Soko Islands will be harmed by ExxonMobil-CLP LNG terminal

This thread discusses the Content article: http://www.hkoutdoors.com/outlying-islands/soko-islands.html Thanks for a good story. We need a real plan for development of an ecoturism resort featuring nature walks/trails, clean beaches, diving/snorkelling and marine resource protection. In the West Indies we have found that this sort of development actually benefits wildlife. For example, those WB Sea Eagles have nested on Tai A Chau in the past, but without people-protection their nest often gets raided. In the British Virgin Islands we find ecotourists de facto protect nesting sea birds, raptors, iguanas, tortoises, flamingos, etc. that were threatened and even locally extirpated previously. See www.guana.com & www.guanascience.com We need to find an entrepreneur developer.... Onwards! 
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What would be useful is for someone to post exactly what CLP intends to do to the Sokos Islands. Can anybody fill in the gap for the general public as to extent of reclamation, construction, operation phase etc?
This way a direct comparison between untouched (75%) and CLPs direct & cumulative impact can be assessed, but we should also note this with our other think tank, the Lantau Devekopment Task Force....

This is the content of an open letter sent to Fragrant Harbour Magazine today:

Dear FH,

Your readers may not be aware that the HK Government and China Light & Power (CLP) are determined to push ahead with a LNG storage facility within HK waters, with one of the primary sites under review being the beautiful Soko Islands to the south of Lantau which, until very recently, had been earmarked for protection as a marine park.

The Living Islands Movement (www.livingislands.org.hk) is fully engaged in attempting to show the folly of such a plan, given the ecological impact it would have on the islands. In particular, they are trying to raise awareness of this threat through the local yacht clubs which count South Lantau and the Soko Islands as their home cruising grounds. The DBYC, ABC and LBC are therefore getting together for a combined Sokos Rally on 29/30 April. Each club will be organising their own cruise or race to the Sokos, to anchor there overnight and enjoy a beach party and BBQ under the stars.

We would like to invite all boat-owners (not just yachties) along to join the fun and demonstrate against this potential ecological abuse in our home waters. Please contact sokos@dbyc.net for details.

James Fernie,
Commodore
DBYC
www.dbyc.net

Good letter and thanks for continually pushing these environmental issues for HK. One useful addition to the letter (if it's not too late) would be to perhaps indicate some of the likely damage that would result from this facility and perhaps to suggest alternative solutions.

Cheers,
Stefan
www.dyingtorun.com

The Soko rally was a great success, with some 30 yachts, junks and motorboats taking part. Over 100 people enjoyed a beautiful weekend in this special place. The message from the gathering was clear, nobody wants to see this unique resource destroyed by building an LNG storage facility.

We are committed to cleaning up the atmosphere in Hong Kong and certainly not against LNG as an alternative energy source. However, we don’t want CLP trading one form of environmental crime (air pollution) for another (destruction of endangered habitat) simply for political reasons. There are alternative and better sites available (Black Point, spare capacity in Schenzen, offshore terminals, etc.).

[from Richard Winter, a key organiser of Save the Sokos campaign]

Here's a position paper from the Green Lantau Association and the Living Islands Movement, with arguments against building a Liquefied Natural Gas terminal at the Soko Islands - or, indeed, within Hong Kong.

If you wish to comment on this, you could post below - I can forward to govt etc.

[size=4][b]Options for the Supply of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
to Hong Kong[/b][/size]

A position paper by the Green Lantau Association and the Living Islands Movement

[b]Summary Position[/b]

1. This paper looks at the China Light and Power (CLP) proposal to build a LNG terminal in HK waters and explains why this is inappropriate and what the options should be. In essence our view is that,

[b](i) There are strong strategic reasons why LNG supplies should be secured from terminals built in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) rather than from a HK terminal. Also, the time has come to realize that we now have no suitable land left for this kind of development.

(ii) There are viable options to source LNG from PRD sources which will obviate the need for a HK terminal, and thereby preserve our remaining coastal and marine environment. These options are already being used by Hong Kong Electric (HKE), and

(iii) The justification by CLP, for building a stand-alone LNG terminal within HK waters appears to be principally motivated by the income on capital investment derived under the Scheme of Control (SoC). This course would result in higher electricity charges than from PRD alternatives, and this is not in the interest of the HK public.
[/b]
Background

2. Air quality considerations make it imperative that HK’s power stations are operated with the cleanest fuel available. LNG offers significant improvements over the burning of coal. Both power companies, Hong Kong Electric (HKE) and China Light and Power (CLP) are committed to using LNG to partially power their turbines.

3. HKE will source LNG from a terminal at Dapeng, Shenzhen in which HKE have acquired a 3% shareholding. This will power a new turbine at Lamma, and, after conversion, other existing turbines.

4. CLP will use LNG to power their entire Black Point Power Station. This station has an installed capacity of some 2500MW representing some 36% of CLP’s installed capacity. The turbines are configured to run on gas, which is presently supplied by a 650 km submarine pipeline from China’s Yacheng field off Hainan. Despite a long term supply contract which runs to 2016, CLP have belatedly advised that the contracted supply conditions will not be met, with supplies lasting until “the beginning of next decade” only. The position has been exacerbated by CLP continuing to sell power to the PRD, when such surplus capacity could be retained to provide a longer gas supply to Hong Kong.

5. CLP apparently became aware of the diminishing gas supply in 2002. Since then, CLP has been adamant that only a HK-located terminal can supply their needs, and has restricted its site search accordingly. Two sites have been identified for the terminal, one at Black Point alongside the power station to be served, the other on the Soko Islands off South Lantau. CLP have now declared their open preference for the Sokos site.

6. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is now approaching completion in respect of each of the two sites. CLP expects an early decision to be reached, and for the Hong Kong Government (HKG) to grant the favoured site to them by late this year. Construction is expected to last 4 years with the terminal being completed in 2010.

7. CLP have not undertaken a comprehensive assessment of sourcing LNG from external sources, in clear anticipation of being awarded a HK site upon which to build it’s own terminal.

Requirement of a LNG Terminal

8. LNG is delivered by purpose built tankers of 60 000 tons deadweight and upwards. They require a tidal assisted depth of 15 metres at mean High Water. The terminal site therefore requires coastal land adjacent to deep easily accessible water. A substantial area of naturally flat or reclaimed land is needed for the on-site tanks and associated facilities. The adverse impact of this on Hong Kong’s remaining environment will be considerable and incapable of mitigation.

Scheme of Control

9. Both HK power companies, HKE and CLP operate under a Scheme of Control (SoC), which prescribes the rate of return which they can derive on their assets. This return provides the basis of power charges to consumers. Currently CLP can earn 13.5% return on any assets, and up to 15% return on those purchased with shareholders funds.

10. No return however is earned on assets situated outside HK. For example CLP earns no return on their investment in the Daya Bay nuclear facility. Power or fuel purchased from outside HK is credited at cost only. Accordingly there is a significant financial incentive to hold where possible, substantial assets within HK.

11. The SoC arrangement has served HK well in the days HK was a colony, and stood alone and apart from China. Power stations inside HK provided reliable power in a region where alternatives were simply not available, and the political relationship fluctuated. This is no longer the case. HK is now part of China, and is partnering the Mainland in ever increasing areas. There is no longer the need, nor indeed is it appropriate, to insist or expect, that HK continue to operate in isolation from the rest of China, and build standalone facilities within the SAR. Indeed CLP’s existing partnering arrangements in respect of Daya Bay nuclear station and Yacheng gas have operated successfully for many years.

12. We believe it is time that the opportunities presented by our close relationship with the Mainland are fully exploited to the benefit of all residents of HK. The high electricity prices paid by HK consumers brought about by the past stand-alone SoC approach to the supply of power, should not continue. In this respect we should note that construction costs for large infrastructure projects are significantly cheaper in the PRD. Accordingly sourcing LNG from a PRD terminal would be markedly in the interest of HK consumers, as lower electricity tariffs are virtually assured.

Air Quality Objectives

13. HKG and the Guangdong authorities have a stated intention to bring regional air quality back to 1997 levels by 2010. Separately, the HKG is proposing air quality requirements in the new SoC to be applicable to CLP from 2010. CLP has stated that the new LNG terminal is necessary in order to meet SoC requirements, although emission trading and/or reduction in coal-fired generation may achieve the same results.

14. We say that the 2010 date should not be a rigid requirement, if it is wrongly used to validate a hasty decision on the terminal location.

15. Why not a HK LNG Terminal

(a) HK has a small land area (some 400 square miles), which is already under extreme pressure to accommodate the requirements of HK’s wish to be a logistics hub for the PRD. HK does not have an infinite capacity to accommodate unlimited industrial infrastructure, and, as with Singapore, another island entity, must perforce ‘outsource’ certain undertakings to friendly neighbouring jurisdictions. For example, HK has effectively outsourced its entire manufacturing base to southern China. Whilst arguably environmental trade-offs can be made for truly essential infrastructure projects, the supply of LNG does not fall into that category, given that there are viable alternatives.

