NGS’ NG/LNG SNAPSHOT – Jan 16-31, 2023

National News Internatonal News


City Gas Distribution & Auto LPG

Rajasthan to have 13 new industrial areas along Mehsana-Bathinda gas pipeline route

Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation (RIICO) will develop about 13 new industrial areas along the Mehsana-Bathinda gas pipeline route to give a push to the industrial infrastructure in the state, an official said. These areas will be the hub of furnace-based industries, which will require cost effective fuel for their production. The gas pipeline will fuel the furnaces, ovens, boilers, turbines and heaters.

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Authorized by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB), the Gujarat State Petronet Limited installed the 1,650-kilometre gas pipeline, out of which 1,334 km pipeline passes through Rajasthan. The gas pipeline has recently been charged with natural gas, Veenu Gupta, Additional Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce Department, said in a statement.

She said that the state is making great efforts to strengthen the gas grid in Rajasthan with an aim to foster green energy and reduce the cost of operations for industries.

Rajasthan is the second-largest natural gas producing state in India. Shivprasad Nakate, Managing Director of RIICO, said that the Mehsana-Bhatinda gas pipeline in the state will be advantageous for industrial units for the sectors like ceramic, glass, metal casting, textile, cement, automobile, fertilizer, refinery and steel, among others.

Both existing and upcoming industrial areas by the RIICO, next to the Mehsana-Bhatinda gas pipeline, would not only generate fresh job opportunities in the state but also boost the revenue of the state, thereby aiding in its overall development, Nakate said.

Within a 5 kilometer buffer zone of the gas pipeline at Udwariya, Pipela Rohida (Abu Road), Bevanja Extension (Ajmer), Renwal (Jaipur North), Bichon (Jaipur Rural),and Malsisar (Jhunjhunu), six industrial areas are proposed.

Additionally, RIICO is looking into the possibility of creating an industrial area in Srinagar (Sawai Madhopur) within a 10-kilometre buffer zone of the pipeline.Similarly, a 25-km buffer zone of the pipeline is being considered by RIICO for the development of six industrial areas at Kalesara, Masuda (Ajmer), Kankani (Boranada), Manda Phase-4 Extension (Jaipur North), Bittan (Jaipur Rural), Padarli-Sindran-Rani (Pali).

The 63 RIICO industrial areas near the gas pipeline in Abu Road, Ajmer, Churu, Jaipur, Jhunjhunu, Pali, Rajsamand, Sikar, and Sriganganagar are already functional. Therefore, industrial units operating in these existing industrial areas across the state will be highly benefited.

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AGP Pratham launches two liquified and compressed natural gas LCNG stations in Kerala

Inaugurated virtually by Shri Pinarayi Vijayan, Honourable Chief Minister of Kerala, the two stations are located in Kochuveli, Thiruvananthapuram and Cherthala, Alappuzha

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AG&P Pratham, one of the leading players in the Indian City Gas Distribution (CGD) industry, has launched Kerala’s two Liquified Compressed Natural Gas (LCNG) stations in two locations – Kochuveli in Thiruvananthapuram and in Cherthala, Alappuzha. The LCNG stations were inaugurated by Shri Pinarayi Vijayan, Honourable Chief Minister of Kerala in the presence of Shri P Rajeev, Honourable Minister for Law, Industries and Coin and Shri Abhilesh Gupta – Managing Director & CEO, AG&P Pratham.

Launching the LCNG stations Shri Pinarayi Vijayan, Honourable Chief Minister of Kerala, said, “Natural gas helps reduce air pollution caused by vehicles & industries and helps the country move towards responsible growth and energy sufficiency. Using domestic piped natural gas will result in convenience & savings and improve the quality of life for the citizen of the states. The use of CNG has several merits over traditional fuels like diesel and petrol and its use will help create an environmentally friendly ecosystem in Kerala. We are committed to strengthening the gas distribution infrastructure across the state and transforming Kerala into a clean energy state. We welcome companies like AG&P Pratham whose continued efforts will help achieve this vision and promote increased adoption of natural gas among citizens.”

Speaking at the launch Shri Abhilesh Gupta – Managing Director & CEO, AG&P Pratham, stated, “The launch of two LCNG stations in Kerala is a testament to our commitment to the state. We are grateful for the continued support from the state government and the local authorities in helping us expand the gas distribution infrastructure in the state. By consistently expanding our footprint in the state, we aim to develop 291 CNG stations, serve thousands of households, industries, and commercial establishments and generate 1500 jobs across Kerala in the next eight years.”

Thanking the Government of Kerala, Mr Ranjith Ramakrishnan, Regional Head, AG&P Pratham, said, “CNG has multifold benefits that are advantageous to consumers as well as the environment. The use of clean and environment-friendly fuels is integral to our journey towards sustainable development. With a capacity to handle 200 tons of Natural Gas a day in each station, the Kochuveli and Cherthala LCNG stations will cater to the requirements of the Thiruvananthapuram & South of Kollam district and Alappuzha & North of Kollam districts respectively.”

AG&P Pratham is developing CGD networks in 3 districts of Kerala including Alappuzha, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram. To date, AG&P Pratham has launched 11 CNG stations in Alappuzha, 02 in Kollam and 07 in the Thiruvananthapuram district. The company plans to launch 23 more CNG stations in the state by March 2023.

The company will be developing 361 km of pipeline network within Trivandrum Municipal corporation limits and Cherthala Municipality & Vayalar gram panchayat of Alappuzha district by the end of FY23. The Kochuveli station will eventually cover 9,500 vehicles and benefit 80,000 households, and 1,000 commercial establishments and the Cherthala station will eventually cover 6,000 vehicles and benefit 80,000 households, and 1,000 commercial establishments.

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Natural Gas/ Pipelines/ Company News


ONGC: Arun Kumar Singh is now CEO as well

More than a month after Arun Kumar Singh was appointed chairman of India’s largest oil and gas producer ONGC, the retired BPCL head is also the CEO of the company now, according to a stock exchange filing by ONGC. 

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Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has been traditionally headed by a chairman and managing director. It, however, did not have a full-time head after Shashi Shanker superannuated on March 31, 2021. The government on December 7 named Arun Kumar Singh, who had a couple of months back retired as head of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), as the chairman of ONGC but not as its Managing Director. Now, he has been appointed the CEO of the company as well.

“In continuation of our communication dated December 7, 2022, regarding the appointment of Arun Kumar Singh as chairman of the company. It is informed that the Board at its meeting held on January 24, 2023, has appointed Singh as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Accordingly, Singh is designated as Chairman & CEO of the company,” ONGC said in a stock exchange filing. Singh, 60, has been appointed for a three-year tenure with effect from the date of his assumption of charge of the post, according to a DoPT order. He took charge on December 7, 2022. A mechanical engineer from the National Institute of Technology, Patna, Singh was Director (Marketing) of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) from October 2018 to September 2021, after which he was elevated as chairman and managing director of the company. Singh retired as BPCL head 13 months later in October 2022 after attaining a superannuation age of 60 years.

This is perhaps the first instance of a retired executive being appointed as the head of a Maharatna PSU. A search-cum-selection committee, constituted by the oil ministry, had zeroed in on Singh after interviewing six candidates on August 27, 2022. Singh was already selected to head the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) before the August 27 interviews.

In his nearly 38 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, he has headed business units and entities in BPCL, such as retail, LPG, pipelines and supply chain optimisation. He also held the position of President (Africa & Australasia) in Bharat PetroResources Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BPCL, engaged in the exploration of oil and gas, largely overseas, according to information available on the BPCL website.

