NGS’ NG/LNG SNAPSHOT – Mar 1-15, 2023

National News Internatonal News


City Gas Distribution & Auto LPG

CNG buses to run on six routes in Greater Noida

Compressed natural gas (CNG) buses will soon ply on the roads of Greater Noida as Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ritu Maheshwari approved the six proposed routes after a meeting with Noida Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC) Thursday.

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The GNIDA said it would recover the expenses for running the CNG buses from advertising on bus shelters.

The first route is from Gautam Buddha University (GBU) to the Kulesara Hindon bridge. Buses on this route will ply via Kasna, Honda Crossing, Venice Mall, Pari Chowk, Alpha One, Jagat Farm, Surajpur Chowk, Haldoni etc.

The second route is from Pari Chowk to Pari Chowk via Alpha Commercial Belt, Ryan Golchakkar, OCP Mall, GNIDA Office, Sector-37 Rotary City etc.

The third route is Jagat Farm to Jagat Farm via LG Chowk, Sharda University, Lloyd College, Galgotia College, P3 Golchakkar, Ryan Golchakkar etc. The fourth route is Rise Chowk to Rise Chowk via Knowledge Park-5, Gaur City Mall, Hanuman Mandir Chowk etc.

The fifth route is Char Murti to Capital Athena via Gaur City One, Gaur City Mall, Ek Murti Chowk and Eco Village One.

The sixth route is from Char Murti roundabout to Char Murti Police Chowki via Gaur City Centre, Ek Murti, Techzone 7 Rotary, Eros Sampurnam, Gaur Soundaryam.

Buses operated by Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) will continue to ply on all the other routes of Greater Noida.


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Dealers call for strike in Gujarat, 800 CNG pumps in state shut

2nd March 2023: Around 100 pumps that are directly run by the oil companies will continue to remain open across the state.

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Dealers of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) pumps in Gujarat have announced an indefinite strike from Friday demanding a hike in the existing dealer margin.

The Federation of Gujarat Petroleum Dealer’s Association (FGPDA), which has 800 dealer-pumps in Gujarat, is set to meet the Principal Secretary for Civil Supplies on Thursday in an attempt to find a resolution to the issue. Arvind Thakkar, FGDPA president, said that the margin revision is due since 2019.

Thakkar said, “The dealer margin was due for revision on July 1, 2019. But it is now nearly four years; and an extremely tough Covid-19 phase has also passed. We have no alternative but to go on a strike as the oil PSUs have not come to any agreement over the revision… Seven oil companies in Gujarat have monopoly in their respective areas and we have tried to talk over this issue.”

Around 100 pumps that are directly run by the oil companies will continue to remain open across the state.

The federation is demanding a revision of 50 per cent on the existing dealer margins citing that it had been agreed upon that the dealers would get an annual raise of 10 per cent in the margins from 2019.

The current dealer margin is around 18 paise per kg of CNG, according to the federation.

“We have written over 50 letters… The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas did not respond to our last letter on February 22, 2023, in which we have said that we will be forced to strike…”

Close to 10 lakh auto rickshaws and a similar number of other CNG run vehicles will be forced to go off the roads if the dealer pumps indeed go on a strike. In Vadodara, operators of Vadodara Gas pump stations said that they were not joining the strike as they were not part of the dealers’ association.

Thakkar says that while Ahmedabad has 75 dealer operated pumps, followed by 28 pumps in Surat and about 18 each in Vadodara and Rajkot, Sabarmati Gas operates close to 200 pumps in Mehsana, Gandhinagar, Himmatnagar and Aravalli.

In Surat, there are around 150 CNG pumps while there are around 250 pumps in South Gujarat. President of United petrol pump dealers association, a sub branch of FGPDA, Suresh Desai said, “In Gujarat there are three distributors of CNG and they are Gujarat Gas, Adani and Gail companies. The companies are not listening to our demands. So we have unitedly decided to go on strike for indefinite period till our demands are met.”

He added, “We know that the public will face difficulties, but we have no other alternative.”

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City gas distributors to gain as spot LNG prices decline

A steep drop in spot LNG rates has come as a major respite for city gas distributors in India. Spot LNG prices have fallen to about $14-15 per metric million British thermal units (mmBtu) from average of over $45 per mmBtu in the fiscal second quarter, and average of slightly above $30 per mmBtu in the third quarter.

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Persistently high gas prices have continued to weigh on the earnings of city gas distributors, squeezing their margins. Although these companies raised prices, this has narrowed the gap between compressed natural gas (CNG), piped natural gas (PNG), and other fuel options such as diesel, prompting concerns about volume growth.

The near-term outlook for spot gas prices remains favourable.

Ayush Agarwal, an analyst at S&P Global Commodities Insights, expects Platts JKM (Japan Korea Marker) and WIM (West India Marker) to average below $15/mmBtu in Summer 2023 and below $20/mmBtu for 2023.

With gas prices declining, city gas distributors are poised to reap benefits, which could be further enhanced by the anticipated cap on administered pricing mechanism (APM) prices in the upcoming fiscal year. The Kirit Parikh panel has recommended a floor of $4 per mmBtu and a ceiling price of $6.5 per mmBtu for APM gas. Analysts expect benefits to accrue in FY24.

Moreover, rising gas availability in the country is further likely to help CGDs receive a higher allocation of domestic gas (APM gas) to meet CNG and domestic PNG sales.

Not surprisingly, analysts at JM Financials Institutional Securities remain bullish on the CGD sector due to steady volume growth and strengthening pricing power due to the likely reduction in APM gas price and spot LNG price.

Lower gas prices are also likely to propel demand and benefit India’s largest gas pipeline operator GAIL (India) Ltd. JM Financial remains positive on GAIL on a steady transmission volume growth story and likely hike in transmission tariff.

In addition to the lower spot prices, rising propane prices are also favourable for gas distributors.

Companies such as Gujarat Gas Ltd, which derive significant revenue from industrial gas supplies to the Morbi cluster in Gujarat, are likely to be key beneficiaries. As the prices of industrial PNG supplied by Gujarat Gas had risen, on the back of rising natural gas prices, the Morbi Cluster in Gujarat had shifted to propane usage. However, now that propane prices are rising, they may shift back to PNG supplies from Gujarat Gas.

Morbi factories have placed a demand for 6.5 mscmd (million standard cubic metre per day) of gas with Gujarat Gas for the month of March compared to an average of 2 mscmd in the previous quarter, said analysts at Antique Stock Broking.

The surge in demand is being driven by a steep increase in propane prices from ₹48 per scm (standard cubic metre) in February to ₹57 per scm in March, said analysts. Further, propane prices in April are likely to be around ₹55/scm based on the announced Saudi CP contract prices, which also are higher than the spot LNG prices currently, added analysts at Antique.

 This helps provide impetus to the volume outlook for Gujarat Gas. Further, the company sources significant quantities of natural gas for supplies from the spot market. Thus, declining spot gas prices will be favourable for the margin improvement of Gujarat Gas.

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244 new CNG buses set to hit roads in Ranchi

Ranchi: To improve the air quality index (AQI) of the city, the Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) will launch a fleet of 244 new buses under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode and convert over 36 old buses to the compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel system so that residents can reduce their dependence on private vehicles for their daily commute.

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A detailed project report (DPR), outlining the routes of the buses and their frequency, has been prepared through a private firm by the municipal corporation.

Of the new fleet of buses, 10% are likely to be EV (battery-operated) while the remaining would be compliant with the latest pollution control norms. To cut down emissions further, the old diesel buses would be converted to the CNG fuel system, the RMC said.

Talking to TOI, the assistant municipal commissioner of RMC, Jyoti Kumar Singh, said, “The old buses which are still operational will be converted to compressed natural gas (CNG) system. Since diesel prices have increased, this initiative will not only help us save money but will reduce air pollution as many passengers will take a bus instead of several private vehicles. In the initial phase, around 36 old buses will be converted to the CNG mode.”

According to Singh, around 50,000 passengers travel by bus in the city daily but the current number of buses is insufficient for the commuters. Currently, RMC operates 40 buses and 10 are grounded. Earlier, the RMC had roped in a private firm, Tandon Solution, to prepare the DPR for the routes.

“The city bus fleet will be expanded on the routes based on the DPR, which will have a detailed study of the routes, bus requirements and their frequency. Tandon Solution has been working on the DPR since last year and has conducted surveys to ascertain how many passengers use the buses for their daily commute,” Singh said.

According to the DPR, the new buses will play on a route every 10 minutes so that the commuters do not encounter any difficulty in getting public transport.“After the launch of the new buses, departure times will be fixed and the bus operators will be required to adhere to the schedule. Earlier, the departure times were dependent on the number of passengers on a bus.” Singh added.

The current shortage of buses is a major inconvenience for people, particularly students who travel daily and are unable to get a seat. A city bus has a capacity of 52 seats but over 70 passengers travel in a single trip. Neha Kumari, a student of Doranda College, who travels on a bus daily, said, “I have never managed to get a seat because of the crowd. The number of buses is so less. For those who travel frequently, increasing the number of buses would be quite helpful.”

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Natural Gas/ Pipelines/ Company News


PNGRB suggests increase in unified pipeline tariff for GAIL

Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) held an open house session inviting stakeholder comments on increasing the unified pipeline tariff for GAIL. PNGRB proposed to raise the average tariff across all pipelines for GAIL by 41 percent. PNGRB also announced its plan to hold an open house on March 6 regarding the same.

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PNGRB has sought comments from stakeholders on the proposed tariff hike by March 15.

The final tariff is expected to be released soon after the open house session.

Brokerage Jefferies has initiated a Hold rating on GAIL, with a target price at Rs 90 per share, indicating a downside of 17.5 percent, stating that the PNGRB’s proposed unified tariff at $60.9/mmBtu is higher that its estimates.

The state-owned natural gas distribution company recently proposed an integrated tariff encompassing most key gas transmission pipelines in its network, which could result in an overall 70 percent increase in pipeline tariffs.

Jefferies believes that the proposed tariff could increase the standalone EBITDA by 15 percent, led by a 30 percent rise in tax EBITDA.

The company’s post-tax return on capital employed (RoCE) is expected to remain at 5 percent, ruling out the large multiple expansions, the brokerage said.

According to Jefferies, the fair value shall rise to Rs 110 if the proposed tariff gets finalised.

CLSA on the other hand has a Buy rating on GAIL, with a target of Rs 125/share indicating a 14.67 percent upside, as the company could model a 40 percent hike, while a 52 percent hike would lead to GAIL’s earnings per share in the next fiscal year boosting by an estimated 7 percent.

The brokerage added that a higher share of stable utilities earnings would also drive a re-rating.

Shares of GAIL ended percent 3.71 percent higher at Rs 109.15 on Monday.

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Mahanagar Gas to acquire 100% stake in Unison Enviro for Rs 531 crore

City gas utility Mahanagar Gas Ltd (MGL) on Friday said it will acquire 100 percent shareholding of Unison Enviro Private Ltd (UEPL) for Rs 531 crore to enter new geographical areas for pursuing inorganic growth opportunities.

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“Mahanagar Gas has signed a Share Purchase Agreement with Unison Enviro Private Ltd and existing shareholders of UEPL (Ashoka Buildcon Ltd and an investment fund managed by Morgan Stanley India Infrastructure) for the acquisition of a 100% stake in UEPL,” the company said in an exchange filing.

The 100 percent shareholding acquisition is expected to be completed upon receipt of Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) approval and subject to fulfillment of terms and conditions, it said.

UEPL is a private limited company incorporated on December 14, 2015, under the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013. The company has been authorised by PNGRB to implement the City Gas Distribution network in the Geographical Areas of Ratnagiri, Latur & Osmanabad in the state of Maharashtra and Chitradurga and Devengere in the state of Karnataka.

Ashu Shinghal, managing director of MGL, said the acquisition would help the company expand its network within and beyond Maharashtra and offer its quality services with safety to a broader customer base, thereby contributing towards the long-term growth of the organisation.

HDFC Bank Investment Banking was the exclusive Transaction Advisor to MGL. Kotak Investment Banking was the exclusive Financial Advisor to Ashoka Buildcon Ltd and the investment fund managed by Morgan Stanley India Infrastructure on this transaction.

Ashish Kataria, director of Ashoka Buildcon Ltd and chairman of Unison Enviro, said the company believes this transaction will help UEPL leverage MGL’s strengths to realize its full potential.

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Vedanta seeks bids for natural gas from its Rajasthan block

Vedanta has sought bids for natural gas from its Rajasthan block at a floor price of $9.57 per mmBtu. The company plans to sell 0.70 mmscmd of gas in the first tranche and 0.30 mmscmd in the second tranche. The first tranche of gas will be supplied from April 1 to 15 and second tranche will be available from April 16 to May 31. The auction will be held on March 17 for tranche 1 and on March 27 for tranche 2.

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The floor price for the auction has been set at one dollar above the domestic formula gas price of $8.57 per mmBtu.

 The sales price will be the lower of Platts LNG West India marker or 15% of the average Brent price plus a premium that bidders would quote.

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Kia Motors likely to introduce CNG Sonet

Amid the fuel price rise in India, several top car manufacturers are either modifying their existing vehicles into CNG or launching new ones. Hyundai’s sister company Kia, which has turned many heads and won millions of hearts with its mid-size SUV Sonet, also doing the same. The report says that the company is testing the CNG version of the vehicle and soon will launch it in the market.

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Ahead of the official launch, a test mule without any camouflage and a CNG kit at the back has been spotted during the testing in Pune. The images, it is clearly giving a hint that the upcoming CNG Sonet will will be launched on the same platform, with not too much changes but with just a smart CNG option.

Know everything about upcoming Kia Sonet CNG

As per the viral ingest, it showed the emission testing equipment has been placed at the rear of the vehicle’s boot, which will eventually comprise boot space in the future. The report says that the firm is testing the gas option with its advance and top-end variant X-Line with the 1.0L turbo petrol engine option.

As far as the price is concerned, it is expected that the the vehicle might become costilier by Rs 1 lakh as compared to its ongoing petrol model. However, the company has not revealed any offcial details regarding the same as of now. When it comes to the rivals, there is not direct competitio to it. But, in the future, there will be few as Maruti Suzuki is also all set to launch CNG Brezza in upcoming months, which might give a tough fight to the sub 4m SUV.

Kia Sonet CNG features and safety

Customers can expect some noticeable changes in the upcoming CNG version. It might come with an updated touchscreen infotainment system with android, apple and auto carplay, multi-functional steering where, dual climate control, power window, semi-digital instrumental clusters with rear and front parking sensors. It is also expected that the company might introduce an electric sunroof in the four-wheeler, however, there are no official details about the same.

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GAIL India signs MoU with Tata Steel Mining

GAIL signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tata Steel Mining Limited to provide natural gas to its Ferro Alloys Plant at Athgarh in Odisha’s Cuttack district. According to the MoU, GAIL will supply the agreed quantity of natural gas through its pipeline from Gujarat to Athgarh.

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Furnace oil emits more carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and sulphur oxides than natural gas. Natural gas emits 27 percent less CO2 and has lower levels of other pollutants. The project will lead to greenhouse gas emission reduction by 968 tons.

In other news, the nation’s primary gas pipeline operator is looking to revolutionize its petrochemical operations by introducing ethane imported from the United States to fill the gap left by the government’s prioritization of natural gas for other sectors. The company aims to use the new fuel source to drive efficiency and productivity in its petrochemical operations.

The company reported a consolidated total income of ₹36334.20 crore for the quarter ended December 2022, up 36.77% from the corresponding period last year. The total income was 6.65% lower than that reported in the previous quarter. The company reported a net profit after tax of ₹-151.51 crore for the quarter.

Brokerage house JM Financial has a ‘buy’ call on GAIL (India) with a target price of ₹120, reported The Economic Times.

Global research and broking firm Morgan Stanley gave an ‘outperform’ rating to GAIL India with a target price of ₹124, reported Moneycontrol.

Another Brokerage, Citigroup, maintained its ‘buy’ rating on GAIL India with a target price of ₹110.

GAIL (India) owns and operates a network of approximately 14,500 kilometers (km) of natural gas pipelines. It is also focused on expanding its presence in renewable energy, such as solar, wind and biofuel.

According to a MintGenie poll, 29 analysts on an average have a ‘STRONG BUY’ call on the stock.

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Policy Matters/ Gas Pricing/ Others

Torrent Gas Pune Limited announces CNG price hike in Pune district

Pune, 3rd March 2023: Torrent Gas Pune Limited, a leading supplier of compressed natural gas (CNG) in the Pune District, has announced an increase in its CNG retail selling price.

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The company has decided to raise the CNG price from the prevailing Rs. 93 per kg to Rs. 94 per kg with effect from midnight of 3rd March 2023 (00:00 hour of 4th March 2023).

The decision to hike the CNG price has been taken in view of the rising cost of natural gas and transportation. The company sources its natural gas from various fields across the country and transports it to its CNG stations through pipelines.

According to the company’s statement, the exact time and dispenser readings will be noted in the presence of the Dealer/Manager, which will be used for fortnightly billing. The change will be effective at all stations where CNG supply is by Torrent Gas Pune Limited.

The price hike is likely to impact the daily commute of CNG vehicle owners in Pune District. However, Torrent Gas Pune Limited has assured its customers that it remains committed to providing high-quality CNG at affordable prices.

Torrent Gas Pune Limited operates several CNG stations across the Pune District, providing a clean and cost-effective alternative to conventional fuels. The company has been at the forefront of promoting CNG as a sustainable fuel for transportation and has been actively expanding its network of CNG stations in the region.

The price hike is expected to generate some revenue for the company, which can be used for future expansion and development. However, the move is likely to face criticism from consumers who may find it difficult to absorb the additional cost.

As the CNG price hike comes into effect, it remains to be seen how it will impact the overall CNG market in Pune District and whether other players in the market will follow suit.

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LNG Use / LNG Development and Shipping

Indian companies seal deal to step up use of LNG lorries in mineral-rich west Maharashtra

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India’s Baidyanath LNG will sell fuel to GreenLine Logistics’ lorries that run on liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the coal and limestone-rich region of western Maharashtra state, the companies said on Thursday.

India, one of the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, has set a goal for net zero carbon emissions by 2070. Using LNG will help the country cut demand for diesel, which accounts for about two-fifths of its refined fuel consumption and is widely used by buses, trucks and the mining sector.

Baidyanath LNG, a unit of India-based ayurvedic products maker Baidyanath, operates two LNG fuel stations and hopes to set up around 15 stations in the Vidarbha region of western Maharashtra by the second quarter of 2024, its chief executive Vaddadi Subbarao told Reuters. GreenLine, India’s only LNG-powered heavy trucking logistics company, said its LNG-fuelled lorry emits 24 tonnes less carbon dioxide than diesel-fired ones. It plans to expand its fleet to 1,600 by March 2024 to annually cut 38,400 tonnes of carbon emissions, it said. GreenLine already provides LNG trucks to some cement makers in the Vidarbha region.

Industries in India are increasingly switching to cleaner energy to cut their carbon footprint and help the country meet its commitment to cut emissions by 1 billion tonnes by 2030. Indian companies are also spending billions of dollars building gas infrastructure, including pipelines and import terminals, to raise the share of gas in the energy mix to 15% by 2030 from the current 6.2%. Baidyanath has six-year LNG purchase contracts with GAIL (India) Ltd and Indian Oil Corp for 26,000 tonnes and 10,000 tonnes, respectively, of the supercooled fuel, Subbarao said.

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India’s efforts to avoid a power crisis set to boost LNG imports

India will boost fuel imports after gas-fired power stations were asked to increase output to meet soaring demand during the summer months.

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Gail India Ltd. will tap the seaborne market to supply state-run power producer NTPC Ltd., which has been asked by the government to run 5 gigawatts of plants to meet peak demand during April and May, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named as the details are private.

NTPC estimates it will require 250 million metric standard cubic meters of the fuel during the two-month period, according to some of the people. An additional 4 gigawatts of capacity run by other companies will also be kept ready to operate if needed.

NTPC and a Gail spokesman didn’t immediately reply to emails seeking a comment.

India’s government is taking action as harsher-than-expected weatherthreatens to create a surge in electricity demand. An early onset of hot weatherhas already pushed power demand to near-record levels, stoking fears of arepeat of the intense heat wave last year.

India has already invoked an emergency rule forcing some plants running onimported coal to run at capacity.

Nearly 25 gigawatts of India’s gas-fired capacity has been lying underutilizedfor years, as the electricity is too costly for the competitive market dominatedby coal. Bringing these units back shows the extent of the challenge, as thenation is forced to ditch concerns over high prices to meet supply shortfalls.

Indian Energy Exchange, the nation’s biggest trading platform, has opened anew window that will allow trade of high-cost electricity produced from gas,imported coal and batteries.

NTPC will procure the gas from state-run peer Gail through a long-termpurchase contract, the people said. Gail will likely tap the spot LNG marketsfor meeting NTPC’s demand, one of the people said.India relies on imports for nearly half its gas needs, with fertilizer, transportand industries being the biggest users of the fuel. The nation’s LNG importsdeclined 14% from a year earlier during the 10 months ended in January due tohigh prices.Now, with prices softening in the spot market and increased demand frompower stations, imports are likely to rise, according to Rajesh Mediratta, chiefexecutive officer at Indian Gas Exchange.

