This week

LNG carrier fleet grows with
varied vessel sizes and storage

The total liquefied natural gas carrier fleet consisted of 642 vessels at the end of 2020 and this included varied ships in scale and operational aims to correspond with an increasing number of import terminals being commissioned to give worldwide regasification capacity moving close to the 1 billion tonnes per annum mark.

Latest News
Israeli energy company Delek Drilling is advancing with the US$1.1-billion sale of its 22 percent stake in Israel’s second-biggest natural gas resource, the Tamar field, to Mubadala…
Free ReadDemark is ready to enter the liquefied natural fuel market with the opening before the end of 2021 of the nation’s first LNG filling station in the…
The France-based International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers (GIIGNL) has issued its annual report with key export and import statistics showing surges in spot LNG deals…
Malaysia’s national energy company Petronas has started the export of liquefied natural gas to China in ISO containers from its filling facility at Pengerang in southern Johor…
Gazprom Neft, the Russian oil and gas company and refiner, said it was looking for more opportunities in the LNG maritime fuel market as it awaits the…
Free ReadAvenir LNG, the Norwegian small-scale LNG business, said the carrier “Avenir Accolade” would deliver the commissioning cargo to the latest Italian regasification terminal on the Mediterranean island…
French major Total has declared ‘force majeure’ on the Mozambique LNG export project over growing conflict in the north of the Southeast African nation, leading to workers…
Reliance Industries of India and BP of the UK said a second natural gas field had come on stream ahead of the mid-2021 schedule in the Krishna…
Free ReadOil Search, the Australian-listed company, said the Papua New Guinea LNG export plant was scheduled to undergo a long-delayed maintenance in the second quarter as output and…
Chinese liquefied natural gas imports rose by a third in March 2021 from the same month in 2020 when the world’s second-largest importer was cancelling cargoes because…

Chiyoda LNG aims

May 7 (LNGJ) - Chiyoda Corp, the leading Japanese energy and LNG engineering company involved in projects worldwide, reported sales of 315.39 billion yen ($2.88Bln) in the fiscal year to the end of March 2021, a fall of 18.3 percent on the previous year. However, Chiyoda pointed out that it expected improvements in the coming year as it executed LNG engineering, procurement and construction projects in Qatar, the US and Nigeria.

   “In Qatar, Chiyoda has won the order for the EPC phase of the North Field East LNG project, which is the expansion of four LNG Trains with capacity of 8 million metric tons per annum,” said the company. “In the US, the Golden Pass LNG project is in the EPC phase and in the Nigeria LNG project Chiyoda is providing review and other technical support to our partner, which is performing the engineering,” it added. “In Japan, EPC phase work is currently underway to reinforce, modify, and repair existing LNG terminals that were built by Chiyoda, and to newly install and add earthquake and tsunami reinforcement to gas supply facilities for thermal power plants,” stated the company.

Spot charters climb

May 6 (LNGJ) - Shipping charter rates for LNG carriers in the spot market were still at high levels in the Atlantic and Pacific basins. Spot charters for West Of Suez increased  again on the week by around $2,000 per day to average between $75,000 per day and $79,000 per day for vessels of 155,000-165,000 cubic metres capacity. In the East of Suez charter market average rates also rose by around $2,000 per day to between $70,000 per day and $74,000 per day, according to various brokers. One-year charter rates for the most modern vessels also increased to around $75,000 per day.

Höegh shares halt

May 5 (LNGJ) - Trading in shares of Höegh LNG Holdings Ltd, the LNG fleet and projects company, has been suspended by the Oslo Børs in Norway to avoid incorrect registration of orders and trades in a situation where the company will no longer have any shares outstanding for trading. This follows the announcement that the family-controlled firm Leif Höegh and Co. and funds managed by Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners have completed the acquisition of Höegh LNG to take it private. However, the common and preferred units of US affiliate, Höegh LNG Partners LP, will remain outstanding and continue to trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

   “With the completion of the amalgamation, the joint venture intends to undertake a comprehensive review of the company’s operational and financial strategy and that of its affiliates to strengthen the financial profile of the group and will carefully review its integrated business plan including future financial needs,” added the Leif Höegh and Co. statement.

