Gas Matters Today | news roundup | w/c 7 Sep 2020

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German foreign minister Heiko Maas has warned Moscow that Berlin may drop support for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline if the Kremlin refuses to cooperate in the investigation regarding the poisoning of Russian opposition politician Alexi Navalny.

Shell has struck a deal to buy frontier exploration assets in Africa and South America for up to USD 200 million in a deal that would consolidate its position offshore São Tomé & Príncipe and grant access to Suriname at what some see as bottom of the market prices.


Mozambique – The US International Development Finance Corporation has agreed to provide USD 1.5 billion in political risk insurance to support commercialisation of offshore reserves and ExxonMobil and Eni’s proposed Rovuma LNG plant.

Asia Pacific

Vietnam – Delta Offshore Energy has launched a request for proposal seeking up to 3 mtpa of LNG over a 25-year period for its proposed LNG-to-power project in Vietnam.


Australia – Shell has reportedly encountered a fresh hiccup in its efforts to restart production at the troubled Prelude FLNG project offshore Western Australia that some say could take months to fix.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union has claimed that repair delays at the Gorgon LNG plant are due to operator Chevron implementing incorrect weld procedures to repair cracked propane heat exchangers on Train 2.

BHP has awarded the world’s first charter contract for five LNG-fueled Newcastlemax bulk carriers to Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping and expects to award the LNG bunkering supply contract in October.

A government push for a post-Covid economic recovery based on the gas sector has attracted criticism from thinktank Australia Institute, which claims the development of the country’s untapped reserves could release three years’ worth of GHG emissions.

Central & South America

Argentina – Argentina’s state-owned IEASA is taking advantage of cheap domestic supply after buying gas in an electronic auction last week, with the gas set to be exported to Uruguay over the coming months.


Italy – Utility firm Enel will be ready to close three coal-fired power plants next year while continuing to invest in renewables, Enel CEO Carlo Tamburi told an Italian parliamentary committee on Italy’s economic recovery from Covid-19.

Services company Saipem and TSO Snam have penned an MoU to collaborate on green hydrogen and carbon capture initiatives, with a view to participating in funded projects and supporting the EU’s Hydrogen Strategy.

Poland – State-run PKN Orlen has set a target to achieve “emission neutrality by 2050” by rewiring its business model to take advantage of what it sees as the “huge development opportunity” presented by the energy transition.

North America

US – Fracking firms have begun to hedge their bets against a Biden presidency by stockpiling federal drilling permits in the run up to the US election on 3 November.

The Mountain Valley pipeline remains on track for completion in early 2021, lead developer Equitrans Midstream said last week after the Fish and Wildlife Service issued a new Biological Opinion, which is required for construction work to restart.

BP has made its first foray into the offshore wind sector after entering into a partnership with Equinor to develop US projects as part of the British major’s strategy to attain 50 GW of renewable generation capacity by 2030.

US LNG exports will return to pre-Covid levels by November, with exports averaging over 9 Bcf/d between December and February, the EIA has predicted in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook.

Environmental and community groups in Texas have called on the FERC to withdraw approval of NextDecade’s proposed redesign of the Rio Grande LNG plant.

Shell and BP have called on the Texas Railroad Commission to limit flaring in Texas by introducing policies to phase out routine flaring in the Lone Star state.

Russia & CIS

Russia – The Arctic LNG 2 joint venture has wrapped up the “core formation” of its carrier fleet after signing long-term charter agreements with the Smart LNG joint venture for 14 Arc7 ice-class LNG carriers.

South Asia

Bangladesh – Vitol’s Asian unit is expected to win a tender to supply a subsidiary of state-owned Petrobangla with 138,000 cm of lean LNG between 30 September and 8 October, energy officials told Reuters.

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