LNG & Natural Gas News

Jul 2017 - Reuters Q3 technical outlook-PDF, the link to download: tmsnrt.rs/2uvcV1A

Jul 14 - no report available due to French National holiday, Bastille Day.

Jul 13 - Demand at Mexico onshore oil and gas auction spurs output hopes

Mexico auctioned 21 of 24 onshore oil and gas blocks on offer on Wednesday to investors from North America and Asia including tycoon Carlos Slim and Mexican newcomer Jaguar, anticipating a substantial boost for natural gas output. Monterrey-based Jaguar Exploracion y Produccion de Hidrocarburos took a stake in over half the areas awarded, which the oil industry regulator said would eventually yield around $2 billion in investments over the 30-year lifespan of the contracts. Click here to read full stories.

Jul 13 - Russia appears to deliver more turbines to Crimea: Reuters witnesses

Two more gas turbines appear to have been delivered to Russian-controlled Crimea, according to two Reuters reporters who saw the equipment at the port of Feodosia, potentially deepening a row over sanctions compliance in which Germany's Siemens has become embroiled. Reuters has no independent confirmation the equipment on the dock was Siemens-made turbines. It comprised four cylindrical objects, several metres long, and covered with blue and grey tarpaulins. Click here to read full stories.

Jul 11 - After Iran move, Total seen in pole position to snap up Qatar gas deals

Total is well placed to take a lead role in helping Qatar expand output from the world's largest gas field, largely thanks to its involvement in the Iranian side of the shared deposit, two sources familiar with Doha's thinking said. That puts the French oil major ahead of rivals like Exxon and Shell in the early running for developing the expansion, which the tiny Gulf state announced as it seeks to counter growing isolation caused by a regional diplomatic rift. Click here to read full stories.

Jul 07 - Russia offers Saudi Aramco role in Arctic LNG project - Novak 

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said energy cooperation with Saudi Arabia was "top-flight" and would deepen if Riyadh took up an offer to participate in Russia's Arctic gas project. Russia and Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil producers, joined forces in the past year in a deal with other nations to cut oil output and lift oil prices, although that effort has been undermined by rising production elsewhere. Click here to read full stories.

Jul 07 - Poland expects long term deal for U.S. LNG supplies 

Poland expects to sign a long-term deal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies from the U.S. to reduce its reliance on Russian gas, the country's President Andrzej Duda said after meeting U.S. president Donald Trump. Poland imports most of the 16 billion cubic metres of gas it consumes a year from Russia, on the basis of a long-term deal with Gazprom which expires in 2022. Click here to read full stories.

Jul 07 - U.S. to speed approval for oil, gas exploration on federal land 

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Thursday signed an order to hold more lease sales and to speed up approving permits to explore for oil and gas on federal land, a process he said got bogged down under former President Barack Obama. The order is the latest move by the administration of President Donald Trump to make it easier to drill and mine on federal land, which Zinke said is a source of income for the government. Click here to read full stories.

Jul 06 - Energy giants court Qatar for gas expansion role despite crisis 

The West's three biggest energy corporations are lobbying Qatar to take part in a huge expansion of its gas production, handing Doha an unintended but timely boost in its bitter dispute with Gulf Arab neighbours. The chief executives of ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell and France's Total all met the emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, in Qatar before it announced a plan on Tuesday to raise output of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by 30 percent. Click here to read full stories.

Jul 06 - U.S. gas market rebalances as power producers return to coal: Kemp

The U.S. natural gas market has rebalanced with higher prices steadying production while reducing demand from electricity generators and making room for increased exports. Higher prices have averted the stock crunch many analysts feared in 2017 as a result of rising exports and the start up of a large number of new gas-fired combined cycle power plants. Click here to read full stories.

Jul 05 - Qatar shows mettle, offers compromise as Gulf states prepare meeting 

Qatar announced plans for a steep rise in Liquified Natural Gas production capacity on Tuesday that suggested it was ready for a protracted dispute with Gulf neighbours, but Doha said it was doing all it could to reach agreement. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain were due to meet on Wednesday to decide whether to continue sanctions they imposed on Qatar on accusations it was aiding terrorism and courting regional rival Iran. Doha denies the charges and has submitted to mediator Kuwait replies to 13 demands that the gathering will consider. Click here to read full stories.

Jul 04 - Trump to promote U.S. natgas exports in Russia's backyard 

President Donald Trump will use fast-growing supplies of U.S. natural gas as a political tool when he meets in Warsaw on Thursday with leaders of a dozen countries that are captive to Russia for their energy needs. In recent years, Moscow has cut off gas shipments during pricing disputes with neighboring countries in winter months. Exports from the United States would help reduce their dependence on Russia. Click here to read full stories.

Jul 04 - Spain's Gas Natural targets $40 bln EDP merger - sources

Spanish power and gas company Gas Natural has approached Portuguese rival EDP about merging to form Europe's fourth biggest utility by market value, people familiar with the matter said on Monday. Talks over a potential 35 billion euro ($40 billion) deal and its potential structure are still at an early stage and there is no certainty over their outcome, four sources said, although Gas Natural chairman Isidre Faine has already sounded out his Portuguese counterpart Antonio Mexia about a tie-up. Click here to read full stories.

Jun 30 - Europe set to be natural gas kingmaker as LNG booms: Russell

It's probably not quite here yet, but the trend is unmistakeable; the world is moving to a globally-linked natural gas market and the rise of liquefied natural gas (LNG) is the key driver. Much of the increase in LNG capacity is because of the rapid boost to plants in Australia and the United States, as both countries take advantage of abundant local reserves of natural gas to muscle in on a market that until recently had been dominated by a few established producers and buyers. Click here to read full stories.

Jun 29 - In Warsaw, Trump to promote U.S. natural gas exports - Cohn 

U.S. President Donald Trump plans to promote U.S. natural gas exports at a meeting next week in Warsaw with a dozen leaders from central and eastern Europe, a region heavily reliant on Russian supplies, his top economic adviser told Reuters. On his way to the G20 summit in Germany, Trump is slated to speak in Poland - which received its first shipment of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) this month - to a group of leaders eager to reduce their dependence on Moscow for energy. Click here to read full stories.

Jun 27 - China pumps cash into African floating LNG projects in strategic push 

China plans to pour almost $7 billion into floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) projects in Africa, betting on a largely untested technology in the hope that energy markets will recover by the time they start production in the early 2020s. Western banks are wary due to the depressed state of the shipping and gas markets, as well as the technical difficulties of pumping gas extracted from below the ocean floor, chilling it into liquid form on a floating platform and transferring it into tankers for export. Click here to read full stories.

Jun 27 - Thirteen EU nations back plan for talks with Russia over gas pipeline 

Thirteen EU nations voiced support on Monday for a proposal to empower the bloc's executive to negotiate with Russia over objections to a new Russian gas pipeline to Germany, despite opposition from Berlin. At an informal debate among EU energy ministers, Germany's partners in the 28-nation bloc spoke out against Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline plan to pump more gas directly from Russia's Baltic coast to Germany. Click here to read full stories.

Jun 26 - Russia's Novatek aims topple Qatar from LNG top spot 

Russian gas producer Novatek aims to topple Qatar as the world's biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas as it gets closer to completing its first LNG project, a top executive said, batting away concerns about U.S. sanctions on the sector. The country's largest non-state gas producer is expected to start exporting LNG from the first phase of the Yamal project, situated far above the Arctic circle, towards the end of this year and may bring forward its final stage by six months, CFO Mark Gyetvay said. Click here to read full stories.

Jun 20 - EQT to create biggest U.S. natgas producer with $6.7 bln Rice deal

EQT Corp  was set to leapfrog Exxon Mobil as the largest U.S. natural gas producer after saying on Monday it agreed to a deal to buy fellow Appalachian gas and oil firm Rice Energy for $6.7 billion. The tie-up would join two of the largest players in the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations, which stretch across much of Pennsylvania and Ohio and are ideally situated to supply gas throughout the U.S. Northeast. Click here to read full stories.

Jun 19 - Qatar continues to ship LNG (recap ICIS)
  Exports of LNG from Qatar were largely unaffected in early June by the decision of neighbouring countries including Saudia Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt to break off diplomatic relations. Qatari tankers continued to transit through the Suez Canal on their way to and from European customers, the neutrality of the canal protected by historic convention. Cargoes sourced from Qatar’s Ras Laffan production facilities continued to be delivered to Egypt’s Ain Sukhna regasification port. These cargoes typically arrive on ships chartered by Swiss-trading house intermediaries such as Glencore, Trafigura and Vitol. Qatar Petroleum said it was carrying on “business as usual.”
  Shell was seen to divert one ship, the 173,000cbm Maran Gas Amphipolis, from Kuwait to the UAE in order to meet its supply commitments in the UAE without sourcing a cargo from Qatar. There was also market interest when two of Qatar’s largest tankers, the 266,000cbm Q-Max class Zarga and Al Mafyar, abandoned voyages through the Suez Canal to Europe to instead head southwards around Africa, but it was soon confirmed that these ships remained on course to ultimately deliver to the UK despite embarking on a longer route to get there.

Jun 13 - Qatar crisis to speed the rise of Asia's spot LNG trade 

Qatar's isolation by other Arab nations has dealt a strong hand to Japanese utilities in talks reviewing long-term gas contracts with the top LNG exporter, likely accelerating a shift to a more openly traded global market for the fuel. If Japan gets its way in the periodic contract review, the world's biggest buyer of LNG would have to import more short-notice supplies from producers such as the United States, another step away from rigid deals that run for decades towards a more active spot market. Click here to read full stories.

Jun 13 - Crude oil, fuel shipping costs from Qatar set to rise on port ban 

The costs to ship fuel and crude oil from Qatar are expected to rise after the United Arab Emirates banned vessels that previously called at Qatar from docking at UAE ports, multiple sources from the oil and shipping sectors said on Monday. After Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and others last week severed diplomatic and transport links with Qatar after accusing it of sponsoring terrorism, the UAE blocked vessels carrying Qatari crude from entering the Emirates' oil ports.  Click here to read full stories.

Jun 09 - Qatar Gulf row roils LNG market, Shell tanker diverted

The escalating diplomatic conflict between Qatar and several of its Middle East neighbours has roiled the liquefied natural gas trade, causing at least one tanker to change course and UK gas prices to spike. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and others this week severed diplomatic and transport links with Qatar, the world's biggest LNG producer, accusing it of sponsoring terrorism. Click here to read full stories.

Jun 09 - Qatari standoff brings chaos to LNG trades (Splash24/7)
- The standoff between Qatar and its Arab neighbours has seen gas shipments bound for the UK change direction. Further LNG disruption is expected and gas prices are set to rise on the back of the confusion following the Middle Eastern spat. At the start of the week a number of Arab nations cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, claiming the Middle Eastern state was funding terrorist groups.
- Two Qatari LNG shipments, originally slated for the South Hook terminal in the UK, abruptly changed direction in the Gulf of Aden yesterday. The Nakilat ships Al Mafyar and Zarga made U-turns ahead of the Suez Canal and are now heading back towards their home base. The Suez Canal Authority has this week stressed that despite Egypt cutting ties with Qatar the waterway would remain open to Qatari ships. News that the gas ships had altered course saw UK natural gas futures spike nearly 4% yesterday.
- “A major effect of the cut in diplomatic relationships with Qatar is likely to be felt in the shipping sector,” FGE, a London-based consultant, said in a research note Thursday. Ships travelling to and from Qatar will need to find an alternate bunkering, and LNG shipping lines will have to adjust schedules and routes, it said. “This will increase costs, and in the near term, could even lead to delays in LNG deliveries.”

Jun 07 - Port bans choke Qatar's commodity trade as gas supply worries grow

A campaign by leading Arab powers to isolate Qatar is disrupting trade in commodities from crude oil to metals and food, and deepening fears of a possible jolt to the global gas market, where the tiny Gulf state is a major player. Just a day after Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies severed transport links with Qatar over a diplomatic row, bans on Doha's fleet using regional ports and anchorages threatened to halt some of its exports and disrupt those of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Click here to read full stories.

