Tuesday AM April 1st, 2008

Cheniere energy expects first LNG shipment about April 12th; Freeport LNG expects first tanker last half of April…ConocoPhillips forms alliance to research biomass fuel possibilities…Aloha Airlines ends passenger service…

Cheniere Energy expects to receive its first shipment of liquefied natural gas about April 12th at its new Sabine Pass LNG terminal. The terminal will take the super-cooled product and re-gasify it at the Louisiana facility for pipeline distribution. The Houston-based company says a Celestine River LNG vessel left Nigeria last week en route to the Cheniere terminal. The Sabine Pass LNG terminal, four miles inland from the Gulf on 853 acres, will be the largest re-gasification facility in the U.S. It's expected to have a daily re-gasification capacity of four billion cubic feet and storage for nearly 17 billion cubic feet. It's one of three LNG receiving terminals Cheniere is developing.


ConocoPhillips and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory are forming an alliance with Iowa State University to research biomass. According to the Houston Business Journal, the alliance will identify the most efficient and cost-effective methods for making liquid transportation fuels from plants. That includes corn stalks, stems, leaves, grasses and trees as feedstock for future transportation fuels. An initial report is expected next January.


Farmers are expected to plant less corn this year, according to the Department of Agriculture, and that could mean higher bills at the grocery store. Corn prices have skyrocketed in recent years, helped by the burgeoning ethanol industry, which turns the crop into fuel, and rising worldwide demand for food. The higher prices have hurt poultry, beef and pork companies, who use corn to feed their animals. Farmers are expected to plant 86 million acres of corn this year, the government predicted Monday, down eight percent from 2007, when the amount of corn planted was the highest since World War II. The decreased supply could drive corn prices even higher--a cost for food producers that could be passed on to consumers.


Royal Dutch Shell has signed a five-year, $1 billion Master Services Agreement with EDS to manage Shell's end-user computing services. EDS will manage back-up and disaster recovery and other computer services for 150,000 users in over 100 countries. Some 1,500 IT professionals, including shell employees and contractors, will join EDS in 65 countries.


Sugar Land drilling contractor Noble has signed a memorandum of understanding for $4 billion in contracts with Brazil's state oil company. The agreement covers five deepwater rigs operating offshore Brazil, as well as upgrades of about $175 million each to Noble's three drillships.


Aloha Airlines is saying goodbye to passenger service. The move signals an end to an airline that has served Hawaii for more than 60 years. The airline stopped taking flight reservations on Monday. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this month amid tough competition and rising fuel prices. Aloha has suffered since a competitor launched a new inter-island service called Go! Airlines in 2006. Aloha President David Banmiller says "unfair competition has succeeded in driving us out of business,'' but he didn't mention Go! Airlines in a statement. Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle says the state will ask a federal bankruptcy court to stop Aloha from shutting down passenger flights until it shows it has no other options. The state also wants proper notification given to 1,900 Aloha employees affected by the shut down.


Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...