Egypt's Lithuania cargo

May 4 (LNGJ) - The Klaipeda LNG import terminal in the Baltic state of Lithuania, operated by energy company AB Klaipedos Nafta, said it expected to receive its first cargo from Egypt to help replace some Norwegian shipments halted by the Hammerfest plant shutdown. The cargo was lifted from the Royal Dutch Shell-operated Idku export plant, located east of the port of Alexandria. It is scheduled to arrive on May 7 in Lithuania from the East Mediterranean on board the 164,700 cubic metres capacity LNG carrier, the “LNG Fukurokuju”.

Titan LNG tender

May 4 (LNG) - Titan LNG, a Dutch supplier to the marine and industrial markets with quayside and ship-to-ship delivery of LNG to river barges and sea-going ships in the ports such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp, announced a development tender for a new LNG bunkering barge. It will be called “Titan Krios” and be deployed at the Belgian Port of Zeebrugge and in the English Channel ports.

   “The new vessel, which will fulfil part of the base demand in Zeebrugge that Titan LNG is already supplying, will operate with multiple tanks to segregate streams of LNG and bio-LNG (made from waste),” explained Titan. The new Titan vessel will offer 4,200 cubic metres of capacity from 2023. The tender comes just one month after the naming and subsequent launch of the “FlexFueler002”, a co-built LNG bunkering barge from Titan and Belgian gas network company Fluxys.

Europe’s prices up

May 3 (LNGJ) - Qatar is delivering a Q-Max LNG cargo to the UK with prices in Europe rising on colder weather and storage demands. The 261,137 cubic metres capacity carrier “Mekaines” is scheduled to arrive from Ras Laffan in Qatar on May 9 with a shipment for the South Hook facility in the Welsh port of Milford Haven, according to the port authorities.

   The latest shipment is scheduled as the UK National Balancing Point natural gas benchmark price and the main Continental European price, the Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF), are both at seasonal highs. The UK NBP was quoted at the equivalent of $8.30 per million British thermal units and the Dutch TTF was at the equivalent of $8.20 per MMBtu.

Santos Korea sale

April 30 (LNGJ) – Australian LNG exporter Santos has completed the sell-down of a 25 percent interest in the Bayu-Undan gas field and Darwin LNG to South Korea’s SK E&S, which is also a partner in the Barossa offshore gas project. “The sell-down resulted in net funds to Santos of US$186 million at completion, being the sale price of US$390m less the cashflows from the 25 percent interests ,” said Santos. “The sell-down to SK E&S is in line with our strategy of disciplined growth while maintaining a strong balance sheet by managing equity levels in our growth projects,” said Santos Chief Executive Kevin Gallagher.

Profits rise for Total

April 29 (LNGJ) - French oil and gas company Total, which this week declared “force majeure” on the Mozambique LNG project over the security situation in the northern Cabo Delgado province, posted a 51 percent increase in first-quarter adjusted net operating income to $3.48 billion compared with $2.3Bln in the same three months of 2020. Total’s LNG sales rose 1 percent to 9.9 million tonnes versus 9.8MT in the prior-year quarter.

   “Despite hydrocarbon production for LNG in the first quarter of 2021, down 6 percent year-on-year, mainly due to the shutdown of the Snøhvit LNG plant (Norway) following a fire at the end of September 2020, LNG sales were stable in the first quarter,” said Total. The company added that its average realised LNG price in the quarter was $6.08 per million British thermal units, higher than the previous quarter’s $4.90 per MMBtu, though about 4 percent lower than the year-on-year price of $6.32 per MMBtu.

Petronas newbuilds

April 29 (LNG) - Malaysian energy company Petronas has signed a time charter-party (TCP) for three newbuild LNG carriers with shipowner Hyundai LNG Shipping to increase its  global fleet to to 27 vessels. Petronas said the newbuilds with 174,000 cubic metres of capacity are expected to be delivered from the second quarter of 2024 on a staggered basis. They will primarily be used to carry cargoes from LNG Canada currently under construction at Kitimat on the Pacific Coast of British Columbia.

   “The multi-sized fleet has enabled the company to reliably deliver LNG to over 25 countries from its global portfolio of supply, located in Malaysia, Australia, Egypt and Canada by 2024,” said the Petronas LNG subsidiary.

Qatari May cargoes

April 28 (LNGJ) - Qatar is delivering the first two LNG cargoes to the UK in May. The 261,700 cubic metres capacity carrier “Lijmiliya” is scheduled to arrive in the UK from Ras Laffan on May 1 with a shipment for the South Hook facility in the Welsh port of Milford Haven, according to the port authorities. Another Qatari carrier, the 266,000 cubic metres capacity vessel, the “Al Dafna”, is due to berth at South Hook on May 5.

