January 5, 2023
Issue 26  |  View Past Issues
Inside Gas
Published by Global Energy Monitor

Editor's Note

After the year in gas we’ve just had, predictions are best avoided, but the rise of the heat pump to replace fossil fuel-based heating is surely unstoppable. New York is now set to move forward with an impressively ambitious rollout of the high-efficiency technology following approval of a climate plan that aims to radically overhaul the state’s energy systems. Disappointingly, if predictably, BP continues to cling to its business model with new investment plans that see its clean energy “pivot” overshadowed by yet more oil and gas expansion. One pleasant surprise from 2022 has emerged, however – new finance data finds that for the first time annual bank lending and bond underwriting for clean energy outpaced oil, gas, and coal financing.  

The global LNG rollercoaster is of course set to continue. Italy, like so many European countries, is in a major rush to install floating terminal capacity, despite widely-held concerns over public safety. Never mind the underlying global supply constraints, will existing export infrastructure continue to be as flakey and impactful on supply as Shell’s error-prone Prelude terminal in Australia? And for how much longer will Tellurian’s Driftwood saga in Louisiana, Wall Street boardrooms, and the stock market continue before investors say “Time’s up”?

Grieg Aitken


The climate and environmental justice costs of booming U.S. LNG exports 

Despite narrowly missing the global LNG exporter top spot in 2022, the U.S. gas industry remains laser focused on expanding overseas shipments, raising questions about the White House’s “global clean energy transition” rhetoric, writes Nicholas Kusnetz in Inside Climate News.
Argentina’s “carbon bomb” at a crossroads

The government in Buenos Aires has big ambitions for the Vaca Muerta shale basin, but maxed out infrastructure and challenging financial conditions are standing in the way, writes Eliana Raszewski in Reuters.

Chinese appetite for LNG likely to gain momentum in 2023

After last year’s dampened gas demand due to strict Covid-19 restrictions, new long-term supply contracts due to start this year in China, along with the commissioning of further import terminals, points to an LNG upturn in both the short and long term, suggests this Argus Media viewpoint.

Top News

Italian court allows construction of contested floating terminal in Tuscany to proceed: A request for a precautionary halt to the development of a 5 billion cubic meters (bcm) capacity floating LNG terminal in the port city of Piombino has been rejected by an administrative court in Lazio. The request had been lodged by Piombino mayor Francesco Ferrari citing health and environmental safety concerns as the promoter, Snam, races to start up the project by April this year. The court ruling deemed that there was no immediate risk to public safety but that a further hearing would be held in March to assess longer-term safety issues relating to the floating terminal. (Reuters)

Fire causes another production outage at Shell terminal in Australia: Shell has halted operations at the Prelude FLNG terminal offshore of Western Australia after a small fire broke out in a turbine enclosure on December 21. An investigation is reported to be ongoing, though the fire was quickly contained with no injuries to workers. The 3.6 million tonnes per annum export terminal has been struck by several serious issues, which have led to significant production outages since it started operating in 2018, including mechanical and safety issues and industrial action from workers last year. (Upstream)

Heat pump revolution coming to New York State: More than two and a half years in the making, a 445-page plan approved overwhelmingly by New York’s Climate Action Council last month sets out a roadmap for slashing the east coast state’s emissions and includes policies to phase out domestic heating from fossil fuel burning as soon as 2025. With buildings accounting for nearly one-third of New York state’s current carbon emissions, the Climate Action Council plan anticipates that one to two million of the state’s 6.1 million buildings will be using high-efficiency heat pumps by 2030 as gas, oil, and propane furnaces are phased out. These new regulations on heating systems will, though, require changes to the state building code, while significant financial incentives are planned to encourage heat pump take-up. (

Over half a trillion dollars in pipelines under development – new global data: China and India are the global leaders in the construction of new gas pipelines, according to an annual survey of gas pipeline developments by Global Energy Monitor, which also estimates capital expenditure costs of over half a trillion dollars underpinning all pipelines either under construction or that have been proposed. Data available in the Global Gas Infrastructure Tracker show that for in-development pipelines (both proposed and under construction), China, Russia, India, Australia, and the United States are the top five countries in terms of pipeline length. The total 210,400 km of gas pipelines in development globally is an increase of roughly 9% from this time last year, finds the new research. (Global Energy Monitor, Global Gas Infrastructure Tracker)

Nord Stream whodunnit continues: Top U.S. media outlets have been refocusing attention on the ongoing investigations into who was behind the September explosions in the Baltic Sea that ruptured both Nord Stream pipelines. While Russian state actors remain in the frame, The Washington Post quoted an unnamed European official as saying, “There is no evidence at this point that Russia was behind the sabotage,” a view broadly shared by 23 diplomatic and intelligence officials in nine countries contacted in recent weeks by the newspaper. With fears growing that getting at the truth may prove to be impossible, Green Party politician Konstantin von Notz, chairman of the German parliament’s intelligence monitoring body, has called on the German government to “break its silence very soon.” Von Notz commented, “In a constitutional state, the public has a right to know what really happened.” (The Washington Post, The New York Times, Anadolu Agency)


Bulgaria: State gas company Bulgargaz has signed a 13-year agreement with Turkish counterpart Botas granting it access to Turkey's gas network and LNG terminals.

Finland: State-owned company and transmission system operator Gasgrid has signed a project agreement with neighboring companies to develop up to 5,000 km of pipelines to transport hydrogen from the Baltic Sea area to central Europe by 2030.

Greece: The developer of the Argo FSRU terminal, proposed to start operating in 2025, said that an initial market test had received interest from Greek and international companies exceeding the terminal’s planned capacity, with the declared LNG quantities running for a period of up to 25 years. 

Japan: The government has intervened to ensure that reluctant Japanese insurers maintain “marine war” insurance coverage to allow for the continued shipping of LNG imports from the Sakhalin-2 gas and oil project in Russia's Far East during the peak winter season.

Montenegro: The Singaporean company LNG Alliance intends to take a final investment decision in the first quarter of 2023 on the construction of an import terminal at Montenegro's main sea port of Bar.

Russia: Novatek announced the discovery of the Viktor Girya field that contains estimated recoverable reserves of 52 bcm of gas, to be earmarked for the proposed Arctic LNG 1 export terminal. 

South Africa: The explosion of a fuel tanker transporting liquefied petroleum gas near a hospital in Johannesburg has killed 34 people.  

Turkey: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that Black Sea gas reserves estimates have been boosted by a third to roughly 710 bcm, with the Sakarya field expected to enter production by March.

US: The Biden administration has approved permits for Sempra Infrastructure to send gas via pipelines from Texas and other states to the company’s two Mexican LNG terminals for re-export to Asia.

Companies + Markets

BP puts emphasis on “resilient hydrocarbons” in 2023 spending plans: BP has announced that it will devote US$7.5 billion to capital investments in oil and gas projects this year compared to US$3-5 billion for low-carbon projects. Off the back of huge profits made last year, spending on fossil fuel projects is set to increase by US$1 billion in 2023. Since taking up the reins as chief executive in February 2020, Bernard Looney has sought to lead a BP pivot towards renewables and low-carbon energy with the goal of achieving a 40% cut in the company’s oil and gas output by 2030. (The Guardian)

Tellurian staring into the abyss with troubled Driftwood terminal: Having seen its share price tumble from a peak of US$6.34 in March to US$1.67 by year end, Tellurian, the developer of the proposed Driftwood LNG terminal in Louisiana, has been given a one month extension until January 31 to meet the conditions of a 10-year LNG supply deal it signed with the commodities trader Gunvor in May 2021. The sale and purchase agreement with Gunvor is the project’s last remaining supply deal after contracts were canceled with Shell and Vitol last year. While some initial work is reported to be continuing at the project site, for more than three years Houston-based Tellurian has struggled to secure financing for the US$12.8 billion first phase of Driftwood due to concerns over its “integrated” project model and an insufficient number of long-term offtake agreements. (Reuters, LNG Prime)

Debt financing for renewables outstrips fossils for the first time: Loans and bond issues for green projects hit roughly US$580 billion in 2022, according to data from Bloomberg, ahead of the US$530 billion raised collectively by oil, gas, and coal via the debt markets. Despite being a historic shift, April Merleaux, research manager at Rainforest Action Network, attributed the differential to both higher oil prices allowing fossil fuel companies to lessen their dependence on bank financing and to a suspected increased funding role from private equity investors for polluters. (Bloomberg)

Green methane R&D aims to crack hydrogen export dilemma: Amid growing skepticism across industry about the costs and technical challenges of transporting liquified hydrogen over long distances, combining hydrogen with nitrogen and shipping it as ammonia is being viewed as the most plausible option by exporters. Australian firm Fortescue Future Industries, which last October announced a partnership with Tree Energy Solutions aimed at supplying a proposed “green energy hub” at Wilhelmshaven in Germany with 300,000 tonnes of renewable hydrogen, says it favors and is exploring the use of “green methane” to deliver the hydrogen. The company’s CEO, Mark Hutchinson, believes that green methane, produced by adding CO2 to hydrogen, would allow the use of existing LNG terminals and ships, though there remain challenges connected to leakage and the sourcing of CO2. (Bloomberg, GEM.Wiki)

Oil and gas lobby up in arms with UK government over North Sea windfall tax: Industry trade groups are demanding that Rishi Sunak’s government remove or scale back the Energy Price Levy introduced last year that, they claim, risks banks pulling back their reserves-based lending to small- and medium-sized UK oil and gas producers. The windfall tax on excess industry profits was increased in November from 25% to 35% and extended to March 2028 from an original end date of December 2025. The Financial Times cited the introduction of an investment allowance by the UK’s finance ministry designed to permit companies “to reduce their tax bill against the levy if they plough more funds into oil and gas projects in UK waters.” (The Financial Times, Energy Voice)

“We intend to take advantage of this project, there are opportunities and terminals for this … Our preliminary preparation time is a year, now we are assessing the infrastructure and details … We will not tie the price to anyone. It will be a kind of supermarket where there are offers,”

said Fatih Donmez, Turkey’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, on fast-evolving Russian-Turkish plans to create a gas hub for trade with Europe.


Ditching losers: Why the EU should end support for unviable hydrogen applications, Jacques Delors Center, December 21, 2022. [Pdf]

Given hydrogen’s relative scarcity and expense, this 9-page policy briefing argues for enhanced targeting of EU public money support in order to help develop at scale only those hydrogen applications that will deliver clear economic and climate benefits.