A consortium of Enagás, Snam and Fluxys has completed the acquisition of a 66% stake in DESFY, the Greek gas transmission system operator. The stake was bought from the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) and Hellenic Petroleum for € 535 million.

Colder weather in China is pushing up heating demand which is the first resilience test for the gas network. Some 3.2 million new residential gas users have been grid-connected this year, adding 4.5 Bcm in demand which comes on top of even higher demand growth from industries. Overall demand in winter 2018/19 is forecast to be 40 Bcm over last year’s levels.

Saudi Arabia’s 2019 budget has allocated 33 billion riyals ($8.8 billion) for the energy, industry, mining and logistics sectors – more than three times the amount spent in the previous budget. State spending will rise by over 7% next year to an equivalent of $295 million, and most of these higher expenses are intended to be financed through rising oil revenues.

Rising use of thermal coal in the Japanese power sector has led to a 1% drop in LNG imports in November while coal shipments increased by more than 5%. Utilities prefer coal over gas as a fuel for their power stations after the cost of LNG cargoes surged year-on-year by nearly $1 billion.

Despite rising oil prices and production levels U.S. gas fracking companies are continuing to lose money, according to a review of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEA). In the third quarter of 2018, the 32 mid-size U.S. exploration companies reported nearly $1 billion in negative cash flows.

Switching from coal to cleaner-burning gas for power generation has led to a 28% decline in carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. power sector. Slower growth of electricity demand also contributed to the decline, with the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) calculating that power generation-related CO2 emission fell to a near 30-year low at 1,744 million metric tons (MMmt).

Norway’s gas system operator Gassco has announced the start-up of the Polarled pipeline, opening up a new supply route for supplying Norwegian gas to Europe. Spanning 482 kilometres, Polarled carries output from the Aasta Hansteen field via the Nyhamna processing plant to the UK and continental Europe.

By 2030, more than 45% of EU industrial (grey) hydrogen demand, or 10% of Europe’s natural gas consumption, could be substituted by green hydrogen which would help decarbonise the “hard-to-abate” sectors like industry and heavy transport. But not all clean hydrogen will need to be produced within the EU.

Russia’s ability to meet Europe’s growing gas demand seems hampered by infrastructure bottlenecks across the continent, creating room for LNG exporters to grab market share. Gazprom targets to deliver 200 Bcm of piped gas to Europe this year but Wood Mackenzie forecasts the continent will need a further 77 Bcm/y by 2025.

Steep decline in coal use in the American power sector has drastically reduced emissions. Coal-fired generation peaked at 2,026 million MWh in 2007 and dropped to less than 1,200 million MWh today, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). As a consequence, energy-related emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) fell by 88% and 76%, respectively.

Strong, sustained growth in U.S. gas production is putting downward pressure on Henry Hub spot and futures prices. Dry gas production increased to 83.3 Bcf/d in 2018, according to figures by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), which forecasts a subsequent fall in Henry Hub spot gas prices to $3.11 per MMBtu on average in 2019.

Japan’s largest LNG importer JERA will also become the nation’s biggest power producer as of April 2019 when it will take control of TECPO and Chubu Electric’s domestic power business. Rated ‘A-minus by Standard & Poor’s, analysts caution that over the next three years JERA plans to invest in high-risk upstream LNG concessions and unregulated power projects overseas.

The world’s advanced economies will see an uptick in their emissions, bucking a five-year long decline. Energy-related CO2 emissions in North America, the EU and industrialized countries in Asia Pacific grew by around 0.5% in 2018, as higher oil and gas use more than offset declining coal consumption, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Princeton University researchers have proposed a U.S. pipeline network that would capture, transport and store underground up to 30 million metric tons of emissions each year – an amount equal to removing 6.5 million cars from the road. The pipeline would transfer CO2 waste from ethanol refineries in the American Midwest to oilfields in West Texas for use in enhanced oil recovery (EOR).

Boosting upstream investment, Chevron has set aside $3.6 billion for fracking in the Permian Basin out of a total $20 billion of capital spending in 2019. The decision comes as U.S. recoverable shale oil and gas reserves have been assessed at a record high.

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