   The latest shipments are scheduled as the UK National Balancing Point natural gas benchmark price and the main Continental European price, the Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF), are both at seasonal highs. Both prices were quoted at the equivalent of $7.60 per million British thermal units.

BP profits rise

April 27 (LNGJ) - UK major BP reported profits for the first quarter of $4.7 billion compared with a $4.36Bln loss in the same three months of 2020. The BP performance was also better than the $1.4Bln profit achieved in the fourth quarter of 2020. “Divestment and other proceeds were $4.8Bln in the quarter, including $2.4Bln from the divestment of a 20 percent stake in Oman Block 61 and $1Bln final instalment for the sale of the petrochemicals business,” said BP.

   “We expect global gas demand to recover to above 2019 levels, and LNG demand to increase as a result of higher Asian imports,” said the company in its outlook for the rest of 2021. “Oil demand is expected to recover due to strong growth in US and China and as the distribution of vaccinations gains momentum and lockdown restrictions are gradually lifted,” it added.

TechnipFMC activities

April 27 (LNGJ) - TechnipFMC, the US energy technology and subsea company, has arranged the sale of 25 million shares in the spun-off LNG project arm, Technip Energies. The placement of the stocks represented 14 percent of the share capital of Technip Energies. TechnipFMC said it still retained a stake of around 31 percent of Technip Energies. TechnipFMC also announced it received a Notice to Proceed for a subsea production system contract from Australian LNG operator Santos for the Barossa gas field project to boost feed-gas resources for Darwin LNG in Australia’s Northern Territory.

   The field is located 300 kilometres north of Darwin at a water depth of around 130 metres. “The contract scope covers the supply of subsea trees and associated control systems, manifolds and wellheads, as well as installation and commissioning support, which will help to extend the life of the existing Darwin LNG facility,” said Jonathan Landes, President of Subsea at TechnipFMC.

'LNG Croatia' cargo

April 26 (LNGJ) - Croatia, the Balkan nation and European Union member, has received another cargo of LNG at the floating terminal offshore the island of Krk in the northern Adriatic Sea. This was the first commercial LNG delivery for the company MET Croatia. Croatian gas supplier MET Croatia, part of Swiss-based energy company MET Group, has booked an overall capacity of 2.67 billion cubic metres at the Croatian terminal for a period of seven years.

   The cargo was loaded at the Zeebrugge terminal in Belgium and was delivered by the 145,000 cubic metres capacity carrier “Methane Nile Eagle”. MET also supplied the Spanish commissioning cargo in November 2020 to the Croatian terminal, which is the floating storage and regasification unit “LNG Croatia”.

Algerian UK delivery

April 26 (LNGJ) - The 171,866 cubic metres capacity carrier “Ougarta” is scheduled to deliver an Algerian cargo on April 27 to the Isle of Grain LNG import terminal, operated by National Grid Plc on the estuary 45 miles southeast of London. The shipment, lifted on April 22 from the Arzew plant on the Mediterranean coast of Algeria, is arriving in the UK as the National Balancing Point (NBP) gas price fell to the equivalent of $7.05 per million British thermal units.

Spot ship rates up

April 23 (LNGJ) - Shipping charter rates for LNG carriers in the spot market increased for West Of Suez by around $7,000 per day to average between $62,000 per day and $58,000 per day for vessels of 155,000-165,000 cubic metres capacity. In the East of Suez charter market average rates rose by around $9,000 per day to between $52,000 per day and $48,000 per day, according to various brokers. One-year charter rates for the most modern vessels also increased to around $66,000 per day.

Santos price forecast

April 22 (LNGJ) - Australian LNG operator Santos, whose shareholdings are in the Gladstone facility in Queensland, Darwin LNG in the Northern Territory and Papua New Guinea LNG, forecast higher LNG prices in the second quarter after the Adelaide-based company reported US$964 million in revenues in the first three months of 2021.

   Santos said production was 2 percent lower than in the December quarter, primarily due to lower domestic gas demand and unplanned maintenance in PNG LNG. Higher GLNG equity production from coal-seam gas fields supported annualised LNG output of 6.4 million tonnes per annum. CEO Kevin Gallagher said Santos had delivered another strong quarter of production and sales volumes. “This was despite the three-month lag in oil-linked LNG prices, which should see stronger prices in the second quarter,” he stated.

