This week

Risks rise for LNG carriers and
other trade vessels from piracy

Piracy remains a serious threat in 2021 to global commerce and LNG carriers have been among the scores of ships previously targeted in areas of high risk such as the Gulf of Guinea and the Persian Gulf, and in sea lanes like the Strait of Malacca and in disputed Asian waters where ships contend with a new threat quaintly named the Chinese “cabbage strategy”.



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Latest News
Technip, Europe's leading LNG engineering firm, saw its shares jump Friday amid speculation it could merge with Italian rivals Saipem and Snamprogetti to create a world leader…
Woodside Energy, the Australian liquefied natural gas producer, said it has a taken stakes in nine exploration blocks in the Santos Basin off southeastern Brazil.
The $700-million Broadwater LNG project to be located in Long Island Sound, off New York State, has gained initial environmental approval from the US Federal Energy Regulatory…
Indonesia and Japan will discuss LNG imports when Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visits Tokyo, with state-owned energy company Pertamina planning to cut annual exports by as…
Golar LNG, the shipping company with a midstream investment strategy, reported increased operating income of $23.9 million for the third quarter because of improved spot vessel earnings,…
Qatar Gas Transport Co. (Nakilat) said it signed a deal with the shipping arm of Royal Dutch Shell for the management of Qatar's new LNG carrier fleet.
BW Gas, the gas shipping company, posted record third-quarter earnings before depreciation and disposals of $99.2 million as the LNG and LPG segments significantly increased their operating…
Technip, the French engineering and construction firm, said more than 36,000 workers were currently mobilized for its liquefied natural gas projects in Qatar and Yemen and the…
Enagas, the Spanish natural gas company and LNG terminals owner, said it plans to build a new reception terminal at El Musel, near the city of Gijón…
Gaz de France announced it formally brought into service the world’s largest LNG carrier, which has been named the “Provalys”, and was built in France at a…

TechnipFMC award

Feb 24 (LNGJ) - TechnipFMC has received a letter of award from Energean Israel for the development of the Karish North field, located offshore Israel in the revived East Mediterranean LNG and natural gas hub. TechnipFMC said it would design, manufacture, deliver and install subsea equipment including the subsea production system, rigid flowlines and umbilicals as a tieback to the “Energean Power” floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit as well as a second gas export riser. The Karish field is the third-largest natural gas field in Israeli waters after the Leviathan and Tamar fields.

Excelerate support

Feb 23 (LNGJ) - Excelerate Technical Management (ETM), a wholly-owned subsidiary responsible for the management and welfare of seafarers and crews on Excelerate Energy’s fleet of floating storage and regasification units operating as LNG import terminals, said it had joined forces with companies and organizations to sign the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change. In conjunction with more than 500 entities, Excelerate said it was taking action to deliver on shared responsibility to support seafarers with global partners spanning the maritime value chain.

   “The declaration marks a significant moment in the industry where we commit to being a part of the collective group working to hold ourselves to the highest standards. We take great pride in joining this effort,” said Cal Bancroft, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Excelerate Energy. “We have and will continue to be steadfast in our commitment to stewardship, accountability, improvement, and leadership as it pertains to all parts of our business,” added Bancroft.

Qatar-Vitol LNG deal

Feb 22 (LNGJ) - Qatar Petroleum signed a long-term Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) with global commodities company Vitol for the supply of 1.25 million tonnes per annum of LNG for delivery to Bangladesh. The shipments will begin later in 2021. “We are pleased to sign this SPA with Vitol, and we look forward to commencing deliveries to further contribute to meeting Bangladesh's energy requirements,” said Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, President and Chief Executive of Qatar Petroleum. “We are proud to continue to be the supplier of choice for our customers and partners around the globe,” added Al-Kaabi.

Three cargoes for UK

Feb 22 (LNGJ) - The UK is receiving three LNG cargoes this week at the Port of Milford Haven in Wales, two from the US and one from Qatar. The 165,000 cubic metres capacity carrier “Marib Spirit” will discharge its cargo on February 23 at the South Hook terminal from Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass plant in Louisiana, according to the port authorities.

   Another shipment from Sabine Pass is scheduled to be unloaded on February 25 at the Dragon regasification terminal at the Welsh port from the “Stena Clear Sky” carrier with 171,800 cubic metres capacity. The third shipment will arrive on February 27 at the South Hook terminal from Qatar onboard the largest carrier, the 266,000 cubic metres capacity Q-Max vessel “Mozah”. The UK deliveries are being received at lower seasonal prices as the UK National Balancing Point has declined in the last week to the equivalent of $5.90 per million British thermal units.

