Gas Matters Today | news roundup | 6-10 Jan 2020

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The shock assassination of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike stoked fears of oil supply disruption, driving Brent crude temporarily above USD 70/barrel, which if sustained could have amounted to a New Year gift to US shale producers and LNG exporters.


The UK offshore oil and gas industry slashed production costs by over 30% between 2014 and 2018, emerging as a “cost-cutting powerhouse” ahead of Norway and the US, according to research from independent research firm Rystad Energy.

ExxonMobil has been hailed as “explorer of the year” in 2019 after discovering ~1.07 billion boe of net resources over the last 12 months, accounting for nearly 9% of new oil and gas resources worldwide over the period, according to Rystad.

Asia Pacific

China / Japan – Mid-sized Japanese firms are reportedly stepping up LNG sales to Chinese buyers in a bid to shift unsold inventories as demand stagnates in Japan in a move which could eventually establish Japan as a regional break bulk hub.

Indonesia – The industry ministry has proposed the introduction of a plan that would oblige producers to sell a portion of their output to local manufacturers in order to ensure gas supply at a price suitable for those companies.

South Korea – LNG importer KOGAS has responded to competition by offering utilities new gas power tariffs in what could be a pre-emptive measure to protect market share after regulations begin to allow private firms to sell LNG to third parties in 2025.


EU / Turkey / Ukraine – Ukraine is no longer transiting Russian gas to Bulgaria, Greece or Turkey after Gazprom began delivering molecules via its new TurkStream pipeline on New Year’s Day, according to Ukraine’s new Gas Transmission System Operator.

Greece / North Macedonia – The countries have received first Russian gas on Gazprom’s TurkStream pipeline thanks to a new compressor station on Bulgaria’s border with Turkey, according the executive director of Bulgartransgaz.

Norway – Equinor will invest USD 5.6 billion to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030, with a view to achieving “near zero” emissions by 2050, but the targets hinge on new technology and assume a dramatic reduction in the firm’s upstream business.

Romania – ExxonMobil has started to provide information to companies interested in purchasing its 50% share in the offshore Neptune Deep block, with the US major saying no agreement has been reached yet.

UK – Premier Oil has agreed major UK North Sea acquisitions with BP and Dana Petroleum worth a combined USD 871 million, however Premier’s largest creditor opposes the move claiming it will only increase risk for stakeholders.


Foreign ministers from Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, and France issued a joint statement denouncing Turkey and Libya for signing a border agreement and military deal that could allow Turkish troops into Libya and Turkish drillships into Greece’s offshore waters.

Middle East

Iraq – Chinese state-owned CNPC has reportedly become the latest major energy firm to evacuate staff from the country before Iran attacked Iraqi air bases housing US troops last week in retaliation for the US having killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani days earlier.

Kuwait – Kuwait Petroleum has secured a bumper LNG supply deal with Qatar Petroleum, under which the former has increased contracted volumes that will feed the country’s first on-land LNG terminal from 0.5 up to 3 mtpa starting in 2022.

North America

Canada – A UN committee tasked with ending racism has called on Canada to halt construction of two major pipelines – including the Coastal GasLink set to feed the Shell-operated LNG Canada facility – until informed consent is obtained from First Nations groups.

Mexico – President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has raised the prospect of further delays and cost increases for the Tuxpan-Tula pipeline in central Mexico, stating that it must be re-routed to avoid land considered sacred by indigenous communities.

US – Saudi Aramco and Sempra Energy have signed a so-called interim project participation agreement for the Port Arthur LNG project, but industry sources suggest the move may amount to little more than a publicity stunt.

The Dominion Energy-led Atlantic Coast pipeline has lost an air permit for a planned compressor station, marking the eighth time a permit for the facility has been suspended or revoked by a federal court or agency since May 2018.

The Trump administration is potentially facing years of litigation after launching plans to tear up federal environmental regulations in order to expedite development of key infrastructure including pipelines, LNG plants, power stations and transmission lines.

South Asia

India – The government has announced it will fund 60% of the estimated USD 1.3 billion North East Gas Grid pipeline project, as part of a push to make India a gas-based economy, but legislation to open up coal mining casts doubt on the plans.

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