(b) The two HK terminal site options are both on green-field sites, requiring the sacrificing of more remaining coastline and adjacent waters. Black Point might appear suitable as being adjacent to the power station, but current indications are that perceived safety considerations arising from the use of the Rambler shipping channel and the 3 kilometre-away village of Leung Kwu Tan, and a planning wish to reserve BP for future unspecified cross-delta links, will invalidate this option. Further, there is evidence that the waters off BP form an important dolphin breeding ground.

(c) The other location, the Soko Islands, is situated immediately off highly scenic South Lantau. This island group was slated to be a marine reserve as recently as 2001 in government’s own South West New Territories Development Strategy Review (SWNTDSR). In 2002 a government proposal to gazette the Sokos as a Marine Park reached an advanced stage. They form a most attractive recreation area, and are both rich in marine life and an important breeding ground. One island hosts a recently constructed low-level radioactive storage facility, which would be an unacceptable risk in the event of an LNG accident.

(d) The PRD has a chronic shortage of clean power. The problem has however been identified, and energetic steps are underway to replace highly polluting oil and coal fired plants with larger LNG fired facilities. The Shenzhen LNG terminal is a forerunner, Phase I has a capacity of 3M tonnes p.a., whilst Phase II yet to be committed, has a capacity of 2M tonnes p.a.
Power requirements in the PRD vastly exceed HK’s needs and are expected to grow exponentially. It makes no sense therefore for HK to construct a stand-a-lone terminal of limited capacity when partnering with the PRD could produce a Delta-serving terminal of substantially larger capacity and cost-effectiveness.

A rebuttal of CLP’s position

16. CLP has advanced a number of reasons why LNG for their Black Point Station can best be supplied from a CLP-owned terminal to be constructed in HK.

(a) CLP says – a HK terminal would ensure security of supply
We say – this is simply not true. The proposed terminal is a storage facility only. LNG is supplied from producer countries on long term supply contracts. The location of the storage terminal is immaterial. Further, the Mainland has proved a most reliable partner over many years, first with the nuclear supply from Daya Bay and latterly with the gas supply from Yacheng. For CLP to imply that that PRD-located terminal would not be secure, or a PRD supplier to be unreliable, is totally unfounded.

(b). CLP says – a HK terminal will bring environmental benefits because it can supply clean fuel.
We say – it is the fuel and not the location of the terminal that matters. HKE’s LNG from Shenzhen will be just as clean.

(c) CLP says – a HK terminal enables the project to be delivered under a single jurisdiction with clear policy and regulations
We say – this is indeed true, but this is an insufficient reason in itself. HKE has evidently overcome successfully any problems in securing supplies from Shenzhen.

(d) CLP says – a HK terminal will bring economic benefits in the form of infrastructure investment, and additionally provide engineering and construction jobs.
We say – the infrastructure benefits only CLP. Job creation is mainly for the 4 years of construction, with less than 30 permanent jobs created. Almost certainly, wider –ranging economic benefits for the whole community in the form of cheaper power would accrue if the terminal was sited in the PRD rather than inside HK waters.

17. Options for the supply of LNG to HK

(a) Shenzhen Dapeng Terminal

Whilst Phase I (with a capacity of 3M tonnes p.a.) is about to commission and has been fully committed, Phase II of this terminal has yet to be built or committed. With a capacity of some 2M tonnes p.a. this would substantially cater for CLP’s requirements of 2.6M tonnes p.a. Situated to the east of HK, either a dedicated submarine pipeline would be required, or a Shenzhen land connection built. Given the future needs of the western PRD, the probability of a convenient land connection is high.

(b) . Sinopec Zhuhai Terminal

The China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) has announced its intention to construct a LNG terminal off Zhuhai, on Huangmao Island in the Pearl River. Sinopec has advised that the terminal will complete by 2009 and could be expanded to meet CLP’s requirements by 2011.

This proposal has been specifically targeted at CLP requirements in terms of location, capacity and timing. It offers potentially significant benefits in cost-effectiveness, cheaper fuel, environmental protection, and additionally fosters synergy across the PRD.

As announced in the SCMP (dated 26 July 2006), the Sinopec project will be built with sufficient infrastructure to service both HK and Macau. Sinopec has stated that the development cost will be less than $10 billion, of which presumably some 50% or $5 billion will be allocated to the portion servicing HK. It has been stated in the Press that the development cost of a HK-based facility will be in the order of $9 billion, or almost double the cost of the Sinopec facility. Such a dislocation of resources is simply not justified from any perspective.
This option is in our view, the preferred option.

(c) The emergence of direct LNG supplies

Supporting both options for outsourcing HK energy supplies is the very recently announced find by Husky Oil of vast quantities of LNG in Chinese waters some 250km from HK. Potentially this gas source, like the present Yacheng gas supply, could also become a viable long-term direct LNG energy supply for HK. It also further raises the possibility to directly pipe gas to HK, a significant opportunity which when evaluated may bring obvious benefits.

Current Position on CLP’s LNG initiative

18. It appears that due to singular commercial interests (by CLP), and regulatory inertia (by HKG), a position is emerging which, if not addressed quickly will inevitably lead to the sacrifice of HK’s interests . As the supply of Yacheng gas diminishes (on which CLP has yet to provide substantive figures, but which it is using to exert undue pressure on the HKG), the prospect increases of Black Point’s 2500 MW going off-line due to want of gas supply. Clearly the loss of 2500MW of relatively clean power cannot be allowed to happen.

19. Given justifiable public concern on air quality, and in the absence of any self-investigation of alternatives, it seems possible that HKG will concede CLP’s position and allow construction of a LNG terminal in HK waters and on the Soko Islands.

20. This we believe would be a decision of immense folly, turning one of the few remaining natural seascapes of great beauty into an industrial undertaking of extreme ugliness. There would be environmental damage which cannot be mitigated, the loss of remaining recreational areas, and a permanent blight on an area of outstanding natural beauty.

21. Our intentions and views

(a) We have no wish to frustrate the supply of LNG to HK. Indeed we believe it is vital to our air quality that LNG be brought to HK as soon as practicable. That said, a hasty decision which would see the permanent sacrifice of some of our best remaining natural areas (the Soko Islands) would be unacceptable. Were the Sinopec option to be found preferable but unable to meet the 2010 target by one to two years, we would think the delay would on balance be acceptable.

(b) We feel whilst CLP has understandable commercial incentives in building a HK terminal and enjoying SoC returns thereon, the outcome is most unlikely to be favourable to the HK consumer. Furthermore, CLP has openly expressed favour building on the more remote Soko Islands, thereby recouping an even greater return on their capital expended. Indeed the whole SoC equation is predicated toward profligacy in expenditure at the expense of the HK consumer. In order that the matter be clearly debated in financial terms, we strongly recommend that a zero-capital-cost scenario (which would result from sourcing LNG from a terminal outside HK waters) be developed against which to assess the true cost-to-consumers of CLP’s proposal.

(c) Additionally we would point out that CLP’s assessment of the economics of development at the Sokos will not take into account the totality of the entire development process. The Sokos are a unique marine environment supporting a large number of marine mammals, fishing and recreation. The development’s financial assessment will not price in the permanent loss of wildlife, marine habitants, or the scenic and recreational benefits of this site.

(d) We feel the HKG has a clear leadership responsibility in a matter as important as this, and should act more proactively than it has thus far. It is not sufficient to act as a passive regulator which responds only to proposals made to it. In this case it has taken no lead whatever during the four years spent by CLP in bringing forward its HK-only options for the terminal. Ideally we would wish to see CLP being directed now to investigate PRD options, or secondary suppliers of gas from centralized supplies such as Sinopec, which proposal seems eminently viable, with the clear message that a HK-based terminal is most unlikely to find approval.

(e) We believe it is vital for the HKG to take a proactive role in matters such as the need for and timely construction of, massive infrastructure projects, and not to simply rely on private sector initiatives to provide the only options. The current debate on the LNG terminal is one-sided, with the play being made solely by CLP for their commercial benefit. We suggest the HKG initiate a cost/benefit study of the possibilities of encouraging external sourcing of LNG to HK. Clearly HKE have already taken the view that the most viable supply source is Shenzhen, and have even entirely implemented the process from planning through to installation. This approach by HKE indicates that CLP’s commercial interests are preventing an even-handed balance to what is effectively a simple supply and demand matter. As with the supply of power itself, HKG should be looking at opening up the fuel supply side of the power equation to ensure that HK is not trapped into a one-horse race.

