Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Central Asia News

TWMA Appoints Aslaksen as New CEO

Halle Aslaksen  (Photo: TWMA)

Specialist drilling waste management company, TWMA, has announced the appointment of Halle Aslaksen as its new CEO.Aslaksen joins the Aberdeen-headquartered company from the Norwegian hydropower operator Småkraft, where he served as CEO. He was previously CEO at TCO and president of ALTUS Intervention in Scandinavia.With more than 20 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry, Aslaksen has built a career across several disciplines and has worked across various roles for Smith International…

GasLog Sees Tighter LNG Shipping Market

Pic: GasLog

GasLog, an international owner, operator and manager of liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers, is predicting a tighter LNG shipping market, as increasing United States LNG output combines with a seasonal uptick in demand for gas, resulting in rising demand for shipping and higher utilization of the global fleet.These underlying trends in the LNG commodity and shipping markets point towards a structurally tighter market through 2020 and into 2021.As of October 28…

China Becomes Top Natural Gas Importer

© vladsv / Adobe Stock

China has overtaken Japan to become the world's top importer of natural gas, as Beijing's crackdown on pollution boosts its demand for the more environmentally friendly fuel, while the restart of nuclear reactors in Japan reduces its LNG imports.China's total natural gas imports over January to October this year via pipeline and as liquefied natural gas (LNG) were at 72.06 million tonnes, up a third from the same period last year, according to Reuters calculations based on General Administration of Customs data.Japan…

Cryptocurrency May Light Up Renewable Energy in Moldova

© Dmitry Volochek / Adobe Stock

Moldova, a small, landlocked country in eastern Europe, imports three-quarters of its energy and has seen its energy prices rise by more than half in the past five years.But that could soon change, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which this year will launch an innovative effort to power a Moldovan university with cryptocurrency-funded solar energy.The initiative with Sun Exchange, a South African solar power marketplace, will allow people to buy solar cells using SolarCoin…

Two Risks Threaten Commodities: Russell

It's not quite time to run up the red flags, but some recent developments in commodity markets suggest it may be time to start looking for them in the locker. The are two main factors that appear to be emerging that may threaten an end to the current quite rosy picture surrounding demand for commodities such as iron ore, steel and the metals most exposed to the battery boom, cobalt, lithium and nickel. On the supply side, there is a renewed rush of optimism that…

China's Energy Giants Return to Asian LNG Market as Sellers

© chalermchai k/ Adobe Stock

Falling industrial demand and mild weather have turned China's energy giants into sellers of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Asia for the first time since last year's massive import spree. Chinese players were on the receiving end of last year's doubling of LNG prices, largely driven by their rapid shift to gas to combat coal smog as well as elevated regional demand for the fuel. Although a CNOOC executive last week warned producers not to expect a similar payday in 2018…

India's Oil Imports Surged in 2017

© Igor Yu. Groshev / Adobe Stock photo

India's oil imports rose by about 1.8 percent in 2017 to a record 4.37 million barrels per day (bpd) as the country boosted purchases to feed its expanded refining capacity, ship-tracking data obtained from sources and data compiled by Thomson Reuters Oil Research & Forecasts showed. To meet its growing fuel demand India, the world's third-biggest oil consumer, raised its refining capacity in the second half of 2017. India's capacity expansion to about 5 million bpd was aided by Reliance Industries…

China to top Japan as World's Biggest LNG Importer

File Image: A typical LNG Carrier at Sea (CREDIT: QGTC)

Pollution fight drives surge in pipeline, LNG imports but Japan remains world's biggest importer of LNG. Beijing's crackdown on pollution has put China on track to overtake Japan this year as the world's biggest importer of natural gas, used to replace dirtier coal. China - already the biggest importer of oil and coal - is the world's third biggest user of natural gas behind the United States and Russia, but has to import around 40 percent of its total needs as domestic production can't keep up with demand.

China Rises to World's No.2 LNG Importer

File Image: A typical LNG Carrier at Sea (CREDIT: QGTC)

China's 2017 LNG imports to top South Korea's for first time; becomes key driver of spot LNG prices. China will become the world's second-biggest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) this year as it overtakes South Korea, shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon showed. This is a huge boost to Asia's emerging spot market as Chinese buyers rely much more on short-term purchases to meet their needs than their counterparts in Japan and South Korea. Shipping data…

China Still the Main Game for Commodity Demand: Russell

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Jose Gill)

China strode like a colossus over major commodity markets in 2017, as the world's biggest buyer of natural resources made its presence felt on demand for coal, iron ore, crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG). China's influence on major commodities is likely to remain the single most important factor driving supply and demand in 2018, but that's not to say next year will simply be a repeat of what happened this year. Still, some trends established in 2017 will continue, or even accelerate, with LNG potentially the best example.

UK Fraud Office Charges Two More in Unaoil Investigation

British prosecutors have charged two more people in an investigation into alleged bribery and corruption at privately-held Unaoil, a Monaco-based oil and gas services company. The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said on Thursday it had charged Paul Bond, 65, and Stephen Whiteley, 62, with conspiracy to make corrupt payments to secure Iraqi contracts for an Unaoil client, SBM Offshore, between June 2005 and August 2011. Scotland-based Whiteley was a former vice president with SBM and Unaoil's general territories manager for Iraq, Kazakhstan and Angola.

Chinese Demand Ensures Asian LNG Rally Has Legs

© Altin Osmanaj / Adobe Stock

Unexpectedly strong demand from China, along with rising oil and coal prices, should keep Asian liquefied natural gas (LNG) spot levels buoyant this winter. Despite rising supplies from new plants, spot prices have risen by 55 percent from their 2017 lows to $8.40 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) as Asian buyers also refilled summer stocks. With the peak demand October-March winter gas season almost underway, further price gains are expected. Nuclear outages in Taiwan and rising demand from Thailand…

Turkmenistan Expected to Join OPEC-led Oil Supply Cut

Turkmenistan is likely to join an OPEC-led cut in oil supply aimed at supporting prices, sources in OPEC and the industry said, potentially enlarging the output reduction slightly. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers agreed last year to curb production by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) for six months from Jan. Oil prices have since gained support but global inventories remain high, pulling crude back towards $50 a barrel and putting pressure on OPEC to extend or possibly add to the cuts at least until the end of 2017.

Oil Dips on Oversupply Worries

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) scanrail)

Oil prices edged down on Monday on worries that OPEC-led production cuts may not significantly tighten an oversupplied market in the short term despite talk of extending them. NYMEX crude for June delivery was down 12 cents at $49.21 a barrel by 0032 GMT, after settling up 36 cents on Friday. The contract is up about 2 percent from a one-month low hit on Thursday. London Brent crude for new front-month delivery in July was down 14 cents at $51.91. Iran's oil minister…

Tajikistan Building World's Tallest Dam for Hydro Plant

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon at the site of the Rogun Dam, Oct. 29, 2016. Photo VOA

Tajikistan on Saturday diverted the flow of a major river to start building the world's tallest dam and the main element of the Rogun hydroelectric power plant, a $3.9 billion project which Dushanbe hopes will secure its energy independence. The Central Asian nation which borders Afghanistan lacks hydrocarbon resources and relies heavily on hydroelectric power, although its neighbours downstream complain that this disrupts their traditional agricultural works.

EBRD Leverages China Ties for Debut Equity Fund

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said on Monday it was setting up its first equity participation fund and had secured Chinese and Azerbaijani state funds as cornerstone investors. The EBRD said a 350 million euro ($390 million) first financing round had been completed for the private equity-style fund, which will give institutional investors a 20-30 percent "economic interest" in companies the EBRD takes stakes in. "China's State Administration…

Rosneft, BP, Schlumberger Sign Technology Agreements

Rosneft, BP and Schlumberger today announced agreements for collaboration on seismic research and development. The agreements were signed at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok, Russia, by Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin and President of BP Russia David Campbell. Schlumberger was represented by President for Russia and Central Asia Gokhan Saygi. Under the terms of the agreements, Rosneft will join as an equal partner in BP’s ongoing project with Schlumberger’s seismic business, WesternGeco, to develop innovative cableless onshore seismic acquisition technology.

Indian Companies Consider Rosneft Stakes, Pipeline

Indian companies are evaluating buying stakes in Russian state oil firm Rosneft , India's oil minister said on Thursday, as Moscow seeks funds to address its state deficit. Russia has been hurt by Western sanctions over its actions in Ukraine, which effectively froze its companies's access to Western capital market, and a plunge in global oil prices. "Indian companies are looking into the offer," said Dharmendra Pradhan, who met the Russian leadership last week at a conference in St. Petersburg.

India Pays part of Iran Oil Dues ahead of Modi Visit

Headquarters Photo Halkbank

Indian refiners have cleared part of the $6.4 billion owed to Iran for crude oil imports in euros through Turkey's Halkbank, three sources privy to the payment said on Saturday. This is the first payment to Iran by India since the lifting of Western sanctions against the Persian Gulf nation earlier this year and comes just ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit beginning on Sunday. State refiner Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd paid $500 million while Indian Oil Corp has settled $250 million through the Union Bank of India, the sources said.

Monaco Raids Unaoil Offices Over Global Oil Corruption Probe

Monaco authorities raided the offices of Unaoil, an energy services company, and the homes of its directors after Britain asked for help investigating alleged corruption in the global oil industry. Monaco's government said on its website that it acted after receiving an urgent request for international judicial assistance in criminal matters from Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO). Unaoil directors were questioned by Monaco police on Tuesday and Wednesday, the government said. A joint report by Australia's Fairfax Media and the Huffington Post reported that the U.S.