This week

Oil price at $75 may lead to calls
for more LNG contract revisions

Long-term LNG contract prices will be affected and raise costs for importers like Japan and China as the Brent crude price passed the $79 per barrel mark and the premium to the US West Texas Intermediate price rose to almost $8 per barrel on Middle East tension and supply concerns.

Latest News
Australian LNG stakeholder Santos has rejected the $10.8-billion takeover offer from US equity fund Harbour Energy because it undervalued the Adelaide-based company and would have required Santos…
Novatek, the independent Russian natural gas company and majority owner of the Yamal LNG plant, said it aimed to create an LNG shipping subsidiary called Maritime Arctic…
The South Korea government said it would develop advanced bunkering technology with two research institutes aimed at the liquefied natural gas maritime re-fueling market to increase the…
Anadarko Petroleum has named former BG Group executive Mitch Ingram as Executive Vice President for International, Deepwater and Exploration to lead the US company’s overseas operations and…
UK energy major BP has entered into a 20-year sales and purchase agreement for the supply of 2 million tonnes per annum from a plant under development…
Tokyo Gas, the largest Japanese LNG importer after Jera Co. Inc., has received its first cargo from the Cove Point export plant in Maryland where Japanese and…
The 140,620 cubic metres capacity carrier “Galicia Spirit” will deliver a cargo on June 14 to the new Chinese Qidong import terminal owned by Guanghui Energy from…
Japanese liquefied natural gas imports dropped 14.7 percent last month as shipments from Asia, the Middle East and the spot market fell and thermal coal purchases were…
US private equity firm Harbour Energy has raised its offer to $US10.8 billion ($A14.2Bln) for Santos, the stakeholder in three Asia-Pacific LNG export ventures, provided the Australian…
Ophir Energy, the UK-based energy company and stakeholder in the Equatorial Guinea floating liquefied natural gas project offshore West Africa, said Chief Executive Nicholas Cooper was leaving…
British Columbia, the Canadian province seeking an LNG export and energy industry while many of its politicians and interest groups actively oppose the energy sector, has this…

Kuwait LNG progress

May 22 (LNGJ) - Korea Trade Insurance Corp. (K-Sure) said it would underwrite the construction of the proposed Kuwait onshore LNG import terminal to the tune of US$1.15 billion. The South Korean companies Hyundai Engineering and Korea Gas Corp. formed a consortium and secured the construction contract for the facility to be completed at the Gulf state’s Al-Zour industrial zone by 2020. Kuwait National Petroleum Co currently imports LNG via a floating facility at the port of Mina Al-Ahmadi, located south of Kuwait City.

LNG cargo deliveries

May 22 (LNGJ) - The 145,000 cubic metres capacity carrier “Arkat” is unloading a cargo on May 22 at the Taiwanese terminal at Yung-An from the Brunei export plant, according to shipping data. The 160,500 cubic metres capacity vessel “Sonangol Benguela” will deliver a shipment on June 9 to the Indian Dahej terminal, operated by Petronet LNG, from Angola LNG. The 161,880 cubic metres capacity vessel “BW Pavilion Leeara” is scheduled to unload a shipment on June 1 at the Bahia Blanca terminal in Argentina from the US Sabine Pass plant in Louisiana owned by Cheniere Energy. The 174,100 cubic metres capacity carrier “Cesi Gladstone” will deliver a shipment on June 1 to the Chinese Tianjin terminal, located east of Beijing and owned by Sinopec, from the Australia Pacific LNG plant in Queensland. The 141,000 Cubic metres capacity carrier “LNG Cross River” will unload a cargo on June 17 at the Montoir-de-Bretagne terminal on the French Atlantic Coast from the Nigerian export plant on Bonny Island.

Inpex changes CEO

May 21 (LNGJ) - Inpex Corp., the lead developer of the Ichthys LNG project in Australia, has named Takayuki Ueda as its new Chief Executive and President from June 26 and also made changes in other senior management posts. Ueda replaces incumbent CEO Toshiaki Kitamurato who takes the post of Chairman. Ueda, aged 62, had joined Inpex in April 2017 as an Executive Vice President after various roles at the Ministry of the Economy, Trade and Industry. The new CEO has law degrees from the University of Tokyo and the University of Washington in the US. Inpex added that among other changes Yoichi Iwata, general manager of planning at Ichthys LNG becomes Vice President of the Ichthys Project, while Hitoshi Okawa, deputy general manager of the Perth office in Western Australia, becomes a Vice President and Director of Corporate Coordination in Perth.