Jun 06 -  Exxon says Qatar LNG not affected by Arab states tension

Exxon Mobil Corp said on Tuesday that production and exports of liquefied natural gas from Qatar have not been affected by rising diplomatic tensions in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt on Monday cut ties with Qatar, accusing the country of supporting extremism. Qatar denies the allegations.  Click here to read full stories.

June 05 - Qatar's dispute with Arab states lifts oil prices, may impact LNG supply

Saudi Arabia and key allies on Monday cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting extremism, sending shockwaves through the energy industry as the countries involved include the world's top oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporters. Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest crude oil exporter, along with the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain said they would sever all ties including transport links with Qatar, the top LNG exporter in the world. Click here to read full stories.

May 24 - E.ON to set up new independent energy trading business (ICIS)
- German utility E.ON expects to trade independently from spin-off Uniper on its core energy markets by the end of the year, its spokesman has told ICIS.
- E.ON last year spun off its conventional power generation and global energy trading business to Uniper so it could focus on renewables, energy networks and customer solutions.
- Uniper has been responsible for conventional generation and trading services since this move. E.ON expects its new independent trading arm to trade mainly to supply energy to its customers and to sell renewables on the wholesale market on behalf of itself and other companies. “It’s thus not a classic trading floor where earnings before interest and taxes are produced with the trading itself,” the spokesman said.
- The establishment of the procurement and marketing functions in E.ON’s core markets - Germany, Sweden and the UK - is due to be completed by the end of the year.
- The company will start trading on respective energy exchanges in the third quarter. In Germany, it will initially be represented at the EPEX SPOT power exchange and PEGAS gas trading platform, with 1 July set as the market go-live date.
- E.ON is already an EPEX SPOT member for German and Austrian day-ahead and intra-day power trading, the exchange’s website showed. Uniper is listed for all EPEX SPOT markets.
- E.ON had listed a number of risks to its Uniper spin-off at the time, including changes in counterparty requirements on the basis of Uniper’s assigned credit rating. This meant that new agreements had to be thrashed out before Uniper’s trading arm could enter into large transactions.

May 18 - CYBER ATTACK .WNCRY continue
- we are displeased to announce to our customers that our servers have been contaminated with WNCRY, following last week Cyber attack everybody heard about.
- despite our best efforts, the serveur hosting all our swap calculators cannot be cleaned, and therefore will be discarded. We shall have to buy a new one, this time from OVH Private Cloud. Full installation and setting-up and test might take a week.
- physical Cash Energy calculator including oil products / Natgas / LPG / Power / Emissions and Coal prices has been restored in a separate PC, updating 3 to 4 times a day.
- physical Cash Freight calculator including Tanker and Dry Bulk rates has been restored also in a separate PC, updating once per day.
- physical Cash Agri / Softs / Metals pages are safe and do run today as usual.
- once again we apology for all inconvenience, the less to say ? that WannaCRY has really made us cry !

May 17 - CYBER ATTACK .WNCRY continue
- we are displeased to announce to our customers that our servers have been contaminated with WNCRY, following last week Cyber attack.
- despite our best efforts, all our calculators were not fully cleaned this morning, and consequently ALL our SWAP pages are being discontinued until further notice ( and hopefully not more than a further day )
- physical Cash Energy calculator ( including oil products cash prices ) have been stopped too.
- NatGas and LPG multi broker pages are safe and shld run today as usual.
- we are making our best efforts to restore cleaned version on all our servers, hopefully before End of this Day.

May 17 - TrailStone's bid for Cargill's power, gas book falls through -sources

Commodities trader and investor TrailStone Group's bid to buy Cargill Inc's U.S. power and gas trading book has fallen through, two sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday, setting back the seller's efforts to streamline operations. The sources, who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media, said it was not clear why the deal was off. Click here to read full stories.

May 16 - Alert CYBER ATTACK .WNCRY
- we are displeased to announce to our customers that our servers have been contaminated with WNCRY, following last week Cyber attack
- consequently ALL our swap calculators (and pages) are discontinued until further notice.
- physical Cash Energy calculator ( including oil products cash prices ) still working fine, but service will be interrupted for malware cleaning this afternoon.
- we are making our best efforts to restore cleaned version on all our servers, hopefully before End of the Day.

Apr 28 - Long-term contracts needed to secure nuclear power – EDF (ICIS)

French power incumbent EDF will be unable to finance new nuclear plants unless investment is secured under long-term power contracts, a company official told ICIS in a recent interview.

“The electricity prices that we see today do not allow us to invest in or simply generate electricity,” energy policy advisor Florent Jourde, of EDF’s European affairs division, told ICIS in Paris. With almost 20 years experience at EDF, Jourde said that despite the closure of thermal power plants in the years to come, current market signals into the 2020s do not suggest a price that would allow for new investments, at least not without a “meaningful carbon price”.

“The European Commission is pleased that the short-term market is working well, but it has not addressed the issue of long-term investment in low-carbon technologies,” said Jourde. “And I don’t think it will look at it,” he added. “But it’s not the short-term market that will trigger investment in the next ten or twenty years. We won’t consider investing in low-carbon assets such as nuclear, hydro or clean coal [including CCS] if there are no long-term contracts,” he added.

EDF’s views on long-term contracts largely reflect those of Foratom – the Brussels-based European nuclear trade body – which last week said the European Commission should submit proposals to mitigate the revenue risk over 20 to 30 years through co-investment with contractual sharing of risks between large consumers and electricity producers, or a market for long-term contracts based on average cost pricing.

EDF’s Hinkley Point contract in the UK, which will cover 35 years worth of nuclear power output, is an example of how the company would like to underwrite its future investments in large-scale, low-carbon generation. EDF has just begun construction of the 3.2GW plant.

EDF is currently in the testing phase of the third unit at its 1.65GW Flamanville nuclear plant off the coast in Normandy, scheduled to start in 2019, seven years delayed.

Strike price

Jourde considered the UK’s system of contracts for difference (CfD) to be one that is likely to be discussed in France. Under CfDs, producers sell their electricity on the wholesale market, but can be paid a top-up by a government-run company if the electricity price falls below an agreed strike price.

The strike price should reflect the cost of investing in a particular technology, although in the case of Hinkley Point it was negotiated between EDF and the UK, as opposed to being administratively set.

For nuclear power in the UK the levelised cost, which takes into account the entire lifespan of a power plant, is estimated to be £95.00 (€112.00)/MWh for a plant coming online in 2025 according to most recent government figures published last November.

The CfD model allowed for EDF’s 3.2GW Hinkley Point nuclear plant to receive the UK government’s approval stamp in October 2013 at a strike price of £92.50 (€106.20 using Thursday’s exchange rate)/MWh, inflation-linked to 2012 prices, over 35 years once the plant generates electricity.

“I think there will be more contracts following this type in the future,” said Jourde.

European plans

Elsewhere in Europe, only Finland, Hungary, Slovakia, Belarus and Turkey have firm plans to build new nuclear power plants.

The Hungarian, Belarussian and Turkish plants will all be built at least in part by Russian state-owned company Rosatom.

In north Finland, the producer Fennovoima will start construction of the 1.2GW Hanhikivi 1, with capital costs estimated at €6-7bn, with completion due in 2024.

Meanwhile for EDF, even in the absence of new investments, the costs of maintenance and extending the lifetime of current nuclear plants from 40 to 50 years will require average electricity prices at €55.00/MWh until 2025. By comparison, the Calendar Year 2020 Baseload contact in the French power market was assessed at €35.50/MWh on Wednesday this week – almost €20.00/MWh below EDF’s desired price to allow a retrofitting the nuclear plants.

Apr 26 - BHP Billiton puts U.S. shale gas assets on the block again 

BHP Billiton has put its Fayetteville shale gas assets in the United States back on the block, the world's largest miner said on Wednesday, as it seeks to focus on more lucrative opportunities in oil.BHP first tried to sell the Fayetteville assets more than two years ago, having made the shale gas investment in 2011 before writing it down by $2.8 billion a year later after gas prices dropped. Click here to read full stories.

Apr 26 - Gazprom CEO sees share of EU gas market rising despite LNG rivals 

A new pipeline from Russia's Arctic fields to Germany will boost Moscow's share of the European gas market despite competition from Qatar and the United States, and will also mean much less fuel goes via Ukraine, Russian gas monopoly Gazprom said.Chief Executive Alexei Miller told Reuters supplies via Ukraine would fall after 2020, but not stop entirely as Moscow has previously threatened, when the world's largest gas firm opens a pipeline under the Baltic Sea. Click here to read full stories.

Apr 26 - Norway doubles Barents Sea oil and gas estimate, alarms green lobby 

Norway's portion of the Barents Sea could contain twice as much undiscovered oil and gas as previously thought when a newly mapped area bordering Russia is included, raising the prospect of drilling in environmentally sensitive ice-covered waters.Norwegian governments have often said they will only drill in ice-free areas in the Arctic, both because companies lack technology to clean up oil spills onto ice and because icebergs can damage drilling installations. Click here to read full stories.

Apr 25 - Chevron to sell Bangladesh gas fields to Chinese consortium

Chevron Corp is selling its three Bangladesh gas fields, worth an estimated $2 billion, to a Chinese consortium as the U.S. oil and gas group looks to shed non-core assets this year. The deal, if completed, would mark China's first major energy investment in the South Asian country, where Beijing is pumping in billions of dollars in a race with New Delhi and Tokyo for influence. Click here to read full stories.

Apr 21 - East Asia LNG index falls 11% on strong supplies (ICIS)
The ICIS May East Asia Index (EAX) for spot LNG cargoes averaged at $5.475/MMBtu over its period as the front month index, falling 11% from the April average of $6.118/MMBtu, as global supplies remained untested by any major problems and ahead of any potential increases in electricity demand that might arise when east Asian and Middle Eastern consumers enter summer in the coming months. The May EAX reflects deliveries into China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. It was assessed for the final time at $5.463/MMBtu on 14 April, down $0.162/MMBtu since becoming the front month on 16 March. The contract held fairly steady over the course of the month, with a small increase in early April to $5.700/MMBtu, after some buying interest from countries including India, Jordan and Kuwait, and on the back of a short-term outage in Australia.
- The second of the three 5.2 mtpa trains at Australia’s Gorgon liquefaction plant underwent a planned shutdown from 27 March, but this was largely counter-balanced by the facility’s third train starting-up production, confirmed by US operator Chevron in late March. Train two was heard to be returning to action in mid-April, which should allow the plant to build back up towards its full 15.6 mtpa capacity.
- The May EAX was up 29% from the May EAX average the year before of $4.256/MMBtu, reflecting influences including stronger oil prices this year. Although spot-traded LNG is priced according to individual deals between buyers and sellers, spot supplies compete against volume available through long-term oil-indexed contracts, and oil therefore exerts an important influence on the market.
- The new production from Gorgon train three was joined by another first for the supply side as Malaysian producer Petronas in late March loaded the first cargo from its 1.2 mtpa PFLNG Satu project onto the 150,000 cubic metre (cbm) Seri Camellia LNG tanker. This was the first ever LNG cargo produced from a floating liquefaction project, with the PFLNG Satu moored at the Kanowit gas field some 180km offshore Sarawak. The cargo was due to be delivered to India in mid-April.

