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Meyer Werft to build another LNG-powered cruise ship for Carnival

Energy News Beat

Germany’s Meyer Werft has won an order to build another LNG-fueled vessel for Miami-based Carnival Cruise Line, a unit of Carnival.

The world’s largest cruise company said on Tuesday it has signed an agreement with Meyer Werft to build a fifth Excel class cruise ship for its namesake Carnival Cruise Line brand.

This vessel is set for delivery in 2028.

In mid-February Carnival had announced the first newbuild order placed in five years with news that a fourth Excel-class ship would join the Carnival Cruise Line fleet in Spring 2027.

This new announcement confirms an 11th Excel-class ship for the corporation’s fleet across four of its brands, and the fifth to be sailed by Carnival Cruise Line.

Carnival did not reveal the price of the contract.

The latest Excel class vessel, Carnival Jubilee, was said to be worth about $1 billion.

This order is contingent upon financing, which is expected to be completed later this year, Carnival said.

Image: Carnival

Joining current Carnival Cruise Line Excel-class ships Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration, and Carnival Jubilee, the two new 180,000-ton ships will carry over 6,400 guests and be powered on a liquefied natural gas (LNG) technology platform.

Since 2018, Meyer Werft and Meyer Turku have built nine cruise ships with LNG propulsion on a joint technical platform for four cruise lines in the Carnival portfolio.

Source: Lngprime.com

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Macron may ignore the French Parliament if CETA is rejected

Energy News Beat

 

With the French Senate rejecting the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), and the National Assembly possibly doing the same, just ahead of the European elections, Macron’s government could ignore the parliament’s decision. However, the opposition is denouncing this as an anti-democratic move.

Following the rejection of CETA on Thursday 21 March, Les Écologistes senator Yannick Jadot warned French President Emmanuel Macron in the chamber: “If the Senate vote has no impact […],  and if the government does not refer the matter to the European Commission, and does not notify it, you will be responsible for building distrust in politics.”

After organising a vote on the ratification of the agreement in the Senate, the green group announced that it wanted to take it to the lower house, the National Assembly – with votes expected on 30 May, just nine days before the European elections, 6-9 June.

In 2019, when the text was first submitted to the National Assembly, CETA was narrowly approved, despite Macron’s majority. However, since the start of his second term in 2022, Macron’s party has lost a significant number of seats in the lower house.

Also, the agricultural crisis has dealt a severe blow to support for free trade agreements, which have been accused of pitting European and non-European farmers against each other. Therefore, given the current political circumstances, it seems likely that the text will be rejected by the National Assembly in May.

Up to now, only Cyprus has rejected CETA, with nine other member states yet to vote, but 17 have already given their backing.

To ratify the agreement with Canada, the European Commission needs the approval of all the member countries.

A categorical refusal by the French Parliament would postpone the possibility of ratification in the medium term, or even the continuation of the temporary agreement, which has been in force since 2017.

France might not notify Brussels

Interviewed on France Info on Monday 25 March, the head of the Renaissance list (Renew group) in the European elections, Valérie Hayer, suggested that in such a scenario, it would be up to the government “to see what position will be taken.”

In her view, CETA could continue to be applied, even if the French Parliament rejects it.

If a member state’s parliament rejects the agreement, it is up to the government to notify the European Commission. The agreement, even if temporary, must then be ‘denounced’, as noted in the minutes of the 2016 Council of the EU.

Then “the necessary steps will be taken in accordance with EU procedures,” it states.

According to the co-director of the Velben Institute, a think tank critical of free trade, the European executive could then resubmit the agreement to the European Parliament and the Council. In other words, the temporary agreement that has been in force since 2017, let alone its final ratification, would be in jeopardy.

At the European Council meeting held on the same day as the Senate vote, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she ‘took note’ of the vote and was waiting to see how France would deal with the result.

There is no obligation on member states to notify the European Commission of the situation, as demonstrated by Cyprus. After the text was rejected by its parliament, the government did not send anything to Brussels, hoping for another favourable vote.

“Denial of democracy”

Hayer’s comments caused quite a stir. Left Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Leïla Cheibi denounced her comments saying it was a “denial of democracy.”