Sempra unit earnings

Feb 19 (LNGJ) – IEnova, the Sempra Energy Mexican subsidiary and developer of the Costa Azul export plant, posted gross earnings for the year of more than US$1 billion. However, net profits for 2020 were lower at $461M million compared with $468M in 2019.

   IEnova said earnings benefited from the start of operations of the South Texas-Tuxpan pipeline bringing natural gas supplies from the US, partially offset by the revenue deferment at the Guayma-El Oro natural gas pipeline and lower operational results at the Termoeléctrica de Mexicali power plant. The Costa Azul LNG project on the Pacific Coast was given the go-ahead in late 2020 and is being constructed by Europe-based engineering firm Technip Energies. 

Ship rates decline

Feb 18 (LNGJ) - Shipping charter rates for LNG carriers in the spot market have plunged again this week by over $10,000 dollars per day. Rates were quoted at an average of between $56,000 per day and $52,000 per day for vessels of between 155,000-165,000 cubic capacity in the West of Suez market. In the East of Suez charter market, rates were offered for ships at between $52,000 per day and $48,000 per day, according to various brokers. One-year time charters for the most modern vessels were available for around $48,000 per day.

Flex LNG posts profit

Feb 17 (LNGJ) - Flex LNG, the growing Norwegian-listed fleet owner with 13 modern carriers, 10 on the water and three uner construction, posted fourth-quarter net income of $25.8 million compared with $3.8M in the previous quarter. Full-year net profits came to $8.1M. Flex reported an average Time Charter Equivalent rate of $73,712 per day for the fourth quarter versus $46,569 per day for the third quarter.

   “During the last quarter of 2020 and into 2021, the LNG market improved markedly driven by strong demand from Asia due to a combination of cold weather and economic recovery, which resulted in a shortage of both LNG and ships to transport it,” said Oystein M Kalleklev, Chief Executive of Flex LNG Management AS. “LNG prices, which hit synchronized lows following the Covid-19 pandemic, rebounded with an 18-times price increase of Asian LNG from the low in April 2020 to the highs in January 2021, a remarkable turn-around,” added Kalleklev.

IMO piracy concern

Feb 16 (LNGJ) - International Maritime Organization Secretary-General Kitack Lim has expressed his deep concern about the escalation in the number and severity of attacks on ships and crew in the Gulf of Guinea waters of West Africa, with several incidents in the past couple of years involving LNG carriers. He insisted on the need for all stakeholders to work together to restore security and reduce the threats to the safety and security of crews and vessels operating in the region.

   The Secretary-General said that IMO was enhancing the coordination of initiatives among stakeholders, including the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Interregional Coordination Centre for the Implementation of Regional Strategy for Maritime Safety and Security in Central and West Africa (ICC).

Technip split is final

Feb 16 (LNG) - TechnipFMC has completed the spin-off transaction to create two leading publicly traded companies, TechnipFMC for subsea and technology and Technip Energies for LNG and energy project engineering. In connection with the separation, the Technip Energies technical reference price was set at €9.00 ahead of its direct listing on the Euronext Paris Exchange where it will trade under the symbol “TE”.

   “I am delighted to announce the successful completion of the separation transaction. As the market leader and industry’s only fully integrated pure-play, we are uniquely positioned to transform our clients’ project economics, helping them to unlock traditional and new energy resources,” said Doug Pferdehirt, Chairman and Chief Executive of TechnipFMC.

US cargoes for UK

Feb 15 (LNGJ)- Three more US LNG cargoes are to unload at UK terminals in the next week. The 173,600 cubic metres capacity carrier “British Achiever” was unloading a cargo on February 15 at the Isle of Grain terminal, located southeast of London, from the Freeport plant in Texas, according to shipping data.

   Two more US cargoes are heading for the UK from the Sabine Pass plant in Louisiana, operated by Cheniere Energy. The 173,400 cubic metres capacity vessel “BW Tulip” is scheduled to arrive on February 19 at the South Hook terminal at Milford Haven. Another shipment will be discharged on February 22 at Milford Haven’s Dragon facility from the 174,000 cubic metres capacity carrier “Pan Africa”.

