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15 January 2018

Weekly news roundup (8-12 January)

International

Engineering firms Deltamarin and GTT have unveiled a new portfolio of LNG-fuelled cargo and passenger vessels that aim to free useable space onboard and make LNG a more attractive alternative to oil products in long-haul sea travel.

Spanish utility Gas Natural Fenosa has launched the DirectLink LNG system – the world’s first universal floating LNG transfer system.

US & Canada

US – Despite US sanctions and frosty relations, Russian gas is headed toward the east coast of the US, after an LNG cargo was reloaded at the Isle of Grain LNG terminal in the UK, with Russian gas molecules now destined for Boston, according to shipping data.

The US government’s proposal to subsidise struggling coal and nuclear power stations was flatly rejected by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) this week in a move many welcomed as a victory for common sense.

Dallas-based Lucid Energy Group has agreed to sell midstream subsidiary Lucid II, which operates in the prolific Permian Basin in west Texas, to Goldman Sachs and energy investment firm Riverstone Holdings.

Delek has farmed into 12 leases in shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico with GulfSlope and Texas South Energy.

Natural gas has likely entered a historic period, with US upstream supply and downstream demand to exceed all record highs this and next year, while the coal sector wanes on both counts, the state-funded EIA has predicted.

New York City has become the latest US area to file a lawsuit against energy majors, seeking “billions in damages” related to climate change, while city pension funds unveiled plans to divest over USD 5 billion in fossil fuel companies.

A decision by the US Interior Department to withdraw Florida from a list of coastal states with waters open for exploratory drilling has sparked outrage among governors and environmental lobby groups.

SM Energy has agreed to sell most of its Powder River basin shale acreage to an unnamed buyer for USD 500 million.

Activist investor Carl Icahn has called on Sandridge Energy to replace two directors and remove rules barring shareholders from accumulating more than a 10% stake in the business.

BP has reportedly agreed to pay USD 102 million to settle claims that it overcharged the state of California for gas between 2003 and 2012.

Cold weather pushed US gas storage withdrawals to new record highs in early January, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.

Africa

Nigeria – The Escarvos to Lagos Pipeline was rocked by an unexplained explosion last Thursday, days after a six-day outage linked to a separate explosion.

Asia Pacific

China – In hopes of reducing the dominance of the US dollar in commodities markets, the world’s top oil importer China plans to launch an oil futures contract in yuan, which could become a new Asian benchmark. Read more in our feature

India – India's government may split energy company GAIL into two entities citing "poor performance" with regard to developing a pipeline network, local reports suggest.

Australasia

Australia – The Australian Government has lifted its expectations for national gas production and LNG exports for fiscal year 2018-2019, according to the latest state Resources and Energy Quarterly report.

LNG exports from Australia’s east coast hit an all-time record high in December, topping the previous record by some 14%, data from the Gladstone Ports Corporation showed.

Europe

Greece – Pipe manufacturer Corinth Pipeworks has been hired to build the 77-km offshore section of the Balticconnector gas pipeline between Finland to Estonia.

Hungary – Eni has completed its withdrawal from Hungary following the sale of subsidiary Tigaz Zrt – a gas distribution company in the country.

Netherlands – The Operator of the Groningen gas field has submitted a proposal to shut-in some onshore clusters following a 3.4 magnitude earthquake last Monday – the third largest quake ever measured in Groningen.

Spain – Repsol is holding talks with various companies, including CVC Capital Partners, regarding the sale of its 20% stake in utility Gas Natural Fenosa, a spokesperson for Repsol told Gas Matters Today.

UK – The UK government is to introduce a carbon dioxide emissions intensity limit as its primary policy measure to ensure that unabated coal-fired electricity generation ends by its stated deadline of 2025.

The largest UK shale acreage holder Ineos has lodged a legal challenge against Scotland’s fracking ban, calling it "unlawful" and "a misuse of ministerial power".

London-based SOCO has confirmed that it is in talks to merge with Kuwait Energy, which last year failed to complete an IPO on the London Stock Exchange.

Utility firm SSE has announced plans to increase UK gas-fired fleet by building a new 2 GW CCGT – the third gas-fired power plant planned by the energy company for the UK market.

Latin America & Caribbean

Venezuela – President Nicolas Maduro’s move to launch an oil-backed cryptocurrency – the Petro – was shot down last week by parliament.

Middle East

Iraq – Algerian state-owned energy company Sonatrach is looking to make its first foray into Iraq after agreeing to study oil and gas exploration, development and investment opportunities in the country.

Baghdad has reportedly approved Shell’s sale of a 20% stake in the West Qurna 1 oil field to Itochu Corp.

Russia & CIS

Kazakhstan – Moldovan businessman Anatolie Stati is reportedly seeking the sale of the Kazakh sovereign wealth fund’s stake in the Kashagan oil field.

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