November 16, 2023
Issue 61  |  View Past Issues
Inside Gas
Published by Global Energy Monitor

Editor's Note

Reflecting the uncertainties and risks that cling to the LNG industry and its infrastructure buildout, a forecast by the U.S. Energy Information Administration that ten new facilities under construction are set to more than double North America’s export capacity by 2027 has been compromised by events. Two of the projects in the EIA’s scope now have question marks hanging over them, with one in Texas on the receiving end of a successful legal challenge from a community group. In Canada, and not one of the EIA’s focus projects, a major export terminal has also been canceled.   

Despite lobbying efforts from the oil and gas industry stating that draft EU rules to tackle methane emissions from fossil fuels were out of touch with reality, negotiators have struck a deal on a new law with global implications, and with a level of climate ambition that has surprised many observers. New research shows that, in spite of all the net zero claims, almost all of the world’s upstream oil and gas companies continue to expand their operations. By its own admission and calculations, and with gas central to its plans, TotalEnergies is on a pathway to deliver more than 2C of warming unless it and others change course.

Grieg Aitken


Global gas illusions and realities

The brief window of opportunity for gas to establish itself as an international “bridge” fuel is now gone, with the industry’s fate sealed by last year’s huge price rises and the impending domination of power generation by renewables sooner — and to a greater extent — than expected, writes Sarah Miller, former editor of World Gas Intelligence, in Energy Intelligence

“A land flowing with milk, honey, and gas”

With this week’s resumption of production at Israel’s Tamar field, twelve miles off the coast of northern Gaza, longer term plans for eastern Mediterranean gas exploitation look very much alive, writes Kate Aronoff in The New Republic.    

The European Commission’s gas expansion designs for the Western Balkans

The latest annual reports from Brussels on the accession progress of the region’s six countries are full of mixed, sometimes contradictory messages on fossil fuels, but EU backing for gas expansion is a common thread running through them, writes Pippa Gallop for CEE Bankwatch Network.  

Gaming a flawed system

When the first COVID lockdown was declared in Italy, energy prices dropped rapidly as the economy shut down. But using a legal trading technique that had existed for years, Italian gas power companies brought in revenues 600% higher than prices, leaving businesses and consumers to pay hundreds of millions of euros in extra costs, write Vernon Silver, Eric Fan, and Sam Dodge in Bloomberg

An LNG marriage must honor its vows

As the corporate and political sparring intensifies over Venture Global’s alleged refusal to honor multibillion-dollar LNG supply contracts at its Calcasieu Pass facility, the fraying of trust and standard business practices in this very unusual case could have serious repercussions for the industry’s future, writes David Hewitt in Energy Intelligence.


Proposed gas power plant canceled in U.S. shale heartlands 

After seven years of community opposition, Chicago-based Invenergy has dropped its plans to build a 639 megawatt (MW) gas-fired power plant in Elizabeth Township, south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The company’s decision to abandon its proposal to build the Allegheny Energy Center followed a court challenge mounted by groups over the legality of the project’s air pollution permit — now terminated — that was granted by the Allegheny County Health Department in 2021. “This is a big win for everyone who cares about clean air in Western Pennsylvania,” said Lisa Hallowell, senior attorney with the Environmental Integrity Project. “This plant would have released excessive amounts of pollution, and burning more fossil fuels would have been a giant step backwards for the region and the planet.” (Environmental Integrity Project) 

Top News

EU methane regulation deal to have “repercussions worldwide”: Methane emissions from fossil fuels both produced in the EU and imported are to be tracked and reduced following a deal struck by negotiators from EU member states and the European parliament. The precise emissions limit is still to be defined by the European Commission but, starting from 2027, monitoring, reporting, and verification obligations will be introduced for EU producers and exporters of coal, oil, and gas to the EU. The new regulation, likely to come into force later this year, will also require producers and suppliers to stop routine flaring and venting of methane and to repair leaks from pipelines and other infrastructure by specific deadlines. Due to the EU’s heavy reliance on fossil fuel imports — 90% of its gas, 70% of its coal, and almost all of the oil it consumes – the new import rules are expected to be onerous for major gas suppliers, including the U.S. and Algeria. With new long-term supply contracts set to be affected by the regulation from January 2027, an unnamed Dutch diplomat told Energy Intelligence that this could motivate European buyers to sign long-term gas and LNG supply deals before 2027 to avoid the new methane limits. Jutta Paulus, the European parliament’s co-lead negotiator, said that the new law “will have repercussions worldwide.” In a newly signed deal on enhancing cooperation to address the climate crisis, China and the U.S. have also agreed to build on “their respective national methane action plans to develop their respective methane reduction actions/targets.” These should be included, according to a joint statement, in the countries’ next climate pledges under the Paris Agreement, covering the period to 2035. (European Council, Reuters, Energy Intelligence, U.S. Department of State)

Federal Court of Australia extends Santos’ Barossa offshore pipeline ban: Tiwi Traditional Owners have secured an extended injunction from the Federal Court of Australia that prevents Santos from laying a gas pipeline crucial to its US$3.6 billion Barossa gas project in an area 70 kilometers north of the Tiwi Islands. The injunction will remain in place until a further court hearing, possibly before the end of the year, though the ruling from Justice Natalie Charlesworth allows the company to start work on a more remote 86-kilometer section of the overall 263-kilometer proposed pipeline. In place since earlier this month when Jikilaruwu Traditional Owner Simon Munkara appealed for a proper assessment of the pipeline’s impact and risk to underwater cultural heritage, the injunction has been costing Santos more than AU$1 million (US$650,000) a day. “The consequence of the injunction is that Santos may suffer significant uncompensated loss should Mr. Munkara's case be unsuccessful at trial,” said Justice Charlesworth. “The likely losses are considerably higher if there is an absolute prohibition on any work.” (ABC News, Reuters)

Ohio opens state park, two wildlife areas to fracking: The Oil and Gas Land Management Commission (OGLMC) in the U.S. state of Ohio has voted to put thousands of acres of state-owned wildlife areas out to tender for oil and gas development. At a hearing almost taken over by around 100 chanting protestors, the OGLMC announced that seven out of ten proposed land parcels had been chosen to advance to a bidding process under a land leasing program tilted in favor of extraction companies by a new state law passed last year. Only one protected area, the Wolf Run State Park, was spared from potential fracking by the OGLMC decision. The selection process has been marred since September by allegations of identity fraud. Dozens of Ohio residents have said that their names were used without their consent in stakeholder comments lodged with the OGLMC that supported new oil and gas exploration using fracking in Ohio’s state parks and protected land. The state’s Attorney General has so far remained silent about the status of an investigation he launched into the residents’ claims. (,

Canadian LNG terminal canceled, North American export capacity to double by 2027 says EIA: Energy company Pieridae, which had secured a binding 20-year supply agreement with German utility Uniper, has abandoned its plans for the 10 million tonnes per year (mtpa) Goldboro LNG terminal in the province of Nova Scotia. The Canadian company that had struggled for several years to advance the project said that the move was part of a “strategic pivot” away from East Coast LNG and toward gas production and processing in Alberta. Welcoming the announcement, Sierra Club Canada’s Gretchen Fitzgerald said: “The active opposition from Mi’kmaw Grassroots Grandmothers to the establishment of man camps in the rural area where it was to be located showed how unwelcome this project was in a province that had already successfully mobilized to stop fracking.” The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) counted two other Canadian export terminals in development, alongside three in Mexico and five in the U.S., in its forecast that LNG export capacity is expected to more than double to 24.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) by the end of 2027. One of the projects considered by the EIA in Mexico, the 0.18 Bcf/d (1.4 mtpa) Fast LNG Lakach floating terminal, is potentially not going forward due to disagreements between New Fortress Energy and Pemex, according to reporting from S&P Global. Another much larger project, at Port Arthur in Texas, was dealt a significant blow this week when a federal appeals court scrapped its emissions permit following a legal challenge by local group the Port Arthur Community Action Network. (Canada’s National Observer, Offshore Energy, U.S. Energy Information Administration, S&P Global, Reuters)