PNG LNG progress

Feb 12 (LNGJ) - French major Total, operator of the Papua LNG feed-gas assets, and joint venture partners ExxonMobil and Australia-listed Oil Search have signed a Fiscal Stability Agreement with Papua New Guinea. “The Fiscal Stability Agreement is the final step envisioned under the Papua LNG Gas Agreement to guarantee Papua LNG fiscal stability,” said Oil Search. It follows the amendments to Acts passed by the PNG Parliament in November 2020.

   “We are pleased to see further progress achieved on Papua LNG,” said Keiran Wulff, Oil Search's Managing Director in regard to the PNG LNG expansion project to more than double current output. “It also demonstrates increasing alignment between the PNG Government and the joint venture partners. We look forward to progressing Papua LNG and announcing further milestones consistent with our Strategic Review,” added Wulff.

Spot ship rates fall

Feb 11 (LNGJ) - Shipping charter rates for LNG carriers in the spot market have plunged for a fourth week by over $20,000 dollars per day. Rates were quoted at an average of between $67,000 per day and $63,000 per day for vessels of between 155,000-165,000 cubic capacity in the West of Suez market. In the East of Suez charter market, rates were offered for ships at between $55,000 per day and $51,000 per day, according to various brokers. One-year time charters for the most modern vessels were available for around $48,000 per day.

JGC Kazakh work

Feb 10 (LNGJ) - JGC Corp. of Japan, the leading LNG project engineer, said it was awarded the front-end engineering and design contract for a Gas Separation Plant in the Central Asian republic of Kazakhstan. KazMunayGas, Kazakhstan's state-owned energy company, is part of the project to construct a gas separation plant with a capacity of 957 million standard cubic feet per day adjacent to a plant that is run by the Tengiz Oilfield company, a joint venture comprising US majors ExxonMobil and Chevron and KazMunayGas and others.

   “The selection of JGC as contractor for this project is believed to reflect the clients' strong positive evaluation of JGC's track record of involvement in gas processing plants worldwide, as well as its successful delivery of a project to modernize the Atyrau oil refinery for KazMunayGas completed in 2006,” said JGC.

Höegh LNG charters

Feb 9 (LNGJ) - Höegh LNG reached an agreement with global commodities firm Trafigura for an extension of the existing interim LNG carrier time charter for the “Höegh Gannet” vessel by 12 months and entered into a new interim time charter for the “Höegh Gallant” for 12 months from the redelivery from its current charter at the end of March 2021. The Norwegian company had a further charter to report in an agreement reached with Cheniere Energy of the US to extend the existing interim charter for the “Höegh Galleon”.

   “The rates for the above-mentioned time charters are consistent with the term market rates for trifuel-diesel-electric LNGCs and modestly above those achieved for ‘Höegh Gallant’ and ‘Höegh Gannet’ in 2020,” said Höegh. The three time charters include extension options for the charterers which can result in back-to-back employment with potential new FSRU awards,” it added.

Louisiana LNG for UK

Feb 9 (LNGJ) - The 170,050 cubic metres capacity carrier “Hoegh Gannet” was scheduled to deliver a cargo on February 16 to the UK South Hook terminal in Milford Haven from the Sabine Pass plant in Louisiana, according to port authorities. The vessel was heading across the Atlantic as the UK National Balancing Point price recovered from an earlier fall and was last quoted at the equivalent of $7.15 per million British thermal units.

Two cargoes for UK

Feb 8 (LNGJ) - Two LNG carriers, one from Russia and one from the US, are heading for the UK import facilities at the Port of Milford Haven in Wales, according to the port authorities. The Russian cargo from the Yamal plant in Siberia will arrive on February 10 on board the 172,000 cubic metres capacity tanker “Vladimir Voronin” and will unload at the Shell-run Dragon terminal. A second vessel, the 155,000 cubic metres capacity “Marvel Pelican”, is scheduled to arrive at Milford Haven’s South Hook terminal on February 14 with a shipment from the Cove Point plant in Maryland.

Bunkering charter

Feb 5 (LNGJ) - Titan LNG, a Dutch-based LNG supplier, has agreed with Japanese shipping company NYK Line to charter the LNG bunkering vessel, “Green Zeebrugge”. The ship, previously known as the “Engie Zeebrugge”, was renamed by NYK after it became the sole owner. The charter agreement gives Titan LNG use of the “Green Zeebrugge” for “several years”.

   The vessel, with capacity of 5,200 cubic metres, will be used to supply fuel to larger LNG-powered vessels in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) region. “We are excited to announce the chartering of the 'Green Zeebrugge'. January has proven exceptionally busy, underlining the timeliness of our decision to secure this additional capacity,” said Michael Schaap, Titan’s Commercial Director. 

