NSTA fines Neo Energy for North Sea methane venting

  • Spanish Market: Emissions, Natural gas
  • 18/04/24

UK offshore regulator the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) has fined UK upstream firm Neo Energy £100,000 for breaching its methane venting permit at North Sea fields.

The company emitted 1,200t of methane in excess of its permit from the Donan, Lochranza and Balloch fields in the first nine months of 2022. Neo had permission to vent 378t of methane from installations at these fields in that year, but incorrectly assigned volumes vented through unlit flares to its flaring consent, the NSTA found.

Neo showed a "lack of oversight" by failing to detect the licence breach for seven months, NSTA said. The company reached its annual limit by 21 March 2022, but continued venting without authorisation until October 2022.

The company said it did not update its flare and vent allocation process to reflect NSTA guidance updated in 2021, and as such was still assigning its flaring and venting according to previous guidance.

Neo becomes the fourth company to be fined by the NSTA over breaches relating to flaring and venting consents. The regulator in 2022 sanctioned Equinor and EnQuest and last year fined Spanish utility Repsol for consent breaches. The four companies have been fined a total of £475,000 for the breaches. And the regulator in February had four more investigations under way for breaches of vent consents.

Neo Energy's fine is equivalent to £2.98/t of CO2e emitted, assuming a global warming potential of methane that is 28 times that of CO2 on a 100-year time scale, compared with a UK emissions trading system price of £34.40/t of CO2e on 17 April.

The UK offshore industry targets a 50pc reduction in production emissions of greenhouse gases by 2030, from a 2018 baseline. And it intends to end all routine venting and flaring by that year. The regulator last year warned that "further, sustained action" would be needed to reach the 2030 emissions reduction goal. Methane emissions from offshore gas fell in recent years, to 1mn t in 2022 from 1.6mn t in 2018, according to NSTA data. Roughly half of methane emissions in the sector in recent years has been produced by venting, while flaring makes up about a quarter of the emissions.

The UK government is a member of the Global Methane Pledge group of countries that aims to reduce methane emissions by 30pc by 2030 from a 2020 baseline.


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21/06/24

PetroVietnam, South Korea’s Mubo partner on gas

PetroVietnam, South Korea’s Mubo partner on gas

Singapore, 21 June (Argus) — Vietnam's state-owned PetroVietnam (PVN) today agreed an initial financing deal with the Korea Trade Insurance Corporation, also known as Mubo, to strengthen and streamline South Korean companies' participation in natural gas projects with PVN and its subsidiaries. The $1bn package has both mid- to long-term financial tranches available if South Korean companies secure PVN's natural gas projects. PVN has plans to expand its gas field development, pipeline construction and gas-fired power plants in projects valued at around $12bn. This is aligned with the government's plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 through increased reliance on gas-fired power generation. PVN manages at least four gas-fired power plants, two coal-fired power plants and two hydropower plants, with 5404MW of total capacity, according to the firm. State-owned PetroVietnam Gas (PV Gas) is at the forefront of the gas power sector projects. It operates the 1mn t/yr Thi Vai LNG terminal, commissioned in July 2023 and has started supplying gas-fired power generation to industrial customers since 15 March. Vietnam is expecting to import more LNG, in anticipation of the start-up of the 1.6GW Nhon Trach LNG thermal power plant in November this year. The plant is comprised of two units that could require as much as 775,000 t/yr of LNG each, assuming a generating efficiency of 60pc. It is also building the 3.6mn t/yr Son My LNG import terminal in Binh Thuan province in southcentral Vietnam. The first phase of commercial operations is scheduled for 2027. A second and third phase at Son My will lift's Vietnam's overall LNG import capacity to 10mn t/yr. PV Gas is to supply 70,000t of LNG to state-owned utility EVN for use at its 715MW Phu My 3 thermal power plant in April and May, marking the first LNG supplies to the county's power sector. Russia has also expressed interest to partner with Vietnam for oil and gas supplies, including LNG, following a state visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Hanoi on 20 June. By Naomi Ong Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Indian regulator seeks oversight of LNG terminals


