(EnergyAsia, March 25 2011, Friday) — PetroVietnam expects its newly opened Vung Ang oil storage terminal in the central coastal province of Ha Tinh to become a hub serving the northern provinces of Vietnam.Launched last month, the terminal started off with a 60,000-cubic metre capacity built at a cost of 257-billion dong, and will be…
(EnergyAsia, March 25 2011, Friday)— Royal Dutch Shell expects to complete a swap of assets with Russian gas monopoly Gazprom that will allow both companies to diversify their markets.Under the proposed arrangement, Shell will have access to Gazprom’s Russian projects while Gazprom will be allowed to tap promising gas fields in the Asia Pacific region.In…
(EnergyAsia, March 25 2011, Friday) — US oil major Exxon Mobil and Russia’s state-owned Rosneft have begun work to jointly explore for oil and gas under the Black Sea.The companies expect to begin surveying the seabed this year using Exxon’s technology with the aim of uncovering a billion tonnes of oil and gas off the…
(EnergyAsia, March 25 2011, Friday) — Plans to build an oil storage hub near Manila Bay are underway, potentially to replace the existing Pandacan oil depot, according to Philippines’ Energy Undersecretary Jose Layug.He said a company, which he declined to name, is conducting a feasibility study on the project that will aim to attract both…
(EnergyAsia, March 25 2011, Friday) — The Chinese government has approved a proposal by state-owned Sinopec and Kuwait Petroleum International to jointly develop a US$9 billion oil refining and petrochemical complex in China. The equally-owned project to be sited in southern Guangdong province will consist of a 300,000-b/d oil refinery and a one-million-tonne-per-year ethylene cracker….
(EnergyAsia, March 24 2011, Thursday) — Azerbaijan state energy firm SOCAR plans to increase trade and export more crude oil to Asia this year.Its trading arm, SOCAR Trading, has leased a 160,000-tonne vessel from Thailand’s state-owned PTT to store its crude blend for export to the region. The tanker is anchored off Singapore to serve…
(EnergyAsia, March 24 2011, Thursday) — India’s Finance Ministry has agreed to pay cash, instead of bonds, to oil companies as compensation for losses incurred in selling fuel at below cost, according to finance secretary Ashok Chawla.Oil firms are worried that unless they receive cash compensation for selling gasoline, kerosene, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas…
(EnergyAsia, March 24 2011, Thursday) — Iraq has boldly forecast its oil production to top three million b/d by the end of 2011.According to the oil ministry, the country’s crude exports and revenues in January and February have reached their highest levels since the 2003 ouster of Saddam Hussein.If sustained at current production rates of…
(EnergyAsia, March 24 2011, Thursday) — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE have temporarily suspended crude oil exports to Japan less than a week after Asia’s second largest economy was struck by a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11. Nuclear plants and ports in northeastern Japan have been badly damaged and could be closed for…
(EnergyAsia, March 24 2011, Thursday) — Higher start-up costs are eating into profit margins at more recent liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in Australia, according to a recent report by Bernstein Research. Newer projects such as Pluto LNG and Gorgon LNG cost around US$3,000 a metric tonnes, more than three times the amount shelled out…
(EnergyAsia, March 24 2011, Thursday) — Petrochemical giant Saudi Arabian Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) said it has signed a three-way agreement with the Saudi Industrial Property Authority (MODON) and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to develop industrialisation strategies for the Saudi cities of Al-Jouf, Tabuk, Hail, Jizan, Najran and Arar.
SABIC was represented by vice chairman and CEO Mohamed Al-Mady, while MODON was represented by director general Tawfig Alrabiah, and Thomas Bradtke, BCG partner and managing director, signed on behalf of the US management consulting firm.
Mr Al-Mady said SABIC is supporting the study to contribute to the development of the industrial sector in Saudi Arabia.
He said: “We have already experienced the establishment of the two industrial cities of Jubail and Yanbu. These cities have seen phenomenal growth over the years, and stand as role models for industrial success in Saudi Arabia. The intention now is to focus on developing the less-developed cities and regions of Saudi Arabia and pave the road to the launching of additional industrial cities.”
