Shell, PetroChina take $900mn hit on Australia gas

  • : Natural gas
  • 21/05/24

Shell and state-controlled PetroChina's Australian natural gas upstream venture Arrow Energy has taken a A$1.17bn ($902mn) impairment charge, reflecting the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on oil and gas prices and gas and electricity demand.

Arrow, which produces coal-bed methane for domestic users and is developing a gas project that will provide feedstock for Shell's 8.5mn t/yr Queensland Curtis LNG (QCLNG) project in Queensland, took the charge in its 2020 results. It comes after Shell reported a $22bn impairment charge in June 2020 including $8bn-9bn of impairments in its integrated gas division, mainly related to Australian LNG assets.

Arrow said its 2020 results reflect the continuing operation of its gas supply and electricity-generating businesses, the beginning of project execution on the first phase of the Surat gas project and other work in the Surat and Bowen basins in Queensland.


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24/04/22

Balticconnector gas pipe recommissioned after rupture

Balticconnector gas pipe recommissioned after rupture

London, 22 April (Argus) — The Finland-Estonia Balticconnector gas pipeline has been re-commissioned, with commercial flows starting at the beginning of today's gas day. There were renominations for 12.5GWh of flows towards Finland and 78.2GWh in the opposite direction for today as of early afternoon, suggesting net flows towards Estonia of around 66GWh. Finnish demand remains relatively low, while stocks at Finland's Inkoo LNG terminal need to be mostly depleted before the upcoming arrival of a new cargo on 26 April. The Balticconnector was taken off line on 8 October following a rupture caused by a dragging anchor . The system operators of Finland and Estonia said at the time that the pipeline could return in April at the earliest, meaning the initial timeline set out for repairs has been met. The recommissioning of the Balticconnector could allow Finnish prices to realign with those in the Baltic markets now that the two areas are connected again. During the Balticconnector's absence, Finland was entirely reliant on LNG deliveries to Inkoo, meaning prices were highly volatile and frequently held significantly above prices further south. Price differentials reached a peak of nearly €58/MWh ($62/MWh) in mid-January as a cold snap caused Finnish power-sector gas demand to soar while stocks at Inkoo were relatively low. That said, the basis between the two markets has narrowed significantly since mid-March, and the Finnish price has on several days held lower than in the Baltics ( see graph ). By Brendan A'Hearn Finnish vs Estonian-Latvian prices Oct 2023-present €/MWh Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