Other parties including the Rassemblement National (RN, ID) and the right (Les Républicains/EPP),  also voted overwhelmingly to reject CETA in the Senate.

The French government reacting to the rejection of CETA denounced the political opportunism of the opposition parties.

“It was a political stunt played out before our very eyes in the Senate. The Republican and Communist senators have used CETA as a political manoeuvre in the middle of a European election campaign,” said French Minister for Foreign Trade, Franck Riester, after the vote.

A high-risk vote

For the government, a rejection by parliament jeopardises the temporary agreement, even though 90% of the final agreement has already been in force since 2017, only the investment part will be included if it is ratified by the EU.

On the day of the Senate vote, Macron reiterated at the European Council Summit in Brussels that this vote “has no consequences for the provisional implementation of CETA.”

“The Senate vote does not help the cause, does not help our agriculture. There can be no French agriculture without exports,” he lamented.

The government is now hoping to sway public opinion between now and 30 May, particularly on agricultural issues, which are most sensitive in France.

Riester on Monday (25 March) had a meeting with stakeholders,  where Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau said he wanted to “build a philosophy of action on these trade treaties.”

“We have a vested interest [in ratifying this agreement], first and foremost in agriculture and agri-food,” he insisted, denouncing the “petty manoeuvres of the opponents.”

The vote on 30 May still has to take place. According to the French news website Contexte,  Riester suggested that the government might not pass the bill on to the lower house, thereby preventing it from holding a vote.

He nevertheless assured stakeholders that CETA will “continue its progress.” The National Assembly “will have to make a decision […] when the time comes,” he said.

However, a parliamentary rejection nine days before the European elections will be a blow to the Macron majority and the survival of CETA in France and the EU.

Source: Euractiv.com

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Nebula’s AG&P LNG wins Indonesian LNG terminal gig

Energy News Beat

Nebula Energy’s AG&P LNG and its consortium members have won a large-scale 20-year contract for LNG infrastructure development from a unit of Indonesia’s state power company PLN.

Besides AG&P Indonesia, other consortium members are Suasa Benua Sukses (SBS) and KPMOG, according to a statement by AG&P LNG.

The tender was awarded by PLN Energi Primer Indonesia (PLN EPI) to AG&P LNG for the co-development, ownership, and operations of LNG import terminal infrastructure and downstream logistics in seven locations within the Sulawesi-Maluku cluster in Indonesia.

The consortium will establish a joint venture with PLN EPI to collaborate on the design, financing, construction, ownership, and operations of all offshore and onshore infrastructure within the Sulawesi-Maluku cluster LNG terminals.

This infrastructure includes the LNG carrier, floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), and multiple onshore regasification sites, AG&P LNG said.

Also, the aim is to supply LNG and natural gas to seven power plants with a cumulative capacity of 1,510 MW.

The Sulawesi-Maluku, the largest power cluster in Indonesia, will have LNG import terminals of a total regasification capacity of 2.3 million metric tonnes per annum (mtpa) with multiple regasification sites across its seven locations.

PLN EPI will supply LNG from its portfolio.

The partners expect to start commissioning of the Sulawesi-Maluku LNG cluster in the first half of 2026.

AG&P LNG did not provide the financial details of the contract.

In January, US investment and asset management firm, Nebula Energy, purchased an 80 percent stake in AG&P LNG from Singapore-based AG&P.

With operational headquarters in the UAE, AG&P LNG now operates as an independent subsidiary of Nebula with key offices in UAE, Singapore, India, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

AG&P LNG has a “substantial growth pipeline” with a total of six LNG terminals in development with proposed capacity of 25 mtpa across several international growth projects, the firm said.

It recently purchased a 49 percent stake in the Cai Mep LNG import terminal from Vietnam’s Hai Linh.

The $500 million facility has a capacity of 3 mtpa, expandable to 6 mtpa, and is one of the only two existing LNG terminals in Vietnam.

Of its LNG terminal project portfolio, AG&P LNG last year launched the first LNG import and regasification terminal in the Philippines, called the Philippines LNG (PHLNG) import terminal located in Batangas Bay.

In May 2023, AG&P LNG commissioned the first import terminal in the Philippines following the arrival of the 137,500-cbm FSU Ish at the terminal’s jetty in Batangas Bay.