Mr Alrabiah noted that the study will provide up to 300 industrial opportunities involving value-adding and exportable downstream industries that can provide job opportunities for national employment.
SABIC said the first phase of the study, to be completed within 12 weeks, will incorporate the findings of previous studies that will help the partners develop a clear understanding of the market potential and attributes of each city, identify the most appropriate industries, and develop value propositions for investment attraction.
Riyadh-based SABIC is among the world’s market leaders in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene and other advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilisers.
The company has significant research resources with 18 dedicated technology and innovation facilities in Saudi Arabia, the US, the Netherlands, Spain, India and China. SABIC operates in more than 40 countries across the world with 33,000 employees worldwide.
MODON is a government agency created in 2001 to establish, develop and operate industrial cities and technology zones in partnership with the private sector.
Massachusetts, US-based BCG is a global management consulting firm and leading advisor on business strategy.
(EnergyAsia, March 23 2011, Wednesday) — Singapore-based Loyz Oil Pte Ltd said it and Rex Oil & Gas Ltd will jointly explore for hydrocarbon resources in 35 areas in the Asia-Pacific region including India, Indonesia and New Zealand.
Loyz, the exploration subsidiary of Singapore Exchange-listed Sim Siang Choon Ltd (SSC), said it will identify potential areas while Rex will use its proprietary technologies to conduct studies. The parties are to sign a definitive agreement within 45 days of the fulfilment of conditions set out in a term sheet.
The cooperation is in line with SSC’s objective of establishing itself as a niche player in oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) in the region.
The group, 35.2%-owned by Jit Sun Investments Pte Ltd, entered the upstream oil exploration industry in January 2011 with its acquisition of a 51% stake in Bombay Stock Exchange-listed Interlink Petroleum Ltd (IPL).
IPL wholly-owns concessions for two fields in India’s Gujarat state: the four-sq-km Baola block, and the 12.7-sq-km Modhera block. Baola was chiefly known as a gas field but oil was discovered when the Baola-8 well was drilled.
Adrian Lee, SSC’s director, said:
“We are now at the cusp of an exciting new phase of growth, and this strategic partnership will be instrumental in accelerating that growth as it enables the group to expedite the evaluation process for potential concessions.
“Having gained access to Rex’s proprietary technologies, the group is now in an excellent position to exploit Loyz Oil’s network to build a name for ourselves as an up-and-coming niche player in the E&P sector.”
Rex Oil & Gas was founded by Karl Helge Tore Lidgren, Hans Ove Leonard Lidgren and Svein Kjellesvik, pioneers in exploration technology who hail from internationally renowned oilfield services companies.
Rex uses trademarked proprietary technologies to identify different types of subsurface liquids by their frequency wavelengths, thereby reducing exploration risks and costs.
(EnergyAsia, March 23 2011, Wednesday) — The following is an edited version of an analysis by Vivek Mathur of US-based Energy Security Analysis Inc (ESAI) of the Japanese oil markets following the impact of the deadly earthquake and tsunami on March 11.
At the time of writing, 890,000 b/d, equivalent to 19% of Japan’s total crude distillation capacity, was offline. Refinery runs in March should average only 2.9 million b/d, down by a million b/d from February levels.
As undamaged plants gradually restart, ESAI expects second quarter runs to recover to 3.4 million b/d, and third and fourth quarter runs are forecast to average 3.4 and 3.5 million b/d respectively. Overall, Japan’s refinery throughput in 2011 is expected to fall 3.8% (140,000 b/d) from 2010.
Consequently, the reduction in product supply will be significant, but not crippling.
In 2011, ESAI expects Japan’s gasoline output to be lower by 60,000 b/d compared to last year, while diesel supply will be reduced by roughly 35,000 b/d on average. Jet fuel supply will register a modest fall of 6,000 b/d, while fuel oil supply will diminish by 15,000 b/d.
