NGS’ NG/LNG SNAPSHOT – August 1-16, 2023
City Gas Distribution & Auto LPG
AG&P inaugurates 13th CNG station in Mahalingpur, Bagalkot
In a recent development, AG&P Pratham has inaugurated its 13th compressed natural gas (CNG) station in Bagalkot district at Mahalingpur, Karnataka. With this, there are 23 stations in the Bagalkot-Koppal-Raichur geographical area (GA).
Besides, it has successfully achieved commissioning of 44 km medium density polyethylene (MDPE) pipeline network connecting 1,629 domestic customers in the district.
AG&P Pratham holds 25-year exclusive rights from the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board to develop city gas distribution infrastructure and supply gas across Rajasthan, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. This involves setting up more than 1,500 compressed natural gas stations and 17,000 inch-km of pipelines.
Dhanbad to get PNG supply soon
Dhanbad is likely to get piped natural gas (PNG) supply soon. GAIL (India) Limited is engaged in commissioning of domestic PNG supply through the Jagdishpur-Haldia-Bokaro-Dhamra Natural Gas Pipeline Project.
The project, being implemented by GAIL, involves construction of 3,174 km long pipeline from Jagdishpur in Uttar Pradesh to Haldia in West Bengal at an investment of Rs 160 billion. The pipeline extends through Hazira-Bijaipur-Jagdishpur pipeline. Phase I will have a capacity of 16 million metric standard cubic metre per day (mmscmd) which will be further augmented to 32 mmscmd in Phase II.
Policy Matters/ Gas Pricing/ Others
Domestic natural gas price fixed at $7.85/mBtu for August 2023
Under the new pricing formula, the prices for natural gas will be revised monthly, from the 26th of the previous month to the 25th of the current month. The government has fixed a price of $7.85 per million British thermal units (mBtu) for the natural gas produced from the legacy fields of ONGC and Oil India for August 2023.
However, the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) said that the price from the nomination fields of both the Oil PSUs will be subject to a ceiling of $6.50 per mBtu.
Under the new pricing formula, the prices for natural gas will be revised monthly, from the 26th of the previous month to the 25th of the current month. Previously, the price of gas from legacy fields and from difficult fields, or Deepwater, Ultra-Deepwater, and High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT) fields were revised bi-annually, with effect from April 1 and October 1.
The new pricing formula was approved by the Cabinet in April 2023 after the Kirit Parikh committee on fair pricing of gas submitted its report to the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoPNG).
Subsequently, the government revised the price of natural gas under the administered price mechanism (APM) at $7.92 per mBtu for April 8 to April 30.
During the months of May, June and July 2023, the price of APM gas was fixed at $8.27 per mBtu, $7.58 per mBtu and $7.48 per mBtu, respectively.
Natural Gas is used as a feedstock in several industries with major consumers being fertilisers (32 per cent), City Gas Distribution (20 per cent), Power (15 per cent) Refinery (8 per cent) and Petrochemicals (5 per cent).
RBI fines 4 PSUs for late reporting of overseas investments
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed late submission fees (LSF) of ₹2,000 crore on ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), Indian Oil Corp. Ltd, GAIL (India) Ltd, and Oil India Ltd for delayed reporting of their overseas investments, two people familiar with the development said.
The move may impact the overseas work commitments of these four state-run energy majors, prompting efforts by them to secure an extension from RBI, which has imposed a late submission fee of ₹500 crore each on the four firms.
State Bank of India (SBI) is the authorized dealer (AD) bank for these public sector undertakings’ (PSUs’) foreign transactions. It is the work of the AD bank to report and reconcile their overseas direct investments (ODIs) within the requisite timelines.
The oil ministry, the nodal ministry for these PSUs, believes the responsibility for reporting these transactions lies with SBI, not the PSUs.
“As per RBI notification dated 22 August 2022, restrictions have been placed on further remittance or transfer, wherein authorized dealer bank shall not facilitate any outward remittance/financial commitment by a person residing in India towards a foreign entity until the delay in reporting is regularized,” said a senior Indian Oil Corp. executive, on condition of anonymity. “We have sought time from RBI to avoid any disruption in operations and for the smooth functioning of overseas subsidiaries. Further, we are in the process of reconciliation of the late submission fee along with SBI ODI (overseas direct investment) Cell.”
A second person also said efforts are being made to resolve the issue. “It shall happen soon,” the person said, on condition of anonymity.
According to RBI’s Foreign Exchange Management (Overseas Investment) Regulations, 2022, those failing to submit investment evidence within the stipulated timeframe can do so with a late submission fee. “Late submission fee has been introduced by RBI with retrospective effect vide FEM (OI) Regulation, 2000. Regularization of submission of ODI-related data by the companies to RBI, under a specific Unique Identification Number (UIN) assigned to each project through their AD banks, covers several thousands of ODI remittances processed since 2000. SBI has invariably reported all ODIs, based on documents provided by the remitting entities, to RBI as per applicable guidelines at the material time,” said an SBI spokesperson. Queries emailed to the spokespeople for RBI, ministries of petroleum and natural gas and finance, OVL, Indian Oil , and GAIL remained unanswered.
According to the RBI notification on Foreign Exchange Management (Overseas Investment) Regulations, 2022, “A person resident in India who has made a financial commitment in a foreign entity in accordance with the Act or rules or regulations made there under, shall not make any further financial commitment, whether fund-based or non-fund-based, directly or indirectly, towards such foreign entity or transfer such investment till any delay in reporting is regularized,” the notification added.
The overall investment by state-owned companies in oil and gas assets abroad stands at around $36.55 billion across 55 assets in 25 countries.
“As far as OVL is concerned, we are in compliance with all applicable RBI guidelines regarding remittances for our overseas projects. There are no RBI restrictions on overseas transactions,” said an OVL executive who declined to be named.
“To our information, there is no basis for RBI imposing a total late submission fee of ₹500 crore on OVL due to delayed foreign investments’ reporting. For overseas investments, RBI has gradually moved from manual reporting to online reporting on the RBI portal by the banks. Corporates do not have access to the RBI portal. A reconciliation of past data with the RBI portal was required, which has already been done. OVL has generally complied with the reporting requirements, and no significant fee is expected on this account as far as OVL is concerned,” said a second OVL executive who also declined to be named.
“As far as Oil India is concerned, we are complying with all RBI guidelines remittances for our overseas projects,” said an Oil India Ltd spokesperson.
Natural gas trading volumes at IGX jumped 20 per cent in July 2023
“A total of 65 trades were executed during the month. Maximum number of trades were executed in Daily and Weekly contracts, 20 each; followed by Monthly & Fortnightly contracts of 18 and 5 trades respectively,” the company said in a statement.
New Delhi: Indian Gas Exchange Ltd (IGX), an associate company of Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) today announced that it traded 2,723,350 MMBtu gas volume in July 2023, a 20 per cent Year-on-Year (YoY) increase. The volumes increased due to rise in spot buying interest from the buyers amid correction in gas prices globally.”A total of 65 trades were executed during the month. Maximum number of trades were executed in Daily and Weekly contracts, 20 each; followed by Monthly & Fortnightly contracts of 18 and 5 trades respectively,” the company said in a statement.
The most active delivery point for free market gas was Suvali and domestic ceiling price gas was traded at Gadimoga. Other trading delivery points were – Dahej, Mhaskal, KG Basin, Bhadbhut, and Ankot.
During the month, the exchange traded gas flows were 1,795,100 MMBtu. Gas Index of India (GIXI) for July 2023 was Rs 866/$10.6 per MMBtu, lower by 2 per cent last month. IGX traded 2,288,450 MMBtu domestic ceiling price gas at below ceiling price at Rs 844 (volume weighted average price) during the month.
Electric Mobility/ Hydrogen/Bio-Methane
New Delhi MCD targets March opening for first biogas plant using wet waste
NEW DELHI: The Municipal Corporation of Delhi is targeting to complete its first bio-CNG plant next to the Okhla waste-to-energy plant by March 2024.The New Delhi Municipal Council recently approved a proposal to transfer 5 acres of land for the purpose. MCD officials said they had yet to get an official confirmation from NDMC on this, but once received, the site would be utilised for establishing filling stations and for storage purposes.
A MCD official said the concessionaire working on the project had signed an MoU with Indraprastha Gas Limited for providing piped gas. “The plant will have the capacity to process 300 tonnes of segregated wet waste to produce general biogas compressed natural gas,” the official said.MCD had earlier shut down a compost plant (with 200 tonnes per day capacity) next to the waste-to-energy plant. “Later, it was decided that the space will be utilised for a bio-CNG plant. While the work was assigned to a concessionaire… we need more land for storing wet waste and a filling station. We pursued the matter with NDMC as they had land there. Now, we can utilise the land for expansion of the plant from 300 tonnes to 500 tonnes per day,” the official said.
The civic body is working on another bio-CNG plant using wet waste at Ghogha, with a capacity of 100 tonnes per day, and has signed an MoU with IGL. Three more bio-CNG plants are under construction. These plants are located at Goyla dairy, Ghogha and Nangli Sakrawati. While the first two are scheduled to be completed by March 2024, the Nangli plant is in advanced stage and is likely to be ready next month.
E-buses, hydrogen trucks on the anvil for Daimler CV India
DICV is also exploring the segment of small commercial vehicles that carry weights of up to 5 tonnes. As India prepares to switch to zero emission vehicles across categories, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) is understood to be looking to get electric buses and hydrogen trucks to the Indian market, the development work of which is in progress presently.
DICV, which makes and sells trucks and buses in India under the BharatBenz brand, is one of the few companies who are yet to enter the electric commercial vehicle segment even as its rivals including Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, VE Commercial Vehicles have launched products powered by battery electric vehicle (BEV) technology.
“Buses could be the first to go electric (for us),” Satyakam Arya, managing director, DICV, said in a recent interaction with FE while adding, “We are studying the EV space and how the Indian market is getting prepared for this technology. We are keeping a close eye on it. The situation is very dynamic.”
As reported earlier, DICV is also exploring the segment of small commercial vehicles that carry weights of up to 5 tonnes. These electric mini trucks are in much demand due to their ability to meet the last mile mobility needs, especially in congested cities.
While the intra-city segment with a demand for a range of up to 500kms can be addressed by EVs, Arya said that to address the inter-city transport demand, DICV headquarters in Germany is working on hydrogen-powered trucks.
“Hydrogen is the most promising for the future for a simple reason that when you talk about mobility technology, you have to go to the molecule level. One kilogram of hydrogen can generate 33kwh of energy; there is no other element which can offer this; carbon is 8kw and BEV is 0.5-0.6kwh,” Arya added.
While the competition offers CNG as an option, DICV’s entire portfolio is powered only by diesel. The company had earlier said that it was watching the CNG demand growth in India but was yet to firm up plans for it.
“We will invest in both electric and hydrogen fuel technologies. The development work on the powertrain is already going on globally and that includes India. EV will come out first because the infra is in place. Hydrogen is many years away because we have to install hydrogen as fuel first,” Arya added.
Reliance Industries (RIL) and Ashok Leyland in February unveiled India’s first hydrogen internal combustion engine (H2-ICE) truck having a loading capacity of 19-35 tonne.
In July BharatBenz and RIL showcased India’s first intercity luxury concept coach powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology. Fuel cell system is designed and developed by Reliance Industries. The intercity bus can travel approximately 400 km on a single hydrogen fill. The Bus will undergo extensive trials, validation & safety trials over next 12 months.
“We believe India’s commercial vehicle (CV) industry should grow in the high single digit for the next 5-7 years. If that happens, we are looking at this medium and heavy CV market becoming close to 500,000 per year by 2030. We will address the white spots through 2-3 launches this year,” Arya added.
RIL targets affordable green hydrogen as clean fuel alternative: Mukesh Ambani
Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) aims to provide affordable green hydrogen as a viable alternative to traditional fuels, said Chairman Mukesh Ambani in the annual report for FY23.
Ambani stated that in FY23, RIL’s teams across sites worked towards finding sustainable solutions. Reliance Industries achieved its first-ever green hydrogen production with the firing of torrefied biomass in gasifiers in 2022-23.
“A switch to cleaner energy sources is key to our decarbonization strategy. We are making significant strides in establishing a world-class solar energy value chain. We are also progressing in building a green hydrogen ecosystem. Our goal is to provide affordable green hydrogen as a viable alternative to traditional fuels,” Ambani said.
Reliance aims to become net carbon zero by 2035 and is rapidly progressing with the development of giga-factories at the Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex at Jamnagar.
The company is on track to establish a world-class, self-sufficient green energy ecosystem, considering the collective potential of its five giga-factories.
Reliance said it is leveraging the expertise of its global partners to derive maximum value from its new energy initiatives.
“We recognize the urgency of addressing the issues emanating from climate change. We believe our new energy initiatives will contribute to the global effort of limiting the rise in average temperatures,” the company said in its annual report.
Giga factories on track
Reliance targets to increase the Heterojunction Technology (HJT) module efficiency to 26 percent by 2026 from the current 23 percent at its Solar Photovoltaic Giga Factory and further improve it to 28 percent through innovations like perovskite-tandem cell technology.
The company also aims to extend the life of PV modules from 25 to 50 years. Reliance’s 10 GW solar PV cell and module factory at Jamnagar, based on REC technology, will commence production by 2024, the company said in its annual report.
Reliance aims to scale the plant to 20 GW annual capacity in a phased manner by 2026, it added.
At its advanced energy storage giga factory, Reliance aims to start production of battery packs and scale up to a fully integrated 5 GWh annual cell-to-pack manufacturing facility by 2024. Reliance plans to further scale this capacity to 50 GWh annually by 2027.
The company will leverage its complementary skills in engineering, operations, seawater desalination, digital twin expertise, and indigenous balance of plants to complement its partner’s technological innovation in stack manufacturing, enabling the delivery of Green Hydrogen at the lowest cost at its electrolyser giga factory.
After proving cost and performance targets, the company said aims to progressively commence transition from grey to green Hydrogen by 2025.
Reliance has plans to set up a giga factory for fuel cells which the company said are set to gradually replace internal combustion engines in the future.
“These engines can power various types of vehicles, including cars, trucks, and buses. Additionally, they can be used in stationary applications to power data centres, telecom towers, emergency generators, microgrids, and industrial equipment,” the company said.
Reliance added that is developing significant capabilities in designing and manufacturing power electronics and software systems with investment in power electronics giga factor.
The company said this initiative is being integrated with the Reliance’s existing strengths in telecommunications, cloud computing, and IoT platforms, enabling a more comprehensive approach to developing new energy solutions.
Disclaimer: Moneycontrol is a part of the Network18 group. Network18 is controlled by Independent Media Trust, of which Reliance Industries is the sole beneficiary.
Iverson eFuels AS, ECOnnect Energy sign technology pact for Norwegian Hydrogen and Green Ammonia plant
New Delhi: Iverson eFuels, a joint venture between Hy2Gen, CIP and Trafigura, and ECOnnect Energy AS announced they have signed a contract to deliver a study for a jettyless solution for ammonia transfer to enable the export of green ammonia (LNH3).Iverson eFuels AS is a Norwegian, large-scale green ammonia project based on the industrial use of electrolysis and renewable electricity.
It will produce green ammonia that will lead to long-term sustainability for maritime mobility. The location of the project is southeast of Sauda, a town at the end of Saudafjorden (Rogaland, Norway).Project Iverson has reached out to ECOnnect Energy to propose a technical jettyless ammonia transfer solution. To further mature the outlined IQuay C-Class solution for Project Iverson, ECOnnect Energy has been requested to conduct a pre-FEED study.
Iverson e-Fuels will also monitor the development of several multiple bunkering solutions that can enable the safe and flexible transfer of ammonia to ships and is expecting this market to grow in the next years.“We are proud to be selected by Iverson eFuels to contribute to their important project and potential for ammonia. Our IQuay allows for ammonia, gas, and LNG transfer operations in all conditions with rapid deployment, consistent with Iverson’s approach to energy infrastructure development,” said Morten Christophersen, CEO of ECOnnect Energy.
The Iverson Ammonia Project is a large-scale initiative aimed at the production and utilization of clean ammonia as an alternative energy source. It focuses on the development of advanced technologies for ammonia production, storage, and utilization in various sectors.
ECOnnect Energy’s IQuay transfer system was used with the world’s first jettyless, floating transfer of LNG in 2017, and has since been adapted for many applications – from upstream LNG and green ammonia production to downstream carbon-free fuel and CCS.
L&T and partners to invest $4 billion in green hydrogen projects
Engineering major L&T and its green hydrogen joint venture partners– Indian Oil Corporation and ReNew–will invest upto $4 billion (Rs 32,000 crore) in their green hydrogen businesses over three-five years, CEO & Managing Director, S N Subrahmanyan said Wednesday.
L&T has a joint venture with state-run Indian Oil Corporation and renewable power company ReNew for its green hydrogen ventures.
“We will invest around Rs 500 crore in making electrolysers. Also, we have a JV with IOCL and Renew to put up green hydrogen plants. Now that JV can also put up green hydrogen plants beyond IOCL for others, said Subrahmanyan, adding that the investment would be around $4 billion.
“Between the three companies there will be sufficient cash available. L&T will fund this through internal accruals. We may need additional land around the port to transport green hydrogen and ammonia for which we are in talks with state governments,” added Subrahmanyan.
This January, L&T signed an agreement with the Norway-based H2Carrier to develop floating green ammonia projects for industrial-scale applications. In March the company entered into an electrolyser manufacturing binding agreement with McPhy Energy, a France-based leading electrolyser technology and manufacturing company.
Under this partnership, McPhy will grant an exclusive license of its pressurised alkaline electrolyser technology to L&T for manufacturing of electrolysers, including future product upgrades.
L&T is setting up one Gigawatt-scale manufacturing facility for electrolysers based on McPhy technology in India to serve the domestic requirements as well as cater to the other selected geographies.
The company has also set up a four-member think-tank– L&T Green Energy Council– comprising global leaders to bolster its commitment to carbon neutrality by 2040 and will be responsible for identifying technology trends in green energy among others.
To buy NPCIL‘s 26% stake in joint venture
Subrahmanyan added that L&T has proposed to buy a 26% stake held by its joint venture partner Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) in L&T Special Steels and Heavy Forgings, a joint venture between L&T and NPCIL.
The JV was commissioned in 2012 with the aim to secure supply chain of critical forgings for India Nuclear programme along with undertaking development work for the new generation reactors in the Nuclear as well as the hydrocarbon sector.
“We have a forge shop which is meant for making heavy forgings for nuclear and defence services. We have a 26% stake in the joint venture. That plant is running at an accumulated loss of Rs 3000 crore,” said Subrahmanyan, adding that with NPCIL only interested in forging their own plants, L&T was not able to diversify and do anything else.
“So we have made a request to them to sell their shareholding. Some negotiations have taken place and we have agreed. Now the NPCIL board has to agree and finally the government has to agree. If they agree to it we will buy out their stake for Rs 150-odd crore, make it L&T 100% owned and merge it with our company and see what else to do with it.”
Company upheld its mantra: AM Naik
L&T’s outgoing Chairman AM Naik (81) addressed his 25th and last Annual General Meeting on Wednesday ahead of his retirement on September 30.
In his final address to the company’s shareholders, Naik said in the last 25 years, L&T has been able to live up to its mantra of “constantly adding value in everything we do.”
“Between 1999 and 2023, group revenues grew from Rs. 5,000 crore to nearly Rs. 1,83,000 crore on a like-to-like basis. This surge, achieved largely through organic growth, has few parallels in corporate India. In the same period, market cap climbed from around Rs, 4,000 crore to around Rs. 3,74,000 crore at a CAGR of nearly 20%,” Naik said.
He added that L&T’s growth in the last 25 years has enabled the company to create value for its shareholders.
“In addition to the handsome dividends which they receive every year. So, one share 20 years ago is equivalent to 9 shares as of today,” Naik said.
Naik added that L&T has been following the ‘Make in India’ policy for decades before the current government popularised the mantra.
“Looking back, I now realise that we were making L&T future-ready. We had put ‘Make in India’ into practice decades before it became so widely
known,” Naik said.
He also said that L&T has been a part of all iconic projects in India including the Statue of Unity to Chandrayaan, the world’s largest cricket stadium to the Bullet Train, from Mumbai’s coastal road project to the trans-harbour project connecting Mumbai and Navi Mumbai.
Naik added that he was confident of L&T’s new Chief Executive Officer S N Subrahmanyan carrying his legacy forward and keeping the L&T flag flying high.
SN Subrahmanyan, will take over as the Chairman and Managing Director of the company with effect from October 1, 2023.
Natural Gas / Transnational Pipelines/ Others
Nigeria: Tinubu promises to acquire 3,000 CNG-Fuelled buses for mass transit
According to Tinubu, “these buses will be shared to major transportation companies in the states, using the intensity of travel per capital.” President Bola Tinubu has promised to roll out buses across the states and local governments for mass transit at a much more affordable rate.
He said his government has made provision to invest N100 billion between now and March 2024 for the purchase of 3,000 units of 20-seater buses running on compressed natural gas (CNG).
This is part of some palliatives the President disclosed during a national broadcast on Monday to cushion the effects of petrol subsidy removal on Nigerians.
According to Tinubu, “these buses will be shared with major transportation companies in the states, using the intensity of travel per capital.”
He added that participating transport companies will be able to access credit under this facility at 9% per annum with 60 months repayment period.
The President also said that the government is working in collaboration with the Labour unions to introduce a new national minimum wage for workers.
“I want to tell our workers this: your salary review is coming,” he said.
“Once we agree on the new minimum wage and general upward review, we will make budget provision for it for immediate implementation.”
He also commended many private employers in the Organised Private Sector who have already implemented general salary review for employees.
While admitting that this period may be hard on the people, Tinubu appealed to Nigerians to look beyond the present temporary pains and aim at the larger picture, saying that “all of our good and helpful plans are in the works. More importantly, I know that they will work.”
The President also conceded to the fact that there was an unavoidable lag between subsidy removal and these plans coming fully online but said the government is swiftly closing the gap.
“I plead with you to please have faith in our ability to deliver and in our concern for your well-being,” he further appealed
US: RNG coalition: 300 RNG facilities now operating in North America
The Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas (RNG Coalition) is today proud to announce a landmark sustainability achievement in the field of renewable energy: North America now has 300 operational renewable natural gas (RNG) facilities, up from just over 30 facilities in 2011 when RNG Coalition was founded. This extraordinary growth reflects the RNG industry’s steadfast commitment to mitigating climate change, fostering energy security, and ensuring a cleaner, greener future for present and future generations.
“The monumental increase in RNG facilities developed over the last decade-plus is reason to celebrate; unequivocally, RNG facilities are an imperative to mitigating methane and carbon in our advancement toward a more sustainable society and circular economy,” RNG Coalition Founder and CEO Johannes Escudero said. “We are proud of this achievement, but it is merely the foundation that RNG Coalition member organizations will continue to build on to harness the full power of RNG in pursuit of a cleaner planet.”
RNG is a sustainable, clean fuel derived from organic waste found at landfills, wastewater treatment plants, dairy farms and other waste streams. RNG facilities capture and refine biogenic methane emissions produced by this waste, turning it into a valuable energy resource.
RNG plays a pivotal role in reducing global methane emissions — a greenhouse gas estimated by leading scientists to have 80 times the climate-warming impact of an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide. By investing in methane capture and RNG distribution, North America is curbing greenhouse gas emissions, advancing circular economies and enhancing the overall environmental sustainability of the region.
While the landmark of 300 operational RNG facilities is the result of decades of development, there still remains substantial unrealized potential behind RNG in North America and beyond. RNG Coalition data released today indicates that 178 more RNG facilities are currently under construction across the U.S. and Canada, with another 303 facilities in planning stages. This means that we are on track to reach 750+ RNG facilities in North America in the coming years, indicating tremendous runway for increased methane capture and utilization.
“Even with this great milestone reached, it is critical that policymakers continue to create conditions that allow RNG to compete as a flexible decarbonization tool,” RNG Coalition Founder and CFO David Cox said today. “The enormous environmental, economic and energy benefits of RNG cannot be underestimated as we work to limit and leverage methane emissions from society’s inevitable waste streams.”
Long term, RNG Coalition will continue to lead through its SMART initiative to capture and control methane from more than 43,000 organic waste sites across North America by 2050, achieving meaningful benchmarks by 2025, 2030 and 2040.
On this significant occasion, it is also worth noting that RNG has evolved into a truly global movement. In the wake of energy supply disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine, the European Union last year set a goal to multiply RNG output in the continent twelvefold by 2030, to 35 billion cubic meters per day. This planned increase in methane capture and utilization reflects growing recognition of RNG’s present and future impact, with the International Energy Agency among those acknowledging RNG as a valued decarbonization tool for numerous industries across the world.
Here in North America, RNG Coalition remains committed to advancing RNG technologies, advocating for favorable policies, and working hand in hand with stakeholders to continue the expansion of RNG facilities across the continent. We recognize that this accomplishment is not the end goal, but an encouraging steppingstone toward a more sustainable and resilient future.
Coastal GasLink pipeline is now 91% complete
The beleaguered Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline – subject to delays, cost over-runs and vandalism – is now 91 per cent complete. The pipeline will run from Dawson Creek to Kitimat, where it will provide natural gas to the $40 billion LNG Canada project.
Of the 670-kilometres of pipe to be installed, 639-kilometres is now in the ground, Coastal GasLink reports. Three of eight sections are completed.
The project has been subject to numerous delays and cost over-runs. Earlier this year, TC Energy (TSX, NYSE: TRP) announced it now estimated the project would cost $14 billion to finish – up from an original estimate of $6.6 billion.
The biggest delays have been in section seven, south of Houston in the Morice River area. This is the area that was targeted by supporters of some of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation hereditary chiefs who oppose the pipeline. (All elected band councils of the Wet’suwet’en supported the project.)
Work was delayed in that section through roadblocks and occupation camps set up by pipeline opponents. In February 2022, workers in a CGL work camp were attacked by masked, ax-wielding vandals who caused millions of dollars in damage to vehicles and equipment. No charges were ever laid in the attack.
That section is now nearing completion, with 82 per cent of the pipe in the ground.
“With summer construction in full swing, our workforce of nearly 4,800 are focused on safely completing the project while ensuring important environmental management measures are in place,” the company said in its construction update.
CGL says it expects “mechanical completion” of the pipeline by the end of this year.
US: Cheniere energy eyes new gas pipeline
Cheniere Energy Inc, the largest US LNG exporter, says it may build a new pipeline to link its Louisiana expansion project to other pipelines in major shale-gas producing regions as it seeks to diversify its risk.
Cheniere’s Sabine Pass facility has been expanding since its production began in 2016 but needs additional natural gas beyond current supplies to reach its planned ‘Stage 5’ capacity, top company officials said.
“We will likely build a pipeline to where we can access other pipelines. That will get us Haynesville (shale gas), any additional Marcellus (gas) that will come down, mid-continent, Permian as well as Eagleford as it continues to be developed,” Corey Grindal, Cheniere’s Chief Operating Officer, told journalists recently.
Cheniere previously retooled some of its pipeline infrastructure to send gas to its Sabine Pass facility in Louisiana, but those pipelines now shoulder additional demand and are unavailable, Grindal said.
The exporter already spends US$800 million a year in pipeline transit fees to transport 7.5 billion ft3/d of natural gas from 26 different pipelines to its LNG plants in Texas and Louisiana, CEO Jack Fusco also said in the interview with reporters at an LNG conference in Vancouver. He gave no detail about the new pipeline’s cost or size.
Oren Pilant, a pipeline analyst with midstream industry experts East Daley Analytics, said the project likely requires a small header system that aggregates gas from several lines. “The expansion is adjacent to their existing Sabine Pass facility and would be supplied by a combination of new and existing pipes,” Pilant said.
The new project is being designed to produce up to 20 million tpy of LNG but has not yet been funded, Cheniere said on its website.
Proposed LNG and gas pipeline projects in the Gulf Coast region have not faced the same environmental push back as elsewhere and should get approved, said Alex Gafford, a Capital Markets Analyst at East Daley Analytics.
US: Landfill group launches first RNG project in South Carolina
Enerdyne Power Systems, a Landfill Group company in Charlotte, S.C., announced on July 26 that it commenced operation of a project collecting and upgrading landfill gas into pipeline quality renewable natural gas (RNG) at the Twin Chimneys Landfill in Honea Path, S.C. on March 31.
“We are excited to bring online this important project that is collecting methane that would otherwise be emitted at the landfill and converting it to clean, renewable fuel. RNG is an incredibly important source of low-carbon energy in the energy transition, and we’re proud to establish the precedent of being the first operating project in the state of South Carolina,” said Mike Fenton, director of sales and project delivery at Landfill Group. “With a strong team from the Landfill Group companies and great support from our local government partners, we built a scalable project designed to provide an industry leading level of reliability,” Fenton said.
Landfill gas, a natural byproduct of the decomposition process of waste, is collected at the Twin Chimneys Landfill and converted into RNG. The processed landfill gas is injected into the local natural gas system, which is owned and operated by the Greenwood Commissioners of Public Works (Greenwood CPW).
According to the EPA, the environmental benefits associated with this project at full build out will be equivalent to reducing the CO2 emissions of more than 66 million gallons of gasoline each year.
“The Twin Chimneys RNG project would not have been possible without the tremendous support and leadership of local government, notably Greenville County, Greenwood CPW and the City of Greenville,” said William Brinker, managing director of Landfill Group. “TCPP represents a multi-million-dollar investment in the region and the collaboration of local government leaders helps ensure this project will have significant positive impact on the community, both environmentally and economically.”
The Twin Chimneys project is Enerdyne’s second renewable energy project in Greenville County and follows the success of the Enoree Landfill project, which has been operating since 2008. That project, which won the EPA’s 2008 Power Project of the Year award, utilizes landfill gas to fuel a generator, creating renewable electricity which serves customers of the local electric utility.
Jeff Meredith, general manager of Greenwood Commissioners of Public Works, said, “We are excited to be a part of the first project to deliver renewable natural gas from a landfill to a local distribution pipeline in the State of South Carolina. The project has been operational since late March 2023 and delivering stable and reliable gas into GCPW’s system. This project has truly been a collaborative effort between Greenville County, TCPP and Greenwood CPW to make a positive impact on the environment and provide value to the customers we serve.”
U.S. Energy, a leading provider of refined products, alternative fuels, and environmental credits, was selected as Twin Chimneys’ compliance and credit generation project partner. With over 40 established RNG pathways with the EPA, the California Air Resources Board, and the Oregon Department of Quality, U.S. Energy is managing the project’s participation in clean fuel programs – handling all registrations, reporting, and ongoing compliance requirements. They have worked within the RFS and LCFS environmental commodity markets since their inception – transacting credits across all fuel types. In addition to their 40+ RNG Development projects they have 50 compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations, more than 100 RNG delivery points, and four thermal energy supply projects.
“Seeing this project reach operational efficiency is a huge milestone for the renewable natural gas community,” said Bryan Nudelbacher, vice president of business development at U.S. Energy. “There is a continued need for more renewable natural gas to come online. We’re thrilled to partner with Enerdyne on this project—helping supply end users with RNG while maximizing the project impact and return.”
Global LNG Development
China: Shell signs term LNG capacity agreements with PipeChina
Shell (China) Ltd. has signed medium- and long-term agreements with China Oil & Gas Pipeline Network Corp. (PipeChina) for use of the latter’s LNG terminals. Shell (China) Ltd. has signed medium- and long-term agreements with China Oil & Gas Pipeline Network Corp. (PipeChina) for use of the latter’s LNG terminals. Details regarding the timing and volume of the leases were not provided.
Shell last year signed two terminal-use agreements with PipeChina subsidiary PipeChina LNG Terminal Management. Included in the deal were the 4.2-million tonne/year (tpy) Yuedong LNG terminal and 3-million tpy Beihai LNG.
PipeChina formed in 2019 to consolidate operation of China’s LNG terminal and pipelines. PipeChina LNG operates seven terminals and is building three more, one each in Shandong (6.5-million tpy), Fujian (3-million tpy), and Shenzen.
Phase 1 of PipeChina’s Shandong Longkou terminal is expected to enter service in October 2023. Phase 2 would raise capacity to 12 million tpy. Shenzhen Diefubei is slated for 2025 startup.
LNG Japan agrees to $880 million deal to join giant gas project
LNG Japan Corp. agreed a deal worth as much as $880 million for a stake in a giant natural gas project off Australia, a new step to secure supply of a fossil fuel the nation expects to retain a key role in its energy mix.
(Bloomberg) — LNG Japan Corp. agreed a deal worth as much as $880 million for a stake in a giant natural gas project off Australia, a new step to secure supply of a fossil fuel the nation expects to retain a key role in its energy mix.
The joint venture, owned by Sumitomo Corp. and Sojitz Corp., will acquire a 10% interest in the Scarborough operation from Woodside Energy Group. It also struck a pact for the supply from the project of 12 cargoes — or about 900,000 tons — of liquefied natural gas a year for a decade from 2026, the Perth-based producer said Tuesday.
Scarborough, which will drill gas offshore and process it at an expanded plant on the Burrup Peninsula in Western Australia, is forecast to produce as much as 8 million tons of LNG a year and has become a lightning rod for climate activists opposed to the development of new fossil fuels projects.
Read More: A $12 Billion Deal in Australia Says Gas Has a Long Future
“The support of LNG Japan is testament to the quality of the Scarborough project,” Woodside’s Chief Executive Officer Meg O’Neill said in a statement. “It also underscores the ongoing demand from Japanese buyers for new supplies of gas and the role of gas in supporting Japan’s energy security.”
Japan, the largest buyer of Australian LNG, has been striking new pacts with major shippers after last year’s energy crisis prompted the government to press companies to lock in supply and invest in projects. Japan and Germany used a Group of Seven summit earlier this year to call for support for new investment in gas projects.
Scarborough’s direct carbon dioxide emissions are estimated to be about 4.4 million tons a year, and that figure swells to 56 million tons if the burning of the gas by consumers, or scope 3 emissions, are included, the Australia Institute think tank said in a June report.
Woodside is seeking to reduce its ownership of the Scarborough project, while remaining the development’s operator. The producer, which rose 0.6% in Australia trading Tuesday to the highest since November, would be open to investment from Chinese consumers, O’Neill said in May.
Under the deal, LNG Japan will pay a $500 million purchase price and other amounts including reimbursements for project spending that are expected to bring the total to about $880 million, according to Woodside’s statement.
Separately, Sumitomo, Sojitz and Woodside will work on potential collaborations in areas that could include ammonia, hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, and carbon management technology under the deal.
Koria: HD Hyundai signs agreement with Hyundai LNG Shipping to reduce carbon emissions
HD Hyundai is working with Korea’s largest LNG carrier, Hyundai LNG Shipping, to validate eco-friendly and digital ship technology. HD Hyundai has announced that its affiliates HD Korea Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, HD Hyundai Heavy Industries, and HD Hyundai Global Services have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Hyundai LNG Shipping to verify the performance of the Artificial Intelligence Cargo Management System (AI CHS) at the HD Hyundai Global R&D Center in Pangyo, Gyeonggi-do.
AI CHS is a solution that predicts and manages LNG boil off gas in real time by considering weather forecasts, wave height, etc. Under the agreement, Hyundai LNG Shipping’s 174 000 m3 LNG carriers built by HD HHI will be equipped with the world’s first AI CHS prototype. LNG carrier cargo holds are insulated to maintain cryogenic temperatures below -163°, but depending on the external environment, about 0.085% of the total LNG cargo per day spontaneously vaporises and produces evaporated gas. Until now, the amount of evaporated gas generated was predicted based on the outside temperature only, so there were limitations in accurate prediction.
HD’s AI cargo operation system can identify routes with less evaporated gas in advance by considering various variables such as weather forecasts and wave height, providing shipowners with optimal operation scenarios. As a result, it is expected to contribute to reducing operating costs and reducing carbon emissions. The system will also be serviced through HD Hyundai Global Services’ Integrated Smart Ship Solution (ISS).
An official from HD Korea Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering said: “We will be demonstrating the world’s first artificial intelligence cargo operation system with Hyundai LNG Shipping.”
“Through this cooperation, we expect to showcase HD Hyundai’s differentiated technology in the field of LNG carriers and autonomous operation to the market.”
An official from Hyundai LNG Shipping added: “By providing an AI cargo management system for LNG carriers, we will increase customer satisfaction and practice ESG management in the shipping industry.”
Meanwhile, HD Korea Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering’s LNG fuel supply management system ‘HI-GAS+’ with AI cargo management system won the ‘Innovation Awards’ at CES 2023, the world’s largest IT and home appliance exhibition, in January 2023.
Germany builds up LNG import terminals
FRANKFURT, Aug 2 (Reuters) – The EU Commission has approved a 40 million euro ($43.9 million) support measure for the land-based liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at Germany’s Brunsbuettel on the North Sea, citing its contribution to the security and diversification of supply.
Germany’s quest to build up LNG import capacity has intensified as it seeks to end reliance on Russian pipeline gas after Russia invaded Ukraine last year
Pending the provision of fixed terminals, it is using floating storage and reception units (FSRUs) to help replace piped Russian gas supply.
Three FSRUs are working at Wilhelmshaven, Brunsbuettel and Lubmin after Germany arranged their charter and onshore connections in record time. Wilhelmshaven, Mukran and Stade are due to add more ships for the 2023/24 winter.
Industry and the government are also building up terminal capacity in anticipation of increased use of hydrogen, which when produced using renewable energy can help the transition to a lower carbon economy.
Deutsche ReGas has sub-chartered a second FSRU from Transgas Power, with regasification capacity of 7.5 billion cubic metres (bcm), in a fresh step towards building up a new terminal at Mukran in the Baltic Sea.
LNG from Mukran is meant to flow to onshore grids via the nearby port of Lubmin from next winter. The project has triggered some local opposition.
Utility Uniper launched Germany’s first FSRU operations last December at the deep-water port on the North Sea.
It plans to add a land-based ammonia reception terminal and cracker in the second half of this decade. Ammonia is sometimes used as a carrier for hydrogen, whose low density otherwise makes its transportation over long distances complicated.
Tree Energy Solutions (TES) will operate a second FSRU from later in 2023 for five years, and plans to eventually convert the operations to clean gases.
The FSRU Neptune, chartered by Deutsche ReGas, began receiving LNG at Lubmin early this year. The gas is delivered to another storage vessel, the Seapeak Hispania, and shuttled to Lubmin in a set-up taking account of shallow water.
ReGas holds long-term supply deals with France’s TotalEnergies and trading group MET.
The government wants the Neptune to move to Mukran, allowing the Seapeak Hispania to depart, and joining a second FSRU there, the Transgas Power. ReGas is tendering for LNG supplies to Mukran.
However, gas grid company Gascade needs to link Mukran via Lubmin to the mainland gas grids, making it hard to narrow down the likely start date of the project more closely than to the three months from December to February next year.
The Brunsbuettel FSRU, operated by RWE’s trading arm on the North Sea coast, became operational in mid-April.
It is the forerunner of a land-based LNG facility, now in receipt of a parcel of approved state support, that could start operations at the end of 2026, when an adjacent ammonia terminal could also start up. State bank KfW, Gasunie and RWE are stakeholders and Shell has committed itself to sizeable purchases.
The total costs for the land-based terminal are 1.3 billion euros.
The inland port on the river Elbe in January started work on a landing pier for an FSRU, to be ready in the winter of 2023/24. Designated vessel Transgas Force is now moored at Bremerhaven port to be fixed up for the purpose.
Project firm Hanseatic Energy Hub (HEH) also plans a land-based terminal where it has allocated regasification capacity that could be operational in 2027, including volumes for state-controlled Sefe and utility EnBW.
It has begun sounding out the market to determine whether the longer-term plans should be based largely on ammonia to be reconverted into clean hydrogen. It has identified a construction consortium.
HEH is backed by gas network company Fluxys, investment firm Partners Group, logistics group Buss and chemicals company Dow.
EnBW, which is also a buyer at Wilhelmshaven and Brunsbuettel, said it would double annual purchases to 6 bcm.
($1 = 0.9116 euros)
(Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Barbara Lewis and Jan Harvey)
Canada: Top gas producer in Canada joins effort for new Pacific LNG terminal
“We’re excited, and we’re going to do everything we can to drive that project to fruition.” A proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal near Prince Rupert is getting a major boost as Tourmaline Oil Corp. — Canada’s largest natural gas producer — agreed to join the project Tourmaline said late on Wednesday that it’s joining Rockies LNG, a group of producers working on the 12 million-tonne-a-year Ksi Lisims project at Wil Milit, north of Prince Rupert. Rockies LNG’s members produce a combined 1.7 billion cubic metres a day, about a third of Canada’s output. The Nisga’a Nation and Texas-based Western LNG also are involved.
Canadian gas drillers have often suffered from low prices because of constrained export options, and Tourmaline has been a leader in devising new routes to market its output. The company earlier this year began selling the first significant amount of Canadian gas contracted for markets beyond North America.
“We are the largest gas producer and a low-cost potential supplier, and we’re investment grade,” Tourmaline CEO Michael Rose said of his company’s contribution to the Ksi Lisims project, planned for the far northern end of Pearse Island on Portland Canal, during a call with analysts on Thursday. “We’re excited, and we’re going to do everything we can to drive that project to fruition.”
Canada’s Montney shale formation — stretching from Alberta into B.C. — is one of the largest gas resources in North America, with the potential to produce almost 12.75 trillion cubic metres of gas. Tourmaline produced the equivalent of about 495,900 barrels of oil a day in the second quarter, a figure that was reduced by about three per cent because of fires in the area.
The Shell Plc-led LNG Canada project in Kitimat is on track to begin shipping cargoes by the middle of the decade. The plant is estimated to cost $40 billion, and its first phase is expected to produce about 14 million tonnes of LNG tons a year.
Mexico Pacific signs 20-year LNG deal with ConocoPhillips
Mexico Pacific and ConocoPhillips have signed sales and purchase agreements for ConocoPhillips to offtake approximately 2.2 million tons per year (MTPA) in aggregate of liquefied natural gas (LNG) over 20 years.
The agreement covers trains 1, 2 and 3 of Mexico Pacific’s anchor LNG export facility, Saguaro Energia, located in Puerto Libertad on the west coast of Mexico. ConocoPhillips also has an option to contract further expansion train volumes. Under the sales and purchase agreements, ConocoPhillips will purchase LNG on a free on-board basis over a term of 20 years. When fully operational, the first phase of the facility will have three trains with a combined capacity of 15 MTPA.
“ConocoPhillips is excited to pursue this opportunity with Mexico Pacific as we continue to focus on LNG market development to meet growing global natural gas demand,” said Bill Bullock, executive vice president and CFO. “LNG is a fuel that is crucial to providing reliable, lower-carbon energy for the long term. Expanding our LNG footprint with agreements like this further enhances a balanced, diversified, and attractive portfolio as we progress our global LNG strategy.”
“We’re proud to be the first project to have an initial FID independently anchored by three majors,” said Sarah Bairstow, president and CCO at Mexico Pacific. “This unprecedented market milestone is a testament to our compelling ability to bridge competitive Permian Gas with the largest LNG market, Asia, free of Panama Canal risk and unnecessary incremental shipping emissions and costs when compared to the US Gulf Coast. While trains 1 and 2 sales are now closed, we remain committed to providing further LNG supply to meet global energy security and energy transition needs and will now turn to execute against the contracting momentum in place for a subsequent train 3 FID as quickly as possible.”
China’s Zhejiang Energy receives first LNG cargo at new Wenzhou terminal
China’s Zhejiang provincial government-controlled Zhejiang Energy Group received the first LNG cargo at its newly built 3 million mt/year Wenzhou LNG terminal in Wenzhou city on the eastern coast Aug. 7, an official with the company told S&P Global Commodity Insights Aug. 8.
The LNG carrier YARI LNG carrying about 68,047 mt or 154,000 cubic meters of LNG from Indonesia, arrived at Zhejiang Energy’s Wenzhou LNG terminal at noon on Aug. 7, marking the start of operation of this newly built LNG terminal, the Zhejiang Port and Shipping Management Center, a governmental institution, said.
This LNG terminal is the second one to be put into operation in China in 2023, and the 26th LNG receiving terminal in the country. Prior to this, China’s Suntien Green Energy started operating its 5 million mt/year Caofeidian LNG terminal phase 1 in Tangshan city, northern China’s Hebei province, on June 18, S&P Global reported previously.
The start-up of the Wenzhou LNG terminal was delayed due to some government formalities and typhoons, the company official said. Zhejiang Energy originally planned to start operation of the Wenzhou LNG terminal in early July.
