Trendwatch: Countries in the Middle East and North Africa supply about one-third of global LNG; Singapore, Long Beach, Los Angeles ports unveil green, digital shipping corridor partnership strategy; India, UK seek to wrap up trade talks before busy election year

Countries in the Middle East and North Africa supply about one-third of global LNG

Exporting countries in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) supplied nearly one-third (29%) of global liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports in 2022, according to data from the International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers (GIIGNL). The share of global LNG exports coming from the region’s exporters—Qatar, Oman, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Algeria, and Egypt—declined from 47% in 2013 to about 30% by 2020 because of growing LNG exports from Australia and the United States.

Qatar exports more LNG than any other country in MENA, accounting for a 70% regional share in 2022. Globally, Qatar is one of the three largest LNG exporters, averaging 10.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) during the last 10 years. Oman and the UAE are the second- and third-largest LNG exporters in the Middle East, respectively. Oman started exporting LNG in 2000, and its exports have consistently averaged 1.2 Bcf/d during the last decade. LNG exports from the UAE’s emirate of Abu Dhabi started in 1977 and have averaged 0.7 Bcf/d during the last decade. LNG exports from Yemen started in 2010 and averaged 0.8 Bcf/d from 2011 to 2014, but they have been suspended since May 2015 following a military conflict.


Singapore, Long Beach, Los Angeles ports unveil green, digital shipping corridor partnership strategy

Today, at the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles unveiled a partnership strategy for a green and digital shipping corridor across the Pacific Ocean.

The scope of cooperation and success indicators specified in the strategy reaffirm the corridor partners’ commitment to drive global action to digitalize and decarbonize the shipping industry and improve efficiencies.

The release of the partnership strategy follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding by MPA, Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles during Singapore Maritime Week in April 2023. The signing formalized the partnership, which is supported by C40 Cities, with the aim of establishing a green and digital shipping corridor connecting the three global hub ports.


India, UK seek to wrap up trade talks before busy election year

India and the UK have begun crunch-time talks to secure a landmark free-trade deal, as leaders on both sides seek to resolve outstanding issues before they face election battles next year.

A UK team — including Amanda Brooks, director general for trade negotiations, and Douglas McNeill, chief economic adviser to the prime minister — is in New Delhi this week for further talks, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. It’s the 13th round of negotiations on a deal intended to expand a trading relationship that was worth more than $24 billion last year.

The UK Department for Business and Trade declined to comment on Monday. A spokesperson for India’s trade ministry didn’t respond to an email seeking further information.  


Sea Cargo Charter to align with IMO emission targets

The Sea Cargo Charter, a global framework for assessing and disclosing the climate alignment of chartering activities, is to revise its reporting framework, aligning its trajectory with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) revised greenhouse gas strategy adopted in July and expanding its current scope to include shipowners.

With 37 signatories representing over 17% of total bulk cargo transported by sea annually, the framework, chaired by Trafigura’s Rasmus Bach Nielsen will line up with the IMO’s latest ambition to reach net-zero GHG emissions in the shipping sector by approximately 2050, featuring indicative checkpoints in 2030 and 2040 and employing a full lifecycle well-to-wake approach.


COP28 Climate Summit takes aim at powerful methane emissions

From Texas to Turkmenistan, global leaders at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai are taking a big swing at cutting methane, a potent greenhouse gas produced by oil and gas drilling, livestock and rotting vegetation. They are using financial incentives combined with strict new regulations to get countries and energy firms on board.

On Saturday, the Biden administration announced a final methane rule for U.S. oil and gas producers, requiring them to plug methane leaks and stop burning excess gas with flares. The regulations also mandate regular inspections of facilities to make sure the planet-warming compound isn’t escaping into the atmosphere.

Administration officials say the methane rule—which will be phased in over the next two years after two years of contentious debate—will cool the planet and improve public health. Industry groups say it will put some well owners out of business.


Why clean shipping fuels need solar-industry style support

Shipping receives nowhere near the media coverage given to aviation, yet the sector also accounts for around three percent of global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. Its footprint must be tackled rapidly if international climate targets are to be met. Solutions to decarbonize shipping exist, most notably in the form of green methanol, and some shipping firms are investing heavily in a greener future. However, the regulations and financial support needed to scale up the sector and push down costs are still found wanting.

The wind and solar industries are today mainstream players in the power sector. Costs, in particular for solar, have fallen massively everywhere. However, this positive trend would not have happened without significant government backing as these industries were starting out. The shipping industry has been used to accessing cheap fuels and, without similar financial and legal assistance, cleaner shipping fuels will remain an expensive pipe dream.