ESAI expects gasoline and fuel oil will be in short supply in Japan, despite an initial drop-off in demand. The gasoline shortfall will peak at 130,000 b/d on average in March-April. Korea’s exportable gasoline surplus will average 125,000 b/d in this time-frame, and could likely cover a substantial portion of that deficit, but Japan will have to draw in cargoes from Singapore.
This is bullish for gasoline-Dubai spreads in the near-term. Japan’s own rising supply and weaker demand will moderate that deficit in later months.
In contrast, higher demand for low-sulphur fuel oil by Japan’s utilities will continue to keep fuel oil fundamentals tight through the year, propping up regional LSFO prices. Lower diesel output will reduce Japan’s surplus to only 75,000 b/d through May, down from about 150,000 b/d in the same period last year.
With the use of diesel generators now and reconstruction efforts likely supporting diesel demand later this year, we expect Japan’s diesel surplus to fall to 120,000 b/d in 2011, compared to a robust 170,000 b/d in 2010.
This could potentially reduce Japan’s clean diesel exports by 50,000 b/d this year. ESAI believes that the production shortfalls will be partially compensated by refineries in neighbouring countries, particularly Korea, which has the right volumes and quality available to meet Japan’s fuel standards.
In the near-term, lower Japanese clean diesel output will also tighten Asia’s diesel fundamentals, while reducing its own and potentially also South Korea’s ULSD exports to Latin America and Europe.
Power supply disruption
As of March 17, four Japanese nuclear power plants were affected by the earthquake and tsunami. ESAI estimates that 9,700 MW of Japan’s nameplate nuclear power generation capacity is offline. This disruption will have a significant impact on the input fuels for power generation in Japan, affecting demand for fuel oil, LNG, and crude oil.
In 2010, Japan’s utility fuel oil use averaged 100,000 b/d, while demand for crude for direct burn was 70,000 b/d. LNG demand for power generation was 3.4 million tons.
If the 9,700 MW capacity lost from nuclear power were to be met exclusively by oil-fired generation, that would require about 370,000 b/d of oil (fuel oil and crude oil). If this lost power supply is met only by gas-fired power plants, it would require 14 million tons of LNG per year – that’s a little over 10 million tons from current levels of LNG use for electricity generation in Japan.
Electricity generation, however, will be constrained in the short term. If we assume that the generating capacity to meet power demand is more likely 6,790 MW (i.e. 70% utilisation of 9,700 MW), and half of that need is met by LNG and oil fired generation equally, Japan’s demand for LNG should grow by 5 million tons in 2011.
Similarly, incremental oil demand (fuel oil and crude) will be 130,000 b/d. Total oil demand in the utilities sector will rise to the 270,000-300,000 b/d range this year. Japan’s increased demand for LNG will translate into an additional seven tankers of LNG per month.
For now, it appears that Japan’s numerous LNG terminals could handle this extra traffic. Of Japan’s 23 terminals, only two are affected: JX Energy’s Hachinohe terminal in the Tohuko region, and another in Sendai. Russia, South Korea, and Qatar have agreed to supply extra spot volumes.
(EnergyAsia, March 23 2011, Wednesday) — Singapore’s offshore rig specialist Keppel FELS Ltd said it has landed a contract to build a US$210-million KFELS Super B Class jackup rig for Japan Drilling Co (JDC), with delivery scheduled for the first quarter of 2013. Keppel FELS said the new contract is the 12th for its mother…
(EnergyAsia, March 23 2011, Wednesday) — Singapore will allow its power companies to import more piped natural gas (PNG) from Indonesia and Malaysia to meet its growing electricity demand. The power companies can now use additional PNG to generate electricity until March 31 2013 when Singapore starts up its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal,…
(EnergyAsia, March 23 2011, Wednesday) — A leading figure in China’s energy sector has called for the country to accelerate its push for energy conservation and efficiency as oil and gas prices head higher amid the latest geopolitical crises in the Middle East and North Africa. Zhang Guobao, former head of China’s National Energy Administration,…
(EnergyAsia, March 23 2011, Wednesday) — Two of the world’s largest oil companies, Saudi Aramco and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), have announced plans to jointly invest in a 200,000 b/d refinery and downstream activities in China’s southern Yunnan province. This was Aramco’s second refinery deal with China this month to follow on its proposed…
(EnergyAsia, March 22 2011, Tuesday) — There is potentially large demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) as fuel for power generation and shipping in Southeast Asia, according to a special study by a multi-national consortium.