Green Lantau Association Living Islands Movement

September 2006

Post edited by: Martin, at: 2006/09/21 23:40

向香港供應液化天然氣(LNG)的方案

綠色大嶼山協會與Living Islands Movement的立場書

立場概述

1. 本立場書考慮中華電力(中電)提出於香港水域興建液化天然氣接收站的建議,並解釋此建議屬不適當的原因及應採取的方案。基本而言,我們的意見是:

(i) 液化天然氣供應應獲自建於珠江三角洲(珠三角)的接收站,而非來自香港接收站,其中存在著深遠的策略性原因。此外,時間證明現時我們已無適當的預留土地,適合建設此類發展。

(ii) 可採取多種多樣的方案,自珠三角氣源引進液化天然氣,這樣便會排除於香港興建接收站的需求,從而保護我們尚存海岸及海洋的環境。香港電燈(港燈)便已採納此等方案;及

(iii) 中電於香港水域興建液化天然氣接收站的理由似乎主要受在管制計劃(SoC)下獲取資本投資收益所驅使。這一做法將導致電費高於採用珠三角方案收取的電費,不符合香港市民的利益。

背景資料

2. 出於對空氣質素的考量,香港發電廠採用現時最潔淨的燃料勢在必行。相比煤燃燒,液化天然氣可顯著改善環保表現。兩間電力公司香港電燈(港燈)與中華電力(中電)均承諾使用液化天然氣,為部份渦輪機提供動力。

3. 港燈將從深圳大鵬接收站引進液化天然氣,港燈已收購大鵬接收站3%的股權。這將為南丫島新裝渦輪機提供動力,經過轉換過再提供予其他現有渦輪機。

4. 中電將使用液化天然氣,為整個新界龍鼓灘發電廠提供動力。此發電廠已安裝發電機組的發電量達2500MW,約佔中電已安裝發電量的36%。渦輪機的設計可使用天然氣運行,現時使用的天然氣透過650公里長的海底管道從中國海南崖城氣田供應。儘管長期供應合約的有效期至2016年,但中電誤期告知無法滿足合約供應條件,供應僅持續至「下一個十年之初」。中電持續向珠三角賣電,為更長期地向香港供應天然氣而保留過剩的發電能力,使情況日益惡化。

5. 中電於2002年明顯開始減少天然氣供應。自此,中電一直堅持認為只有在香港興建接收站,方可滿足其需求,並相應限制接收站選址目標。已選定兩處計劃興建接收站的地點:一處位於將接受服務的發電廠附近的新界龍鼓灘,另一處位於南大嶼山外海的索罟群島。中電現已宣佈他們的首選是索罟群島。

6. 有關上述兩處地點的環境影響評估(EIA)即將完成。中電預期將提早作出決定,以便香港政府(港府)於今年底批授他們選中的地點。建造工程預期持續四年,接收站將在2010年竣工。

7. 中電並無就自外部來源引進液化天然氣開展全面的評估,而是純粹期望獲授予香港地點,以在此興建自己的接收站。

液化天然氣接收站的要求

8. 液化天然氣需使用重60 000噸及以上的特建儲存缸輸送。此等儲存缸需要潮水的平均高水位深度達15米。因此,接收站地點需要毗鄰易接近深水區的沿海土地。需要大量的天然平地或填海土地,用於建造現場儲存缸及相關設施。這將對香港其餘各處的環境造成巨大的、無法挽回的負面影響。

管制計劃

9. 香港兩間電力公司港燈與中電均在管制計劃(SoC)下經營,該計劃規定兩間公司可獲取的資產回報率。這一回報率是向消費者收取電費的基準。現時,中電的資產回報率達13.5%,而以股東資金購置的資產回報率亦高達15%。

10. 然而,位於香港以外的資產並無錄得回報。例如,中電在大亞灣核電廠的投資並無獲得回報。自香港以外購買的電力或燃料均僅按成本計算。因此,持有(如可能)大部份香港資產存在巨大的財務獎勵。

11. 香港為殖民地時,獨立且與中國無來往,那時計劃管制安排可有效為香港服務。當時,香港別無選擇,且政治關係起伏不定,但本港的發電廠仍能為香港提供可靠的電力。今非昔比。香港現屬中國的一部份,在各個方面與大陸的合作日益緊密。現時,堅持或期望香港繼續獨立於大陸其他地區,在特區內興建獨立的設施,毫無需要且的確屬不適當。實際上,中電與大亞灣核電廠及崖城氣田現有的合作安排已順利實施數年。

12. 我們認為,現在正是充份利用我們與大陸密切關係的良機,借此為香港所有市民謀福祉。過去獨立的管制計劃供電方案提出由香港消費者支付的高電費不應繼續。為此,我們應注意到,在珠三角建造大型基建設施項目的成本更低廉。因此,自珠三角接收站引進液化天然氣顯然更符合香港消費者的利益,因為可實際保證降低電費。

空氣質素目標

13. 港府與廣東當局已明確表示,擬於2010年之前將地區空氣質素恢復至1997年的水平。另外,港府正建議於新的管制計劃中增加空氣質素要求,有關要求將於2010年起適用於中電。中電已表示,為滿足管制計劃的要求,新建液化天然氣接收站勢在必行,儘管排放交易及/或減少燃煤發電亦可達致相同的效果。

14. 我們認為,2010年之約不應成為硬性規定,以防被錯誤利用而匆忙就接收站的地址做出決定。

15. 為何不興建香港液化氣接收站

(a) 香港土地資源有限(約400平方英里),為滿足香港希望成為珠三角物流樞紐的要求,已承受極大的壓力。香港的容量有限,無法容納無限制的工業基建設施,與新加坡(另一個島嶼實體)一樣,必須將若干事業『外判』予友好鄰區。例如,香港已成功將整個製造基地外判予華南地區。對於恰當的重要基建設施項目,我們可進行環境權衡的討論,但液化天然氣的供應不屬此類項目,因為這存在多種備選方案。

(b) 兩處香港接收站的選址均位於新發展區土地,需犧牲更多餘留海岸及毗鄰水域。龍鼓灘鄰近發電廠可能看似適合,但目前的情況是,由於使用藍巴勒船舶航道及三公里以外的Leung Kwu Tan村而產生的已知安全考慮因素,以及保留BP用作未來不明跨三角洲紐帶的計劃會否使本方案無效。此外,有證據證明BP外海水域已成為重要的海豚繁殖基地。

(c) 另一處地點索罟群島緊鄰風景優美的南大嶼山。此群島早已於2001年在政府的《新界西南發展策略檢討》(SWNTDSR)被納入海洋保護區。2002年,將索罟群島列為海洋公園的政府提議進入實施階段。各島嶼形成更迷人的娛樂區,海洋生物種類豐富,是重要的繁殖基地。其中一個島嶼新建有低放射性廢物儲存設施,若發生液化天然氣意外,後果不堪設想。

(d) 珠三角的潔淨電力長期短缺。然而,問題已確定,並正在積極採取措施,以燃燒液化天然氣的大型設施,替代高污染的燃油及燃煤發電廠。深圳液化天然氣接收站率先行動,一期產氣量達每年300萬噸,而二期正在建設中,產氣量達每年200萬噸。

珠三角的電力需求大大超過香港的需求,預期還會大幅增長。因此,與珠三角開展合作,既可提供產量大幅增加的服務於珠三角的接收站,亦可取得成本效益,而此時在香港興建產量有限的獨立接收站,毫無意義可言。

中電立場的反駁

16. 中電已提出諸多理由,解釋從建於香港的中電自有接收站可以最佳方式供應龍鼓灘發電廠所需的液化天然氣。

(a) 中電認為——香港接收站將確保供應安全
我們認為——這完全錯誤。擬建的接收站僅是儲存設施,而液化天然氣是依據長期供應合約而自產氣國供應。儲存接收站的地點無關緊要。此外,多年以來,早至大亞灣的核供應,近至崖城的天然氣供應,均證明大陸是最可靠的合作夥伴。中電暗示設於珠三角的接收站不安全或珠三角供應商不可靠,毫無根據。

(b). 中電認為——香港接收站因可供應潔淨燃料而將會帶來環保效益。
我們認為——這是燃料的問題,而非接收站的地點問題。港燈自深圳引進液化天然氣同樣是潔淨燃料。

(c) 中電認為——香港接收站可使項目依據明確的政策及法規於單一司法管轄權下交付。
我們認為——這確實是實情,但此理由本身亦有不足之處。港燈顯然已成功克服獲取深圳供應的任何問題。

(d) 中電認為——香港接收站將以基建設施投資的形式,帶來經濟效益,並額外提供工程及建造職位。
我們認為——該基建設施只會令中電受益。職位增加主要在四年的建造期間,而長久職位的增加不到30個。幾乎可以肯定的是,如果在珠三角而非香港水域興建接收站,電費會更低,整個社會均將從中獲得更廣泛的經濟效益。

17. 向香港供應液化天然氣的方案

(a) 深圳大鵬接收站

此接收站的一期(產量達每年300萬噸)將要進行試運行且已全面交付,二期有待建造或開工。二期的產量達每年200萬噸,可基本上滿足中電每年260萬噸的需求。此接收站位於香港東,只需使用專用海底管道或於深圳建造陸地通道。鑑於珠三角西部的未來需求,建造便利的陸地通道的可能性較大。

