Global energy is now a buyer’s market
The global energy market is skewing to the buyer’s side, writes Nick Butler for the Financial Times. OPEC may have met its match when three of the largest LNG importers — Kogas of Korea, JERA from Japan and China’s Cnooc — signed a MoU agreeing to co-operate in the procurement of LNG at the end of last month. Basic market forces were behind this shift, as the global supply of LNG has outstripped demand, with data from the International Gas Union showing that traded LNG in 2016 rose to 258 mn tonnes, while global liquefaction capacity grew to 339 mn tonnes, “leaving an overhang that helped push prices down.” Asian LNG is being sold for as little as USD 6 per mmbtu, down from USD 20 in 2013. The glut is expected to continue as a number of export projects come onstream. What does this mean for Egypt? Butler suggests that there is no clarity on when Omm El Donia’s recent gas discoveries might be utilized given current market dynamics. Even setting aside our dream of becoming an export hub for energy (we don’t think the situation is as dire as Butler does), we can think of (a) power generation and (b) satisfying demand from domestic industry, particularly if well-priced feedstock were offered in place of current cash export subsidies for select industries.