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Tuesday, 13 September 2022

Hoarding LNG supplies at sea ahead of a cold winter + Google’s adtech business is getting served

As shortages loom, energy traders are stockpiling LNG supplies at sea: Energy utilities and traders are hoarding extra liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies on ships at sea to replace Russian pipeline gas this winter, according to Bloomberg. Many energy giants have not released their ships at the end of the summer like they usually do, instead electing to pay more to park LNG shipments off the coast. This is an unusual step because liquid fuel gradually evaporates in ships, making storing supplies for an extended period of time difficult. These difficulties showcase just how far gas importers are ready to go to ensure they have enough fuel for the winter.

The amount of LNG in so-called floating storage reached 1.4 mn tonnes at the beginning of the month, the highest level in the past two years, according to figures from energy intelligence firm Kpler cited by Bloomberg. To put that sum into perspective, it is nearly equal to Spain’s import total for August. As Russia curbs supply, competition for LNG exports is at an all-time high, driving up prices in Europe and Asia, with further price rises predicted this winter.

Google could have to pay as much as EUR 25 bn in damages for alleged “anticompetitive behavior” in digital advertising, after a law firm representing publishers announced it would launch two lawsuits against Alphabet subsidiary Google in British and Dutch courts in the coming weeks, Reuters reports. The search engine giant is accused of exploiting its dominance in the ad tech business by controlling the sale of online advertising space between publishers and advertisers. “It is time that Google owns up to its responsibilities and pays back the damages it has caused to this important industry. That is why today we are announcing these actions across two jurisdictions to obtain compensation for EU and UK publishers,” a representative from law firm Geradin Partners said in a statement. Google criticized the impending legal actions, maintaining that it collaborates positively with all European publishers.

This is not the first time Google has faced antitrust allegations: The US Justice Department has also been looking into claims that “Google abuses its status as both a broker and auctioneer of digital advertisements to steer itself business at the expense of rivals.” The company has reportedly offered the US government to split its ad-tech division into a separate firm under the Alphabet umbrella, to avoid an antitrust lawsuit, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.

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