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In this Issue:

EDITORIAL: A GASSY NEW YEAR

The expected flurry of final investment decisions that will be taken this year to build LNG terminals in North America, Russia, Africa and elsewhere cannot of course disguise the fact that oil is still of paramount importance. And the same producers are involved in some of the biggest projects in both oil and gas, so there cannot be cut-throat competition, exactly. 

GERMANY ADVANCES LNG IMPORT PLANS

German utility Uniper and Japanese Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) agreed late December to install Germany’s first import terminal – a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) at Wilhelmshaven, with a planned send-out capacity of 10bn m3/year. 

ABOUT-TURN FOR MEXICAN ENERGY

Barely a month into his administration, Mexico’s new president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has turned the country’s energy industry on its head. 

SEEKING A FINAL RESTING PLACE FOR CO2

NGW interviews Pale Blue Dot CEO Alan James.

FROM METHANE TO HYDROGEN

Russian gas giant Gazprom presented its new technology to produce green hydrogen commercially from methane at the European Autumn Gas Conference in November in Berlin. It is based on a process known as thermal methane pyrolysis, which has the advantage that it does not produce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). 

KEEPING WARM WITH RUSSIAN GAS

It is customary for Russian businessmen, in conversations about oil and gas, to claim that they are only pursuing business interests; they argue that it is the US that politicises the issue, using gas and oil to pursue broader geopolitical interests. Present-day Russia is not the USSR which, in most cases, neglected economic interests for geopolitical gain – an approach now pursued by China in its elastic Belt and Road initiative.  

PERTAMINA BOOSTS UPSTREAM SPENDING

Indonesia’s state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina plans to increase its upstream spending by as much as 25% next year, to a maximum of $3bn from $2.4bn in 2017, despite losses downstream. 

AS INDIA, SOUTH KOREA, MALAYSIA, TURKEY AND VIETNAM RAMP UP THEIR COAL USE THE IEA SEES NO DECLINE IN COAL USE TO 2023

Coal demand worldwide grew by 1.1% to 7,585mn metric tons (mt) in 2017, after two years of decline, according to the International Energy Agency’s December Coal 2018 report.  

SLOVAKIA KEEPS OPTIONS OPEN

Like other gas pipeline projects in central and eastern Europe, the Slovakia-led Eastring project has been around for some years, rolling with the geo-political punches and adapting to strategic decisions made upstream. 

TANZANIAN BREAKTHROUGH

Things are picking up for Tanzania’s $30bn LNG export plans after hardline president John Magufuli decided early in December to break the deadlock with project developers. They agreed to resume their preliminary talks. 

BOOK REVIEW: BURNING UP

In the developed world, we generally expect to have electricity, heat and transport within easy and affordable reach without thinking too much about how they got there. Nor can we do anything about it if we do not like the way they are organised, or if we worry about the consequences of today’s widespread energy consumption. This availability has often been achieved by government interventions, which tend to prioritise social control over energy efficiency.  

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