Electrifying remote Indonesian islands through ships, or barges, that generated electricity using LNG, is at the centre of a research plan supported by the governments of Indonesia and Japan. Tokyo hopes to export the new technology to other island nations in Asia Pacific.
Low global LNG prices have improved the economics in China to generate electricity from natural gas instead of coal, and the subsequent surge in pipeline gas and LNG imports also increased the number of landed cargoes from the United States. According to the latest figures by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, the worth of US LNG exports in Jan-July 2017 exceeded $139 million, already 2% more than the 2016 total.
Encouraged by a seismic survey of Atlantic coast acreage, Argentina has announced it will auction offshore oil and gas exploration rights near its northeastern sea border next year. The energy ministry hopes the subsalt basin off Brazil continues south which could lead to discovery of attractive conventional fields that help reverse Argentina’s energy deficit.
Rising exports of “abundant US natural gas” is estimated to support up to 452,000 new jobs and give a $73 billion boost to the economy by 2040 – at a “minimal impact on the natural gas prices,” according to a study by the American Petroleum Institute (API). The resource base is now seen as “larger, less expensive and more price responsive,“ API Chief Strategy Officer Marty Durbin commented.
CEOs of the three gas liquefaction and export facilities near Gladstone in Queensland, Australia, have struck a deal with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, promising to fill the expected shortfall and address any additional needs by offering gas on “secure and affordable” to domestic customers.
Ineos Group, the operator of Scotland’s Grangemouth oil refinery, has condemned a decision to ban shale extraction in Scotland saying the government “turned its back on a potential manufacturing and jobs renaissance.” Operations director Tom Pickering warned Scottland will miss out on an estimated 3,100 jobs – and “it will be England that reaps the benefits.”
Integrating North America’s abundant shale gas resources into global markets keeps prices subdued: NBP averaged at $10/mmBtu in 2011-14 and by 2016 lost more than half of its value, hovering around $4.63/mmBtu. According to Societe Generale analysis, natural gas is now in a unique position to help regions transition away from coal- and oil-fuelled power generation.
Strikingly, South Korea’s year-to-date LNG demand has risen by over 4 million tons – contrary to expectations it would fall. Yet very little of this demand strength comes from the power sector; according to Energy Aspects, Korea’s LNG appetite this year has been more down to expansion of LNG import facilities with players having bought cheap spot cargoes on spec and put the gas into storage.
Vivid economic growth across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is driving up demand for electricity. The regions’ installed power generation capacity of 209 MW cannot meet burgeoning demand, and WoodMackenzie estimates about US$500 billion will be needed to build an additional 270 GW by 2035.
Alarmed about the scale of gas shortages in Australia, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is considering restrictions on LNG exports from Australia’s eastern coast. Santos, Shell and ConocoPhillips have been urged to help plug an estimated shortfall of up to 17% of market demand in 2018.