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South Korea coal-fired power plants will be mandated to meet a new 0.4% sulphur limit in coal consumption, effective from July 2018. The new law is meant to diversify the energy mix away from fossil power sources but WoodMackenzie analysts warn the new policy will push up the cost of power generation, impacting on electricity prices.

Canada, the largest energy trading partner of the United States, consistently exceeds the value of U.S. energy exports to Canada by a large margin. According to EIA figures, energy accounted for $73 billion, or about 24%, of the value of all U.S. imports from Canada in 2017, while Canada merely imported energy worth $18 billion from its southern neighbour.

The hype about electric car is not really translating into sales. Hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and battery electric vehicles have been sold in the United States as alternatives to conventional gasoline vehicles for a number of years, but their market share from 2012 through 2017 remained below 4% of total light-duty vehicle sales, even as the number of available models increased from 58 to nearly a hundred.

U.S. oil major ExxonMobil has set its first company-wide targets to reduce emission from operations across the gas value chain. The aims is to reduce methane leaks by 15% and gas flaring by 25% by 2020, and Exxon said it has started to deploy new equipment at it upstream and midstream operations to reach these goals.

Technology of battery-based energy storage has matured and industry stakeholders in some regions of the United States have gained experience financing, procuring, and operating power storage installations. Lithium-ion chemistries batteries currently make up 80% of large-scale U.S. power storage, and most of the capacity is being installed in California followed by the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland Interconnection (PJM).

The United States has remained the world's top producer of petroleum and natural gas, reaching a record high output in 2017. Petroleum production surged by 745,000 barrels per day (b/d), driven by a 21% increase in oil prices to approximately $65 per barrel by the end of last year, and as of late oil prices keep rising.

Though the Pakistani government hailed the sudden surge in power production and supply, load-shedding still persists and cripples the local industry. Electric power supply jumped 48% to over 10,135 GWh in April, a substantial rise compared with 6,879 GWh in April last year, flowing the startup of three RLNG-fuelled power plants in Punjab province.

Florida-based NextEra Energy has finalized a deal with Southern Company to acquire Gulf Power, Florida City Gas and its stakes in the Oleander and Stanton gas-fired power plants in Florida in transactions valued at approximately $6.475 billion, including $1.4 billion of Gulf Power debt. Post-closing NextEra expects it will still have substantial free cash flow.

Price-sensitive Japanese utilities prefer thermal coal over regasified LNG as they seek to minimize fuel costs for power generation. Consequently, Japan’s LNG imports fell 14.5% during the month of April to 5.60 million tonnes while import of thermal coal for power generation increased by 6.7% during April to 8.74 million tonnes, according to preliminary trade figures from the Japanese finance ministry.

Australia’s AGL Energy has turned down a A$250 million bid from Altina Energy to purchase the ageing Liddell coal-fired power plant, confirming it will shut the 2,051-MW facility as planned in 2022. Josh Frydenberg, the Australian energy minister, now urges AGL to commit to its transition plan of a staggered exit given the plant’s vital role to keep the energy system in balance in New South Wales.

Buildout of new gas pipeline capacity is progressing rapidly, in particular in the northeastern United States. By the end of 2018, if all projects come online by their scheduled service dates, more than 23 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of takeaway capacity will be online out of the Northeast by the end of 2018, according to EIA projections. This is more than three times the takeaway capacity at the end of 2014, and up from an estimated 16.7 Bcf/d at the end of 2017.

State-owned Pakistan LNG is seeking to purchase spot LNG cargoes as three new combined-cycle power plant – the Haveli, Bhikki and Balloki projects – have started operating, or are about to come online. The 1,230 MW Haveli CCGT started operating at full capacity some ten days ago, but delays in the construction of the two other plants have pushed back their in-service dates.

Santos CEO Kevin Gallagher has dismissed a West-East gas pipeline through Australia as the “least viable option” for tackling regional gas supply shortages, stressing domestic LNG shipments would be “more economic”. A government-led feasibility study is examining the potential of building a 1,500 km gas pipeline to supply eastern and southern markets with Western Australia’s abundant supplies.

Opinions differ widely when it comes to energy storage. Dominion Energy in its new long-term plan for Virginia and North Carolina notes that the price of battery storage showed it wasn’t ready for full consideration. Instead, the utility is looking to intensify the deployment of new gas-fired peaking power plants.

Seeking to resolve gas supply imbalances, Australian Industrial Energy (AIE) has approached the Japanese gas giant JERA seeking to secure LNG for a planned import terminal in New South Wales. A feasibility study for the regas terminal is underway, although sources of gas supply are still open at this stage. Most of the imported gas will be used for power generation.

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