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RIL, BP pause natural gas auction from KG-D6 block

The bidding process has been suspended till further notice, the companies said in a letter jointly sent by RIL and BP Exploration (Alpha) — the Indian unit of BP.

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Reliance Industries (RIL) and its UK-based partner bp plc have put on hold the planned auction to sell natural gas from the eastern offshore deepwater block — KG-D6 — following a change in the marketing rules.

The bidding process has been suspended till further notice, the companies said in a letter jointly sent by RIL and BP Exploration (Alpha) — the Indian unit of bp.

The companies had invited bids for the sale of 6 cubic metre (mscmd) of gas per day, with the auctions initially planned for January 18. It was then postponed to January 19 and later to January 24. The bids were invited for gas being produced from February 2023, according to the tender document.

KG-D6, or Krishna Godavari Dhirubhai-6, was RIL’s first offshore gas field development and its first underwater discovery and was the country’s largest deposit of natural gas. 

According to sources, the companies would issue another tender after changing the terms of the auction in accordance with the changes in the regulation.

On January 13, the ministry of petroleum and natural gas altered existing rules for sale and resale of gas from discoveries in deep sea, ultra-deep water and high pressure-high temperature areas with marketing and pricing freedom.

Under the new rules, the government intends to prioritise sale of gas for households and transport sector, followed by fertilisers, cooking gas and power, in the event that similar offers are made.

“In any situation, which may require proportionate distribution of the gas offered under the bidding process, the contractor (company selling the gas) shall offer gas to bidders belonging to compressed natural gas (transport) and piped natural gas (domestic) sector, fertiliser, LPG and power sector in that order,” the ministry had said in its order.

It had also said any leftover gas should be offered to other bidders.

As per the rules, bidders were to state upfront if they were purchasing the gas through the auction for own use or as end consumers (including for use of their group entities) or as a trader. 

While end consumers were allowed to resell unconsumed gas, traders participating in the auction were allowed to resell subject to a maximum trading margin of Rs 200 per 1,000 cubic metres.

In May last year, Reliance-bp had auctioned 5.5 mscmd of incremental gas from the newer discoveries in the KG-D6 block, prior to which they had sold 7.5 mmscmd of gas.

While end consumers were allowed to resell unconsumed gas, traders participating in the auction were allowed to resell subject to a maximum trading margin of Rs 200 per 1,000 cubic metres.

In May last year, Reliance-bp had auctioned 5.5 mscmd of incremental gas from the newer discoveries in the KG-D6 block, prior to which they had sold 7.5 mmscmd of gas.

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Policy Matters/ Gas Pricing/ Others

Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Hardeep Singh Puri rededicated ONGC’s Iconic Sagar Samrat to the Nation

Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Minister for Housing and Urban Development Shri Hardeep Singh Puri rededicated Oil and Natural Gas Corporation’s (ONGC) iconic drilling rig Sagar Samrat, as a Mobile Offshore Production Unit (MOPU) today (January 28, 2023) at a ceremony held on Sagar Samrat which is located 140-145 kilometres west of Mumbai. The Minister later visited ONGC Kendriya Vidyalaya Grounds, Panvel Phase 1 to meet the Energy Soldiers of ONGC and their families.

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The Minister met the ONGC employees who manned the Sagar Samrat as a drilling rig and also the team which worked on converting it to a MOPU. He motivated the crew of Sagar Samrat, whom he called ‘Energy Soldiers of the Nation’ to continue their efforts for India’s energy security. The Minister highlighted how Sagar Samrat is a testimony of India’s vision of producing its own oil when it was globally labelled as “barren” in terms of hydrocarbon exploration. The Minister stated that in harnessing India’s most prominent and prolific oilfield, ONGC has consistently committed itself to the pursuit of knowledge, continual excellence and the willingness to evolve technologically. “The legacy of Sagar Samrat also honors the memories of the martyred officers who laid down their lives for ONGC and more importantly for India’s energy security”, said the Union Minister. He felicitated the crew of Sagar Samrat and families of the chopper incident on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister said, re-coronation of Sagar Samrat is a testament to the courage and willingness to make a difference in the face of uncertainties and the tumultuous forces of nature through re-alignment and innovation. He said that ONGC is not only India’s premier National Oil Company but also one of India Inc’s marquee corporate entities. Stating this, he expressed confidence about ONGC re-inventing itself for India’s new hopes and expectations from its no. 1 NOC. He further said that, as India’s top NOC, the nation looks toward ONGC for making the most of the facilitative policy environment that the Government is providing and leading India’s E&P charge.

Stating this, the Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister urged that there is a need to introduce new Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in the organization which are geared towards time-bound deliverables and efficiency. These KPIs need to focus on three important goals. ONGC possess a large sedimentary basin acreage, which will go up even further in the coming days. It is imperative that the organisation make extra efforts to convert it’s ‘Yet to find’ acreage into Discovery fields, Discovery fields into Production assets and Production assets into Maximum Production assets. Teams across ONGC which are engaged in different processes of the three phases must re-orient themselves for accelerated achievements of these targets, he said. The Union Minister further said that all efforts should be made to make the organization agile, expedient and efficient. He urged that it is also crucial for ONGC, which has made a strong profit this FY, to investment much greater resources into R&D and Exploration activities.

Government of India intends to increase India’s exploration acreage to 0.5 million sq. km. by 2025 and 1.0 million sq. km. by 2030, stated the Union Minister. He also said that the Government has been successful in reducing the ‘No Go’ area by 99%, thereby making available an additional approx. 1 million of India’s EEZ for exploration. Several MNCs like Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Total Energies are showing keen interest to invest in the Indian E&P segment, and some are already in talks with ONGC for firming up mutually beneficial partnerships.

Shri Hardeep Singh Puri said that India is the world’s fastest-growing large economy and the world’s 3rd largest consumer of energy, 3rd largest consumer of crude oil, 4th largest refiner, 6th largest importer of petroleum products, and 7th largest exporter of petroleum products as on date. India’s energy demand is expected to grow at about 3% per annum by 2040, compared to the global rate of 1%. Further, 25% of the global energy growth between 2020 and 2040 is going to come from India due to our fast-growing economy and demographic dividend. However, India imports 85% of its petroleum requirements and spent approx. $120 Billion in FY 2021-22 on the import of petroleum products. Stating this, the Union Minister said, India’s Amrit Kaal cannot be realized without achieving energy Independence by 2047.

Speaking about the multiple steps taken by Government of India to ensure that our future generations enjoy energy security, the Union Minister highlighted policy reforms like Production Sharing Contract (PSC) regime, Discovered Small Field Policy, the Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy, the Setting up of a National Data Repository, etc. The government has also provided functional freedom to NOCs like ONGC and wider private sector participation by streamlining approval processes including an electronic single window mechanism, he further said.

The Union Minister also invited all stakeholders to the upcoming India Energy Week being held from 6th to 8th February 2023 at the Bangalore International Exhibition Center (BIEC), Bengaluru, where ONGC will be one of the main draws.

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LNG Use / LNG Development and Shipping

GAIL India seeks two LNG cargoes for February delivery

GAIL (India) Ltd has issued a buy tender seeking two liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes for delivery into India, two industry sources said on Jan 16, 2023. .

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India’s largest gas distributor is seeking the cargoes for delivery during the month of February on a delivered ex-ship (DES) basis into the country's Dabhol terminal.

The tender closes on Wednesday, Jan. 18, added the sources.

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Indian Oil, GAIL in LNG offtake talks with ADNOC

Indian state-run energy firms Indian Oil Corp. (IOCL) and Gail are in talks with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) for long-term LNG supply contracts. The discussions are at a fairly advanced stage, Mint reported on January 26 quoting India’s ambassador to the UAE Sunjay Sudhir.

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The south Asian country is holding talks with the UAE to work out a mechanism for long-term offtake from an upcoming LNG plant in Fujairah, the newspaper reported.

“Two of our companies, Gail and IOCL are in discussions with ADNOC for long-term LNG contracts. Right now, as we speak, discussions have progressed very, very far. And it’s just a question of getting the right numbers. We are very hopeful of concluding it soon,” said Sudhir.

Gail and ADNOC in November last year signed a memorandum of understanding to explore collaboration opportunities in LNG supply and decarbonisation.

ADNOC’s Fujairah project – comprising two 4.8mn metric tons/year LNG trains – is expected to increase the state-run company’s LNG production capacity by 9.6mn mt/yr, as it looks to respond to the growing global demand for natural gas. ADNOC has appointed US-based engineers McDermott International as the design contractor.

The design stage is expected to be followed by the award of an EPC contract in 2023.

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Electric Mobility/ Hydrogen/ Bio- Methane

Green Hydrogen Mission to help India meet net-zero targets

The Union Cabinet on January 4 approved the National Green Hydrogen Mission, which aims to make India a global manufacturing hub and a clean source of energy

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The National Green Hydrogen Mission is a “significant step” towards achieving the country”s net-zero targets and will help in reducing input costs of clean energy sources, besides generating lakhs of job opportunities in the renewable energy sector, experts say.

The Union Cabinet on January 4 approved the National Green Hydrogen Mission, which aims to make India a global manufacturing hub and a clean source of energy.

The objective of the Mission is also development of a production capacity of at least 5 MMT (Million Metric Tonnes) per annum with an associated renewable energy capacity addition of about 125 GW in the country by 2030.

“I expect that the emphasis on demand creation, incentives and partnerships will kick-start the green hydrogen industry in the country and enable Indian companies to be on a level footing with the global energy suppliers.

“The industry is ready to support India’s clean energy transition,” Sh. Sumant Sinha, Chairman and CEO, ReNew Power.

Sh. Sinha, who is also the president of industry body Assocham, termed the launch of the mission “a significant step” towards helping India achieve net-zero targets.

Sh. Ishver Dholakiya, MD of Goldi Solar said the program will facilitate production, utilisation, and export, along with generation of lakhs of job opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

The incentives will help bring down the cost of input materials like electrolysers, which will help local players to become competitive at the global level, he said.

Sh. Girishkumar Kadam, Senior Vice President & Co-Group Head – Corporate Ratings, ICRA Ltd said the round-the-clock procurement of renewable energy at competitive rates remains extremely critical for an improvement in the utilisation of electrolysers.

The timely implementation of the proposed PLI scheme to incentivize/promote the domestic manufacturing of electrolysers will be critical, he said.

Sh. Abhay Kumar Singh, ex-CMD of state-owned NHPC, said the cost of per kg hydrogen comes to around USD 3 at present. With the government’s ambitious mission it will be less than half in the times to come.

“In April 2022, when I was CMD NHPC, the company had signed an agreement with the Himachal government to develop a pilot green hydrogen mobility project including hydrogen production,” he said.

The mission will give a boost to investment sentiments of more and more interest players, Singh said.

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Adani inks pact with Ashok Leyland for hydrogen fuel cell e-truck pilot

Adani Enterprises has inked a pact with automotive major Ashok Leyland for the launch of a hydrogen fuel cell electric truck (FCET) on a pilot basis, a report said on January 17.

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The pact also involves Ballard Power, the Canada-headquartered manufacturer of proton exchange membrane fuel cell, the Economic Times report added. The fuel cell is key for powering the hydrogen fuel e-truck.

The FCET will be used for mining logistics and transportation by the Adani Group. While Ballard Power will supply the proton exchange membrane fuel cell, the e-trucks will be manufactured by Ashok Leyland.

The first hydrogen fuel e-truck, under the pact, will be deployed this year, ET Now tweeted.

In February 2022, Adani Group signed a non-binding pact with the Nasdaq-listed Ballard Power to evaluate a joint venture for investment in the commercial production of hydrogen fuel cells for various mobility and industrial applications in India.

As per the memorandum of understanding, both parties were to examine various options to cooperate, including potential collaboration for fuel cell manufacturing in India.

Adani Group had, earlier, noted that it hopes to become one of the largest green hydrogen producers in the world, which could subsequently help India emerge as the world’s cheapest hydrogen producer.

The group had last year informed that it was investing $20 billion in renewable energy generation over the next decade and is keen to use its generation for producing green hydrogen.

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OEMs push up EV prices five months into FAME subsidy halt by Centre

The halt on Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME) subsidies by the Centre has pushed defaulter original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to increase the price of electric vehicles (EVs). Majority of the EV players have increased prices of their products in proportion to the subsidies they had earlier received, or by at least 20 per cent of the subsidy amount.

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However, large players such as Hero Electric claim they are selling EVs at subsidised rates. “We are selling all our products with subsidy benefits despite not getting it from the government for the last 16 months,” said Manu Sharma, spokesperson, Hero Electric.

Though the company has raised the price of its products by Rs 8,000-10,000, Sharma said the changes were due to “enhancement in technologies and not due to subsidy halt.”

Okinawa, the country’s second largest electric two-wheeler (E2W) manufacturer, has also increased the price by Rs 10,000-40,000. Okinawa did not respond to Business Standard’s queries seeking clarification on the subsidy issue.

Both Okinawa and Hero Electric were in the first list of OEMs whose subsidy was halted in September. So far, of the 64 OEMs registered under the FAME-II, about 17 have been barred from seeking subsidies under the scheme, according to the data available on the website of ministry of heavy industries. The government’s move came in the wake of allegations related to misuse of subsidy allocation and non-compliance with the standards required to be eligible for these subsidies.

“The prices of Okinawa products such as the OKHI-90, IPraise+, Praisepro have been increased by Rs 40,000, Rs 37,000 and Rs 13,000 respectively. We are not giving any subsidy from our end,” said an Okinawa dealer in Gurugram.

EV dealers sell at subsidised rate and then apply for subsidy at the MHI portal for the same.

However, an Okinawa dealer in South Delhi said they have stopped applying for the FAME subsidy on the government’s website. “We do not apply for reimbursement of subsidies. The rate at which we buy our products has increased and we are selling it at those rates only,” the dealer said.

The subsidy for EV makers ranges from Rs 17,000 to Rs 66,000 per electric two-wheeler. It is Rs 32,200 to Rs 108,000 for an electric three-wheeler.

According to data on the Vahan portal of the ministry of road, transport and highways, Okinawa and Hero Electric contribute to 90 per cent of the total vehicles sold by the 17 barred OEMs and 20 per cent of the overall 1 million vehicles sold in the country in 2022.

E-mails and calls to other ineligible OEMs such as Atul Auto, Victory Electric and Thukral Electric remained unanswered till the time of going to press.

Speego, a three-wheeler manufacturer, whose subsidy was halted around October, has increased the price of its product by Rs 35,000—equivalent to the subsidy amount it was getting earlier. Speego is now selling its e-rickshaw at Rs 1.8 lakh.

Dilli Electric, another three-wheeler maker whose subsidies were halted, has raised its e-rickshaw price by Rs 25,000. It was getting a subsidy of Rs 36,000 on the vehicle. “We are selling our product without subsidy now, but have diluted our profits by decreasing the base cost of our product due to market competition,” said Amit Jhamb, Director, Dilli Electric.