Asia cargo deliveries

May 21 (LNGJ) - The 261,700 cubic metres capacity Q-Flex carrier “Al Ghuwairiya” was unloading a cargo on May 21 at the Chinese Dalian import terminal, operated by PetroChina in the northeast Liaoning Province, from the Ras Laffan plant in Qatar. The 152,300 cubic metres capacity vessel “Seri Bagawan”, operated by MISC, will deliver a cargo on June 3 to the Beihai terminal, owned by Sinopec, from Gladstone in Queensland, eastern Australia. The 145,700 cubic metres capacity vessel “LNG Benue” will deliver cargo on June 4 to the Indian Hazira import terminal, owned by Shell India, from the Nigerian export plant on Bonny Island. The 210,100 cubic metres capacity carrier “Al Ghariya” is scheduled to deliver a Qatargas cargo on June 5 to the Chinese Shanwei terminal in southern Guangdong province.

UK shale-gas pledge

May 18 (LNGJ) - UK shale-gas developer IGas Energy said it welcomed the UK Government’s support and commitment to the industry as laid out in a written ministerial statement. “It reiterates that shale-gas development is of national importance,” said IGas. The government also plans to publish revised planning guidance soon for shale development that could eventually lessen the need for LNG imports. “We welcome the Government’s commitment to pursue safe, secure and affordable supplies of energy,” said Stephen Bowler, IGas Chief Executive. “We currently import 50 percent of our gas requirement at a significant financial cost to the UK taxpayer of over £13 million ($17M) a day,” he added.

US LNG shipments

May 18 (LNGJ) - US liquefied natural gas exports were steady in the past week as seven carriers with a combined capacity of 25.8 billion cubic feet departed between May 10 and May 16. The US Energy Information Administration said that six tankers left with shipments from the Sabine Pass liquefaction plant in Louisiana and one vessel carried a cargo from the Cove Point facility in Maryland. US natural gas prices were firm with the US benchmark Henry Hub spot price at between $2.72 per million British thermal units and $2.78 per MMBtu. The report said shale-gas prices on Dominion South pipeline in northwest Pennsylvania were last at $2.19 per MMBtu, while Tennessee Zone 4 Marcellus spot prices were under $1 per MMBtu after previously trading at $1.72 per MMBtu.

LNG cargoes for Asia

May 17 (LNGJ) - The 148,300 cubic metres capacity vessel “LNG Ondo” will deliver a shipment on May 19 to the Pakistani Port Qasim import facilities east of Karachi from the Nigerian export plant on Bonny Island, according to shipping data. The 210,000 cubic metres capacity Q-Flex carrier “Al Khattiya” will deliver a cargo on May 22 to Thailand’s Map Ta Phut import terminal from Ras Laffan in Qatar. The 160,400 cubic metres capacity carrier “Cubal” will unload a cargo on May 24 at the Indian Hazira terminal, owned by Shell India, from the Angola export plant at Soyo in southwest Africa. The 173,400 cubic metres capacity vessel “Ribera del Duero Knutsen” will deliver a shipment on May 28 to the Chinese terminal at Ningbo from the US Sabine Pass plant in Louisiana, owned by Cheniere Energy. The 216,000 cubic metres capacity Q-Flex carrier “Al Thumama” will unload a shipment from Qatargas on June 3 at the South Korean Pyeongtaek terminal.

EU emissions sale

May 16 (LNGJ) - Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the leading US operator of global exchanges and clearing houses as well as a provider of data such as natural gas and energy and commodities price, said the emissions auction scheduled for May 16 of 4,593,500 EU Allowances (EUAs) held on behalf of the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) was cancelled as a result of the total volume of bids falling short of the volume of the allowances being auctioned. “The cancellation of the auction is in accordance with the requirements of the EU Auctioning Regulation and the allowances will be distributed over subsequent auctions as required by the Auctioning Regulation,” said a statement from ICE. “The auction calendar for EUAs will be revised and published in due course,” added ICE.

LNG cargoes for Europe

May 16 (LNGJ) - The 75,000 cubic metres capacity Med-class LNG carrier “Cheikh Bouamama” was unloading a shipment on May 16 at the Fos Cavaou terminal near Marseilles from the Skikda plant in Algeria, operated by Sonatrach. The 210,100 cubic metres capacity Q-Flex carrier “Al Ruwais” is scheduled to deliver a shipment on May 19 to the Montoir-de-Bretagne terminal in Western France from Ras Laffan in Qatar. The 140,000 cubic metres capacity vessel “Arctic Discoverer” will deliver a cargo on May 20 to the Dutch Gate terminal in Rotterdam from the Hammerfest plant in Norway, operated by Equinor (formerly Statoil). The 141,000 cubic metres capacity carrier “LNG Adamawa” will deliver a cargo on May 22 to the Huelva terminal in southwest Spain from the Bonny Island export plant in Nigeria. The 215,000 cubic metres capacity Q-Flex vessel “Al Utouriya” will unload a Qatargas shipment on May 24 at the Zeebrugge terminal in Belgium.

Exmar barge charter

May 15 (LNGJ) - Belgian LNG shipping line Exmar whose managed and owned fleet consists of three LNG carriers and 11 floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs) has signed a 10-year charter with international commodities company Gunvor for the provision of its newbuild FSRU barge for Bangladesh. Exmar said the barge was currently at Keppel Shipyard in Singapore undergoing modifications after having been delivered from the Wison Offshore and Marine shipyard in Nantong, China, in December 2017. “The FSRU barge is expected to arrive in Bangladesh in the fourth quarter of this year and start operations after its full commissioning,” said Exmar. “Gunvor is keen to support the development of new LNG markets by providing reliable and efficient LNG infrastructure solutions,” it added.

LNG fuel conversion

May 15 (LNGJ) - The Damen Ship Repair yard in the French Channel port of Dunkirk has begun the conversion of the dredger “Samuel de Champlain” from diesel-electric propulsion to dual-fuel capability combining LNG and marine gasoil. A new section of hull will be installed to hold the generators and other equipment. The “Samuel de Champlain” was built in 2002. It is based in the Grand Maritime Port of Nantes-Saint-Nazaire and operates in the Loire and Seine estuaries. The conversion is part of a European Commission-backed initiative with grants available to promote LNG propulsion in short-sea vessels operating along the European Atlantic coast.

Ophir-Kosmos project

May 14 (LNGJ) - Two LNG project stakeholders in West Africa, Ophir Energy of the UK and Kosmos Energy of Texas, will jointly develop an exploration and production licence offshore Equatorial Guinea. Ophir, a stakeholder in the Fortuna floating LNG venture with other companies offshore Equatorial Guinea, acquired its newest Block EG-24 exploration licence in nation’s 2017 bidding round. Kosmos, a joint venture partner with BP of the UK in two FLNG projects offshore Mauritania and Senegal, will acquire a 40 percent non-operated interest in Block EG-24 from Ophir. The deal includes Kosmos paying for the cost of a block-wide 3D seismic survey during the first exploration period of the licence. It will also partially carry Ophir for the cost of a well if one is drilled. “Kosmos is a logical partner for us in EG-24 as its team have considerable prior experience of the Rio Muni Basin,” said Nick Cooper, Ophir Chief Executive.

Statoil is Equinor May 16

May 14 (LNGJ) - Statoil, the Norwegian energy company and operator of Europe’s only major LNG production plant at Hammerfest, will change its name from May 16 to Equinor. The new name will be proposed to a meeting of shareholders on May 15. The Norwegian government, as the majority shareholder, supports the proposal and will vote in favour of the resolution. This means that May 15 will be the last day of Statoil trading on the Oslo stock exchange under the ticker “STL”. From May 16 the company will trade under the new ticker “EQNR”, which will also be the ticker name of the company’s American Deposit Rights traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The name Equinor is formed by combining “equi”, the starting point for words like equal, equality and equilibrium and “nor” for its Norwegian origin.

Korean LNG switch

May 14 (LNGJ) - South Korea has eased its dependence on the Middle East and Asia for imports of liquefied natural gas as it increased purchases from the United States and Australia, including contract and spot shipments. South Korea, the world’s third-largest LNG importer after Japan and China, has been widening its LNG portfolio with security of supply a key issue. According to data from the International Energy Agency, LNG exports by the members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development rose 39 percent year-on-year to 100.6 billion cubic metres. US exports rose as the Sabine Pass plant in Louisiana brought more capacity on stream and Korea was a main buyer. Australian shipments rose 27 percent and Korea Gas Corp. received its share of cargoes from the Gladstone plant in Queensland.

US LNG shipments

May 11 (LNGJ) - US LNG exports rose in the past week to May 9 as six LNG carriers with a combined capacity of 21 billion cubic feet departed, four tankers from the Sabine Pass facility in Louisiana and two vessels from Cove Point in Maryland. Two other shipments were also set to leave from Sabine Pass and Cove Point as a cargo was being lifted from each facility through May 10. The US Energy Information Administration said spot natural gas was trading lower at most points with the US benchmark Henry Hub at around $2.72 per million British thermal units. Prices at the Algonquin Citygate for Boston were last at $2.27 per MMBtu and at the Southern California Citygate prices dropped 50 cents to $3.12 per MMBtu. Shale-gas prices were also lower at $2.20 per MMBtu at the Dominion North point where the EIA noted a widening of the discount in prices between the Appalachian Basin and the Henry Hub.

Egyptian gas ramp-up

May 10 (LNGJ) - Italian energy company Eni said it started the third production unit of the Zohr natural gas production project in the East Mediterranean offshore Egypt that is leading to a halt in Egyptian LNG imports and a future restart of exports. Eni and its joint venture partner, Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company, said the third unit takes installed capacity to 1.2 billion cubic feet per day just one week after the second unit’s successful power-up. “The latest achievement reinforces the exceptional development path of Zohr, one of Eni’s seven record-breaking projects, which is playing a fundamental role in supporting Egypt’s independence from LNG imports,” said Eni.