Brussels urged to act over academic languishing in detention in Azerbaijan: While Europe’s Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson was this week slamming Hungary for its renewed reliance on Russian piped gas, the European Commission continues to sit on its hands over the seizure in September of the ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh by Azerbaijan, one of Europe’s key gas suppliers. This guarded approach to Baku from the EU’s executive body is once again in the spotlight as the plight of Gubad Ibadoghlu, an Azerbaijani economist working at the London School of Economics, worsens in pre-trial detention in the repressive Caspian state. During a return home in July, Ibadoghlu was arrested on charges typically employed by  the Ilham Aliyev regime, which his family say are fabricated. “Nobody is helping, because of oil and gas contracts,” says Zhala Bayramova, Ibadoghlu’s daughter, who believes her father’s research into corruption in the country is the main reason for his detention. The academic also published an LSE blog earlier this year that was skeptical about Azerbaijan’s high-profile gas agreement with the EU signed last summer. Despite the European parliament condemning Ibadoghlu’s arrest in September and an intervention by the European Court of Human Rights, Bayramova fears that her father — who suffers from diabetes and a heart condition — will die unless senior officials in Brussels take action. (Politico, Financial Times [Paywall], European Politics and Policy blog)

Feasibility of potential EACOP parallel pipeline to be assessed: Tanzania and Uganda have agreed to study the feasibility of a pipeline, which would potentially use the same corridor as the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), to deliver gas from Tanzania’s Indian Ocean offshore resources. Uganda’s Energy Minister Ruth Nankabirwa made an early appeal to finance institutions to offer cheap loans for the project, saying that “the gas is clean.” The highly controversial US$5 billion EACOP project has been declined financing by more than 25 mainly western commercial banks, though Chinese and Japanese institutions may step in to support the TotalEnergies-led pipeline. The US$42 billion Tanzania LNG export terminal continues to await government approval following the completion of a deal in May with the mega-project’s prospective developers Equinor, ExxonMobil, and Shell. Separately, Tanzania and Mozambique are set to finalize a deal on how they will share the major offshore reserves contained in the cross-border, deepwater Rovuma Basin. (Reuters, Newsbase)

CCS still misfiring at Australia’s biggest carbon polluter: A latest technical problem — an “electrical incident” — at the Gorgon LNG export terminal in Western Australia has reduced output at one of its three production trains to 80% of capacity, but this is far from being the facility’s main technical issue. Operator Chevron has reported that, after seven years of operation at Australia’s biggest carbon polluter, the project’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) system continues to drastically underperform. Having cost to date AU$3.2 billion (US$2.1 billion), Chevron’s environmental performance report noted that the system had been able to inject underground 34% of the 5 million tonnes of CO2 it captured in the twelve months prior to June this year, a similarly poor rate as was reported last year. These latest results follow remarks earlier this month from Resources Minister Madeleine King, who told a conference in Perth: “In order to continue to use and explore for gas to support the energy transition we need carbon capture and storage to work.” In the U.S., meanwhile, clean energy company Net Power has been forced to delay its US$1 billion Project Permian investment in Texas, the world’s first utility-scale gas plant equipped with carbon capture, due to supply chain issues. (LNG Prime, The Sydney Morning Herald, E&E News)

Our objective is to kill that project,” 

said the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources Geoffrey Pyatt during congressional testimony about sanctions imposed on the Novatek-led, 20 million tonnes per year Arctic 2 LNG export terminal in Russia. 


Australia: Northern Territory media has revealed that the state’s Chief Minister Natasha Fyles, who has championed fracking in the Beetaloo Basin as well as the controversial Middle Arm gas export project, holds an undisclosed number of shares in the major gas company Woodside Energy, which is backing a potential CCS facility at Middle Arm. 

Finland: The likelihood of ice in the waters of the Gulf of Finland this winter and a lack of available ice-class LNG carriers should not pose problems for deliveries to the Inkoo terminal, according to Finnish authorities who also confirmed that the anchor found next to the ruptured Balticconnector gas pipeline last month does belong to the suspected Chinese vessel Newnew Polar Bear. 

Germany: Berlin has announced an accelerated €19.8 billion (US$21.5 billion) plan to start transporting hydrogen by pipeline in 2025 with the ultimate goal of having 9,700 kilometers of pipelines (40% built from scratch) in place by 2032 to connect to ports, industry, power plants, and storage facilities.   

Hungary: Interconnector capacity with Romania is to be boosted, said Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó, to allow Hungary greater access to gas from the Black Sea. 

Indonesia: President Joko Widodo said in a statement that plans for ExxonMobil to invest up to US$15 billion in a petrochemical project and CCS facilities are in the offing. 

Italy: Italian gas grid operator Snam confirmed that the cost of the proposed 5 billion cubic meters (bcm) capacity Ravenna floating storage and regasification unit, expected to start operating in early 2025, will be €1 billion (US$1.1 billion). Snam CEO Stefano Vanier also said he expected Italy’s total gas consumption to fall this year to 62–64 bcm from 68 bcm in 2022.

Mozambique: TotalEnergies is reported to be eyeing a January relaunch for the Mozambique LNG project if the security situation permits. 

Nigeria: Unpaid gas royalties and flaring penalties total over US$1.3 billion, according to the watchdog Nigerian Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative.

OECD: Further negotiations between parties will take place in March next year after the UK, Canada, and the EU presented proposals for restricting export credit agency financing for oil and gas; the U.S., Japan, and South Korea failed to back the proposals. 

Saudi Arabia: A lack of offtake agreements is preventing Aramco from making large blue hydrogen investments, though the company is “in the development phase of such partnerships,” according to its chief financial officer.  

South Africa: After recently receiving government approval for one of its gas-to-power ship projects, Türkiye’s Karpowership has said it expects to start providing 450 MW of electricity to the national grid in 2024. It’s believed that the company has not yet secured funding for its South African projects, and banking sources suggest it and other promoters may struggle to do so after delays of more than two years. 
Turkmenistan: A deal to supply Iraq with 9 bcm of gas annually over a period of five years is almost complete, while Ashgabat is reported to be pleading with the U.S. to ease sanctions on Afghanistan to help advance the stalled TAPI gas pipeline

U.S.: On November 8, a 5.2 magnitude earthquake, the fourth strongest in Texas history, struck an area in the west of the state where the injection of fracking wastewater into the ground has been taking place for years. 

Companies + Markets

Annual update of Global Oil & Gas Exit List database shows unchecked expansion: Covering 700 (or 95%) of the companies responsible for global oil and gas production, this year’s update of environmental NGO urgewald’s Global Oil & Gas Exit List (GOGEL) finds that 96% of the reviewed upstream companies continue to explore or develop new oil and gas fields, the same proportion as noted in the GOGEL update last year. In spite of the worsening climate crisis, the International Energy Agency’s 1.5C scenario that demands an end to exploring for new oil and gas reserves, and many companies’ published transition plans, GOGEL’s researchers have uncovered that companies in the database have increased their spending on exploration by more than 30% since 2021, amounting to US$170.4 billion overall in the last three years. Expansion in new “frontier” countries, by companies such as TotalEnergies, Shell, and Eni, is pronounced. GOGEL 2023 also identifies 1,023 companies planning new LNG terminals, pipelines, or gas-fired power plants. Global gas-fired power capacity is set to rise by 30%, while LNG export capacity is set to increase by 162%, according to the publicly accessible database that — overall — provides detailed data on 1,623 companies. (Global Oil & Gas Exit List, The Guardian) 

Total’s business model likely to deliver 2.2C warming, says Total: Sticking to its guns as one of the world’s top LNG players with a more than 10% share of global supply and plans for further major investments, TotalEnergies sees gas maintaining a 22% foothold in global energy demand in its net zero “Rupture” scenario, which it says would result in a 1.7 to 1.8C temperature rise by 2100. As laid out in its Energy Outlook 2023, that demand share compares to a 24% figure for gas under Total’s two other less progressive scenarios that would bring about temperature increases of over 3C and 2.2C by 2100. The latter temperature rise falls under the “Momentum” scenario that includes “use of natural gas as a transition energy for electricity and industry in all countries,” a course the company is clearly embarked on. Total has also announced the expansion of its power-generation capacity in the U.S. with the US$635 million acquisition of three gas power plants (joint capacity of 1,500 MW) in Texas. “These plants will enable us to complement our renewable assets, intermittent by nature, provide our customers with firm power, and take advantage of the volatility of electricity prices,” said Stéphane Michel, the company’s head of gas, renewables, and power. (Reuters, TotalEnergies, TotalEnergies [Pdf], Bloomberg)

LNG central to Japan’s new US$1 trillion “Green Transformation” policy: New analysis from InfluenceMap finds that the Japanese government’s recently introduced flagship Green Transformation (GX) Policy is “significantly misaligned” with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change guidance on pathways to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. The GX Policy, ratified by the government in February 2023, is a mix of fiscal and policy measures with a potential budget of roughly US$1 trillion. The think tank attributes the policy’s heavy reliance on fossil fuels to the clout wielded by Japanese industry’s significant emitters during the policy’s formulation and ongoing discussion about its strategic details. The country’s biggest business lobby, Keidanren, has, among other things, pushed for expanding LNG to Asia in addition to its use in Japan. The current Chair of Keidanren, Masakazu Tokura of Sumitomo Chemical, has stated that the business association’s positions, also including opposition to the introduction of a carbon tax, were almost fully adopted in the GX Basic Policy. The policy allocates funding for Japan’s thermal power to feature increased use of LNG and also promotes investment into upstream gas development and coal-to-gas switching in power generation. (InfluenceMap, Bloomberg)