ExxonMobil turns up heat on climate activists


24/04/22
24/04/22

ExxonMobil turns up heat on climate activists

New York, 22 April (Argus) — In the run-up to the annual proxy voting season, ExxonMobil is tightening the screws on climate activists it accuses of wasting the company's resources by repeatedly submitting the same shareholder proposals that have been resoundingly defeated in the past. In its 2024 proxy statement released this month, the top US oil major lays out the case against what it describes as "serial proponents" of ballot measures that abuse the shareholder proposal process by pushing their own narrow agenda at the expense of long-term shareholders. The campaign builds on a lawsuit filed against two investors at the start of the year that were leading the clamour for ExxonMobil to accelerate its climate goals and target emissions from customers. Dutch activist group Follow This and sustainable investment firm Arjuna Capital withdrew their motion in light of the lawsuit, but the oil major has continued with its legal action, arguing that "important issues remain for the court to decide". ExxonMobil is also calling for a stricter interpretation of rules governing the proxy process on the part of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The lawsuit follows a growing backlash against environmental, social and governance investing by Republican-led states that has taken aim at large asset managers including BlackRock. The pushback has seen the SEC water down new climate risk disclosure rules following an intense lobbying effort by big business. And US bank JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon recently slammed the White House's LNG export pause as "not only wrong but also enormously naive". The high watermark of the shareholder climate push came in 2021 when a tiny hedge fund overthrew a quarter of ExxonMobil's board with help from institutional investors concerned with the company's lagging financial performance. The difference between then and now is that oil industry profits have bounced back in the intervening years as the debate has shifted in favour of energy security following the war in Ukraine, sending ExxonMobil's share price to new highs. As a result, support for climate motions at oil companies has declined. ExxonMobil has four shareholder measures on the ballot for this year, down from 13 a year ago. Over at Chevron, the second-biggest US oil major, investors will vote on four shareholder proposals, down from eight in 2023. ExxonMobil is encouraging shareholders to vote against the proposals calling on it to cut executive pay incentives for emissions reductions, as well as carry out reports into pay in relation to gender and racial bias, the impact on workers and communities of the energy transition, and plastics. Ballot measures at Chevron include calls to implement reports on tax transparency and human rights practices. Early warning system? Only 3.55pc of the 140 resolutions filed at ExxonMobil annual meetings between 2014 and 2023 passed, the company says. The cost of considering each proposal is as much as $150,000. But proposals that initially attract only a small amount of shareholder support can sometimes act as an early warning system that spurs changes in company strategy further out, climate activists argue. ExxonMobil's lawsuit is an "aggressive effort to chill consideration among its shareholders about how the company is adapting its business model in light of the need for a fair and fast transition away from fossil fuels", advocacy group the Union of Concerned Scientists campaign director Kathy Mulvey says. Shareholder advocate As You Sow, criticised in ExxonMobil's proxy statement, accuses the major of attacking shareholder democracy. The board "should consider proposals on their merits, rather than assaulting the long-standing rights of company owners or their representatives", the group's president, Danielle Fugere, says. By Stephen Cunningham Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Japan's Jera shuts Chiba gas-fired power unit


24/04/22
24/04/22

Japan's Jera shuts Chiba gas-fired power unit

Tokyo, 22 April (Argus) — Japan's largest electricity producer by capacity Jera has shut the 360MW No.1-4 combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) units at its Chiba power complex because of a technical problem. Jera closed on 22 April the CCGT units at the 4.38GW Chiba complex in east Japan's Chiba prefecture, according to a notice by Japan Electric Power Exchange (Jepx). It is unclear when the units will be brought back on line. The unexpected shutdown is likely to have limited impact on Japan's power market as the country has experienced mild weather lately that has capped power consumption. Jera consumed 16.7mn t of LNG in April-December 2023, lower by 4.8pc compared with the same period a year earlier, according to the firm's latest financial results. Japan's total power demand averaged 83GW during 15-21 April, down by 3pc from the previous week, data show from nationwide transmission system operator the Organisation for Cross-regional Co-ordination of Transmission Operators. Japan plans to add 1.1GW of thermal capacity during the week to 28 April, with the addition of 11.5GW outstripping the closure of 10.4GW, according to Argus' survey based on a Jepx notice. The difference incorporates the net increase this week in gas-fired capacity of 2GW and the net drop in coal-fired capacity of 887MW. By Reina Maeda Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Australia's QPM to focus on gas, cut Tech battery spend


24/04/22
24/04/22

Australia's QPM to focus on gas, cut Tech battery spend

Sydney, 22 April (Argus) — Australian battery metals refiner Queensland Pacific Metals (QPM) will focus on energy markets via its Moranbah gas project (MGP) and limit further expenditure on its Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (Tech) project. The firm will switch its prioritisation to its wholly-owned QPM Energy (QPME) business, with QPME's chief executive David Wrench to be appointed as QPM chief executive, the company said on 22 April. MGP's coal mine waste gas output from nearby the coal mining hub of Moranbah in Queensland's Bowen basin will be increased to 35 TJ/d (935,000 m³/d) by late 2024, up from October-December 2023's 28 TJ/d, with QPME to accelerate production and reserves to provide required peaking power for the national electricity market (NEM) via Thai-controlled energy firm Ratch Australia's 242MW Townsville Power Station. QPME aims to drill a further seven wells by the year's end, increase workovers and increase production from third-party supply of waste mine gas from regional coal mines. The company is also seeking to develop a portfolio of plants to supply up to 300MW of gas-fired power to the NEM, while compressed natural gas and micro-LNG facilities will also be developed in Townsville and Moranbah, QPME said. A surge in government support for renewable power generation in order to meet Australia's 2030 emissions target by retiring coal-fired power means more gas-peaking plants will likely be needed in the coming years to support variable generators. But Australia's domestic gas supply is forecast to experience shortfalls this decade, with predictions of a 76 PJ/yr gap in 2028. The Tech project which aims to produce 16,000 t/yr of nickel and 1,750 t/yr of cobalt sulphates from imported laterite ore saw its funding significantly reduced in February because of what QPM described as a "challenging investment environment" resulting from depressed nickel prices. By Tom Major Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Troll and Oseberg gas production high in February


24/04/19
24/04/19

Troll and Oseberg gas production high in February

London, 19 April (Argus) — Gas output from Norway's Troll and Oseberg fields stayed high in February, and production from the two fields must fall over the remainder of the gas year unless the fields overproduce their quotas. Maximum output from Troll and Oseberg is capped by a yearly quota, set at 40.47bn m³ for Troll and 7bn m³ for Oseberg for October 2023-September 2024, although there may be some flexibility to overproduce or carry over unused quota from previous years. Production at Troll edged down in February from previous months to 124.6mn m³/d, but was still the fourth-highest for any single month. The three months with higher production were November 2023-January 2024. And production from the Oseberg area — including Oseberg proper and the South and East satellite fields — averaged 24.4mn m³/d, slightly down on the month but still the second highest since April 2022. High output from both fields means that they will have likely each produced more than half their quota in the first half of the gas year. Troll produced 18.9bn m³ from its 40.47bn m³ quota in the first five months of the gas year, the latest data available, while Oseberg produced 3.2bn m³ of its 7bn m³ quota. And deliveries on offshore system operator Gassco's network in March and April so far have been similar to in previous months, suggesting output from the two largest fields has held similarly high. Assuming this is the case, production from the two fields may have to hold at no more than 93mn m³/d and 17mn m³/d for the remainder of the gas year if they are to avoid exceeding their quotas. But if the fields were to produce to quota, plus unused quota from the 2022-23 gas year, output would be 103mn m³/d and 23mn m³/d, respectively. There is an average of 8.3mn m³/d of maintenance scheduled at Troll over the remainder of the gas year, leaving flexibility for the field to produce up to quota and still have capacity to produce another 10mn-15mn m³/d more. Oseberg has less than 1mn m³/d of maintenance scheduled, but producing to the quota while also producing unused quota from the 2022-23 gas year would take it much closer to its nameplate capacity of roughly 25mn m³/d. While the quotas could allow continued strong production, output in previous years has always been lower in summer than in winter. And operators could have an incentive to delay some production if prices in the remainder of the season fall far below prices for future summers. TTF monthly contracts for delivery in the remainder of the summer were assessed an average of €2.02/MWh ($2.15/MWh) below the summer 2025 price on Thursday, but €3.36-8.22/MWh above summer contracts for delivery in 2026-28. No return to strong reinjections Implied injections at fields where operators have halted gas reinjections — Skarv, Visund, Gina Krog and Gullfaks — ticked up to 8.2mn m³/d in February, the highest since November 2021. But the upwards move does not necessarily indicate a return to injections at levels similar to before mid-2021. Injections were low and steady on the month at Skarv and Visund, where operators have indicated that gas reinjections have mostly been halted for good. Injections were flat at Gina Krog as well, although production of 8.4mn m³/d was the highest since June 2022. And the spike in injections at Gullfaks was similar in size to other spikes since mid-2021, and still well below injections before mid-2021 (see implied injections graph). Aggregate output from all fields connected to the pipeline export network averaged 341mn m³/d in the month, down from January but up slightly on the year. By Rhys Talbot Monthly production from pipeline-linked fields Implied reinjections at selected fields Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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