Russia advances LNG race with multibillion-dollar Arctic project

Updated 05 September 2019

Russia advances LNG race with multibillion-dollar Arctic project

  • Novatek poised to become a global LNG leader as it seeks to rival Qatar in production of the super-chilled fuel

VLADIVOSTOK: The $21 billion Arctic liquefied natural gas (LNG)-2 project led by Russian private gas producer Novatek won a green light, the latest in a raft of new projects aimed at meeting a likely doubling of LNG demand over the next
15 years.

Arctic LNG-2 is expected to launch in 2023 and will aim to export 80 percent of its LNG to Asia, Novatek Chief Executive Leonid Mikhelson, Russia’s richest businessman according to Forbes magazine, said after the project’s partners signed a final investment decision (FID) at an economic forum.

At nearly 20 million tons per annum (mmpta) of LNG it would be largest single project to reach FID, according to Wood Mackenzie, and take total LNG volumes sanctioned this year to about 63 mtpa, beating the previous record of 45 mmtpa in 2005.

Arctic LNG-2 will be the third LNG project for Novatek, which hopes to match Qatar in production of the super-chilled fuel.

“Novatek is clearly driving home their ambitions to be a global LNG power house,” said Chong Zhi Xin, associate director of gas, power and energy at IHS Markit.

“It adds another 12 million tons to their portfolio on an equity basis. They are emerging as one of the largest LNG suppliers in
the market.”

The project’s equity partners include French energy producer Total, China’s National Petroleum Corp, CNOOC and the Japan Arctic LNG consortium, made up of Mitsui & Co. and state-owned JOGMEC, formally known as Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp.

“This is an important project for Russia and follows our strategy to create capacities for LNG production,” Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said, adding that investments in the project had been set at $21 billion.

Japanese Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said the project is one of the largest in the history of Japanese-Russian relations.

“It will unite Japan and Russia even more, as well as Europe and Asia. The Japanese
government will provide all necessary assistance for the realization of this project,” he said.

The Arctic LNG-2 project will include construction of three LNG trains with a capacity of 6.6 million tons per annum (mtpa) of LNG each and at least 1.6 mtpa of gas condensate, according to Novatek’s website.

Located on the Gydan peninsula in Russia, the project is expected to export its first LNG by 2023 with the second and third train to start up by 2024 and 2026, Total said in a statement.

It will help Russia reach its goal of producing 120 to 130 million tons of LNG a year in the coming years and raise its share in the global LNG market to up to
20 percent.

It follows FIDs announced from Canada, the US and Mozambique over the past year and plans to target Asian demand driven by major economies shifting toward greener fuel to combat pollution.

The project will benefit from extremely low cost gas, helping it compete against LNG from the US and Canada, said Wood Mackenzie analyst Nicholas Browne.

LNG from the project will also be delivered to international markets by a fleet of ice-class LNG carriers that will be able to use the shorter Northern Sea Route and the trans-shipment terminal in Kamchatka for cargoes destined for Asia and the trans-shipment terminal close to Murmansk for cargoes destined for Europe, Total said.

“Arctic LNG 2 adds to our growing portfolio of
competitive LNG developments based on giant low cost resources primarily intended for the fast growing Asian markets,” Total’s chief executive Patrick Pouyanné said in the statement.

The increase in supply from Russia and more intense
competition may push down LNG prices and help move Asia toward a more gas-based economy, said IHS Markit’s Chong. 


Oil recoups losses as OPEC, US Fed see robust economy

Updated 14 November 2019

Oil recoups losses as OPEC, US Fed see robust economy

  • US-China trade deal will help remove ‘dark cloud’ over oil, says Barkindo

LONDON: Oil prices reversed early losses on Wednesday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said it saw no signs of global recession and rival US shale oil production could grow by much less than expected in 2020.

Also supporting prices were comments by US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who said the US economy would see a “sustained expansion” with the full impact of recent interest rate cuts still to be felt.

Brent crude futures stood roughly flat at around $62 per barrel by 1450 GMT, having fallen by over 1 percent earlier in the day. US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $56 per barrel, up 20 cents or 0.4 percent.

“The baseline outlook remains favorable,” Powell said.

OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said global economic fundamentals remained strong and that he was still confident that the US and China would reach a trade deal.

“It will almost remove that dark cloud that had engulfed the global economy,” Barkindo said, adding it was too early to discuss the output policy of OPEC’s December meeting.

HIGHLIGHT

  • US oil production likely to grow by just 0.3-0.4 million barrels per day next year — or less than half of previous expectations.
  • The prospects for ‘US crude exports had turned bleak after shipping rates jumped last month.’

He also said some US companies were now saying US oil production would grow by just 0.3-0.4 million barrels per day next year — or less than half of previous expectations — reducing the risk of an oil glut next year.

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday Washington and Beijing were close to finalizing a trade deal, but he fell short of providing a date or venue for the signing ceremony.

“The expectations of an inventory build in the US and uncertainty over the OPEC+ strategy on output cuts and US/China trade deal are weighing on oil prices,” said analysts at ING, including the head of commodity strategy Warren Patterson.

In the US, crude oil inventories were forecast to have risen for a third straight week last week, while refined products inventories likely declined, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Tuesday.

ANZ analysts said the prospects for US crude exports had turned bleak after shipping rates jumped last month.