In this issue

 

Fluxys Belgium, the operator of the Zeebrugge import and regasification terminal on the Channel coast, has successfully received a full-sized vessel at its second jetty as part of operational testing for the new facility.

Our Middle East editor

Italian energy company Eni has agreed to sell a 30 percent stake in Egypt’s East Mediterranean offshore Shourouk block containing its world-class Zohr natural gas field that is expected to impact the regional LNG market when it comes on stream in late 2017.

Japan said the average price of liquefied natural gas spot cargoes contracted in November for delivery to the country was $7 per million British thermal units, a rise of $0.90 per MMBtu from the previous month but lower than a year ago.

Delek Group of Israel and Noble Energy of the US said they had taken a final investment decision to proceed with the Leviathan natural gas project offshore the Israeli coast in the East Mediterranean that will come on stream in 2019 and cut the LNG requirements for neighbour Jordan.

Our Asia-Pacific editor

Santos, the stakeholder in three Asia-Pacific LNG export joint ventures, said it planned to raise A$1.5 billion (US$1.12Bln) in a placement and share purchase plan after becoming the second Australian company to announce a break-up involving LNG assets to continue to weather the global slump in energy markets and reduce debt.

Australian SeaRoad Shipping is preparing to put into service the country’s first roll-on-roll-off ferry with LNG propulsion to operate between Devonport on the island of Tasmania to the city of Melbourne on the Australian mainland.

Gulf state takes action to meet rising global market competition

Our Middle East editor

Qatar, the world’s largest liquefied natural gas producer, said it would merge its two production companies, Qatargas and RasGas Co Ltd, and consolidate all activities under the Qatargas banner.

National Grid, the UK transmission network operator and liquefied natural gas terminal owner, has signed an agreement to sell 61 percent of its British pipelines business for around $10.6 billion to a consortium led by the infrastructure unit of Australian bank Macquarie and other investors, including the state of Qatar.

Qatar, the world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter, has hosted a business forum for German companies in the capital Doha and participants noted the signing of an LNG supply contract earlier in 2016 with Essen-based RWE Group, even though Germany has yet to reveal plans for an import terminal. 

Our Asia-Pacific editor

Jera Co. Inc., the Japanese joint venture company formed by the nation’s two largest utilities, Tokyo Electric Power and Chubu Electric, said it had made its first LNG cargo purchase from the US Lower 48 states in the form of a shipment from Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass facility on the Gulf Coast.

US government forecasts say growing domestic natural gas consumption, along with higher pipeline exports to Mexico and liquefied natural gas exports will contribute to the benchmark Henry Hub spot price rising from an average of $2.49 per million British thermal units in 2016 to $3.27 per MMBtu in 2017.

Dreifa Energy, a new LNG company founded by Norwegians, and fleet operator and services company Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) have signed an operational partner agreement for floating terminals.

Our North America editor in New York

US-based global commodities trading platform companies, the Intercontinental Exchange and CME Group, plan to launch liquefied natural gas derivatives and futures based on LNG shipments from the US and competing with products focused on spot LNG and Asian supplies by firms in Singapore and Tokyo.

French energy and LNG engineering company Technip and subsea operator FMC Technologies said that their respective shareholders had voted to approve their proposed $13 billion merger, now expected to formally take place in early 2017.

News Nudges

Cove Point LNG makes progress

The US Cove Point LNG export project in Maryland, owned by Dominion Energy, is almost 75 percent complete, according to the latest progress report filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The existing import terminal on Chesapeake Bay is being transformed into a liquefaction plant and is scheduled to come on stream in 2018. “At the terminal, work continued on modifications to the existing plant in the areas of the jetty platforms and tie-in scope,” said Dominion. “Construction activities conducted during the January period included preliminary commissioning activities for new compressor units and associated equipment, final building completion activities, and earthwork for corrosion protection and electrical grounding,” it added.


Awilco LNG earnings

Awilco LNG, the small Norwegian fleet operator in the spot market, said the positive trend seen in the fourth quarter of 2016 persisted into 2017 as charter rates West of Suez further improved to $52,000 per day while East of Suez rates was reported at $38,000 per day. “Despite high activity and increasing spot market rates, the short-term and mid-term time charter rates have only slightly improved,” said Awilco as it reported lower full-year freight income of $34.8 million compared with $37.4M in 2015.


Golar raising market funds

Golar LNG, the global LNG fleet operator and floating storage and regasification unit specialist, is raising up to $400 million by selling a form of bond, Convertible Senior Notes due in 2022. Golar is offering $350M of the paper in a private placement to institutional buyers and with $52.5M added, depending on demand.