The study examined the future LNG use in Southeast Asia as fuel for ship propulsion and as feedstock for small scale power production in off-grid island regions.
Initiated by Norwegian risk management experts Det Norske Veritas (DNV), the study’s other sponsors and supporters included Gazprom, Rolls-Royce, Wartsila, Hanjin Shipping, I M Skaugen, Keppel, The Linde Group, Trans LNG, DNV, BW Group, BBG, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
DNV said the study forecasts that container feeders might be the first ship segment to adopt LNG for propulsion regionally, noting that about 20% of the regional container feeders are up for renewal by 2020. It added that local and regional ferries are also well suited to use LNG for propulsion in the longer term.
The study identified Singapore as the preferred site for future LNG bunkering due to large shipping volumes, calm seas and the fact that infrastructure for LNG bunkering is already under construction. With stricter requirements for environmental performance, and an increasingly competitive expected price for LNG as fuel for ships, a shift to LNG propulsion may have an exciting impact on Singapore as a bunkering hub.
Lam Yi Young, chief executive of the MPA, said:
“With the push towards cleaner fuel for ships, the results of this JIP are timely in evaluating the potential for LNG bunkering services in Singapore. LNG’s lower carbon dioxide emissions, minimal sulphur and nitrogen content as well as the abundant availability, allows it to be a viable alternative fuel source for ships, which is also in line with MPA’s commitment to promoting environmentally-friendly shipping.”
The study added that investments in infrastructure for small-scale LNG power production might be justified when the total demand for electric power exceeds 500 megawatts (MW) within a 120,000-square kilometre island region with no pipeline connection.
DNV said the study identified multiple island regions in Southeast Asia outside any pipeline grid where total demand for electrical power exceeds 500 megawatts (MW).
Eastern Indonesia, for example, might have a demand for up to 70 small-scale 50 MW power plants by 2020 and Southern Philippines could require up to 45 plants, while the estimated demand for Northern Vietnam might be seven small power plants. According to DNV, the distribution of LNG to these power plants would require close to 60 small-scale LNG carriers by 2020 if this number of plants is built.
With the price of crude oil rising faster than the price of natural gas, the financial incentives for using LNG for power generation are equally increasing with considerable environmental benefits to be gained from such a fuel switch, DNV said.
Bjorn Tore Markussen, managing director for DNV’s Clean Technology Centre in Singapore and head of the study, said:
“Substantial market opportunities will evolve throughout the small-scale LNG value-chain in Southeast Asia in the next decade. The companies who seize the opportunities early in these evolving markets will be well positioned for interesting growth if entry risks are managed properly.
“The consortium is eager to use the findings from the LNG study to build business for the participants and to inform regional stakeholders about the opportunities that lie ahead.
“DNV as a company has already decided to invest into a next phase of the JIP. We are now inviting old and new members to join the consortium and one or more of the many project streams that will be kicked off in April and May.”
(EnergyAsia, March 22 2011, Tuesday) — Australia’s energy and minerals sectors need to re-assess, revise or perhaps totally re-negotiate their force majeure provisions in key contracts based on lessons learnt from managing recent weather impacts, according to a senior lawyer from Minter Ellison, a leading commercial law firm based in Melbourne.
The caution comes as many of the country’s largest and mid-tier oil, gas and minerals producers, and owners of related export infrastructure, count the emerging full cost, liability and contractual exposure from operations shut down temporarily or permanently amid the massive floods, rain and storm damage that have swept Australia since New Year’s Day.
Addressing the ‘Excellence in Oil and Gas’ forum in Sydney last month, Stephanie Rowland, senior associate at Minter Ellison’s Perth office, said many natural resources firms are seeking shelter from further financial impact by enacting force majeure provisions as northern Australia continues to face a challenging climate conditions.