Seaspan approval

April 21 (LNGJ) - Seaspan Marine. the ferries-to-tugs shipping and ship services company based in Vancouver, said it secured an Approval in Principle from French classification society, Bureau Veritas, for the design of a liquefied natural gas bunkering vessel with 7.600 cubic metres capacity. The vessel has been designed for ship-to-ship LNG transfers as well as coastal-short sea shipping by Vard Marine Inc., a partner of Seaspan Ferries.

   “Seaspan is committed to bringing clean LNG bunkers to the West Coast of North America through our LNG bunkering business, in order to assist ship owners in meeting their IMO 2030 targets,” said Seaspan Marine Vice President Gord Miller, who oversees the Ferries unit. 

Cargo from Trinidad

April 20 (LNGJ) - The UK Grain LNG import terminal serving London is expecting a cargo from Trinidad and Tobago later on April 20, according to port authorities. The 173,400 cubic metres capacity vessel, the “Patris”, is delivering a shipment from the Caribbean nation’s export plant at Point Fortin in Trinidad. The arrival of the cargo coincides with the natural gas price in the UK, the National Blancing Point (NBP), increasing to its highest April level of $7.30 per million British thermal units.

Two cargoes for UK

April 19 (LNGJ) - The 174,000 cubic metres capacity carrier “Marvel Falcon” was discharging a cargo on April 19 at the UK Isle of Grain terminal on the Medway-Thames estuary near London from the US Cameron LNG export plant in Louisiana. A second cargo carried by the 266,000 cubic metres capacity Q-Max carrier “Al Mafyar” was scheduled to arrive in the UK from Ras Laffan on April 24 with a shipment for the South Hook facility in the Welsh port of Milford Haven.

NFE deals sealed

April 16 (LNGJ) - New Fortress Energy said it completed the acquisition of Hygo Energy Transition, a 50-50 joint venture between Golar LNG Ltd and Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners, for 31.37 million shares of NFE and $580 million in cash. NFE simultaneously closed the acquisition of Golar LNG Partners, including all of the outstanding common units of the Nasdaq-listed firm.

   The Golar LNG Partners transaction was valued at around $1.9 billion on an enterprise basis and $25M in equity value. “The addition of the Hygo team, together with a great portfolio of world-class LNG ships and operators, enhances our efforts to bring more clean and affordable energy around the world,” said Wes Edens, Chairman and Chief Executive of New Fortress.

Spot charters rise

April 15 (LNGJ) - Shipping charter rates for LNG carriers in the spot market increased for West Of Suez by around $13,500 per day to average between $55,000 per day and $51,000 per day for vessels of 155,000-165,000 cubic metres capacity. In the East of Suez charter market average rates rose by around $4,000 per day to between $43,000 per day and $39,000 per day, according to various brokers. One-year charter rates for the most modern vessels also increased to around $61,000 per day.

UK cargo schedule

April 14 (LNGJ) - Two LNG carriers, one from Russia and one for Qatar, are heading for the UK with deliveries early next week for the two import terminals at the Port of Milford Haven in Wales. The 177,000 cubic metres capacity carrier “Boris Vilkitsky” is scheduled to berth on April 19 at the Dragon terminal at Milford Haven with a shipment from the Yamal plant in the Russian Arctic. On the same day, the 258,000 cubic metres capacity Q-Max vessel “Al Samriya” will discharge a cargo at the South Hook facility from Ras Laffan in Qatar.

Total-Siemens plan

April 13 (LNGJ) - French major Total and Siemens Energy of Germany have signed a technical collaboration agreement to study sustainable solutions for reducing carbon-dioxide emissions at liquefied natural gas plants and associated power generation facilities. “Each partner will bring together their best-in-class technologies and combine their know-how to deliver industrial-stage solutions such as combustion of clean hydrogen in gas turbines, competitive all-electrical liquefaction, optimized power generation, the integration of renewable energy in liquefaction plants’ power system,” explained Total.

   “This collaboration with Siemens Energy, a major player in the energy technology sector, brings many opportunities to further reduce the carbon footprint of our activities, especially in our strategic LNG business,” stated Arnaud Breuillac, President of Exploration and Production at Total. “The development of low-carbon LNG will contribute to meet the growth in global energy demand while reducing the carbon intensity of the energy products consumed,” added Breuillac. 

