In this issue

 

Our Asia-Pacific editor

Oil Search, a stakeholder in the Papua New Guinea LNG plant, said the joint venture planning its expansion will start the engineering phase by the end of 2017 as current prices achieved for cargoes averaged US$7.40 per million British thermal units. 

Origin Energy, the Australian utility and stakeholder in the Australia Pacific LNG plant in Queensland, said its current head of its Integrated Gas division, David Baldwin, was stepping down to be replaced by former Shell executive Mark Schubert. 

Tokyo Gas and Kyushu Electric Power have formed the latest Japanese strategic alliance under the government’s deregulation policy as companies aim to import LNG on the most economic terms and prepare to share volumes during periods of high demand. 

Our North American editor in New York

The Administration of President Donald Trump is taking an interest in the Alaska LNG project with US Vice-President Mike Pence meeting Alaska Governor Bill Walker and officials during a stop-over and the venture itself formally applying on April 17 to receive regulatory permits. 

The US Rio Grande LNG project development company in Texas run by former Royal Dutch Shell senior executive Kathleen Eisbrenner has signed a definitive agreement to become a listed company on the Nasdaq global exchange through a reverse takeover. 

Our North America editor in New York

Kinder Morgan, one of the largest US pipeline companies, and Colorado-based DCP Midstream have signed a letter of intent for DCP to participate in the development of the proposed Gulf Coast Express Pipeline Project to ship Permian Basin natural gas to the Texas Gulf Coast and its LNG projects. 

Our Europe editor

Norwegian company Global LNG Services (GLS), a developer of floating liquefaction hulls, said it planned to work with Siemens of Germany and Sembcorp Marine of Singapore on projects, including one on the US Gulf Coast.

Gaztransport and Technigaz (GTT), the French maritime storage tank specialist, said first-quarter revenues fell almost 3 percent to 56.8 million euros ($62.4M) as new orders were gained for four floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) vessels and one conventional LNG carrier. 

Skangas, the Norwegian liquefied natural gas supplier and facility operator, has named Kimmo Rahkamo as its new chief executive in succession to Tor Morten Osmundsen. 

Our Asia-Pacific editor

Japanese liquefied natural gas imports stayed in the high end at more than 8 million tonnes for March, in line with the volumes purchased in the same month a year ago as prices rose and power generation companies opted to buy more thermal coal. 

One of the largest pension funds in Canada has agreed to acquire more than a third of the shares in the main LNG import terminal in South America, the GNL Quintero facility in Chile. 

Our Europe editor

Sonatrach, Algeria’s state energy company, and France’s Total have signed a comprehensive agreement and announced “the amicable settlement of outstanding differences” between the two companies as the Algerians seek to end their underperformance in the liquefied natural gas sector and in pipeline gas as well. 

JX Nippon and Hokkaido Gas are latest companies to take advantage ofthe deregulation process

Our Asia-Pacific editor

The Japanese city-gas retail market, involving some of the largest LNG importers such as Tokyo Gas and Osaka Gas, is now almost fully liberalized and has already become a market worth up to US$30 billion a year. 

Our Europe editor

While the Zeebrugge LNG import terminal in Belgium again saw a decline in the utilisation rate with fewer large carriers unloading in 2016, there was a surge in small-scale activities including re-loadings by smaller LNG carriers and more truck distribution. 

News Nudges

Armenia gas fuel lead

Armenia’s position as the world’s largest user of gas-fueled vehicles as a proportion of cars, trucks and buses on the road was highlighted during a visit to the former Soviet state by Alexey Miller, Chairman of Russian natural gas giant Gazprom. Miller noted that Russian gas exports to Armenia amount to 1.9 billion cubic metres per year as the country has no energy resources of its own. “Gazprom expressed its appreciation for a robust use of natural gas in different economic sectors, including transportation. At present, around 80 percent of vehicles in the country run on natural gas,” said Gazprom.


GTT LNG storage order

GTT, the French LNG maritime storage technology company, said it received an order from Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea to equip a new LNG carrier with its Mark III Flex containment system. Hyundai's shipyard based in Ulsan will build the 180,000 cubic metres capacity vessel for the Norwegian shipping company Norspan LNG (Knutsen). Delivery is scheduled for 2019. The Knutsen fleet contains 10 large-scale LNG carriers in service and one on order. These LNG carriers are all equipped with GTT containment systems.


Mexico bid round ends

Mexico has awarded 10 out of 15 licences for exploration in shallow water blocks in the Tampico-Misantla, Veracruz, and Southeast basin areas along the country’s Gulf Coast. Twenty companies and 16 joint ventures from 15 countries took part in the bidding. Italian energy company Eni and Russia’s Lukoil were two individual operators awarded offshore acreage.