Three Things to Know This Week in Energy – 2/26/2018

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    1. Libya stops oil production and exports from key ports.

    Libya’s oil exports from the Mellitah terminal will be disrupted after protests disrupted production last week at the key El-Feel deposit.  According to Bloomberg, crude loadings at Mellitah, the export terminal for El-Feel, will be significantly reduced after force majeure was declared on deliveries from the deposit on Feb. 23. Because of protests over pay and other benefits.  Force majeure is a legal clause protecting a party from liability if it can’t fulfill a contract for reasons beyond its control.

    2. Shell issues warning of liquefied natural gas shortage in the near future.

    In its second annual LNG outlook, Royal Dutch Shell warned the world could be grappling with a shortage of liquefied natural gas within a decade due to underinvestment in new projects.  In their outlook, Shell reported the market for LNG grew by 29 million tons last year, 30% more than previously expected.

    The need for natural gas is expanding as the world looks to use it as a bridge energy until renewable energy options are more affordable and abundant.  LNG will play a major role as many nations seek to mitigate the impacts of climate change, and Shell has put everyone on notice that unless supply increases, the demand may overwhelm current producers.

    But aside from the warning, Shell’s report is great news for an industry that hopes to see a huge amount of LNG capacity come online in the next few years, including from the United States, where five LNG export terminals are expected to start up by the end of 2019.

    3. IEA says U.S. will overtake Russia as top oil producer by 2019.

    Early this week the International Energy Agency (IEA) said the United States will overtake Russia as the world’s biggest oil producer by 2019 at the latest, as the country’s shale oil boom continues to upend global markets.

    IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said at an event in Tokyo the United States would overtake Russia as the biggest crude oil producer “definitely next year”, if not this year.

    “U.S. shale growth is very strong, the pace is very strong … The United States will become the No.1 oil producer sometime very soon,” reported Reuters.