Regulation & Policy

Donald Trump has signed an Executive Order unwinding Obama’s policies aimed at tackling climate change. The order will dismantle the Clean Power Plan and lift the ban on federal leasing for coal production, along with a number of other elements that together attempt to reset or extinguish the whole global warming debate.

The United Arab Emirates forecasts that savings from switching half its energy needs from subsidised gas to solar by mid-century will outstrip investment costs by $42 billion.

At least one of the Dutch political parties calling for lower Groningen production could become part of a new coalition government following last week's second chamber elections, according to a report from Argus Media.

President Trump is preparing to issue an executive order on climate change, which could disassemble former President Obama’s Clean Power Plan and end the moratorium on federal-land coal mining. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already issued an order informing power plants that they no longer need to report CO2 emissions’ data.

New research from Purdue University in the US suggests that methane emissions from gas power plants may be significantly higher than accounted for in current inventories. Methane is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

Australia’s big LNG exporters – including Shell and Exxon - have agreed to a request from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to supply more gas to the domestic market.

The UK government is preparing to intervene to control energy prices because the market is “manifestly not working” for consumers, according to Prime Minister May. The Government has faced repeated calls for a fixed price cap on energy tariffs amid accusations that the so-called Big Six energy companies are not competitive enough on pricing.

A switch from coal to gas helped keep energy-related carbon dioxide emissions flat in 2016 for the third year in a row, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), after many years of steep growth. However, most of the improvement did not come as a result of policies designed to cut CO2 emissions.  

The European Commission has approved a €420 million (£364m) Czech support scheme for electricity generation from high-efficiency combined heat and power (CHP) plants under EU state aid rules. The Commission concluded the measure would support EU energy and climate change goals without unduly distorting competition.

The latest report by the Australian Energy Market Operator shows there could be both gas and electricity shortages within the next few years on the country’s populous east coast – despite the nation being among the biggest LNG exporters in the world (and set to be the biggest by 2021).

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is withdrawing its request that owners and operators in the oil and natural gas industry provide information on equipment and emissions at existing oil and gas operations. The withdrawal is effective immediately, meaning owners and operators, including those who have received an extension to their due dates for providing the information, are no longer required to respond.

Singapore is to introduce a carbon tax on large direct emitters of greenhouse gases, including power stations from 2019. The tax is expected to affect between 30 and 40 emitters.

UK gas and power regulator, Ofgem, is proposing to cut the embedded subsidies enjoyed by smaller distributed generators, down from the current level of around £45/kW – double the clearing price for the 2016 Capacity Market auction – to just £2/kW. The changes could come as a blow to many smaller gas fired plants, which make up a significant share of such generators.

Last week finally saw an agreement between European Union national governments on the future of the Emission Trading System (ETS) carbon market, after talks that lasted 18 months. The deal could be bullish for gas demand, with the number of carbon credits constrained as the 2020s progress, adding to the cost of coal fired power generation, and making gas – which emits less than half the CO2 of coal – more attractive.

Mexico should pursue an “active competition policy” in order to harness the benefit of the reform of its energy market initiated in recent years, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said.

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