World News

January 2018, Vol. 245, No. 1

Gas-Exporting Countries Concerned by Growing Supplies

Top officials of major gas-producing countries acknowledged at a recent gathering in Bolivia that expanding supplies of the fuel are giving global buyers greater sway over purchase and contract terms.

The Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), which aspires to be the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) for natural gas suppliers, drew energy ministers from Qatar, Iran, Russia and Venezuela to Santa Cruz, Bolivia as market oversupply reduces revenues. These countries increasingly are competing with exports from and prices set in the United States, which is on track to become the world’s third-largest exporter of LNG after Qatar and Australia.

At least 25 countries are now capable of receiving LNG supplies and new regasification plants are expected to start operating in the coming months, giving buyers even greater flexibility and increasing competition for suppliers.

U.S. suppliers such as Cheniere Energy, the country’s largest LNG exporter, are allowing customers to resell cargoes, which has created a profitable market for trading houses. A growing number of spot LNG sales and swaps is also taking place. Cheniere plans to open its fifth liquefaction plant in the coming months while seeking new buyers.

UK Firms Confident for First Time in 4 Years

Contractor confidence in the U.K. Continental Shelf (UKCS) has risen with almost half being more confident about their prospects for the first time since 2013.

The findings of the 27th Oil and Gas survey, conducted by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Fraser of Allander Institute and KPMG, reveal that 49% of contractors surveyed are more optimistic about their activities in 2017, up from 38% since the spring survey.

It found that a net balance of 39% continue to expect a rise in optimism in the year ahead, with almost half (48%) more confident and only 9% less confident; while a net balance of 28% of firms are forecasting an increase in the value of production-related work in the coming year. Meanwhile, the trend in skilled workers leaving the industry continues although figures suggest it has eased marginally, down to 38% from 43% at the same time in 2016.

When asked to give their predictions as to when the sector will reach the bottom of its current cycle, the majority (60%) felt it already had, compared to 52% in the spring and only 29% this time last year. A further 24% forecast this will happen within the next 12 months and 11% anticipate that it will happen within 1-2 years. Only 6% felt that it would take longer.

ExxonMobil Partners with Singapore Universities 

ExxonMobil announced that it is partnering with two Singapore universities to open a Singapore Energy Center in 2019 to focus on new discoveries and significant improvements to technologies that could improve energy production, and enhance energy efficiency and other efforts to mitigate the risk of climate change.

ExxonMobil signed a memorandum of understanding with the Nanyang Technological University and the National University of Singapore to become a founding member of the proposed center – the company’s first such research and development partnership outside the United States.

As a founding member, ExxonMobil will support the center’s wide range of early-stage research projects. Company researchers and scientists will also collaborate with students and faculty at the two universities, as well as other industry contributors, once the center opens in early 2019.

Gastech 2018 Roadshow Indicates Huge Growth for Gas, LNG

Almost 200 regional and international business leaders, government representatives and renowned influencers gathered in Madrid, Spain to discuss the continued evolution of the growing gas and LNG market at the Gastech 2018 Roadshow.

The one-day event, held in November at the Official College of Architects of Madrid, was the first such roadshow ahead of Gastech 2018, which will see the global gas industry converge in Spain next year. Speakers discussed the global move toward the greater adoption of gas and LNG as the fuel of choice and how the industry continues to see signposts pointing toward further increases

A second roadshow will take place in spring ahead of the Gastech Exhibition & Conference in September.

Turkmenistan May Ship to Eastern Europe

Reuters reported that Turkmenistan may ship natural gas to eastern Europe through Russia, a senior Turkmen energy official said, even after Moscow stopped buying gas from the Central Asian nation. Russia’s halt to imports of Turkmenistan gas has effectively left the country with China as the only buyer of its gas, straining its economy.

Argentina Extends Unconventional Gas Incentives 

Argentina’s energy ministry has extended an incentives program for unconventional natural gas projects to the Austral basin, the country’s southernmost source of gas. Platts reported the incentives will be the same as those available in the Neuquén basin, home to Vaca Muerta, one of the world’s largest shale plays, according to energy officials who said the goal is “to accelerate the development and production of gas” from tight and shale plays in the Austral basin.

This means producers can get $7.50/MMBtu for output from such plays through 2018, gradually declining to $6/MMBtu in 2021, after which market pricing will take effect.

The market price at that time is expected to be in line with the current average of $4/MMBtu, according to analysts and government estimates. The Austral basin, which runs under the provinces of Santa Cruz and Tierra del Fuego, produces 24% of the country’s gas and 3.4% of its 475,000 bpd of oil output.

Bolivia Signs $1.6 Billion in Gas Deals with Repsol, Petrobras

Bolivia’s government has signed natural gas development deals with Spain’s Repsol, Brazil’s Petrobras, Royal Dutch Shell and Pan American Energy that are expected to draw $1.6 billion (£1.21 billion) in investment and boost output, according to Reuters.

The deals cover blocks in the Iniguazu, San Telmo Norte and Astillero gas areas. Repsol, Shell and Pan American Energy will participate in the Iniguazu consortium, while Petrobras will be a partner in the other two. Several units of Bolivia’s state-run YPFB will participate in all the projects. Bolivia’s declining gas production is seen as an obstacle for boosting exports to key customers in Argentina and Brazil.

Sloth Joins Peruvian Gas Pipeline Workforce

Workers at a Peruvian gas pipeline unit recently welcomed a new crewmember. Surprisingly, the new unofficial recruit is a sloth that was seen making an effort to turn a valve. The workers captured video showing the sloth hanging from a guard rail by its feet and using its long arms to pull on the valve.

The sloth can also be seen trying to get into a comfortable position so that it can perform its task efficiently. The sloth was actually trying to get a steady hold to balance himself. However, it did manage to successfully turn the wheel. The unusual new worker was very slow with its actions, so capturing the sloth rotating the wheel ever-so-slowly required patience.