Charter rates tumble

Feb 4 (LNGJ) - Shipping charter rates for LNG carriers in the spot market have plunged for a third week by up to $24,500 dollars per day. Rates were quoted at an average of between $87,000 per day and $83,000 per day for vessels of between 155,000-165,000 cubic capacity in the West of Suez market. In the East of Suez charter market, rates were offered for ships at between $82,000 per day and $78,000 per day, according to various brokers. One-year time charters for the most modern vessels were available for around $49,000 per day.

Storage for LNG

Feb 3 (LNGJ) - LA Storage, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy and its Cameron LNG export plant near Hackberry in Louisiana, has filed with the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permission to build new salt-dome storage facilities capable of providing about 20 billion cubic feet of working gas capacity to meet the needs of Cameron and other Gulf Coast energy plants.

   The application for the Hackberry Storage Project requests a certificate of convenience and necessity from FERC no later than the end of 2021, with plans to begin the storage service by around the first-quarter of 2024. “Once placed into service, the project will include four salt-dome storage caverns, interconnecting pipelines, compression and other facilities to serve the needs of LNG facilities, electric generation, industrial customers, utilities and other customers in the region,” LA Storage told the regulator.

BP emits red ink

Feb 2 (LNGJ) - UK major BP reported a full-year loss of $20.3 billion, including significant impairments and exploration write-offs taken in the second quarter, compared with a profit of $4.0 billion in 2019. BP’s 2021 outlook expects the US natural gas market to tighten as supply declines and demand for LNG exports recovers. “The current tightness on global LNG markets and higher US gas prices will lift other regional gas prices,” said BP.

   A BP profit was posted in the fourth quarter of $1.4Bln versus a $500 million loss in the previous quarter thanks to a quarterly $2.3Bln one-time gain from the sale of BP’s petrochemicals business to INEOS of the UK. “At year-end net debt was $39Bln, down $1.4Bln over the quarter and $6.5Bln over the full year. Net debt is expected to increase in the first half of 2021, driven by severance payments, the annual Gulf of Mexico oil spill payment and payment following completion of the offshore wind joint venture with Equinor,” said BP.

Arctic LNG efforts

Feb 2 (LNGJ) - Novatek, the Russian natural gas company and developer of Yamal and Arctic II LNG, has signed a cooperation agreement with Italy-based Nuovo Pignone SpA, a subsidiary of the US Baker Hughes Company, aimed at reducing carbon-dioxide emissions. “The parties intend to cooperate in developing electrical and gas turbine solutions for natural gas and LNG production, as well as solutions for reducing CO2 emissions,” they said.

   “Baker Hughes is one of the main equipment suppliers to our Yamal LNG and Arctic LNG 2 projects,” noted Leonid Mikhelson, Novatek’s Chairman. “We are expanding our cooperation with them to develop efficient and economically viable solutions to mitigate the impact on climate change of our projects,” added Mikhelson. 

Texas cargo for UK

Feb 1 (LNGJ) – A US cargo was heading for the UK as European prices declined from recent seasonal highs. The 180,000 cubic metres capacity carrier “Gaslog Georgetown” is scheduled deliver a cargo on February 7 to the UK South Hook terminal at Milford Haven in Wales from the Corpus Christi export plant in Texas, owned by Cheniere Energy, according to the port authorities.

   The UK National Balancing Point benchmark natural gas price was currently at around $7.30 per million British thermal units while the continental European Dutch Title Transfer facility (TTF) price was lower at the equivalent of $7.05 per MMBtu.

Woodside gas deal

Jan 29 (LNGJ) - Woodside Petroleum, the Western Australia LNG plant operator, said one of its subsidiaries, Woodside Burrup Pty Ltd, and the North West Shelf (NWS) LNG shareholders have finalised arrangements with the State Government enabling the supply of Pluto LNG feed-gas, via an interconnector pipeline, for processing at the NWS Karratha Gas Plant (KGP).

   “Connecting the Pluto and NWS facilities accelerates the production of offshore Pluto gas and provides flexible access to emerging LNG processing capacity. The Pluto-KGP interconnector is the first step in realising our vision for a regional LNG hub on the Burrup Peninsula,” said Woodside Chief Executive Peter Coleman.