Algerian LNG for UK

April 13 (LNG) - The 171,800 cubic metres capacity liquefied natural gas carrier, the “Tessala”, is scheduled to deliver a cargo on April 15 to the UK Isle of Grain LNG import terminal, operated by National Grid Plc on the Medway-Thames estuary, southeast of London. Shipping data showed that the “Tessala” left the Algerian export plant at Arzew on April 10 for the four-day voyage from the Mediterranean to England.

   The UK National Balancing Point natural gas benchmark price has been rising in recent days because of colder weather and was last at the equivalent of $6.75 per million British thermal units, while the main Continental European price, the Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF), was higher at the equivalent of $6.85 per MMBtu.

Qatari LNG for UK

April 12 (LNGJ) - Three LNG cargoes from Qatar will be delivered to the UK for a second straight week. The 210,100 cubic metres capacity Q-Flex carrier “Onaiza” is scheduled berth on April 16 at the UK South Hook import terminal at Milford Haven in Wales on arrival from Ras Laffan in Qatar, according to the port authorities. The 216,000 cubic metres capacity vessel “Al Ghashamiya” will then discharge a cargo on April 18 at the terminal, followed by the arrival on April 19 of the 210,100 cubic metres capacity carrier “Murwab” to unload at South Hook.

   The latest shipments are scheduled as the UK National Balancing Point natural gas benchmark price is at the equivalent of $6.45 per million British thermal units, while the main Continental European price, the Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF), is higher at the equivalent of $6.60 per MMBtu.

Gas for Chechnya

April 9 (LNGJ) - Russian natural gas company Gazprom has opened the Mozdok-Grozny gas trunkline to improve supplies to the Chechen Republic, part of Russia's North Caucasian Federal District and which was the subject of two separatist wars from 1994 to 2009. The new gas pipeline crosses under 13 roads and six bodies of water, including the Terek River. An affiliated gas distribution station with an hourly capacity of 247,000 cubic metres was created as part of the project in the North Caucasus region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.

   “Gazprom has been making large-scale efforts for gas supply and gas infrastructure expansion in the region. By the start of this year, the company built over 743 kilometres of gas pipelines in the Chechen Republic and created the conditions for connecting 11,800 households to gas,” stated Gazprom.

Charter rates go up

April 8 (LNGJ) - Shipping charter rates for LNG carriers in the spot market increased for West Of Suez by around $3,500 per day to average between $41,500 per day and $37,500 per day for vessels of 155,000-165,000 cubic metres capacity. In the East of Suez charter market average rates rose by around $3,000 per day to between $37,000 per day and $33,000 per day, according to various brokers. One-year charter rates for the most modern vessels also increased to around $60,000 per day.

Chevron Japan deal

April 7 (LNGJ) - Chevron Corp has signed a binding Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) with Japanese utility Hokkaido Gas for the delivery of LNG from Chevron’s global portfolio to the Hokkaido area. Under the deal, Chevron will supply Sapporo-based Hokkaido Gas with about 500,000 tonnes of LNG over a period of five years starting in April 2022. “We are delighted to design and execute an SPA with our new partner Hokkaido Gas that will bring Chevron LNG directly to Hokkaido, a key growth area,” said the US major. “It broadens our customer base in Japan, a market that is foundational to our LNG business,” added Chevron.

Russian LNG for UK

April 7 (LNGJ) - The 172,000 cubic metres capacity carrier, “Nikolay Urvantsev”, was scheduled to discharge a liquefied natural gas cargo on April 7 at the UK Isle of Grain LNG import terminal on the Medway-Thames estuary, located southeast of London, according to Thamesport data. A second Russian shipment is also on the way from the Yamal export plant at Sabetta in northern Siberia. 

   The 172,600 cubic metres capacity vessel, “Christophe de Margerie”, is expected to deliver to the Isle of Grain on April 9 after the nine-day voyage from the Yamal facility, operated by Russian natural gas company Novatek. Other Yamal LNG shareholders include France’s Total and China National Petroleum Corp.

Qatargas UK surge

April 6 (LNGJ) - Three LNG cargoes from Qatar will be delivered to the UK in the next seven days from Ras Laffan in the Gulf. The 159,800 cubic metres capacity carrier “Corcovado LNG” is scheduled berth on April 8 at the UK South Hook import terminal at Milford Haven in Wales, according to the port authorities. The 207,000 cubic metres capacity vessel “Umm Al Amad” will then discharge a cargo on April 10 at the terminal, followed by the arrival on April 13 of the 216,2000 cubic metres capacity carrier “Al Gattara” to unload at South Hook.

   The latest shipments are scheduled as the UK National Balancing Point natural gas benchmark price is at the equivalent of $6.55 per million British thermal units, while the main Continental European price, the Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF), is higher at the equivalent of $6.60 per MMBtu.

LNG cargo for UK

April 2 (LNGJ) – Another Qatari cargo from Ras Laffan in the Gulf is heading for the UK. The 261,000 cubic metres capacity Q-Max carrier “Rasheeda” is currently making its way through the West Mediterranean after traversing the Suez Canal and is scheduled to berth on April 9 at the South Hook import terminal at the Welsh port of Milford Haven, according to shipping data. The National Balancing Point natural gas benchmark price is at a seasonally firm level of $6.50 per million British thermal units, while the main Continental European price, the Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF), is even higher at the equivalent of $6.60 per MMBtu.

US feed-gas boost

April 1 (LNGJ) - The East Texas operating subsidiary of Midcoast Energy has put its CJ Express Expansion Project into service and executed a firm transportation agreement and natural gas purchase and sales agreement with Golden Pass LNG , the project being developed by Qatar Petroleum and ExxonMobil Corp. The CJ Express project added compression and pipeline facilities at multiple locations on Midcoast's existing East Texas system.

   “CJ Express was anchored by long-term transportation agreements with two creditworthy shippers,” said Midcoast. “The new commercial agreements with Golden Pass LNG will become effective after completion of an extension of the Midcoast Clarity pipeline in the Beaumont area to a new interconnect with Golden Pass Pipeline. The construction of new facilities and the effective date of long-term commitments will align with Golden Pass LNG's feed-gas needs,” it explained.

Zhejiang Energy deal

March 31 (LNGJ) - Zhejiang Energy Group, a leading state-owned utility in eastern China with scores of businesses including electricity provision and fuel, has signed an accord with Italian company Eni to cooperate in the energy sector. “The accord establishes a cooperation framework aimed at facilitating joint initiatives between Eni and Zhejiang Energy across the gas and LNG value chain in China and internationally,” said Eni. The initiatives listed include developing a long-term LNG supply agreement to joint participation in natural gas projects.

Qatargas takeover

March 30 (LNGJ) - Qatar Petroleum said it would become the 100 percent owner of Qatargas I and all its assets and facilities from January 2022 as joint venture contracts ran down and as the nation also embarked on a large-scale LNG expansion from North Field assets in the Gulf. The Qatargas company had merged in 2017 with the third Qatari energy company, Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Co., or RasGas as it was known. Qatargas 1 comprises the smaller Trains at Ras Laffan

   “The takeover by Qatar Petroleum will conclude more than 25 years of successful operations of Qatargas I from which the first ever Qatari LNG cargo was exported,” said Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, President and Chief Executive of Qatar Petroleum. “This is a momentous event that highlights Qatar Petroleum's efforts to further enhance the utilization of our natural resources,” he stated. “I would like to thank our valued partners, Total, ExxonMobil, Marubeni and Mitsui for their efforts in the development and operation of QG1 over the past three decades,” added al-Kaabi.

US LNG-CCS deal

March 29 (LNGJ) - US liquefied natural gas developer NextDecade Corp. has signed an accord for a possible carbon-capture and sequestration (CCS) project associated with its planned Rio Grande LNG export facility in south Texas after signing an initial agreement with Houston-based Occidental Petroleum Corp. The carbon-dioxide would be sequestered in an underground geologic formation in the Rio Grande Valley.

Tokyo Gas spin-off

March 26 (LNGJ) - Tokyo Gas, one of the main Japanese LNG importers, said it would spin off a “preparatory company” to facilitate and ensure preparations for the legal separation of the Tokyo Gas pipeline division required by April 2022 under the Japanese Gas Business Act covering market liberalization. “The spin-off of the gas pipeline business is subject to approval by a resolution of the annual general meeting of shareholders scheduled to be held in June 2021 and the acquisition of licenses and approvals by the competent government agencies,” said Tokyo Gas.