Bahrain LNG contract

May 9 (LNGJ) - Smit Lamnalco, the Dutch tug and towage company. said it was selected by the National Oil and Gas Authority of Bahrain to provide marine services to the planned Bahrain LNG Floating Storage Unit. The company said its contract was for 20 years. Smit Lamnalco will deploy four LNG terminal-compliant tugs to provide escort, berthing and un-berthing of LNG carriers at the Bahrain import terminal to be located offshore about five kilometres east of Khalifa Bin Salman port. The Bahrain project is aimed at supplementing natural gas production in the Gulf kingdom and ensuring capacity to meet peak-season demand and industrial growth.

Industry indicator

May 9 (LNGJ) - TGS, the Norwegian-based global supplier of geoscience data for the natural gas and oil exploration and production industry, said it took advantage of improved first-quarter market conditions to report net revenues of $135 million, up 56 percent on the same period last year. “TGS's performance in the past two quarters, driven by strong late sales across all regions, indicates that there has been an improvement in the underlying fundamentals of the global market for seismic data,” said Chief Executive Kristian Johansen. The net book value of the TGS multi-client library was $749.7M as of the end of March, it said. Recent surveys have included offshore Brazil and the Egyptian Red Sea, the US onshore Permian Basin and the Canadian Montney shale-gas formation.

Cargo for UK May 12

May 9 (LNGJ) - The 266,000 cubic metres capacity Q-Max carrier “Aamira” will unload a cargo on May 12 at the UK Milford Haven import terminal in Wales from the Ras Laffan plant in Qatar, according to the port authorities. The delivery was heading for the UK as the National Balancing Point benchmark natural gas price was at the equivalent of $7.20 per million British thermal units, while one of the main continental European prices, the Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF), was slightly lower at the equivalent of around $7.15 per MMBtu.

Nova Scotia accord

May 8 (LNGJ) - Nova Scotia LNG export plant developer Pieridae Energy said it signed an accord to negotiate a binding liquefied natural gas sale and purchase agreement (SPA) to supply cargoes to Europe from the second liquefaction Train at its proposed Goldboro liquefaction facility in the Canadian Atlantic Coast province. The Pieridae-led Nova Scotia project previously signed a supply agreement with German utility Uniper. Under the preliminary accord with another potential buyer, Pieridae said it involved up to 1 million tonnes per annum for 10 years starting in 2023. “After having contracted the entire output from Train 1 with Uniper, this agreement moves Pieridae another step closer to the final investment decision on Train 2, which would bring much-needed jobs and other economic benefits to Nova Scotia and Canada,” said Alfred Sorensen Chief Executive of Pieridae.

US LNG exports steady

May 4 (LNGJ) - US LNG export levels were steady at the two plants in operation, Sabine Pass in Louisiana and Cove Point in Maryland. Five LNG carriers with a combined capacity of 17.8 billion cubic feet departed from the Sabine Pass plant in the week through May 2 while two other vessels with capacity of 7.1 Bcf were lifting cargoes. One carrier with 3.5 Bcf of capacity was loading at the Dominion Energy Cove Point terminal on Chesapeake Bay. At the same time natural gas pipeline exports to Mexico increased 2 percent and spot LNG prices were lower across most of the country, according to the Energy Information Administration’s weekly report. The benchmark Henry Hub spot price was last at $2.73 per million British thermal units. The report showed that shale-gas prices were at $2.20 per MMBtu on the Dominion South pipeline in Pennsylvania.

Santos-Ophir sale deal

May 3 (LNGJ) - Australian Asia-Pacific LNG stakeholder Santos has sold its non-core Asian exploration and production portfolio for US$221 million to UK company Ophir Energy. Ophir itself is involved in the LNG business through the Fortuna floating joint venture planned for offshore Equatorial Guinea. “The sale is consistent with Santos’s strategy to realise value from its late-life non-core assets and will result in Santos making country exits from Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh,” said the Australian company. Santos Chief Executive Kevin Gallagher said of the transaction: “The sale of the Asian assets further delivers on our undertaking to simplify our business and focus on our five core long-life natural gas (LNG) assets in Australia and Papua New Guinea.”

Malaysia FLNG on track

May 3 (LNGJ) - Murphy Oil, the US energy company based in Arkansas and with US and international operations, said in its first-quarter earnings that its floating LNG joint venture offshore Malaysia was still on track for first production in 2020. Murphy is investing in the FLNG venture with Malaysian state energy company Petronas, which successfully started up the world’s first production hull, the “PFLNG Satu”. That vessel is deployed over the stranded Kanowit gas field offshore Sarawak. The US company is involved in a second Malaysian FLNG venture for the deepwater Rotan gas field, about 80 miles offshore of Sabah, the Malaysian state occupying the northern part of the island of Borneo. The Rotan gas well was discovered by Murphy in 2007 in the Block H licence in Malaysian waters of the South China Sea. The FLNG vessel will be designed to produce 1.5 million tonnes per annum.