Charter rates decline

Jan 28 (LNGJ) - Shipping charter rates for LNG carriers in the spot market have dropped for a second week by up to $30,000 dollars per day. Rates were quoted at an average of between $108,000 per day and $112,0000 per day for vessels of between 155,000-165,000 cubic metres capacity in both the West of Suez market and for East of Suez charters, according to various brokers. One-year time charters for the most modern vessels and ships were available for around $49,000 per day.

Thai LNG trading

Jan 27 (LNG) - Thailand’s national energy company PTT has been given the go-ahead by the Energy Regulatory Commission for some limited LNG re-exports and trading from the Map Ta Phut import terminal in Rayong province. The initial plans for 2020 had been postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Map Ta Phut terminal is the sole facility in the southeast Asian nation and has storage capacity of 11.5 million tonnes. PTT will complete additional storage of 7.5 MTPA  by 2022 as more Thai energy and power companies prepare to enter the LNG business under deregulation.

Cryo Shipping feat

Jan 26 (LNG) - Cryo Shipping, the Norwegian company, said it had conducted an LNG bunkering operation on the shuttle tanker “Altera Wave” in Malaysian waters in the Singapore Strait. “The LNG bunkering of the Norwegian-registered 103,500 deadweight tons ship is the largest LNG-powered merchant ship to be supplied with LNG from a bunker vessel in Asia,” said Cryo Shipping.

   “The Norwegian-registered shuttle tanker is part of a series of highly innovative newbuildings developed by the forward-looking shipping company, Altera Infrastructure, and according to the company the ‘Altera Wave’ and her sisterships are the world's most environmentally friendly shuttle tankers ever built,” said Cryo Shipping. The company is the largest LNG fuel supplier in both Copenhagen-Malmö and Klaipeda in Lithuania, where it was the first to start regular LNG bunkering. 

Lithuania LNG link

Jan 25 (LNGJ) - The Baltic state of Lithuania said the nation’s liquefied natural gas import facility at the port of Klaipeda would be supplying regasified LNG from 2022 to a Polish gas-fired power plant. The power plant at Ostroleka in northeast Poland will receive the supplies from the Lithuanian facility, a floating storage and regasification unit, first deployed on the Baltic Sea coast in 2014. Lithuania and Poland, both members of the European Union, will be connected by the end of 2021 by a new EU-backed natural gas pipeline.

Shipping rates fall

Jan 22 (LNGJ) - Shipping charter rates for LNG carriers in the spot market have dropped in the past week by around $20,000 dollars per day. Rates were quoted at an average of between $148,000 per day and $152,0000 per day West of Suez. Spot rates of $138,000 to 142,000 were heard for the East of Suez charter market for vessels of between 155,000-165,000 cubic metres capacity, according to various brokers. One-year time charters for the most modern vessels and ships were available for around $49,000 per day.

Santos LNG recovery

Jan 21 (LNGJ) - Australia’s Santos, which has stakes in Darwin LNG, the Gladstone plant in Queensland and at the Papua New Guinea plant operated by ExxonMobil, said in its fourth-quarter report that revenues rose 16 percent to US$922 million, primarily due to stronger LNG sales volumes. The average realised LNG price in the three months to the end of December was US$5.34 per million British thermal units versus US$4.27 per MMBtu in the previous three-month period and US$9.07 per MMBtu in the prior-year quarter.

   Santos reported that Gladstone LNG in Queensland shipped 101 cargoes in 2020 versus 87 in the previous year, while Darwin LNG dispatched 48 cargoes last year, two more than in 2019 and PNG LNG shipped 115 cargoes in 2020 compared with 111 in the previous year. “Santos LNG projects shipped 73 cargoes in the fourth quarter, of which six were spot cargoes, three from PNG, two from Darwin and one from GLNG,” said the Adelaide-based company.

Three cargoes for UK

Jan 20 (LNGJ) - Three LNG carriers, two from Russia and one from the US, are heading for the UK import facilities at the Port of Milford Haven in Wales, according to the port authorities. Two Russian cargoes from the Yamal plant in Siberia will arrive first. The 172,000 cubic metres capacity “Vladimir Vize” is due at the Shell-run Dragon terminal on January 22 with its cargo, followed on January 25 by the 172,660 cubic metres capacity “Yakov Kakkel” with a second Yamal shipment for the Dragon facility.