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India’s delayed LNG terminals present hurdle to Modi’s gas goal

Several of India’s proposed liquefied natural gas import projects are grappling with delays, posing a fresh challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plans to boost use of the fuel.

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Two floating import terminals missed commissioning targets last year after LNG prices skyrocketed, reducing demand and disrupting import plans, Ayush Agarwal, analyst with S&P Global, said during a media roundtable Thursday. Neither plants are expected to start before 2025, he said.

New Delhi is trying to increase LNG import capacity to lift the share of natural gas in its energy mix to 15% by 2030 from about 6% now. The move is to help lower the dependence on dirtier fossil fuels, such as coal and oil.

Indian consumers are highly price-sensitive as gas competes head-to-head with cheaper alternatives, and LNG purchases fell sharply last year due to the energy crisis. The fertilizer sector, which is heavily subsidized by the government, has been the key driver of India LNG demand growth, Agarwal said.

To make matters worse, three of India’s six operating LNG terminals are running below 20% capacity due to high spot rates and infrastructure challenges, such as the lack of a connecting pipeline network. While Adani Total Gas Ltd. will commission a new terminal on the east coast in the second quarter of this year, the facility may run at lower capacity as the firms contracted to use the plant have not yet secured overseas supplies.

It isn’t immediately clear when the two proposed floating import terminals in India will start. H-Energy Pvt Ltd.’s Jaigarh project doesn’t have a floating terminal booked to import the fuel, and Swan Energy Ltd.’s Jafrabad won’t start up until after 2024 due to the tight fuel market, said Agarwal.

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GAIL seeks two LNG cargoes for April-May delivery

March 6 (Reuters) – India’s GAIL GAIL.NS has issued a tender seeking two liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes for delivery into India in April and May, two industry sources said on Monday.

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The country’s largest gas distributor is seeking the LNG cargoes on a delivered ex-ship (DES) basis into the Dahej terminal.

The tender will close on March 7, said the sources.

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Electric Mobility/ Hydrogen/ Bio- Methane

No takers; most of 69 EV charging stations lie unused in Noida

Noida: There are 69 charging stations for electric vehicles in 54 locations of Noida, but most of them are gathering dust—neither used by commuters nor maintained for long.

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Spot visits to the Sector 62 and Film City charging stations on Friday showed that the standalone docks were largely abandoned. There are dozens more like these, most of them not functioning, in sectors 32, 2 and 6, among others.

Last year, the Noida Authority installed these charging stations as part of measures to encourage commuters to take up EVs as personal vehicles.

But few in the NCR city have opted for EVs till now.

According to 2022 data by the transport department, there are around 13,000 EVs registered in Gautam Budh Nagar. Almost 70% of these are e-rickshaws, which drivers usually charge at stations facilitated by companies or through chargers already given to them. The remaining are four-wheelers.

A senior official of the Noida Authority, which is responsible for the upkeep of these charging docks, admitted that most of the charging stations set up over the past year aren’t operational.

“It will take some time to make them functional as technical details about operating the charging stations are being worked out,” the official said.

He said there was also the problem of demand.

“There are just a few thousand personal four-wheelers in Noida. These stations will prove to be beneficial when the number of EVs in the district increases,” the official added.

Further, car sellers explained that buyers who choose EVs are often given charging devices to set up near their house or in their societies. The showrooms, too, have charging apparatus at their premises.

“Companies provide chargers to buyers of electric vehicles. This generally takes 7-8 hours for full battery. We also have fast chargers outside our showroom and these take just 90 minutes. Additionally, many private companies are providing charging solutions with a mobile van service, which can be called in if someone’s battery drains out while travelling,” said Kapil Rana, a manager at a Tata showroom in Sector 6.

Others in the industry said putting up standalone charging stations isn’t viable until demand for them goes up.

“Isolated charging docks will only reap benefits when more people buy EVs. Instead, setting up fast charging stations in a cluster model like that at petrol pumps with multiple charging docks should be the focus. A similar model has been developed in Gurgaon where two EV charging stations have been set up as a pilot project,” said Abhijeet Sinha, nationalprogramme director for Ease of Doing Business and member of the working group at National Highway for Electric Vehicle (NHforEV) organisation.

With the EV sector growing rapidly across the country, the UP government had last year said it would encourage adoption of electric vehicles in the state by offering subsidies to buyers. Apart from discounted rates, the Uttar Pradesh Electric Vehicle Manufacturing and Mobility Policy 2022 also presented other incentives such as exemptions on road tax and registration fees.

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Yulu and Bajaj joined hands to launch two new electric two-wheelers

Joining the burgeoning electric two-wheeler space, Bengaluru-headquartered electric mobility platform Yulu Bikes Pvt Ltd, in partnership with Bajaj Auto Ltd, on Monday, launched two new electric 2-wheelers (e2Ws) Miracle GR and DeX GR.

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The third-generation electric two-wheelers are powered by Yulu’s AI-led technology stack and will be manufactured by Bajaj Auto in India. This partnership between Yulu and Chetak Technology Ltd, fully owned subsidiary of Bajaj Auto, aims to transform mobility through smart, shared, sustainable, and safe electric vehicles. Yulu claimed that with unique form-factor, ergonomic design & tech-powered utility, the Miracle GR and DeX GR are set to offer a better experience to customers along with higher operational efficiency. This, in turn, will improve Yulu’s overall financial metrics, the company stated. Both Miracle GR and DeX GR come with IOT-based dockless EV technology (meaning can be dropped off and picked up from certain locations in the service area). The scooters offer maximum speed of 25 kilometre per hour, with a maximum payload of 100 kilograms. They also feature a headlight, brake light along with a tail light.

“Going electric is a key strategic priority at Bajaj, and Yulu is an integral part of this strategy. Yulu’s deep expertise in EV technology and market knowledge coupled with Bajaj Auto’s strong, world-class R&D & manufacturing capabilities, is a powerful force that is shaping India’s future of mobility. These next-generation made-for-India vehicles with their intelligence, strong engineering underpinnings and sophisticated design aesthetics are a milestone not just for us, but for the entire electric mobility category,” said S Ravikumar, Chief Business Development Officer, Bajaj Auto Limited

Being manufactured by Bajaj, Yulu expects significant cost reductions and meaningful improvements in operating metrics and overall financials, owing to locally sourced parts and assembly, superior production quality and optimised economies of scale, it said.“We plan to deploy 1 lakh vehicles by the end of 2023, with 50K out of them being Miracle GR & DeX GR,” Amit Gupta, Co-founder & CEO, Yulu told DH. It’s not a fixed split between the Miracle GR & DeX GR. The best thing about our platform is that there is fungibility between models, so we can vary the mix basis market requirements, he added. The rental pricing of these vehicles will be very attractive just like our current vehicles, he added. The vehicles will be available for the public in the first week of March, Gupta revealed. The two scooters will operate on swappable batteries powered by Yuma Energy, a joint venture between Yulu and Magna that offers “battery-as-a-service” for electric two-wheelers. Yuma Energy has around 100 stations across Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Delhi. The company plans to expand the number of stations by up to 500 by 2024.“This launch will further solidify our position as a market leader in the shared mobility space while reinforcing our commitment to sustainably solve the problems of traffic congestion and air pollution for daily commute and last-mile deliveries,” Gupta said in a statement.

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Uttar Pradesh government exempts electric vehicle buyers in state from tax, registration fees

In Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath-led Government has decided to exempt road tax and registration fees on purchase of Electric Vehicles (EVs) for three years from the 14th of October, 2022 in its bid to promote electric vehicles.

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According to the revised notification issued by Principal Secretary L. Venkateshwarlu, as per the Uttar Pradesh Electric Vehicle Manufacturing and Mobility Policy 2022, 100 per cent tax exemption will be given on electric vehicles (EV) sold and registered in Uttar Pradesh from October 14, 2022, to October 13, 2025.

As per the statement, the government will provide the benefits for EV buyers which will be valid for five years if the purchased electric vehicles is manufactured in the State itself. On behalf of the government, orders have been given to the RTOs of all the districts to ensure compliance with the instructions with immediate effect.

As per the government, these EVs will be all automobiles that are powered by batteries, ultracapacitors, or fuel cells. These include all two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and four-wheelers, Strong Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV), Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV), and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV).

The exemption by UP Government is in addition to the subsidy provided by the Central Government on the purchase of electric vehicles. Together these reliefs provided by the Central Government and the State Government will reduce the cost of two-wheelers by 15,000 to 20,000 rupees on-road and cars by up to one lakh rupees.

The government’s decision will end the difference of the registration of EVs in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh and the rates will be the same in the state and the UT. According to the policy, a 15 per cent subsidy will also be given on the factory price of electric vehicles purchased in the State.

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Natural Gas / Transnational Pipelines/ Others

Russia: Russia’s Lukoil looks to sell stake in offshore oil and gas field

Russian oil firm Lukoil is in direct talks with Indian companies to sell its 38% stake in a deepwater oil and gas field offshore Ghana, Reuters reported on Monday, quoting Russian and Ghanaian sources with knowledge of the matter.

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The potential sale could unblock the suspension of the field development plan, which the operator of the Pecan field, Norway’s Aker Energy, hasn’t submitted yet.  

Aker Energy holds a 50% participating interest in the Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points block in Ghana, including the Pecan development project. Lukoil owns 38%, Fueltrade has 2%, and Ghana National Petroleum Corporation holds the remaining 10%. Seven successful exploration wells and eight appraisal wells on the block have proved a significant resource base as well as offering a high upside, Aker Energy says.

However, the company has been wary of the involvement of Lukoil as a partner in the block due to the Western sanctions on Russia and has said it would wait to see the issue resolved until it files a field development plan.

Aker Energy has completed FEED and prepared a revised Plan of Development for the Deepwater Tano/Cape Three Points block, Aker said in August 2022.

Earlier this month the Q4 earnings release, Aker said that the filing of the development plant “has been delayed due to the uncertainties and risks caused by the war in Ukraine and Lukoil Overseas Ghana Tano Ltd.’s 38 percent interest in the license, as well as supply chain disruptions and inflation.” The current deadline for submitting the plan has been extended to April 2023.

Lukoil is directly talking with Indian companies about potentially selling its stake in the Pecan field development because banks do not want to get involved due to the sanctions against Russia, according to Reuters’ sources. During an Indian energy event earlier this month, Lukoil representatives and Indian firms, including ONGC Videsh, the foreign investment arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), discussed a potential deal, the sources said.

By Charles Kennedy for

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USA: Viridi Energy building renewable natural gas project in Wisconsin

Viridi Energy has begun construction on a landfill renewable natural gas project at the Marathon County Solid Waste Department’s landfill in Ringle, Wis.

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The company says the project will convert landfill gas into RNG – more than 3 million GGE annually – that will be used for the transportation sector and other end uses.

