11
Oct
2021

Gas Matters Today | news roundup | w/c 4 October 2021

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International

Qatar Petroleum (QP) has ordered four new LNG ships from Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group (Hudong), in its maiden order with a Chinese shipyard. The ~QAR 2.8 billion order (~USD 770 million) came after the Qatari company announced in April last year it had reserved a large portion of the Chinese firm’s LNG carrier construction capacity until 2027.

US-based fund Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners has struck a deal worth USD 6.2 billion to buy Teekay LNG Partners, one of the world’s largest independent operators of LNG carriers, amid a trend of major funds buying into LNG shipping companies as LNG demand is soaring. While the majority of Teekay’s fleet has been contracted for this and next year, the company still has exposure to the spot market.

North America

Mexico – In another nationalisation step, Mexican president AMLO has announced radical plans to amend the constitution in a move to award state-owned company Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) a larger share of the domestic power market while ousting national energy regulators. If approved by Congress, the step would award CFE a 56% share of energy generation and transmission in the country as opposed to the current ~38%.

US – Las Vegas-based gas distribution company Southwest Gas Holdings has entered a definitive agreement to acquire Questar Pipelines from Dominion Energy in a USD 1.545 billion deal. However, Southwest Gas activist stakeholder Carl Icahn has called on the firm to pull out of the proposed purchase due to increasing expenses and little turnover on the company’s board.

Central & South America

Argentina – State-owned energy firm IEASA abandoned plans to import LNG and sell the regasified fuel to Brazil due to high priced bids received in an LNG supply tender, according to local media reports.

Asia Pacific

Singapore – Sembcorp Industries has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Japanese firms Chiyoda and Mitsubishi to explore the opportunities for decarbonised hydrogen in Singapore. As part of the agreement, the partners will use Chiyoda’s hydrogen storage and transportation technology SPERA Hydrogen to evaluate the potential for blending carbon neutral hydrogen with natural gas in power generation.

Thailand – Tokyo Gas Engineering solutions (TGES) and a subsidiary of Thailand’s state-owned energy firm PTT have agreed to establish a joint venture to supply LNG to Thailand’s utilities and factories as the country is looking to ramp up LNG imports amid soaring gas demand. The venture will also involve the installation of heat and power systems – including solar, biomass and thermal power.

Exxon and Chevron have teamed up with Japanese firms Jera, JGC and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as well as South Korea’s SK E&S and Australia’s Santos to create the Asia Natural Gas & Energy Association (ANGEA). Its main objective is to drive natural gas expansion in the Asia Pacific region.

Europe

Spain – Repsol has raised its 2030 renewables and hydrogen capacity targets by 60%, in line with “favourable climate policy momentum”. Under the revised strategy, Repsol is targeting 20 GW of installed renewable power generation capacity and 1.9 GW of green H2 production capacity by 2030.

Germany – Gazprom’s Swiss holding company Nord Stream 2 AG has injected gas in line B of the subsea pipeline ahead of planned test flows. Running parallel, German regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) asked Nord Stream 2 AG for information to show all regulatory requirements have been met in order to start proceedings against the company in case of doubts about its compliance.

European gas prices plummeted on Wednesday last week after soaring to record intraday highs, with the strong drop coming after Russia’s president Valdimir Putin said Russia was ready to step in and stabilise the energy market.

Luxembourg – Advocate General of the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) Michal Bobek has said that Gazprom’s Swiss subsidiary Nord Stream 2 AG (NS2 AG) has the right to legally challenge the amendment of the EU Gas Directive as it "both directly and individually" affects the company. The step could result in a review of the case, after NS2 AG had its challenge against the Directive dismissed by the General Court in 2020.

UK – Shell has lined its maiden investments in the UK’s solar sector after signing a framework agreement with Island Green Power to develop solar PV projects with on-site battery storage potential. The initial collaboration is for 700 MW, supplemented with a 100 MW solar agreement with Clearstone Energy.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced the UK’s plans to produce all its power from “clean” sources by 2035 in an update from the country’s commitment to reduce CO2 emissions by 78% by 2035 compared with 1990 levels.

UK transmission system operator (TSO) National Grid has suggested that there is enough gas supply capacity to meet Britain’s demand this winter under all scenarios. The expansion of renewables in the power sector has led the TSO to forecast slightly lower gas demand compared with last winter. The operator expects that if low volumes of LNG are delivered to the country this winter the shortfall will be compensated for by imports through European interconnectors and domestic storage.

Russia & CIS Region

Russia – Gazprom’s gas exports to China via the Power of Siberia pipeline remained intact after a fire at its giant Amur gas processing plant on Friday, a spokesperson for the Russian firm confirmed. Operations at the plant near the town of Svobodny were halted due to the fire – which was extinguished on Friday afternoon, according to reports.

Middle East

UAE – One of the world’s largest energy consumers per capita, the United Arab Emirates, has committed to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The country said it will invest AED 600 billion (USD 163.4 billion) in “clean and renewable energy” with both green and blue hydrogen expected to benefit from the investment.

Australasia

Australia – Japanese duo Mitsui and state-owned Japan Oil, Gas and Metal National Corporation (JOGMEC) have joined forces with Australia’s Wesfarmers to explore ammonia exports from Western Australia using feed gas from Mitsui’s Waitsia gas field.

Australia’s Northern Territory (NT) government released its Renewable Hydrogen Master Plan, under which it aims to create an export-scale green hydrogen industry “by 2035 or earlier”. The target is ambitious as renewables accounted for only 4.6% of NT’s power mix in 2020, according to government data.

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