Several typhoons have affected China since July. Typhoon Talim made landfall in southern China’s Guangdong province July 17, then Typhoon Doksuri slammed into southeast China’s Fujian province on July 28, weather reports showed. After that, shipping terminal services in eastern China were disrupted again due to Typhoon Kanu last week, according to market sources.
The LNG cargo for commissioning was supplied by state-owned PetroChina, and the vessel had arrived in the waters near Wenzhou for some time, market sources said. “The LNG cargo was swapped from PetroChina, and we will return them with our term contract LNG cargo,” another company source said.
Zhejiang Energy and ExxonMobil signed a long-term LNG sales and purchase agreement in April 2019 for the supply of 1 million mt/year of LNG over a period of 20 years.
Delivery of the term contract started since October 2022, at around one cargo a month, and Zhejiang Energy mainly received its term contract volumes via ENN’s Zhoushan LNG terminal and CNOOC’s Ningbo LNG terminal previously, according to the source.
“Wenzhou LNG terminal will enter the trial operation stage after receiving the first LNG cargo, and we will formulate our LNG procurement and import plans according to the actual market conditions,” the source noted.
Apart from the term contract signed with ExxonMobil, Zhejiang Energy’s subsidiary Zhejiang Energy Natural Gas and Novatek Gas & Power Asia also signed a 15-year LNG long-term contract for buying up to 1 million mt/year LNG from Arctic LNG 2 on a DES basis in January 2022.
The LNG cargoes under this contract are expected to start delivery from Q3 this year, further increasing Zhejiang Energy’s natural gas supply capacity, the source added.
As the fourth LNG terminal in Zhejiang province, the Wenzhou LNG terminal started construction on Sept. 18, 2021, completed on Feb. 20, 2023, and passed the inspection on April 13, according to the Zhejiang Port and Shipping Management Center.
The Wenzhou LNG terminal project is jointly invested by Zhejiang Energy (51%), state-owned Sinopec (41%) and a local company Wenzhou Xiaomen Island Investment Development Co., (8%), but only Zhejiang Energy has the operation right, according to a source with Sinopec.
The project has a designed LNG receiving capacity of 3 million mt/year and a LNG storage capacity of 1.08 Bcm, comprising a dock capable of receiving LNG carriers of 30,000-266,000 cu m and four LNG storage tanks with a capacity of 200,000 cu m each, data from Zhejiang provincial government showed earlier.
Zhejiang Energy is a major energy supplier in Zhejiang province, which is mainly engaged in power construction, natural gas development and utilization, coal circulation, and energy services, according to information posted on the company’s official website.
Zhejiang Energy has a provincial-level natural gas pipeline network of over 1,800 kilometers, 72 provincial-level natural gas stations, and 27 city gas companies, which supply more than 11 Bcm/year of natural gas, accounting for more than 81% of the total natural gas consumption in Zhejiang province, the company said.
The U.S. sees record-High gas deliveries to LNG export terminals
Deliveries of natural gas via pipelines to liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities in the United States hit a record high in the first half of 2023, averaging 12.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), per data by S&P Global Commodity Insights reported by the Energy Information Administration on Monday.
Between January and June 2023, LNG feed gas averaged 8% more than the 2022 annual average and 4% more than the same period in 2022, the EIA noted.
High demand in Europe in April saw LNG feed gas hit a monthly record that month, at 14.0 Bcf/d. In May and June, gas deliveries to export facilities declined to average 13.0 Bcf/d and 11.5 Bcf/d, respectively, due to maintenance at some export terminals such as Sabine Pass and Cameron, the EIA said.
LNG feed gas levels are usually higher than LNG export levels because export terminals consume some of the feed gas to operate on-site liquefaction equipment, the administration notes.
This year, U.S. LNG exports are set to average 12.0 Bcf/d, per EIA’s estimates. Next year, the average exports are expected to jump to 13.3 Bcf/d as two new LNG liquefaction projects are expected to come online—Golden Pass and Plaquemines.
Despite concerns about cost inflation, developers of LNG projects in the United States have approved a record-high volume of export capacity so far this year, driven by rising global LNG demand and increased long-term contracting from customers willing to boost energy security.
Earlier this month, NextDecade took the final investment decision for the first phase of a new LNG facility in Texas after it secured $18.4 billion in funding. The first phase of the Rio Grande LNG will consist of three liquefaction trains, with Phase 1 having already secured long-term offtake commitments from buyers including Shell, Exxon, TotalEnergies, Engie, and several Chinese energy companies, as well as Portugal’s Galp, and Japan’s Itochu Corporation.
Russia: Massive floating LNG storage Hub arrives in Kamchatka in far east
With the second gas transfer hub now in place Russia’s Novatek appears set to further economize the transport scheme of its liquefied natural gas exports from the Arctic to Europe and Asia. Transshipment hub Koryak FSU arrived in Bechevinskaya Bay after a three week tow from South Korea.
Just weeks after Russian natural gas producer Novatek installed its first massive floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage terminal, Saam FSU, near Murmansk, the sister vessel arrived in Bechevinskaya Bay in the Far East. Together the two transshipment hubs will optimize the company’s flow of LNG to Europe and Asia.
Koryak FSU arrived outside Bechevinskaya Bay from the shipyard at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in South Korea after a 3-week tow in mid-July.
The barge is the first floating gas storage facility to service the eastern terminus of Russia’s Northern Sea Route (NSR). It will allow for transshipment of LNG from ice-class carriers to traditional tankers and will cut the distance ice-capable ships will have to travel by around 40 percent.
The hub measures 400 m in length, 60 m wide and has a maximum draft of 12.2 m. It will be able to handle the transfer of around 20m tons of LNG annually.
Both hubs had originally been scheduled to enter into service in 2022 but operational delays and the impact of western sanctions resulted in a one-year delay.
Chinese company built the infrastructure
Chinese enterprise China Communications and Construction Company was awarded a $214m contract in 2021 to prepare the anchorage in Bechevinskaya Bay.
Infrastructure development included the dredging of a 6.6 km approach channel, erection of several lighthouses and buoys, coastal berths for support vessels, and preparation of the anchorage site.
Rosmorport, Russian developer and operator of sea transport infrastructure, subsequently prepared the anchorage to receive the FSU.
Last week Koryak FSU was secured in place using 32 anchor mooring ties. Going forward Rosmorport’s Petropavlovsk branch will provide pilotage to LNG vessels entering and exiting the bay for loading and unloading of LNG.
Meanwhile, at the western hub near Murmansk activity by support vessels and tugs has concluded. The next step will be the receipt and transfer of LNG.
The first LNG carriers are expected to call at both transshipment hubs later this year.
Technological Development for Cleaner and Greener Environment Hydrogen & Bio-Methane
Korea, China, Japan compete fiercely for dominance in Methanol-powered Ships
Methanol-fueled ships have eclipsed liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels, claiming the premier position for the highest number of environmentally friendly ship orders placed from January to July this year.
South Korea’s shipbuilding sector, which has been cultivating its technological expertise in methanol-powered ships as its future growth engine for years, is at the forefront of driving the global market. Nevertheless, the shipbuilding industries of China and Japan are also making significant strides in their pursuit, intensifying the competition.
Based on data provided by the Korea LNG Bunkering Industry Association and DNV on Aug. 6, a total of 122 construction contracts for methanol-fueled ships were secured during the period from January to July this year. In comparison, there were 73 contracts for LNG-powered ships within the same time frame. This marks a significant shift from the previous year when LNG-powered ships held the majority at 222 compared to methanol-powered ships at 35.