(b) . 中石化珠海接收站

中國石油化工股份有限公司(中石化)已表示擬於珠江的黃茅島上興建珠海液化天然氣接收站。中石化已告知接收站將於2009年竣工,且可於2011年之前擴建,以滿足中電的需求。

此建議在地點、產量及時間方面,均明確考慮到中電的需求。採用該建議,可實現成本效益、更低廉的燃油、環境保護,亦可額外加強跨珠三角之間的協作,會令各方受益匪淺。

如《南華早報》(2006年7月26日)所公佈,中石化項目將興建足夠的基建設施,以便向香港及澳門提供服務。中石化已表示,發展成本將低於100億美元,其中約50%或50億美元將分配予服務香港的基建設施。中石化已向媒體透露,本港設施的發展成本將為290億美元,佔中石化設施成本近兩倍。從任何方面來看,濫用資源均不恰當。
我們認為,此方案是最佳方案。

(c) 液化天然氣直接供應的出現

Husky Oil最近公佈的調查結果稱距離香港約250公里的中國水域蘊藏大量的液化天然氣,證明外判香港能源供應的兩種方案切實可行。這一氣源與目前的崖城天然氣供應一樣,可能亦會成為香港長期可行的液化天然氣直接能源供應。此外,亦進一步增大直接透過管道輸送天然氣至香港的可能性,經過評估證明,此重大機遇將帶來明顯的利益。

中電液化天然氣計劃的現狀

18. 由於單方面的商業利益(中電)及監管遲滯(港府),出現若不迅速解決將不可避免地損害香港利益的情況。隨著崖城天然氣供應的減少(對此,中電仍須提供實際數據,但卻被中電利用,向港府施加不當壓力),由於天然氣供應需求,龍鼓灘2500 MW 項目下馬的期望將會增加。顯然,我們不會允許損失2500 MW 相對清潔的電力。

19. 鑑於公眾對空氣質素無可爭議的擔憂,及在缺乏自審備選方案的情況下,港府可能會對接受中電的意見,允許在香港水域及索罟群島興建液化天然氣接收站。

20. 我們認為,將餘留不多的天然美景之一變成極其醜陋的工業項目,是極為荒謬的決定。這不僅無法減輕環境損害,亦將損失餘留的娛樂區,對美輪美奐的天然風景區造成無法彌補的打擊。

21. 我們的意向和觀點

(a) 我們無意阻止向香港供應液化天然氣。實際上,我們認為儘早向香港供應液化天然氣,對改善香港的空氣質素至關重要。儘管如此,如果匆忙做出決定導致永遠喪失我們最好的余留自然景區(索罟群島),這令人無法接受。若發現中石化方案更可行但無法於一至兩年內滿足2010年目標,我們認為總體而言推遲可以接受。

(b) 我們認為,雖然興建香港接收站及享受管制計劃的有關回報,會令中電獲得不菲的商業獎勵,但結果極不可能令香港消費者獲益。此外,中電已公開表示會選擇在更遠的索罟群島興建接收站,以獲得更大的資本投入回報。事實上,整個管制計劃因素預示大量的開支將由香港消費者買單。為明確辯論財務方面的事宜,我們強烈建議提出零資本成本場景(從香港水域以外的接收站引進液化天然氣會產生的情景),在此場景下評估中電建議的真正消費成本。

(c) 此外,我們指出中電對索罟群島經濟發展的評估不會計入整個發展過程之中。索罟群島擁有獨一無二的海洋環境,海洋哺乳動物及魚類豐富多樣,是娛樂休閒的理想之所。該發展的財務評估不會計算此地永久失去野生動植物、海洋生物或景區及娛樂好處的代價。

(d) 我們認為,港府在此類重要事宜方面,承擔著明確的領導責任,應採取較迄今為止更積極的措施。充任被動的監管機構,僅回應收到的建議並不夠。在此情況下,港府並無就中電花四年時間提出只在香港興建接收站的方案,做出任何指引。理論上,我們希望看到中電獲得指引即時調查珠三角方案,或中石化等天然氣集中供應二級供應商,中石化的建議切實可行,其中明確表示興建本港接收站很可能不會獲得批准。

(e) 我們認為,對於興建及適時興建大規模基建設施項目的需求等事宜,港府須起到更積極的作用,而不應簡單地倚賴提供單一方案的私營機構的計劃。有關液化天然氣接收站的現有爭辯是單方面的,是中電為獲得商業利益而表演的獨角戲。我們建議港府對鼓勵從外部引進液化天然氣至香港的可能性,開展成本/效益調查。顯然,港燈已接受最可行供應源是深圳的觀點,甚至已全面執行由規劃直至安裝的全過程。港燈的此種做法表示,中電的商業利益有礙供求之間的公平平衡。正如其本身供應電力,港府應考慮開放電力事業的燃油供應市場,確保香港不會一意孤行。

綠色大嶼山協會 Living Islands Movement

2006年9月

Post edited by: Martin, at: 2006/09/23 15:42

[b]WWF expresses serious concerns on CLP's LNG Terminal EIA procedure
and the future of the Chinese White Dolphin[/b] (21 September 2006)

WWF considers that CLP is attempting to sabotage public debate and the decision-making process on its proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) Terminal because the company has stated a firm preference for the Soko's site before the government has completed its examination of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), and after only releasing highly selectively information to the public.

CLP revealed its preference on site location to the public three weeks ago without fully considering other viable site options for its LNG Terminal. CLP has refused to release the draft EIA preventing anyone from properly considering the impacts of the two sites in the EIA or what other options were considered.

"This is a deliberate attempt by CLP to prejudice the decision-making process by stating its preference while controlling the information which has violated fundamental principles of the EIA public consultation process ," stated Mr Eric Bohm, CEO, WWF Hong Kong.

In the Study Brief issued by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), outlining the requirements of the EIA, CLP was required to compare the environmental merits and demerits of the Soko and Black Point option with other options.

"CLP should provide clear and objective comparisons on the Pros and Cons for all other possible LNG sources, including other alternative LNG supplies. Despite the efforts by EPD in recent years to encourage the project proponents to allow continuous public participation in the EIA process from initial planning through to final design, CLP has decided to release selective and piecemeal information," said Dr Alan Leung, Senior Conservation Officer, WWF Hong Kong. "By doing so they are deliberately biasing the public debate on this important infrastructure project in an environmentally sensitive area which could have ramifications for decades to come." WWF has written to CLP several times to request that the whole draft EIA be released, as has been done for some recent government projects recently, but the response so far has been negative.

CLP's stated preference as of the 1 st September is to build a terminal on the South Soko Island, with its surrounding waters endorsed as a Marine Park in 2002. The areas have been identified as important fishery spawning and nursery grounds. The Sokos waters are also unique being the only location where the Chinese white dolphin and the Finless porpoise co-occur in local waters. The proposed gas pipeline associated with the Soko option will also cut through the prime habitat of the Chinese white dolphin near the Sha Chau and Lung Kwu Chau Marine Park and another Marine Park proposed for Southwest Lantau. Unbelievably, the information released to the public by CLP to date comparing the Black Point and Soko sites makes no mention of the marine mammals found at the Sokos.

"WWF is extremely concerned by the Government's casual dis regard to the continuous and cumulative encroachment from large scale developments within the marine areas inhabited by the only two residential marine mammals in Hong Kong. Over the past 10 years, more than 10 projects with over 1,700 ha of the sea area have been reclaimed. Reclamation has not just caused a direct loss of these mammals' habitats, it also removes habitat for the fish on which the dolphins feed," continued Dr Leung.

Endless past, present and future works on dredging, dumping, facilities installation, and pollution not only pose threats to the dolphins and the porpoises, but the whole marine environment, and have contributed to our declining fishing industry. Although the dolphin and the porpoise population is holding up at the moment, we worry that these magnificent animals will not be able to withstand unlimited and on-going developments, such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge and the Container Terminal 10 near Tai O.

"WWF is calling on the Hong Kong public to support the only two warm-blooded resident marine animals by demanding the Government cease this casual disregard for the areas in which they live. While WWF does support the move towards greener fuels like natural gas for power generation, we cannot accept the trade off to the Soko Islands and the dolphins and porpoise while other options are available" stated Mr Bohm.