China increasingly reselling LNG cargoes in planned push: China is now the world’s second top LNG re-exporting nation behind Spain, according to Chinese customs data. While Spain has re-exported 1.15 million tonnes of LNG so far in 2023, China reloaded 617,000 tonnes in the first nine months of this year, up from 576,000 tonnes in all of 2022, 26,000 tonnes in 2021, and 59,000 tonnes in 2020. These reloading volumes may still be a small proportion of the 51.13 million tonnes of LNG imported by China during the first three quarters this year, but they reflect growing efforts underway from a range of Chinese companies to set up or expand international LNG trading teams and catch up with global majors such as BP, Shell, and TotalEnergies. The re-exporting drive, aimed at offsetting and also profiting from LNG price volatility, has been aimed chiefly at Asian customers, with South Korea, Thailand, Bangladesh, and Japan the main buyers this year. (Reuters, LNG Prime)

Spain’s gas network operator reveals the costs of hydrogen blending: A study by Spain’s gas association and network operator Sedigas has laid out the significant retrofit costs involved in blending different volumes of hydrogen in the country’s gas pipeline network. While industry claims have talked up the prospect of hydrogen blending requiring little additional investment, the new Sedigas report calculates that introducing a 20% hydrogen blend into existing gas infrastructure would cost €703 million (US$760 million), and a 10% blend would require investment of €305 million, while €92 million would be needed for a 5% blend. These cost implications are due to a variety of technical reasons — including the embrittlement of components — chiefly focused on the need to retrofit compressor stations. At the same time, based on modeling, the report argues that “practically 100% of the transportation network is suitable for use with hydrogen.” This breaks down to 76% of existing pipelines judged to have a high probability of suitability for blending, while 24% are “probably suitable” but with a greater degree of uncertainty. (Hydrogen Insight)

Insurers must do better on oil and gas finds scorecard: The Insure Our Future campaign’s seventh annual scorecard, which rates and assesses the climate policies of major global insurers, has found that only 18 companies have restrictions in place affecting support for the oil and gas industry. This number is up from 13 policy restrictions previously but lags behind the 45 in force for the coal sector. The companies that have started to address oil and gas account for 20% of the insurance and 47% of the reinsurance market. However, in Insure our Future’s assessment, most of these oil and gas restrictions are weak. Almost all of the 30 insurers reviewed continue to underwrite new gas power plants, new LNG terminals, and oil companies that are expanding production. One stand out is Germany’s Hannover Re, the world’s third-largest reinsurance group, which has committed to no longer insure new midstream infrastructure benefitting new oil and gas production. Overall fossil fuel insurance earned the industry roughly US$21.25 billion in 2022, according to research commissioned by the group from Insuramore. (Insure our Future, Bloomberg) 

“UK oil and gas production supports 200,000 jobs, billions in taxes and reduces the need for high emission imports. Essential to the energy transition, the industry should be celebrated not denigrated,” 

tweeted Graham Stuart, the UK’s Minister for Energy Security and Net Zero, about a speech he delivered to this year’s World Energy Capital Assembly. 


German industrial gas: Crisis averted for now, The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, November 9, 2023. [Pdf]

This 15-page paper looks at how companies in Europe’s largest industrial economy and largest gas consumer coped with the shut-off of Russian gas in 2022. 

COP28 host UAE to extract nearly 40 billion barrels of oil and gas over 70 years, Energy Monitor, November 13, 2023. 

This online data analysis provides an overview of current expansion planning for oil and gas extraction and infrastructure in the United Arab Emirates. 

A 1.5C future is possible: Getting fossil fuels out of the Philippine power sector, Climate Analytics, November 15, 2023. [Pdf, and the press release is here]

This 54-page report, based on detailed 1.5C scenario modeling for the national power sector, finds that with the right funding and policies in place, the Philippines could reduce its reliance on coal and gas imports and transition to near-100% renewable energy for power generation.