   The third LNG cargo is scheduled to arrive at Milford Haven from the US on January 26 on board the 165,000 cubic metres capacity “Marib Spirit”. The vessel will discharge its cargo from the Sabine Pass plant in Louisiana at Milford Haven’s other terminal, the South Hook facility, owned by Qatar Petroleum, US major ExxonMobil and Total of France.

US LNG offered

Jan 19 ((LNGJ) - Commonwealth LNG, the US company with plans to develop an export plant on the Calcasieu River near Cameron in Louisiana, is soliciting bids to reserve offtake from its planned 8.4 million tonnes per annum of output. Commonwealth said it was acting in association with global commodities firm Gunvor.

   “It is the first ever tender process in which prospective LNG customers can secure future term supply at volumes, pricing and durations of their choosing through competitive bidding,” said Commonwealth. “LNG will be made available under tolling, free on board (FOB) or delivered at place (DAP) agreements,’ it said. Commonwealth executives said a different approach was warranted following changes in the energy market resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chart NYSE switch

Jan 19 (LNGJ) - Chart Industries, the US LNG equipment-maker and industrial gases company, said it intended to transfer the listing of its common stock to the New York Stock Exchange from the Nasdaq global exchange effective from February 1. The common stock of Atlanta, Georgia-based Chart would continue to trade under the ticker symbol GTLS. The stock will continue to trade on the Nasdaq until the transfer is complete.

   “We are pleased to join the NYSE, the world’s largest stock exchange with world-class listed companies, to further reach global investors and shareholders,” stated Jill Evanko, Chart’s Chief Executive and President. “With four of our top five customers also listed on the NYSE, we believe this will enhance our exposure to them and further develop new and existing partnerships,” she added.

New SCF LNG carrier

Jan 18 (LNGJ) - Sovcomflot, the Russian shipping line with 31 gas carriers in operation or on order and an overall fleet of 145 vessels, has taken delivery of “SCF Timmerman”, a newbuild LNG carrier with 174,000 cubic metres of capacity and constructed at the South Korean shipyard, Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries. “The ‘SCF Timmerman’ has already embarked in its maiden commercial voyage and will be operated under a long-term time charter agreement with Royal Dutch Shell, which will provide SCF with an additional $165M of contract backlog,” added Sovcomflot.

   The Russian shipping line, which is now listed on the Moscow stock exchange after an initial public offering in October 2020, noted that the LNG newbuild was named after Frans Timmerman, a 17th-century Dutch merchant who served as a shipbuilding mentor to the Russian Tsar Peter the Great and played an important role in creating the Russian seaborne fleet.

GTT tank approval

Jan 15 (LNGJ) - French LNG storage tank technology company GTT has obtained approval in principle from France-based classification society Bureau Veritas for GTT’s No. 96 membrane containment system for LNG fuel tank applications for Ultra Large Container Vessels (ULCVs) . “GTT and BV reviewed the compatibility and safe integration of the No. 96 technology as an LNG fuel tank in a container vessel hull,” said GTT.

   Over the course of the study, a liquid motion assessment of the tank configuration was performed. “We are pleased to receive this new Approval in Principle which allows GTT to offer increasingly competitive solutions that meet the requirements of the LNG market as a marine fuel. This will enable all our licensees to offer membrane solutions to this market,” said Philippe Berterottière, Chairman and Chief Executive of GTT.

Spot charter rate rise

Jan 14 (LNGJ) - Shipping charter rates for LNG carriers in the spot market increased as Northern Hemisphere winter market demand surged. Rates were quoted at an average of between $168,000 per day and $172,0000 per day West of Suez. Spot rates of $158,000 to 162,000 were heard for the East of Suez charter market for vessels of between 155,000-165,000 cubic metres capacity, according to various brokers. One-year time charters also increased for the most modern vessels and ships were available for around $49,000 per day.

Japan LNG appeal

Jan 13 (LNGJ) - Japanese utility and liquefied natural gas buyer Kyushu Electric Power issued a statement saying it was urgently seeking cargoes for its gas-fired plants. “As an emergency measure, we have begun buying 2,000-4,000 tonnes of LNG left in carriers in Asia after having discharged their cargoes to secure our fuel,” said the utility in reference to the heel left in tankers to maintain cool-down.

   Kyushu Electric, based in the city of Fukuoka in the southernmost Japanese island, said it was also asking other Japanese power companies to swap deliveries if possible. Benchmark power prices in Japan have reached a record high of 232.20 Japanese yen ($2.23) per kilowatt hour. Other Japanese utilities have asked customers to try and save power usage because of gas shortages.   