Force majeure clauses in contracts relieve a participant from liability under a joint operating agreement where their failure to perform is caused by a ‘force majeure’ event, such as natural causes beyond a participant’s control..
Ms Rowland said: “What we have now is an environment where potentially, force majeure clauses in force for some years, have been rendered outdated almost overnight simply because their scope and detail either fails or insufficiently addresses the liabilities on both sides of a contract, of such large-scale and in some cases, unpredictable and unexpected impacts.
“The result is that force majeure provisions have reclaimed the spotlight as a serious ‘re-risk’ to project, product supply and corporate confidence. Those re-risks may be exacerbated if overseas parties – and therefore jurisdictions – are involved. Australia’s resources sector is left facing a question – was it adequately prepared and were its interests adequately safeguarded, regardless of natural weather circumstances?”
Ms Rowland said the scope of such a review or negotiation – which should apply to any party within a force majeure contractual environment – could include more detailed and additional extra conditions recorded into key agreements.
“While any number of non-weather incidents can trigger force majeure, the extraordinary climatic start to 2011 has exposed force majeure as potentially a whole new legal and corporate ball game – and there should be no expectation by risk analysts in the resources sector that the need for revision will subside any time soon.
“It may also be useful if any such revision, at least at the broader industry level, invites input from external but related stakeholders. We saw in the Brisbane floods, how quickly issues of insurance liability – often a secondary casualty of disputed force majeure claims – comes down to the absolute finite details and interpretation of a contract.
“In the wake of such disasters and potential long-term dispute resolution, there is no better time for Australia’s resources sector – whether oil, gas or hard rock mining – to sit down and rejuvenate with crystal clear clarity and intent, its force majeure protocols.”
(EnergyAsia, March 22 2011, Tuesday) — As political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, and the nuclear crisis in Japan grabbed media attention, world oil supply rose to an all-time high of 89 million b/d in February, up 200,000 b/d from January, said the International Energy Agency (IEA). The increase came from non-OPEC…
(EnergyAsia, March 22 2011, Tuesday) — Singapore-based oil trading company Chemoil Energy Ltd said it has made changes to its senior management ranks. Mats Berglund joins Chemoil as the group’s chief financial officer and chief operating officer with effect from March 3 2011. Mr Berglund had held senior positions at Overseas Shipholding Group Inc, Stena…
(EnergyAsia, March 22 2011, Tuesday) –- Two of Iraq’s refineries, including its largest, were completely shut down for weeks following separate incidents in late February, contributing to the country’s fuel supply and power shortages. The 150,000 b/d Beiji refinery located 250km north of Baghdad was attacked by gunmen who also shot dead at least five…
(EnergyAsia, Feb 6 2011, Sunday) – South Africa’s Sasol Ltd is looking at opportunities in gas-to-fuel industry to take advantage of current low gas prices. The company has decided not to proceed with its plan to build a US$10 billion coal-to-fuels plant in Indonesia, which would have been an addition to its existing projects in…
(EnergyAsia, March 21 2011, Monday) — Energy efficiency investors should focus on Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines, and then gradually expand into Indonesia and Vietnam, according to a new report on “Energy Efficiency Investment Potential” in Southeast Asia by Singapore-based business consultants, ReEx Capital Asia.
Launched by the British Embassy in Bangkok earlier this month, the report assessed Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam as destinations for energy efficiency investments, examining size, profitability, payback period, and regulatory environment.
The total market size for the six countries is about US$6.6 billion, with the industrial sector worth US$2.9 billion and the commercial sector US$3.7 billion.
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office-commissioned study ranks Thailand as one of the countries with the most favourable environment for energy service companies (ESCOs) as well as the largest investment potential in the region.
The report noted that Thailand’s energy efficiency market is one of Southeast Asia’s largest at US$1.1 billion, and that it should continue to grow despite a variety of barriers that inhibit energy efficiency investments in the region.
The research revealed that the markets in Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam were the most profitable while Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand have the largest market size. It considered Indonesia and Vietnam as the least attractive investment destinations.