The LNG import facility features the converted FSU, which AG&P chartered from Adnoc for a period of up to 15 years.

Power companies Meralco PowerGen, Aboitiz Power, and San Miguel Global Power recently said they wlll buy this facility from a unit of AG&P LNG.

Source: Lngprime.com

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Russia’s Gazprom to buy Shell’s stake in Sakhalin LNG terminal operator

Energy News Beat

Russia has approved the sale of a 27.5 percent stake, previously owned by LNG giant Shell, in the new operator of the Sakhalin LNG plant to a unit of state-owned Gazprom, according to a government order dated March 23.

Under the order, Gazprom’s unit Sakhalin Project will buy the stake in Sakhalin Energy for 94.8 billion roubles ($1.02 billion).

Gazprom already has a 50 percent operating stake in the LNG terminal operator.

The government also declared null and void the order from April last year to approve Novatek’s purchase of Shell’s 27.5 percent stake in Sakhalin Energy LLC, but it did not provide further information on the reasons behind this decision.

LNG Prime invited Shell to comment on the new decision by the government.

“We cannot comment on matters relating to the Russian Federal Government’s Decree process,” a Shell spokesperson said.

“Shell reserves all its legal rights relating to its 27.5 percent (minus one share) interest in Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd (SEIC),” the spokesperson said.

It remains unclear whether the Russian government would allow the transfer of the sale funds to Shell.

Back in 2022, Shell said it will not take equity in the new Sakhalin LNG terminal operator.

President Vladimir Putin signed a decree in June 2022 allowing Russia to take charge of the Sakhalin-2 project due to Western sanctions imposed on Russia.

Sakhalin Energy LLC launched its operations on August 19, 2022 and the Sakhalin-2 LNG export terminal produced about 11.5 million tonnes of LNG in 2022.

Previous reports suggest the LNG termina produced more than 10 million tonnes of LNG in 2023.

Besides Shell’s 27.5 percent interest and Gazprom’s 50 percent operating stake in the original entity, Japan’s Mitsui owned 12.5 percent stake and compatriot Mitsubishi had 10 percent in the plant.

Mitsui and Mitsubishi won approvals in 2022 from the Russian government to take stakes in the new operator.

Source: Lngprime.com

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Europe finalises rules for more recycling, less waste exports

Energy News Beat

 

On Monday (25 March), the Council of the EU unanimously voted to adopt the revised Waste Shipment Regulation. This text, which now becomes EU law, aims to encourage more local waste management and greater recycling of raw materials, while exports of waste to non-EU countries will be reduced. 

Under the new rules, waste shipments between EU countries will require the permission of national governments in both the dispatching and receiving countries. In contrast, procedures concerning waste recycling will be eased and accelerated.

Tighter rules on waste exports mean more recycling opportunities

The new law imposes stricter restrictions on the export of waste to countries that are not members of the EU or the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Non-OECD countries are generally less economically developed than their OECD counterparts.

Waste can only be sent to non-OECD countries if the recipient country confirms that it is willing to receive the shipments and can guarantee that the waste will be treated in a sustainable and environmentally sound manner.

Waste management procedures in these countries must be independently audited and the Commission will have monitoring powers.

Stéphane Arditi, Director of Policy Integration and Circular Economy at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) welcomed the move, saying:

“Shipping waste outside the EU is […] a missed opportunity to turn waste into secondary raw materials, reducing our dependence on imported natural resources and eventually making the EU a secondary raw material exporter.”

According to the European Environment Agency, only 46% of waste is currently recycled in the EU. The Council notes that EU waste exports have increased by 75% since 2004.

The president of the European Waste Management Association, Claudia Mensi focused on the implications for domestic recyclers: “Our role […] is now to make understand that such restrictions require improved recycling and waste management capacities, a strong and stable demand for recyclates, and improved procedures for us to be able to process these increased amounts of waste.”

A focus on plastic 

The new rules also introduce a ban on the export of non-hazardous plastic waste to non-OECD countries. However, this ban can be lifted in the future for individual recipient countries, if their governments confirm a willingness to accept plastic and can prove to the Commission that they meet waste management standards.

