Croatian LNG terminal granted EU funds
Croatian LNG terminal granted EU fundsIllustration purposes only (Image courtesy of LNG Hrvatska)

Croatian LNG project on the island of Krk has been awarded 102 million euros ($108.6 million) under the European Union’s Connecting Europe facility (CEF). 

The EU member states have agreed on the European Commission’s proposal to invest 444 million euros in priority energy infrastructure.

According to the filing, the funds will be used for the studies for the FSRU solution at the terminal as well as the construction of the facility.

Last year, Croatian government opted to utilize the floating LNG solution for its import facility, with an initial capacity of 2 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

LNG Croatia (LNG Hrvatska), the company developing the LNG terminal, expects the to have the project completed in 2019.

The total costs of the LNG project are estimated to be around 363 million euros.

Russia Overtakes Saudi Arabia as World's Top Crude Oil Producer


 21 February 2017 

Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest crude producer in December, when both countries started restricting supplies ahead of agreed cuts with other global producers to curb the worst glut in decades.

Russia pumped 10.49 million barrels a day in December, down 29,000 barrels a day from November, while Saudi Arabia’s output declined to 10.46 million barrels a day from 10.72 million barrels a day in November, according to data published Monday on the website of the Joint Organisations Data Initiative in Riyadh. That was the first time Russia beat Saudi Arabia since March.

Saudi Arabia and fellow producers from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided at the end of November to restrict supplies by 1.2 million barrels a day for six months starting Jan. 1, with Saudi Arabia instrumental in the plan. Non-member producers, including Russia, pledged additional curbs. Brent crude prices have climbed about 20 percent since the end of November.

The U.S. was the third-largest producer, at 8.8 million barrels a day in December compared with 8.9 million barrels a day in November, according to JODI. Iraq came in fourth at 4.5 million barrels a day, followed by China at 3.98 million barrels a day, the data show.

Saudi Arabia’s crude exports declined to 8 million barrels a day in December, from 8.26 million barrels a day, the biggest outflow for any month since May 2003, according to JODI data.


After days of furror, top security official Michael Flynn resigns

After days of furor, top security official Michael Flynn resignsVice President Mike Pence conferred with Michael Flynn on Friday at the White House. Flynn resigned as President Trump’s national security adviser late Monday.


Vice President Mike Pence conferred with Michael Flynn on Friday at the White House. Flynn resigned as President Trump’s national security adviser late Monday.

Flynn, who served in the job for less than a month, said he had given "incomplete information" regarding a telephone call he had with the ambassador in late December about US sanctions against Russia, weeks before President Trump’s inauguration. Flynn previously had denied that he had any substantive conversations with Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak, and Pence repeated that claim in television interviews as recently as this month.

But on Monday, a former administration official said the Justice Department warned the White House last month that Flynn had not been fully forthright about his conversations with the ambassador. As a result, the Justice Department feared that Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.

In his resignation letter, which the White House emailed to reporters, Flynn said he had held numerous calls with foreign officials during the transition. “Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the vice president-elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador,” he wrote. “I have sincerely apologized to the president and the vice president, and they have accepted my apology.”

What Jordan's king told Trump

The statement by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer put an end to the euphoria of Israel’s right-wing sector. Formerly, the right had thought that Donald Trump’s entry to the White House would release all the brakes and barriers regarding the settlements and give Netanyahu’s government a blank check to build and enlarge an unlimited number of settlements to his heart’s desire.

Summary⎙ Print The Palestinian leadership has failed thus far to establish direct channels of communication with the White House, but Jordan’s King Abdullah II may have succeeded in transmitting at least one of its messages to President Donald Trump.
Author Shlomi Eldar
TranslatorSandy Bloom

Spicer released his statement Feb. 2 — not as part of the White House daily briefing or as an answer to a question posed by journalists, but at the White House’s own initiative. The statement is well-written and formulated, and implies that the “settlement party” is over. “The construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal [of peace],” announced Spicer in the name of the US president.

Israel was caught completely by surprise. After all, only on Jan. 24, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman jointly announced the construction of 2,500 housing units in the West Bank, and, for the first time in about eight years, the United States did not censure the move. The implication was that the Trump administration supports Israel’s settlement enterprise. In light of the success of the test balloon that Netanyahu and Liberman released, they announced the approval of plans for the construction of an additional 3,000 housing units in the West Bank on Jan. 31. The very next day, the prime minister informed the Amona residents in particular and the settlers in general that following the forceful eviction, the government would promote the establishment of a new settlement. This new settlement would house not only the 40 families who were evicted from the illegal Amona settlement, but would accept roughly 300 other families. But then came the unexpected statement of the White House press secretary.

So what led the White House, perceived as the dream come true of the Israeli right wing, to release a “warning statement” to the Netanyahu government?

According to a high-level Palestinian source who spoke to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, the one responsible for the turnabout in the Trump administration is Jordanian King Abdullah II. Ever since the election of the new president, Abdullah has been playing a key role in the complex relations between the White House and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

So far, Washington has ignored all efforts and feelers sent out by senior PA officials to lay the basis for communication channels with the new administration. For example, London-based newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported Feb. 2 that Saeb Erekat, the PLO secretary-general and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ senior adviser, had tried to open a communications channel with the White House. His goal was to counterbalance the president’s pro-Israeli views with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, these efforts were in vain. Therefore, the only choice open to the Palestinians was to make use of those Arab leaders who have Trump’s ear, to act as intermediaries.

According to the Palestinian source, when the Palestinians discovered that Abdullah was scheduled to meet Trump in Washington during the traditional National Prayer Breakfast event, Abbas made a special trip to Amman. There he asked the king to pass on a message of reconciliation to Trump. “At the time, King Abdullah was not certain that he would meet with the president. But in any case, he was asked to pass on a message to the new US president if it became possible to do so. The message to Trump was a plea to take action as soon as possible to stop Netanyahu’s crazy settlement enterprise before it would be too late,” the source said.

On Feb. 2, Abdullah met with Trump and transmitted the message faithfully: Abbas is committed to doing everything he can to give the US administration all tools possible for opening a Palestinian dialogue with Israel, and that one-sided actions on Israel’s part would undermine these attempts. According to the source, “In the short time he had before the Hilton event, in his pleasant manner, and with well-reasoned explanations, King Abdullah reviewed with Trump the dangers of Israel’s unrestrained [settlement] policy. Abdullah explained that this policy is likely to lead to unwelcome flare-ups [in the region].”

Abdullah also told Trump in their short conversation that instability and violence in the territories is likely to cause the strengthening of extremist forces in the Middle East. In addition, he explained that if Israel’s settlement wave will continue at this rate, Abbas will not be able to conduct any kind of dialogue with Israel and that the two-state solution — which the United States officially supports — will never be realized.

According to the source, Trump listened to Abdullah but did not explicitly commit himself to taking any action. At the conclusion of their meeting, the Jordanian news agency released a statement from the king’s spokesperson. According to this statement, the leaders agreed to the importance of strategic relations between the two countries; the need for cooperation in the fight against terror; the importance of promoting peace and security for the Syrian nation; and the need for ratcheting up the efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The definitive American answer arrived the day after the meeting, which was the statement by Spicer. True, the statement was carefully and cautiously worded — but its message was clear: The existing settlements in the territories are not obstacles to peace, but reinforcing or expanding them “may not be helpful in achieving that goal [of peace].”

The Palestinians are certain that Abdullah will continue to serve as their efficacious and preferred address for transmitting messages to the Trump administration, at least temporarily. They do hope that more effective communication channels and contacts will be opened and institutionalized between the White House and the PA.

So far, the PA has moved very cautiously and adopted prudent steps. They feared that any impulsive reaction on their part could anger the hot-tempered president and cause him to barricade himself behind walls that will be difficult to remove later on. This policy has borne fruit, at least with regard to one issue: the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. While the relocation had, at first, seemed to be inevitable, it no longer appears (at least for the moment) on the Trump administration’s agenda. And afterward, Israel received a warning message regarding the settlements. The Palestinians could not expect anything more.

Read more:

Why king’s visit to Washington was essential for Jordan

Jordanians are feeling a certain sense of pride following King Abdullah’s recent visit to Washington, where he conferred with key administration and congressional officials and became the first Middle Eastern leader to meet with President Donald Trump. Although Abdullah's Feb. 2 meeting with Trump was brief, taking place on the sidelines of the annual National Prayer Breakfast, it covered an array of issues of particular importance to the Jordanian monarch and the region. The White House issued a statement in which it said that Trump had “conveyed the US’ commitment to Jordan’s stability, security and prosperity.” It added that the president had “highlighted Jordan’s critical contributions to defeating IS [Islamic State] and discussed the possibility of establishing safe zones in Syria.” In addition, it said, Trump “underscored that the United States is committed to strengthening the security and economic partnership with Jordan.” These expressions of commitment signaled the success of the royal visit in the eyes of the king and a majority of Jordanians.

Summary⎙ Print King Abdullah’s visit to the United States, where he met with President Donald Trump, helped reassure Jordanians that US military and economic support for the kingdom will continue.
Author Osama Al Sharif

royal court statement quoted by the Jordan Times said the two leaders also discussed the Syrian crisis, reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and ways to boost their strategic partnership and work jointly to combat terrorism. The newspaper also reported, “The two leaders agreed to hold a summit meeting during an official visit King Abdullah will make to the US soon.”

Local media praised the king’s diplomatic breakthrough and one commentator, Fahd al-Khitan, wrote Feb. 2 in al-Ghad that Abdullah had fought a diplomatic battle in the US capital on behalf of all Arabs. He also noted that the Jordanian monarch had met the US president even before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had done so. A number of Amman dailies pointed to a Feb. 2 New York Times article in which the authors credited Abdullah for a shift in Trump’s policy on the construction of new Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories.

In regard to the settlements, on the day of the Abdullah-Trump meeting, the White House issued a statement described by some as a warning to Israel after announcements of new approvals for settlement construction on the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem. The statement read, “While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal.”

Trump's surprising position on one of the most controversial issues impeding the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians was hailed by local observers as an important outcome of the king's visit. In fact, during his five days in Washington, Abdullah did not shy away from highlighting the risks in carrying out Trump's election promise to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. A regular visitor to the US Capitol, Abdullah maintains good relations with senators and representatives on both sides of the aisle and met with chairs and members of various congressional committees Jan. 31. According to a royal court statement, “The king warned that moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem will have regional consequences that will diminish the opportunity for peace and reaching the two-state solution. It may also weaken the chances for a successful war on terror.”

Although diplomatically unusual, Abdullah’s working visit to Washington only a few days after Trump's inauguration was politically essential for Jordan. The king, who will host the annual Arab summit March 29, wanted to convey Arab concerns about key regional issues — such as Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, terrorism, instability in Iraq and other matters — before the new administration develops policy on them. Probably even more of a priority was Abdullah's desire to receive assurances that Jordan's strategic military and economic relationships with the United States will remain unchanged or perhaps be increased, which he did.

Jordan relies heavily on US economic and military assistance, which was boosted under the Barack Obama administration and in 2016 totaled $1.6 billion. The presence of more than 1.2 million Syrians in the kingdom (including more than 650,000 registered refugees), the war in Syria, the closure of the Jordanian border with Iraq and a decline in aid from Gulf states have exacerbated economic conditions in Jordan. In particular, 2017 will prove to be a difficult year for Jordanians as the government seeks to raise $643 million in additional taxes and tariffs.

Another issue Abdullah underscored during his visit was Jordan’s pivotal role in fighting IS, which presents a threat to the kingdom through its presence in southern Syria, close to Jordan’s borders, as well as internally. He raised the topic in a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence Jan. 30, and according to a royal statement, “The King emphasized that Muslims are [the] No. 1 victims of the outlaws of Islam, the Khawarej, who pose a global problem and do not represent any faith or nationality and target all of us who do not subscribe to their ideology of hate.” His defense of moderate Islam was important in the wake of Trump’s controversial Jan. 27 executive order banning entry into the United States by visitors from seven majority-Muslim countries.

Amman joined the US-led anti-IS coalition in fall 2014 and paid a heavy price when the terrorist group burned alive a captured Jordanian pilot whose plane had been shot down over Raqqa in December 2014. Although not much has been said about Jordan’s military operations against the organization in recent months, the Jordan Times reported the Jordanian armed forces as having disclosed on Feb. 4 that its jets had destroyed various IS targets in southern Syria. This latest operation indicated Jordan’s readiness to launch preemptive raids against IS targets not far from its borders, something that the Trump administration, which has put the defeat of IS among its top foreign policy objectives, apparently supports.

Political commentator Oraib al-Rantawi told Al-Monitor that it was important for Abdullah to hear Trump’s and other top US officials’ views concerning the Syrian crisis, especially in regard to developments on the southern front and the president’s desire to establish safe zones inside Syria. The king had met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow Jan. 25 and praised Russia’s role in trying to resolve the Syrian crisis and in fighting terrorism. “The king has managed to maintain good relations with both Moscow and Washington and followed a policy that safeguarded Jordanian interests away from regional polarizations,” Rantawi said.

In the eyes of former Prime Minister Taher al-Masri, the royal visit represented a triumph of Jordanian diplomacy. “The king managed to secure our national interests in this volatile and complex region,” Masri remarked. He told Al-Monitor that while Trump’s official position on Israeli settlements and Jerusalem remain in question, the king was able to influence the new US administration on these sensitive issues. “We hope the fruits of this visit will materialize soon and will spare this region further suffering,” said Masri.

Read more:

Technical Innovation in the LNG Industry



Technical Innovation in the LNG Industry

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Trends in LNG technology: Interview with Shell’s Guy de Kort

Gastech News had the pleasure of interviewing Guy de Kort, Vice President Development Integrated Gas at Shell about the main trends in LNG technology, Shell's LNG projects and his predictions for the gas industry in the next 7-10 years...

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ConocoPhillips discusses the latest technical innovations in LNG

In this interview Gastech News got the opportunity to ask Gastech Governing Body Member Karl Masani, Director LNG Technology & Licensing at ConocoPhillips, for his thoughts on the latest technical innovations enhancing the LNG industry...
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Technical innovations in CNG filling and decompression stations

Article by Ross Gale – Director of Sales at Universal Vortex Inc - "In today’s competitive global energy market, local distributors of CNG have to be keenly aware of their project and operating costs to remain competitive against LPG, oil...
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RCEM:"2017: The year of the Bull or the Bear for the oil & gas markets?

2017: The Year of the Bull or the Bear for the Oil & Gas Markets? 08 February 2017

The ESCP Europe Energy Society in collaboration with the Research Centre for Energy Management (RCEM) at ESCP Europe and Smart Global, will host two roundtables on "2017: The year of the Bull or the Bear for the oil & gas markets?" held in tandem with the Energy Trading Challenge 2017.

Taking place on 24th and 25th February at ESCP Europe's London Campus, the discussions will bring together world-class academics, top industry experts, and young talent from across the globe.

Truly outstanding panelists will discuss the latest on:

  • Is the recent rally going to hold with the OPEC agreement?
  • Opportunities and challenges in the current oil price environment: the producer’s perspective
  • Is there a natural cap on oil prices? The role of fracking in the US
  • Is the revival of the refining business going to continue and for how long?
  • Is gas the bridge to a renewable future?
  • LNG: the next big thing in commodity trading?

Industry Roundtable 1

When: 24th February
Start time: 4:30 pm

End time: 7:30 pm

Location: ESCP Europe's London Campus


Kostas Andriosopoulos, Executive Director, RCEM at ESCP Europe


George Papadopoulos, Advisor, US President Donald Trump
Ronan Lory, 
CFO, EDF Trading
Spyros Gkinis, Global Head of Commodities Trading, BNP Paribas
Cecile Tibi-Rambal, VP Market Risk Management, Total
David Fereres, Fuel Broking Manager, Libra Fearnley Energy 
Vincent de Marcilly, Derivatives Trader, BP
George Kokotis, Senior Portfolio Manager, Cheniere


Please click here to register.

The discussion will be followed by a drinks reception.

Industry Roundtable 2

When: 25th February
Start time: 4:30 pm

End time: 6:30 pm

Location: ESCP Europe's London Campus


Martin Read, Managing Director, Smart Global Trading


Mamdouh G Salameh, International Oil Economist & Visiting Professor, ESCP Europe Business School
Liz Bossley, CEO, Consilience Energy Advisors
*Desmond Wong, European LNG Managing Editor, Platts
Mike Chapplow, Energy Consultant, Fresh View Consulting
Christopher Purshouse, Former Derivatives Analyst, Vitol



Please click here to register.

Admission is free of charge, but places are limited and allocated on a selective first-come, first-served basis. Do not miss the opportunity to hear the latest advances from top industry experts and network with other like-minded people.

We look forward to welcoming you to our London campus very soon!

The Research Centre for Energy Management Team

"The RCEM's Mission is to build a strong proactive partnership between academia, industry and government, to debate the challenges of the new energy era."


Visit us:
LinkedIn: Energy Management at ESCP Europe
Twitter: @EnergyRCEM
Facebook: EnergyRCEM


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