LNG bunkering deal

March 25 (LNGJ) - Total and Swiss-based MSC Cruises have signed an agreement for the French energy company to supply around 45,000 tonnes per annum of LNG for cruise ships calling at the Port of Marseilles. Total said it already had worldwide bunkering ties with MSC Cruises. “As we prepare to launch our first of three upcoming LNG-powered cruise ships in 2022, through this key agreement Marseilles will become our hub in the Mediterranean for the refuelling of our latest-generation and most environmentally advanced ships,” declared Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises.

Charter rates rise

March 25 (LNGJ) - Shipping charter rates for LNG carriers in the spot market increased for West Of Suez by $2,000 per day to average between $34,000 per day and $30,000 per day for vessels of 155,000-165,000 cubic metres capacity. One-year charter rates for the most modern vessels also increased to around $54,000 per day from last week’s $49,000 per day. In the East of Suez charter market average rates were unchanged at between $32,000 per day and $28,000 per day, according to various brokers.

Qatargas UK cargoes

March 24 (LNGJ) - Qatar is increasing its LNG supplies to the UK again this week with two cargoes heading for the South Hook import terminal at the Welsh port of Milford Haven from the Qatari plant at Ras Laffan. The 262,000 cubic metres capacity Q-Max carrier “Al Mayeda” is scheduled to discharge a shipment on March 26 at the South Hook facility, according to the port authority. A second Q-Max vessel, the “Mekaines”, is then scheduled to berth on March 27 at the same regasification terminal.

Total deal in China

March 23 (LNGJ) - French major Total and China’s Shenergy Group, the leading energy player in the port of Shanghai, have signed binding agreements for the supply of up to 1.4 million tonnes per annum of LNG from Total, as well as the creation of a joint venture to expand LNG marketing in China. The joint venture, Total 49 percent and Shenergy 51 percent, will sell LNG supplied by Total to customers in Shanghai and throughout the neighbouring Yangtze River delta region.

   Additionally, Total will supply LNG to Shanghai Gas, the natural gas distribution subsidiary of Shenergy. “This deal with Shenergy Group is a great opportunity to partner with an experienced gas and LNG player with strong ambitions, as well as a unique entry point into the downstream LNG market in China,” said Stéphane Michel, President of Gas, Renewables and Power at Total.

Peru March cargoes

March 23 (LNGJ) - The Peru LNG export plant at Pampa Melchorita on the Pacific Coast shipped four cargoes to Europe and Asia in March 2021, one to the Netherlands, two to Japan and one to South Korea. The first cargo shipped to the Gate terminal in Rotterdam left on March 1 on the 138,160 cubic metres capacity carrier “Methane Princess” at a Dutch Title Transfer facility (TTF) price of $6.014 per million British thermal units, according to data from Peruvian national energy company PeruPetro.

   The second shipment headed for Japan on March 6 on the 170,200 cubic metres capacity carrier “SCF Mitre” at a Japan-Korea Marker price of $5.980 per MMBtu. A second shipment for Japan left on March 12 on the 173,400 cubic metres capacity vessel “Maran Gas Amphipolis” at the JKM price of $5.980 per MMBtu. The fourth Peruvian cargo headed for South Korea and departed on March 19 on the 138,000 cubic metres capacity carrier “Sestao Knutsen” at the JKM price of $6.596 per MMBtu.

Vietnam LNG plan

March 22 (LNGJ) - GS Energy Corp., a subsidiary of the South Korean conglomerate, the GS Group, is planning to build and operate a power plant in Vietnam fired by regasified LNG. Vietnam is now the subject of over half a dozen power projects with gas-fired plants and backed by foreign investment. GS Energy said its project was in the south of Vietnam and would cost around 3.5 trillion South Korean won ($3 billion). The Korean company planned to sign a power purchase agreement with the state-run Vietnam Electricity Group to begin commercial production in 2027.

Gagarin at Canaveral

March 19 (LNGJ) - Russian fleet owner Sovcomflot and Royal Dutch Shell broke new ground with the completion of the first Aframax tanker fuelling using LNG in the US. Sovcomflot’s vessel, the “Gagarin Prospect”, named after the first human in space Yuri Gagarin and which is on long-term charter to Shell, was en route from Corpus Christi in Texas to Europe.

   “The ship received 1,075 cubic metres of marine LNG from Shell ‘s chartered bunkering barge, the “Q-LNG 4000”, outside the Port of Canaveral in Florida,” said Sovcomflot. “This represented the first ever ship-to-ship LNG fuelling of a large capacity Aframax tanker in the US,” the Russian company added.