Except for the months of March and April, the contract volume for methanol-powered ships has exceeded that of LNG-powered ships every month this year. As the momentum behind methanol-propelled vessels solidified, July alone witnessed an influx of 48 new contracts. As a result, within the global shipbuilding order backlog, the share of methanol-powered ships has surged to 10.7 percent, establishing a robust position alongside LNG-powered ships at 23.1 percent. Traditional-fueled vessels still dominate the order backlog at 63.5 percent.
At the forefront of the environmentally friendly shipbuilding market, the South Korean shipbuilding industry has taken the lead by securing contracts for methanol-powered vessels, with a specific emphasis on large-scale container ships. In February, HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering clinched an impressive total of 54 orders, including a fleet of seven 9,000 TEU vessels for HMM. Notably, this order includes 18 methanol-powered container ships, marking a significant milestone as Maersk placed the world’s inaugural order for such vessels. Meanwhile, Samsung Heavy Industries received an order last month for 16 vessels of 16,000 TEU capacity from Evergreen of Taiwan, and HJ Heavy Industries also secured an order for 2 vessels of 9,000 TEU capacity from HMM.
Last month, HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering achieved a significant milestone by delivering a pioneering 2,100 TEU container vessel, which served as a demonstrative project for Maersk’s ambitious methanol propulsion initiative. This marks the world’s first methanol-powered container ship.
The competitive pursuit from China and Japan is equally assertive. Chinese shipbuilders, including Dalian Shipbuilding Industry and Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, have clinched contracts for a total of 12 sizeable methanol-powered container vessels, each with a capacity of 9,000 TEU or more, ordered between April and June this year. This achievement can be attributed to their sole acquisition of orders placed by prominent shipping entities like France’s CMA-CGM and Denmark’s Maersk.
Capitalizing on its domestic transportation needs and the infrastructure of coal-derived methanol, China is strategically luring prominent global shipping corporations. Maersk, for instance, has strategically collaborated with three Chinese methanol enterprises – Debo Energy, CIMC, and Green Technology Bank – to establish partnerships securing an annual supply of eco-friendly methanol for fuel, reaching a substantial volume of 800,000 tons.
Within the sector of pure car and truck carriers (PCTC), which China commands a substantial presence in, two 9,000 CEU-class ships are currently under construction at affiliated shipyards, commissioned by China Merchants Group. Last October, China’s state-owned maritime entity, COSCO, made a noteworthy order for 12 sizeable methanol-powered vessels, each boasting a capacity of 24,000 TEU. This strategic procurement was orchestrated in collaboration with domestic shipyards such as Dalian DACKS and Nantong NACKS. DACKS and NACKS are joint ventures between Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries and COSCO. Meanwhile, Japan’s Nippon Shipyard also secured an order for eight large methanol-powered container ships from Taiwan’s Evergreen last month.
In tandem with the intense competition for shipbuilding contracts, a comparable battle is unfolding within the realm of ship engines. Korean engine manufacturers have etched their mark by securing a pioneering position, attaining the distinction of being the first in the world to assemble mass production technology for sizable methanol engines, an indispensable component for methanol-propelled vessels. Building upon their monumental legacy in the LNG sector, Korea finds itself strategically poised to supply the “heart” of the maritime methanol era as well. Conversely, China has been confronted with the Korean imperative to procure this pivotal “heart” by Korean engine manufacturers within the unfolding methanol era. Accordingly, China is working towards domestic methanol engine production through a synergy of cooperation among state-owned enterprises. China’s state-owned ship engine manufacturer, CSSC MES Diesel (CMD), has secured a significant contract encompassing the production of engines destined to power the 12 methanol-propelled ships from COSCO.
Germany: Bosch starts volume production of Hydrogen fuel-cell power module
Bosch has begun volume production of its fuel-cell power module at its Stuttgart-Feuerbach location in Germany. Nikola Corporation, based in the United States, will serve as the pilot customer with its Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell electric truck, which is scheduled to enter the North American market in Q3 2023.
“Here in Stuttgart-Feuerbach, in the plant whose history goes back further than any other Bosch plant, the hydrogen future is about to happen,” said Dr. Stefan Hartung, chair of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. “Bosch knows its way around hydrogen, and Bosch is growing with hydrogen.” Bosch develops technology for hydrogen production and application. By 2030, the company plans to generate sales of roughly US$5.6 billion with hydrogen technology.
The Bosch plant in Bamberg, Germany, will supply the Feuerbach factory with the fuel cell stack. Important system components, such as the electric air compressor and the recirculation blower, come from the Bosch plant in Homburg, Germany. “Bosch is one of the very few companies that are capable of mass-producing technology as complex as fuel cell stacks. We don’t just have the required systems expertise, but also the capability of quickly scaling up new developments to mass production,” said Markus Heyn, member of the Bosch board of management and chair of Bosch Mobility. Production of the fuel-cell power module is not only starting in Feuerbach, but also in Chongqing, China. The required components will come from the Wuxi plant. “Bosch is the first company to produce these systems in both China and Germany,” said Hartung. “In addition, Bosch is also planning to manufacture stacks for mobile applications in its US plant in Anderson, South Carolina. Worldwide, the company expects that, by 2030, one in five new trucks weighing 6 tons (5.4 tonnes) or more will feature a fuel-cell powertrain.
“Only with hydrogen can there be a climate-neutral world,” the company said in a statement for Bosch Tech Day 2023. “For Bosch, that is crystal-clear. The company therefore strongly advocates the establishment of a hydrogen economy and is stepping up its investments in hydrogen. Between 2021 and 2026, Bosch will have invested a total of nearly US$2.8 billion in the development and manufacturing of its hydrogen technologies. That is another US$1.12 billion than was earmarked in the investment plan for 2021 to 2024. The business opportunities for Bosch are huge, as is the effect on jobs. Even now, there are more than 3000 people at Bosch working on hydrogen technologies, more than half of them in Europe. Most of the vacancies can be filled from within the company, and especially with people who have so far worked in the Bosch powertrain business. However, the further prospects for the hydrogen business depend on the political environment. Hartung especially believes that Europe must do much more to create a counterweight to the rapid pace of developments in other regions of the world, such as the United States.”
At the event, Hartung outlined four demands of German and European policymakers. “First, we have to step up the pace of hydrogen production in the EU,” said Hartung. “Second, global supply chains have to be set up, and third, hydrogen has to be used in all sectors of the economy.” As a fourth point, he stressed the importance of quickly setting up infrastructure for distributing hydrogen in Europe.
At the start of 2023, Bosch started constructing prototypes for electrolysis using proton exchange membranes, the reverse of the energy conversion method used in mobile fuel cells. Starting in the fall, the company intends to make 1.25-MW prototypes available for pilot applications and is on track to start volume production in 2025. Bosch is exploring several options for the use of hydrogen. Stationary solid-oxide fuel cells can be used for the distributed supply of power and heat. In a pilot project at the hospital in Erkelenz, near Cologne in Germany, Bosch wants to use this technology to achieve overall efficiency of 90%. The micropower plant there will initially run on natural gas but can be converted to green hydrogen. Apart from the fuel cell powertrain, Bosch is also working on the hydrogen engine, developing systems for both port and direct injection of hydrogen. The company said the solution is particularly suitable for heavy vehicles on long hauls with especially heavy loads. “A hydrogen engine can do everything a diesel engine does, but on top of that, it is carbon neutral. It also allows a fast and cost-effective entry into hydrogen-based mobility,” Heyn said. One major advantage is that more than 90% of the development and manufacturing technologies needed for it already exist. The hydrogen engine is expected to be launched starting in 2024. Even now, Bosch has four orders for production projects from all the major economic regions and expects six-figure unit volumes by 2030.