GASTECH: Countries take steps to create, strengthen energy markets
Houston — LNG-importing and LNG-exporting countries both need to modernize their energy regulatory structures to accommodate an emerging global market for the fuel, a panel of national energy officials said Tuesday.India is in the midst of liberalizing its energy regulatory policies, with the goal of expanding domestic natural gas production, facilitating the increased importation of LNG and improving the country’s gas infrastructure to allow its citizens access to the fuel at affordable prices, Ashish Chatterjee, India’s oil and gas minister, said at the Gastech conference in Houston. Although 30 years ago Pakistan was considered a net gas-producing country, it now imports more than 50% of its energy, said Nadeem Babar, special assistant for the petroleum division to the prime minister.
Pakistan is “completely revamping” its energy regulatory structure, with an emphasis on encouraging private investment into the gas and LNG industries. The country recently approved construction of five new LNG import terminals, all of which were financed through private transactions, Babar said.
Pakistan is also liberalizing its gas-pricing policy, allowing for prices between $4/MMBtu and $9/MMBtu, Babar said.
“We want to dramatically increase natural gas production” by attracting new entrants and buyers into the gas market, he said.
In the US, regulators are working hard to keep up with the rapid expansion of the LNG exporting industry, which has ramped up incredibly rapidly in the past several years, said Neil Chatterjee, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Despite having only three current commissioners rather than its full complement of five, FERC has nonetheless made great strides in accommodating the expansion of the LNG export industry, Chatterjee said. Among these recent actions was a bipartisan “landmark breakthrough on how the commission should assess the question of direct carbon emissions” from LNG projects, he said.
The US Department of Energy is utilizing big data and machine learning to help the oil and gas industry increase productivity, while enhancing safety and reducing emissions, said Steven Winberg, DOE’s assistant secretary of fossil energy.
In the upstream industry segment, the DOE is working with industry to enhance its knowledge of the subsurface, to learn why some frack stages are highly productive, while others are not.”
Right now, we get 10% of production out of the reservoir, Winberg said. The results of this research could lead to increases in productivity “that could have as profound an impact as the beginning of the shale revolution,” he said.
While the rest of the oil- and gas-producing countries of the world grapple with the problem of flaring gas produced in association with oil, Algeria has led the way by implementing strong flaring reduction policies in the mid-1970s, said Fatma Zohra Cherfi-Talantikite, the secretary general of the Algerian energy ministry.
As part of its effort to help reduce flaring across the globe, Sonatrach, Algeria’s national oil company, last year joined 76 other international endorsers to sign onto the “Zero Routine Flaring by 2030” initiative, which the UN secretary-general and president of the World Bank launched in 2015.