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Inbox EnErgy watch Trends around the world Tanzania announces natural gas policy The Tanzanian government announced a much-anticipated natural gas policy in November, designed to give priority to its domestic market over foreign exports. Eliakimu Maswi, the Energy Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, said that the policy had been approved by the Tanzanian cabinet in October and that “the government’s goal is to have the natural gas legislation in place next year 2014”. Tanzania estimates it has up to 50 trillion cubic feet of gas following recent discoveries off its southern coast. The ‘Natural Gas Policy of Tanzania 2013’ document regulates mid and downstream activities of the industry, which include gas processing, liquefaction, transportation, storage and distribution. The policy document states that the government would ensure that the domestic market is given first priority over the export market in gas supply. Tanzanian government officials said they want oil companies to build joint liquefied natural gas terminals to speed up the recovery of their investments so those companies can start paying taxes as soon as possible. European oil refineries expected to close European oil processing runs for September 2013 fell to their lowest level since April 1991, leading the International Energy Agency (IEA) to slash its forecast for fourth-quarter global refinery crude processing runs by over half a million barrels per day. Middle East unrest means the price of crude oil remained high in 2013, reducing profit margins amid weak demand, as European economies struggle to maintain growth. These difficulties are likely to prompt refinery closures, with top traders and analysts saying they expect up to two million barrels per day of European refining capacity (around 15 per cent) to disappear by 2020. “The outlook is grim and we don’t see 2014 getting much better,” said Jonathan Leitch, senior oil analyst at resources industry consultancy Wood Mackenzie. “We are going to have to see more closures of European refineries in 2014.” Sixteen European refineries, accounting for 1.7 million barrels per day of refining capacity, have been taken out of active service since 2008, according to the IEA. Europe’s capacity stood at around 16 million barrels per day in 2012. CEPSA’s refinery in Tenerife has been shut for four months, as it could not generate a profit. The Spanish energy group said it would reopen the plant for a few weeks, but only to burn remaining crude stocks as it is more expensive to store them. Past that, it would remain shut until margins improve. Hydrogen cars to come on the market in 2014 Three of the world’s biggest car manufacturers have unveiled hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that will be made available to the general public as early as spring 2014. Hyundai Motor Co and Honda unveiled their hydrogen-powered vehicles at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. Hyundai showed off the Tucson SUV, while Honda revealed plans for a car due out in 2015. At the Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota promised a mass-produced fuel cell car – a model called the FCV that looks similar to the Prius and is expected to cost between US$50,000 and $100,000 – by 2015 in Japan and 2016 in the USA. Honda, which has leased about twodozen fuel cell cars since 2005, revealed its futuristic-looking FCEV concept vehicle in Los Angeles – a 300-mile range car that will be marketed in the USA and Japan in 2015. Hot air from London’s Tube network to heat houses Heat produced by the London Underground is to be used to help warm local houses in a new initiative to cut energy bills. Proposed by Islington Council in November, the project will operate through the borough’s Bunhill Heat and Power Network, which already heats approximately 700 homes in the area. Waste heat from an underground ventilation shaft on the Northern line, between Angel and Old Street stations, will be piped into homes, along with heat generated by a substation operated by UK Power Networks. The project – the first of its kind in Europe – will act as a pilot demonstration of whether measures like this can truly help improve energy costs, with hopes that, if successful, the initiative will spread to other boroughs of the city. Counsellor Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, said: “The expanded Bunhill Heat Network will cut energy bills for hundreds more local people. With energy prices going up and up, it’s vital we do what we can to cut bills. It’s all part of the council’s work to help people manage the rising cost of living.” Additionally, the scheme could cut carbon emissions as well as energy costs, with local communities potentially seeing “CO2 emissions drop by around 500 tonnes each year”, according to Counsellor Rakhia Ismail, Islington Council’s executive member for sustainability. Tokyo Electric seeks investment for non-nuclear operations Fukushima nuclear power plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co, will need JPY2 trillion (US$20 billion) for long-term capital investment in non-nuclear power operations. The figure, which includes spending to upgrade thermal power plants, secure rights to overseas energy resources and participate in overseas power projects, was prepared by Tokyo Electric and a Japanese government body on nuclear damage compensation as they finalise a business plan for 2014. The Japanese utility company was aiming to secure JPY500 billion by the end of 2013, as Global went to press, from lenders such as Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, while shedding more than 1,000 jobs (three per cent of its workforce) through voluntary retirements by the second half of 2014. 12 l www.global -br ief ing.org f i rst quar ter 2014 global


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