Shell, Exxon not to seek compensation for end of Dutch gas field production

The decision to halt Groningen production forced the government to broker a new deal with Shell and Exxon Mobil, whose 50-50 joint venture NAM is responsible for the field. (Reuters)
Updated 25 June 2018

Shell, Exxon not to seek compensation for end of Dutch gas field production

AMSTERDAM: Energy companies Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil will not submit a claim for missed revenue due to the Dutch government's decision to halt gas production at the Groningen field by 2030, the Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs said on Monday.
"A lot of gas will be left in the ground," Economy minister Eric Wiebes said at the presentation of his deal with the oil majors responsible for extracting Groningen gas.
"That gas is the property of the oil companies, but they will not submit a claim and the government is not required to compensate them."
The Dutch government in March said it would end gas production at the Groningen field by the end of the next decade, in an effort to stop a string of relatively small, but damaging earthquakes caused by gas extraction.
This will leave around 450 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas in the ground, Wiebes said, with an estimated value of approximately €70 billion ($81.5 billion).
The decision to halt Groningen production forced the government to broker a new deal with Shell and Exxon Mobil, whose 50-50 joint venture NAM is responsible for the field.
NAM will be required to pump as much gas as the government says is needed in the coming years. In return, it will see its share of the revenue from Groningen rise from 10 to 27 percent, Wiebes said, starting this year.
As part of the deal, NAM will also contribute a total of €500 million to strengthen the economy in the Groningen region.


China’s niche LNG buyers plan billion-dollar investments, double imports amid reforms

Updated 21 min 34 sec ago

China’s niche LNG buyers plan billion-dollar investments, double imports amid reforms

SINGAPORE: A group of niche Chinese gas firms is set to make waves in the global market with plans to invest tens of billions of dollars and double imports in the next decade as Beijing opens up its vast energy pipeline network to more competition.

The companies, mostly city gas distributors backed by local authorities, are ramping up purchases of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as newly formed national pipeline operator PipeChina begins leasing third parties access to its distribution lines, terminals and storage facilities from this month.

The acceleration in demand in what is already the world’s fastest-growing market for the super-chilled fuel is a boon for producers such Royal Dutch Shell, Total and traders like Glencore faced with oversupply and depressed prices.

Just last month, UK’s Centrica signed a 15-year binding deal to supply Shanghai city gas firm Shenergy Group 0.5 million tons per year of LNG starting in 2024.

“They’re very, very interested in imports — we’re talking to a lot of them already,” said Kristine Leo, China country manager for Australia’s Woodside Energy, which signed a preliminary supply deal with private gas distributor ENN Group last year.

China could buy a record 65-67 million tons of LNG this year and is expected to leapfrog Japan to become the world’s top buyer in 2022. Imports could surge 80 percent from 2019 to 2030, according to Lu Xiao, senior analyst at consultancy IHS Markit.

State-owned Guangdong Energy Group, Zhejiang Energy Group, Zhenhua Oil and private firms like ENN were quick to take advantage of the market reforms and low spot prices for LNG, said Chen Zhu, managing director of Beijing-based consultancy SIA Energy.

Their imports will reach some 11 million tons this year, up 40 percent versus 2019, more than 17 percent of China’s total purchases, said Chen.

For years such companies have worked to expand a domestic consumer base among so-called “last mile” gas users like tens of millions of households, shopping malls and factories, but they had to rely on state majors for supplies.

With greater access to distribution networks, they are now incentivized to build their own import terminals that could account for 40 percent of the country’s LNG receiving capacity by 2030, versus 15 percent now, Chen said.

Frank Li, assistant to president of China Gas Holdings, a private piped gas distributor, said his company has been in talks with PipeChina for infr structure access as it prepares to import LNG next year.

In Southern China’s industrial hub Guangdong, companies like Guangzhou Gas, Shenzhen Gas and Guangdong Energy hold small stakes in LNG facilities operated by China National Offshore Oil Company. They imported their first cargoes from these terminals last year.

Guangzhou Gas is set to import 13 LNG shipments this year, up from five last year, after “tough negotiations” with CNOOC won it access to terminals, said Vice President Liu Jingbo.

“The reform is bringing us diversified supplies, helping us cut cost,” Liu said.

Some companies also plan to beef up trading expertise by opening offices overseas, such as in Singapore, executives said.

“Naturally, companies will be thinking of growing into a meaningful player globally,” said a trading executive with Guangdong Energy, adding that his firm looks to Tokyo Gas , Japan’s top gas distributor and trader, as a model.

The rise of niche players will erode some market share held by state giants CNOOC, PetroChina and Sinopec, prompting them to scale back gas infrastructure investment and focus on global trading, while extending into retail gas distribution at home, officials said.