[b]世界自然基金會極度關注中電液化天然氣接收站的環評程序
並憂慮中華白海豚的未來[/b] (2006年9月21日)

世界自然基金會認為中華電力(下稱「中電」)在推出液化天然氣接收站項目時,企圖左右有關項目的公眾討論,以及政府的決策過程。中電在政府完成檢討該項目的環境影響評估報告前,向公眾有選擇地發放資料,並表態決意在大鴉洲興建接收站。三星期前,中電未有充份考慮其他興建液化天然氣接收站的可行選址,突然公佈該機構的屬意選址;同時拒絕向外界披露有關的環評報告初稿,讓人無從徹底研究報告中兩個選址的影響,亦無法獲悉其餘選址的位置。

世界自然基金會香港分會行政總裁龐毅理指出:「中電故意預先透露意向,並選擇性發放資料,企圖藉此影響決策過程,有違環評報告中有關公眾諮詢程序的基本原則。」

環境保護署在概述環評報告要求的研究摘要中,曾指出中電必須把大鴉洲和龍鼓灘的選址,以及其他可行地點對環境造成的利弊進行比較。

本會高級環境保護主任梁士倫博士表示:「中電必須就所有液化天然氣的來源,包括其他液化天然氣的供應源頭對環境造成的利弊,提供清晰而客觀的比較,儘管近年環保署積極鼓勵項目發展商在整個環評過程中,即由草擬計劃至定案階段,均容許公眾參與,然而中電卻刻意選擇性地發放零碎的資料,故意誤導公眾討論有關是項重要基建工程的方向。是項工程將在生態敏感的環境中進行,造成的生態影響可能連綿數十年。」本會曾屢次去信中電,要求他們效法政府近期發展項目的做法,公開環評報告全文,然而中電一直未有答應。

中電在 9 月 1 日表示屬意在大鴉洲南部興建接收站,但早在 2002 年,當局已同意將該處鄰近水域列為海岸公園, 有關範圍是公認的重要魚類產卵和育苗場地。大鴉洲水域更是本地唯一有中華白海豚和江豚出沒的生境。中華白海豚在鄰近沙洲與龍鼓洲海岸公園,以及建議中的大嶼山西南部海岸公園中範圍的棲息地,將被大鴉洲接收站的輸氣管貫穿。中電公開有關龍鼓灘和大鴉洲的選址比較資料中,竟然完全沒有提及大鴉洲的海洋哺乳動物,委實不可思議。

梁博士續道:「中華白海豚和江豚是唯一棲居本港水域的海洋哺乳動物,在牠們的棲息地中進行大規模發展項目,將對該處環境構成深遠且日漸嚴重的影響,政府對有關問題卻採取輕率和漠視的態度,對此本會深表關注。過去 10 年來,該帶水域共發展超過 10 個項目,填海面積達 1,700 公頃。填海不僅直接縮小這些哺乳動物的生境,也導致海豚的主要食物 — 魚類的生境流失。」

永無止境的挖泥、傾倒垃圾和設施興建工程,加上污染問題,不僅威脅海豚和江豚,亦破壞海洋環境,加速本地漁業式微。儘管目前海豚和江豚的數目大致穩定,然而我們擔心這些漂亮的動物將無法抵受無日無之的發展,如港珠澳大橋項目和大澳附近的十號貨櫃碼頭發展項目等。

龐毅理最後表示:「本會呼籲香港市民關注本港僅有的兩種溫血海洋生物,要求政府不再忽視牠們的棲息地。本會十分支持採用如天然氣等更環保的燃料發電,然而我們實在無法接受有關方面有其他選擇時,仍要犧牲大鴉洲的生境,以及海豚和江豚的利益。」

See also WWF Hong Kong webpages: [url=http://www.wwf.org.hk/eng/conservation/nogoatsoko/clp-proposal.php]No Go at Soko[/url]

Post edited by: Martin, at: 2006/11/01 08:36

Taken me some time, but after an email request from Living Island Movement, I've at last sent emails to various HK govt departments regarding the Soko Islands.

Sent the following to (and here, I've amended email addresses so hopefully spammers' robots won't read):
Environmental Protection Department – Dr. Mike Chui , Director of EPD (Actg) – enquiry AT epd.gov.hk
Economic Development and Labour Bureau – Stephen IP GBS JP, Secretary for… edb At edlb.gov.hk
Environment Transport and Works Bureau – Dr. Sarah Liao JP, Secretary for …. etwbenq AT etwb.gov.hk
Advisory Council on the Environment – Professor LAM Kin-che, Chairman of … etwbenq AT etwb.gov.hk
LegCo Environmental Affairs Panel – Hon. CHOY So-yuk, Chairman of… sychoy AT pacific.net.hk
LegCo Planning Lands and Works Panel – Hon. Patrick Lau Sau-shing SBS JP, Deputy Chairman of… patricklau AT gmail.com

- maybe you can send similar.

I am writing to express my concern re the possible LNG terminal on the Soko Islands.

As I am sure you are aware, this may benefit CLP for a few years, but would otherwise be a retrograde step for Hong Kong. (Has anyone calculated how much it would cost to restore the Sokos once the terminal is finished with? Such costs should be borne by CLP, and should be factored into any benefit analyses.)
As the attached photo indicates, the Soko Islands are highly attractive. I took it a few years ago - and the low buildings of the Tai A Chau detention centre are visible, indicating that an LNG terminal would significantly blight the landscape.

Instead, I believe the Sokos should be retained as one of our few (two?) remaining clusters of relatively wild islets that are well worth visiting for hiking, enjoying beaches and scenery etc. Further, I believe the marine park should be established.
Over time, such measures would make the Sokos valuable to Hong Kong, in part as a destination for local people, and - potentially - for overseas visitors.

Yours sincerely,
Dr Martin Williams

Founder
Hong Kong Outdoors

 [img width=488]http://www.hkoutdoors.com/components/com_joomlaboard/uploaded/images/sok...

Post edited by: Martin, at: 2006/10/02 12:00

An email I sent in response to request for info re possible question to Legco:

One thing that I haven't heard: does the budget for the LNG terminal include the costs of dismantling it, and restoring the area to its original condition or better (both on land, and underwater)?
Surely, this should be guaranteed before any work begins.

I ask partly as have heard of (nuclear) plants, open coal mines etc, where costs for dismantling etc are so huge, they would make them economically unviable.
But, tends to be that the things are built/done, then society at large is left to pick up the bill for repairing the environment.

Perhaps of some interest: an article on the costs, including hidden costs, of coal mining in the US:
[url=http://pennsylvania.sierraclub.org/PAChapter/Issues/Longwall%20Mining%20... Costs of Coal in Pennsylvania
Effects of Longwall Mining[/url]
Includes:
[b][b]The Department of Environmental Protection acts more like a Department of Energy Production[/b] when it ignores existing laws and regulations and provides the mining industry a de facto exemption from the same environmental protection requirements that other industries must comply with. The costs to extract coal are passed along to the coalfield residents, to the environment, and to the taxpayers, thereby inflating the private profits of mine operators and distorting coal’s market advantage over competing energy resources.[/b]

From email recently in:

in case you haven't expressed your views on the Soko Islands issue through the official consultation channel provided by the Environmental Protection Department, please visit the following site and click on the [Send Comment] link under EIA REPORTS: Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Receiving Terminal and Associated Facillities:

http://www.epd.gov.hk/eia/

It is very important to that you should do this before 25 Jan, because utilising the Government's own consultation channel means having your comments 'on the record' in the most direct way. Thank you for your kind attention.

This just in - was posted to the EPD site via link given above:

I represent The Conservation Agency in strongly opposing the building of a LNG terminal, or any other industrial facility, in the Soko Islands because that would be a tragic waste of a potentially wonderful and lucrative natural resource. The proper development for the Sokos should be as an ecotourist destination resort.

The Sokos are rich in natural history, including both terrestrial and marine life, birds, animals, and flora. The existing old town/prison platform on Tai A Chau would be ideal for hotel development and resort headquarters. The beach front on the south side of Siu A Chau could be redeveloped for recreation. The waters south of Tai A Chau, extending to and including Tau Lo Chau, should become a marine park and sanctuary for snorkeling and diving. Nature trails, with interpretive signage, should extend out on both Tai A Chau and Siu A Chau from the developed sites for birding, animal observation, and plant identification. This sort of development for ecotourism and recreation in nature is very popular and very profitable in the Mediterranean and Caribbean. It is time to do this in the South China Sea.

Not only is ecotoursm lucrative and popular, but it can be wonderful – if properly managed – for wildlife and the natural environment. I have personally been in charge of developing natural history programs, including rare species restorations, nature trails, interpretive signage, and tour guiding, on a number of Caribbean islands, notably Guana and Necker (see www.guanascience.com, www.guana.com, and www.necker.com). A properly developed and managed ecotourist destination resort is much better for wildlife and nature than an “empty” island: That is because the people there have reason to care for the island’s natural resources.

The Conservation Agency (www.theconservationagency.org) and I personally stand ready to advise and assist in the proper development of the Soko Islands.

Sincerely, James Lazell, Ph.D., 2007.1.21.

I've just sent this to EPD:

Hong Kong boast some of the finest scenery along the coast of China. This is important for residents, and for helping attract tourists; plus Hong Kong supports rich biodiversity, including globally rare species.

Yet, especially along the coasts, we have relatively few "unspoiled" areas. The Soko Islands are among the best of these.

