For most of the major chemical and petrochemical producers, 2012 was a difficult year following an overall strong 2011.
Asia demand growth was slower from early in the year and the eurozone crisis hung over European market sentiment, demand and profitability. US economic growth was relatively weak and Latin American chemicals growth reduced.
Two new LNG vessels ordered last week, to take volumes from the US and Australia, underline that the appetite for more shipping persists, despite an order book that is already heavy with speculative new builds.
Interconnections between Europe's electricity grids are becoming increasingly vital for an integrated energy market.
EU policy-makers are keen to see more grid capacity built, while grid operators are focused on security of supply with more intermittent renewable generation.
In 2013 the role of Spain as a provider of LNG cargoes to the international market has become significant.
This is counterintuitive for an importing country with no domestic production, but at times when LNG producers have been unreliable, companies have turned to the Spanish gas market for supply.
With increasing supplies of gas-based petrochemical feedstocks coming on stream in the Middle East, now is a good time to consider reconfiguring refineries to boost production of chemicals for export to Asia.
From the multiple islands off the coast of Japan to the vast land mass across North America, there is increasing interest in the opportunities from emerging small-scale LNG supply chains.
Base oils demand is expected to grow modestly in 2013 throughout Asia Pacific though price volatility will continue to be seen on the back of buoyant feedstock gasoil and fuel oil prices, market sources said.
Clean power projects coming to market under the UK’s renewables obligation certificate (ROC) scheme before the end of next year could receive the two-pronged bonus of higher ROC values in 2014/15, coupled with considerably higher wholesale power prices just one year later, latest figures suggest.
Pricing trends, base oils oversupply and technical demands on base oils are covered, along with a review of investment in new capacity.
The Indian government’s decision to adopt the Rangarajan Committee’s recommendations and approve a new gas pricing formula breaks the policy paralysis, steers a course towards market deregulation.
It also goes some way in providing a policy framework to encourage upstream investment and reduce the country’s growing dependence on LNG imports.
On 14 September, the Japanese prime minister unveiled a new energy strategy for Japan, calling for the phasing out of nuclear power by the end of the 2030s.
A boom in investments in China for propane dehydrogenation (PDH) projects to produce propylene is expected to bolster the country’s imports of feedstock propane.
Some big German utilities are backing a capacity market to solve a potential supply security problem, but sources agree it would reduce price volatility and some argue it could also lead to a flatter wholesale electricity market.
The East Asian LNG spot market experienced a second watershed year in 2012 as the region’s utility buyers sought to manage an unprecedented growth in LNG demand.
China is likely to import 4m tonnes of US thermal coal in 2012, nearly four times the 1.17m tonnes imported in 2011.
China is expected to boost its gasoil and gasoline exports from 2014, because the world’s second-largest economy is likely to face an oversupply in its fast-growing refining capacities, industry sources said.
Will the rise of US shale oil and gas increase energy price volatility? Will there really be a golden age of gas in Europe? ICIS Energy reporter Kate Burgess puts the big questions on the future of oil and gas to Chatham House associate fellow John Mitchell.
Conservatives estimates put northern Iraq’s oil reserves at 45bn barrels. There are no firm figures for natural gas reserves, but the International Energy Agency estimates that the country may sit on up to 7 trillion cubic metres of natural gas.
This expert piece of LNG Market Analysis highlights how the past year has proved to be a watershed for the traded LNG market as participants responded to the challenge presented by the natural disaster and subsequent nuclear shutdowns affecting the world’s largest LNG consumer, Japan.
Italy and France are pushing for more spot-based pricing in regulated retail tariffs. Locked in oil-linked long-term contracts, suppliers may bear the brunt as re-negotiations with producers are tough.