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:

 

After expiration of transit deal: Russian gas transit via Poland drys up

Reuters:

"Russian natural gas transit via the Yamal-Europe pipeline, which traverses Poland, has almost dried up, Interfax cited gas pipeline operators as saying on Monday, days after a gas transit deal between Moscow and Warsaw expired.

Russian gas giant Gazprom declined immediate comment.

The gas transit deal between Russia and Poland, dating back to the 1990s, expired on May 17 as Warsaw aligns its energy regulations with European Union rules and curbs its decades-old dependence on Russian fuel."


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

Russian governement tries to steady battered oil industry

Oilprice.com writes:

"Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has tasked the government with implementing a set of measures aimed at supporting the oil industry for the duration of the OPEC+ production cut agreement.

According to a document published on the website of the Russian presidency, the measures include a prescription not to sanction companies that stray outside their production quotas and a temporary lifting of penalties for state oil companies for not sticking to their 2020/2021 investment programs.

The document also lists “special rates” to be implemented by pipeline operator Transneft and Russian Railways for transporting crude oil and oil products for the duration of the OPEC+ deal."


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

    

Germany: outgoing US-Ambassador Grenell announces new sanctions against Nord Stream 2

US-ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell who unexpectedly terminated his appointment last week announces new sanctions against the Nord Stream 2- pipeline and warns Germany to reconsider its relationship to Russia, writes Handeslblatt:

"In the usual undiplomatic tone, Grenell calls on the federal government to fundamentally rethink its policy on Russia. "Germany has to stop feeding the beast while not paying enough for NATO," he told the Handelsblatt. Grenell had already left Berlin on Sunday. He will probably never come back to Germany.
The Americans have long been bothered by German imports of Russian gas. Above all, they fought the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline with a determination that had long been underestimated in the federal government. At the end of last year, the USA managed to force a construction freeze. Your means: threats of sanctions against western specialist companies who lay the pipes on the bottom of the Baltic Sea with their ships. Since then, the Russians have been trying to complete the rest of the pipeline themselves. To do this, they moved two ships to German coastal waters."

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

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Qatar maintains enhancement of natural gas North Field

Financial Times reports:

"The project will increase Qatar’s production capacity from 77m tonnes of LNG per annum to 110m by 2025, which could rise to 126m tonnes two years later. The move should help the small Gulf state regain the title of the world’s top LNG producer from Australia at a time when other projects have been thrown into doubt by the pandemic."

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