The planned project will have a major negative impact on the Sokos: damaging the land and marine environments and wildlife, including Chinese white dolphin, as well as scarring the scenery, even marring views from places high on Lantau, such as the Big Buddha at Ngong Ping.

Why the unseemly rush to concrete part of the Sokos?
While using LNG as power station fuel could indeed help reduce air pollution, doing so - and sourcing LNG via the Sokos - is not the only option.
For instance, it would seem entirely possible to source LNG from Sinopec, China's largest oil refiner, which is gearing up to supply nearby places.

I have heard the rush is supposedly to help improve air quality. Yet, the Chief Executive has claimed air pollution here is not a serious problem.
Further, why the rush here when the Hong Kong Government has lately been limp-wristed in seeking further controls on emissions by local power stations.?

To what extent has the government explored possibilities for greatly improving coal burning by local power stations?.
Ttechnologies exist to make coal burning far cleaner; indeed, with coal gasification, power plant emissions are similar to those from plants burning natural gas (though include carbon dioxide, which will also be produced burning LNG - making even this environmentally unfriendly given contributions to global warming).

Given the rush here (supposedly to boost air quality), why is the government not pressing for reduced energy consumption in Hong Kong?
Why this apparent reliance on a quick-fix involving yet more concrete?

Why was the proposal for a marine park at the Sokos readily dropped, and lately ignored, by the government?

Hong Kong is currently aiming to broaden tourism, to include nature tourism.
The Sokos would make a fine site for ecotourism, attracting both residents and overseas visitors.
What ecotourism plans for the Sokos have been considered by the government?

What are the projected costs for dismantling the LNG terminal once it is no longer needed (within a relatively short period) - and for restoring the Sokos?
What guarantees are there that such restoration work will actually be carried out, and we won't simply be left with a ruined area of once lovely islands?

Dr Martin Williams

Director
Hong Kong Outdoors

Stephen IP GBS JP, Secretary for Economic Development and Labour Bureau,

RE: Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Receiving Terminal and Associated Facilities

As part of the Public Consultation towards the aforementioned project, I would be grateful if the Government would for the record consider my views and objections on this matter, especially towards the Sokos Islands.

Firstly I would like to enquire about the potential impacts to marine ecology resulting from the open loop system (a system that draws in seawater and discharges a cocktail of antifoulant and chlorine back into the environment). Sterilizing millions of gallons of water in this way must have an impact on marine life especially towards shrimp, food prey items for the Chinese White Dolphin, fish larvae and possibly Branchiostoma belcheri, a species recognised of high conservation interest in the region. The EIA states that impacts to marine ecology as a result of potential concentrations of residual chlorine are not expected to occur.
Has CLP addressed the closed loop system which will have negligible impacts to marine life?

Secondly, as part of a feasibility study for the Chinese White Dolphin, AFCD commissioned a report in 1997, with recommendations to consider a way forward to designate SW Lantau (including Fan Lau and the Sokos) as a Marine Park, during the interim (now 10 years) the site was also to be considered as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Where does AFCD and the rest of the Government stand on this point? And looking towards the future what kind of protection is afforded by the already established marine parks? Are we to allow large scale projects to infringe on these areas under the pretext of clearing up our polluted skies at the expense of the marine environment?

Thirdly, information from the Port Surveys of 1989-91 and 1996-97 commissioned by AFCD provide the best source of existing information about fisheries resources. The Sokos Islands were identified as being part of a nursery area for commercial fisheries resources that encompasses a large stretch of Hong Kong southern waters extending between South Lantau and southern portion of Lamma Island waters. This area has been identified as a nursery particularly for Oratosquilla species as well as Sciaenid and Squilla fry. As is Hong Kong fisheries are severely under threat from 'such' projects that destroy prime nursery areas. This type of impact is another good example of this country's coastal destruction which also includes 'atypical' neglect towards the marine environment, aka Disnelyland, the Airport, Tseung Kwan O, ad nauseam.

Fourthly, as part of Planning Departments 'Landscape Value Mapping of Hong Kong Report' it appears that other development projects in southern Lantau have been mooted and discussed including retail and tourism-related uses. How will these co-exist with an LNG terminal? It also quotes that 'further offshore, the coastal waters are open and exposed, punctuated only by occasional vessels or by small island landscapes which, when in groups - such as the Sokos or Po Toi Islands - form striking remote sea landscapes'. To encourage tourism in the area I suggest we keep it that way.

I hope the Government is committed on Black Point as the site for the LNG terminal and that the final design changes incorporate significant measures thus reducing those ecological impacts classed as minor to a negligible level.

Sincerely,
Charles Frew, MSc

Post edited by: Martin, at: 2007/01/23 21:08

I am also quite surprised nobody has picked up on the somewhat desperate measures by EXXON-CLP using Photoshop or fake images to ram home the point of the 'marine park designation' olive branch.
If anybody saw the advertorial in the SCMP on Friday or Saturday, the image depicted 2 Chinese White Dolphins above a coral seabed with a school of Bluestripe Snapper (we should note that only one single specimen of this fish has ever been caught by fishers from Lamma Island - Reef Fishes of Hong Kong).

I have always been under the impression that the most dangerous motive for generating fake images is to alter the public's perception of truth for political reasons...

Charles Frew

Post edited by: Martin, at: 2007/01/23 21:09

Hi Martin & Charles ...

Would be interested RE your comments on todays INSIGHT comment in the SCMP by Thomas Jefferson. What do you think?

Tom Bowman

Post edited by: Martin, at: 2007/01/23 21:11

Hi Tom:

I think Dr Jefferson is broadly correct re the dolphins (saying LNG terminal won't have real impact on them, or on finless porpoise): some years ago, I went out on survey boat with him in waters north of Lantau, and judged him a good-excellent scientist. (Around that time, were some over-the-top predictions re the dolphins, such as would not last beyond 1997 or thereabouts; Dr Jefferson's more level-headed pronouncements proved more accurate.)

But, I still don't believe the LNG terminal at the Sokos is justified: will be destructive to a still lovely area, with good marine ecology (not just dolphins, tho they are being used as flagship species).
As noted above, there are alternatives; Black Point among them - where there has already been considerable env harm, including power station already in place.
- Can't really say Dr Jefferson is objective in this regard, ie re merits of LNG terminal itself. I rather felt that his byline should have said something like, "Dr Thomas Jefferson, who has been handsomely paid by ExxonMobil-CLP partnership, which is keen on the Sokos option".
(If not paid handsomely, too bad: EIA work for developer of project like this should be well rewarded - which for some can mean that objectivity is lost: indeed, the EIA [not section re dolphins] reportedly has artist's impressions showing LNG tanks looking prominent at Black Point, yet somehow fuzzier and fainter at the Sokos.
It's a fundamental problem with EIAs, really: funded by wannabe developers, so I think can be tendency for Who Pays the Piper, Calls the Tune. At times, can be horrendously skewed in favour of developments. I write this having done a little EIA work; tried for objectivity.)

Martin

Post edited by: Martin, at: 2007/01/23 21:25

Post edited by: Martin, at: 2007/01/24 16:03

Having read the INSIGHT article, I think his last paragraph he wrote was a little desperate..something along the lines of dolphins breathing the same air as we do, and therefore justification for building the LNG Terminal at the Sokos to reduce air pollution.
There is much more to the Sokos than just dolphins..though as MW said they were the Handover Mascot in 1997 and are Hong Kong's flagship species.

What we all need to understand, including Dr. Jefferson is the CUMULATIVE Impacts of all these western HK projects that are slowly taking way dolphin habitat, not just looking at the merits of single project EIAs.
The airport, Disneyland, Aviation Facility, Lantau Zuhai Bridge, Container Terminal CT10, Logistics Park, LNG Terminal..the list goes on.
About time this indecisive government started taking these public consultations more seriously and becoming more transparent. CF

Post edited by: Martin, at: 2007/01/24 16:05

Thanks for the prompt reply and you both confirmed my worst suspicions .... it's a case of a death of a thousand cuts ... RE Charles comments.

The article was - as you say Martin - informed and reasonable but also verging on, in my opinion, unrealistic in the broader terms re the impact this project would have.

A right of reply should be taken up.

Regards

Tom

Post edited by: Martin, at: 2007/01/24 16:06

As printed in Jan. 24th SCMP (this is the unedited version)

Whilst WWF's petition does indeed ask us to urge the government not
to let the Chinese White Dolphins (aka pink dolphins) become extinct,
I do not think they- or anyone else- are suggesting that Exxon-CLP's
proposed LNG terminal at the Sokos will in itself kill off the
dolphins. ("Greens exaggerating impact on dolphins, says expert",
Jan. 22nd).
However we do believe that this project would be yet another nail in
the dolphins' coffin - as even
Exxon-CLP hired hand marine biologist Thomas Jefferson admits, it is the
cumulative impact of all the past and future development in the
Lantau area that concerns us. It is patronising to say we do not
understand the mitigation measures. We do - but we also understand the long
term effects of rampant development and loss of fishing grounds and
habitat.
Dr Jefferson also claims (Jan. 23rd) that the 40 km pipeline would have only a short term and relatively minor
impact on the dolphins - what does this mean? Not too many dead, so it doesn't matter? And how will this work
alongside the Airport Authority's proposal for a facility storing 400,000 cubic metres of oil near Tuen Mun, with another pipeline dredged through the same area, to the fuel facility at Sha Chau?
Every time an EIA is done in Hong Kong, it is done in a bubble and no
one - on land or at sea- ever seems to look at the cumulative effect
of say, an airport, a theme park, a gas terminal, a bridge to Macau,
more container terminals (the list goes on and on) in the dolphins'
habitat. Just as with human habitat, the government seems beholden to
developers and other big businesses, without a thought for those who
have to live with the consequences of their decisions.
Of course we all want clean air, of course this would benefit both
people and dolphins, but, as been stated over and over, there is no
need to allow Exxon-CLP to to ride roughshod over an area that was
proposed as a marine park, with cleaner air as a justification. One
LNG terminal is not going to clear the air over night either. There
is not even any need for this facility to be built in Hong Kong-
Black Point might be a slightly preferable location dolphin-wise, but
the mainland would be better for all of us, consumers included-
except of course for the energy companies who stand to profit by
keeping their investment within Hong Kong.

Janet walker
Hong Kong Dolphinwatch

CLP's partner in this potential environmental crime, ExxonMobil, has been major villain in funding groups befuddling American public over importance of global warming (this month, announced possible changes, so maybe [far] less such funding from now on).

There are several anti-ExxonMobil websites and web pages.
Sites include:
[url=http://www.exxposeexxon.com/]Exxpose Exxon[/url] - where you can find plenty of news items, such as titled "Exxon Caught Funding Fake News"
At top of homepage, says:
[quote]As one of the world's most profitable companies, ExxonMobil has the power to move the world toward a more sustainable energy future. Instead, ExxonMobil is consistently moving our country backward on energy by blocking efforts to stop global warming, funding front groups that produce junk science and disinformation about global warming, refusing to invest in renewable energy and [b]lobbying to drill in America's most sensitive areas[/b].[/quote]
- hardly seems a company to entrust with future of one of Hong Kong's finest coastal areas.

Just seen email saying:

[quote]The planning, construction and cost of an LNG terminal for Teeside UK, was scrapped since LNG tankers now convert the gas on board*
A terminal at the Soko Islands is thus superseded by advances in technology.
Storage provision can be made elsewhere.

(*This was reported in the Nov/Dec, edition of the Energy Institute's magazine Energy World - citing actions to supply UK's needs)[/quote]

Just googled, quickly.

From BBC news:

[quote]The Teesside project is unique in Europe because the LNG is warmed up and turned into gas while still onboard Excelerate's specially-designed tankers, before the gas is pumped directly into Britain's gas network.
...
The company says this avoids the need to build a terminal on land.[/quote]
[url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/tees/6353765.stm]Port welcomes first gas delivery[/url]

More info, especially on the vessel, includes:
[quote]Excelsior will regasify the LNG onboard and pump the natural gas directly into the UK national grid via a special high-pressure manifold connection.
...
On arrival at GasPort, LNGRVs will utilise a shore-mounted, high-pressure gas arm to connect the vessel's midships manifold with the shore pipeline.
...
[b]A small aboveground station at the site enables pressure control, metering and nitrogen blending to be carried out.[/b][/quote]
[url=http://www.lngworldshipping.com/content/news/compNews242.htm]Tees set to become second LNG receiving port in UK
[/url]

Naturally, we can anticipate some reasons why this just isn't possible out here.
CLP/Exxon nearly have their hands on all the extra money they can make via terminal in HK, so not about to let from their grasp just now I think.

Here's a letter I sent SCM Post editor on 15 Feb (had reply saying they had two similar letters just in, which were to be published. My letter didn't appear; just edited it and resent).

Dear Sir:

It was interesting to read the article in the Sunday Morning Post magazine on ExxonMobil's ongoing efforts to obfuscate scientific information on global warming, Recently, these efforts included offers of US$10,000 for scientists willing to emphasise the shortcomings of the latest report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Greenpeace International accuses ExxonMobil of a "deliberate misinformation campaign" over the effects of the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill, which occurred when an ExxonMobil tanker ran aground in Alaska in 1989. Though ExxonMobil has sought to play down the impacts, this was one of the the largest manmade environmental disasters to occur at sea.

We might wonder, then, if ExxonMobil is a fit company to be allowed to damage one of Hong Kong's finest coastal areas, by building an LNG terminal on the Sokos in partnership with CLP. Already we are seeing ExxonMobil-style disinformation: as noted in a letter from Charles Frew, an advert promoting the terminal showed a fake image, with a surreal scene of 2 Chinese White Dolphins above a coral seabed with a school of Bluestripe Snapper

More recent adverts show a bucolic farm scene - which surely isn't anywhere in Hong Kong. There is, too, an implicit threat - as if without the LNG terminal, we won't have clean air in Hong Kong. Perhaps we are supposed to be scared into saying yes.

It seems that in the rush to harm the Sokos and boost the profits of CLP and ExxonMobil (which is already among the world's most profitable companies), only scant attention is being paid to alternatives. For instance, LNG could be supplied from nearby mainland China.

Intriguingly, too, the UK recently scrapped plans for an LNG terminal at Teesside. Instead, advances in technology allow the LNG to be converted to gas on board vessels. It is then piped into the gas supply, via "a small aboveground station that enables pressure control, metering and nitrogen blending to be carried out".

Thus, an LNG terminal in Hong Kong might not only be environmentally harmful. It may also be outmoded before it's even built.

Yours faithfully,
Dr Martin Williams

[i]The above didn't appear; I followed with a third letter - below - and edited version of this was published.[/i]

Even though the Soko Islands seem out of sight, out of mind to most Hongkongers, recent letters to the editor indicate continuing concerns regarding Exxon-CLP plans for a liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal on one of the islands.

?? wrote that he had seen the islands from a plane, and on the southern side they appeared to have been already ruined. However, iwhile he may have seen the Sokos, the industrial development and quarrying damage he described was on nearby islands just outside Hong Kong. The Sokos remain mostly green and relatively wild and, as the writer's observations help show, this is unusual among South China islands.

In "Council's scope limited", letter writer John Schofield noted that the Advisory Council on the Environment had not considered all issues related to the terminal. A follow-up letter recommended he read the minutes of a recent meeting of ACE.

I have read those minutes, and noted that ACE was unable to discuss, "Issues falling outside the remit of the EIA Ordinance, including the need and justifications for the project, alternative sources of supply outside Hong Kong and land use interface" - so its scope was indeed limited.

It seems that in the haste to harm the Sokos and boost the profits of CLP and ExxonMobil (already among the world's most profitable companies), only scant attention is being paid to alternatives. For instance, LNG could be supplied from nearby mainland China.

Intriguingly, too, the UK recently scrapped plans for an LNG terminal at Teesside. Instead, advances in technology allow the LNG to be converted to gas on board vessels. It is then piped into the gas supply, via "a small aboveground station that enables pressure control, metering and nitrogen blending to be carried out".

Thus, an LNG terminal in Hong Kong might not only be environmentally harmful. It may also be outmoded before it's even built.

Post edited by: Martin, at: 2007/04/03 18:41

After piffling public debate (how much did you see re the issues?), and very fast process, govt has given CLP - ExxonMobil green light for harming the Sokos and surrounding waters.

Govt has made requirement re environment, however: CLP - ExxonMobil need to have a committee to oversee environmental aspects. That should make them tremble in the boardrooms - I don't think (can imagine them laughing now, and getting ready for the inflows of money).

Bah! :sick:

Though it seems inevitable that CLP-Exxon will soon set about harming the Soko Islands, the Living Islands Movement has released a position paper, arguing that Hong Kong doesn't need an LNG terminal (scroll well down for Chinese version):

[quote]LNG Receiving Terminal: An Unnecessary Scheme

The Living Islands Movement

Summary

1. Will CLP¡¦s proposed Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) terminal help bring us Blue Skies?

NO, because LNG fuels the smaller part of CLP's generating capacity, CLP will still have up to 60% of its capacity burning Coal as before. If all generation were to be switched to gas, it would help - but this is not being proposed nor is it feasible.

2. So what could bring us Blue Skies then?

Rapid installation of the long-delayed Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) equipment will cut 95% of the pollution from coal burning.

3. Where will Hong Kong get the gas needed for the generating capacity that can use it?

New gas supplies are becoming available from LNG terminals nearby in South China. HK Electric is already hooked up to one of these!
The existing supplier to CLP, CNOOC, states that it can extend the life of the Yacheng gas field, with some new investment.