Global LNG Markers for May Delivery
- US exports continued to build, with 16 tankers departing the Sabine Pass liquefaction plant in Louisiana from mid-March to mid-April, up from 13 during the previous month. Sabine Pass started up its third 4.5 mtpa train in the first quarter of this year, taking its production capacity up to 13.5 mtpa, while a fourth train should increase the total to 18 mtpa by the end of the year.
- Angola LNG also saw steady output from its Soyo liquefaction plant in west Africa. In addition to regular delivered ex ship (DES) cargo tenders, where the LNG is sent to the consumer aboard one of Angola’s own project-vessels, the company also held in the past month its first tender for a free on board (FOB) cargo, where the winner of the tender would bring its own ship to Soyo to pick up the volume. Oil major BP won the tender and was expected to pick up the LNG on its 152,000cbm vessel the British Diamond at the end of April.
- Egypt’s 3.6 mtpa Idku liquefaction plant has been operating well below nameplate capacity in recent months as high domestic gas demand has restricted the availability of feedgas to be turned into LNG. There were signs of an increase in output in recent weeks, however, with the plant’s first cargo of the year departing aboard the 155,000cbm Provalys on 30 March and the second on the 160,000cbm Maran Gas Delphi on 16 April.
- Spreads between the EAX and other regional indices have narrowed since the start of the year, reducing the potential for intra-basin trades, such as reloads from Europe to China and Japan. The May EAX average was only $0.810/MMBtu above the Northwest Europe Index (NEX) May average of $4.665/MMBtu, compared with a $2.409/MMBtu spread seen for January, when east Asian spot prices were at their peak so far this year, pushed higher by an Australian production outage during the peak winter demand period.
- The May EAX average was $0.377/MMBtu above the South America Index (SAX) of $5.098/MMBtu, down from a $1.008/MMBtu spread for January. Central and South America saw some continued buying interest over the past month, with Mexico actively looking for cargoes and Brazil showing increased appetite in recent weeks after a slower start to the year.
- Looking forward, Norway’s 4.3 mtpa Snohvit liquefaction plant is due to undergo maintenance from mid-May to mid-June, although this is not expected to have a large impact on the overall global balance.
- There are new LNG regasification terminals due to come online in China that could prove a potential boost to demand. Guanghui Energy is looking to commission its 0.6 mtpa Qidong LNG terminal in Jiangsu province soon, while Sinopec is awaiting final regulatory approvals for its 3.0 mtpa facility at Nangang in Tianjin province.
- In Japan, meanwhile, availability of nuclear power generation will continue to have an impact on the country’s need for imported gas. Kyushu Electric has submitted applications to restart the 1.2GW number three and four reactors at its Genkai power plant this summer and Kansai Electric is preparing the return of its 830MW number three and four reactors at Takahama following the removal of a legal injunction.

Apr 20 - Australian govt "encouraged" by steps to avert gas crunch, but says more to be done 

The Australian government said it was "encouraged" on steps taken to avert a gas crisis after meeting on Wednesday with producers and the energy market operator, but it held out the threat of regulatory steps to address any supply shortages.Australia's energy market operator and east coast liquefied natural (LNG) gas exporters updated Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Wednesday on measures taken since a March meeting to discuss a domestic gas crunch expected to emerge from 2019. Click here to read full stories.

Apr 18 - Dutch government plans 10% cut to Groningen gas production (ICIS)
  The Dutch government plans to reduce the Groningen low-calorific natural gas (L-gas) production cap by 10% for gas year 2017, economy minister Henk Kamp said in a letter to parliament on Tuesday.
  The decision comes in response to advice issued by government monitoring agency the state supervision of mines (SodM), following a review of seismicity in the region. The current Groningen production plan has capped annual output at 24 billion cubic metres (bcm) for the five years from gas year 2016. A 10% reduction in gas year 2017 would therefore equate to a 21.6bcm production ceiling for the 12 months from October 2017.
  Reduced production in gas year 2017 will increase the strain on high-calorific gas (H-gas) conversion as a source of supply and the use of the 6bcm capacity Norg storage site as a source of flexibility. According to data from grid operator GTS, 15bcm of H-gas was converted to the L-gas grid during winter 2016, up from 11.7bcm in winter 2015 and 5.5bcm in winter 2014.
  The development lifted gas prices at the Dutch TTF during the afternoon and into the 16:30 London time assessment. The Day-ahead, front-month May ‘17 and Winter ‘17 all began to rise shortly before 15:00 and were close to their intra-day highs by 16:30. Winter ‘17 rose by €0.525/MWh session on session to a six-week high of €17.675/MWh, according to ICIS price assessments.

New advice
  Minister Kamp said that new advice from SodM on 13 April made two sets of recommendations based on whether a limit on earthquake density – the number of earthquakes per square kilometre per year – is breached in the future or not. If the limit is exceeded, SodM said, then it advises lowering production from the present 24bcm limit, starting with a 10% reduction. The agency also advised against seasonal fluctuations at this reduced level – as is already the case – and permanent monitoring of seismicity. If the limit is not exceeded, SodM advised among others things, that the government maintain the 24bcm production limit, avoid fluctuations in production and to conduct further research and investigations to optimise and reduce fluctuations further.
  In the letter to parliament, Kamp said he planned to table a motion to adopt the agency’s advice and reduce production in gas year 2017 by 10%, even before the regulated evaluation of production and seismicity on 1 October. The minister said this was because of an increase in earthquake density in the particularly vulnerable region of Loppersum. Kamp said that since October 2016, earthquake density in Loppersum had increased from 0.12 to 0.22. The upper limit is 0.25. The minister did note, however, that the number of earthquakes with a magnitude of more than one on the Richter scale across the Groningen region had more than halved from 77 in the 2013 calendar year, to 36 in 2016.
  Production from the Loppersum region has been restricted by a court order since April 2015, with just 1bcm produced in the 2016 calendar year. This is down from 17bcm in the 2013 calendar year. Kamp said he would work with Groningen field operator NAM and GTS to investigate how production in the Loppersum region can be further reduced. The current plan contains a provision to increase production up to 30bcm in the event of below-average temperatures across the year, but the minister did not say if and how this provision would change under a new lower cap.

Outlook
  On 22 May, the Dutch council of state – the Netherlands’ highest general administrative court – will hear objections to the government’s five-year Groningen production plan, with a ruling due “a few months later”. In November 2016, the court received 22 admissible appeals against the Dutch government’s latest production plan. By the end of the summer, the Dutch government plans to make a final decision on whether or not to invest in a new nitrogen plant to boost H- to L-gas conversion capacity.

Apr 13 - New U.S. pipelines to drive natural gas boom as exports surge 

U.S. energy firms are scrambling to finish a slew of pipelines that will unleash rich reserves of shale gas in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio as the nation prepares to become one of the world’s top natural gas exporters.The pipelines are expected to boost output from shale fields in the three states by giving producers access to new domestic and international markets. Click here to read full stories.

Apr 12 - Saudis, oil majors discuss gas investments ahead of giant IPO 

Saudi Arabia and international oil companies have discussed gas venture opportunities inside the kingdom and abroad as part of the top crude-exporting country's drive to diversify investments before the listing of national energy giant Saudi Aramco.Saudi officials explored investment opportunities with firms including BP and Chevron to help develop its gas reserves, the world's sixth largest, at a time of booming energy demand at home, four industry sources told Reuters. Click here to read full stories.

Apr 05 - Groningen production set to fall year on year this summer (ICIS)
- Low-calorific gas (L-gas) fundamentals in the Netherlands are finely balanced heading into the summer injection season, with stocks at the Norg L-gas facility beginning to be replenished from their lowest level in at least seven years.
- The final level of permitted Groningen gas production remains uncertain following volatile winter weather, but summer production is likely to fall well short of output in summer 2016.
- Average consumption would help to ease fundamentals and injection demand is expected to be lower due to a capacity restriction at Norg, but conversion of high-calorific natural gas (H-gas) to the L-gas grid will be crucial this summer.
- Quality conversion may need to increase significantly from the 8.6 billion cubic metres (bcm) converted in summer 2016 in order to fill L-gas stocks and meet summer consumption.

Summer demand
- According to data from production and storage operator NAM, L-gas stocks at Norg stood at 5.8TWh (590 million cubic metres (mcm)) on 28 March, down from 900mcm on the same day last year.
- In addition to storage demand, summer L-gas consumption will also need to be met. According to grid operator data, combined domestic Dutch consumption and L-gas exports to Germany and Belgium have averaged 14.7bcm during the summer in the past four years, ranging between 13.2-16.3bcm and totalling 15.2bcm in summer 2016.
- Assuming average consumption and maximum injections, summer L-gas demand could therefore total 20.4bcm. The summer 2016 total was 21bcm.

Summer production
- Groningen output may only cover a little more than half of summer demand for Dutch L-gas during summer 2017, depending on any potential increase to the annual production cap.

Conversion
- The shortfall between Groningen production and the total demand for Dutch L-gas can be covered, to an extent, by H-gas conversion via nitrogen blending.
- Assuming no increase to the production cap, Groningen output could be pegged several billion cubic metres below summer 2016’s 13.9bcm output.
- This could mean a significant increase in H-gas conversion, which totalled 8.6bcm during summer 2017, if L-gas storage sites are to be filled by the end of the summer period.
- The additional Dutch demand has mostly been covered by Russian gas in recent years, but Norway and LNG may also compete to supply the Netherlands this summer.

Apr 04 - Qatar restarts development of world's biggest gas field after 12-year freeze 

Qatar has lifted a self-imposed ban on development of the world's biggest natural gas field, the chief executive of Qatar Petroleum said on Monday, as the world's top LNG exporter looks to see off an expected rise in competition. Qatar declared a moratorium in 2005 on the development of the North Field, which it shares with Iran, to give Doha time to study the impact on the reservoir from a rapid rise in output. Click here to read full stories.

Apr 03 - LNG trio to test leverage in push to free-up purchases 

The world's gas industry is descending on Tokyo this week with something other than cherry blossoms on its mind: a trio of Asian LNG buyers testing their collective muscle in a push for more flexible long-term contracts for the fuel. Korea Gas Corp (KOGAS), Japan's JERA and China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) - whose joint liquefied natural gas volumes account for a third of global LNG trade - are attempting to cement a shift in power from producers to importers amid a supply glut that is expected to persist into the early-2020s. Click here to read full stories. 

Apr 03 - NAmerico unveils natural gas pipeline plan to relieve Permian glut 

NAmerico Partners LP is proposing a multibillion-dollar pipeline to ferry natural gas from fast-growing fields in West Texas to the Gulf Coast, the company said on Monday, angling to match plans by rivals such as Kinder Morgan Inc. The pipeline, one of at least three being considered to ease a looming gas glut in the Permian producing region, would link to existing lines, including those that export gas to Mexico and to a Cheniere Energy Inc liquefied natural gas export facility under construction. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 29 - After six decades, U.S. set to turn natgas exporter amid LNG boom 

The last time the United States was a net exporter of natural gas was in 1957, when Dwight Eisenhower was president. That should change in 2018 when the country is expected to become the world's third-largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG). By the end of next year, U.S. LNG export capacity in the lower 48 states will top 6 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd), or 8 percent of the country's domestic consumption, up from zero at the beginning of 2016. Six bcfd of gas can fuel about 30 million U.S. homes, or almost every house in California, Texas and Florida combined. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 24 - World's top LNG buyers form alliance to push for flexible contracts 

The world's biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) buyers, all in Asia, are clubbing together to secure more flexible supply contracts in a move which shifts power to importers from producers as oversupply grows. Korea Gas Corp (KOGAS) said on Thursday it had signed a memorandum of understanding in mid-March with Japan's JERA and China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) to exchange information and "cooperate in the joint procurement of LNG." Click here to read full stories.

