GECF amplifies role of natural gas at OLADE Ministerial Meeting

Upon an invitation of the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) participated in its 50th jubilee Meeting of Ministers, dedicated to the topic “The energy sector during the crisis and its role in a post-pandemic economic recovery” and held on 19 November via videoconference.

The OLADE governing body has proved to be the foremost gathering of the Energy Administration Heads in the Latin American and Caribbean region providing an umbrella access to membership of 27 countries and engagement of peer international organisations, such as GECF, IEA, IEF, IRENA, and Inter-American Development Bank.

Assuming the office from HE Antonio Almonte, the Dominican Republic’s Energy and Mines Minister, the Meeting’s President HE Senator the Honourable Franklin Khan, Minister of Energy and Energy Industries of Trinidad and Tobago shared his vision of the energy sector as “the engine of the post-pandemic economic recovery” and stated that “energy industries have always played a fundamental role in providing society with the conveniences of modern living”.

Addressing the policymakers, the GECF Secretary General Yury Sentyurin, linked to the significant deterioration in OLADE countries’ economies due to COVID-19 pandemic and noted that “the GECF estimates that despite the challenging environment, the region’s primary energy demand will rise by 60% by 2050. Natural gas will make the most prominent contribution to this growth, as an inevitable component in building more sustainable energy systems with prominent emissions mitigation potential through larger deployment of decarbonisation options, including carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) and hydrogen developments.”

The GECF Secretary General commended the decisive actions taken by OLADE countries to facilitate energy transition and stimulate energy systems’ decarbonisation. In this regard, he recalled the recently taken final investment decision to construct Energia Costa Azul LNG project in Baja California, Mexico – the first ever LNG export facility on the Pacific Coast of North America.

Meanwhile, the UNFCCC COP25 chair Chile shared more details on its pledge to phase out coal by 2040 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The Chilean Energy Undersecretary Francisco Javier López particularly mentioned hydrogen and noted that its production was “a high priority area of work to further energy sector developments”.

Speaking about Argentinian energy mix, HE Dr Javier Papa, Undersecretary of Energy Planning at the Energy Secretariat described natural gas as an integral element to succeed energy transformation. Argentina has recently announced its plans to liberalise its gas market by offering repatriation for gas investment.

“These are encouraging news in favour of natural gas and collectively they sound even more impressive” – continued GECF authority, citing the Forum’s Global Gas Outlook 2050, which forecasts the share of gas in the Latin American and Caribbean regional energy mix to grow from currently 24% to 33% by 2050. “Natural gas will be the harbinger of a sustainable and environmentally-friendly prosperous future for Latin America” – HE Yury Sentyurin stated.

Reflecting on the challenges posed by the year 2020, the GECF Secretary General highlighted the Forum’s Member Countries’ outstanding discipline and resilience in the continued fulfilment of their obligations towards all contracting parties. He also recalled his counterpart OLADE Executive Secretary Alfronso Blanco saying that “the strengthened collaboration can support the achievement of deeper energy transitions in the region.”

“The GECF has been continuously supporting its partner organisation and is eagerly looking forward to making even greater tribute in the OLADE-GECF activities, as well as its Member Countries’ practices through joint studies and outreach activities, exchange of unique expertise, comprehensive data sets, and analytics and multifaceted experience” – HE Secretary General Sentyurin reiterated. He also added that the GECF is ready to assist those on board to emerge stronger, wiser, technologically guided, data driven, and ever more agile, when entering the post COVID-9 world of growth and prosperity.

Lebanon sets starting point for sea border negotiations with Israel

BEIRUT (Reuters) – President Michel Aoun on Thursday specified Lebanon’s starting point for demarcating its sea border with Israel under U.S.-mediated talks, in the first public confirmation of a stance sources say increases the size of the disputed area.

Israel and Lebanon launched the negotiations last month with delegations from the long-time foes convening at a U.N. base to try to agree on the border that has held up hydrocarbon exploration in the potentially gas-rich area.

A presidency statement said Aoun instructed the Lebanese team that the demarcation line should start from the land point of Ras Naqoura as defined under a 1923 agreement and extend seaward in a trajectory that a security source said extends the disputed area to some 2,300 square km (888 sq miles) from around 860 sq km.

Israel’s energy minister, overseeing the talks with Lebanon, said Lebanon had now changed its position seven times and was contradicting its own assertions.

“Whoever wants prosperity in our region and seeks to safely develop natural resources must adhere to the principle of stability and settle the dispute along the lines that were submitted by Israel and Lebanon at the United Nations,” Yuval Steinitz said.

