Global gas markets tighten as China leads demand

Global gas markets tighten as China leads demand
China’s economic recovery led to an 18 percent year-on-year jump in thermal generation through the first half of 2021. (AFP)
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Updated 17 August 2021

Global gas markets tighten as China leads demand

Global gas markets tighten as China leads demand

MOSCOW: The global natural gas market is tightening with demand recovering this year as many countries led by China are seeing their economic life rebound following the pandemic.

The global liquefied natural gas (LNG) demand growth this year has been driven primarily by China, Francisco Blanch, commodity and derivatives strategist at the Bank of America Securities said in a note issued on Aug. 12.

China’s economic recovery led to an 18 percent year-on-year jump in thermal generation through the first half of 2021, which in turn, resulted in LNG year-to-date imports volumes rising nearly 30 percent year-on-year to 8.6 million tons. China is on pace in 2021 to overtake Japan as the world’s largest importer, Blanch said.

Another important factor driving gas prices up in both Europe and Asia in recent weeks is an increasingly low level of gas inventories in Europe, which fell to 16 billion cubic meters (bcm) or 20 percent below the five-year average. This is partly because “Russia has declined to export additional volumes to Europe as it hopes to push Nord Stream 2 over the finish line,” according to Blanch.

Gas flows via the Mallnow compressor station at the German border which handles predominantly Russian gas for transport to the west of the country remained low on Aug. 16, at around 20 million cubic meters per day, much reduced from the start of the month, Alex Froley, a LNG analyst at a London-based energy market information provider ICIS said in a comment posted on LinkedIn on Aug. 16.

Concerns over Russian gas availability increased recently after a fire at a production plant in Russia’s Yamal peninsula. Russian gas is transported to western Europe via several pipeline routes, including the Yamal-Europe line through Poland and into Germany’s GASCADE network at Mallnow. Flows at Mallnow, in particular, seem to have reduced over August, Froley said.

Data from German grid operator GASCADE shows flows of Russian gas into Germany at the Mallnow border point have dropped from 60 million cubic meters a day at the start of August to around 20 million cubic meters a day as of mid-August.


Qatar leads talks to acquire British department store for $5.5bn

Qatar leads talks to acquire British department store for $5.5bn
Updated 18 October 2021

Qatar leads talks to acquire British department store for $5.5bn

Qatar leads talks to acquire British department store for $5.5bn

British Selfridges department store owner, the Weston family, is in talks with Qatar about a potential £4 billion ($5.5 billion) sale, which would change the ownership of the store for the first time in two decades, the Daily Mail reported. 

Meanwhile, The Times reported that the Kingdom's PIF is also among the parties rumored to be interested in Selfridges, as are Abu Dhabi's ADIA, and Lane Crawford, a department stores business based in Hong Kong.

The PIF has been asked to comment.

Sources told the Daily Mail that Qatar is leading talks to buy Selfridges, but the talks are not exclusive, which means the famous Oxford Street may be sold to another party.

According to The Times, the Westons are understood to be seeking a buyer not only for their UK stores, which also include a store at the Bullring in Birmingham, but also department stores Brown Thomas and Arnotts in Dublin, De Bijenkorf in the Netherlands and Holt Renfrew in Canada.

Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority already owns the famous Harrods store, which it bought in 2010.


A rise in annual US industrial output; Canada's debt fears: Economic wrap

A rise in annual US industrial output; Canada's debt fears: Economic wrap
Updated 18 October 2021

A rise in annual US industrial output; Canada's debt fears: Economic wrap

A rise in annual US industrial output; Canada's debt fears: Economic wrap

US industrial production increased by a yearly rate of 4.6 percent in September, data from the Federal Reserve showed. 

This is the fifth consecutive month in which industrial output growth slowed after growing 17.8 percent in April due to last year's lower base effects.

On a monthly basis, industrial output declined by 1.3 percent in September. This is a larger decline than the one experienced in the previous month when industrial production fell by 0.1 percent.

This was driven by a 3.6 percent drop in utilities production and a 2.3 percent fall in mining output. Moreover, manufacturing production decreased by 0.7 percent in September as motor vehicles output slumped by 7.2 percent.

Canada’s debt fears

The Canadian government intends to impose new taxes which will help in financing some campaign promises. However, the new stream of revenues will prove to be insufficient to pay off the country’s mounting debts. According to analysts, this will leave Canadians at risk of a potential economic crisis in the near future.

Notably, the country accumulated debt at a faster rate than any other member of the G7. Piling debts could hamper efforts that require sizable finances such as the transition to a green economy.

Central banks and governments clash in Eastern Europe

Rising inflation in Eastern Europe has prompted central banks to raise their interest rates despite a backlash from governments that want to defend strong output growth.

The situation is most visible in Hungary and the Czech Republic as their central banks raised interest rates by more than 1 percent since June.

Capital Economics expects that the Eastern Europe will be one of the regions where inflation will have far-reaching effects in the next year.


Egypt signs deal with Nokia to build IoT infrastructure

Egypt signs deal with Nokia to build IoT infrastructure
Updated 18 October 2021

Egypt signs deal with Nokia to build IoT infrastructure

Egypt signs deal with Nokia to build IoT infrastructure

CAIRO: Egyptian Minister of Communications and IT Amr Talaat oversaw the signing of a deal between Telecom Egypt and Nokia International to build Internet of Things infrastructure in the country.

The ministry said Telecom Egypt’s network enables the provision IoT services to companies on a global scale, based on Nokia’s multi-service model. 

The agreement will contribute to the automation of projects and help companies reduce their operating expenses, enhance productivity, and provide new services to markets faster.

It includes establishment of a global IoT infrastructure and a Pay As You Grow business model, and Nokia will enable Telecom Egypt to provide IoT services at low prices.

The deal was signed by Adel Hamed, managing director and CEO of Telecom Egypt, and Henrik Fall, head of cloud services and networks in the Middle East and Africa at Nokia.

Talaat attended the signing ceremony during his visit to Dubai to attend the 41st GITEX Global Exhibition and Conference.

He also met Ram Ramachandran, senior vice president and head of Middle East and Africa for Tech Mahindra. Tech Mahindra is an Indian multinational subsidiary of the Mahindra Group.

The Egyptian minister discussed ways to increase Tech Mahindra’s contribution to the digital transformation of Egypt.


TASI down by 0.1% as petrochemicals fall: Market wrap

TASI down by 0.1% as petrochemicals fall: Market wrap
Updated 18 October 2021

TASI down by 0.1% as petrochemicals fall: Market wrap

TASI down by 0.1% as petrochemicals fall: Market wrap

RIYADH: The Tadawul All Share Index declined on Monday by 0.1 percent, or 15 points, to 11.758 points. 

Petrochemical shares, led by SABIC falling by 1.5 percent, pushed the market down.

Some 193.5 million of shares changed hands in 337.000 deals, with heavy trading in ACWA Power, Kayan, and SABIC. 

Yansab's share fell by 4.8 percent, after the company announced a decline in its Q3 profits  by more than 8 percent. 

Leejam also recorded the highest close since listing at SR106.80.

Other News: 

Arabian Centers and Fawaz Al Hokair companies announced an agreement to acquire 51 percent of an e-commerce platform, VogaCloset, at a value of SR138 million.

VogaCloset also transferred 25.5 percent of its share capital to Arabian Centers Company, following a capital increase .

However, insurance companies topped the gains today, led by Arabia Insurance reaching SR41.60.

Amana Insurance, Saudi Enaya and Salamarose gained between 5 percent, and 9 percent. 

Saudi Arabia’s parallel stock market index, Nomu, gained 228.70 points, down by 0.95 percent, closing at 23,835.75 points. 


TotalEnergies opens UK offshore wind hub in North Sea oil, gas center

TotalEnergies opens UK offshore wind hub in North Sea oil, gas center
Updated 18 October 2021

TotalEnergies opens UK offshore wind hub in North Sea oil, gas center

TotalEnergies opens UK offshore wind hub in North Sea oil, gas center
  • The energy firm also announced a £140 million investment in a 2 gigawatt offshore wind project in the west of Orkney

Enregy company TotalEnergies has opened an offshore wind hub in Scotland that will allow the “transition of staff from oil and gas to offshore wind” as the green sector grows, the French energy major said in a statement.

The unit will sit inside the firm’s existing Aberdeen center for UK North Sea oil and gas, and will draw on operations that have been “built over the last 50 years” at the site.

TotalEnergies chairman and chief executive Patrick Pouyanné said in the statement: “With the energy transition gathering speed, we see Scotland as a great place to broaden our relationship by investing in offshore wind.

“As a global multi-energy company long engaged in UK energy supply, our decision to base our UK offshore wind hub here in Aberdeen is a mark of our confidence in the future of renewables in the UK and our continued commitment to Scotland and the North Sea.”

TotalEnergies, formerly Total, also announced a £140 million investment in a 2 gigawatt offshore wind project called West of Orkney Windfarm. Australian bank Macquarie’s Green Investment Group and Scottish developer Renewable Infrastructure Development Group are also partners in the wind farm.

TotalEnergies said the three firms will “develop the Scottish supply chain and harbour infrastructure specifically around this project”.

The energy major purchased a majority stake in another large wind farm off the coast of Scotland last year, with expectations that global oil demand will peak before 2030, due to the low-carbon energy shift, reported Bloomberg News.

The firm has upped its stakes in renewable energy assets across the UK recently.

The French firm also invested in a smaller floating-wind project in Wales, Bloomberg said.

Also, in February, TotalEnergies again partnered with Macquarie’s Green Investment Group to win the rights to develop a 1.5 gigawatt offshore wind farm off the coast of Lincolnshire, England.