Mar 23 - ICE to offer first U.S. Gulf Coast LNG futures contract

With the United States about to become a net exporter of natural gas for the first time in 60 years, Intercontinental Exchange Inc said on Wednesday it would begin trading the first-ever U.S. liquefied natural gas futures contract in May. ICE said the contracts would be cash-settled against the Platts LNG Gulf Coast Marker price assessment and use Platts-derived U.S. GCM LNG forward curves for daily settlement purposes. The curves will have an initial term of 48 months. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 22 - U.S. oil and gas industry reaps the benefits of international trade: Kemp 

Rising exports have thrown a lifeline to U.S. shale producers and refiners, giving them an additional outlet at a time when the domestic market has been at risk of becoming saturated. The United States exported record quantities of natural gas, propane, gasoline, distillate fuel oil and light crude last year while continuing to import the heavy oils needed by its refineries. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 14 - Utilities consider closures, M&A as gas storage sites struggle

European utilities are losing billions of euros from gas storage facilities, potentially triggering site closures and divestments in a market suffering from oversupply and weak demand. Around 5 percent of European storage capacity has been closed this decade and other sites are at risk of closure because weak gas price spreads do not allow operators to cover their fixed costs. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 08 - Low volatility hampers trade of TTF, NBP seasonal gas contracts (ICIS)
  Reduced liquidity on the front two seasonal-delivery contracts continued to restrict traded volumes at the NBP and TTF in February, which fell by 23% year on year at both hubs.
  According to brokered trade data collated by ICIS and exchange trade reported by ICE and PEGAS, a total of 1,525TWh was dealt at the TTF, 71% of which was traded over-the-counter (OTC). At the NBP, trade totalled 1,412TWh, 43% of which was dealt OTC.
  The key factor behind the downtrend at both hubs was lower trade on the front two seasons, as was the case in January. Liquidity early in 2017 has fallen compared to 2016 due to low volatility and a persistently tight forward summer/winter price spread.
  Brent crude has traded sideways within a $4/bbl range since the beginning of December 2016 and only a $3/bbl range in February. In 2016, Brent traded within a $7/bbl range as it began to stage a recovery from a decade-low. With oil falling to provide the European gas curve with any clear direction, volatility has slumped at the key hubs. ICIS’ TTF front summer and winter volatility indices averaged 42% and 39% in February 2016, but only 20% and 17% in 2017. The front calendar year volatility index was down from 40% to 14%.
  The front winter premium to the front summer at the NBP and TTF was also lower than in February 2016, despite fresh uncertainties about the summer injection capability of Rough in Britain. According to ICIS price assessments, the front summer/winter spread at the NBP and TTF averaged 5.76p/th and €1.66/MWh in February 2016, but only 5.52p/th and €1.02/MWh in the same month this year.
  The impact on curve trade was felt in both the brokered and exchange markets. According to OTC data collated by ICIS, liquidity on the front two seasons was down 38% at the NBP and 47% at the TTF, while total curve volume was down 31% and 29% respectively.
  On the ICE exchange, trade of NBP quarters and seasons were down 21% and 37%, while at the TTF the drop was 42% and 19% respectively, with a 52% slump on calendar year products.
  At the TTF, strong trade of monthly delivery contracts partially offset declining trade further out. Strong winter demand, a hefty draw down on gas stocks and the resulting low storage levels have supported volatility and trade on shorter-term products this winter. The average TTF day-ahead and front-month volatility indices were up 14 and one percentage point respectively in February 2017, year on year.
  Trade of TTF monthly contracts was up 82% at the ICE at 127TWh and up 31% at 283TWh in the OTC market. Trade of NBP months via the ICE were up 11% at 397TWh but down 21% in the OTC market at 174TWh, and therefore down 1% overall.

Mar 06 - Pipe dream? China faces daunting task to suck in gas and wean itself off coal 

China has set itself a staggering task to cure its smothering pollution: switching coal-fired boilers and heating systems in at least 1.2 million households in 28 of its smoggiest northern cities to run on gas or electricity. By October. Beijing's latest crackdown on pollution, outlined in a policy document dated Feb. 17 and seen by Reuters this week, dangles a potentially game-changing carrot for the country's saturated global natural gas market. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 23 - China's soaring LNG demand to help rein in global glut 

China's soaring demand for liquefied natural gas is sparking industry hopes that a supply overhang causing a slump in prices will end sooner than initially anticipated. China's imports of LNG in January rose 39.7 percent from a year earlier to 3.44 million tonnes, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Thursday. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 23 - China state firm in preliminary deal to buy Chevron's Bangladesh gas fields 

China's state-run Zhenhua Oil has signed a preliminary deal with Chevron  to buy the U.S. oil major's natural gas fields in Bangladesh that are worth about $2 billion, two Beijing-based Chinese oil executives said. Zhenhua is a subsidiary of China's defence industry conglomerate NORINCO. A completed deal would mark China's first major energy investment in the South Asian country, where Beijing is competing with New Delhi and Tokyo for influence. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 20 - U.S. natural gas market tightens despite exceptionally mild winter: Kemp

Warm weather has masked how much the underlying supply and demand picture for U.S. natural gas has tightened this winter thanks to lower production and strong exports. The winter heating season of 2016/17 has so far been even milder than that of 2015/16, which was itself the warmest winter on record.Click here to read full stories.

Feb 17 - Germany’s gas storage capacity market at turning point (ICIS)
- Two storage capacity allocation platforms are set to fill a gap after the closure of Germany’s dominant platform store-x at the end of 2016. It remains to be seen whether the market will consolidate with one provider or if the market will be carved up by a number of auction platforms.

PRISMA in focus
PRISMA is Europe’s dominant cross-border capacity allocation platform and has been venturing out into the storage capacity auctioning business after the closure of store-x at the end of 2016. Germany’s astora and EWE Gasspeicher, along with Austrian energy company OMV, were the first storage operators to sign up for the pilot auctions at the beginning of the year. On Friday, astora is offering capacity for the upcoming gas year for its Haidach facility and the Jemgum site in week 8 on the PRISMA platform. It would be PRISMA’s second storage auction. The first one was hosted by OMV at the beginning of the month.

ICE, ICE maybe
The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) Endex is mostly known as an exchange operator and clearing house but has more recently expanded into the storage allocation business. It currently hosts auctions for virtual storage with delivery at the Dutch TTF natural gas hub for wholesaler GasTerra. ICE also currently offers capacity for the German Innogy Gas Storage for its two facilities with a central delivery point.

Third option
Besides ICE ENDEX and PRISMA, a third option exists. Some major German storage operators including VNG, Storengy and Uniper all offer their capacity at their individual platforms. These however require large IT investments and are not necessarily viable for smaller players. Energy company Uniper, which was a 32% shareholder in store-x, set up its own storage capacity platform in September 2016, around the same time store-x announced its closure by the end of 2016. When store-x announced its plans to end its service it cited competition from technological advances and alternative platforms as some of the factors behind the decision. “Several store-x users simply built their own platform which was the main reason the customer base shrank so much,” said Jorg Albers, senior manager at innogy Gas Storage NWE. In contrast to cross-border capacity, storage capacity does not have to be allocated via platforms and operators are occasionally also approached directly by customers.

The store-x option
Germany-based store-x was founded in 2006 as a secondary storage capacity allocation platform but many storage operators used it during the last years as a primary tool, predominantly for the German market, explained Andre Janssen, head of storage marketing at EWE Gasspeicher. “Store-x had a claim to become a European-wide storage capacity platform and was seen by some as a model project. It was however dominated by German storage offerings from its start and could not leave this niche for the German market over the past years,” Albers said.

Outlook
Market participants contacted by ICIS are in conversations with both providers and continue to weigh their options whether to side with ICE Endex or PRISMA. If a single platform was to come out on top, it might further pull in storage operators from other countries as the pool of potential customers is likely to grow.

Feb 16 - Spot European gas prices match Asia LNG on cold snap (ICIS)
 The ICIS March East Asia Index (EAX) for spot LNG cargoes was assessed for the final time at $7.125/MMBtu on 15 February, down $1.200/MMBtu since becoming the front month on 16 January. As a front month, the contract had peaked on its first day of assessment at $8.325/MMBtu on 16 January and was at its low on the final assessment day.
 During its period as front month, the March EAX assessment averaged at a price of $7.716/MMBtu, which was down 19% from the rolling front-month average, but up 49% from the March EAX assessment average the year before. The ICIS EAX is the arithmetic average of the daily delivered ex ship (DES) assessments for China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
 EAX prices moved steadily downwards over the course of the month, continuing the trend seen since late December, when the March EAX had peaked at $9.200/MMBtu on the back of demand for replacement cargoes to cover an outage at train one of Australia’s Gorgon liquefaction project. Gorgon returned to production at the start of 2017, and supply received a further boost as west Africa’s Angola LNG resumed spot cargo tenders in January after a halt in the second half of December.
 Improved output eased pressure in the market, while major buyers such as Japan, South Korea and China had sufficient inventories to avoid entering the market in any force during the latter part of winter. They were also able to meet extra requirements by turning up volumes from their long-term suppliers. Trading activity in the region also quietened at the end of January due to the Chinese New Year holidays.
 The strong year-on-year gain of 49% reflects higher oil prices this year. Although spot-traded LNG is priced according to individual deals between buyers and sellers, spot supplies compete against volume available through long-term oil-indexed contracts, and oil therefore exerts an important influence on the market.  

 High prices in Europe
 Unexpectedly high prices in Europe during the past month made the region an attractive alternative destination for spot cargoes. A cold snap sent spot gas and near-curve prices in southern France and Spain to the highest in the world. The Spanish PVB gas price for March, for example, hit $9.460/MMBtu in late January, around $1.500/MMBtu above the March EAX at the same time. Spain, southern France and Portugal all received spot-tendered cargoes from Angola.
 In early February, meanwhile, prices in northern Europe almost reached EAX levels when the UK NBP March contract approached $7.500/MMBtu on concerns over a late-winter freeze that was then predicted for late February and March. Prices soon fell back, however, as the weather outlook changed.
 Major deals during the period included Italian producer Eni winning a 15-year contract to supply Pakistan LNG with 180 cargoes from July 2017 to July 2032 at a price of 12.29% of Brent crude and Swiss-based trading house Gunvor agreeing to supply the same company with 60 cargoes from July 2017 to July 2022 at 11.62% of Brent. Egypt’s EGAS agreed with Russia’s Rosneft, Oman’s OTI and France’s Engie for the delivery of up to 45 cargoes during April-December 2017. Argentina’s ENARSA procured 16 cargoes for its southern hemisphere winter demand, agreeing to take 11 from trader Trafigura, three from trader Glencore and two from US exporter Cheniere for April-September this year.

 Cargo moves

 Notable voyages recorded on ICIS analytics platform LNG Edge during mid-January to mid-February included the arrival of the first commercial delivery to France’s new Dunkirk LNG terminal aboard the 210,000cbm Murwab from Qatar on 22 January and the departure from Peru on 6 February of the first cargo from that country headed towards the UK, aboard the 134,000cbm Gallina.
 The strong prices in the south of France were evidenced by highly unusual shipments from the north to the south of France. The 154,000cbm GDF Suez Point Fortin and the 75,000cbm Global Energy both picked up cargoes from the Montoir terminal in northwest France, sailed around Spain, then unloaded them at Fos Cavaou in southern France a few days later, as France’s onshore pipeline network struggled to pump gas southwards fast enough to keep up with demand.
 Some 14 cargoes departed the southern US Sabine Pass export project over the January 16-February 15 period, for varied destinations including Japan, Mexico, India, Turkey, Portugal and Spain. US exports will soon build on their growing contribution to the market with the expected loading of the first commercial cargo from Sabine Pass Train 3 in March. First LNG from Train 3 at Australia’s Gorgon project is, meanwhile, expected to follow early in the second quarter of the year.

