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Oil refineries, offshore drillers face hurricane challenges amid pandemic

As oil and gas companies began shutting offshore production before the first tropical storm of the season in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, experts said restarting wells and refineries will take longer and prove more costly this year because of COVID-19. Well shut-ins typically last a few days or weeks at most, but oil companies have adopted stringent virus precautions for refinery and offshore staff, including frequent health checks, travel restrictions, onsite protective gear, and longer work stints with pre-departure quarantines. More time-consuming evacuations and slower restarts could lengthen post-storm ...

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Record European gas stocks raise pressure for supply cuts

European gas inventories are at record levels as weak demand has led to excess gas moving into storage, putting pressure on producers to cut supply. A rise in global liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply due to sluggish demand in Asia, two warm winters and reduced industrial demand due to the coronavirus pandemic, have resulted in unusually high European stocks. “Unless we see strong supply cuts there is a risk that storage in northwest Europe is full by the end of July or early of August,” said Marina Tsygankova, a gas ...

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Changing EU rules for LNG terminals would lower gas prices: study

Introducing primary capacity auctions with low reserve prices at all European LNG import terminals would help improve competition and lower weighted average gas prices, according to an independent study commissioned by the European Commission. This is one of several recommendations the study makes on how to improve the rules for using LNG terminals, as part of the EC’s work to update the EU’s gas market rules next year. Primary capacity auctions for standard products with a low reserve price covering variable costs would provide “robust price signals” to the market, ...

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Greece shortlists six investors in gas distribution network sale

Greece has shortlisted six investors in the sale of its state-controlled gas distribution network DEPA Infrastructure, the country’s privatisation agency said. Investors picked to make binding bids in the next phase of the sale are: a consortium of SINO-CEE Fund and China-based investment holding company Shanghai Dazhong Public Utilities (600635.SS); EP Investment Advisors; First State Investments; Italgas SpA (IG.MI); investment firm KKR and asset manager Macquarie. Greece and its biggest oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum (HEPr.AT) are jointly selling a 100% stake in the business to help open up the gas ...

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S.Korea’s Hyundai Oilbank to increase run rates to about 90% from July -source

Hyundai Oilbank, South Korea’s smallest refiner by capacity, plans to raise its run rates to about 90% from July on expectations of fuel demand recovery, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday. “From July, run rates are expected at around 90%,” the source told Reuters. “Currently 410,000-420,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude is being refined, which is about 80%.” The source asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter. A Hyundai Oilbank spokesman said the refiner plans to gradually increase its ...

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Shell weighs sale of $2 bln-plus stake in Queensland LNG facilities

Royal Dutch Shell is considering raising more than $2 billion from the sale of a stake in the common facilities at its Queensland Curtis LNG plant in Australia, according to a sale flyer reviewed by Reuters. “Royal Dutch Shell plc is considering a sale of a 26.25% interest in the Queensland Curtis LNG (QCLNG) Common Facilities – a multibillion dollar investment opportunity,” the sale flyer said. The sale process is being run by Rothschild & Co and is due to be completed in 2020, the document showed. Shell declined to ...

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Global LNG demand faces first seasonal contraction in 8 years

The global liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry is about to face its first seasonal demand contraction since 2012, with demand in summer 2020 expected to fall 2.7% or 3 million tonnes (Mt) year-on-year, says Wood Mackenzie. Lockdown measures and negative economic outlook stemming from the coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on Asian LNG importing countries, resulting in the second consecutive year of sluggish LNG demand growth. Wood Mackenzie research director Robert Sims said: “COVID-19 will drive a global contraction in LNG deliveries through summer 2020 compared to the previous ...

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FERC commissioners dispute natural gas project approvals

On May 21, 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied requests to reconsider the approval of two natural gas projects despite a commissioner’s concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic and decreasing demand for natural gas. FERC approved the Jordan Cove LNG project and an associated gas pipeline after a contentious decision and issued a construction certificate for the Alaska LNG project. Commissioner Glick argued that his colleagues failed to evaluate the climate change impacts of gas projects, and commissioners ignored the decrease in demand of global energy due to COVID-19. ...

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REFINERY NEWS ROUNDUP: Some works in Europe resume

Some works at European refineries that were suspended due to the coronavirus have now restarted, including at France’s Gonfreville and Feyzin, as countries ease restrictions. ExxonMobil said its two French refineries, Gravenchon and Fos, were adapting activities according to market changes, but declined to provide further details. Oil product demand in France has started to increase as the country eases restrictions introduced to combat the spread of the coronavirus. ExxonMobil said at the end of March that throughput at the two refineries had been reduced because of decreasing demand. –France’s ...

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S&P Global Platts Launches eWindow for Platts JKM LNG Derivatives

S&P Global Platts (“Platts”), the leading independent provider of information, analytics and benchmark prices for the commodities and energy markets will launch on June 26, 2020 the Platts Editorial Window (eWindow)® communication tool for assessing the tradable value of derivatives contracts for Platts JKM, the benchmark price for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). The S&P Global Platts eWindow is an online data-entry and communications tool which brings greater speed, transparency and efficiency to the Platts Markets On Close (MOC) price assessment processes. It allows market participants in the Platts MOC price ...

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Russia lifts lockdown at China-designated natural gas field

Local authorities have fully lifted the coronavirus-related quarantine at Russia’s Chayandinskoye natural gas field, the source of the country’s first pipeline gas supplies to China, the coronavirus response centre said on Monday. The lockdown at the field in the eastern Yakutia region was introduced in mid-April to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The Siberian gas field was launched in December to move gas supplies via pipeline to China for the first time. Around 10,000 workers from Russian gas company Gazprom and its contractors are usually engaged at the field. ...

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Asian spot prices fall on supply overhang pressure

Asian spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices fell this week amid a weak European gas market and ample global supply, trade sources said. The average LNG price for July delivery into northeast Asia fell to an estimated $1.85 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), down 7 cents from the previous week, traders said. Several cargoes were offered in the spot market this week, dragging down prices in Asia, they added. Russia’s Sakhalin 2 plant had offered a cargo for July loading while Angola LNG offered cargoes for June to September ...

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US Pacific coast natural gas storage volumes on pace to finish season strong

Natural gas storage volumes in the US West Coast will likely tell two tales during this summer’s injection season as the Northwest currently holds above-average levels of storage and a strong hydroelectric forecast while curtailments in Southern California and lower hydro output could drive up prices later in the season. Southern California Gas Company storage fields erased the deficit to the five-year average during May as weak demand allowed injection rates to pick up significantly. Inventories sit at 65 Bcf, marginally above the five-year average and 10 Bcf, or 20%, ...

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Keystone XL pipeline likely to face delays after U.S. court denies stay

A U.S. appeals court in California on Thursday declined to suspend a lower court’s ruling that canceled a national environmental permit, in a decision likely to delay pipeline projects, including the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said in the ruling that the appellants, the Army Corps of Engineers and TC Energy Corp, “have not demonstrated a sufficient likelihood of success on the merits and probability of irreparable harm to warrant a stay pending appeal.” The Army Corps and TC Energy had sought ...

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Japan’s May gasoline demand at 37-year-low, slow demand recovery in sight

Japan’s estimated gasoline demand in May fell to the lowest monthly level in 37 years as consumers refrained from traveling at the beginning of the month, a period when driving activity typically peaks due to public holidays. Local refiners and traders remained cautious on the gasoline demand recovery prospect in June as people may not actively go out amid concerns over the coronavirus infection despite the recent lifting of the state of emergency. “We expect the coronavirus pandemic to have an impact [on the gasoline demand] for around a year ...

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