Regulation & Policy

Australia’s big LNG exporters – including Shell and Exxon - have agreed to a request from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to supply more gas to the domestic market.

The UK government is preparing to intervene to control energy prices because the market is “manifestly not working” for consumers, according to Prime Minister May. The Government has faced repeated calls for a fixed price cap on energy tariffs amid accusations that the so-called Big Six energy companies are not competitive enough on pricing.

A switch from coal to gas helped keep energy-related carbon dioxide emissions flat in 2016 for the third year in a row, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), after many years of steep growth. However, most of the improvement did not come as a result of policies designed to cut CO2 emissions.  

The European Commission has approved a €420 million (£364m) Czech support scheme for electricity generation from high-efficiency combined heat and power (CHP) plants under EU state aid rules. The Commission concluded the measure would support EU energy and climate change goals without unduly distorting competition.

The latest report by the Australian Energy Market Operator shows there could be both gas and electricity shortages within the next few years on the country’s populous east coast – despite the nation being among the biggest LNG exporters in the world (and set to be the biggest by 2021).

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is withdrawing its request that owners and operators in the oil and natural gas industry provide information on equipment and emissions at existing oil and gas operations. The withdrawal is effective immediately, meaning owners and operators, including those who have received an extension to their due dates for providing the information, are no longer required to respond.

Singapore is to introduce a carbon tax on large direct emitters of greenhouse gases, including power stations from 2019. The tax is expected to affect between 30 and 40 emitters.

UK gas and power regulator, Ofgem, is proposing to cut the embedded subsidies enjoyed by smaller distributed generators, down from the current level of around £45/kW – double the clearing price for the 2016 Capacity Market auction – to just £2/kW. The changes could come as a blow to many smaller gas fired plants, which make up a significant share of such generators.

Last week finally saw an agreement between European Union national governments on the future of the Emission Trading System (ETS) carbon market, after talks that lasted 18 months. The deal could be bullish for gas demand, with the number of carbon credits constrained as the 2020s progress, adding to the cost of coal fired power generation, and making gas – which emits less than half the CO2 of coal – more attractive.

Mexico should pursue an “active competition policy” in order to harness the benefit of the reform of its energy market initiated in recent years, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said.

Italy's industry ministry is finalising a decree on incentives to the biomethane sector, which might be approved as early as this summer.

Economic growth and an expanding population are going to pose a challenge for New Zealand from an energy perspective, requiring increased efforts in terms of both technology and policy, the International Energy Agency said.

In its latest New Zealand 2017 review of energy policies in the country, IEA stressed that despite New Zealand having long been “a global leader in developing effective energy markets, renewable energy and establishing robust policies for electricity security”, over the past decade its growing energy needs have “outpaced improvements in energy efficiency, mainly because of the country’s expanding economy and growing population.”

Implementation of gas network codes by European countries as part of the gas regional initiative (GRI) showed a disconnect between progress in the south region and the south-southeast region, with the latter showing a somewhat slower progress in 2016.

It emerged from the Gas regional initiative status review report 2016 published in February by the Agency for the cooperation of energy regulators (ACER).

EU member states have agreed February 17 on the Commission's proposal to invest some Eur444 million in key European energy infrastructure projects.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) and China are stepping up cooperation on energy security, capacity building, data and statistics through a new three-year work programme that is also intended to support China’s energy transition and efforts to address environmental and air-quality issues.