Feb 03 - Seasonal gas trade pulls NBP, TTF liquidity down in Jan17 (ICIS)
- The volume of gas traded at the Dutch TTF and British NBP hubs dropped year on year in January, according over-the-counter (OTC) and exchange trade data collated by ICIS. A total of 1,727TWh was dealt at the TTF, of which 73% was OTC, representing a 15% drop compared to January 2016. At the NBP, 1,392TWh was traded, 42% OTC, which was down by 29% year on year.
- Declining interest on the front two seasons was the key driver behind the downtrend at both hubs, with less trade on the far curve beyond these contracts also factoring in. The lower curve volume was likely due to particularly strong trade at the start of 2016, when shippers were adjusting gas positions in light of oil’s fall to decade-low prices.
- Trade of the front two seasons at the TTF early in 2017 may also be suffering from a tight forward summer/winter price spread, with some counterparties likely to be waiting for a better opportunity to hedge storage capacity for the upcoming 2017/18 cycle. According to ICIS assessments, in January the TTF Summer ‘17 contract closed on average €1.08/MWh below Winter ‘17, down 12% compared to the equivalent products one year before.
TTF increases lead
- Trade of the front-month contract in January was symptomatic of the divergent growth trends at Europe’s two biggest hubs. At the TTF a record volume of front-month trade was recorded via the ICE Endex exchange and OTC at 448TWh, representing a 27% year-on-year increase. At the NBP the volume traded fell by 9% to 380TWh.
- Trade of the four ICIS-assessed prompt-delivery contracts rose to a year-high 90.4TWh at the TTF, driven up by unseasonably cold temperatures and strong demand. The 58.6TWh dealt on the same four NBP contracts was the highest since May 2016.
Volume splits
- OTC trade at the TTF fell by 17% year on year in January to 1,268TWh, according to ICIS data. Trade via the ICE Endex and PEGAS bourses fell by 8% to 458TWh, split approximately 82:18 in favour of the former.
- Monthly contracts were the only products to post significant year-on-year growth, as trade on the rest of the curve slumped. Trade on the prompt was little changed, as strong demand and storage withdrawal optimisation supported liquidity.

Jan 27 - Australia's LNG projects face major delays, benefiting U.S. producers

Australia's plans for a huge increase in its production of liquefied natural gas are being dealt a big blow by a series of production delays, as energy companies struggle with technical problems and cost overruns. The country is still likely to become the world's biggest LNG exporter, dispatching about 85 million tonnes a year by the end of the decade, up from 30.7 million tonnes in 2015 and 45.1 million tonnes last year. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 26 - Gazprom says Poland transit deal delay endangers gas exports to EU

Kremlin-controlled Gazprom, Europe's largest gas supplier, has warned of risks to its deliveries to Europe via Poland as Warsaw has yet to accept new terms for gas transit. "We've heard that Poland does not intend to prolong the transit deal. This puts at risk supplies to European countries, including Germany," Gazprom's deputy chief executive Alexander Medvedev said in an interview cleared for Wednesday publication. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 25 - LNG demand, prices surprise, but wave of new supply yet to crest: Russell

China's record imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in December, and the doubling in spot Asian prices in the past six months, appear to contradict the prevailing market view that supply is overwhelming demand for the super-chilled fuel. But while demand for LNG has definitely firmed in recent months, and not just from China, it's still likely the case that the wave of new projects will push the market into surplus - just perhaps not by as much as some observers had feared. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 25 - U.S. LNG exports shift to Europe from Asia

U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporters have shifted their focus to Southern Europe from Asia as cold weather and problems with Algerian gas supply have driven Europe's gas prices higher. Gas prices in Europe are at their highest premiums to U.S. gas prices for three years. Several cargoes have already made their way to Europe, and analysts expect more to come. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 24 - What’s in store for the global LNG markets in 2017 ? (ICIS)
- 2017 will be another year of big change for the global LNG market as more new Australian production starts up and the momentum then swings to the US.
- Concerns will persist on demand from East Asia, with nuclear plants likely to come back in Japan and South Korea while India will remain an alluring destination for LNG sellers as infrastructure develops and independent buyers come to the market.
- In the Atlantic, the increased role of Henry Hub-linked LNG will influence pricing in the global market.
- South American demand will remain volatile while Europe will offer a market of last resort, albeit with strong competition from Russian and Norwegian pipe gas.
- Africa will continue be an exciting region with new production planned from Cameroon and progress expected in Mozambique. The Middle East is set to absorb spot and short-term volumes.

Jan 19 - Global oil, gas discoveries drop to 70-year low -Rystad Energy

Oil and gas discoveries around the world dropped last year to their lowest since the 1940s after companies sharply cut back in their search for new resources amid falling oil prices. The decline in discoveries means companies such as Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell will struggle to offset the natural depletion of existing fields, reinforcing forecasts of a supply shortage by the end of the decade. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 06 - TRS natural gas premium over PEG Nord soars on LNG shortage (ICIS)
  The premium held by the southern French TRS natural gas hub over the northern French PEG Nord has soared and could increase further in the coming days, as a shortage of LNG supply puts stress on southeastern France’s gas network. “The spread could increase to €5.00-8.00/MWh, but it’s difficult to see it going past €8.00/MWh,” a trader at a utility said on Tuesday. “There’s a danger of a gas shortage but it is too soon to say what the full impact will be, as people are just coming back from the holidays,” he added, a reference to how a less liquid market generally gives off poorer pricing signals.
  The TRS Day-ahead contract closed €5.65/MWh above PEG Nord on 30 December 2016, its highest premium since 12 September. And forward prices indicate a wide spread could persist, with the TRS January ‘17 contract assessed €4.40/MWh above PEG Nord on the same day.
  A lack of LNG supply to southern France has led system operator GRTgaz to make requests of shippers to bring more LNG into the Fos LNG terminals, which are used to supply the TRS zone.

More LNG needed
“All it takes is the goodwill of the two or three main players to solve the problem. But it has to make financial sense for them [to bring in LNG cargoes],” said a second trader. The TRS Day-ahead price is currently more than €4.00/MWh above most other European hubs, including the liquid TTF and NBP, indicating southern France may be an attractive destination for cargoes. On the flip side, high Asian prices will continue to act as a draw on LNG cargoes, which may otherwise have been bound for Europe.
“I’m not sure about the physical restraints [of bringing LNG in], but it is unlikely to be in the short-term. Maybe by next month – it depends where they can divert cargoes from,” the second trader added.

The quickest way to get LNG supplies into France is from Algeria.
  The only vessel currently scheduled to arrive at Fos is the 76,000cbm Cheikh El Mokrani, according to ICIS LNG Edge. Send-out from the terminals is projected at 9 million cubic metres (mcm)/day until 5 January, 2mcm/day shy of GRTgaz’s requested level. Between 6-15 January, send-out is forecast to fall to 4mcm/day.

25mcm/day deficit
  The TRS zone as a whole is running at a deficit of around 25mcm/day, operator data shows. Total consumption is pegged at around 115mcm/day, with an additional 10mcm/day exported to Spain. On the supply side, around 35mcm/day is being imported from northern France via a set of pipelines called the north-south link, just shy of maximum capacity. Storage withdrawals have ramped up to around 46mcm/day, but are likely to dip due to maintenance at the Manosque site. The Manosque facility will be fully offline until between 3-5 January, while the operator undertakes maintenance work to guarantee the availability of full withdrawal capacity. Capacity had been restricted to just 50% since the start of the gas winter. Colder weather and associated higher weather-driven consumption could deepen the mire. Temperature in southern France is forecast at 2-4°C below seasonal norms this week, according to meteorologist WSI.

Due to the particular characteristics of the TRS zone and its relative disconnection from neighbouring markets, the price impact had not spread to other European hubs on Tuesday morning.

Jan 05 - Russia's Rosneftegaz closes Rosneft privatisation deal

Russian state holding company Rosneftegaz on Wednesday closed a deal with the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and commodities trader Glencore to sell a 19.5 percent stake in state-owned oil major Rosneft, Rosneft said. The privatisation deal, which Rosneft Chief Executive Igor Sechin called the largest in Russia's history, was announced by Rosneft in a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in December. Click here to read full stories.

Dec 29 - Our best wishes for a serene (and decisively less turbulent) New Year 2017 to all friends, tweeps, readers, followers and clients.

Dec 20 - Asian spot LNG in largest monthly surge since Feb'13 peak (ICIS)
  LNG demand from China and South Korea, as well as Australian supply outages, helped raise East Asian spot LNG prices to the largest month on month gain since the peak of the last super cycle in February 2013.
  The ICIS January ’17 East Asia Index (EAX) was assessed for the final time at $9.20/MMBtu on 15 December, climbing $1.95/MMBtu since becoming the front month on 16 November. It was the largest month on month gain in almost four years, harking back to a time when the EAX peaked at $21.43/MMBtu.
  The front-month EAX in 2016 has, to date, averaged $5.59/MMBtu, but has been on the ascendency since mid-September. Appetite from South Korea, which has sought spot LNG to replace the loss of nuclear power generation, has been central in pushing up prices from below $5.50/MMbtu in mid-September, to above $7.00/MMBtu by mid-November.
  LNG demand from China and South Korea, as well as Australian supply outages, helped raise East Asian spot LNG prices to the largest month on month gain since the peak of the last super cycle in February 2013.
  The ICIS January ’17 East Asia Index (EAX) was assessed for the final time at $9.20/MMBtu on 15 December, climbing $1.95/MMBtu since becoming the front month on 16 November. It was the largest month on month gain in almost four years, harking back to a time when the EAX peaked at $21.43/MMBtu.
  The front-month EAX in 2016 has, to date, averaged $5.59/MMBtu, but has been on the ascendency since mid-September. Appetite from South Korea, which has sought spot LNG to replace the loss of nuclear power generation, has been central in pushing up prices from below $5.50/MMbtu in mid-September, to above $7.00/MMBtu by mid-November.
  In theory, as spreads between the EAX and the ICIS Northwest Europe Index (NEX) widened, European re-exports can be used as a marginal supply source to the market. However, traders cautioned there was little LNG volume available in tank to re-export. With Europe seemingly well supplied from local production or nearby pipeline imports, LNG initially intended for Europe but diverted from source may be more likely. The arbitrage between the EAX and NEX for Feb ‘17 delivery rose from $1.60/MMBtu on 16 November, to $4.10/MMBtu on 15 December.
  Data from LNG EDGE shows that Europe’s largest receiving terminal, South Hook in the UK, has received five less cargoes in the 30 days to 15 December 2016 than over the same period last year.

Dec 15 - U.S. oil industry cheers Trump energy pick, seeks gas export boost

The U.S. oil and gas industry on Wednesday welcomed President-elect Donald Trump's choice of former Texas Governor Rick Perry to head the U.S. Department of Energy, and wasted no time making its first specific request of him: to support increased exports of America's natural gas overseas. Trump named Perry as his pick for the top U.S. energy job on Wednesday morning, handing the portfolio to a climate change skeptic with close ties to the oil and gas industry, and who previously proposed abolishing the department. 

Dec 06 - Dutch gas hub continues to build traded-volume lead over NBP (ICIS)
  Total traded volume at the TTF pulled further clear of the British NBP in November, according to data collated by ICIS. Liquidity at both hubs rose by around 4% month on month, but declining interest on the NBP curve saw total volume in Britain fall by nearly a third compared to November 2015.
  TTF volume grew by 6% over the same period, as a result of increased brokered trade of the day-ahead and near-curve contracts. A total of 1,783TWh of trade was recorded at the TTF in November, comprising 1,357TWh (76%) of brokered deals and 426TWh (24%) via the ICE Endex and PEGAS exchange platforms.
  In the over-the-counter (OTC) market, volume traded at the TTF dipped 2% compared to October 2016, but was up 10% year on year.
  Trade of the Day-ahead contract hit a record high of nearly 34TWh in November, bettering the previous record of 32TWh set in February 2016. This was driven by unseasonably cold weather across the month, as evidenced by a combined 5.5 billion cubic metres of demand for Dutch low-calorific natural gas – equal to 116% of the November average between 2012-2015.
  The TTF Day-ahead held a premium to the front-month contract on all but two days during November, according to ICIS closing price assessments, boosting the incentive for storage shippers to withdraw gas to trade on the spot market. Additional demand from Britain – satisfied via exports on the BBL pipeline and via Belgium – also helped to lift trade of the Day-ahead contract.
  The volume traded on other TTF prompt contracts fell in November however and this, together with a significant drop in trade of monthly contracts and the front year, helped to drive OTC volumes lower compared with October ’16. Greater interest in quarterly and seasonal delivery contracts meant the overall month-on-month drop was only marginal.
  Year-on-year growth at the Dutch hub was driven by increased trade of the front month, quarter and season, offsetting smaller drops on other contracts.
  In contrast, TTF exchange trade was down 3% year on year, but volumes rose by 34% compared to the previous month. The year-on-year trend was driven by a 19TWh drop in volumes on seasonal contracts traded via the ICE Endex bourse. A small reduction in trade was also seen on ICE’s quarterly products, offsetting an increase in trade of monthly and yearly contracts.
  ICE Endex accounted for around 82% of TTF exchange trade, with the remaining 18% traded via PEGAS. This split was unchanged compared to November 2015.
  The picture was very different at the NBP, where total volume fell by 33% year on year, despite rising 4% compared to the previous month. The 1,123TWh total comprised 601TWh (54%) of exchange trade and 521TWh (46%) of brokered trade.
  OTC volume at the NBP hit a two-year low, driven by reduced trade on key curve contracts. The volume dealt on the far-curve – longer dated quarterly and seasonal contracts – and the prompt partially arrested the trend at the British hub, but the NBP still fell to a record 836TWh OTC deficit to the TTF in November.
  The NBP Day-ahead recorded a 19-month high 24TWh of trade amid unseasonably cold weather and strong imports from mainland Europe via its two interconnectors.
  Exchange trade – predominantly through the ICE – was down 37% year on year but up 16% compared to October 2016, like at the TTF. Traded was down on all products compared to November 2015, but seasonal-delivery contracts in particular.
  Uncertainty stemming from Britain’s vote to leave the EU – particularly concerning currency volatility – has been cited by market sources as a key factor behind the recent downtrend. The euro-denominated TTF hub is currently regarded as a safer option for many European energy companies.
  The TTF has increased its combined volume lead over the NBP in every month since July, following the Brexit vote at the end of June. The Dutch hub’s 661TWh lead in November ’16 was a new record.

Dec 05 - Peru would face 'huge sum' if it scraps Odebrecht contract - junior partner 

Odebrecht SA's junior partner on a natural gas pipeline project in Peru told Reuters Friday that the government would have to pay $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion in compensation if it decides to rescind the current contract as financing is stuck on corruption concerns. Resuming construction on the $5 billion project could take up to three years if the Odebrecht-led group misses a January financing deadline and the government holds a new auction, said Mario Alvarado, corporate general manager of Peruvian construction group Grana y Montero. Click here to read full stories.

Nov 25 - Asian exchanges set to hit the gas on LNG trading

Asia may be the world's biggest consumer of liquefied natural gas, yet its LNG trading activity is minuscule as no exchange has managed to establish itself as a benchmark. That might be about to change. Following years of unfulfilled promises, two of Asia's leading exchanges - Singapore's SGX and Japan's TOCOM - this week announced they would join forces to create Asian LNG and electricity futures. Click here to read full stories.

Nov 24 - Global LNG buyers, sellers meet as Japan probes contract clauses

A new Japanese regulatory probe into sales restrictions for liquefied natural gas (LNG) contracts will be at the forefront of discussion as the industry's biggest buyers and sellers gather in Tokyo this week. Representatives from major LNG producers Qatar, Australia and Malaysia will meet with buyers from companies including Japan's Jera Co, the world's biggest buyer of the fuel, and Taiwan's CPC Corp to find ways to address a market where demand is only about 76 percent of supply, Thomson Reuters Eikon data shows. The overhang is leading the industry to question everything from how the fuel is priced to how it is sold. Click here to read full stories.

Nov 22 - Singapore Exchange (SGX) and Japan's Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM) said on Tuesday they have signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop Asia's liquefied natural gas (LNG) market, as well as electricity futures.
  As part of the accord, the exchanges plan to explore opportunities like co-listing LNG derivatives, as well as synergies between the pair's market distribution networks.
  SGX, which listed Asia's first electricity futures in 2015, will also share its experience with its Japanese counterpart, Loh Boon Chye, SGX's Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement.
  "We also look forward to drawing on SGX's experience in electricity futures, as a liquid electricity market is closely linked to the development of the LNG market," said Takamichi Hamada, President and Chief Executive Officer of TOCOM.
  SGX began pricing LNG in October 2015 when it launched its Singapore Sling index, assessing cargoes on a free-on-board Singapore basis. In September this year it launched a second index, the North Asia Sling.
  The latter index, which will price the super-cooled fuel for the Japanese, South Korean, Taiwanese and Chinese markets, was seen by market participants as a signal that the market continues to take pricing signals from traditional buyers in North Asia.
  Singapore, already Asia's main trading location for oil and refined fuel products, and Japan, the world's biggest consumer of LNG, had previously been in competition to establish Asia's main LNG hub.

Nov 21 - Australia to import LNG ? When the illogical makes sense: Russell 

Sometimes the seemingly illogical actually makes sense. Take the case of Australia, which will become the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), but also may start importing the super-chilled fuel at the same time. Australia is in the final stages of completing more than $180 billion of LNG projects that will see it overtake Qatar as the world's largest supplier by the end of next year. Click here to read full stories.

Nov 17 - Asia absorbs steady increase in LNG as NBP volatility rises (ICIS)
  Spot LNG prices in East Asia have inched higher over the last 30 days while European gas hubs have been more volatile.
  The ICIS December East Asia Index (EAX) was assessed for the final time at $7.21/MMBtu on 15 November, having risen $0.36/MMBtu since becoming the front month on 17 October. The second front month contract, the January ‘17 EAX, closed at $7.33/MMbtu, representing a small $0.18/MMBtu rise.
  A larger-than-expected round of purchases from South Korean incumbent, KOGAS set the tone in the second half of October. It purchased around 15 deliveries across December to February, up from only four that it had initially sought. Prices which were said to average around $7.00/MMBtu, appeared to be at a market discount for January but this was due to extra flexibility granted to sellers regarding discharge dates. Sellers were able to maintain East Asian offers in the mid $7.00s/MMBtu for outstanding demand until the end of October but had to abandon ideas of a $0.25/MMBtu contango between December and January as market attention turned to the second front month at the beginning of November.

  The prospect of greater production as plants in Australia and the US ramp up after a string of maintenance outages was cited as one factor keeping a lid on the contango. Another was the mild winter weather forecasts for Japan. On the other hand, traders also pointed to possible weather-driven demand in late December and January from the Beijing and northern China markets.
  Taiwan too, has so far been more active this winter than in previous years. Though not a typical seasonal spot importer, lower-than-expected nuclear power generation, like in South Korea, encouraged its state-owned buyer to purchase a December delivery around $7.20/MMBtu at the beginning of November.
  As the EAX across both front months narrowed into the low-mid $7.00s/MMBtu range, various discussions for incremental supply to India also helped support the EAX. Indian buyers transacted for spot December and January volumes at or close to EAX levels in early November.
  Around this period, large tenders for supplies to Egypt and Pakistan over the mid-term forward curve consumed significant attention from traders. Opportunities for optimisation among traders for near-term deliveries to Egypt, India, Pakistan, and South Korea were also present however. One example from analytics platform, LNG Edge, being the churn involved in these two deliveries to India and South Korea.
  Image showcases diversion of Nigeria-sourced cargo afer approaching Ain Sukhna, EgyptRe-exports, or diversions, from Europe appear still to have been in the money with the EAX Dec’16 holding a premium at or above $1.50/MMBtu to the Northwest Europe Index (NEX) for most of the period.
  European gas hubs however, have been volatile with prices jumping, and then falling back, as winter supply profiles ease concerns over demand.
  The front months on the British NBP jumped by around $0.50/MMBtu in early November, widening premiums to the Dutch TTF to about $0.60/MMBtu on 2 November.
  The British premium over neighbouring Netherlands has been supported by a lack of available storage withdrawals over winter from the large-scale Rough site which has suffered extended outages in recent months.
  There is currently only one Qatari cargo due to arrive in the UK over the coming weeks, according to ICIS LNG Edge. The platform shows as many as six Qatari vessels that usually deliver to the UK are either en route to, or from, East Asia.

Nov 11 - ConocoPhillips aims to sell up to $8 billion in gas assets

ConocoPhillips, the largest U.S. independent oil producer, will sell up to $8 billion in natural gas assets and trim its capital budget by 4 percent next year to provide funds to bolster operations, executives said on Thursday. The moves highlighted not only the energy industry's increasing push for efficiency gains that reduce the cost of drawing oil and natural gas from the earth but also low commodity prices, which have hampered Conoco and peers the past two years. Click here to read full stories.

Nov 08 - French nuclear crunch causes European CCGT gas demand surge (ICIS)
- Demand for gas in power generation at many key European gas hubs surged in October, in response to nuclear supply problems in France and favourable clean spark spreads. This was a key factor in pushing Day-ahead contracts at many European gas hubs around 40% higher month on month.
- The main factor behind gas-fired generation demand rocketing in October was a series of outages at French nuclear generation facilities, which are the country’s dominant source for electricity. These supply concerns led to spikes in many European wholesale power markets.
- Looking ahead, the French Nuclear Safety Authority has said that four reactors will be taken offline between mid-December and mid-January, meaning nuclear availability will be restricted during a key demand period. A fifth reactor has already been taken offline.
- The supply crunch has impacted not only France, but neighbouring markets, and caused gas-fired generation in surrounding countries to ramp up in order to fill the supply gap.
- The combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) demand increase was a key factor in higher Day-ahead contracts at many European gas hubs, including the British NBP, Dutch TTF and French PEG Nord. Most Day-ahead contracts leapt by around 40% in October, with the TTF surging from €12.56/MWh on 3 October to €16.925/MWh on 28 October.
- Other factors contributing to the price rises included lower than normal temperatures across much of northern Europe, low send-out from British LNG terminals and uncertainty over British gas storage.

Nov 04 - Chesapeake Energy expects to exit 2017, 2018 with higher output 

U.S. natural gas producer Chesapeake Energy Corp reported a surprise adjusted profit, helped by lower expenses, and said it expects to exit the next two years at higher production rates. Shares of Chesapeake, which also kept its 2017 budget nearly unchanged, rose as much as 9 percent to $5.80 on Thursday. Click here to read full stories.

Nov 04 - Japan's beleaguered utilities seek salvation in trading 

Forced into action by falling customers due to market liberalization and a shrinking population, Japan's utilities are ditching old long-term coal and gas supply contracts in favour of more short-term, opportunistic trading. The move represents a sea change for the traditionally risk averse utilities as they seek to cut costs, but will make life harder for liquefied natural gas (LNG) producers who have relied on long-term sales to underwrite costly new projects and expansions. Click here to read full stories.

Oct 31 - Chevron Wheatstone LNG cost blowout to $34 bln hits Woodside 

Woodside Petroleum said on Monday it faces an 8 percent rise in its expected costs on the Wheatstone LNG (liquefied natural gas) project in Australia, after operator Chevron Corp flagged total costs would jump to $34 billion. Chevron said last Friday delays in module deliveries to the Wheatstone project had resulted in a $5 billion blowout in costs from its estimate in 2011. It still expects the plant, which will have two production units, to start output in mid-2017. 

Oct 26 - China is more than LNG's best hope, it's a microcosm: Russell 

China stands out as a bright spot for oversupplied liquefied natural gas (LNG) markets, but it's much more than just a beacon of demand hope, it's the microcosm of how the global market is likely to develop. China's imports of the super-chilled fuel almost doubled to 2.53 million tonnes in September from the same month in 2015, according to customs data. Click here to read full stories.

Oct 26 - Singapore takes more steps to become LNG trading hub 

Singapore is boosting efforts to establish itself as Asia's liquefied natural gas (LNG) trading hub, looking at third party spot imports and a second LNG terminal, while LNG bunkering services will start next year. The city state, already one of the world's leading oil trading centres, is vying with Tokyo and Shanghai to become Asia's main pricing hub for the emerging LNG market as the fuel moves away from being traded almost exclusively through long-term contracts. Click here to read full stories.

Oct 21 - NBP bulls in charge but front-summer momentum wanes (ICIS)
- Technical analysis of ICIS data suggests that the bulls remain in control of the NBP Summer ’17 contract but that upwards momentum has fallen in recent sessions, indicating a possible plateau or downturn. The NBP is one of Europe’s largest gas markets and is a key price driver for numerous European gas and power markets. NBP prices can influence other gas hubs including the Dutch TTF and German NCG markets along with British, French and Dutch power markets. The NBP is also the key reference price for LNG in Europe.
- The graphs demonstrate the price of the contract since 30 June 2016; its simple moving average (SMA); upper and lower bollinger bands; moving average convergence-divergence (MACD) and signal line; and traded volume on the contract on a given day.

Through July and August, the contract was caught in a steady downward trend, drifting between its lower bollinger band and simple moving average (SMA) a number of times as volatility slowly left the market.
On 22 August, the MACD line crossed below the signal line, typically a sell signal for a trader as it suggests that the market has entered a bearish trend.
Summer ’17 then started to stage a recovery in value from 12 September, after bottoming out at 35.45p/th three days prior.
The uptick became a trend, rather than a correction, when the contract’s MACD crossed above its corresponding signal line on 15 August – typically interpreted as a buy signal for traders.
Four days later, the contract broke above its SMA, further cementing its bullish trend.
The MACD line leapt above the zero line on 23 August, another technical buying signal.
These three indicators helped to propel Summer ‘17 to life-of-contract highs, climbing 21% in a little over a month
- Flagging momentum
The MACD histogram, which measures the difference between the MACD line and signal line, peaked at 0.5071 on 6 October when the contract was at its most bullish. By 19 October, the histogram had dropped by over 50% to 0.2242. This indicates the upwards momentum in the market is beginning to wane as the MACD threatens to cross below the signal line.
At 1.429, the MACD is just 8% below its 1.55 high point during its last bullish run in July 2016, which preceded the contract’s summer down-trend.
A falling histrogram, as the MACD approaches a historical peak, are indicative of a market where the bulls are running out of steam.

Oct 20 - Asian LNG demand lifts spot prices as winter approaches (ICIS)
- A number of buyers across East Asia and India have tapped the LNG spot market causing marginal supply to appear increasingly scarce as the northern hemisphere winter approaches.
- The ICIS November East Asia Index (EAX) was assessed for the final time at $6.45/MMBtu on 14 October, having risen $1.06/MMBtu since becoming the front month on 16 September. The second front-month contract, the December EAX, closed at $6.80/MMbtu, representing a $1.25/MMBtu rise.
- Renewed appetite from South Korean state-owned buyer KOGAS has been key in the upward price direction. Four nuclear units at Wolsong in South Korea went offline following earthquakes that hit the country in mid-September. Korea was deprived of more than a quarter of its 22GW nuclear power capacity on the back of a long and hot summer of heightened electricity demand for air conditioning.
- As Korean gas inventories dwindled, KOGAS went from being relatively long in LNG to short, and after having nominated to take as many incremental deliveries through its long-term contracts as commercially viable, the company issued its third short-term buy tender of the past five weeks on 12 October. KOGAS had awarded three cargoes through the first tender in mid-September and issued a subsequent tender for five shipments in late September. Its latest tender, which is expected to be awarded by 27 October, seeks four deliveries from November 2016 to February 2017.

Oct 18 - Even at $100 for coal, Asia's LNG industry struggles to compete

The liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector has watched with joy how thermal coal prices have soared this year, hoping that the unexpected spike would at last make LNG price competitive in Asia. Although much cleaner than coal in terms of pollution and carbon emissions, natural gas has struggled to make inroads in Asia's power generation mix since it is typically more expensive to produce electricity from gas than coal. Click here to read full stories.

Oct 13 - South Korean shipbuilders eyed for LNG carriers deal worth $3.8 billion

A little-known investment company said it intends to order up to 20 liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers, probably from South Korean shipbuilders. The contracts would be worth as much as $3.8 billion, two people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. CBI Energy and Chemical, which is controlled by Australian and Canadian investors and has offices in Hong Kong, also said in a statement to Reuters that it would be seeking to buy floating LNG production and import facilities as part of an ambitious plan for Africa and Asia. Click here to read full stories.

Oct 07 - LNG prices enjoying seasonal gains, but joy may be short-lived: Russell 

It's around about now that liquefied natural gas (LNG) spot prices usually start rising in Asia ahead of winter demand, and this year looks set to hold to the pattern, although any relief for producers is likely to be short-lived. While the LNG market is heading for structural oversupply next year, and for several years thereafter, there are several short-term factors that have been supporting prices, and should continue to do so for a little while. Click here to read full stories.

Oct 06 - Qatar diverts LNG from Britain to more lucrative Asia 

Britain's top sea-borne gas supplier Qatar has stopped sending new shipments for several weeks as restocking demand from long-standing customer South Korea drains supply. The drought underscores the precariousness of Britain's access to liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies from the world's biggest producer at a time when UK gas traders deal with volatile markets and the approach of peak winter demand.

Sep 28 - Britain's first U.S. shale gas delivery arrives in stormy Scotland 

Britain's first shale gas delivery from the United States sailed into a heated European political debate on fracking on Tuesday and immediately ran into its first practical problem - the Scottish weather.The huge "Ineos Insight" tanker had entered the Firth of Forth at sunrise, a lone Scots piper playing on its bow, as it headed for the Grangemouth refinery, west of Edinburgh. Click here to read full stories.

Sep 27 - Japan's Jera sells first LNG resale cargo to South Korea 

Japan's Jera Co, the world's biggest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), has re-sold an LNG cargo to South Korea, marking the first actual delivery to a customer outside of Japan, a crucial step toward expanding its trading business. Jera agreed to resell about 60,000 tonnes of LNG to the Gwangyang terminal in South Korea for December delivery to a storage tank that trading house Itochu Corp has leased from Posco, Jera's Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Fuel Transactions Officer, Hiroki Sato, told Reuters in an interview on Monday. Click here to read full stories.

Sep 21 - Bearish European gas hubs keep re-load option open (ICIS)
- Stronger bearish pressure at European gas hubs has trumped world-wide falls in spot LNG prices allowing LNG re-exports in an already well-supplied LNG market.
- The ICIS October South America Index (SAX) was assessed for the final time at $5.31/MMBtu on 15 September, having fallen $0.33/MMBtu since becoming the front month on 16 August. It went from being assessed at a premium to a discount to both the ICIS East Asia Index (EAX) and Middle East North Africa Index (MENAX).
- Only gas hubs in Europe fell by more providing scope for LNG traders to still re-export at a profit, particularly to destinations in the Middle East. Volatility in month-ahead European gas, as well as LNG markets, saw the MENAX premium to the ICIS Northwest Europe Index (NEX) range from $1.23/MMBtu to $1.77/MMBtu.
- Supply from most LNG production centres around the world held steady, while plants in Indonesia, Australia, and Papua New Guinea held tenders over the period to sell excess into the October market. A force majeure on feedgas supplies to the Nigeria LNG plant since 10 August was lifted on 7 September. Data from ICIS LNG Edge shows that, as of 16 September, four more cargoes have been loaded from Nigeria within the last 15 days compared to the previous 15 days. Despite lengthening supply and spot prices falling, LNG traders in Europe could still consider Europe as an economically competitive source of supply in the October market. With the Dutch TTF October ’16 contract trading around €12.00/MWh ($3.95/MMBtu), at least one trader has probed the shipping market to re-export from northern Europe in early October.

Sep 14 - Front-month trade lifts TTF gas volumes as NBP slumps
A seven-month high in traded volume on the TTF contract for delivery in September helped to lift total trade at the Dutch hub in August. TTF trade during August was up 22% year-on-year, and was 42% higher than at the British NBP hub. This is part of a wider trend which has seen the Dutch hub overtake its British rival to become the most liquid gas hub in Europe.

Sep 14 - Pipeline exports to Europe dip due to low Norwegian flows
Pipeline gas imports to Europe fell to a 14-month low in August, driven almost entirely by reduced supply from Norway. According to data collated by ICIS, just shy of 23 billion cubic metres (bcm) of Russian, Norwegian and North African gas was shipped to the continent in August, down by 1.6% year on year and by nearly 5% compared to the previous month.

Sep 14 - Ukraine may decommission part of gas network on lower Russian supplies - paper 

Ukraine may decommission part of its gas transit system due to a sharp fall in the amount of Russian gas being pumped to Europe via Ukraine, the head of Ukraine's gas transport monopoly Ihor Prokopiv was quoted on Tuesday as saying. Around 40 percent of Russia's gas exports to Europe currently pass through Ukraine but several new gas pipelines elsewhere and an uncertain future for Ukrainian gas deals with Russia could leave Ukrainian transit pipelines redundant within a few years. Click here to read full stories.

Sep 09 - Bloated, glutted and static, Asia's LNG market keeps disappointing

The liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry has morphed from energy's golden child to black sheep in the last two years, with demand slumping just as supplies soar.While low prices are a boon for consumers, the lack of demand and lowered revenue will threaten the efforts of companies to recoup investments in LNG export terminals in the United States and Australia. Further, future projects will have a hard time gaining approval. Click here to read full stories.

Sep 05 - Woodside buys half of BHP's stake in Australian gas fields for $400 mln

Woodside Petroleum has agreed to buy half of BHP Billiton's stake in the Scarborough area gas fields off Western Australia for $400 million, in a move that could help speed a decision to develop the long delayed project.The sale fits with BHP's effort to shift its petroleum focus to the United States and more on oil, while boosting Woodside's resources without any exploration spending at a time when weak oil and gas prices have dented earnings. Click here to read full stories.

Sep 02 - Argentina reworks LNG import deals as mild weather hits demand 

Argentina is diverting or cancelling incoming shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) after mild late winter temperatures curbed fuel demand and forced state-run buyer Enarsa to rework some deals. South America's biggest LNG importer launched back-to-back tenders in June and July after a cold start to winter, lining up dozens of cargoes at bargain prices as global output continued to outpace demand.

Aug 30 - Australian state to permanently ban onshore gas fracking 

The state of Victoria plans to ban shale and coal seam gas fracking in what would be Australia's first permanent ban on unconventional gas drilling, citing the concerns of farmers and potential health and environment risks.However the government left the door open to allowing onshore conventional gas drilling after 2020.Click here to read full stories.

Aug 15 - Australia's gas paradox: supply crunch looms despite rich reserves 

Australia is on track to become the world's biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter by 2019 yet faces a looming shortage at home as states restrict new drilling onshore and cash-strapped oil and gas companies cut spending. The paradox has led to urgent calls from everyone from Australia's energy minister to petroleum giant Royal Dutch Shell and big industrial users like Dow Chemical and fertiliser group Incitec Pivot for action to spur new supply. Click here to read full stories.

Aug 03 - Sinopec to sell gas pipeline stake to no more than 15 investors 

China's Sinopec Corp will sell a stake in the Sichuan-East China gas pipeline to no more than 15 investors, the company said in an announcement in Beijing Equity Exchange on Wednesday. Sinopec, the country's second-largest oil and gas group, said late on Tuesday that it would sell half of its premium natural gas pipeline business to investors. 

Aug 01 - First U.S. LNG shipment goes to China as Panama Canal opens markets -data 

The first liquefied natural gas vessel from the lower 48 U.S. states is on its way to China, according to a Reuters interactive map on Friday, the latest sign that the expanded Panama Canal is allowing U.S. exports to reach the world's top LNG buyers in Asia. Royal Dutch Shell's Maran Gas Apollonia loaded up with gas at Cheniere Energy Inc's Sabine Pass LNG export plant in Louisiana, the map showed. It passed through the canal earlier this week and was moving northwest up the west coast of Mexico on Friday afternoon.

Jul 22 - Chevron's giant Australia LNG plant facing union calls for safety checks 

Forced to shut its $54 billion Gorgon liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant twice in its first five months, Chevron Corp now faces calls from union officials for a probe into the site's safety. Chevron denies there have been any safety breaches at the plant but is under pressure to resolve problems that have limited exports to just two cargoes since starting operations in March. click here .

Jul 21 - Oil Search bows to ExxonMobil in battle for InterOil 

Australia's Oil Search Ltd has cleared the way for ExxonMobil Corp to take over InterOil Corp for $2.2 billion, giving the U.S. giant access to a rich new gas field to expand its exports from Papua New Guinea. The move could lead ExxonMobil and French giant Total SA to tie together their competing gas interests in the South Pacific nation, cooperating to reduce costs as they battle cheap oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices. click here .

Jul 18 - U.S. gas prices must rise to rebalance market: Kemp

The U.S. natural gas market is on an unsustainable course as low prices stimulate strong growth in consumption while production is flat or falling. U.S. power producers burned a record amount of gas last winter despite mild weather as cheap prices and stricter environmental regulations encouraged a shift away from coal. click here.

Jul 15 - ExxonMobil launches bidding war for InterOil in PNG gas push 

ExxonMobil Corp has made a bid worth at least $2.2 billion for InterOil Corp and its stake in a rich Papua New Guinea gasfield, winning the support of its target and topping an offer from Australia's Oil Search Ltd. The bid pits ExxonMobil, the world's biggest oil company, against Total SA, which is backing Oil Search, as the French giant looks to push forward with its planned Papua LNG project to rival ExxonMobil's existing PNG LNG project. click here.

Jul 01 - California probes oil refiners for gas price manipulation 

California has issued subpoenas to Valero Energy Corp and Chevron Corp as part of a probe into whether oil refiners in the state have manipulated gasoline prices since 2014, the companies said on Thursday. Shell, Tesoro Corp, Phillips 66, and Exxon Mobil and other major refiners are also under investigation, the Wall Street Journal first reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.  click here.

Jun 30 - China needs market reform, emission rules to boost gas use-industry 

China needs broader market reform and tighter emission regulations to promote natural gas as the most effective fuel to cut its emissions, industry executives said on Wednesday. The world's largest energy user's ambition to spur gas use is hitting snags because of an inflexible pricing mechanism, lack of market access by independent players and infrastructure limitations, they said. click here.

Jun 29 - Fire at Mississippi gas plant halts two U.S. Gulf Coast platforms 

At least two offshore oil platforms halted operations on Tuesday in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico after a fire at a natural gas processing plant in Mississippi shut a crucial pipeline that brings output onshore, several companies said. The fire at the Enterprise Products Partners LP plant in Pascagoula was brought under control, but officials were forced to close the 225-mile (362 km) Destin gas pipeline system that can carry 1.2 billion cubic feet per day from offshore fields to Pascagoula.  click here.

Jun 21 - How gas could warm relations between Israel and Turkey 

On the sidelines of a nuclear security summit in Washington in March, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a private meeting with Israel's energy minister, Yuval Steinitz. It was the highest level contact between Israel and Turkey since diplomatic relations broke down six years ago after Israeli forces raided a Turkish ship bound for Gaza, killing 10 Turkish activists. The meeting, which lasted 20 to 30 minutes and whose details have not been previously disclosed, discussed the war in Syria, Iran's presence there, terrorism – and natural gas. That last item is a key driver of efforts to forge a rapprochement between Israel and Turkey: At stake are reserves of natural gas worth hundreds of billions of dollars under the waters of Israel and Cyprus. To exploit them Israel will likely require the cooperation of Turkey. click here.

Jun 15 - India seeks better LNG deal by teaming up with South Korea and Japan 

Energy-hungry India has restarted talks on a liquefied natural gas (LNG) purchasing alliance with Japan and South Korea and may also include China as Asian demand for the fuel grows. "For the next two to three decades, gas is going to be a major part of the energy basket for Asian energy consumers," Dharmendra Pradhan, Indian minister of petroleum and natural gas told reporters in Mumbai on Tuesday.  click here.

Jun 09 - No new Australian LNG projects doesn't mean no new LNG: Russell 

Conventional wisdom in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector is that no new projects will be built for several years, given the vast cost can't be reconciled with the current low prices. This view has led some in the industry to predict that the market will flip back to a structural shortage sometime in the early to mid-2020s, once again sending prices soaring as new supply takes so long to be built and become operational. click here.

Jun 09 - Cheap Canadian gas imports may prolong U.S. energy industry's rout 

U.S. utilities and merchants are embarking on their biggest buying spree for Canadian natural gas since the start of the U.S. shale boom, taking advantage of record low prices and raising concerns about the U.S. industry's deepening crisis. Traders have been scooping up more gas from Canada, the world's fifth largest producer, in recent months after prices at the AECO hub in Alberta sank to a big discount to the U.S. benchmark. click here.

Jun 07 - Saudi Aramco could import gas to boost use in energy mix - min
Saudi Aramco could invest in importing gas into the kingdom, but the priority would be on finding new sources of gas domestically through exploration, Saudi Arabia's energy minister said on Tuesday. Even though it is the world's largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia has struggled to keep pace with domestic gas demand in recent years as increased use from industry and power generation put pressure on supplies.click here.

Jun 02 - Cheap gas fuels emerging markets’ new-found appetite for LNG
Cheap gas is tempting out new importers in Africa and South America, helping stave off a deeper price rout hurting producers' bottom lines. A near 80 percent drop in spot liquefied natural gas (LNG)prices since February 2014 comes as Asian demand falls and competing new supply from the United States and Australia attracts poorer countries for long shut out of the gas trade. click here.

May 26 - LNG industry tension to rise as price breaks link to crude oil: Russell
The price of spot cargoes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Asia has broken its long-standing link to crude oil this year, a development likely to fuel tensions in an already unsettled market. Spot LNG was assessed at $4.65 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) in the week to May 20, which is 35 percent down from $6.90 at the end of last year, although slightly higher than the low so far this year of $4, reached in mid-April. click here.

May 25 - Record U.S. LPG exports to Asia hit naphtha when it's already down
Asian petrochemical makers will use around twice as much liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in June as in the previous two months, undercutting already weak margins being earned on traditional chemical feedstock naphtha, trade sources said. U.S. exports of LPG to Asia are hitting their highest rates ever this year and exacerbating the usual seasonal May-July pick-up in use of the fuel in cracking plants. click here.

May 20 - Oil Search boosts LNG push in PNG with $2.2 bln InterOil bid
Australia's Oil Search Ltd agreed a $2.2 billion deal to acquire InterOil Corp on Friday, aiming to pave the way for two rival liquefied natural gas projects led by global majors to work together in Papua New Guinea. In the face of weak oil prices, PNG is considered one of the best locations for LNG projects, thanks to its high quality gas and low costs. click here.

May 19 - Australia's Gorgon LNG export facility restarting operations - Chevron
Chevron has begun to restart its Gorgon liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in Australia following an unplanned shutdown in April, the U.S. energy major said. "We confirm start-up activities are underway on Gorgon train one with a plan to safely resume production in the coming weeks," a Chevron spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday. click here.

May 13 - Macquarie advises Origin to weigh spin-off after LNG project done - sources
Australia's Origin Energy hired Macquarie Capital to advise on a potential spin-off of its gas production businesses, including a $25 billion liquefied natural gas plant, two sources familiar with the matter said on Friday. Macquarie has advised that any spin-off should occur only after Origin's debt-saddled Australia Pacific LNG project is in full production, due in 2017, said one of the sources who was briefed on the advice. Following project completion, guarantees to lenders will be satisfied, making the split easier. click here.

May 12 - Oil refiners, gas producers face higher costs from climate laws - report  
Oil refiners and gas producers could face higher production costs if countries use a high carbon price to follow through promises made at last year's global climate summit in Paris, research showed on Thursday. The landmark Paris Agreement was a commitment by nearly 200 countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 with the aim of limiting the rise in the global average temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius. click here.

Apr 18 - Chevron puts Myanmar gas block stakes worth $1.3 bln up for sale -sources
U.S. oil and gas major Chevron Corp has put all of its Myanmar gas block stakes up for sale, which at a combined likely valuation of $1.3 billion, would be the biggest deal involving Myanmar assets to date, financial sources familiar with the matter said. The sale, part of Chevron's efforts to preserve cash and retreat from non-core assets in the wake of sliding oil prices, is seen as setting the tone for future deals in a country that is opening up for business after historic elections last year. click here.

Mar 15 - Debt deadlines loom for SandRidge, Venoco and Energy XXI
The first major upstream oil and gas bankruptcy filing of the year could occur this week as SandRidge Energy Inc, Venoco Inc and Energy XXI Ltd reach the end of grace periods following millions in missed interest payments.The three oil and gas exploration and production companies with operations across the United States, said they would skip a total of $44.2 million in interest payments last month, as they negotiated debt restructurings with creditors.  click here.

Feb 29 - LNG needs new pricing, rules to realise its golden age: Russell
In theory these should be great days for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry as new plants are commissioned to supply the clean-burning fuel to energy hungry markets across rapidly developing Asia. But in reality the industry is facing uncertainty as low prices damage the economics of multi-billion dollar investments and the expected demand growth fails to materialise. As is normally the case in complex markets, there is no single villain. Rather there are several factors hurting the industry's fortunes and casting doubts over whether natural gas and LNG will ever see the golden age predicted a few years ago.click here.

Feb 26 - As U.S. shale exports begin, Australia readies world's costliest gas project
The timing couldn't be worse for the first production of natural gas from Australia's $54 billion Gorgon project - the world's most expensive. Prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) have collapsed, global demand is faltering and the first of what is likely to be a wave of competing shipments has just set sail from the unlikeliest of exporters, the United States. click here.

Feb 25 - U.S. exports first shale gas as LNG tanker sails from Sabine Pass terminal
The United States has exported its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo from the lower 48 states, after a tanker set sail from Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass export terminal in Louisiana. The Asia Vision LNG tanker left the dock at the Sabine Pass terminal at 0139 GMT (7.39 p.m. on Wednesday local time), shipping data on Reuters showed. click here.

Feb 25 - U.S. commodity agency advised to drop plan to limit futures contracts - NYT
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission's advisory committee has recommend the regulator end its plans to limit the number of futures contracts a trader can hold on certain commodities, including oil and natural gas, the New York Times reported. The CFTC Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee, which largely includes representatives from the energy and trading industries, is to release a report on Thursday saying the regulator should not make the proposed limits final and that it finds "scant evidence" they are necessary, the newspaper said late Wednesday. click here.

Feb 15 - Noble Group's LNG traders leaving to join Glencore – sources
Three liquefied natural gas (LNG) traders at Asia's biggest commodity trade house, Noble Group Ltd, including two co-heads of the team, are leaving to join rival trader Glencore, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.The sources said that Noble will continue to trade LNG, having restarted its London-based trading desk in 2014. Noble will still have about five people involved in the LNG business. click here.

Feb 10 - El Nino unites unlikely bedfellows in UBS play: cocoa and natural gas
Natural gas investors, used to trading on big freezes and scorching temperatures across the United States that can whipsaw prices, may have to extend their weather watch to west Africa if the latest trading call by UBS Group AG catches on. In an unlikely pairing of two vastly different markets, the bank has launched a new relative value trading strategy: go long cocoa and short U.S. natural gas. click here.

Jan 18 - LNG looks poised to follow crude oil's plunge: Russell
In contrast to the carnage in crude oil markets, liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices in Asia have enjoyed relative stability for the past three months, but it's unlikely the calm will persist much longer. Spot Asian LNG prices ended last week at $5.60 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), about 28 percent below the recent peak of $7.80 reached on Nov. 22. In contrast, Brent crude oil has dropped 46 percent from its recent peak in early October to trade currently around $28.55 a barrel. click here.

Jan 12 - PetroChina-Chevron sour gas project begins production in China
PetroChina and Chevron began production at an onshore natural gas field in China's southwest at the end of 2015, PetroChina's parent said on Monday, after years of delays. The Luojiazhai field, whose 'A' well began operating on Dec. 30, has an annual production capacity of 3 billion cubic metres of gas, the state-controlled China National Petroleum Corporation said in a statement on its website. click here.