The US appears to have ambitions to dominate the global market for liquefied natural gas with growing exports of gas produced from shale rocks. The volumes are certainly available and a number of export terminals are being built on the country’s coast. But the market is complex and competitive. At the end of July, Donald Trump proclaimed that the EU had agreed to build up to 11 new import terminals to receive LNG from America. This, the president said, would be one of the key elements in a dramatically improved trade deal between the EU and the US, and had apparently been agreed at a meeting in Washington DC between Mr Trump and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission. Indeed, Europe’s existing LNG terminals are operating at only some 25 per cent of their capacity; three-quarters of existing import facilities are unused because of lack of demand. There could be some new-build to meet market needs in particular countries, such as Spain and Croatia, but overall Europe is likely to see more capacity closed than opened over the next few years. The simple reason for this is that gas demand is flat, after falling by 8 per cent over the past decade, and may well decline further as renewables – in many cases mandated or supported by public policy measures – take a growing share of a gradually shrinking energy market. Europe’s own gas production – from the UK and the Netherlands – is certainly declining but the established pattern of imports from countries such as Norway, Qatar and Russia is secure and will be soon be augmented by extra supplies from Russia through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is now being built.
FT 10th Sept 2018 read more »
Like a pair of mysterious soothsayers, Maarten Wetselaar and John Abbott are peering into the future. The world they see is almost unrecognisable from the one we inhabit today, and yet it is only just around the corner. In the west, the petrol car has become obsolete. Lorries are powered by liquid natural gas. Freight liners criss-cross the oceans fuelled by hydrogen. Solar and wind provide the energy to our homes. And the petrol station has been reimagined as an unlikely retail hotspot where people routinely gather to do their food shopping, pick up parcels, and sip artisan coffee. A convoy of vehicles are being rebooted at one of many charging points on the forecourt. At Shell the changes are being taken very seriously, triggering one of the most dramatic corporate reshaping acts ever undertaken as it attempts to reinvent itself in the face of arduous new climate change targets agreed in Paris nearly four years ago, which set a 3.6F (2C) ceiling on global warming. “The world that we all grew up in was remarkably stable in terms of energy provision. It has barely changed over the last 40 years. In the next 20 years that is really going to change,” Wetselaar says. Some experts have compared it to a new industrial revolution. Although there is much debate about when the world will hit peak oil, most agree that hydrocarbons, which have provided 80pc of the world’s energy during that time, are on their way out. Gas, wind, solar, and above all electricity, are the future.
Telegraph 9th Sept 2018 read more »