Santos AGM on May 3

May 2 (LNGJ) - Santos, the Asia-Pacific LNG stakeholder subject to a US$10.4-billion takeover offer by Harbour Energy, a subsidiary of US equity firm EIG Global Energy Partners, will hold its Annual General Meeting at 10:00 am local time on May 3 in Hall C of the Convention Centre in Adelaide, South Australia. “Video and cameras will be allowed into the AGM to capture the Chairman's address and CEO's speech, but will then need to be removed from the room to respect the privacy of shareholders,” said Santos. “A press conference will be held approximately 10 minutes after the conclusion of the AGM in room E3,” it added.

Tokyo Gas forecasts

May 1 (LNGJ) - Tokyo Gas, the Japanese utility and LNG buyer, said its natural gas sales volumes for all of fiscal 2018 are likely to be around 15.54 billion cubic metres, a decline of 0.2 percent year-on-year amid industry deregulation and more competition. “This mainly reflects expectations of a decline in residential and commercial demand,” said the company. “Although we anticipate a decline in city-gas sales volumes, we expect income from city-gas sales to reach more than 1,400 billion yen ($12.8 billion), an increase of 7.3 percent, chiefly due to a rise in gas unit prices and resource cost adjustments,” it added. “Meanwhile, we estimate a rise in operating expenses, primarily reflecting higher resource costs, owing mainly to the impact from the climb in crude oil prices,” said Tokyo Gas.

Benchmarks cleared

May 1 (LNGJ) - Intercontinental Exchange Inc., the US-based leading operator of global exchanges, clearing houses and pricing data for commodities and energy resources such as natural gas, said that ICE Benchmark Administration Limited (IBA) has been authorised as a regulated benchmark administrator under the European Union Benchmarks Regulation (BMR). Authorisation had been previously granted by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. “We are pleased that IBA has received EU regulated benchmark administrator status” said Tim Bowler, President of IBA. “IBA was founded to reform and bring transparency to global benchmarks. We aim to adopt the highest standards for the benchmarks that we administer,” added Bowler. IBA is one of the world’s most experienced administrators for regulated benchmarks. A subsidiary of Intercontinental Exchange, IBA was founded in 2014 and administers an array of important benchmarks, including bank interest rates.

Taiwan LNG contract

April 30 (LNGJ) - Gulf Agency Company (GAC), the shipping and marine services company, has secured a contract with the Donggi Senoro LNG export plant in Indonesia to handle its vessels needing agency services at the two import terminals of Tai-Chung and Yung-An in Taiwan. Managing Director Kenny So said the contract win comes after the steady growth of agency business for all types of vessels, including LNG carriers, since the opening of GAC’s Taiwan shipping office in Kaohsiung in 2017. “Winning the DSLNG contract reinforces our optimism about the future of the LNG agency business in Taiwan, which is the world’s fifth-largest LNG buyer. We expect the number of LNG calls to rise, as Taiwan increases its LNG imports to drive power sector growth,” added So.

Europe LNG deliveries

April 30 (LNGJ) - The 145,700 cubic metres capacity carrier “LNG Benue” will unload a shipment on May 1 at the Barcelona import terminal from the Nigerian export plant at Bonny Island in the Niger Delta, according to shipping data. The 140,000 cubic metres capacity carrier “Arctic Voyager” will deliver a cargo May 2 to the Lithuanian import terminal at the Baltic port of Klaipeda from the Hammerfest plant in Northern Norway. The 141,000 cubic metres capacity vessel “LNG Cross River” well deliver a shipment on May 5 to the Portuguese terminal at Sines from Nigeria LNG. The 210,000 cubic metres capacity Q-Flex vessel “Al Nuaman” will deliver cargo to the Dutch port of Rotterdam on May 11 from the Qatargas plant at Ras Laffan.

LNG boost for Chevron

April 30 (LNGJ) - Chevron Corp. reported first-quarter earnings of $3.6 billion compared with $2.7Bln in the same three months a year ago. “Oil and gas production is increasing, most notably in our Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG projects in Australia, and our shale developments in the Permian Basin where production grew 65 percent from a year ago,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Michael Wirth. “Upstream volumes are expected to continue to increase in future quarters,” added Wirth. Chevron said production increases from shale and tight properties in the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico, and the base business in the Gulf of Mexico, were partially offset by the impact of asset sales of 39,000 barrels per day and normal field declines.

Eni LNG sales rise

April 27 (LNGJ) - Italian energy company Eni said its adjusted first-quarter net profits increased by more than 30 percent and its LNG sales in the period amounted to 2.17 million tonnes, up from 2.00MT in the same three months of last year. Its oil and gas operations recorded a profit of 978 million euros ($1.18 billion) compared with 744M euros in the same quarter last year. “Eni achieved excellent economic and financial results, over and above the rising price of oil,” said Claudio Descalzi, Eni Chief Executive. “As the Brent price in euros rose 8 percent relative to the first quarter of 2017, Eni’s adjusted operating profit increased by 30 percent,” the CEO added. Natural gas sales were 22.44 billion cubic metres, down by 3.6 percent from the first quarter of 2017. Its sales in Italy rose by 7.8 percent to 11.19 Bcm, due to higher spot sales, though fell in some European countries like Germany.

US LNG exports

April 27 (LNGJ) – US LNG exports numbered six carrier departures in the past week from the Sabine Pass and Dominion Energy Cove Point export plants. Four vessels with a combined 14.9 billion cubic feet on board left Sabine Pass in Louisiana while another ship was lifting a cargo, according to the Energy information Administration weekly update. At the Cove Point facility on Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, two LNG carriers departed with a combined capacity of 7.5 Bcf, including a shipment for Japan. “Since the start of (Cove Point) LNG shipments on March 1, a total of six vessels (capacity 19.9 Bcf) have departed,” said the EIA.

BP Chairman named

April 26 (LNGJ) - US energy major BP named former Statoil and BG Group Chief Executive Helge Lund to succeed Carl-Henric Svanberg as its new Chairman. “Lund will join the BP Board as chairman designate and a non-executive director on 1 September 2018. BP said he would take over as Chairman in January 2019 and be based in London. BP added that Lund, aged 55 and who is also chairman of Novo Nordisk AS in Denmark, would stand down with immediate effect from his directorship at Schlumberger, the global oil services group. “BP is a great company. Now as a non-executive, it is a huge privilege for me to be asked to lead an experienced and diverse board,” said Lund.

Solid Statoil earnings

April 25 (LNGJ) - Norwegian energy company Statoil, operator of Europe’s only baseload LNG production plant at Hammerfest in northern Norway, reported increased first-quarter earnings of $4.4 billion and $1.5Bln after tax. Net operating income was $4.96Bln compared with $4.25Bln in the first quarter of 2017. “The increase was primarily due to higher liquids and gas prices and increased volumes of liquids sold, partially offset by the reduced value of derivatives and higher operational costs,” said Statoil. First-quarter natural gas sales volumes amounted to 15.5 billion cubic metres, little changed from the first quarter of 2017. Statoil is still on course to change its name to Equinor, marking equality and equilibrium in “equi” and with “nor”, signalling a company proud of its Norwegian origin. The new name will be proposed to shareholders at a meeting on May 15. The Norwegian government, as majority shareholder, supports the proposal and will vote in favour of the resolution.

Enagas profits steady

April 24 (LNGJ) - Enagas, the Spanish natural gas network and LNG import terminal operator, posted a first-quarter net profit of 103.9 million euros ($126.7M), a rise of 1 percent compared with the same three months of 2017. The company said its performance was mainly due to two factors, control of operating and financial expenses and positive performances by affiliates. “Demand for natural gas in Spain grew by 5.2 percent in the first quarter,” said Enagas. “Total demand for the year to date was more than 7 percent,” added the company. Enagas continued to invest in European projects, including construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline in which it holds a 16 percent stake. The pipeline construction was about 70 percent complete and the start-up is scheduled for 2020.

Ichthys cargo April 26

April 24 (LNGJ) - Japanese LNG developer Inpex Corp. is scheduled to receive a cargo on April 26 at the Australian Ichthys liquefaction and export project at Bladin Point in the Northern Territory to begin the cool-down process as part of commissioning before the start of operations later in 2018. The shipment is being delivered onboard the 182,000 cubic metres capacity carrier “Pacific Breeze”, which came from Singapore via the Petronas-operated Bintulu export plant in the east Malaysian state of Sarawak. The vessel is the world’s largest Moss-type LNG carrier. Inpex, whose main partner in the venture is French energy company Total, will produce 8.9 million tonnes per annum from two processing Trains at the Ichthys plant and cargoes will be shipped to Japan’s main utilities and to Taiwan. A total of 8.4 MTPA of output has been pre-sold.

JGC and Fluor project

April 23 (LNGJ) - Japanese LNG project engineering company JGC Corp. and Fluor Corp of the US were jointly awarded an order to design and build the LNG Canada joint venture led by Royal Dutch Shell for an estimated US$14 billion, according to the Japanese business daily “Nikkei”. The LNG Canada venture partners include PetroChina, Japan's Mitsubishi Corp and Korea Gas Corp. The Shell-led project announced in February 2018 that it had short-listed two engineering, procurement and construction contractors as it tried to keep the venture on track in the midst of regulatory challenges. LNG Canada named the two consortiums to submit plans and costings as TechnipFMC and KBR of the US and Japanese company JGC partnering with Fluor. Shell's project is proposed for a brownfield site near the town of Kitimat and is backed by the Haisla First Nation native North Americans whose traditional lands surround the area.

