The US has exported its first shipment of natural gas in a historic move that shifts the balance of power in the global energy market and kicks off a struggle with Russia for market share. Surging US supply over the next five years threatens to break the Kremlin’s dominance over Europe’s gas market, and is already provoking talk of a “Saudi-style” counter attack by Moscow to drive US shale gas frackers out of business before they gain a footing. At the very least, it sharpens a global price war as liquefied natural gas (LNG) bursts onto the scene, and closes the chapter on the 20th century system of pipeline monopolies. –Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Daily Telegraph, 26 February 2016
The shale fracking revolution in the US oil and gas industry has achieved a milestone: the first export of liquefied natural gas from the country outside of Alaska. The tanker Asia Vision was loaded with a cargo of LNG by Texas firm Cheniere Energy at the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana late Wednesday and immediately left for Brazil. “This historic event opens a new chapter for the country in energy trade and is a significant milestone for Cheniere,” said chairman and interim chief executive Neal Shear in a statement. In 2008 Cheniere was still banking on the opposite strategy of gas imports. But the gush of gas from shale fields, enabled by developments in hydraulic fracturing or fracking technology, turned the tables. —AFP, 26 February 2016
The future of Europe’s energy supply is to rely heavily on natural gas for the coming two decades and beyond, according to a new strategy set out on Tuesday by the European commission. The plans were immediately attacked by green campaigners, who contrasted the continued role of fossil fuels with commitments to cut carbon dioxide made by the EU at the Paris climate summit two months ago. –Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 16 February 2016
Now that gas prices are at record lows, the argument that these eco-friendly vehicles save consumers money at the pump seems weak. In 2015, car makers sold an unprecedented 17.5 million vehicles, up 5.7% from the prior year and 0.4% from the record set in 2000. Overall electric vehicle sales declined year-over-year between 2014 and 2015, falling 5.2% from 122,438 to 116,099 . According to data from HybridCars.com, hybrid sales plummeted 14.9% from 451,702 in 2014 to 384,404 in 2015. While low gas prices have allowed Americans to return to gas-guzzling behemoths, there may still be hope for electric cars and vehicles. If gas nears $4 a gallon in the future, history suggests consumers will once again flock to the Prius, Leaf, Model S and other electrified cars. –Mary-Lynn Cesar, NASDAQ, 19 February 2016
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