Charter rates level

March 19 (LNGJ) - Shipping charter rates for LNG carriers in the spot market reached global parity levels as West Of Suez rates declined by $4,000 per week to average between $32,000 per day and $28,000 per day for vessels of 155,000-165,000 cubic metres capacity. In the East of Suez charter market average rates were at the same level after being unchanged from last week, according to various brokers. One-year charter rates for the most modern vessels increased to $49,000 per day.

ENN LNG fueling

March 18 (LNGJ) - The first Chinese seagoing LNG bunkering vessel, which has 8,500 cubic metre of capacity, will be delivered into service after mid-2021 to ENN Energy Group. ENN, the operator of the Zhoushan LNG import terminal in China’s eastern Zhejiang province, said the vessel with a C-type storage tank was nearing completion at the Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Corp. shipyard. It would be based at the Zhoushan terminal when delivered and would service sea-going vessels.

Qatar cargoes for UK

March 17 (LNGJ) - Qatar is increasing its LNG supplies to the UK this week with three cargoes heading for the two terminals at the Welsh port of Milford Haven from the Qatari plant at Ras Laffan. The 210,100 cubic metres capacity Q-Flex carrier “Al Aamriya” is scheduled to discharge a shipment on March 19 at the South Hook facility, according to the port authority.

   The 216,200 cubic metres capacity vessel “Al Rekayyat” is also scheduled to arrive on March 19 at the Dragon regasification terminal, operated by Royal Dutch Shell. The 210,185 cubic metres capacity carrier “Al Bahiya” is then expected on March 21 to berth at the South Hook facility with another cargo.

Gazprom EPC change

March 16 (LNGJ) – Gazprom has decided to terminate the engineering, procurement and construction contract awarded to Nipigaz for the construction of a gas processing complex near Ust-Luga on the Baltic coast, eventually including an LNG plant.

   “The purpose of the decision is to optimize the project costs,” said Gazprom. “The replacement of the contractor will not have any influence on the project implementation schedule. A new contractor for these works will be appointed in the near future,” added Gazprom. The EPC contract was signed for gas processing and off-site facilities within the integrated complex, but not for the liquefaction plant which was set to be signed later. 

Shell QGC sale

March 15 (LNGJ) - Royal Dutch Shell has completed the sale of a 26.25 percent stake in the Queensland Curtis LNG export plant near Gladstone QGC for US$2.5 billion. The buyer was Global Infrastructure Partners Australia.

   Shell said the sale was consistent with the Anglo-Dutch company’s strategy of selling non-core assets to simplify the portfolio. “The sale will contribute to Shell’s expected divestment proceeds, without impact on people or the operations of the QCLNG venture,” said Shell, which acquired the LNG project after taking over BG Group.

Full set of offset

March 15 (LNGJ) - Off-setting, a form of self-imposed taxation thought up by the green lobby and marketed by US investment banks and now being followed worldwide by the energy industry, has moved on to the condensate sector. Western Australian LNG plant operator Woodside Petroleum and its Pluto LNG joint venture participants, Japanese utilities Kansai Electric Power and Tokyo Gas, said they delivered their first cargo of carbon-offset condensate to global commodity trading company Trafigura from the Pluto facility on the Burrup Peninsula.

   “The carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions associated with extraction, storage and shipping of the 650,000-barrel cargo will be offset through a combination of efficiency measures, which reduce emissions,” said a statement. “High-quality carbon offsets have been sourced from nature-based projects located in the Asia-Pacific region, independently validated and verified by the Gold Standard or Verified Carbon Standard,” it added.

Two cargoes for UK

March 12 (LNGJ) - Two LNG shipments are scheduled to arrive next week at the UK import terminals in the Welsh port of Milford Haven carrying cargoes from the US and Qatar. The 174,000 cubic metres capacity carrier “Maran Gas Ulysses” will discharge a cargo on March 16 at the Dragon import facility from the Sabine Pass export plant in Louisiana.

   The 261,700 cubic metres capacity Q-Flex carrier “Lijmiliya” is then due to arrive at Milford Haven’s South Hook terminal on March 17 with a cargo from Ras Laffan in Qatar. The deliveries to the UK come as prices are rising after a recent slump. The UK National Balancing Point benchmark has jumped to the equivalent of $6.50 per million British thermal units from $5.60 per MMBtu earlier in the week.