According to EV industry lobby group, Society of Manufacturers Of Electric Vehicles (SMEV), the total amount of subsidy withheld has crossed Rs 1,100 crore. Though the government is investigating the matter, industry players say that if nothing has come out of the investigation in the last five months then why OEMs are forced to bear the loss.

“We are paying for the government sponsored scheme from our pockets. Why is the government not completing its investigation? If it does not come out with a solution soon it would become different for OEMs to stay in business,” said an OEM on the condition of anonymity.

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Work in progress to set up Coal-to-Methanol plants in country: Hardeep Singh Puri 

Blending of 15 per cent methanol in gasoline can result in at least a 15 per cent reduction in the import of gasoline/crude oil

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Work is in progress to set up Coal-to-Methanol plants in the country using indigenous technology, Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri said on Tuesday.

BHEL (Hyderabad and Trichy), Thermax, and IIT Delhi are working on the project, the Union minister said while inaugurating the demo run of an Inland Water Vessel powered by Methanol blended Diesel (MD15) on the Brahmaputra here.

The low-carbon boat ride was done on a 50-seater motor launch marine vessel named ‘SB Gangadhar’ by Puri and Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Rameshwar Teli.

Methanol is a cost-effective alternative marine fuel, less expensive than other marine fuels and is economical in terms of developing shoreside storage and bunkering infrastructure, Puri said.

Assam Petrochemical Limited (APL), Namrup, currently produces about 100 TPD of Methanol and is implementing a new project for the production of 500 TPD of Methanol, Puri said at the event, organised as a part of the run-up to the India Energy Week 2023 (IEW 2023) to be held in Bengaluru from February 6 to 8 next.

NITI Aayog’s ‘Methanol Economy’ programme is aimed at reducing the country’s oil import bill, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and converting coal reserves and municipal solid waste into methanol.

The cost to convert vessels to run on methanol is significantly less than other alternative fuel conversions with no need for expensive exhaust gas after treatment and as a liquid fuel, only minor modifications are needed for existing storage and bunkering infrastructure to handle methanol.

Blending of 15 per cent methanol in gasoline can result in at least a 15 per cent reduction in the import of gasoline/crude oil.

In addition, this would bring down GHG emissions by 20 per cent in terms of particulate matter, thereby improving the urban air quality, he said.

Methanol is a low-carbon hydrogen carrier fuel produced from high ash coal, agricultural residue, CO2 from thermal power plants and natural gas.

Although slightly lower in energy content than petrol and diesel, methanol can replace both these fuels in the transport sector (road, rail and marine), the energy sector (comprising DG sets, boilers, process heating modules, tractors, and commercial vehicles) and retail cooking (replacing LPG [partially], kerosene and wood charcoal.

India Energy Week- 2023 is the first major event under India’s G20 Presidency, which follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pledge at the global climate summit, COP26, to cut India’s emissions to net zero by 2070.

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Sun Mobility aims to serve 100k vehicles through battery swapping platform

Sun Mobility, an energy infrastructure and services provider for electric mobility, on Thursday said it aims to serve 10 lakh vehicles through its platform by 2025.

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The company unveiled its SwapX compact battery swapping station at the Auto Expo 2023 here, with an aim to enable individuals to become franchisees as it looks to accelerate expansion of network.

Besides, Sun Mobility also showcased its next generation battery pack S2.1, which has a higher power battery offering 45 per cent more range and interoperability. “Our aim is to have one million vehicles on our platform,” SUN Mobility co-founder and chairman Chetan Maini said. The company, which offers battery swapping service to two- and three-wheelers and small four-wheelers, has already deployed over 240 stations in more than 18 cities in India.

The SwapX and S2.1 smart batteries have been developed indigenously and in-house by SUN Mobility, Maini said. “It helps us improve network density with S2.1 addressing range anxiety. Soon, users will have access to the new generation of battery packs and SwapX stations across India, he added.

For franchisees, the SwapX station can be easily set up as it only requires a 15-amp socket and up to 6 square feet space, the company said.

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Hero Electric ties up with Maxwell Energy

Hero Electric, a pioneer and market leader in the Indian electric two-wheeler industry, provides an eco-friendly and cost-effective personal transportation system.

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For their advanced battery management systems (BMS), Hero Electric announced a long-term partnership with Maxwell Energy Systems.

In this field, Hero Electric holds a leading position. Through a long-term partnership with Maxwell Energy, they will receive over a million BMS units over the next three years. That will support Hero Electric’s rapid growth strategy in order to maintain its leadership position.

Sohinder Gill, CEO of Hero Electric, said they are grateful for the BMS solution which will allow them to offer avant-garde and advanced battery packs through this partnership with Maxwell. It will help them to provide safe and performance-oriented electric vehicles to their customers.

 He added that the proposed partnership will support the Make in India mission and build the local supply chain. With Maxwell on board, Hero Electric now has two solid and reliable partners to future-proof its battery designs.

In addition, Maxwell and Hero Electric will work on an exciting and innovative line of advanced electronics products for the EV market in India.

Akhil Aryan, co-founder, and CEO of Maxwell Energy Systems said: With two missions closely aligned, our partnership with Hero aims to bring many innovations like this to its EV market.

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Natural Gas / Transnational Pipelines/ Others

Canada: Coastal GasLink set to cross finish line ahead of LNG Canada

By this time next year, Coastal GasLink should be ready to start pushing natural gas from Dawson Creek to Kitimat through its 670-kilometre pipeline and then close a 10% equity agreement with First Nations.

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That doesn’t necessarily mean natural gas will actually be flowing on the pipeline a year from now. The LNG Canada liquefaction plant in Kitimat that it will feed is not expected to be complete and in production until mid-decade. It may not be until late 2023 that natural gas actually starts moving through the new pipeline to Kitimat.

“We anticipate some start-up and commissioning activities will begin in late 2023,” said LNG Canada spokesperson Teresa Waddington.

The pipeline will mainly supply the LNG Canada project, but will also provide natural gas to the Haisla First Nation’s Cedar LNG project, should that project be approved. The Haisla have an agreement with LNG Canada to access some of the natural gas from CGL.

The Coastal GasLink pipeline, now expected to cost $11.2 billion, has suffered numerous setbacks and obstacles since construction began in 2019, from a pandemic and competition for labour from the Trans Mountain pipeline project, to citations for violating environmental regulations, activist roadblocks and a “significant terrorist attack.”

That’s how CGL president Bevin Wirzba describes an attack on a CGL work camp in February 2022 by 20 ax-wielding vandals who terrorized workers, commandeered heavy equipment, and used it to smash vehicles, equipment and camp trailers, causing millions of dollars in damage.

Despite those setbacks, the project is now 80% towards completion.

“We had some very strong milestones, the first of which was signing our option agreements with the indigenous nations,” said Wirzba, who will be speaking this week at the BC Natural Resources Forum in Prince George.

TC Energy (TSX:TRP), which is responsible for building the pipeline, owns 35% of the project. KKR, an American investment company, and Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo), own 65%. TC Energy signed option agreements last year with 16 of the 20 First Nations along the pipeline route, which will allow them to acquire 10% of the pipeline, once it’s built. That would bring TC Energy’s ownership share in CGL down to 25%.

A West Coast LNG industry can’t happen without pipelines, and getting pipelines built in B.C. has proven to be a Herculean task.

The geotechnical challenges of building a pipeline over mountains and underneath hundreds of streams have been compounded by a pandemic, activism and competition for labour – all of which have contributed to the estimated capital cost of the project spiraling from $6.6 billion to $11.2 billion.

“We were fortunate to have good weather…but the macro-environment was very, very challenging,” Wirzba said of 2022, which was a peak employment year.

