Zombie gas pipelines are only making matters worse for Pakistan
Dire economic, security, and energy difficulties domestically for Pakistan are being aggravated by neverending regional pipeline politics that continue to do nothing for a state on the brink of collapse, writes Seb Kennedy in Energy Flux.
LNG demand in Asia continued to slide in early 2023
In spite of isolated signs of recovery and significant price falls in the first quarter of the year, many of the region’s economies are reluctant to jump back into the LNG market, writes Sam Reynolds for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.
Krk LNG expansion “condemns us to the climate crisis” – Croatian campaigners
Environmental justice group Zelena akcija (Friends of the Earth Croatia) has stepped up its opposition to the Croatian government’s plans to further increase the potentially solar-rich country’s dependence on imported LNG via the floating Krk import terminal in the Adriatic Sea. The group’s protest action in front of a government building in Zagreb followed last week's signing of a contract between state-owned LNG Croatia and Norway’s Wartsila Gas Solutions for the delivery of an additional regasification module that will double Krk’s import capacity within two years at a cost of €23 million (US$25 million). This would be partly paid for by the state budget, according to Davor Filipović, Croatia’s minister of Economy and Sustainable Development. “Doubling the capacity of the terminal will mean locking Croatia into at least two more decades of using fossil gas,” commented Zelena akcija’s Marija Mileta. “Decades in which we must phase out fossil fuels to avoid irreversible climate change.” (Zelena akcija, Croatia Week)
Seven-month investigation throws fresh doubt on credibility of gas certification programs: The claims being made by the rapidly expanding “certified gas” sector, that companies’ methane products can be classed and sold as “responsibly sourced,” have been debunked by a new report from Oil Change International and Earthworks. Such claims are being used to justify – through aggressive marketing – continued gas extraction. Focusing on the methane emissions monitoring of Project Canary, one of the largest gas certifiers, the U.S.-based non-profits deployed oil and gas certified-thermographers to the field. They found that sensors operated by the company consistently failed to alert Colorado regulators to significant leaks at wells it had been contracted to monitor. Additional evidence in the report suggests that a key Project Canary director and Advisory Board members have direct financial investments in the same gas companies it certifies. The report also spotlights the lack of transparency hanging over gas certification companies more broadly, which is resulting in markets and governments being misled by industry claims, the groups contend. (Oil Change International (Pdf), The Hill)
Senegal gas deal drives locals to desperation and sex work: An investigation by The Associated Press into the multibillion-dollar Greater Tortue Ahmeyim LNG export project under development off the coasts of Senegal and neighboring Mauritania has discovered widespread evidence of the devastating effects of the collapse of the local fishing industry. In the town of Saint-Louis, Senegal’s historic center for fishing, 90% of its 250,000 inhabitants used to rely on fishing for their livelihoods, but catches have almost entirely dried up. In a 2019 environmental and social assessment, BP reckoned that the project it’s developing with U.S. oil company Kosmos Energy would have a low impact on the local fishing industry. Instead, say local people, since 2020 and the installation of the drilling platform 10 kilometers offshore, unemployment and poverty have worsened drastically. Ahead of the start of production on phase one of the project, which is planned for the end of this year, women who spoke anonymously to The AP have also been forced to become illegal sex workers in order to support their families. (The Associated Press, GEM.wiki)
Riga puts Skulte LNG terminal on ice: Latvia’s government has rejected a request to provide financial guarantees for the Skulte LNG terminal but will continue negotiations with neighboring Estonia on the shared use of the Paldiski LNG terminal, according to an ministerial press conference on April 11. Once considered an ‘object of national interest' as the country sought to wean itself from imported Russian gas, Skulte has been deemed to be commercially non-viable by a Ministry of Climate and Energy study. The ministry also noted that gas consumption in the Baltic region is 30% below the supply output of existing LNG terminals. National civil society groups welcomed the decision but cautioned against the government's preference to import gas via terminals in neighboring countries. (Baltic News Network, CEE Bankwatch Network)
Over 90% of Germany’s gas pipelines could be redundant by 2045 – study: The headline finding of a new study from German think tank Agora Energiewende is that 71% to 94% of the country's more than 500,000 kilometers of gas pipelines could go unused as the country transitions away from fossil fuels. The study predicts that national demand for both fossil and biogas will drop by as much as 97% by 2045, leaving Germany with as much as €10 billion (US$11 billion) in stranded assets. This would leave consumers on the hook for up to 16 times higher grid fees, according to Agora’s analysis. The jury is out on whether this infrastructure could be repurposed, and at what cost, to transport hydrogen instead. (Agora Energiewende [Pdf], EURACTIV)
