Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Former chancellor Schröder lobbies for Nord Stream 2 in German parliament

Ex chancellor Gerhard Schröder was invited to the economic committee of the Bundestag by the leftwing and ex-communist party of the GDR, Die Linke, to speak as an expert on Nord Stream 2 where he spoke against US sanctions against the pipeline and appeals to counter-sanctions:

Schröder is Chairman of the Board of Directors at Nord Stream 2. In the Economic Committee, he now rejected the accusation that Nord Stream 2 jeopardizes Germany's security of supply. The opposite is the case.
The SPD politician also had an answer to the impending US sanctions. Schröder spoke in favor of EU counter-sanctions. The federal government had to put pressure on it at EU level.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Friday, June 12, 2020

German officials fear US sanctions against german agencies

As the US Congress, in a rare bipartisan cooperation, votes new sanctions against any company supporting the completion of controversion pipeline Nord Stream 2, german officials fear that those sanctions could also hit german agencies and authorities who perform inspections or certifications, writes german newspaper "FAZ":

"The document points to a bipartisan bill that democratic and republican senators introduced in Washington in early June in the American legislative process. According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, "all companies" that "offer services, insurance or certain retrofit services for laying ships" in connection with the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline should "be included" in the planned sanctions. It also says: "The same applies to services such as tests, inspections or certifications that are required for the operation of Nord Stream 2."
The Department of Commerce is now afraid that the proposed American law could also "result in administrative action by state authorities in connection with the completion or operation of the pipeline being relevant to sanctions". The paper says: "It would be a novelty if sanctions were also directed against the authorities of (friendly) governments or even against the governments themselves." In any case, "it can be assumed that the new sanctions proposals will significantly increase the number of German and European companies a potential sanction target ”. American punitive measures against other countries have repeatedly been directed against representatives of companies and authorities. Accounts were blocked or entry bans issued."

Monday, June 1, 2020

Wilhemshaven FSRU is taking shape

MarineLog writes:

"Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. (MOL) and LNG Terminal Wilhelmshaven (LTW) have signed an agreement to build and charter a 263,000 cu.m LNG Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) for the planned LNG terminal in Wilhelmshaven, which is Germany’s only deep water port and can be reached without any tidal constraints.

The FSRU will be built by South Korean’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) then chartered by LTW (which is a subsidiary of Düsseldorf headquartered Uniper SE) for 20 years.

DSME said in a filing last week that it had signed a contract worth $340 million to build an FSRU for an undisclosed customer.

The FSRU will make it possible to offload, store and regasify LNG for the German market. It will be moored off the coast not far from Wilhelmshaven and will handle incoming LNG tankers there. The regasified gas will then be pumped from the FSRU along a short connecting pipeline under the sea to the port facilities and finally fed into the German gas transmission network. This eliminates the need to construct complex regasification facilities on land."

 You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:


New US sanctions to be introdueced against Nord Stream 2

New York Times:

"Cruz told the Atlantic Council think tank this month that new sanctions would apply to any ship or any owner who attempts to finish the project. Ship officers would lose their ability to come to the United States and all their assets would be blocked, he said."


Thursday, May 28, 2020

LNG market under pressure

The LNG market suffers from a Covid-19 induced oversupply and low prices:


"As a result of reduced industrial and commercial activity, LNG buyers have been scaling down orders and in cases refusing cargoes invoking force majeure. Buyers in Asia and Europe have cancelled about 20 US LNG cargoes for June loading. Prices are now at a level that threatens the economics of not just new projects, but also existing gas production, with some liquefaction plants having to shut-in production – especially in the US.

Prices are now so low, around $2/mmbtu, that US LNG exporters are trading at less than half breakeven levels, weakening their position. With oil prices staying low, oil-indexed LNG prices will also stay low. And with new, and already sanctioned, liquefaction projects continuing to come into the market until 2027, the pressure on prices is expected to continue.

Demand for LNG may remain more or less flat, but it is very difficult to forecast. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that there will be a 5 per cent drop in gas demand in 2020. The biggest problem, though, is increasing LNG production and oversupply – it may take years before this problem fully dissipates.


But some projects, especially those that are low-cost, are still progressing. Qatar LNG has reconfirmed its plans to expand its liquefaction capacity by 30mtpa by 2025, with another 19mtpa to be added by 2027. This is the world’s cheapest source of LNG.

New LNG export projects, and developers, need to brace themselves for a continued glut as further production is added, outpacing global demand, contributing to prolongation of depressed prices."

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:


Ukraine ready for US LNG

"Ukraine’s government on Wednesday approved a memorandum on the prospect of importing at least 5.5 billion cubic metres (bcm) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) a year from the United States, according to a televised meeting.

Acting energy minister Olga Buslavets said the memorandum envisages Louisiana Natural Gas Exports Inc as the seller.

Ukraine has pushed to diversify its energy supplies after relations with its traditional supplier, Russia, collapsed following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014."

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

How China distorts the stainless steel market

A very interesting article by Elisabeth Braw in Foreign Policy:

"The Indonesian plant, owned and operated by the Chinese stainless-steel firm Tsingshan, opened in 2017. The choice of location was no coincidence: Indonesia has the world’s largest reserves of nickel, a key component of stainless steel. More than two-thirds of the world’s nickel is used to make stainless steel. (Regular steel consists almost exclusively of iron, while stainless steel also contains nickel and chromium.) And the plant’s construction was supported by the Chinese government; indeed, it falls within China’s global Belt and Road Initiative.
Then, when the plant had operated for less than two years, the Indonesian government suddenly announced that it would ban exports of nickel starting in January of this year. Predictably, the move caused global nickel prices to skyrocket. But thanks to its Indonesian plant, Tsingshan is shielded from the nickel hike.
In the past two decades China has conquered the stainless-steel market. Though stainless steel may seem unsexy, it’s vital to virtually every other sector, and production is growing faster than that of other metals such as lead, copper, and aluminum. Weaponry, pipelines, ships, and washing machines all contain stainless steel.
 And in the past couple of decades, the production of steel—the main component of the stainless kind—has shifted dramatically.
In 2004, the world’s top 10 steel producers included only one Chinese company, Shanghai Baosteel; the other top firms were American, European, Indian, and South Korean. Back then, just 25.8 percent of the world’s steel was made in China. In 2018 (the latest year with data available), six of the world’s largest steel companies were Chinese, some of them government-owned, and China accounted for 51.3 percent of global steel production—a figure that doesn’t capture production by Chinese companies in other countries).
On the global top 10 list, South Korea, a former steel giant, is represented only by Posco. In stainless steel, the development is even more stark: in 2005, China produced 12.9 percent of the world’s stainless steel, while Europe produced 34.8 percent and the United States 9.2 percent. By 2018, China had more than quadrupled its share to 52.6 of the world’s stainless steel, while Europe’s share had shrunk to 15.6 percent and the United States had just a 5.5 percent share."

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link: