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Last Updated: March 8, 2017
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JUBA, South Sudan, March 6, 2017/APO/ --

EPSA contract signed today in Juba for South Sudan acreage.

Oranto Petroleum is the 90% shareholder and operator of large Block B3, plans to invest $500 million for exploration and development.

Government looks to new entrants to boost oil production.

Oranto Petroleum will invest $500 million to develop South Sudan’s Block B3, launching a comprehensive exploration campaign starting immediately. The Ministry of Petroleum and Oranto Petroleum Company, South Sudan signed the exploration and production sharing agreement for the block today in Juba.

The B3 area covers 25,150 square kilometers. Some aeromagnetic and seismic data have been acquired for the area but no wells have been drilled. The block is highly prospective, with productive parts of the Muglad Basin to the northwest and estimated reserves in place of more than 3 billion barrels of oil. The block is categorized as low risk, high reward. Under the EPSA, Oranto will be the technical operator and 90% shareholder of the block, with Nilepet holding a 10% stake.

South Sudan is an established, world-class petroleum producing region, whose territory includes a large part of the Cretaceous rift basin system that has proved petroliferous

“We believe the petroleum resources of Block B3 are vast. To reach our target of more than double current oil production, we need committed new entrants like Oranto,” said Minister of Petroleum Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth. “The government is working hard to reinvigorate the petroleum industry in South Sudan by creating an enabling environment for International oil and gas companies to invest and operate. It is up to the oil companies to come in, explore and produce.”

“It’s an honor to formalize our entry into South Sudan with this EPSA,” said Prince Arthur Eze, Founder and Chairman of Oranto Petroleum. “Our company is at the vanguard of African firms exploring and developing African assets. This is the beginning of a long-term collaboration with Nilepet, the people of South Sudan and our partners to bring to light the immense potential of Block B3. Oranto is committed to an aggressive exploration work program that will benefit all stakeholders.”

The 120,000-square kilometer Block B was split by the government into the B1, B2 and B3 blocks in 2012. In Block B3 Oranto will work alongside the B1 and B2 partners, which include Total. During the first three-year exploration period Oranto will complete a further airborne geophysical survey; acquire and process 2D seismic; and assess existing data held by the government and former operators. The EPSA contract was facilitated by pan-African law firm Centurion Law Group. South Sudan is an established, world-class petroleum producing region, whose territory includes a large part of the Cretaceous rift basin system that has proved petroliferous in Chad and Niger as well as Sudan.

Atlas Petroleum International and Oranto Petroleum, the sister companies of the Atlas Oranto Group, own and operate 20 oil and gas acreages in 10 African countries: Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal and South Sudan. Founded in Nigeria in 1991, the group is Africa’s largest indigenous explorer by acreage. Learn more at http://Atlas-Oranto.com.

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In 2018, the United States consumed more energy than ever before

U.S. total energy consumption

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review

Primary energy consumption in the United States reached a record high of 101.3 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2018, up 4% from 2017 and 0.3% above the previous record set in 2007. The increase in 2018 was the largest increase in energy consumption, in both absolute and percentage terms, since 2010.

Consumption of fossil fuels—petroleum, natural gas, and coal—grew by 4% in 2018 and accounted for 80% of U.S. total energy consumption. Natural gas consumption reached a record high, rising by 10% from 2017. This increase in natural gas, along with relatively smaller increases in the consumption of petroleum fuels, renewable energy, and nuclear electric power, more than offset a 4% decline in coal consumption.

U.S. total energy consumption

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review

Petroleum consumption in the United States increased to 20.5 million barrels per day (b/d), or 37 quadrillion Btu in 2018, up nearly 500,000 b/d from 2017 and the highest level since 2007. Growth was driven primarily by increased use in the industrial sector, which grew by about 200,000 b/d in 2018. The transportation sector grew by about 140,000 b/d in 2018 as a result of increased demand for fuels such as petroleum diesel and jet fuel.

Natural gas consumption in the United States reached a record high 83.1 billion cubic feet/day (Bcf/d), the equivalent of 31 quadrillion Btu, in 2018. Natural gas use rose across all sectors in 2018, primarily driven by weather-related factors that increased demand for space heating during the winter and for air conditioning during the summer. As more natural gas-fired power plants came online and existing natural gas-fired power plants were used more often, natural gas consumption in the electric power sector increased 15% from 2017 levels to 29.1 Bcf/d. Natural gas consumption also grew in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors in 2018, increasing 13%, 10%, and 4% compared with 2017 levels, respectively.

Coal consumption in the United States fell to 688 million short tons (13 quadrillion Btu) in 2018, the fifth consecutive year of decline. Almost all of the reduction came from the electric power sector, which fell 4% from 2017 levels. Coal-fired power plants continued to be displaced by newer, more efficient natural gas and renewable power generation sources. In 2018, 12.9 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired capacity were retired, while 14.6 GW of net natural gas-fired capacity were added.

U.S. fossil fuel energy consumption by sector

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review

Renewable energy consumption in the United States reached a record high 11.5 quadrillion Btu in 2018, rising 3% from 2017, largely driven by the addition of new wind and solar power plants. Wind electricity consumption increased by 8% while solar consumption rose 22%. Biomass consumption, primarily in the form of transportation fuels such as fuel ethanol and biodiesel, accounted for 45% of all renewable consumption in 2018, up 1% from 2017 levels. Increases in wind, solar, and biomass consumption were partially offset by a 3% decrease in hydroelectricity consumption.

U.S. energy consumption of selected fuels

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review

Nuclear consumption in the United States increased less than 1% compared with 2017 levels but still set a record for electricity generation in 2018. The number of total operable nuclear generating units decreased to 98 in September 2018 when the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in New Jersey was retired. Annual average nuclear capacity factors, which reflect the use of power plants, were slightly higher at 92.6% in 2018 compared with 92.2% in 2017.

More information about total energy consumption, production, trade, and emissions is available in EIA’s Monthly Energy Review.

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April, 17 2019
A New Frontier for LNG Pricing and Contracts

How’s this for a first? As the world’s demand for LNG continues to grow, the world’s largest LNG supplier (Shell) has inked an innovative new deal with one of the world’s largest LNG buyers (Tokyo Gas), including a coal pricing formula link for the first time in a large-scale LNG contract. It’s a notable change in an industry that has long depended on pricing gas off crude, but could this be a sign of new things to come?

Both parties have named the deal an ‘innovative solution’, with Tokyo Gas hailing it as a ‘further diversification of price indexation’ and Shell calling it a ‘tailored solutions including flexible contract terms under a variety of pricing indices.’ Beneath the rhetoric, the actual nuts and bolts is slightly more mundane. The pricing formula link to coal indexation will only be used for part of the supply, with the remainder priced off the conventional oil & gas-linked indexation ie. Brent and Henry Hub pricing. This makes sense, since Tokyo Gas will be sourcing LNG from Shell’s global portfolio – which includes upcoming projects in Canada and the US Gulf Coast. Neither party provided the split of volumes under each pricing method, meaning that the coal-linked portion could be small, acting as a hedge.

However, it is likely that the push for this came from Tokyo Gas. As one of the world’s largest LNG buyers, Tokyo Gas has been at the forefront of redefining the strict traditions of LNG contracts. Reading between the lines, this deal most likely does not include any destination restriction clauses, a change that Tokyo Gas has been particularly pushing for. With the trajectory for Brent crude prices uncertain – owing to a difficult-to-predict balance between OPEC+ and US shale – creating a third link in the pricing formula might be a good move. Particularly since in Japan, LNG faces off directly with coal in power generation. With the general retreat from nuclear power in the country, the coal-LNG battle will intensify.

What does this mean for the rest of the industry? Could coal-linked contracts become the norm? The industry has been discussing new innovations in LNG contracts at the recent LNG2019 conference in Shanghai, while the influx of new American LNG players hungry to seal deals has unleashed a new sense of flexibility. But will there be takers?

I am not a pricing expert but the answer is maybe. While Tokyo Gas predominantly uses natural gas as its power generation fuel (hence the name), it is competing with other players using cheaper coal-based generation. So in Japan, LNG and coal are direct competitors. This is also true in South Korea and much of Southeast Asia. In the two rising Asian LNG powerhouses, however, the situation is different. In China – on track to become the world’s largest LNG buyer in the next two decades – LNG is rarely used in power generation, consumed instead by residential heating. In India – where LNG imports are also rising sharply – LNG is primarily aimed at petrochemicals and fertiliser. LNG based power generation in China and India could see a surge, of course, but that will take plenty of infrastructure, and time, to build. It is far more likely that their contracts will be based off existing LNG or natural gas benchmarks, several of which are being developed in Asia alone.

If it takes off  the coal-link LNG formula is likely to remain a Asian-based development. But with the huge volumes demanded by countries in this region, that’s still a very big niche. Enough perhaps for the innovation to slowly gain traction elsewhere, next stop -  Europe?

The Shell-Tokyo Gas Deal:

Contract – April 2020-March 2030 (10 Years)

Volume – 500,000 metric tons per year

Source – Shell global portfolio

Pricing – Formula based on coal and oil & gas-linked indexes

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April, 15 2019