Any deviation, Steinitz said, would lead to a “dead end”.

Last month sources said the two sides presented contrasting maps for proposed borders. They said the Lebanese proposal extended farther south than the border Lebanon had years before presented to the United Nations and that of the Israeli team pushed the boundary farther north than Israel’s original position.

The talks, the culmination of three years of diplomacy by Washington, are due to resume in December.

Israel pumps gas from huge offshore fields but Lebanon, which has yet to find commercial gas reserves in its own waters, is desperate for cash from foreign donors as it faces the worst economic crisis since its 1975-1990 civil war.

Additional reporting by Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Janet Lawrence

Athens responds to US State Department’s claim that Greek air space is only 6 nautical miles

Regarding the report by the US State Department, which was forwarded to the US Congress on March 18 and in the framework of the provisions of the “Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act,” diplomatic sources pointed out that the borders of Greece’s territorial waters, as well as the maritime borders between Greece and Turkey, have been clearly defined for years on the basis of international law and are not in any dispute.

In particular, they stated in response to the State Department that regarding the Southeastern Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, the maritime borders have been defined by the Italy-Turkey Agreement signed in Ankara on 4 January 1932, as well as the minutes which was signed in Ankara on December 28, 1932.

Greece, as the successor state under the Treaty of Paris of 1947, gained sovereignty over the Dodecanese without any change in the maritime borders, as agreed between Italy and Turkey.

Regarding the sea borders in Thrace (up to the point of a distance of three nautical miles from the Evros Delta), they emphasise that these were defined by the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 and the Athens Protocol of 1926.

Finally, regarding the sea borders between the above two areas (from Thrace to Dodecanese), where the territorial waters of Greece and Turkey intersect, they pointed out that the sea borders follow the middle line between the Greek islands and islets and the opposite Turkish coasts.

The same diplomatic sources noted that Greece’s external borders, including its territorial waters, are at the same time the external borders of the European Union.

The recently released State Department report states that Greece claims an airspace that extends up to 10 nautical miles and a territorial sea of up to 6 nautical miles, but that “under international law, a country’s airspace coincides with its territorial sea.”

“The US thus recognizes an airspace up to 6 nautical miles consistent with territorial sea. Greece and the US do not share a view on the extent of Greece’s airspace,” the report said.

The State Department report adds that although Athens currently claims up to a 6-nautical-mile territorial sea in the Aegean, “Greece and its neighbors have not agreed on boundary delimitation in those areas where their lawful maritime entitlements overlap.”

“Lack of such delimitation means there is no clarity on the extent of Greece’s territorial sea and corresponding airspace in these areas rendering any assessment of total violations not feasible,” the report said.

The State Department report said Washington encourages Greece and Turkey “to resolve outstanding bilateral maritime boundary issues peacefully and in accordance with international law.”

Nakilat completes second phase of fleet management transition

Qatar-based shipping and maritime company Nakilat has completed the second phase of its fleet management transition from Shell International Trading and Shipping Company.

A total of seven liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers transitioned to its in-house operational and technical management.

During the second phase transition, Q-Max LNG carrier Lijmiliya was the last vessel to transition from Shell to Nakilat Shipping Qatar Limited (NSQL) on 27 October.

Currently, the fleet size fully managed by NSQL stands at 26 vessels with 22 LNG vessels and four liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carriers.

Over the past several years, Nakilat has been working closely with its long-term partner Shell for a smooth transition of vessel management.

Nakilat CEO Abdullah Fadhalah Al Sulaiti said: “This milestone achieved in a safe and timely manner, despite the challenges presented by the global pandemic, is especially meaningful and demonstrates our strong commitment to safety, reliability, and efficiency through the provision of quality shipping and maritime services.”

Al Sulaiti continued: “Over the past years, Nakilat has grown in leaps and bounds with the steady expansion of its LNG fleet, which is the largest in the world. The management of our vessels centrally controlled from Qatar allows us to further capitalise on existing synergies with our main charterer (Qatargas), realise operational efficiencies, and optimise costs. I would also like to express our gratitude to Qatargas for their cooperation and the continuous support provided throughout our long-term strategic partnership and the entire vessel transition phases.

“We strive to steer forward through tactfully formulated strategies, seizing potential long-term growth opportunities, strengthening ship management capabilities, and enhancing operational excellence in our vision to be a global leader and provider of choice for energy transportation and maritime services.”

Phase one of the fleet management transition, involving ten LNG carriers, began in 2016 and was completed in August 2017.

In a separate development, 11 projects were inaugurated in Iran’s Anzali Port in the Caspian Sea.

Among the projects inaugurated, there is a grain depot with 50,000t capacity and a general cargo warehouse with an area of 4,509m².

Qatar gas delivers first LNG cargo on Q-Max vessel to Tianjin Terminal in China.

Qatargas Operating Company Limited (Qatargas) announced today the delivery of the first cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) on a Q-Max LNG carrier to the Tianjin LNG Receiving Terminal in China.

The cargo aboard the Qatargas-chartered LNG vessel, ‘Al Mafyar,’ was loaded at Ras Laffan on 21 October 2020 and delivered to the Tianjin Terminal, located in the northern port city of Tianjin, near Beijing, on 10th November 2020.

This is the first cargo discharge operation by Qatargas to this LNG terminal involving a Q-Max LNG carrier. The Q-Max is the largest LNG vessel class in the world and has the ability to deliver 266,000 cubic metres of LNG.

The Tianjin LNG Receiving Terminal is owned and operated by the China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec), one of China’s largest state-owned enterprises. The terminal has a capacity of six million tonnes per annum (MTPA) and is currently being expanded to handle up to 10.8 MTPA by 2022. The Tianjin LNG receiving terminal received its first LNG cargo in February 2018 and has received more than 200 LNG cargoes so far.

Currently China has a total of 22 LNG receiving terminals (including 3 small scale terminals), 11 of which can accommodate Q-Max LNG vessels. Qatargas has to date delivered LNG cargoes to 13 LNG terminals in China. Ever since the first LNG cargo was delivered to China in September 2009, more than 62 million tonnes of LNG was delivered to China in total.

Al Mafyar is the first Q-Max LNG vessel to call at the Tianjin LNG receiving terminal and the 100th LNG vessel to call at the terminal in 2020.
Source: Qatargas

GECF ministers upbeat on natural gas outlook despite pandemic

The full promise of natural gas will unfold once the world is past the coronavirus pandemic, upbeat energy ministers of the leading gas exporting countries said at a recent GECF ‘Ministerial Roundtable’ held virtually
The full promise of natural gas will unfold once the world is past the coronavirus pandemic, upbeat energy ministers of the leading gas exporting countries said at a GECF Ministerial Roundtable held recently.
Natural gas is available in abundance, flexible enough to reach far-flung corners of the globe and less polluting to the environment.
As a sideline event to the 22nd Ministerial Meeting held under the auspices of Algeria recently, the virtual dialogue aimed to confront the array of challenges brought on by Covid-19 and the opportunities that are expected to propel natural gas to the top of the global energy mix by 2050.
The gathering of policymakers from the 20-member grouping featured two separate themes of short- and long-term perspectives, with the first session held under the title of “Natural gas in a post-Covid-19 world: A short-term view”, and the second entitled “Natural gas: a transition fuel or a destination?”
The first session was moderated by Stuart Elliot (S&P Global Platts) while Dr Bassam Fattouh (Oxford Institute for Energy Studies) was the second session moderator.
In his opening speech, Abdelmadjid Attar, Minister of Energy of Algeria, said, “I wish to underline the important role of natural gas in satisfying world energy needs. Natural gas is widely available. It is clean. It improves air quality, emits much less carbon dioxide than coal. It is flexible. These qualities of natural gas are recognised by many, if not all”
Attar, whose country is regarded as a pioneer in LNG with the first liquefaction plant commissioning in Arzew, Algeria in 1964, considered access to modern energy and protection of environment as two pressing issues.
“We need to ensure that the pandemic will not hinder progress on these two challenges. I wish to encourage the gas industry to strengthen its efforts in dealing with the issue of methane emission. This is important for natural gas to play a more important role in the energy transition that the world has engaged in,” explained Attar, while adding that Algeria’s vast gas resource will witness $20bn worth of investment in the next years.
GECF secretary general Yury Sentyurin advanced these comments by noting that natural gas is an energy option that achieves a harmonious balance between the environmental, social, and economic dimensions of sustainable development.
“GECF members are committed to strengthen global energy security as reliable suppliers of natural gas in order to meet the world’s growing energy demand. They showcased remarkable determination in their fulfilment of all contractual obligations to the customers. This indicates confidence in the strength of their economies and abilities to absorb major economic crises, notwithstanding numerous challenges and decline in revenues,” Sentyurin noted.
GECF’s Global Gas Outlook 2050 shows natural gas is growing at its fastest-ever rate and will become the largest global primary energy source by mid-century, from 23% today to 28% 2050.
Long-term demand is expected to grow by a remarkable 50%, from 3,950bn cubic metres (bcm) in 2019 to 5,920bcm in 2050.
Asia Pacific, North America, and the Middle East will carry more than 75% of this expected spur in demand.
Whilst the future looks promising, the short-term outlook seems dotted with perils for an industry being troubled by oversupply, bulging inventory, and now an economic recession.
Experts at the Roundtable noted that in 2020, for the first time in more than a decade, global gas consumption was expected to decline by 2 – 3.5% from the 2019 level. This slump in gas consumption has been driven by a combination of notable events, including above-normal temperatures in the northern hemisphere, weaker gas demand from the power, commercial, and industrial sectors due to lockdown measures, and weaker economic growth.
Next year, global gas demand is expected to grow between 1.5 – 4%, but will depend mainly on the extent of lockdown measures associated with the resurgence of the pandemic, the recovery in gas demand lost due to Covid-19, as well as the weather condition in the upcoming winter.
For the medium term, sustained growth in developing Asian countries, particularly China and India, are expected to contribute to an uptick in gas consumption in the coming years.

