NGS’ NG/LNG SNAPSHOT – May 16-31, 2021
City Gas Distribution & Auto LPG
185 City Gas Distribution Projects may Get Extension
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) may grant another extension to about 185 city gas distribution projects hit by the second wave of Covid-19. This would help city gas licensees avoid penalties for missing work programme targets and avail extended exclusivity period.
The second wave of the pandemic, which has resulted in record infections and deaths in the past two months in the country, has also hampered the progress of city gas projects in several places as most states have imposed lockdowns, restricting the mobility of men and material. PNGRB will consider extending the city gas project time frames once again as it did last November after licensees declared force majeure and sought extension citing national and local lockdowns, said people familiar with the matter.
Once the current wave ebbs and lockdowns start getting eased, city gas licensees will be in a position to make a fair assessment of lost time and seek extension, they said. Last November PNGRB approved force majeure and permitted an extension of 129 days to 251 days, including 69 days of nationwide lockdown, varying periods of local lockdowns by states and district authorities, and 60 days for restoration. There has been no national lockdown this time around and even state-level lockdowns have been less restrictive. PNGRB will take a final call on extension of duration after examining licensees’ pleas and the roll-back of lockdown in each state, said people with knowledge of the matter.
The extension would help avoid penalties for missing the minimum work programme commitments companies made during licensing bids. As per regulation, a penalty is to be levied on licensees within three months from the end of each contract year in respect of any shortfall in achieving cumulative work programme targets for that contract year.
India’s natural gas output rises 23% as RIL-BP fields start production
India’s natural gas production jumped 22.7% in April after Reliance Industries Ltd and its partner BP Plc ramped up output from KG-D6 block. India produced 2.65 billion cubic meters of natural gas in April, up from 2.16 bcm in the same month last year, as per the data released by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
While state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation’s (ONGC) production was flat at 1.72 bcm, output from fields operated by the private sector and joint ventures tripled to 710.86 million standard cubic meters. The bulk of this came from 409.12 mmcm output from eastern offshore fields. Reliance-BP, which in December last year started putting the second wave of gas discoveries in KG-D6 block to production, last month started output from the Satellite Cluster fields.
India’s crude oil production, however, slipped 2 per cent to 2.49 million tonnes as state-owned ONGC and Oil India Ltd (OIL) produced less. Oil refineries processed 35 per cent more crude at 19.88 million tonnes in April when compared to the year-ago period, when economic activity had almost come to a halt because of a stringent nationwide lockdown.
Reliance Industries Ltd’s twin refineries at Jamnagar processed 5.5% less crude oil at 5 million tonnes, while Nayara Energy had a 16.5 per cent higher crude throughput at 1.6 million tonnes. Public sector refiners processed 62.2 per cent higher crude at 11.5 million tonnes. RIL’s only-for-exports refinery operated at 77.7 per cent capacity in April, while the older unit operated at a 102 per cent run rate.
Indian consortium may get to remain invested in Iranian gas field
India may continue to pursue investment opportunities in the Farzad-B gas field in Iran, even though ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) lost the development rights of the block that it discovered over a decade ago to local firm Petropars Group, highly placed government sources told IANS. Reports from Iran indicate that months after ejecting India from the ambitious $1.8 billion project, Tehrann has now brought in Petropars Group to develop the gas field in the Persian Gulf.
Sources in the Oil Ministry said that Indian consortiums including IndianOil, Oil India and OVL, which bagged the exploration contract for Farzad-B in 2002, may remain invested in the upstream project as equity partners with other local and international entities even without operatorship or development rights. They are in talks with Iranian authorities in this regard to formalise the arrangement that gets India a share in gas fields output, they said.
Farzad-B, which was discovered by OVL in the Farsi block about 10 years ago, had an in-place gas reserve of 21.7 trillion cubic feet, of which 12.5 Tcf is believed to be recoverable. If India gets a share of this gas, it could reduce its dependence on expensive LNG. Things had come to a standstill since the US imposed sanctions in 2018 on Iran with India also moving slowly on the matter. This pushed Iran into suggesting that India was not serious about investing the project and decided to offer operatorship of the gas block to a local company.
Total signs deal to supply LNG to ArcelorMittal”s plants in Gujarat
New Delhi, (PTI) French energy giant Total on Thursday, May 20, said it has signed a deal to supply imported LNG to ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel”s (AMNS) steel and power plants in Gujarat. Under the deal, Total will supply up to 0.5 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per year until 2026, a company statement said.
AMNS India is a joint venture between ArcelorMittal (60%) and Nippon Steel (40%) that acquired Essar Steel in bankruptcy proceedings in 2019. While the pact strengthens Total”s relationship with AMNS, the supply of gas in its liquid form (LNG) will contribute to the decarbonisation of the steel industry, which still relies heavily on coal.
Total is the world”s second-largest privately owned LNG player, with a global portfolio of nearly 50 million tonnes per year by 2025 and a global market share of around 10 per cent. It has interests in liquefaction plants in Angola, Australia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Russia and Qatar, and markets LNG globally.
Natural Gas / Transnational Pipelines/ Others
UK postal service company adds bio-CNG fleet to deliver parcels & letters
Royal Mail is expanding its use of low emission vehicles, with the addition of 29 CNG trucks, which will run on biomethane. This is an example of the company’s ongoing commitment to reduce emissions associated with its operations. Over the course of coming weeks, the trucks will be introduced to the company’s fleet in the North West of England, in addition to the two already in operation. At 40 tons, the new trucks are a similar size to a typical Royal Mail heavy goods vehicles.
They are well designed to carry mail and equipment of all shapes and sizes and can be used on most roads and highways. They can travel up to 400 miles at a time and are designed to help the company transport letters and parcels securely, while reducing any associated carbon emissions. The NGVs will operate from Warrington, Chorley and Preston.
Royal Mail originally tested natural gas vehicles in 2017. Following a successful trial, two trucks were introduced to its fleet on a permanent basis in 2019-20. It is estimated that these two units alone have saved the company approximately 107 tons of CO2e annually.
With the UK’s largest “Feet on the Street” network of over 85,000 postmen and women, Royal Mail already has the lowest reported CO2e emissions per parcel amongst major UK delivery companies. The positive trial and introduction of alternative fuel vehicles, such as CNG trucks, help the company inform its long-term environmental strategy, and to meet its goals of delivering a cleaner future.
Warsaw transit operator orders 30 additional Solaris CNG buses-POLAND
In August 2020, Miejskie Zakłady Autobusowe (MZA) in Warsaw signed a contract for 70 natural gas buses; that order consisted of 40 Solaris Urbino 12 CNG and 30 articulated Solaris Urbino 18 CNG buses. The first vehicles under that contract are currently being handed over to the customer. Now the operator has decided to take advantage of the contractual option and to commission another 30 articulated buses running on natural gas. The newly ordered NGVs are to be delivered at the beginning of 2022.
The 18-meter buses can carry up to 135 people at a time. They feature high-standard equipment. Of all the components enhancing passengers’ comfort offered by Solaris the carrier has chosen among others air conditioning for the whole vehicle, USB ports that make it possible to recharge mobile devices, a comprehensive passenger information system and a video surveillance system with cameras monitoring both the passenger compartment and the driver’s cabin as well as the area in front of the vehicle.
Another component increasing the safety of passengers in public transport is a so-called alcolock, i.e. a breath alcohol ignition interlock. It requires the driver to undergo a breathalyzer test. If the test result turns out positive, the system will disable the ignition. The Solaris Urbino 18 CNG for MZA will also be fitted with closed driver’s cabins with a separate entrance, which are a standard feature for buses of that operator. The enclosed driver’s space ensures greater work comfort. What is more, it works perfectly throughout the pandemic as it limits the driver’s contact with passengers, thus minimizing the risk of infection.
LNG-short Peru rationing gas distribution-PERU
One of Peru’s top natural gas distributors is rationing supply and exploring options after the early May outage of the Peru LNG liquefaction complex on which it relies. Gases del Pacifico-Quavii, a subsidiary of Colombia’s Promigas, lost supply around 7 May when a compressor broke down at Peru LNG. Operated by
Dallas-based Hunt Oil, the 4.4mn t/yr complex will likely be closed until at least the end of May. Peru’s energy ministry on 13 May published emergency measures, including authorization of LNG imports for 60 days, to help deal with the crisis. The company also supplies 200 businesses, 41 industries and two service stations for vehicles in the seven cities under the contract.
Maal said the company is considering importing LNG from Chile or Ecuador. While Ecuador is geographically closer, it has limited LNG experience. Chile’s 1.5mn t/yr GNL Mejillones terminal, controlled by France’s Engie, is relatively close to cities covered by state-owned PetroPeru in southern Peru, but it is nearly 2,950km (1,833mi) to Chiclayo, the northern-most city serviced by Gases del Pacifico-Quavii.
Gas use policies are a key issue in Peru’s upcoming 6 June presidential runoff. Frontrunner Pedro Castillo of the far-left Peru Libre party pledges to prioritize expansion of domestic distribution over LNG exports. In a poll published on 23 May, Castillo led rightwing competitor Keiko Fujimori by more than 10 points.
Nissan Mexicana and Gazo launch pioneering conversion program
Nissan Mexicana announced the launch of its CNG and LPG engine conversion program, available for the Nissan NP300, Nissan March, Nissan Urvan and Nissan V-drive models. In alliance with Gazo – Sistemas a Gas Vehicular, this initiative is positioned as the only one of its kind available for models marketed since 2020 to date and reaffirms the commitment of the Japanese brand in creating mobility alternatives to its customers in different segments.
The conversion process takes three days to complete through a Nissan certified supplier and some of the main benefits of the project include: “No Circula” program exemption (conversion gives users the ability to drive every day, based on the applicable regulation for the State of Mexico and Mexico City), fuel savings and high performance mainly for owners who use their vehicles as a source of income daily, and return on investment in the short term.
Nissan Mexicana started Phase 1 of this CNG or LPG engine transformation service in Mexico City, the State of Mexico and Puebla. For Phase 2, the service will be extended to the states of Tlaxcala and Guanajuato. In these locations, the change of fuel system, in addition to being available for single users, will also be an option for companies that have fleets. Currently there are an estimated 25 workshops throughout the country where users can request the conversion in their vehicles. With this, the brand plans to reach a coverage goal in all regions of the country for the next few years.
Bitcoin miners tout benefits of flared natural gas
As the value of bitcoin soars and concerns rise about the energy-intensive process needed to obtain it, cryptocurrency entrepreneurs in the US believe they have found a solution in flared natural gas. Profitably creating, or mining, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies requires masses of computers dedicated to solving deliberately complicated equations – an endeavor that globally consumes more electricity than entire nations, but for which these start-ups say the jets of flaming gas placed next to oil wells are perfect power sources.
Across the country, companies like EZ Blockchain are setting up shipping containers where racks containing hundreds of computers mine cryptocurrency, fueled by natural gas from oil wells that otherwise would be burned in the open. Interest in their work has grown over the past year. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies like ethereum and dogecoin have seen meteoric price spikes since the COVID-19 pandemic turned the global economy on its head and mainstream companies began to embrace the technology. Huge numbers of processors worldwide are dedicated to the task of mining bitcoin. The activity uses 149.6 terawatt-hours per year, according to the Cambridge Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index (CBECI). That is slightly less than all the electricity consumed by Egypt.
Flaring combusts many of the greenhouse gases in natural gas, but the International Energy Agency said that the approximately 150 billion cubic meters of natural gas flared worldwide in 2019 put out about the same amount of carbon dioxide as Italy. Natural gas’s edge is in the cost of power. CBECI estimates that the average global power cost for bitcoin mining is about US$0.05 per kilowatt hour. Lohstroh said that natural gas power could bring the kilowatt hour cost to below US$0.018.
Technological Development for Cleaner and Greener Environment Hydrogen & Bio-Methane
Gasum’s Nordic NGV stations now open to DVK Central European clients
Gasum’s natural gas refueling infrastructure will be available also for Central European customers, enabling cross-border corridors for natural gas-powered logistics, as the company and DKV agreed on cooperation that extends the network of LNG and CNG stations for DKV Card holders to Finland and Sweden.
Thereby, the DKV Card is accepted at around 168 LNG and 1,788 CNG stations all over Europe. Answering to the increasing demand for clean and affordable road fuel gas, Gasum’s expanding Nordic network currently consists of around 100 natural gas stations – including LNG facilities for heavy-duty vehicles – in Finland, Sweden, and Norway. Already, several thousands of LNG-powered trucks are in operation in Europe, with numbers expected to increase steadily.
GTT to Design Cryogenic Fuel Tanks for 12 New Container Vessels
GTT has been chosen to design the cryogenic fuel tanks of twelve new liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuelled container vessels for the CMA CGM group, a world leader in maritime transport and logistics, pioneer in the energy transition with a fleet of 44 LNG-fuelled container ships by 2024. The LNG tanks will be fitted with the Mark III membrane containment technology, developed by GTT, and will be able to load 14,000 m3 of LNG. The twelve vessels will be delivered between the last quarter of 2023 and the third quarter of 2024.
The construction of these container vessels has been entrusted to the Chinese shipyards Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) Co. Ltd. and Jiangnan Shipyard (Group) Co., who will each build six vessels, able to carry 13,000 and 15,000 containers respectively. The order of the six 15,000 TEU1 vessels completes the order of five similar container vessels signed in June 2019 with Jiangnan Shipyard (Group) Co2.
Philippe Berterottière, Chairman and CEO of GTT, declared: “After nine container vessels ordered in 20173 and five in 201942. The choice of GTT technology is confirmed by CMA CGM for the liquefied natural gas propulsion of its vessels. Used as a marine fuel, LNG significantly reduces ship emissions, reducing CO2 emissions by 20% compared to traditional marine fuel, and eliminating sulphur oxides and fine particles, as well as almost all nitrogen oxides. Participating in the decarbonisation of maritime transport alongside the CMA CGM Group and our partners Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) Co. Ltd. and Jiangnan Shipyard (Group) Co. are a source of great pride for GTT and its teams, and offer further proof of the efficiency and safety of our technological solutions to support the energy transition of ship-owners.”
California: $12M biogas cleanup and compression unit producing 100% vehicle fuel to enter service this year
Aemetis, Inc., a renewable natural gas and renewable fuels company focused on negative carbon intensity products, announced that its Aemetis Biogas subsidiary reached a significant milestone by starting construction of the dairy biogas cleanup and compression unit for the Aemetis Biogas Central Dairy Digester Project. The unit will produce biomethane that meets utility gas pipeline standards and will be utilized as transportation fuel.
Construction crews already began site preparation and excavation, after which they will pour the cement foundation and then install and connect process equipment. The biogas cleanup unit will be co-located at the Aemetis advanced ethanol plant in Keyes, California, and will be directly connected to the PG&E natural gas pipeline. The company plans to build 32 additional miles of biogas pipeline that will connect over 30 dairies to the gas cleanup unit and utility pipeline.
In addition to the two operating dairies, the next phase of the Aemetis Biogas Central Dairy Project is scheduled to complete an additional 15 dairy digesters and 32 miles of pressurized biogas pipeline by the end of Q2 2022, generating an estimated 440,000 MMBtu per year of biogas.
CNG/hybrid truck successfully tested under exigent conditions in Oregon
Portland-based public utility NW Natural announced promising early results from its truck loan program in conjunction with Hyliion Holdings Corp. Through tests conducted by Baker Rock Resources, Tillamook County Creamery Association and CalPortland, the new CNG solution proved it can deliver across the board for fleets in the areas of power, sustainability and fuel efficiency.
NW Natural and Hyliion teamed up to make a CNG-electric hybrid Cascadia day cab tractor available at no cost to three fleet operators seeking low-emission, cost-saving alternatives to diesel. Hyliion’s e-axle, a self-charging powertrain to boost performance of CNG vehicles, adds up to 120 HP to a Class 8, 12-liter CNG semi-truck – enough to pull more than 100,000 pounds uphill with performance comparable to diesels. Onboard Dynamics offered program participants the use of its mobile CNG fueling station for on-site refueling.
CalPortland, a multi-state operation producing and delivering cement, concrete and other construction materials, also has a strong commitment to environmental protection, advocating for products and practices that yield the least possible environmental impact. Its transportation team found the Hyliion CNG Hybrid trucks are easy to operate, with the potential to significantly lower the fleet’s carbon footprint. “The vehicle provided by Hyliion and NW Natural is a great opportunity to add an environmentally friendly option for hauling freight,” said Matthew Meyer, CalPortland’s director of Fleet Management.
Snam will help boost biomethane & hydrogen mobility in Emilia Romagna
The president of the Region of Emilia-Romagna, Stefano Bonaccini, and Marco Alverà, CEO of Snam, signed a memorandum of understanding to promote the energy transition throughout Emilia-Romagna focusing on hydrogen, biomethane, sustainable mobility and energy efficiency. The agreement also seeks to identify medium- and long-term development actions which, also involving local organizations and public authorities, contribute to the substantial decarbonization of the production systems of the Region and its towns.
According to the agreement, the Region and Snam will work together to develop coordinated and effective initiatives, identifying hydrogen, biomethane, sustainable mobility and energy efficiency as the main areas of development. As for sustainable mobility, together with local public transport companies actions to lower harmful emissions will be evaluated, further promoting the use of green fuels – like natural gas, biomethane and, further ahead, hydrogen – and the energy transition of the fleets used for public utility services and the transportation of people and goods.
For each project area feasibility analyses will be performed and there will be the possibility of launching pilot projects together with other stakeholders in the regional research and innovation system.