In a typical year, there are 8,000 to 10,000 workers building pipelines in Canada, Wirzba said. That basically doubled last year to about 20,000, with CGL and Trans Mountain both in peak construction.

“With the other significant project in British Columbia – the Trans Mountain pipeline – occurring in parallel, we had very significant labour constraints, high attrition rates going through the year,” Wirzba said.

“We had to terminate one of our main contractors last year for under-performance and we had to bring in three new contractors to take that scope in.”

CGL was hit with a number of infractions of the B.C. Environmental Management Act for things like improper management of erosion and sediment control at stream crossings.

“Some of our contractors are executing on both projects – Trans Mountain, as well as ours – and the standards are different between the two projects, so that causes some challenges for contractors when they’re having to play by different regulations,” Wirzba said.

At full capacity, the CGL will be able to move close to 5 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) of natural gas from Dawson Creek to Kitimat.

Phase 1 of the LNG Canada project will consume about 2 bcf/d. That would roughly double, should the partners behind LNG Canada sanction a Phase 2 expansion. Should the Cedar LNG project be built, it would demand about 0.8 bcf/d of natural gas. At that point, the pipeline’s capacity would be fully subscribed

“If the (Cedar LNG) project moves forward, we will have no further capacity in the pipe after Phase 2 is developed,” Wirzba said.

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Trinidad & Tobago:  Venezuela to export natural gas to Trinidad and Tobago

Caracas, Jan 27 (Prensa Latina) Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Keith Rowle informed that Venezuela would export natural gas to his country after a  US agency granted a license.

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In statements published by Venezuela News, the high official pointed out that his Government is focused on the “potential and the possibility of developing, producing and processing gas” of the Bolivarian Republic in the Caribbean island nation.

We devoted a lot of time, efforts, and energy to negotiating a commercial term agenda in 2018, but the development was halted due to the sanctions implemented by the US administration against Venezuela in 2019, Rowle noted.

Washington imposed 928 unilateral coercive measures on Caracas that caused considerable economic losses with a social impact across all sectors. Rowle estimated that the license granted by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) improves energy security for the region and Europe, according to the digital media outlet.

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Bangladesh: New natural gas reserve discovered in Bangladesh

DHAKA, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) — Bangladesh has discovered a new natural gas reserve in the southern part of the country with the possibility of a significant amount of fossil fuel in the new structure.

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The gas structure in Bhola district has been discovered by the state-run Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Limited (BAPEX).

Bangladeshi State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid announced the discovery of the new gas reserve on Monday.

According to a statement from his ministry, the newly discovered Bhola North-2 Appraisal Well has probable gas extraction of over 20 million cubic feet per day.

BAPEX struck gas by digging about 3,428 meters deep.

Petrobangla (Bangladesh Oil, Gas & Mineral Corporation) will dig 46 new exploration, development and work-over wells by 2025, the minister wrote on his Facebook page.

Also, the minister stressed the need for continuing exploration for natural gas in the South Asian country.

Over the last few years, BAPEX discovered about a dozen small- to medium-sized fields.

The biggest field so far is in Bhola, an offshore island covering an area of 3,403.48 sq km and about 205 km south of the capital Dhaka, which boasts hundreds of billions of cubic feet of reserves,new%20gas%20reserve%20on%20Monday.

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Egypt: Italian energy company discovers new offshore gas field in Egypt

Discovery of potential gas sources in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea boosts effort to completely replace gas imports from Russia amid the fallout of the Ukrainian conflict.

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Italian energy company Eni has announced the discovery of an Egyptian offshore field in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

In a statement on Sunday, the company said the field is located in Egypt’s territorial water near the eastern city of Rafah.

“The Nargis-1 well has encountered approximately 61 metres of Miocene and Oligocene gas-bearing sandstones and was drilled in 309 metres of water by the Stena Forth drillship,” it added.

“The discovery can be developed leveraging the proximity to Eni’s existing facilities,” the company said.

The company did not provide any figures regarding estimates of the natural gas in the field.

Eni said it would further develop the offshore area thanks to a recent award of several exploration blocks. The concession area measures some 1,800 square kilometres.

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Pakistan: Karak residents risk lives by using plastic bags filled with natural gas

People in Karak district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have to put their lives at risk just to use natural gas to cook food at home.

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It is pertinent to note that Karak district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province is known for its rich resources of natural gas and oil, but the government has yet to develop any proper infrastructure system to supply gas to local residents and surrounding areas.

People have developed ad hoc methods such as extracting gas from a main supply line with a hose – instead of proper drilling – and then filling plastic bags like helium balloons to transport them from the field for use in home cooking.

“We’re carrying gas in these plastic bags even though all of us are aware of the dangers of this method,” Hazrat Janan, a resident stated.

In the town of Banda Daud Shah, natural gas was discovered years ago but the government has not developed any system to provide gas to the surrounding region, thus forcing residents to use a risky method and put their lives in danger.

The residents have make a hole in the main line and put in a pipe and taking it some distance from where they fill the plastic bags themselves.

The residents don’t measure the gas by cubic meters but with a plastic bag, filling locally made bags from here and there.

At first glance, outsiders who see these balloons might imagine them to be children’s entertainment balloons but in reality they are huge bags full of fuel for people to cook their dinner.

“We use this gas with a pump connected to the stove, putting the bags next to the fire while cooking,” said Janan. He added that there have been many accidents with this volatile gas in which people got wounded or even died.

“In one incident here in our village one person died and two women suffered burns.

“We have our own natural gas but we can’t use it safely,” he lamented. The natural gas is put into the bags through a small valve inserted into the mouth of the bags to prevent leakage. The other end of the bags is tied to a stone on the ground so they don’t take off like a helium balloon.

A bag fills up in 20-25 minutes on average. An electric pump of 2,000 rupees is sufficient to use the “bag gas” in their homes. Through this pump, they can cook food from bag gas in home stoves.

One bag of gas is enough for two to three hours of consumption.

“We requested the government develop proper gas infrastructure in our area and protect our lives,” Janan said.

Suhana Khattak, another resident of Karak, says we know using these balloons is like putting explosives in their kitchens but there’s no other way to do it in a homemade way. “Men and women are bringing home these gas bags, but sometimes we’re even sending children to bring gas home in these plastic bags,” she said.

She added that this is not safe and that people doing it fear that accidents could happen but again there is no other option right now.

“We’re using this gas just to make tea and bread,” Suhana said. Anadolu Agency


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Natural Gas / LNG Utilization

World needs more natural gas in future, Gulf energy ministers say

The Qatari and Emirati energy ministers have warned that the world will have more of a need for natural gas in the near future, amid an increasing energy crisis and the ongoing green transition.

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Speaking in a panel at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Summit today,

Qatar’s state minister for energy, Saad al-Kaabi, said that despite the mild winter Europe had experienced over the past few months having resulted in decreased energy prices, volatility in the market would remain “for some time to come” as it will not receive much gas until 2025.

“The issue is what’s going to happen when they [Europe] want to replenish their storages this coming year and the next year,” he warned. Al-Kaabi also told reporters that Qatar has limited volumes of liquified natural gas (LNG) going to Europe that it would not divert away, “but there is a limit to what we can do.”

He added that Qatar – which is still working to expand its gas output – has been in negotiations with many other players around the world, but that supplies are not unlimited. “There are a lot of European and Asian buyers, and there is a potential that by the end of the year, the entire Qatar expansion will be sold out,” al-Kaabi said.

The Qatari energy minister notably expressed his belief that European and Western nations would have to return to accepting Russian gas, which they have refused to import since last year following Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

He also criticised the consequences of the green energy transition, in which some Western nations are pressuring African and developing nations not to drill for oil and gas at a time when domestic energy production is essential to their economies and to the world at large. Such pressure, he asserted, is unfair.

The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) energy minister, Suhail al-Mazrouei, agreed with his Qatari counterpart that “for a very long time, gas will be there” and that ever more investment into natural gas as a base load is needed while renewable energy methods continue to be installed and developed – a transition which requires more time.

“The whole world needs to think of resources and how to enable companies to produce more gas to make it available and affordable,” al-Mazrouei said. He also criticised many countries’ “unclear” strategy which is making it difficult for them to commit to long-term gas contracts, which has consequently made it difficult for energy companies to secure financing to invest in the development of production capacity.

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LNG imports worldwide reach record high

(MENAFN) According to figures from Refinitiv, as reported by Reuters, worldwide customers imported 409 million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in last year, up from 379.6 million tons the year before

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In line with the reports, the record amounts were caused by surging demand, particularly from the European Union, which has emerged as the leading consumer of the ultra-chilled fuel as it scrambles to cut back on supplies of Russian pipeline gas. As European benchmark prices increased as a result of the decline in Russian pipeline supplies to the majority of European Union clients due to sanctions, the area is anticipated to have acquired about 25 percent of all LNG traded in last year, defeating Asian users in a price war.

The European Union imported 101 million tons of LNG last year, an increase of 58 percent from 2021. The majority of the European LNG imports were helped by Asia’s lackluster demand, where China had an exceptional fall in energy consumption as a result of a slowdown in economic development brought on by COVID. The majority of South and Southeast Asia, meantime, was unable to pay the rising spot costs for gas due to the expansion of European Union imports.

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Global LNG Development

Philippines: Philippines Greenlights Seventh LNG project, gears up for gas imports

The Philippines’ Department of Energy said on Friday it has approved a $67-million LNG import terminal project, the country’s seventh such facility, as it gears up for the launch of its liquefied natural gas industry this year.

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The DOE said in a statement it has issued a notice to proceed to Samat LNG Corp, which plans to construct a small-scale LNG terminal in Mariveles municipality in Bataan province, about 60 kilometres (35.2 miles) north of the capital Manila.

The Southeast Asian country will need to rely on LNG imports to fuel gas-fired power plants with a combined capacity of more than 3,000 megawatts, as output from its Malampaya gas field in the South China Sea is expected to continue declining and be depleted by 2027.

Aside from importing LNG for power generation and transport sectors, the Philippines is also ramping up efforts to discover new indigenous gas resources, as it seeks to phase out coal-fired power plants.

Under its proposal, Samat LNG aims to begin commercial operation by the first half of 2024, with a capacity of 200,000-400,000 tonnes of LNG annually. It plans to supply gas to fuel small-scale power producers, manufacturing companies, and transport fleets.

Three of the government-approved LNG import terminal projects are expected to begin commercial operations this year, including those of Singapore-based Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific and Philippine power producer First Gen Corp.

Australia-listed Energy World Corp’s LNG terminal is also almost complete, according to Laura Saguin, head of the DOE’s natural gas management division.

Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla, in an interview with Reuters in October, said allowing LNG imports should not be seen as a disincentive to renewable energy development, which the government has been supporting. (Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)

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Global LNG: Asian spot prices extend downtrend, tracking lower prices in Europe

LONDON: Asian spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices fell for a sixth consecutive week due to weak trading activity during the Lunar New Year holiday in Asia and lower gas prices in Europe.

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The average LNG price for March delivery into northeast Asia was $19.50 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), down $2.50, or 11.4%, from the previous week, industry sources estimated. Prices have fallen more than 34% year-to-date.

“The market has continued to weaken, mainly driven by a lack of demand from Asia, however the lower pricing has created opportunity for south-east Asia who we’ve seen issuing tenders,” said Toby Copson, global head of trading at Trident LNG.

“Overall, the market is not tight so rates may soften further before we see a reversal from some of the north Asian players coming back to show interest for March onwards. Perhaps even Chinese tier twos encouraged by lower prices,” he added, referring to smaller players in the Chinese market.

Japanese LNG purchases will likely remain quite minimal as power utilities still hold a decent stock buffer for the time of year.

However, there is some anticipation of higher spot activity from Chinese buyers following the holidays due to the cold weather and the gradual re-opening of the economy, according to Ryhana Rasidi, gas and LNG analyst at data and analytics firm Kpler.

In Europe, gas prices remained lower on robust LNG imports, high inventories and milder weather.

Tobias Davis, head of LNG Asia at brokerage firm Tullett Prebon, expects LNG cargoes to continue to make their way to Europe in the absence of any fresh demand from the Far East.

“If any incremental demand does emerge and basis markets widen in favour of JKM (Japan/Korea Marker), it won’t take too much of a move to support the economics of sending cargoes East,” he said.

Platts’ JKM is the LNG benchmark price assessment for spot physical cargoes.

S&P Global Commodity Insights assessed its daily north-west Europe LNG Marker (NWM) price benchmark for cargoes delivered in March on ex-ship (DES) basis at $15.372/mmBtu on Jan. 27, a discount of $2.00/mmBtu to the March gas price at the Dutch gas TTF hub, according to Ciaran Roe, global director of LNG.

“The differential between European and Asian LNG prices, represented by Platts NWE and Platts JKM, is up to $3/mmBtu at the moment, which would attract fully flexible LNG loading in the U.S. to north Asia rather than Europe as…LNG freight has come off,” Roe said.

Freeport LNG got regulatory approval to take early steps to restart its fire-idled LNG export plant in Texas, however analysts expect most of the plant’s production to remain off line until March or later.

“The return of this facility will bring fresh supply back onto the market which could in turn depress prices,” Davis said.

LNG spot freight rates continued to move lower, with Atlantic rates down 60% so far in January and falling further to $58,000/day on Friday. Pacific rates also fell to $79,250/day, according to Henry Bennett, global head of pricing at Spark Commodities.

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Croatia: LNG Croatia FSRU receives first LNG cargo from Mozambique

LNG Croatia, a state-owned operator of the Krk LNG terminal, has received the first cargo from Mozambique. The LNG cargo was delivered onboard the 2019-built carrier British Mentor on 23 January.

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According to the operator’s update, the British Mentor will leave the terminal on 25 January after delivering the LNG to the 140,000 cbm floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU).

In addition to being the first from Mozambique, this is the 53rd LNG cargo in total for the Krk LNG facility.

To remind, the first shipment of LNG produced from the Coral gas field located offshore Mozambique departed from Coral Sul floating LNG (FLNG) facility in November 2022.

Being Croatia’s first LNG import facility, the FSRU-based terminal started commercial operations on 1 January 2021. The vessel, formerly known as Golar Viking, was converted at China’s Huarun Dadong yard and delivered in mid-September 2020.

The facility at Krk has the capacity to send up to 2.6 cbm per year of natural gas into the national grid which is planned to be increased to 6.1 cbm.

Croatia’s LNG import project cost €233.6 million euros with the EU providing €101.4 million from the Connecting Europe Facility.


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USA: US LNG sale and purchase agreements increased in 2022

In 2022, US LNG suppliers of projects under development entered into contracts with buyers for about 6.0 billion ft3d of LNG, according to data from the Department of Energy (DOE) and from company websites.

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These contracts, referred to as sale and purchase agreements (SPA), are agreements for the sale and purchase of a firm quantity of LNG over a fixed period of time, usually 10 years or longer, that stipulate the terms and conditions of the transfer between seller and buyer. The newly contracted LNG volumes will be exported from eight prospective projects — two that are under construction, four that have received regulatory approval, and two that are proposed.

The projects, by phase of development, are:

Under construction: Corpus Christi Stage 3 and Plaquemines.

Approved: Delfin, Lake Charles LNG, Port Arthur Phase 1, and Rio Grande LNG.

Proposed: CP2 and Commonwealth LNG.

Almost three-quarters (74%) of the SPAs signed with prospective projects last year are for 20-year terms that begin when the project starts commercial operations; the earliest start date would be 2024. Almost all of the agreements (92%) are for LNG cargoes to be sold on a free-on-board (FOB) basis, which means the buyer pays for and receives the LNG at the loading terminal. Destination flexibility is a common feature of most of the agreements, where the buyer can deliver the LNG to any destination as long as it complies with DOE export authorisations and US law.

Although much of the contracting activity for the prospective projects occurred in 2022, Plaquemines and Rio Grande LNG entered into SPAs prior to 2022. When agreements signed before and during 2022 are included for these two projects, buyers have committed to about 90% of the Plaquemines LNG production and to about 34% of Rio Grande LNG’s production. Three other projects have approximately 50% or more of their production committed to buyers — Corpus Christi Stage 3 (60%), Lake Charles LNG (48%), and Port Arthur Phase 1 (71%).

Companies in Asia (which we expect will deliver LNG cargoes to Asia) committed to purchase 1.8 billion ft3/d of the volumes contracted with these prospective LNG projects in 2022. Companies in Europe (which we expect will deliver LNG cargoes to Europe) committed to purchase 1.2 billion ft3/d, and companies with trading affiliates (which we expect will deliver LNG cargoes to multiple destinations) committed to purchase 3.0 billion ft3/d.

Concern about future natural gas supplies, particularly in Europe, grew following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and contributed to the increase in contracting with new LNG projects in the US. Europe increased its LNG imports by 66% (5.9 billion ft3/d) in 2022 compared with 2021, according to data from Cedigaz, which was the result of reduced natural gas deliveries by pipeline from Russia and record-high natural gas prices at trading hubs in Europe. By expanding its LNG import capacity, Europe will be able to receive 34% more LNG in 2024 compared with 2021.


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Expro Pens 10-Year Deal For Work On ENI’s LNG Plant In Congo

Energy services provider Expro Group has announced a long-term production solutions contract with ENI for a liquified natural gas pre-treatment facility in Congo.

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As initially discussed on the company’s third-quarter earnings conference call on November 3, 2022, the 10-year contract is expected to generate more than $300 million of revenue for Expro.

Expro will design, construct, operate, and maintain a fast-track onshore LNG pre-treatment facility, part of the Marine XII development offshore Congo. The facility will be built near the Litchendjili gas plant – which supplies gas to the adjacent Centrale Electrique du Congo Pointe-Noire Power Plant – and will enable the production of LNG to significantly increase from the West Africa area.

The facility is designed to allow incremental gas production for low-carbon electricity generation. It will link to Eni’s offshore FLNG operations in Congo, supporting both the local energy market and increased global demands for LNG to support secure energy supplies. The onshore pre-treatment facility is designed to process approximately 80 million cubic feet of gas a day.

Expro was selected for this turnkey contract to lease, operate, and maintain this facility because of its successful record and technical expertise in delivering fast-track modular production facilities on a global basis, and in West Africa in particular.

“We are delighted to be able to extend our long-standing partnership with Eni and our activity in West Africa by securing this highly prestigious contract. Our expertise in designing, engineering, delivering, building, operating, and maintaining modular production plants on a fast-track basis is a recognized market differentiator and will further strengthen our presence in the region.”

“Expro’s experience and capabilities in empowering operators to quickly access reserves can play a critical role in supporting Africa’s significant and growing LNG industry, providing opportunities to support secure energy supplies,” Colin Mackenzie, Expro’s Regional Vice President for Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa, said.

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LNG as a Marine Fuel/Shipping

Oman: Asyad Shipping signs deal for two newbuild LNG carriers

Asyad Shipping, part of Asyad Group Oman’s global integrated logistics service provider, has signed an agreement with South Korean shipyard Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries to build and deliver two LNG carriers in 2026.

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The agreement is set to grow Asyad Group’s shipping fleet to 72 tankers, according to the company, which will meet “ the anticipated increase in demand for LNG transport and energy logistics services in the global market ” .

“With EU Sustainable Finance Taxonomy labelling the use of LNG as ‘green’, Asyad Shipping’s choice of investment showcases Asyad Group’s commitment to sustainability at a time when global industries, including the maritime industry, is diverging from its dependence on traditional fossil fuels such as coal and oil,” the company said.

Asyad Shipping and Asyad Drydock chief executive Mr. Ibrahim Al-Nadhairi said the company is pursuing “a more balanced and diversified fleet which is better suited to provide international customers with reliable and efficient solutions and enhances Asyad Group’s competitiveness and position as a strategic logistics partner for major global energy players”.

“The fifth-generation 174,000-m3 LNG carriers meet the highest international standards of environmental and commercial sustainability, as well as boasting 58% less fuel consumption than the older, second-generation 138,000-m3 LNG carriers. Furthermore, Asyad Shipping’s investment comes at a time when green energy demands are growing, exacerbated by international geopolitical developments and the dire need for decarbonised logistics and energy sectors,” Mr Al-Nadhairi added.

Asyad also cited significant new production of LNG and export capacities coming on stream in 2025/2026 in its decision to build the two LNG carriers.

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Australia: Prelude loads first tanker since output suspension

The first liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker to berth at Shell’s Prelude floating LNG site off Western Australia since it was shut down after a fire has begun loading, Refinitiv data shows.

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The Methane Becki Anne vessel berthed at the Prelude plant on Jan. 17, Refinitiv ship-tracking data showed.

Gas production at the 3.6 million tonne Prelude facility had been suspended in mid-December after a small fire. At the time, Shell gave no timeline for when the plant would resume output but said the fire was much less serious than one that shut Prelude a year ago.

A Shell spokeswoman on Jan 17 said there were no updates.

Prelude’s floating LNG vessel, the world’s largest, previously suffered a four-month shutdown because of a power failure in December 2021. Production was disrupted again in July last year by a workers strike, with output resuming in September

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South Korea: KSOE wins W971b order for 3 LNG carriers

South Korea’s top shipbuilder Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering said Jan 17, 2023 it has landed its first contract of the year worth 971 billion won ($784 million).

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The company said it sealed the deal with a shipping company in Oceania to build three large liquefied natural gas carriers, each measuring 200,000 cubic meters in size.

The company declined to reveal the name of the client, citing contract conditions.

The carriers will be manufactured by Hyundai Heavy Industries, one of its three affiliates headquartered in Ulsan, beginning in early 2026 and then delivered consecutively to the shipping company.

Through the deal, KSOE will be the first multinational shipbuilder this year to receive orders for LNG vessels. Since 2017, it has led the global market by attaining the most contracts for these ships annually.

In September, global market tracker Clarksons Research Service predicted the world’s LNG ship orders to reach 83 this year.

“Since the start of the new year, we have been continuously receiving inquiries regarding LNG carriers. We will focus on maximizing the profitability of our eco-friendly, high-value ships,” a KSOE official said.

KSOE is the world’s largest shipbuilder and a subholding company of shipbuilding, oil refining and machinery conglomerate HD Hyundai. The company owns three subsidiaries – Hyundai Heavy Industries, Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Co. and Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries.