“As the transition away from fossil fuels accelerates, our Marathon County project showcases how waste-to-energy projects can be a win-win-win. We are reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the county’s landfill, converting that landfill gas into clean RNG, and replacing the need for fossil fuel-derived natural gas in the process,” says Viridi CEO Dan Crouse. “In addition to the environmental impact, we are excited to support the local economy in Marathon County as we kick off operations in the community.” While the management team has developed more than a dozen landfill to RNG sites and has over 100 years of combined experience in the industry, this is one of the first landfill projects developed under the Viridi name, a company they launched last year with the backing of Warburg Pincus and Green Rock Energy Partners.

For Marathon County, the partnership with Viridi is its latest sustainable infrastructure venture. This project will have a direct, positive environmental impact on the surrounding community by reducing the need for on-site emissions mitigation through the conversion of naturally occurring landfill gas into clean RNG.

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US: The least U.S. interstate natural gas pipeline capacity on record was added in 2022

In 2022, 897 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of interstate natural gas pipeline capacity was added collectively from five projects, according to our latest State-to-State Capacity Tracker, which contains information on the capacity of natural gas pipelines that cross state and international borders. In 2022, the least interstate natural gas pipeline capacity was added since we began data collection in 1995. However, capacity was added to intrastate pipelines and to existing FERC-administered interstate pipelines as expansions that increased intrastate capacity in 2022.

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Interstate capacity additions were low in 2022 for two primary reasons:

More growth in intrastate capacity (which are not captured in our interstate data)

Less overall capital expenditures by oil and natural gas companies

In prior years, interstate pipeline capacity was added from looping and compressor station projects that were designed to accommodate growing Appalachia production. These types of projects were the most common for developing new interstate pipelines, but all of the planned projects are mostly completed. Since 2017, about 70% of the growth in natural gas production has come from the Permian and Haynesville regions, located near liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals along the Gulf Coast. In Texas and Louisiana, intrastate projects, rather than interstate projects, have increased takeaway capacity and connected natural gas production to LNG export terminals.

Building large-scale, commercial natural gas pipelines that cross state boundaries involves a number of contractual, engineering, regulatory, and financial requirements. These requirements may involve more coordination and can take longer to complete compared with intrastate pipeline projects.

In 2022, five projects increased interstate capacity to transport natural gas. The projects focused primarily on upgrading compressor stations, with only one project adding a relatively small amount of new pipe:

Columbia Gulf Transmission’s Louisiana XPress Project increased its capacity from Mississippi to Louisiana by 493 MMcf/d and from Tennessee to Mississippi by 50 MMcf/d by adding or upgrading compressor stations to increase the deliverability of natural gas from the Appalachian Basin.

Florida Gas Transmission’s Mobile County Project increased its capacity west-to-east from Mississippi to Mobile County, Alabama, by 175 MMcf/d by modifying the CS10 compressor station in Perry County, Mississippi.

Florida Gas Transmission’s Southwest Alabama Project increased capacity from Mississippi to Escambia County, Alabama, by 100 MMcf/d by upgrading a compressor station.

ANR Pipeline Company’s Wisconsin Access Project increased capacity from Illinois to Wisconsin by 51 MMcf/d by upgrading several meter and filtering stations on the ANR Pipeline, alleviating constraints in parts of northern and central Wisconsin.

Gulfstream Natural Gas’s Gulfstream Phase VI Expansion Project increased capacity by 28 MMcf/d between Alabama and Tampa Electric Company’s Big Bend Power Plant in Florida by installing about four miles of pipe and a booster compressor station.

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Norway: Norway replaces Russia as Europe’s first gas supplier

(MENAFN– AzerNews) Norway has replaced Russia as the biggest gas supplier of Europe, said the EU Commissioner Kadri Simson, as she was addressing a committee meeting and a press conference in the European Parliament.

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“Since September 2022, Russian gas is about 8 percent of all pipeline gas imported in the EU. Pipeline gas imports from Russia amounted 61 bcm last year. The first gas supplier to Europe is no longer Russia. It is Norway,” she said.

Simson pointed out that the doubts about Europe’s inability to import enough liquified natural gas (LNG) to replace Russian gas also faded away. Europe opened three new terminals in less than one year, while 5 more are planned to be launched by late 2023 with total capacity of 50 billion cubic meters.

She noted that Europe imported a total of 135 billion cubic meters of LNG, with 56.4 billion cubic meters accounting for the US alone. As such, Europe’s LNG imports rose by 34 billion cubic meters year-on-year.

“The increase of gas supplies from other sources than Russia was almost 10 percent higher than the estimated in the March REPowerEU Communication. Overall, the EU phased out Russian gas by two-thirds. We backed up this diversification effort with new tools,” added Simson.

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Natural Gas / LNG Utilization

Finland: Green Ray project to develop solutions minimising methane slip from LNG-fuelled engines

A consortium including technology group Wärtsilä has secured EU funding to develop solutions minimising methane slip from marine engines, advancing the environmental and climate benefits of LNG as a ship fuel.

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Co-ordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the Green Ray project brings together several companies from across the shipping value chain: shipyard Chantiers de l’Atlantique, ship owner CMA CGA, classification society DNV GL, the Finnish Meterological Institute, ship manager MSC Cruises Management, non-profit organisation Revolve Water, and energy major Shell.

The project will develop on-engine technologies for low-pressure dual-fuel engines – both two- and four-stroke – as well as a novel aftertreatment concept. These solutions will be advanced to a high state of technology readiness, including demonstrators installed on two newbuilds and one retrofitted to an existing vessel. All the technologies developed in Green Ray will also be fully capable to utilise bio- or synthetic methane instead of fossil LNG.

Wärtsilä will develop technology specifically for low pressure four-stroke dual-fuel engines that enables methane slip reduction, increases efficiency, and lowers operational costs at all engine loads. This technology targets the largest four-stroke engines on the market as widely used by cruise ships, ferries, and gas carriers.

Wärtsilä will also develop an on-engine technology for two-stroke engines around a patented LNG injection system to reduce methane slip from tankers, container ships, etc. Both technologies will be demonstrated at sea in real application during the project in collaboration with the Green Ray partners.

The use of LNG as a marine fuel is accelerating, driven by a well-developed supply infrastructure, a clear transition to cleaner fuels and significant air pollution and climate benefits. The issue of methane slip – unutilised and thus unburned fuel escaping into the atmosphere from engines and across the production and supply chain – is seen as one of the main challenges to wider uptake.

“Methane slip has become an important factor in ship owners’ decisions about whether to use LNG fuel,” said Kati Lehtoranta, Principal Scientist, VTT. “With these promising technologies, we aim to reduce the slip contributing directly to reduction of the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, opening this pathway to even wider segment of the maritime market.”

Shell has developed a proprietary methane abatement catalyst system that has been lab tested and scaled up to a field demonstration, where it was proven to be effective not only in significantly reducing methane slip (over 90%), but also in handling typical compounds that can degrade the catalyst, via the inclusion of a guard bed.

“Shell’s climate ambition to become a net zero emissions energy business by 2050 will require us to explore a range of avenues that have the potential to help us, our partners, and customers to decarbonise the existing LNG value chain. We are continuously working to improve the value proposition of LNG through dedicated technology research, and we are keen to develop potential solutions to minimise methane slip at such a relevant project as Green Ray,” explained Alexander Boekhorst, VP Gas Processing and Conversion Technology at Shell.

“This research will allow us to build on the continuous improvements made in reducing methane slip from engines over the past 20 years,” commented Sebastiaan Bleuanus, General Manager, Research Co-ordination & Funding, Wärtsilä Marine Power. “Taking these solutions for newbuilds and retrofits to near commercial readiness will be an important step for the long-term viability of LNG as a marine fuel.”

The project has received funding of approximately €7 million from Horizon Europe. It will run until 2027.

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European LNG imports soar 63% in 2022: IEA

European imports of liquefied natural gas soared last year as nations sought to cover for drops in Russian pipeline supplies, a report from the International Energy Agency said Tuesday.

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The jump in demand from European nations sent prices spiking higher, with global sales doubling in value to $450 billion even though volume rose only 5.5 percent, the IEA said in a quarterly report on the gas market.

It said it expects LNG volumes to rise by 4.3 percent in 2023.

“LNG import growth in 2022 was led by Europe with a sharp 63 percent increase, compensating for a significant drop in pipeline gas imports from Russia,” the IEA said.

European imports of LNG rose by 66 billion cubic meters, with the US supplying two-thirds of that increased consumption.

“LNG played a critical role in mitigating the impact of Russia’s deep cuts in piped gas supply to the European Union and was instrumental in avoiding gas supply shortages in 2022,” said the IEA.

For 2023, the IEA expects European gas demand to dip by three percent after having fallen by 13 percent in 2022.

It sees further reductions in the use of gas by the power sector as renewables expand and French nuclear production increases after repair works are completed.

While industrial use of gas is expected to recover by 10 percent, the evolution of gas for residential heating will depend on weather.

The mild 2022-2023 European winter helped the region avoid shortages.

The IEA said a complete cut-off of Russian gas delivered by pipeline would require a steeper reduction in demand of eight percent.

Global gas consumption, pipeline plus LNG, dipped 1.6 percent last year to 4.042 trillion cubic meters.

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Tanzania: Build more gas stations to save foreign currency

The Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation says about 20 firms are building compressed natural gas fueling stations, also known as CNG Daughter Stations in Dar es Salaam and the Coast Region to encourage more motorists move from petrol and diesel to natural gas.

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According to TPDC before the end of this year two more CNG Stations will be up and running. They will be built by Taqa Dalbit. In total, according to TPDC, nine gas stations are expected to be completed and start serving customers within 24 months from now. This is commendable.

What is even more laudable is the fact that TPDC has engaged private sector companies to expand the CNG gas stations infrastructure. More should be done, however.

TPDC says the decision to construct more gas fueling stations has been prompted by the huge response from motorists, which has overwhelmed the only fueling station at Ubungo.

In the past week a problem in the access route to the Ubungo station caused long car queues, with motorists waiting hours to fill their vehicles. This is a shame.

TPDC should have been one step ahead of motorists’ demand years ago, by facilitation the construction of as many CNG vehicle fueling stations as possible.

As a public organization entrusted the responsibilities of commercializing Tanzania’s vast natural gas resources TPDC should have been now engaged in a massive campaign to persuade motorists to change from the expensive, imported petrol and diesel to CNG, not the other way round.

But now it is the motorists’ demand that is putting pressure on TPDC to expand CNG fueling infrastructure. In fact the CNG fueling stations should be constructed countrywide to increase Tanzanian motorists access to the cheaper alternative.

The minister for Energy January Makamba said, in his 2022/23 budget speech, that TPDC has been allocated Sh24.2 billion to construct CNG Fueling stations in Dodoma and Dar es Salaam to provide CGN for industrial and domestic needs as well as for fueling cars.