Slovak activists on red alert over Danube LNG plans: A €40 million (US$44 million) project to build an LNG import terminal in Bratislava’s port on the Danube River for the refueling of cargo ships, which was greenlighted by Slovakia’s environment ministry in early April, is being legally challenged by Greenpeace Slovakia. The group has been involved in public protests against the proposed project with Slovak and international environmental justice activists since 2021 and says that the Port Bratislava LNG terminal, which could come online in 2026 at the earliest, “goes against all the climate goals that Slovakia has committed itself to.” Public Ports, the state-owned company lined up to build the import terminal, claims that LNG significantly reduces carbon dioxide production and produces almost no particulate matter, according to local media reporting. This week, Italy's Eni and gas grid operator Snam signed two agreements with Slovakia's biggest energy provider, SPP, for the supply and storage of gas and LNG. (EURACTIV, Tlačová agentúra Slovenskej republiky, Reuters)
“[R]ecognizing the primary need to accelerate the clean energy transition through energy savings and gas demand reduction, investment in the gas sector can be appropriate to help address potential market shortfalls provoked by the crisis, subject to clearly defined national circumstances, and if implemented in a manner consistent with our climate objectives and without creating lock-in effects, for example by ensuring that projects are integrated into national strategies for the development of low-carbon and renewable hydrogen,”
reads the section on gas from the G7 Climate, Energy and Environment Ministers’ Communiqué at the conclusion of the G7 ministerial in Sapporo, Japan.
Ghana: The start-up of the US$350 million Tema floating LNG import terminal, supported by the Development Bank of Southern Africa and originally intended to come online in 2016, is delayed to some time later this year.
India: Adani Group and TotalEnergies have started supplying gas to the grid from their Dhamra LNG import facility, as part of the terminal’s commissioning phase. The commissioning gas was supplied by Qatargas.
Nigeria: The Chinese contractor Wison Offshore and Marine has won a bid to provide services for an as yet unnamed LNG plant in Nigeria.
Norway: Floating terminal player Hoegh LNG and other partners have received government funding to develop a system to convert ammonia back to hydrogen, which will then be installed onboard a Hoegh vessel.
Philippines: The proposed Ilijan LNG import terminal has received approval from Batangas City’s Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council to proceed with the facility’s construction, commissioning, and operation.
Spain: The country’s industrial sector is pushing for EU subsidies to support hopes of becoming a major green hydrogen player.
Türkiye: Sourced from an LNG shipment delivered by U.S. exporter Cheniere Energy, Türkiye’s Botas has piped a first supply of gas – roughly 55 million cubic meters – to neighboring Bulgaria as part of a deal to diversify southeast Europe’s supply mix away from Russia and boost Ankara’s credentials as a gas hub.
U.S.: Analysis commissioned by the Environmental Defense Fund found that leaks, flaring, and venting by Louisiana’s oil and gas producers wasted more than 27 billion cubic feet of methane in 2019, enough to meet the annual consumption of more than two thirds of the homes in the state.
Banks implicated in Australian carbon bomb are urged to withdraw: New financial analysis from a group of NGOs reveals the banks involved in the financing of Australia’s dirtiest gas project, Santos’ US$3.6 billion Barossa gas project, which is currently paused following a court ruling last December that revoked a drilling permit due to inadequate consultation of Traditional Owners. Nine banks, among them Korea Development Bank and top Japanese and Dutch commercial banks, have loaned a total of US$1.15 billion to build the project’s Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessel, a ship that would process gas extracted from the Barossa field before transporting it to a nearby gas plant in Northern Australia. The organizations behind the report are calling on the implicated financial institutions to withdraw their funding from the project. Earlier this month, Traditional Owners lodged a human rights complaint against banks associated with the project. (Solutions for Our Climate [Pdf], ABC)
LNG finance in 2022 dominated by Wall Street and Japan’s Mizuho, funding difficulties for new projects: In their annual assessment of financing trends involving the top 60 commercial banks and over 2,000 fossil fuel companies worldwide, Rainforest Action Network and a coalition of NGOs revealed that financing for the top 30 LNG companies rose by almost 50% in 2022 to US$22.7 billion. The top funders are Japan’s Mizuho and Wall Street’s Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Citi, and Goldman Sachs, who together doled out over US$7.5 billion in various forms of financing. However, the Financial Times this week reported that the rash of proposed multi-billion dollar export projects in the U.S. are struggling to secure financing, principally due to supply chain inflation causing soaring construction costs, rising interest rates leading to higher financing costs, and the fact that as many as 11 proposed projects are vying for capital. Moreover, potential European buyers are balking at entering into multi-decade supply contracts. Columbia University’s Ira Joseph commented: “I think buyers would love to sign deals for five years, but projects get financed on 20-year deals for sellers … Each side is perceiving their needs very, very differently of what they deem as energy security.” (Rainforest Action Network [Pdf], Financial Times)
Non-profit and top bank identify majors’ oil and gas development plans out to 2030: A new assessment by the Paris-based research and campaigning organization Reclaim Finance of the climate strategies of nine American and European oil and gas majors finds that, given their stated 2030 oil and gas production targets, all of the companies analyzed will exceed a 1.5°C carbon budget by 2030 even if they were to achieve their most ambitious decarbonization targets. Reclaim Finance’s projection is that fossil fuels will make up 78% to 95% of the nine’s energy mix in 2030, noting also that none of the US majors – ExxonMobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips – reported sustainable renewable capacity by 2030. Meanwhile, UK-based Barclays bank issued a more upbeat view of European oil and gas majors’ transition efforts post-2030, stating in a report that “It may take time, but we do expect to see the low-carbon strategies rewarded.” However, the bank also expects upstream spending across the European companies it examined to increase between now and 2030. (Reclaim Finance, Upstream)
Report predicts rebound for floating LNG, US$35 billion on new projects over next five years: A report from market research firm Westwood Global Energy forecasts that investment in floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) production terminals could be about to rise dramatically in the next five years with a reported US$35 billion in engineering, procurement, and construction being lined up. The firm’s analyst Mark Adeosun points to near-term FLNG investments concentrated in Africa and sees longer term potential also in the U.S. and Canada. “With gas prices hitting record highs in 2022 and a desperate need for Western nations to pivot away from Russian gas,” notes Adeosun, “the time is nigh for the stuttering FLNG industry to fully bloom.” (Westwood Global Energy Group)
Biden administration greenlights two more LNG export terminals, blasted for “climate hypocrisy”: A week after approving the controversial, US$38.7 billion Alaska LNG export terminal that the project’s backers hope to start up by 2030, the Biden administration has given the go-ahead to two more export terminals in South Texas: NextDecade’s Rio Grande LNG project and Glenfarne Group’s Texas LNG project. Both projects have yet to reach a final investment decision. The NextDecade facility is thought more likely to attract multi-billion dollar project finance than the Glenfarne development, although Rio Grande has to date secured sales and purchase agreements for only 10.75 million tonnes of its anticipated 27 million tonnes of LNG per year. Greenpeace USA campaigner Destiny Watford reacted to the latest approvals: “The stunning amount of new LNG export deals being approved underscores the climate hypocrisy of the Biden administration. This president has the gall to say he cares about environmental justice and the climate emergency while continuing to sanction limitless production and export of oil and gas.” (Energy Voice, Houston Chronicle, Greenpeace USA)
New research reveals top global investors’ US$2.13 trillion backing for oil and gas producers: A briefing and a new website resource – Investing in Climate Chaos – published by urgewald and 20 NGO partners reveals that over 6,500 institutional investors are supporting oil and gas expansion with bond and share holdings totalling US$2.13 trillion. The companies researched for their investor support were limited to 685 upstream oil and gas producers, with 95% of them still exploring or developing new oil and gas fields, according to urgewald. Along with their investments in coal, U.S. firms Vanguard and BlackRock were identified as the heaviest oil and gas investors by some distance. (urgewald briefing [Pdf], Investing in Climate Chaos website)
“[T]ransformative developments are speeding up the emergence of a new clean energy economy. With this in mind, the push by some companies and governments to build new large-scale fossil fuel projects is not only a bet against the world reaching its climate goals – it is also a risky proposition for investors who want reasonable returns on their capital,”
said Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency.
New plans to hook the Western Balkans on gas will make the region’s energy transition even harder, Global Energy Monitor and CEE Bankwatch Network, March 30, 2023. (Pdf)
This 10-page briefing examines the €3.5 billion (US$3.8 billion) of new gas infrastructure in development – with the backing of EU and U.S. institutions – in the region’s six non-EU states that could delay their transition to clean energy, expose them to more energy volatility, and complicate EU accession efforts.
Contracting debacles underscore long-term LNG risks in the Philippines, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, April 11, 2023.
This analysis piece focuses on two recent power contract disputes that point to how LNG import expansion plans in the Philippines, if they go ahead, are likely to lead to high energy bills for households and businesses.
In deep water: Exposing the hidden impacts of oil and gas on the UK's seas, Uplift and Oceana, April 13, 2023. (Pdf)
This 45-page report is the first comprehensive review of the marine environmental impacts of the UK's offshore oil and gas industry. An accompanying resource website includes a dataset documenting all oil spilled by companies in the North Sea in the past five years.