21/06/24
21/06/24

Indian regulator seeks oversight of LNG terminals

Mumbai, 21 June (Argus) — India's Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has issued a draft proposal for enhanced regulatory control over the country's existing and planned LNG import terminals. The draft regulations released earlier this month has PNGRB taking significant control of India's existing terminals, which includes approval of a new terminal or expansion of capacity following feasibility reports, as well as setting up pipeline infrastructure for regasified LNG. Each project would require a certification of registration by PNGRB and may even face penalties if there are any start-up delays. Developers will also need to publicly disclose their regasification tariffs and other charges for transparency. The regulations are seen as an effort to reverse dwindling utilisation rates at India's existing LNG import facilities, according to traders. The proposed regulatory framework may hinder new investments across India's gas sector more broadly by introducing the additional layer of oversight. PNGRB board of directors typically being short of members results in delays in approvals for existing projects or new products. The Indian Gas Exchange (IGX) small-scale LNG contract was delayed to launch in April this year from the initial plan of late 2023. The contract was needed to help supply gas consumers located in areas not served by pipelines. Plans to introduce LNG contracts for over one-month delivery on the IGX are also being held up because the board does not have sufficient staff to accelerate the speed of decision making, sources with knowledge of the matter said. Utilisation rates at India's seven LNG import terminals ranged from 15pc to 95pc in the April 2023-March 2024 fiscal year, with six operating at 30pc or lower despite a 16pc increase in LNG imports over the same period, oil ministry data show. Indian state-controlled LNG importer Petronet's 17.5mn t/yr Dahej LNG terminal had a 95pc utilisation rate, while Petronet's5mn t/yrKochi, state-controlled firm Gujarat State Petroleum's 5mn t/yr Mundra and state-controlled refiner IOC's 5mn t/yr Ennore terminals operated at 20pc or lower. India plans to add at least 25mn t of LNG import capacity in the next few years on top of its existing 47.7mn t/yr import capacity. India imports around 45pc of its daily gas needs, equivalent to around 190mn m³/d as LNG. The country plans to increase the share of gas in its energy mix to 15pc by 2030, which would increase overall demand to 600mn m³/d. By Rituparna Ghosh Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Canadian greenwashing bill passes


20/06/24
20/06/24

Canadian greenwashing bill passes

Calgary, 20 June (Argus) — A proponent of a major carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Canada removed most information from its website this week after a federal bill targeting "greenwashing" successfully made its way through Parliament. The Pathways Alliance, a group of six oil sands producers, removed material from its website in response to Bill C-59 after it passed its third and final reading in Canada's senate on 19 June, citing "uncertainty on how the new law will be interpreted and applied." Parts of the soon-to-be law will "create significant uncertainty for Canadian companies," according to a statement by Pathways which is the proponent of a massive C$16.5bn ($12bn) CCS project in Alberta's oil sands region. The Pathways companies proposed using the project and a host of other technologies to cut CO2 emissions by 10mn-22mn t/yr by 2030. Project details and projections are now gone from the Pathways website, social media and other public communications as the pending law will require companies to show proof when making representations about protecting, restoring or mitigating environmental, social and ecological causes or effects of climate change. Any claim "that is not based on adequate and proper substantiation in accordance with internationally recognized methodology" could result in penalties under the pending law. Offenders may face a maximum penalty of C$10mn for the first offense while subsequent offenses would be as much as C$15mn, or "triple the value of the benefit derived from the anti-competitive practice." Invite to 'resource-draining complaints' The bill does not single out oil and gas companies, but the industry includes the country's largest emitters and has long been in the cross-hairs of the liberal government. Alberta's premier Danielle Smith says the pending bill will have the unintended effect by stifling "many billions in investments in emissions technologies — the very technologies the world needs." Construction of the Pathways project is expected to begin as early as the fourth quarter 2025 with operations starting in 2029 or 2030. The main CO2 transportation pipeline will be 24-36-inches in diameter and stretch about 400km (249 miles). It will initially tap into 13 oil sands facilities from north of Fort McMurray to the Cold Lake region, where the CO2 will be stored underground. Pathways includes Canadian Natural Resources, Cenovus, Suncor, Imperial Oil, ConocoPhillips Canada and MEG Energy, which account for about 95pc of the province's roughly 3.3mn b/d of oil sands production. Some producers took down content as did industry lobby group the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), which highlighted the "significant" risk the legislation creates. "Buried deep into an omnibus bill and added at a late stage of committee review, these amendments have been put forward without consultation, clarity on guidelines, or the standards that must be met to achieve compliance," said CAPP president Lisa Baiton on Thursday. This "opens the floodgates for frivolous, resource-draining complaints." By Brett Holmes Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Global gas flaring up by 7pc in 2023