Korean LNG move

Jan 12 (LNGJ) - South Korea, the largest builder of LNG carriers to transport the fuel worldwide, is increasing its own domestic fleet of LNG-powered ships and is offering grants of up to 20 percent for ship owners to convert. The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said that 39 small ships fuelled by LNG are expected to be completed at local shipyards in 2021, including 23 vessels to be used by Korean government agencies. The Ministry noted that two LNG bunkering ships were also on order.

LNG hub changes

Jan 11 (LNGJ) - Petronas, the Malaysian energy company, has seen one of its subsidiaries, Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd (PCSB), take over the operatorship of the E11 natural gas hub, located 130 kilometres offshore Bintulu in Sarawak, the Malaysian state on the island of Borneo. Petronas noted that the E11 hub, which has been producing since 1982 under the Malaysia LNG production sharing contract, had been operated by Royal Dutch Shell unit Sarawak Shell Bhd (SSB) for the past 38 years.

   The Petronas Vice President of Malaysian Assets, Bacho Pilong, said the change marked a significant landmark for PCSB as the operator of the E11 hub to ensure reliable, stable and cleaner energy supply to the market while continuing to develop Sarawak as a regional gas hub. “I am pleased to note that SSB and Petronas had implemented all the necessary activities to ensure a smooth handover of the E11 hub,” added Pilong.

Korean ship welcomed

Jan 8 (LNGJ) - Pilbara Ports Authority in Western Australia has welcomed its first LNG-powered vessel. The South Korean bulk carrier, “HL Green”, arrived on its maiden voyage to Port Hedland. “HL Green is one of two 180,000 tonne bulk carriers built in Korea and launched on 11 December 2020. The vessel is expected to make about 10 round trips a year between Korea and Australia,” said Pilbara Ports.

   The “HL Green” is distinguished from other bulk carriers by the two LNG fuel tanks at the stern. The tanks each have a storage capacity of 1,600 cubic metres. “Transitioning iron ore exports from heavy fuel oil vessels to LNG-fuelled vessels will reduce carbon, sulphur, nitrogen and other greenhouse gas emissions,” stated Pilbara Ports Chief Executive Roger Johnston. 

Gorgon LNG repair

Jan 7 (LNGJ) - Chevron Corp., operator of the Gorgon LNG export plant on Barrow Island in Western Australia, said it was carrying out repairs on Train 1 because if welding issues after repairing Train 2 in 2020 because of the same problem. “Repairs to propane heat exchangers on Gorgon LNG Train 1 are underway,” said Chevron. The issues at Train 1 were discovered during scheduled inspections of the facility during maintenance.

Russian LNG for UK

Jan 6 (LNGJ) - The 172,000 cubic metres capacity carrier, the “Rudolf Samoylovich”, was scheduled to berth on January 6 at the UK Dragon import terminal at the port of Milford Haven in Wales with a cargo from the Yamal plant in northern Siberia, according to the port authorities.

   The UK National Balancing Point benchmark gas price has been firm over the past week and was last at $7.35 per million British thermal units while the continental European Dutch Title Transfer facility (TTF) price was lower at the equivalent of $6.95 per MMBtu.

Korean LNG carrier

Jan 6 (LNGJ) - South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries has signed a deal valued at 199 billion South Korean won ($185 million), to build a liquefied natural gas carrier for the South Korean shipping company Pan Ocean Co. The Korean shipping line has delivered cargoes of LNG since 2008 for the nation’s largest importer, Korea Gas Corp. The new vessel is scheduled to be delivered in April 2023.

Capital ship delivery

Jan 5 (LNGJ) - Capital Gas Ship Management Corp., the Greek company based in the port of Piraeus, has taken delivery of the LNG carrier newbuild, the “Aristidis I”, from the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in South Korea. The “Arisidis I” has been chartered to BP Shipping of the UK for a period up to 12 years.

   “With cargo capacity of 174,000 cubic metres, the vessel is highly efficient, propelled with XDF engines and equipped with the latest available technologies, including an air lubrication system and increased filling limits (up to 93.5 percent),” said Capital Gas. “It is the second of seven sister ships to be delivered between 2020-2023,” the company added.

Renergen gas moves

Jan 4 (LNGJ) - Renergen, the emerging South African helium developer with plans to produce LNG at a small-scale liquefaction plant in Free State province from onshore resources, issued a quarterly update on sales and marketing achievements. It signed an LNG supply agreement with local firm Logico Logistics and added the N1 route from Johannesburg to Cape Town for several LNG filling stations in a venture with French major Total.