Given the current demand for CNG and the ever rising petroleum products’ prices, it is time that TPDC upped its game to save Tanzania millions of foreign currency and provide Tanzanians with a cheaper fuel alternative.

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Global LNG Development

UK: BP and partners to use gravity-based structure for GTA LNG project

British energy major BP and its partners have finalised the development concept for Phase 2 of the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.

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The partners will evaluate a gravity-based structure (GBS) as the basis for the GTA Phase 2 expansion project (GTA2).

The government of Mauritania and Senegal conferred the status of ‘National Project of Strategic Importance’ to the GTA project in July 2021.

The BP-operated project will have a total capacity of up to three million tons per annum.

BP’s partners in the project include Petrosen, Société Mauritanienne des Hydrocarbures (SMH), and Kosmos Energy.

The GBS platform consists of a large concrete or steel structure that is placed on the ocean floor. The structure serves as a base for the LNG processing facilities, which can include gas turbines, compressors, heat exchangers, and storage tanks.

The concept plan will also incorporate and build upon the GTA infrastructure by including new wells and subsea apparatus.

To reduce operational emissions, the partners will look into liquefying LNG using electricity.

BP and its partners have started working with contractors to take the project closer to the pre-FEED stage.

BP executive vice-president for operations and production Gordon Birrell said: “We aim to build on our strong collaboration with our partners, and the Governments of Mauritania and Senegal, to further develop a long-term, successful energy hub in West Africa.

“GTA continues to underpin our strategy to develop the most resilient hydrocarbons to help provide energy security today.”

 GTA is situated 120km offshore in a water depth of 2850 metres.

Currently under development, Phase 1 of the project will deliver gas to a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel nearly 40km offshore.

The gas will be processed and liquids will be separated at the FPSO unit, before being exported to floating LNG facilities 10km offshore.  

It is being estimated that Phase 1 of the project will produce approximately 2.3 million tons of LNG per annum once it commences operations.

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Germany: Hapag, Shell sign multi-year LNG supply agreement

Shell Western LNG B.V (Shell) and Hapag-Lloyd announced the signing of a multi-year agreement for the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Hapag’s ultra large dual-fuel container vessels of 23,500+ TEUs. “Bunkering for these twelve new vessels is expected to commence during the second half of 2023 and

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LNG will be supplied in the Port of Rotterdam,” says a release from Hapag. The modern ships will be deployed on Europe-Far East routes and call at major ports including Rotterdam, Hamburg, Singapore, and Shanghai, the release added.

Using LNG enables Hapag-Lloyd to immediately reduce the CO2 intensity of these vessels by up to 23 percent compared to conventional fuels. “Additionally, the use of LNG supports the almost complete reduction of particle emissions. This is another important step for Hapag-Lloyd to reduce emissions and decarbonise its fleet in line with its goal of becoming net zero carbon by 2045.” In addition to the LNG supply agreement, Shell and Hapag have entered into a strategic collaboration agreement intended to accelerate the further decarbonisation of alternative marine fuels. “Initial focus will be given to developing the potential of additional low carbon fuels solutions including liquefied biomethane and the hydrogen-based fuel liquefied e-methane. Liquefied biomethane as a marine fuel has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by between 65 percent and 100 percent.”

Tahir Faruqui, General Manager, Head of Downstream LNG, Shell says: “We are delighted to have partnered with Hapag-Lloyd on this important initiative. Shipping decarbonisation must accelerate, and as the lowest-carbon fuel available at scale today, LNG is a key part of the transition to lower-carbon marine fuels. As we look to the future, we are committed to working with leading shipping companies like Hapag-Lloyd to establish credible pathways to net zero.”

Jan Christensen, Senior Director, Global Fuel Purchasing, Hapag-Lloyd adds: “We are pleased to share the execution of this long-term supply agreement. Hapag-Lloyd has finalised a contract with Shell which secures flexible LNG supply at competitive terms. Furthermore, we are excited about our agreement with Shell to explore further decarbonisation opportunities as it allows both businesses to drive impactful change in the industry. Collaborations like this are crucial in helping us deliver our sustainability strategy while also improving emissions in maritime shipping. Ultimately, this enables our customers to decrease their carbon footprint as well.” The announcement supports Shell and Hapag-Lloyd’s long-standing collaboration, which, over the past years, included the LNG bunkering of the Brussels Express, the world’s first large container ship converted to gas propulsion, the release added.


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Bahrain explores constructing LNG export facility

Bahrain aims to slash domestic natural gas consumption under a plan to decarbonize its economy and is exploring ways to export the fuel to international markets, the chairman of the kingdom’s energy company said.

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The Gulf Arab state plans to build solar farms to power its homes and industries, replacing the gas now used, Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, chairman of Bahrain’s energy investment and development arm Nogaholding, told Reuters on Tuesday.

“We have ambitious plans to add solar as a source of energy into our grid instead of just wasting our gas,” Khalifa said. Some of the solar farms will reside in neighbouring Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The plan comes as Europe is hunting for new fuel supplies and major gas discoveries in the Mediterranean have led to proposals for new offshore LNG and gas pipelines to Europe.

Bahrain produces around 2 billion cubic feet per day of gas which is used to generate electricity and power its refinery and industry. It also produces around 190,000 barrels per day of oil at an onshore and offshore field, according to Nogaholding.

In 2018, it discovered the Khaleej al-Bahrain field, its largest oil and gas find since 1932, which is estimated to contain at least 80 billion barrels of shale oil.

It is also exploring deep gas formations and will carry out a 3-D seismic survey later this year, he said.

The kingdom is studying the possibility of constructing a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility to export gas in order to capture strong international demand, Khalifa said.

“Floating LNG is difficult to get right now because demand is so high, but my team are approaching a solution for that. It is a world of opportunity for us to explore with partners,” he said.

Bahrain has set targets to reduce its carbon emissions by 30% by 2035 and down to net zero by 2060 and will publish a new energy transition plan in the coming months.

Bahrain is also investing $7 billion to expand its Bapco refinery to 400,000 bpd from 267,000 bpd, Khalifa said.

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New Guinea: Papua LNG JV launches fully-integrated feed

Santos on March 7 announced that Papua LNG joint venture has launched fully-integrated front-end engineering and design (FEED) for the Papua LNG project in Papua New Guinea.

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Papua LNG is expected to have a liquefaction capacity of up to 6mn metric tons/year of LNG with the first production expected by the end of 2027 or early 2028.

Following pre-FEED studies, the Papua LNG partners have selected a concept using four electric LNG trains (e-trains) with a combined capacity of 4mn mt/yr to be developed within the existing PNG LNG project site. Papua LNG has also secured access to up to 2mn mt/yr of existing liquefaction capacity from PNG LNG.

Santos said that integrating the Papua LNG midstream development within PNG LNG maximises the value of both projects and delivers increased capital efficiency by reducing upfront capital expenditure and maximising integration synergies. PNG LNG will receive an access fee, pro-rata opex sharing and ongoing processing toll revenue that compensates PNG LNG for making the capacity available.

Selecting e-trains and re-injection of reservoir CO2 will reduce the carbon intensity of the project, the company said.

Santos CEO Kevin Gallagher said Papua LNG FEED entry was consistent with the company’s strategy to backfill and sustain its core natural gas assets.

“The concept selected for Papua LNG maximises value through midstream integration with PNG LNG to deliver increased capital efficiency and lower operating costs, consistent with our disciplined operating model,” Gallagher said.

The selected concept for Papua LNG is expected to have a lower capital expenditure outcome than the previous concept. Costs will be refined during the FEED phase and the project participants intend to explore project finance opportunities for a portion of the project cost, Santos said.

Santos holds a 22.8% interest in Papua LNG along with joint venture partners TotalEnergies (40.1% and operator) and ExxonMobil (37.1%). The state of Papua New Guinea may exercise a back-in right for up to a 22.5% interest at the final investment decision, which is planned for the end of 2023 or early 2024. Should Papua New Guinea exercise its full back-in right, Santos’ interest in the project would reduce to 17.7%.

Santos also has a 42.5% interest in PNG LNG and in September last year announced a conditional agreement to sell a 5% interest in PNG LNG to Kumul Petroleum Holdings for an asset value of $1.4bn. Completion is subject to customary conditions including necessary regulatory approvals and Kumul securing financing. Santos became the largest shareholder in PNG LNG with its takeover of Oil Search.

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Greece’s first FSRU initiates in Singapore

DNV issued a statement on the progress of Alexandroupolis Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU). According to the Classification Society, the work to develop Greece’s first  FSRU commenced recently at the Keppel shipyard in Singapore with the conversion of GasLog’s Gaslog Chelsea, recently renamed as Alexandroupoli.

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Following conversion, the FSRU Alexandroupoli will serve as an offshore storage and regasification facility and will be part of the Alexandroupolis Independent Natural Gas System (INGS). The 155,000-cbm LNG carrier, recently reflagged to the Greek flag, is the first FSRU conversion under the Greek Flag for operation in the Aegean Sea.

The project’s owner, Gastrade, is a consortium of key players in the wider region’s energy market: Mrs. Elmina Copelouzou, GasLog, DEPA Commercial, the Public Gas Company of Greece, DESFA, the Hellenic Natural Gas Transmission System Operator, and Bulgartransgaz, the natural gas transmission and storage system operator.

“We worked patiently and diligently to reach this stage and we are extremely proud to soon offer the first ever FSRU in Greek waters. Through GasLog’s renowned high standards of safety and reliability, the FSRU Alexandroupolis will offer energy diversification and security to the wider region and establish GasLog as an integrated provider of natural gas solutions. We are thankful to DNV for their support and partner-mindset throughout the project.”

…said Kostas Karathanos,  GasLog’s Chief Operating Officer.

The FSRU Alexandroupolis is designed to add a new gateway for natural gas in the Greek and wider Balkan region, improving the region’s energy mix and diversifying energy sources to enhance energy security. It is expected to have a regasification capacity of around 8 billion cubic meters annually.

The existing LNGC is currently in DNV class. As an offshore-classed FSRU, the vessel will have the following notations: OI Ship-shaped LNG Storage Installation, Field (Alexandroupolis), REGAS(ES), POSMOOR, UWILD, BIS, TMON, Clean, NAUT(OC), NAUTICUS(Newbuilding), ASP(MRU).

The vessel is expected to be delivered at the end of 2023 and will be connected to the National Natural Gas Transmission System (NNGΤS) of Greece via a 28km long pipeline.

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Germany: Avenir collaborate with Vitol for LNG ship-to-truck loading operations in Germany

A small-scale LNG firm named Avenir LNG has successfully carried out Germany’s first-ever direct LNG unloading mission into trucks from a transport vessel.

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This operation reportedly was held on 22 and 23 February at the Port of Mukran, where the UK-based company’s LNG transport vessel named the Avenir Ascension reportedly unloaded LNG into the transport trucks provided by a global energy trader named the Vitol.

Then, the trucks also transported chilled fuel onward to the Europe-based truck fueling station network. The latter is operated and owned by Vitol’s subsidiary, ViGo Bioenergy GmbH.

The vessel was berthed for three days, with LNG unloading operations executed during this time. Avenir LNG mentioned that necessary preparations for the test operation were executed within weeks rather than the extended development phase required for larger and more permanent infrastructure like onshore terminals or the FSRUs.

Per the Avenir LNG, the mission had been prepared as a pilot assignment to demonstrate the viability of gearing up an energy supply chain for decentralized areas without needing large-scale terminal infrastructure and LNG unloading.

Last year, Avenir LNG, via its unit titled Avenir Marine, took part in the first-ever LNG and BioLNG delivery at Germany’s Port of Lübeck.

Coming to recent activities, the firm also carried out its first LNG ship-to-ship (STS) bunkering activity for the RoPax ferry Peter Pan with Germany-based ferry operator and owner dubbed the TT-Line.

On 19 December last year, the vessel also received LNG from one of Avenir’s small-scale bunker vessels named the Avenir Advantage at the Pengerang Anchorage in Malaysia.

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China: Venture Global and China Gas sign long-term LNG agreements

Venture Global LNG and China Gas Holdings Ltd (China Gas), a leading natural gas operator in China, have announced that the wholly-owned subsidiary, China Gas Hongda Energy Trading Co., Ltd (China Gas Hongda) and Venture Global LNG, have signed two 20-year LNG Sales and Purchase Agreements (SPA).

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Under the deals, China Gas will buy 1 million tpy of LNG on a free on board (FOB) basis from Plaquemines LNG, and another 1 milion tpy from the CP2 LNG export facility, both in Louisiana, US.

Mr. Liu Minghui, Chairman and President of China Gas Holdings Co. Ltd., said: “As a major participant in China’s energy market, we are committed to providing reliable and low-carbon LNG to Chinese customers. These two SPAs increase additional volume for our LNG portfolio and strengthen China Gas’ supply ability. We look forward to working with Venture Global over the coming years to help further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Mike Sabel, Chief Executive Officer of Venture Global LNG, said: “Venture Global is pleased to welcome China Gas as a customer both at Plaquemines and CP2. Through relentless execution and innovation, our company will continue to bring much-needed new capacity to the global LNG market, supporting energy security and environmental progress both in Asia and Europe. Importantly, low-cost LNG supplied to the region will accelerate fuel switching and lower carbon emissions, contributing meaningfully to China and the world’s existing climate targets.”

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France ‘Stepping Up’ role as top entry point for European LNG

To help Europe replace gas supplies cut by Russia, France’s liquified natural gas (LNG) imports nearly doubled last year, as the country delivered four times as much pipeline gas to neighboring European countries compared to 2021. 

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“France is stepping up its role as a point of entry and transit country for supplying Europe with gas,” French transmission system operator GRTgaz recently said in a 2022-2023 gas forecast.

“The increase in French LNG imports was massive last year, France surpassed Spain as the largest LNG importer in Europe, and quite a lot of the gas went to other  European countries,” said Rystad Energy analyst Fabian Ronningen.

France increased LNG imports to 25.14 million tons (Mt) in 2022, up from 14.04 Mt the prior year, according to Kpler. The country has few fossil fuel resources and is dependent on pipeline and LNG imports.  

Last year’s top LNG exporter to France was the United States, which exported a total of 11.25 Mt. Kpler data shows Cheniere Energy Inc. accounted for over half of that, with 3.95 Mt exported to France from Sabine Pass LNG in Louisiana and another 2.66 Mt from the Corpus Christi export terminal in Texas. 

GRTgaz  said the high levels of imports continued as 2023 got underway. The transmission system operator said volumes unloaded between November and mid-January were 41% above the previous record set during that time.  

The short and medium-term outlook for LNG imports in France looks similar to levels in 2022. “The volumes for 2022 will  likely be replicated in 2023, and possibly even surpassed, and  could easily be the case in 2024,” Ronnigen told NGI. 

“Even if Europe gets more regas facilities online in more countries and locations, the existing capacity has to run at very high utilization factors as this will be the first year without any large volumes of Russian gas.” The continent has been scrambling to get more import capacity installed, particularly its largest gas buyer Germany, which relied heavily on Russian pipeline gas as there were no LNG import terminals there before the Ukraine war. 

To help fill the void left by Russia, France has reached a number of pipeline delivery milestones since October, according to GRTgaz. France started gas imports from Spain; delivered exports to Germany for the first time; pipeline gas flow between France and Belgium was reversed, and France dramatically increased exports to Switzerland. 

Nuclear Outages

 France also increased LNG imports last year to better meet domestic energy demand amid power shortages caused by widespread nuclear outages. The country’s prolific nuclear output fell to a 30-year low amid corrosion issues at its plants, prolonged stretches of maintenance and labor disputes. 

Nuclear energy provides about 70% of the country’s electricity, with renewables at 20% and fossil fuels around 9%.  A record 26 of the country’s 56 nuclear reactors were offline in 2022, due to inspection and repairs after corrosion was found in reactor pipes, according to state-owned utility Électricité de France. 

“Using the preliminary data reported from the transmission system operators, gas was the energy source that increased the most in absolute volume last year in France, with a close to 10 TWh (31% year-on-year) increase in generation,” Ronningen said. 

Due to the large fall of nuclear and also hydropower output, Ronningen said natural gas was the only domestic source with relatively large upside potential for ramping up. “France therefore had to import massive amounts of electricity last year, becoming the second largest power importer in Europe, when it was the largest exporter just one year earlier.”

“Nuclear power is expected to fall in the longer term, and coal will be phased out, but gas will continue to have an important role to fill in the French energy mix, but mainly as a balance and in our view never at the scale of Spain, UK and Italy,” he added. 

As demand for gas remains high, France plans to expand its regasification capacity. In a non-binding call of interest last month for the country’s first Floating Storage and Regasification Unit at the port of Le Havre, customers looked to secure up to 12 billion cubic meters (Bcm) of capacity with only 2.5 Bcm available, according to TotalEnergies SE, which is developing the project.  

“Demand expressed during the market test significantly exceeded available capacity,” the company said. “This success illustrates the market’s appetite for additional LNG regasification capacity to meet French demand as well as the need to strengthen the security of gas supply.”

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Greece: Conversion work begins for Greece’s first FSRU

Work recently began for the conversion of LNG carriers to become Greece’s first floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) to be located in the eastern Mediterranean and supply Greece and the surrounding region. This project has been under development for six years and is expected to begin operation by the end of 2023.

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The vessel that will be used in the LNG import operation is a 2010-built ship that originally operated as the STX Frontier and in 2013 became the Gaslog Chelsea. The vessel was officially renamed Alexandroupolis as of February first. She is 86,353 dwt with a capacity of 153,600 cbm. She is now registered in Greece.

The vessel was moved in early February to the Keppel shipyard in Singapore where the conversion work began. It will be equipped with a subsea and onshore gas transmission system giving it an LNG transfer rate of 10,000 cubic meters per hour. The conversion project is being overseen by DNV as the class society. According to Martin Cartwright, Business Director – Gas Carriers & FSRUs, DNV Maritime, this project is the record ninth FSRU conversion project that the classification society has conducted serving as another demonstration of the growing demand for FSRU projects.

“GasLog believed in the FSRU Alexandroupolis endeavor from the very beginning, and at a time when energy security in Europe was taken for granted,” said Kostas Karathanos GasLog’s COO. “We worked patiently and diligently to reach this stage and we are extremely proud to soon offer the first ever FSRU in Greek waters.”

The project was first proposed in 2017 to be located approximately 10 miles from Alexandroupolis, in Eastern Greece in the Aegean Sea. Once in place, the project will be connected by an approximately 17-mile pipeline to the National Natural Gas Transmission System of Greece. The existing transmission system also has interconnects to Bulgaria and the Trans-Adriatic systems.

According to GasLog, which developed the project and is the owner of the FSRU, the Alexandroupolis is designed to add a new gateway for natural gas in the Greek and wider Balkan region, improving the region’s energy mix and diversifying energy sources to enhance energy security. It is expected to have a regasification capacity of around 8 billion cubic meters annually.

The demand for FSRU arrangements had been developing before the war in Ukraine which further accelerated the demand. Neighboring Croatia launched its FSRU operation in 2021 while Albania and Cyprus are adding regasification and storage capabilities. Most of the attention, however, has been on Northern Europe where Germany, The Netherlands, Finland, and Estonia all moved to develop LNG import capabilities. 

Germany energy company announced that its Wilhelmshaven LNG using an FSRU on charter from Höegh commenced regular operations yesterday, March 1, after the final acceptance of the audit by local officials. Uniper notes that the facility was built in record time and became the first German LNG import terminal to start operations on December 21, 2022, initially in trial operation and commercial operations as of mid-January. Around six percent of Germany’s gas demand can be met via the terminal, which is one of five the German government committed to developing along with a sixth that was developed privately by Deutsche Gas in Eastern Germany.

The growth in FSRU operations is also contributing to strong demand both for new builds and conversion projects at shipyards.

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Global LNG: Asian spot LNG prices hit 19-month low on tepid demand

LONDON: Asian spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices continued their downtrend this week, hitting the lowest level since July 2021, due to tepid demand which is expected to last until the end of March.

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The average LNG price for April delivery into northeast Asia was $14.50 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), industry sources estimated, down $0.50, or 2.3%, from the previous week, industry sources estimated.

Prices have fallen more than 48% year-to-date and around 79% from the August 2022 peak at $70.50/mmBtu.

“Recent prices have encouraged South Asian buyers. However it appears sub-$15 still isn’t quite enough for the Chinese,” said Toby Copson, global head of trading at Trident LNG.

“While market weakness is still evident, it’s likely going to take a prolonged period of lows to entice the state-owned enterprises and tier 2 and 3s (players) back. I don’t think we’ve seen the trigger price yet to make the domestic arbitrage profitable,” he added.

Leo Kabouche, LNG market analyst at research consultancy Energy Aspects said that an upside to LNG prices is currently limited due to North Asian buyers’ absence from spot market, combined with high gas inventories in Europe and the partial restart of U.S. Freeport LNG facility following an eight month-outage caused by a fire.

Kabouche said that heating degree days – a measure used to estimate heating demand – were 15% down on an annual basis across China, Japan and South Korea, with the first two weeks of March are also forecast to be around 16% milder than normal.

In Europe, gas prices have touched levels not seen since August 2021 and LNG cargoes continue to head to the continent with economics still favouring Atlantic deliveries over the Far East, according to said Tobias Davis, head of LNG Asia at brokerage Tullett Prebon.