20/06/24
20/06/24

Global gas flaring up by 7pc in 2023

London, 20 June (Argus) — Gas flaring from hydrocarbon production rose by 7pc in 2023 to 148bn m³, the highest level since 2019, according to a report by the Global Flaring and Methane Reduction Partnership (GFMRP). The GFMRP, an initiative managed by the World Bank, has since 2011 used satellites to gather data and create an inventory of global flaring. And volumes flared last year rose to the highest since 2019, reversing a fall in 2022. The gas flared could have had a market value of $9bn-48bn, assuming either US Henry Hub prices on the low end or European import prices on the high end, according to the GFMRP. And assuming all these flares operated with a 98pc destruction efficiency, the volumes flared would have resulted in 381mn t of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) of emissions, although if some flares were lower efficiency, they would have emitted more methane and CO2e emissions could be higher, the GFMRP said. The countries where the biggest increase in flaring was reported were Iran, Russia and the US. Volumes flared increased by 3.2bn m³, 2.9bn m³ and 1.7bn m³ in these countries, respectively, compared with 2022. Iran's emissions were higher because of an increase in oil production without a parallel investment in the infrastructure required to use the associated gas produced. The increase in Russia was uniform across hydrocarbon provinces in the country, and might have been driven by supply chain problems limiting maintenance in the wake of the war in Ukraine, the report said. And the US rise in emissions was sharpest in the Permian basin, where power cuts in the record-breaking hot summer of last year might have left electrically-powered compressors in collecting infrastructure unable to run, leading to operators flaring produced gas instead. But emissions fell in some countries. The biggest fall was in Algeria, where 400mn m³ less gas was flared compared with 2022. Although oil production in the country also fell by 2pc, flaring intensity of production was still down by 3pc, which the report attributes to flare gas recovery projects implemented by state-controlled Sonatrach at Hassi Messaoud, the country's largest oil field. The company committed to more projects at other fields in 2023, which could deliver further reductions, the report said. And in Venezuela, oil production climbed by 7pc but methane emissions fell by 300mn m³ (4pc), leading to a 10pc reduction in overall intensity. Reductions in flaring were localised in oil fields in the north of Monagas state, linked to flare gas recovery infrastructure built in the region by state-controlled oil firm PdV. Nine countries collectively — the five named above, and Iraq, Libya, Nigeria and Mexico — are responsible for 75pc of global gas flaring, but only 46pc of oil production. Production facilities might flare gas for safety purposes or maintenance. At other oil-weighted sites, associated gas might be flared because there is no infrastructure to put it to use. By Rhys Talbot Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Alberto year's first named Gulf of Mexico storm


19/06/24
19/06/24

Alberto year's first named Gulf of Mexico storm

Houston, 19 June (Argus) — A storm system in Mexico's Bay of Campeche became the first named tropical storm of this year's Atlantic hurricane season, bringing heavy rains and winds to the south Texas and northeast Mexico coasts. Tropical Storm Alberto is expected to come ashore in Mexico's Tamaulipas and Veracruz states late Wednesday or early Thursday, with maximum sustained winds of 40mph, according to the US National Hurricane Center. Heavy rain may be seen as far north as Corpus Christi, Texas, but the heaviest rains are expected inland in Mexico. Rain and heavy seas associated with the Gulf of Mexico storm system were expected to disrupt ship-to-ship lightering operations off the coast of Corpus Christi, Galveston and Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas. The storm system does not appear to have curtailed US offshore Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production. This year's Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be more active than normal , according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, with 4-7 major hurricanes possible. Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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