The Impact of New Marine Emissions Regulations on the LNG Market

Changes to the IMO emissions standards will see the global sulphur limit in marine fuel reduced from 3.5% to 0.5% from 2020.

Marine fuel is a huge energy market which is currently dominated by oil products. However, tighter environmental regulations, particularly MARPOL Annex VI, are driving changes in fuel requirements, especially with regards to sulphur emissions, both in the Emission Control Areas (ECAs) around the coasts of North-West Europe and North America, but also globally, particularly as the 0.5% sulphur limit applies globally from January 2020 . LNG has opportunities in this sector as a low-sulphur fuel, although it also faces strong competition from low-sulphur oil products, sulphur scrubbing technology, and potentially from electric vessels. Currently there are known to be around 139 merchant vessels using LNG as a fuel, with a similar number on order. Whilst LNG-fuelled shipping has been slow to take off, it is now growing rapidly, particularly as supply infrastructure coverage has improved significantly in recent years. LNG is likely to become a fuel of choice for newbuilds in many sectors, whilst there may also be some LNG conversions.

Blue Skies and Natural Gas in China

2017 was a key and challenging year for the Chinese gas sector. All indicators point to an acceleration of natural gas penetration in the energy mix and an intensification of gas market reforms to facilitate this expansion.

Boosted by the recovery of Chinese economic growth, the acceleration of coal-to-gas switching policies, and the rebound in the competitiveness of natural gas relative to competing fuels, China’s natural gas consumption reached a record high level. According to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), natural gas consumption rose by 15.3% to 237.3 bcm in 2017. China was the world’s fastest growing gas market: the country alone accounted for a quarter of global growth in gas consumption.

The Future of Natural Gas in China and India – Critical Drivers and Challenges

Accelerated reforms and focused policies aimed at increasing the role of gas and renewables in the energy mix combine to improve the natural gas demand outlook of China and India.

As natural gas in China and India hardly competes with coal on a cost-basis, the substitution from coal to gas requires a strong support of policies and a fast pace of reforms. Past natural gas developments since 2000 in these two markets show very different trends, which attest to the key role of policy measures to support gas demand and supply.

In Cedigaz Scenario, substantial domestic production growth and the expansion of pipeline and LNG infrastructure will bolster growth in gas consumption across various sectors in India and China. Cedigaz prospects for gas demand in these countries are among the highest in the forecast ranges of the different institutions. Cedigaz integrates the objectives of China’s national energy plans. However, for India, natural gas demand projections and the share of gas in the energy mix fall short of the government’s ambitious targets. Cedigaz Scenario is also based on favourable assumptions as regards the advancement of market-oriented reforms in both the gas and electricity sectors.