The shipping of plastic between EU countries and OECD countries will be treated like other waste shipments, but the Commission will scrutinise these activities more closely.

“We are reassured that the EU has heard our pleas and is acknowledging the horrific impacts caused by over-consumption of plastic and the export of its waste”, explained Pui Yi Wong from the Basel Action Network, an NGO.

However, the European Recycling Industries Confederation (EURIC), reacting to the law’s approval by Parliament in February, cautioned that “a complete ban on plastic exports without outlet possibilities within Europe severely harms EU plastic recyclers and the domestic plastic recycling industry”.

Illegal shipments

Another key focus of the rules concerns illegal waste shipments. It is estimated that between 15% and 30% of waste shipments are illegal.

According to the Council, illegal shipping increases environmental risks and takes out of circulation material that could be reused or recycled. The regulation supports transnational actions to investigate waste trafficking and creates a European group responsible for enforcing the regulations and strengthening cooperation.

EU law with an international basis, requiring national implementation

The current text updates the 2006 EU Waste Shipment Regulation and builds upon the 1989 Basel Convention and 2001 OECD Decision. These are international agreements respectively concerned with cross-border movements of hazardous waste and control systems for waste destined for recovery.

“It is now for EU member states to ensure that every effort is made so that future EU plastic waste exports are managed in an environmentally sound manner and do not negatively impact the recycling capacities of recipient countries,” said Lauren Weir, senior campaigner at the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) on behalf of the Rethink Plastic alliance.

Source: Euractiv.com

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France ‘would not rule out’ requisitions to speed up arms production, defence minister says

Energy News Beat

 

France is prepared to requisition “personnel, stocks or production tools” to accelerate the production of armaments by the domestic industry, the Minister for Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu said on Tuesday (26 March).

“For the first time, I’m not ruling out (…), if things are not on track in terms of production rate and lead times, to make requisitions if necessary or to use the right of prioritisation,” Lecornu said at a press conference on Tuesday.

These requisitions could concern personnel, stocks, and other production tools, or require manufacturers to give priority to military requirements over civilian needs, the minister said.

France could “within the next few weeks” give priority to military orders over civilian requirements, and impose minimum stock levels on certain manufacturers, he added.

EU member states have recently started stepping up efforts towards a ‘war economy mode’ for the bloc after the European Commission last month proposed a Defence Industry Programme (EDIP) to revamp the bloc’s military-industrial complex to support European and Ukrainian military needs for the long haul.

Key measures of the EU’s plans feature reserves of supply, as well as priority-rated orders – a mechanism whereby defence industries would get priority in case a shortage of civilian or dual-use components should threaten the availability of defence supply.

The latter was rejected by EU countries last year in the context of the negotiations of the Act in Support of Ammunition (ASAP) to help boost ammo production across the bloc.

The French military defence bill for 2024-2030, voted in August, states that in the event of an “actual or foreseeable threat to activities essential to the life of the nation”, or a threat to “the protection of the population”, the government can decide on the requisition of any person, natural or legal, and of all the goods and services necessary.

Such a war effort could be justified by the tense “security context”, Lecornu said.

“The war in Ukraine has thrown us back into a form of Cold War (…) against the backdrop of Russia’s nuclear arsenal.”

Lecornu also referred to a heightened level of a “terrorist threat”, following the attack in Russia last week, which killed almost 140 people.

French President Emmanuel Macron said in January the European defence industry should be “in war economy mode, with a faster and stronger production capacity”.

“If production rates are sometimes too slow, it’s because there’s a temptation to work on a just-in-time basis and not hold sufficient stocks of raw materials or components”, to avoid tying up cash needed to build up these stocks, Lecornu said.

The French defence minister also complained that the delivery times for the Aster long-range anti-aircraft missile, produced between France and Italy, are too long.

“The question of MBDA’s subcontractors prioritising the military order for the Aster missile over a civilian order is obviously something we can look at completely,” he said.

France ordered 200 Aster missiles in January 2023 for €900 million, with delivery scheduled for 2026. These missiles, which according to Lecornu, “were not previously used or were just used for training purposes”, are now being supplied to Ukraine.

“We now have concrete operational contracts on which we are bidding,” he said, announcing an “advance order” for 200 additional Aster missiles.