“A lower demand profile led by warm weather, strong wind power generation and healthy storage continues to help containing prices and forecasts of post winter storage levels of 55% are allaying any market stress,” Davis said.

He also said that the April JKM/TTF basin spread- which measures the economics for delivering LNG to Asia versus Europe- has strengthened from $-1.00/mmBtu at end of February to -$0.35/mmBtu in early March, a welcome reversal but still not beneficial numbers for any cargo flows back to Asia.

JKM is the LNG benchmark price assessment for spot physical cargoes in Asia.

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 $12.814/mmBtu on March 2, a discount of $1.712/mmBtu to the April gas price at the Dutch gas TTF hub, according to Ciaran Roe, global director of LNG.

Spark Commodities assessed the Northwest Europe LNG price at $13.098/mmBtu, a discount of $1.460/mmBtu to the April TTF gas prices.

LNG spot freight rates were steady this week, with Atlantic at $59,250/day on Friday and Pacific rates at $81,000/day, according to Eleni Balomenou, analyst at Spark Commodities.

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German government plans extensive LNG infrastructure build-up to ensure security of European supply

With a significant “safety buffer” of new liquefied natural gas (LNG) import capacity, the German government aims to ensure that the country and neighbouring states will receive sufficient supply of natural gas in the coming years, says a report from the economy ministry.

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Russia’s war against Ukraine had shown that unilateral dependencies in energy were dangerous and the supply structure must become more “robust”, said economy minister Robert Habeck. According to the report, an overcapacity was necessary to prepare for failures due to accidents, sabotage or other external events, and to supply EU neighbours. Critics say that LNG plans are oversized especially in light of the country’s goal to become climate neutral in about 20 years, which means fossil gas consumption has to fall significantly.

Germany’s government sees a need for significant overcapacity of imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to ensure the region’s supply in case of accidents or sabotage to some of its infrastructure such as pipelines from Norway, says a report by the economy ministry. The government says that Russia’s war against Ukraine has “changed the parameters of energy security structure” and in the future German energy infrastructure has to be more robust and resilient with European solidarity in mind.

“Russia’s attack on Ukraine has made us realise how dangerous unilateral dependencies are and that they cost us,” said economy minister Robert Habeck. “We would be fools not to learn from this.” Thus, the government aimed to make Germany “more robust”, for example through renewables expansion and efficiency, but also with the help of the LNG import infrastructure.

“Just as other European countries supply Germany with their infrastructure, Germany must also be able to supply its neighbours,” said the report, which had been requested by the budget committee of the Bundestag (parliament). The government said it assumes additional supply needs from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria as well as Ukraine and Moldova.

The German government does not even address the questions raised about the climate impact of the LNG projects. Instead, it justifies its fossil fuel plans with all kinds of hypothetical horrifying scenarios.

Sascha Müller-Kranner, head of environmental NGO DUH

With several floating import terminals and three fixed onshore ports, Germany could have a “safety buffer” of about 30 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year LNG import capacity from 2027, says the report.

“The view of the German government is that a safety buffer of this size is necessary to continue to guarantee supply security with regard to the possible loss of import capacities due to accidents, sabotage or other external events,” writes the economy ministry. It explains that this buffer should be understood as a hedge against the loss of Norwegian imports – Germany’s most important supplier since Russian deliveries were halted – and also to secure the supply for neighbouring European countries.

While the government emphasises that – despite the safety buffer – “all efforts are and must be directed at reducing fossil fuel consumption for climate action reasons,” critics say LNG plans go beyond what is needed for supply security and threaten climate targets.

Sascha Müller-Kranner, head of environmental NGO DUH criticised LNG plans as “oversized” and unnecessary for supply security. “The German government does not even address the questions raised about the climate impact of the LNG projects. Instead, it justifies its fossil fuel plans with all kinds of hypothetical horrifying scenarios,” he said in a press release. DUH called on economy minister Habeck to “bring the plans in line with climate targets” and warns of a “fossil lock-in”.

The government says in the report that it does not see a lock-in effect for higher CO2 emissions with the build-up of LNG infrastructure, and that it will ensure that the fixed onshore terminals will be able to import green hydrogen and its derivatives in the future.

The war in Ukraine has pushed efforts to diversify Germany’s gas supply away from Russian deliveries to the top of the government’s agenda. As part of these efforts, the government is going full steam ahead on the build-up of the country’s own import infrastructure for liquefied natural gas (LNG). It is investing in permanent land-based import terminals, while leasing floating units in the short term – the first of which was inaugurated in December 2022. Germany has a well-developed natural gas pipeline grid and is connected to terminals in neighbouring countries, but until recently did not have its own port to receive LNG directly.

Key question: How fast will gas demand decline?

The role of gas during Germany’s energy transition has been a contentious issue for years. The German government has seen natural gas as a bridging fuel that can replace dirtier coal to bring down CO2 emissions quickly, and serve as an energy source when there is too little wind or sun. However, it is still a climate-damaging fossil fuel and will have to be phased out eventually to help Germany become climate neutral by 2045. As the country is exiting nuclear power next month and only has a small share of hydro and geothermal energy, its future bet is on green hydrogen – made from renewable electricity – to complement wind and solar power.

However, Russia’s war against Ukraine and the energy crisis have put the government’s plans for fossil gas into question – which suddenly is no longer cheap and in abundance. With the halt of Russian deliveries, Germany saw unprecedented cuts in gas demand in 2022 and raced to build up its own import infrastructure for LNG in record time to be able to supply its industry, as well as households for heating. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said he wants the country to use this “new Germany-speed” for the expansion of renewable energy. The government has emphasised time and again that Putin’s war has proven to be an accelerator for the transition away from damaging fuels like natural gas and towards climate neutrality.

However, gas still has a role to play. Energy industry association BDEW head Kerstin Andreae said last year that the natural gas bridge had not collapsed. “It may have become shorter, and we may have to cross it faster,” she said at the time. Consultancy McKinsey has said that fossil gas will be a crucial part of Germany’s power and energy supply for at least another ten years, because the expansion of renewable energy and the electricity grid are lagging behind.

In today’s report, the economy ministry used a scenario which assumed a relatively high future gas demand from a project on long term scenarios for Germany to become climate-neutral by 2045 it had previously commissioned. It argued that this was necessary to calculate the safety buffer. However, actual demand must go down faster to keep in line with climate targets, says NGO DUH.

It is difficult to predict future demand, but even in the most conservative scenario, the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects a significant decline in the EU’s gas demand in its World Energy Outlook 2022.

The projections for future gas demand in Germany will hugely impact plans to build out some and dismantle other gas infrastructure projects in the coming years, not just for LNG imports. While there are plans for new and refitted hydrogen pipeline networks, experts say that the country will no longer need the entirety of its existing huge transmission and distribution gas grid. State secretary Patrick Graichen – former head of energy transition think tank Agora Energiewende – has reportedly told local utilities to start planning the process of dismantling their infrastructure. Gas grid operators are currently working on plans to develop the transmission grid by 2032, so government estimates for gas consumption like from today’s report could also have implications for those plans.

Government plans significantly oversized?

Journalist Malte Kreutzfeldt highlighted in a series of messages on Twitter that the economy ministry report was calculated with more than just one safety buffer. The ministry used the most conservative scenario regarding future gas demand and calculateed with a relatively high volume of 74.1 bcm in 2030 (82 bcm in 2022 and 99 bcm in 2021); it adds another ten percent to the projected demand as a “risk premium”; it assumes gas demand in neighbouring countries remains unchanged despite climate targets; it underestimates the capacity of several of the floating terminals; and it assumes the floating terminals are used much less than the charter periods, thus explaining the need for fixed onshore ports.

Greater diversification through additional floating terminals can further reduce the risks to sufficient supply, said Jakob Wachsmuth, researcher at Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI). However, there should be early exit perspectives because gas demand is expected to decline in the coming years due to climate protection efforts, he added. “As a result, the construction of fixed terminals, which will only be available later and may be operated for longer, should be severely limited.”

Others follow the government’s arguments. When planning LNG infrastructure, the government had to keep in mind “Germany’s role as a natural gas hub in Europe,” said Dieter Franke, head of energy resources at the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR). “A considerable share of the gas imported by Germany has been passed on to neighbouring European countries in recent years,” said Franke. “Landlocked countries – such as the Czech Republic or Austria – cannot import LNG themselves and are dependent on European solidarity in the event of limited pipeline supply.”

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LNG as a Marine Fuel/Shipping

South Korea breaks China’s dominance in February to steal No 1 spot for global ship orders

Shipbuilders in South Korea booked more than 70 per cent of global orders in February, while their Chinese counterparts took about 8 per cent But analysts say the global ship market is highly volatile and ‘China’s dominance’ in terms of quantity will continue long term South Korean shipbuilders accounted for more than 70 per cent of global orders in February, dwarfing their Chinese counterparts, according to a new report, though analysts say while competition has intensified between the two countries, monthly figures are volatile.

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Ship orders totalling 2.1 million compensated gross tonnage (CGT) were made across the world in February, a 25 per cent fall on the same month last year, said Clarksons Research, a British shipbuilding- and shipping-market analysis company that publishes monthly reports on aggregated global shipbuilding orders.

South Korea received orders for 34 ships totalling 1.56 million CGT, accounting for 74 per cent of all orders last month. China booked orders for nine vessels at 170,000 CGT, about 8 per cent of the total.

These figures are in stark contrast to those from January, when China topped the list after taking 45 per cent of global orders compared to South Korea’s 33 per cent.

In February, far fewer orders were made for general crude and bulk carriers that Chinese shipyards focus on, whereas there were more requests for high-value and eco-friendly vessels that South Korean shipyards have an advantage in producing.

“Fluctuations in monthly market shares do not have much significance when comparing the shipbuilding industry across countries because the ship ordering market is inherently highly volatile,” said Woo Jong-hun, a professor of the department of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering at Seoul National University.

This, however, does not mean that China will continue to receive less orders and Korea more.

“There may have been a decrease in tanker and bulk carrier orders in the short term, but there are bound to be ups and downs when it comes to such orders,” he said.

“And since in the longer term tankers and bulk carriers are types of ships that are consistently ordered, this is just part of normal ups and downs.”

Woo said more data such as order backlogs, as well as order and shipbuilding tonnages are better to gauge a country’s performance in the industry.

Order backlogs are an important index because they represent medium- to long-term market share and sustainability, as it takes at least two to three years for a single vessel to be delivered after an order is made. For liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers, it may take up to five years.

“All things considered, South Korea has a comparative advantage in building higher value ships, and we have been building a lot of LNG carriers, whereas China is ahead of Korea in terms of current order backlogs, which include all kinds of ships and is an index used to compare the relative ranking between shipbuilders,” Woo said.

At the end of last month, the global order backlog was 110.13 million CGT, up 530,000 CGT from the previous month. South Korea accounted for 38.63 million CGT, which is 35 per cent of the total, whereas China accounted for 49.01 million CGT and 45 per cent.

Park Moo-hyun, head of Korean shipping industry research firm TreaBoat Research, said the global volume of ship orders has been rapidly decreasing since October, due to high interest rates and the weak global economic outlook.

Orders in February fell by 25 per cent compared to the same month last year. January’s total was down 63 per cent year on year.

“Looking ahead, China’s dominance is expected in terms of quantity. China’s domestic market, including domestic and international shipping logistics, is so large. Korea’s market conditions are different as it mostly depends on exports,” Woo said.

“Therefore, South Korea should focus on its comparative advantage and further advance its capacity to build high value-added ships through which it can increase profitability instead of competing directly with China with the same type of ships.”

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Japan’s NYK launches third LNG-fuelled car carrier

Japanese shipping firm Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) has launched its third LNG-fuelled car carrier, advancing in its goal of operating 20 such carriers by March 2029.

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The 72,800 gross tonne Jasmine Leader, which can carry 7,000 passenger cars, entered Japan’s western Hiroshima port on 27 February after being fuelled up by LNG bunker barge Kaguya. The barge is based at Japanese power utility Jera’s Kawagoe LNG import terminal in Mie prefecture.

The new ship will mainly transport automobiles manufactured by domestic carmaker Mazda.

It was built by Chinese state-owned shipbuilder China Merchants Nanjing Jinling Shipyard after NYK placed an order in 2021 for four car carriers with the same specification. Jasmine Leader is the first of the four to be launched.

NYK launched its first LNG-fuelled vessel Sakura Leader in October 2020, which was followed by the Plumeria Leader in March 2022. These ships were built at the Shin Kurushima Toyohashi Shipbuilding yard, for Japanese car manufacturer Toyota.

Some ports in Tokyo, Ise/Mikawa, Osaka, Tomakomai and Kita-Kyushu bays will waive or reduce the port entry fees for ships that are fuelled by LNG and LNG bunker barges to incentivise use of alternative marine fuels. But the port of Hiroshima has not introduced such a measure so far.

By Maiko Nakashima

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Zimbabwe: SSES & Avenir LNG have successfully delivered bonded LNG to ZIM’s first LNG fueled containership in Yangshan Port (Shanghai)

On March 2, 2023, Shanghai SIPG Energy Service Co.,Ltd. (SSES) a subsidiary of Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) & Avenir LNG Limited (Avenir LNG) successfully delivered bonded LNG bunker to ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd.’s (ZIM) first LNG fueled containership.

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The operation was carried out by SSES’s 20,000 cbm bunkering vessel, HAI GANG WEI LAI, which delivered LNG to the 15,000 TEU containership, ZIM SAMMY OFER, whilst simultaneously carrying out cargo operation (SIMOPS) at Yangshan Port. The bunkering operation was completed safely and efficiently, with the support Shanghai Maritime Bureau, Customs and Border Inspection authorities.

This marks an important milestone for SSES and Avenir LNG’s partnership in promoting decarbonization and clean energy transition solutions in the shipping and logistics industry.

Mr. Zhang Da, general manager of the SSES, said : “In recent years, LNG has rapidly become the new trend of power fuel for international voyages, while green and low-carbon has become the basic consensus and goal for the future development of the port and shipping industry. Since the implementation of the Shanghai Port’s bonded LNG bunkering project, it has always been highly valued by the Shanghai Municipal Government, and all relevant departments have given immense support. ZIM, one of the world’s leading shipping companies, is also a long-term partner of Shanghai Port. Under the leadership of SIPG, we will deepen the cooperation with ZIM and explore the sustainable development of green shipping together.

Mr. Peter Mackey, CEO of Avenir LNG, said: “We are delighted to have supported our partner SSES in bunkering ZIM’s first LNG fueled containership in the Port of Shanghai. This is a significant milestone for Avenir as we continue to expand our global bunkering footprint and support the shipping industry’s transition to cleaner fuels.

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Japan: Hiroshima Port welcomes its first LNG-fuelled PCTC vessel

On February 27, an LNG-fuelled pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) entered the port of Hiroshima for the first time. The vessel, Jasmine Leader, is NYK’s third LNG-fuelled PCTC and the first of four to be delivered from China Merchants Jinling Shipyard (Nanjing) Co. Ltd, said NYK Line.

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Before entering port, the vessel received LNG fuel from Kaguya, an LNG-bunkering ship operated by Central LNG Marine Fuel Japan Corporation, which is a joint venture owned by NYK and other companies.

Jasmine Leader is named after the jasmine flower, which is a symbol of beauty and known for its rich fragrance. Desiring to realise and pass on a healthy global environment through environment-friendly transportation, NYK is naming its LNG-fuelled PCTCs after flowers.

The vessel will transport finished vehicles produced by Mazda Motor Corporation (head office: Aki-gun, Hiroshima Prefecture; Representative Director, President and CEO: Akira Marumoto), and seeks to fulfil customers’ demands for a lower environmental burden in the logistics field.

On the same day, a commemoration ceremony was attended by related parties of Mazda Motor Corporation and NYK. The participants celebrated the vessel’s entrance into Hiroshima port and wished it a lifetime of safe voyages.

NYK has set a long-term target of net-zero emissions of greenhouse gas (GHG) by 2050 for the NYK Group’s oceangoing businesses, and aims at launching zero-emission ships that run on low-environmental-load marine fuels, such as ammonia or hydrogen, in the future.

NYK is positioning LNG, a low-carbon marine fuel, as a bridge-solution until future zero-emission ships are realized. The company plans to take delivery of a total of 20 new LNG-fuelled PCTCs by 2028 under the Sail GREEN brand.

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Bermuda: Himalaya Shipping delivers second LNG dual-fuel bulker

The vessel named Mount Ita is the second in a series of 12 Newcastlemax dry bulk vessels under construction.

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Bermuda-based bulk carrier company Himalaya Shipping has successfully delivered a second liquefied natural gas (LNG), dual-fuel, 210,000 tons deadweight Newcastlemax newbuild from New Times Shipbuilding (NTS) in China.

The vessel named Mount Ita will earn an index-linked rate, reflecting a significant premium to a standard Capesize vessel. It will start a 32–38-months time charter, including the option for 11–13 months and a profit share of any economic benefit from operating the vessel’s scrubber.

The ships will all be fitted with scrubbers, permitting them to run on high-sulphur fuel oil and LNG and low-sulphur fuel oil. The scrubber installation would likely increase the vessels’ flexibility while paying back the investments within a year and a half.

ABB’s shaft generators fitted in the vessels comprise new drive systems and permanent magnet technology with a power take-off solution. Offshore Energy reported that the design of the vessels would also allow for future conversion to next-generation fuels.

The types of equipment could improve the energy efficiency of the vessels by up to 4% while saving around 20% of space on board, which is an unconventional solution, says ABB industries.

Currently, Himalaya Shipping has two vessels in operation and ten Newcastlemax dry bulk vessels under construction at NTS in China. The company will deliver the remaining newbuilds by August 2024. A fourth vessel, Mount Blanc, launched on 1 March and will be delivered on charter in June.

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Singapore: NYK and FueLNG conclude first LNG-powered PCTC bunkering in Singapore

The bunkering operation was conducted according to Singapore’s Technical Reference 56 for LNG Bunkering.

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Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) Line and FueLNG have carried out the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering of a pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) in Singapore.

Completed with FueLNG Bellina and the PCTC Jasmine Leader, the bunkering operation was conducted according to Singapore’s Technical Reference 56 for LNG Bunkering.

This is a crucial standard under the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s framework for safe LNG bunkering operations, stated the company.

FueLNG is a joint venture between Keppel Offshore & Marine and Shell Eastern Petroleum.

NYK fuel procurement executive officer Yuji Nishijima said: “We are delighted to have achieved the first PCTC LNG bunkering in Singapore through Jasmine Leader.

“This marks a significant step towards achieving our long-term target of net-zero emissions of greenhouse gas (GHG) by 2050 for the NYK Group’s oceangoing businesses, and we are grateful to FueLNG and the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore for their collaboration and support in making this possible.”

FueLNG chairman and Shell Downstream LNG head Tahir Faruqui said: “This achievement highlights FueLNG’s commitment to advancing the adoption of LNG as a marine fuel, and we are pleased to work with NYK to demonstrate the feasibility and safety of this technology for a large-scale PCTC in Singapore.”

Last week, Jasmine Leader, which is claimed to be one of the largest PCTCs in the world, reached the port of Hiroshima, Japan.

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South Korea: Korea Shipbuilding bags $765 million order for 3 LNG carriers

Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering Co. (KSOE), the shipbuilding holding company of HD Hyundai Group, won a $765 million order to build three liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers for an unidentified North American shipping company.

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The ships are worth $255 million each, the highest for LNG carriers with a capacity of 174,000 cubic meters.

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

Methanex conducts first net-zero, biomethanol-powered voyage

Methanex and MOL have carried out the world’s first net-zero voyage powered by methanol, the two companies announced Monday. 

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Methanex co-owns Waterfront Shipping, which has a fleet of dual-fuel tankers that can run on Methanex’s methanol product. On this voyage, the MOL-owned, Waterfront-operated tanker Cajun Sun ran on a mix of biologically-derived biomethanol – which has net-negative carbon emissions – with conventional natural gas-based methanol. The mixture was calibrated to produce a net-zero greenhouse gas footprint on a lifecycle basis. Cajun Sun crossed the Atlantic on an 18-day voyage on this fuel. 

Methanex emphasized that the groundbreaking voyage was an example of how shipowners can use methanol to rapidly attain net-zero operations. Biomethanol and green methanol are also the zero-carbon fuels of choice for Maersk Group, which has taken the lead on decarbonization in deep-sea shipping. 

“We’re proud to bring the marine industry a tangible solution to transition towards net-zero emissions through our blended methanol product using bio-methanol produced from renewable natural gas at our facility in Geismar, U.S.,” said Mark Allard, Methanex’s SVP for low carbon solutions. “As the world’s largest methanol producer, we are establishing a network of relationships with leading renewable natural gas suppliers and assessing other pathways, including carbon capture and storage and e-methanol, to provide solutions for the marine industry and other customers.”

MOL, which holds a 40 percent stake in Waterfront Shipping and owns Cajun Sun, is also experimenting with biologically-sourced methane as a substitute for natural gas. Working with a Japanese gas company, Air Water, MOL will test out the use of a liquefied bio-methane fuel in an LNG dual-fuel vessel in coastwise trade. The biogas will be sourced from cattle farmers and will have about 90 percent of the energy content of conventional LNG.

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