LNG for UK April 26

April 20 (LNGJ) - The 266,000 cubic metres capacity Q-Max carrier “Shagra” will unload a cargo on April 26 at the UK Milford Haven import terminal in Wales from the Ras Laffan plant in Qatar, according to the port authorities. The delivery was heading for the UK as the National Balancing Point benchmark natural gas price was at the equivalent of $7.20 per million British thermal units, while one of the main continental European prices, the Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF), was slightly lower at the equivalent of around $7.15 per MMBtu.

US LNG exports rise

April 20 (LNGJ) - US LNG exports increased in the week from the Sabine Pass liquefaction plant in Louisiana, owned by Cheniere Energy, with six vessels carrying a combined 21.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas departing the facility through April 18 and a seventh vessel with 3.8 Bcf lifting a cargo, according to the weekly report of the US Energy Information Administration. The second US export plant now on stream, Dominion Energy’s Cove Point plant in Maryland, entered commercial service last week and exported its first contractual cargo on the carrier “Adam LNG” with carrying capacity 3.5 Bcf. The EIA said the vessel left the Chesapeake Bay facility on April 16. It was scheduled to be in the East Mediterranean at the start of May after an Atlantic crossing, according to shipping data.

Chart Croatian contract

April 19 (LNGJ) - Chart Ferox, a subsidiary of US LNG equipment company Chart Industries, said it was awarded a contract for the design, manufacture and commissioning of the first LNG vehicle fueling station in the Balkan state of Croatia. “The skidded design incorporates our recently introduced 60 cubic metres horizontal cryogenic storage tank together with many other innovative features for enhanced reliability and economy,” said Chart. The company added that its proprietary vaporization technology would ensure that the station was capable of fueling all LNG vehicles available on the market, regardless of whether they are equipped with spark ignited or compression engines. The Croatian facility is scheduled to be commissioned and fully operational by the start of the fourth quarter of 2018.

Sempra Mexican plans

April 19 (LNGJ) - Sempra Energy, the California-based utility transforming its Cameron LNG terminal in Louisiana and Costa Azul facility on the Pacific coast of Mexico into export plants, said it was scaling back its Mexican liquefaction plans. The Sempra Mexican subsidiary, Infraestructura Energetica Nova (IEnova), is now looking at a small-scale plant with 2.5 million tonnes per annum of output by around 2023 instead of a larger plant constructed later with up to 12 MTPA of capacity and closer to the size of Cameron LNG. Sempra is also planning to construct another export plant along the Sabine-Neches Waterway at Port Arthur in southeast Texas with Australian company Woodside Petroleum as one of its partners.

Total gas-power entry

April 18 (LNGJ) - French energy major Total, which has widespread LNG assets, has signed an agreement for the proposed acquisition of Direct Energie to accelerate its ambitions to enter natural gas and electricity distribution in France and Belgium. Total will acquire just over 74 percent of Direct Energie for around 1.40 billion euros ($1.73Bln). Total’s offer represents a 30 percent premium over the last closing price of the target company on the Euronext Paris stock exchange. “Through this transaction, Total is actively pursuing its development in electricity and gas generation and distribution in France and Belgium,” stated Patrick Pouyanne, Chairman and Chief Executive of Total. “This friendly takeover is part of the Group’s strategy to expand along the entire gas-electricity value chain and to develop low-carbon energies, in line with our ambition to become the responsible energy major,” added Pouyanne.

Enel LNG ship charter

April 18 (LNGJ) - Flex LNG, the Norway-listed shipping and project company, has chartered an LNG carrier for 12 months to Italian energy company Enel Trade SpA. Flex said the charter would start in the second half of 2019 with an option to extend for 12 months. Flex intends to employ the 173,400 cubic metres capacity carrier “Flex Enterprise” for the charter, though has the option to nominate one of its sister ships. “This charter is in line with our strategy of adding incremental revenue as the market for LNG shipping continues to improve and provides important earnings visibility for the company,” said Jonathan Cook, Chief Executive.

US May deliveries

April 18 (LNGJ) - The 155,900 cubic metres capacity “Clean Planet”, operated by Dynagas, will deliver a cargo on May 1 to the Argentine Bahai Blanca import terminal in the southwest of the province of Buenos Aires from the US Sabine Pass export facility in Louisiana, owned by Cheniere Energy. The 176,300 cubic metres capacity vessel “Rioja Knutsen” will deliver a shipment on May 13 to China’s Dalian terminal, operated by PetroChina in the northern Liaoning Province, from the US Sabine Pass plant.

