Morning Energy Roundup: coal export dock faces roadblock, Chesapeake selling assets and more

2014-03-18T08:00:00Z 2014-03-18T10:18:37Z Morning Energy Roundup: coal export dock faces roadblock, Chesapeake selling assets and moreBy BENJAMIN STORROW Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online

A coal export terminal proposed in Oregon faces a new roadblock after state regulators found the project's developer needs a permit to operate on the Columbia River.

That finding represented a reversal for the Oregon Department of State Lands, which previously said no such permit was required. The decision also came roughly one month after Ambre Energy took a major step towards beginning work on its proposed export dock in Port of Morrow and Port of St. Helens. In February,  the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality approved air quality, water quality and storm construction permits for the project, known officials as Morrow Pacific. 

The facility, if approved, would ship around 8 million tons of Wyoming and Montana coal to Asia annually. Port Marrow is one of several coal export docks planned for the West Coast.

Wyoming officials and coal companies in the Powder River Basin have lobbied hard for the docks, saying the facilities as essential to the industry's ability to serve Asia's coal fired power plants. But the facilities have run into fierce opposition from environmentalists, who argue the docks will perpetuate coal use and worsen global climate change. 

In a letter sent to Ambre Friday, DSL Operations Manager Lori Warner-Dickason wrote the state owns lands submerged beneath the Columbia River. State authorization is consequently required for the project, she wrote.

Ambre Energy has proposed unloading coal from trains onto barges, which will then travel the river, depositing cargo onto the ships headed for Asia.

“This decision is a no-brainer," said Cesia Kearns, Senior Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club and co-director of the Power Past Coal coalition. "Our state should not lease public land for the construction of a dirty, dangerous coal export terminal that would threaten the health and safety of families throughout Oregon and along the Columbia River Gorge."

Ambre Energy is reviewing the letter and will consult with the Port of St. Helens and the Port of Morrow, a company spokeswoman told the Daily Astorian.  

In other energy news:

  • Encana is reportedly in advanced talks to sell its share in the Jonah field to a pair of private equity firms for around $2 billion. Our story is here
  • Chesapeake Energy is preparing to spin-off its oil services division in a bid to slash its debt and raise the value of the company's assets, Reuters reports. The company announced plans earlier this year to cut spending by 20 percent and sell assets to close a funding gap of around $1 billion. Chesapeake has taken a leading role in developing the Niobrara and Frontier formations in eastern Wyoming. 
  • Crimea's vote to break from Ukraine sent oil prices down Monday, the Associated Press reports

By the numbers:

  • Natural gas prices: Henry Hub $4.59, Wyoming Pool $4.36
  • Oil prices: West Texas Intermediate $98.08, Brent Crude $106.24

Reach energy reporter Benjamin Storrow at 307-335-5344 or Follow him on Twitter @bstorrow

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Untitled Document

Civil Dialogue

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Name-calling, crude language and personal abuse are not welcome. Moderators will monitor comments with an eye toward maintaining a high level of civility in this forum. Our comment policy explains the rules of the road for registered commenters.

If your comment was not approved, perhaps...

  1. You called someone an idiot, a racist, a dope, a moron, etc. Please, no name-calling or profanity (or veiled profanity -- #$%^&*).

  2. You rambled, failed to stay on topic or exhibited troll-like behavior intended to hijack the discussion at hand.

  3. YOU SHOUTED YOUR COMMENT IN ALL CAPS. This is hard to read and annoys readers.

  4. You have issues with a business. Have a bad meal? Feel you were overcharged at the store? New car is a lemon? Contact the business directly with your customer service concerns.

  5. You believe the newspaper's coverage is unfair. It would be better to write the editor at, or call Editor Jason Adrians at 266-0545 or Content Director David Mayberry at 266-0633. This is a forum for community discussion, not for media criticism. We'd rather address your concerns directly.

  6. You included an e-mail address or phone number, pretended to be someone you aren't or offered a comment that makes no sense.

  7. You accused someone of a crime or assigned guilt or punishment to someone suspected of a crime.

  8. Your comment is in really poor taste.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick