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Flogas Britain, one of the UK’s leading liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) suppliers, has announced that it has been granted planning permission to construct a gas pipeline from Bristol Port into the nation’s largest above ground LPG storage terminal, at Avonmouth, near Bristol. Once complete, the pipeline will link the UK to a diverse, global supply of off-grid gas, providing security of supply and enhancing affordability for off-grid commercial and residential customers. It will also play an important role in the decarbonisation of off-grid Britain, in line with the Government’s 2050 net zero target. With planning permission now in place, Flogas (part of DCC plc) is now actively talking to potential partners from across the entire supply chain, who want to join Flogas in creating a dependable, affordable and greener off-grid fuel supply for the UK. Flogas is fully committed to meeting net zero targets and securing a low carbon future, so planning approval for the pipeline marks a major milestone for the business. LPG is the cleanest, most efficient conventional off-grid fuel available, and those transitioning from oil will benefit from significant carbon savings and improved air quality, as it emits far fewer pollutant emissions. As well as importing LPG, the pipeline will have the capability to import Bio-LPG, which is a fully renewable green gas alternative. Additionally, it will provide access to emerging sources of renewable fuels not currently manufactured or available in the UK, helping to further future-proof Britain’s supply of low carbon off-grid fuels. There will be clear affordability benefits too, as access to global markets will increase supplier options, and reduce the UK’s reliance on its diminishing refinery network. Starting at Bristol Port with a new, state-of-the-art unloading facility, the pipeline will largely follow existing pipeline routes through predominantly industrial areas, to the Flogas Avonmouth storage facility. Running safely underground and out of site, the twin-pipeline will vastly increase the availability of LPG and Bio-LPG, enabling up to 20,000 tonnes of commodity to be safely and securely discharged from a ship in 24 hours. The Flogas Avonmouth Storage facility is the largest of its kind in the UK, with the capacity to store 34,564 tonnes of LPG. Formerly owned by National Grid, the Avonmouth facility was previously only able to store LNG (liquefied natural gas). However, work is currently underway to convert it to an LPG and Bio-LPG storage facility, further strengthening Flogas’ distribution network, and providing customers with an unrivalled off-grid gas supply chain. Lee Gannon, Flogas Britain’s Managing Director, said: “The granting of planning permission is the final piece in the jigsaw for this ground-breaking project, as we already have the Avonmouth storage facility and agreement in principle from Bristol Port and landowners for the pipeline route. “This means we’re now perfectly placed to start talking to prospective partners from across the supply chain who want to join us in this venture. Avonmouth offers an excellent collaborative opportunity, one that will provide important access to the global market and enhance security of supply to our off-grid customers. It’s also completely future ready and will be key in helping homes and businesses make that important energy transition to net zero emissions. “The next phase of design is currently underway and with completion of construction potentially as early as 2025, we will soon have locked in a direct link between our storage facility and world supply of existing and upcoming carbon free fuels.”

As the global energy crisis deepens and countries scramble to secure reliable energy sources, investments in new liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure are set to surge, reaching US$42bn annually in 2024, Rystad Energy research shows

The new LNG projects are driven mainly by a short-term increase in natural gas demand in Europe and Asia. (Image Source: Adobe Stock)

These greenfield investments are 200 times the amount in 2020, when just US$2bn was invested in LNG developments due to the pandemic. Project approvals after 2024, however, are forecast to fall off a cliff as governments accelerate investments in low-carbon energy infrastructure.

The new LNG projects are driven mainly by a short-term increase in natural gas demand in Europe and Asia due to Russia’s war in Ukraine and ensuing sanctions placed on Russian gas exports. Spending on greenfield LNG projects this year and next will stay relatively flat, with US$28bn approved in 2021 and US$27bn in 2022. Investments sanctioned in 2023 will show a modest increase, nearing US$32bn, before peaking at US$42bn in 2024. After this date, investments will decline and drop back near 2020 levels to reach US$2.3bn in 2029. Despite an expected jump in 2030 when project announcements are forecast to total nearly US$20bn, investment in greenfield LNG is unlikely to ever return to 2024 levels as countries scale up investments in low-carbon technologies.

Natural gas is a core component of many countries’ power generation systems and, although there is a determination to reduce fossil fuel dependency and transition to a low-carbon power mix, demand for LNG is set to grow over the short term. The Americas – primarily the US – will account for 30% of cumulative gas demand by 2030, while Asia-Pacific will account for 25%.

With several major LNG projects already underway or in the pipeline, production is predicted to peak at 705 Mtpa in 2034.

“Recent price surges in natural gas markets worldwide have somewhat constrained gas demand, triggering a resurgence of coal-fired power generation in many countries. However, governments remain bullish on gas as an affordable, transition fuel for power in the coming years as demonstrated by the rapid growth in LNG infrastructure investments,” said Palzor Shenga, vice-president of analysis with Rystad Energy.

Where is all this LNG coming from?

The US is set to solidify its place as a top LNG exporter as increased domestic supply and higher prices in Europe and Asia encourage operators to sell gas overseas. The US$10bn Golden Pass LNG project in Texas, a joint venture between QatarEnergy (70%) and ExxonMobil (30%), is expected to start production by 2024, adding export capabilities to the Sabine Pass LNG terminal totalling around 18 Mtpa.

Qatar, already a major producer, aims to boost LNG export capacity to 126 Mtpa by 2027 from a current 77 Mtpa. International industry heavyweights have been chosen to join state-owned QatarEnergy in the North Field East expansion project, which is set to raise capacity to 110 Mtpa.

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