   “While drilling continues, albeit at a pace slower than hoped, the company continues to make progress and preparations have begun for three new wells,” said Renergen. “The company remains committed to delivering meaningful drilling results over the course of the first quarter of calendar year 2021, and updated reserves and resources following on from this data,” it stated. 

Azeri gas for EU

Jan 1 (LNGJ) - Azerbaijan, the former republic of the Soviet Union, has started commercial natural gas supplies to southern Europe via the Trans- Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) in competition to LNG and Russian pipeline gas from Gazprom. The TAP pipeline is 3,500 kilometres in length and is part of the $40-billion Southern Gas Corridor bringing natural gas to Europe from the Shah Deniz II field in the Caspian Sea, operated by UK oil and gas major BP.

   Azerbaijan plans to supply the markets of the European Union with 10 billion cubic metres per annum of pipeline gas, including 8 Bcm to Italy and a combined 2 Bcm to Greece and Bulgaria. It has already supplied gas to Turkey. The TAP stakeholders include BP and the Azeri energy company Socar, as well as the gas grid operators of Italy, Spain and Belgium.

Spain gas demand up

Dec 31 (LNGJ) - Natural gas consumption in Spain, the largest European importer of US LNG cargoes, grew by 3.4 percent in December compared with the same month in 2019. “Specifically, conventional demand, for household, commercial and industrial consumption, grew compared to December of the previous year, reaching 29.7 terawatt hours,” said Enagás, the gas grid network and LNG import terminal operator. “This increase was driven by a recovery in industrial demand with regard to the values reached during the lockdown months in addition to the cold temperatures at the end of the month,” the company added.

   Demand for natural gas in Spain for all of 2020 was heading for 360.0 TWh, which is 3.1 percent more than the figure recorded in 2018. “Compared to 2019, when demand grew exceptionally (up 14 percent) due to high deliveries of natural gas for electricity generation, total demand is around 90.4 percent,” added Enagás.

Charter rates firm

Dec 31 (LNGJ) - Shipping charter rates for LNG carriers in the spot market were firm as Northern Hemisphere winter market demand increased. Rates were quoted at an average of between $158,000 per day and $162,0000 per day West of Suez. Spot rates of $148,000 to 152,000 were heard for the East of Suez charter market for vessels of between 155,000-165,000 cubic metres capacity, according to various brokers. One-year time charters were also little changed for the most modern vessels and were available for around $47,000 per day.

UK gas prices jump

Dec 30 (LNGJ) - UK natural gas prices surged to their highest level of this winter season on colder weather, while continental European prices slipped back. The UK National Balancing Point benchmark jumped to the equivalent of $7.50 per million British thermal units from $6.80 per MMBtu yesterday. The Dutch Title Transfer facility (TTF) price was at the equivalent of $6.75 per MMBtu, down from the previous day’s $6.90 per MMBtu.

   UK North Sea instantaneous supply flows on December 30 amounted to 329.98 million cubic metres, while demand flows came to 351.3 mcm, according to National Grid data. The Norwegian aggregated (including UK) exit flows on December 30 published by Norway’s Gassco were 341.41 mcm versus 337.6 mcm on the previous day. 

Mixed gas fortunes

Dec 30 (LNGJ) - Australia company Beach Energy, which will become an LNG exporter from its gas resources in the onshore Perth Basin in Western Australia, has had less luck at the Ironbark 1 offshore exploration well in exploration permit WA-359-P.

   The Western Australia well was drilled to a total depth of 5,618 metres measured depth, intersecting the primary target of the Mungaroo formation at 5,275 metres. “No significant hydrocarbon shows were encountered in the target sandstones,” concluded the report. “The exploration well will be plugged and abandoned, in-line with pre-drill planning,” it added. Other shareholders include operator BP of the UK, Cue Energy of Australia and New Zealand Oil and Gas. 

Korean LNG newbuilds

Dec 29 (LNGJ) - The three main South Korean shipyards specializing in LNG newbuilds have confirmed receiving orders in 2020 for 46 LNG carriers, or 73 percent of the 63 orders placed worldwide. Korea Shipbuilding and Offshore Engineering, Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering said they had achieved 91 percent, 65 percent and 75 percent respectively of their order targets during the year. KSOE is the world's leading shipbuilding group comprising Hyundai Heavy Industries, Hyundai Mipo Dockyard and Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries.