a copy of that request or other comments by Monday. WWALS will be filing another comment letter, as well.

The only ETS google maps finds in Doral, FL, is Continue reading

Solar power would bring more jobs than toll roads –Suwannee Riverkeeper in Gainesville Sun 2019-05-22

In the Gainesville Sun, yesterday, May 22, 2019:

Now that Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed the toll road bill, SB 7068, Suwannee Riverkeeper — which was among the 90 organizations throughout Florida that asked him to veto it — continues to oppose that boondoggle and propose actual benefits to Florida’s economy and waters.

Aerial Google map, Crystal River to Monticello and Thomasville
Google map of one likely route of the Suncoast Connector.

One of these three unneeded turnpikes would have to cross the Suwannee River, plowing through counties where we have many members. All this very poorly written bill says about its route is: “Suncoast Connector, extending from Citrus County to 164 Jefferson County.” Apparently that means from Crystal River to Monticello, and on to Thomasville, Georgia, through farms, forests and swamps. If this toll road builds its bypasses, bye-bye local businesses in Chiefland, Fanning Springs, Old Town and Cross City.

Yes, the turnpike bill has a “project development phase” for $45 million and increasing each year, with a Continue reading

Facebook group: Dangerous Liquified Natural Gas trains and trucks

For discussion and getting the word out, there’s a new facebook group, Dangerous Liquefied Natural Gas on Trains/Trucks.

In a March 3, 2016, letter, the Federal Railroad Administration warned Florida East Coast Railway of the danger of transporting Liquefied Natural Gas on the same tracks as high-speed passenger rail. What could go wrong? Do the math…. If an LNG container is breached, accidentally or intentionally, the liquid begins to warm, resulting in a Flammable Vapor-Cloud that can be blown around by the wind, igniting everything in its path. In Fernley, Nevada, the Flammable Vapor-Cloud fire from a tanker truck loaded with 10,000 gallons of LNG appeared to have been caused by static electricity. Flames shot 40 feet into the air and fire officials evacuated the area. The fire burned for a couple of days, before eventually burning itself out.

Photo: Howard Salmon, for Tahoe Daily Tribune, of Fernley, NV, LNG tanker truck fire, 2005-09-14
Photo: Howard Salmon, for Tahoe Daily Tribune, of Fernley, NV, LNG tanker truck fire, 2005-09-14

As that facebook group says, if you want to help stop fires like that from happening in Florida or Georgia, you can contribute to the WWALS legal fund for the pending case against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for shirking its inland LNG oversight duty.

Thanks to Continue reading