Mediterranean crisis calls for ‘civilized solution’, energy expert tells EU-Arab gathering

‘Do we want the benefits of our own rightful shares more than we want to deny the same benefits to our neighbors?’

ATHENS, Greece: The latest legal and technological tools can resolve rival claims in the Mediterranean without anyone firing a shot, a veteran of the region’s energy industry told a conference in Athens on Monday.

“We have both the legal mechanisms and the high-precision mapping technologies to draw up fair and equitable boundaries at sea,” Roudi Baroudi said in a speech to the 5th European Union Arab World Summit. “That means that countries in the Mediterranean region can settle their differences amicably, setting aside the costly and ultimately self-defeating ways of war.”

Appearing via Zoom from Doha, Qatar, Baroudi said the region had a long history of spawning great civilizations, but that each of these had squandered their good fortune by make war on their neighbors.

Thanks to huge deposits of natural gas having been found beneath the Mediterranean, he noted, “the region faces another crossroads”, largely because “the vast majority of maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean remain unresolved.” With neighboring states laying claim to the same undersea real estate, Baroudi said the resulting “patchwork of claims and counter-claims” only served to hamper all parties by jeopardizing their respective offshore oil and gas activities.

With more than four decades in the business – including significant experience in both the public and private sectors – Baroudi has become a leading proponent of the East Med’s emergence as a major energy producer. Having long argued that safe and responsible exploitation of the resource in question would allow regional countries to make historic gains, both at home and abroad, his most recent interventions have focused on how to draw fair and equitable boundaries at sea. In fact, his book “Maritime Disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean: The Way Forward” is widely regarded as the most authoritative guide to the current situation.

Currently serving as CEO of Energy and Environment Holding, an independent consultancy based in Doha, Baroudi said all parties need to be honest with themselves by answering single question: “do we want the benefits of our own rightful shares more than we want to deny the same benefits to our neighbors?”

Those that want to focus on getting their share, he argued, need to put their faith in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Roudi Baroudi is CEO of Energy and Environment Holding, an independent consultancy based in Doha.

He also is the author of “Maritime Disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean: the Way Forward”, published earlier this year by the Transatlantic Leadership Network and distributed by the Brookings Institution Press.

5th EU- Arab World Summit – Maritime Borders in the Mediterranean: the Cradle of Civilization Deserves a Civilized Solution

Elliott Discloses Stake in Takeover Target Noble Energy

Activist investor Elliott Management Corp. has taken a stake in Noble Energy Inc., the energy explorer that agreed in July to sell to Chevron Corp. for about $5 billion.

The stake was disclosed in a filing Tuesday with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Noble Energy and the New York-based hedge fund run by Paul Singer were granted early termination under the FTC’s Hart-Scott-Rodino Act — a requirement when an investor buys shares in a company above a certain threshold and seeks to hold discussions about such things as strategy or management changes.

he size of the stake and Elliott’s intentions aren’t known. Representatives for Elliott and Noble Energy weren’t immediately available for comment.

Chevron agreed to buy Noble Energy for the equivalent of roughly $10.38 a share at the time in the all-stock deal, a 7.5% premium over the last Friday’s close. Noble Energy investors are expected to vote on the deal Oct. 2.

Noble fell nearly 2% in trading Tuesday to $9.52 a share as of 12:18 p.m. in New York.

Elliott has a history of buying stakes in companies and pushing for changes, including breaking up potential transactions. It’s agitated at companies including AT&T Inc., Twitter Inc., and Softbank Group Corp., among others.

MTV – Turkey-Greece conflict in eastern Mediterranean