The report concluded that the six countries could save about US$1.4 billion by reducing energy consumption. The average payback period for energy efficiency investments was estimated to be 4.6 years, with 3.2 years for the industrial sector and 7.2 years for the commercial sector. In Thailand average payback is 5.7 years, with only 3.6 years for industry.
The study said policymakers should discourage fuel subsidies as they discourage low-carbon businesses.
Speaking at the seminar on “Energy Efficiency in Southeast Asia: Investment Opportunities”, Asif Ahmad, British Ambassador to Thailand, said that the international community is working to tackle the problem of climate change.
Last December, the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun delivered official recognition of developing country actions to reduce emissions, and made significant progress on climate financing and reducing emissions from forestry. As international negotiations continue, some steps that can be taken immediately to encourage a low carbon economy include energy efficiency.
Frederic Crampe, managing director of ReEx Capital Asia, said that Southeast Asia has great potential to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency improvements, and that investments in the region’s energy efficiency can be a cost effective way to reduce these emissions and also make financial savings.
In Thailand, the Ministry of Energy’s Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE) is now a focal agency to help promote greater investment in energy efficiency.
Danai Ekamol, director of DEDE’s Bureau of Energy Regulation and Conservation, said:
“DEDE has been a facilitator to create a good environment to encourage investments in energy efficiency projects in targeted sectors. Several financial supporting tools such as soft loans, tax incentives, and co-investment programmes are being offered to make sure that our target in promoting energy efficiency will be achieved.”
Alexander McKinnon, director of M&C Energy Thailand, said that volatility in the energy commodity markets led many companies to review their energy procurement policies and processes. The historical way of purchasing, “fixed price, fixed term” is now seen as out of date and requiring overhaul.
He added that, to overcome the problem, M&C Energy incorporated fully flexible managed price strategies, ensuring there is less risk to market position, protection against market volatility and increased budget certainty.
(EnergyAsia, March 21 2011, Monday) — AEG Power Solutions, a Frankfurt, Germany-based global provider of premium power electronics, said it has appointed KML Engineering Ltd as its representative to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s (SAR) railway network and public utility sectors.
AEG said the agreement covers all products including uninterrupted power supply (UPS) systems or AC UPS systems, DC power supply systems or DC UPS systems, rectifiers, chargers and batteries.
The company offers power components to the railways that match the life expectancy of the trains themselves, using premium industrial-grade components built to withstand extreme weather conditions, high-temperature and seismic environments.
AEG’s Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore coordinates offices and production facilities across China, Hong Kong, India and Malaysia in serving the infrastructure markets of energy, telecom, lighting, transportation and general industrial sectors.
The company’s system solutions are designed to interface with the electrical power grid and to offer power solutions for mission-critical applications in harsh environments, such as power plants, offshore oil rigs, chemical refineries, and utility-scale renewable energy plants.
John Taylor, AEG managing director and regional sales vice president for Asia & Middle East, said:
“Hong Kong is undertaking a major expansion of its railway network over the next five years at a cost of more than £11 billion. Five new rail projects of varying size and complexity are currently at different stages of planning and construction. Once completed, they will add 60 kilometres to Hong Kong’s railway network. (US$1=UK£0.62).
We selected KML after diligently scrutinising the strategic options. We are convinced the company is the ideal partner to further develop our participation in these prestigious projects to the highest quality standards, given its vast regional expertise and track record in systems integration and delivery.”
Hong Kong-based KML has been providing professional E&M system engineering services for railway and road transport infrastructure projects for over 30 years and is presently assisting in expanding and modernising the territory’s railway network.
KML’s clientele include MTR Corp Ltd (MTRCL), the Airport Authority HK (AA), Peak Tram, HK Jockey Club, Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Highways Department, Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) of the HK government, PCCW-HKT Ltd, HSBC, HK Exchanges & Clearing Ltd, and Swire Properties.
W P Hui, KML managing director, said:
“Developing railway and public utilities in Hong Kong is considered a dynamic and challenging assignment by most specialists – both technically and logistically. Being appointed a partner of AEG is a highly prestigious milestone for us. We consider it a challenge that gives us the opportunity to showcase and demonstrate our technical and intellectual capabilities both locally and regionally.”