France and China LNG

April 17 (LNGJ) - Two African shipments are headed for France and two others are bound for China from Qatar. The 145,000 cubic metres capacity carrier “LNG Enugu” will deliver a shipment on April 20 to the French Montoir-de-Bretagne terminal on the Atlantic coast from the Nigerian export plant on Bonny Island. The 160,500 cubic metres capacity vessel “Sonangol Sambizanga” will deliver a shipment on April 25 to the Montoir facility from the Soyo export plant in the southwest African nation of Angola. The 210,100 cubic metres capacity Q-flex vessel “Fraiha” will deliver a Qatargas cargo on April 29 to the Chinese Tangshan terminal, operated in Hebei Province by PetroChina. The 217,000 cubic metres capacity vessel “Al Kharsaah” will deliver a cargo on April 24 to the Chinese Shanwei import terminal port in southeast Guangdong province from Ras Laffan in Qatar.

Fossil Energy head

April 17 (LNGJ) - The US Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy, one of the main regulatory bodies for the LNG industry, has appointed Shawn Bennett as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil and Natural Gas. “Bennett will administer oil and gas programs, including research and development, analysis and natural gas regulation,” said a DoE statement. Bennett has more than a decade of experience in public affairs and government relations in the coal and the oil and gas industries. “Most recently, he served as the Executive Vice President for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a non-profit trade association that is dedicated to representing Ohio oil and gas producers,” added the DoE. Bennett holds a bachelor of science from Ohio University.

LNG cargo deliveries

April 16 (LNGJ) - The 155,000 cubic metres capacity vessel carrier “Yensei River” was unloading a cargo on April 16 at the Cartagena import terminal in southeast Spain from the Trinidad export plant at Point Fortin in the Caribbean. The 170,000 cubic metres capacity “Methane Julia Louise” will deliver cargo on April 17 to the Japanese Oita terminal, owned by Kyushu Electric, from the Dampier export terminal in Western Australia, operated by Woodside Petroleum. The 160,500 cubic metres capacity vessel “Soyo” will deliver a shipment on April 18 to the South Korean terminal at Boryeong, operated by GS Energy, from the Angolan export plant in southwest Africa. The 75,000 cubic metres capacity “Berge Arzew” will deliver a cargo on April 18 to the Turkish Aliaga import facility from the Algerian export plant at Arzew, operated by Sonatrach.

IMO emission move

April 16 (LNGJ) - The United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO) based in London has adopted an initial strategy on the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions by 50 percent from ships by 2050. The measure is in addition to the cap on sulphur-oxide content in fuel from 2020 that will lead to more use of LNG, exhaust-cleaning systems and low-emission fuels. The UK Chamber of Shipping praised the latest IMO agreement to reduce emissions. “Shipping moves 90 percent of global trade and people understand the link between trade and prosperity, but rightly they demand we do it in a sustainable and responsible way,” said the UK shipping industry statement.

GTT shares plunge

April 13 (LNGJ) - Gaztransport and Technigaz (GTT) shares plunged almost 9 percent on April 13 to 50.25 euros per share on the Euronext exchange, while sector shares were little changed, as executives failed to please investors in a presentation of the latest revenues and performance of the French LNG storage technology company. GTT reported first-quarter storage tank orders for 10 LNG carriers, one floating storage and regasification unit and one bunkering vessel. “From a financial standpoint, the revenues earned during the first three months of the year are in line with our expectations and we are maintaining our annual objectives,” said Philippe Berterottiere, Chairman and Chief Executive.

Southeastern Trail project

April 13 (LNGJ) - Williams Partners, majority owner of the largest-volume US interstate natural gas pipeline system Transco, is seeking regulatory approval for its Southeastern Trail Expansion Project to serve growing demand by 2020 in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the nation. “Once complete, the project will help meet the growing natural gas demand in the Southeast, as well as provide access to new sources of domestic natural gas supply,” said the company. The project will continue expansion of southbound capacity on the Transco pipeline system. “Construction of this project along Transco’s existing corridor results in significantly less environmental impact and more economical transportation rates for our customers than other greenfield projects serving these same markets,” added Williams.

Texas natural gas rise

April 12 (LNGJ) - Texas, one of the main hubs of future US LNG exports from around the Gulf Coast ports such as Freeport, Corpus Christi, Port Arthur and Brownsville, saw monthly natural gas output increase 3 percent year-on-year in February to nearly 638.5 billion cubic feet, according to the Texas Petro Index report from economist Karr Ingham. “With natural gas prices in February averaging $2.67 per 1,000 feet (Mcf), the value of Texas-produced gas increased about 40 percent to more than $2.34 billion,” said the report. The Baker Hughes count of active drilling rigs in Texas averaged 476 units, 28.6 percent more than in the same month of 2017. “An estimated average of 215,500 Texans remained on upstream oil and gas industry payrolls, about 13.8 percent more than the revised average of 189,400 in February 2017,” it added.