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South Africa: Anglo American’s First LNG Dual-fuel Bulk Carrier Enters Service

Mining company Anglo American announced that its newly launched liquefied natural gas (LNG) dual-fueled Capesize+ vessel, the Ubuntu Harmony, has loaded its first cargo of iron ore from its Kumba operations in South Africa.

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The 190,000 tonne bulk carrier, flagged in Singapore, is the first of 10 LNG dual-fueled newbuilds that Anglo American will introduce to its chartered fleet during the course of 2023 and 2024, delivering an estimated 35% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to ships fueled by conventional marine oil fuel. The use of LNG will also lead to a significant reduction of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter from vessel exhausts, while new technology also eliminates the release of unburnt methane.

Anglo American aims to achieve carbon-neutrality for its controlled ocean freight by 2040 – with an interim target to reduce emissions from these activities by 30% by 2030 – as part of the company’s wider ambition to halve Scope 3 emissions by 2040.

Peter Whitcutt, CEO of Anglo American’s marketing business, said, “We are proud to see the Ubuntu Harmony begin its voyage transporting future-enabling products from our mines to our customers around the world. This milestone cements our vision to be a leader in low carbon shipping, a natural extension of our commitment to achieve carbon neutrality across our operations by 2040.”

Built by Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding and owned by U-Ming Marine Transport, the vessel completed bunkering in Singapore in early January with LNG provided by Shell Eastern LNG. It arrived in Saldanha Bay, South Africa on January 19 to load a full cargo of iron ore that will be transported to customers in China. The Ubuntu Harmony will be followed by its sister ship Ubuntu Equality, the fleet’s second vessel, which is expected to load her first cargo in February in South Africa.

Nolitha Fakude, group director of Anglo American for South Africa, said, “The metals and minerals we provide play an important role in helping key industries decarbonize. Transporting them in a sustainable way is a key part of this effort and the introduction of the Ubuntu fleet – named after the Zulu word meaning ‘humanity to others’ – helps us accelerate our transition to sustainable ocean freight.”

Anglo American has a number of initiatives underway for the decarbonization of its maritime activities, including energy saving devices fitted to existing vessels, the use of voyage optimization software and a focus on exploring, trialing and adopting alternative, sustainable fuel options – such as LNG, sustainable biofuel, green methanol and ammonia and hydrogen.

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Technological Development for Cleaner and Greener Environment Hydrogen & Bio-Methane

France: Major biomethane supply agreement signed with ENGIE to reduce Arkema’s carbon footprint

Arkema has signed a long-term agreement with ENGIE started in January 2023, for the supply of 300 GWh/year of renewable biomethane in France. This represents one of the largest private biomethane deals in Europe to date.

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Arkema is proud to be already a pioneer in bio-based high performance materials derived from renewable castor beans, which offer a substantially lower carbon footprint compared to equivalent fossil-based materials.

This supply agreement of 300 GWh/year of renewable biomethane with ENGIE, and ongoing energy efficiency projects will enable Arkema to further reduce very significantly the carbon footprint of its bio-based high performance Rilsan® polyamide 11 and Pebax® Rnew® elastomers.

Biomethane is a renewable alternative to natural gas with a lower carbon footprint and is produced through fermentation of organic matter. The feedstock for biomethane in France is particularly respectful of the environment with more than 95% coming from the fermentation of agricultural residues and organic waste and with no competition with food.

Arkema is also exploring opportunities to collaborate with ENGIE and other industry participants to support the continuous improvement of renewable biomethane production in France.

“We are delighted to accompany Arkema – a historical client of ENGIE – in their sustainable transition journey with such a large green energy supply agreement. At ENGIE, we believe that biomethane will play an essential role in the European energy mix and will be a key vector for decarbonizing the energy usages of our clients. 

This landmark deal definitely represents a major boost in the energy intensive chemical industry and establishes further ENGIE as a reference biomethane player in Europe.” Paulo Almirante, ENGIE Senior EVP in charge of Renewables, Energy Management and Nuclear Activities.

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Japan: Toyota is the latest car company to jump on the electric bike bandwagon

Automakers have seen the writing on the wall for the car industry, as millions of new e-bike riders opt for lighter and more efficient vehicles. Now Toyota has become the latest in a long line of automakers dipping their toes into the electric bicycle market.

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Like many other automakers who have rolled out e-bikes in the past few months and years, Toyota isn’t doing it alone.

Instead, the Japanese automaker is partnering with an existing e-bike maker as part of a licensing agreement.

The e-bike manufacturer DOUZE Cycles has partnered with Toyota in France to create the DOUZE Cycles x La mobilité Toyota cargo e-bike, based on the existing DOUZE Hêta model.

The front-loading cargo e-bike can carry up to 100 kg (220 lb) of payload on its forward cargo platform.

The e-bike is powered by a Yamaha mid-drive motor and features a 500 Wh battery rated for 100 km (62 miles) of range on pedal assist.

For those that carry more precious cargo, an optional passenger bucket is available to fit three kids strapped-in up front.

In a statement that makes it hard to ignore Toyota’s long-standing anti-EV stance, Chairman and CEO of Toyota France Frank Marotte explained that the new e-bike partnership follows in Toyota’s sustainability roadmap that started with its early investment in hybrid vehicles:

“25 years ago, Toyota opened the hybrid road with the first generation of Prius, thus showing the way to decarbonization. The hybrid, of which Toyota has now become the world leader, is now at the heart of the multi-technology strategy of the brand which makes it possible to meet the specific mobility needs of each consumer. Soft and local mobility is one of these needs. It is therefore quite naturally, on the basis of a common vision, that we entered into this partnership with DOUZE Cycles, a key French player in the cargo bike market. Because of Toyota’s history in France, it seemed extremely important to us that our partner have a production site on national territory.”

Toyota has famously eschewed fully electric vehicles, instead investing heavily in hybrid vehicles that maintain a dependency on fossil fuels.

After years of opposing fully electric cars, and after replacing the company’s anti-EV CEO, Toyota may be warming up to EVs — or at least two-wheeled electric vehicles.

It seems that Toyota isn’t focusing its e-bike efforts on just France, but has also made headway in the US. A Denver Toyota dealership, seen below, has been spotted carrying Aventon’s electric bicycles.

The move is likely intended to take advantage of local e-bike incentives in the city.

Several automotive manufacturers have also jumped on the electric bicycle bandwagon in the last few years, chasing the rapidly expanding market and the low barrier to entry for lightweight two-wheeled electric vehicles.

Peugot has developed its own diverse line of e-bikes, and Spain’s SEAT previously teamed up with Barcelona-based Silence to brand its own seated and standing electric scooters.

GM developed an electric bicycle in-house, though the e-bike was unceremoniously killed off early in the COVID pandemic. Instead, GM recently showed off a HUMMER e-bike that was produced through a licensing agreement to complement the colossal and abominable HUMMER EV.

ŠKODA rolled out one of the weirdest electric bike/scooter concepts we’ve seen, though there’s no indication that it is headed for production.

Jeep has gotten into the high-power e-bike game via licensing agreements, though its similar attempt to co-develop an electric scooter was significantly less impressive.

Rivian, the electric truck and SUV maker, recently expanded its trademark to cover electric bicycles. The company has also hired top talent in the electric bicycle industry, making a move towards e-bikes even more likely.

VinFast, a Vietnamese-based electric maker, also recently showed off four interesting new e-bike models.

Swedish electric car maker Polestar has announced that it will develop its own electric bicycles.

Even motorcycle manufacturers like Harley-Davidson, Ducati and BMW Motorrad have gotten into electric bicycles and scooters, though Harley’s results and those from Ducati have been much more impressive than BMW’s.

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