4. So who would gain from this unnecessary scheme?

CLP and its partner, ExxonMobil, which owns 60% of the generating plant, are the only beneficiaries.
They get to extend their monopolies in electricity generation and distribution to include the sole control of importation and processing of LNG. The EU Competition Commission has been particularly scathing about the anti-competition activities of vertically integrated energy companies and called for their unbundling;
They get to add HK$8.0 billion or more to their asset base, on which they obtain guaranteed, risk-free profits paid for by Hong Kong consumers under the Scheme of Control.

5. And who would be the losers?

Hong Kong Consumers will lose, because they would have to pay for it through the Scheme of Control.
Hong Kong would also pay heavily in terms of damage to its Natural Heritage if an intrusive industrial plant is built in scenic South Lantau.
LNG Receiving Terminal: An Unnecessary Scheme

The Castle Peak Company (CAPCo), owned by ExxonMobil and CLP (60/40), proposes to build a LNG receiving terminal in Hong Kong. They have found that the only site suitable for this in Hong Kong is on the Soko islands off Lantau.

This paper draws from the facts that are publicly available and that concludes the only beneficiary will be ExxonMobil. The effects on Hong Kong will be to destroy a part of our dwindling natural heritage and a likely increase in electricity prices. The project has nothing to do with 'bringing blue skies'.

CAPCo¡¦s case is unfounded

- LNG supplies from China will be coming on line in a time frame comparable to that of building a terminal. Hong Kong Electric has already laid a 93 km pipeline to Guangdong and recently started to use it. No reason has been given for not following this example;
- the need for a replacement gas supply for Black Point Power Station (BPPS) is unproven. The owners of the Yacheng field which currently supplies BPPS, CNOOC, advise that the field's life can be extended by investing in new wells;
- additional generation is not needed because demand-side growth within Hong Kong is almost non-existent and likely to fall;
- an LNG facility will not significantly improve air quality, nor help CAPCo reach proposed new air quality targets, as it is impossible to easily dispense with coal that currently accounts for 60% of CAPCo¡¦s generating capacity in Hong Kong;
- By far the greater effect on pollution will be the installation of FGD (Flue Gas Desulphurization) plant which is starting soon and will come into use during 2009 - 2011. This will reduce the pollution from coal burning to 5% of the current level. The delay in installing the FGD plant by CAPCo has not been explained;
- The ¡§LNG for Blue Skies¡¨ advertisements by CLP appear to be intended only to mislead both the public and the government;
- CAPCo can meet the proposed new 2010 emission standards by a combination of:
£U accelerating the FGD installation at Castle Peak coal fired station currently in progress;
£U reducing external sales to China;
£U purchasing power from China;
£U assisting to curb the demand side (eg, Australia is to ban incandescent lamps).

Alternate LNG supplies for BPPS

The options for supply of gas to BPPS include:-
- extending the life of the existing supply from Yacheng. The field owners CNOOC advise that this is readily achievable. This is the simplest option and capitalizes on existing infrastructure.
- obtaining supply from the Sinopec Zhuhai Receiving Terminal. This is being sited on an island off Zhuhai, a similar distance to BPPS as the Sokos. Sinopec say that they can build the capacity by 2012, and have deliberately sited the terminal to facilitate supply to BPPS by submarine pipeline.
- obtaining supply from the Shenzhen Receiving Terminal at Dapeng near Mirs Bay. Phase 1 of the terminal has been commissioned, and supplies inter alia, unit 9 at Hong Kong Electric¡¦s power station at Lamma. Phase 2 at Dapeng which has yet to commence, has substantial planned capacity, and pipelines already in hand will bring the gas to Shekou, very close to BPPS from whence a short submarine pipeline could reach BPPS.

Economics and Governance

The following situations will be created if the project goes ahead:
- Extension of CAPCo's existing generation and distribution monopolies into the supply of LNG. The EU Competition Commission has been very scathing about the anti-competition activities of vertically integrated energy companies and called for their unbundling;
- an uneven playing field in which CAPCo is, literally, given a potentially lucrative Hong Kong terminal without due process involving open competition;
- an unbreakable monopoly because acceptance of CAPCo's Environmental Impact Assessment means that the last remaining place to build a terminal - Soko islands - will have been taken;
- CAPCo¡¦s use of the Scheme of Control (SoC) to obtain generous returns on fixed assets within HK, encourages and rewards massive capital investment ($8 Billion for the Sokos terminal) and discourages the use of cost-effective off-shore options;
- the further destruction of HK's natural heritage for the benefit of a foreign owned company;
- whilst no 'business plan' has been shown in public, the information that is available strongly suggests that the project will result in electricity prices that are higher than all the alternatives.

The Sokos (claimed to be tbe only place to build it):

- are a group of relatively unspoiled islands off highly scenic South Lantau;
- are intended, in the government public debated 2001 plans, to be a marine park that would, notably, include HK's signature Pink Dolphin;
- have a very high commercial fishing value;
- have a high natural heritage value and marine recreational value.
- are close to other islands in China's waters that are already seriously spoiled (see Google Earth at 22¢X07'North; 113¢X53'East). In 'one country', the use of one of these should not be insuperable. Exxon/CLP have not pursued this idea seriously, presumably because it would not be eligible for subsidy by Hong Kong consumers under the Scheme of Control.

Conclusions

£U Pollution levels will be drastically reduced by the introduction of FGD. Increasing the minority generation that uses gas will not make a marked difference. Only a complete long-term move away from coal will significantly reduce levels below those achieved with FGD.
£U Referring to the supply of LNG that is needed, a LNG receiving terminal in Hong Kong is not necessary - LNG will be available from China following the example set by HK Electric;
£U it must be concluded, therefore, that the purpose of such a terminal is part of the global growth of the sale of LNG by ExxonMobil
£U Hong Kong is chosen because of the favourable terms granted to CAPCo under the SoC wich, notably, will oblige CLP consumers to pay for the HK$8Bn terminal;
£U it has nothing, whatever, to do with 'blue skies';
£U it will create a vertically integrated power monopoly that can never be broken in the future;
£U the scheme is all the more reprehensible because it will destroy part of our natural heritage.

The Way ahead

- CAPCo should be refused a HK terminal
- CAPCo will be then obliged to seek alternatives which may include:-
£U negotiating with CNOOC for extended gas supplies from Yacheng;
£U securing gas supplies from Sinopec¡¦s Zhuhai Terminal;
£U securing gas supplies from Shenzhen¡¦s Dapeng Terminal.
- should there be, in actual practice, (this is highly debatable) a transitional period of reduced gas supply from Yacheng, the resulting reduction in generation capacity at BPPS might be accommodated by reducing generation demand through:-
£U temporarily suspending sales to China (now 18% of CAPCo¡¦s output);
£U temporarily purchasing power from China (China Power International Development stands ready to deliver);
£U demand-side savings initiatives.
- In any case, introduction of FGD greatly reduces the urgency for a transition to more LNG.

Living Islands Movement May 2007[/quote]

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[quote]Frequently shrouded by a polluted haze, two small islands on the edge of Hong Kong¡¦s territorial waters are at the epicentre of an unusual environmental debate.

At issue is the ecological cost Hong Kong is prepared to pay to clean up its filthy air.
...
Hong Kong environmentalists object to a project they believe would spoil an ecologically valuable area. The Sokos¡¦ surrounding waters are rich in marine life and a breeding ground for both rare pink dolphins and finless porpoises ¡V the only two marine mammals that manage to tolerate Hong Kong¡¦s dirty and heavily trafficked waterways.

¡§Having the [LNG] terminal and burning more gas instead of coal will improve Hong Kong¡¦s air pollution. But the central question is whether they need to step into this ecologically sensitive area,¡¨ says Hung Wing-tat, director of green group Conservancy Association.
...
The terminal, CLP also argues, will be built on already scarred land: the abandoned concrete platform where the detention centre that housed thousands of Vietnamese boat people once stood.

Conservationists, however, are not convinced. ¡§The effect on Hong Kong will be to destroy a part of our dwindling ecological heritage,¡¨ says the Living Islands Movement, a lobby group that argues CLP should instead source its gas from terminals across the border in Guangdong.

Making the project even more controversial is the need to lay a 38km underwater pipeline linking the terminal to CLP and ExxonMobil¡¦s 2,500MW Black Point power plant. Environmentalists contend the necessary dredging work will threaten the area¡¦s dolphins and porpoises, which breed each autumn and spring respectively.

¡§The pipes are at absolutely the worst place they could be for the dolphins,¡¨ says Janet Walker, a senior guide at Hong Kong DolphinWatch, which organises nature tours.

CLP¡¦s environmental permit bans dredging during the breeding seasons. Work would also have to halt temporarily every time a pink dolphin or porpoise was spied within 250m of a dredger, and the company has promised to establish two marine parks ¡V a plan the government proposed in 2002 but never implemented.[/quote]
[url=http://www.ft.com/cms/s/c00cd1dc-0871-11dc-b11e-000b5df10621.html]Gas terminal threatens HK dolphins[/url]

ahah, you wrote a good one.