Source: Euractiv.com

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EU Commission issues guidelines for addressing digital risks to elections

Energy News Beat

 

The European Commission issued guidelines on Tuesday (26 March) under the Digital Services Act, outlining measures to mitigate against risks that could impact election integrity digitally.

The European Parliament elections are approaching in June, and ten European countries are gearing up for presidential and parliamentary elections this year.

The EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), which entered into force on 17 February, is a horizontal legislation regulating how online actors should deal with illegal and harmful content online.

Last year, the EU executive announced the first batch of very large online platforms (VLOPs), and very large search engines (VLOSEs), which have been updated since then. The lists include platforms such as social media networks Instagram and TikTok, search engines, such as Google Search and Bing, and retailers like AliExpress and Zalando.

Social media platforms, for example, which are included on the lists, can influence elections, such as through AI-generated content like deepfakes, or the spreading of disinformation.

The Commission now issued its guidelines for the designated VLOPs and VLOSEs, recommending mitigation measures and best practices to be implemented before, during, and after electoral events.

Platforms not complying must demonstrate equivalent effectiveness. The Commission plans a stress test at the end of April.

Source: Euractiv.com

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The Brief – Will wind take it all?

Energy News Beat

 

With China and the US striving to dominate the world’s future clean-tech markets, European politicians have developed a renewed appetite for protectionism and Europe’s wind power industry is poised to harvest this drive.

To recap: Europe was scarred when the global financial crisis – alongside bad business choices driven by the gold rush mood of the first feed-in tariffs – saw the solar photovoltaic supply chain move to China.

When EU policymakers realised in the summer of 2022 that the US planned to subsidise clean technologies at scale, panic set in.

The EU’s Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA) – the bloc’s paltry protectionist response, not backed by much money – is due to be voted on by the European Parliament on 23 April.

The law now lists a whopping 18 technology categories where the EU wants to produce 40% of annual deployment needs by 2030, but this ambition is neither serious nor realistic.

These include traditional technologies like solar and wind, but also a swathe of nuclear categories, as well as “wind propulsion and electric propulsion.”

The NZIA is more of a shotgun than a scalpel, more bazooka than targeted measure. Given the EU’s limited fiscal headway – Europe is embracing a return to more austere budgets as we speak – a certain prioritisation is in order.

Europe’s wind power industry has successfully convinced policymakers to treat it like a beloved only child. Commission boss Ursula von der Leyen called it a “European success story” in her annual address to the EU.

“The future of our clean-tech industry has to be made in Europe,” she stressed. Appetite for protectionism, indeed.

European “clean-tech” lobbyists have seized on this. Their common refrain is that they will eventually be swallowed by China, where labour is cheap, regulations limited, domestic markets large, and cash bountiful.

But not all industries are the same, nor do they have the same starting point—attempting to apply the same strict 40% threshold to them all risks becoming a waste of resources.

The wind industry benefits from wind turbines being a high-tech product where most of the labour occurs during manufacturing – unlike solar, where most jobs are in installation and maintenance. Whether Chinese, Indian, or European panels are getting installed doesn’t matter much for jobs.

Locating wind turbine factories in Europe matters. Some 200 pairs of hands touch a turbine blade before it is shipped out of a factory in Spain, including a full-time position for a man with a mop whose task is to smooth out potential wrinkles in the blade’s structure.

Two-thirds of the jobs in the wind value chain are in production.

This may change when wind turbine production schemes are settled, and innovation becomes less transformative. But it is not yet in sight, turbines keep getting bigger and better.

The rest of the wind value chain, which employs 300,000 people in Europe, is spread across more than half of Europe, ranging from small countries to heavyweights. Plenty of points in the wind industry’s favour.

Other technologies are more niche or promise fewer photo-ops in the short term. The first nuclear power plant built thanks to protectionism will generate power in the late 2030s, if at all.

Finland’s Olkiluoto 3 started construction in 2005 before finishing in 2022. The NZIA will enter into force this year. 16 years to go before 2040. How many “Made in Europe” nuclear power plants will be constructed in that timeframe?.

Batteries are another sector in which EU countries have just begun clawing back market share from China. There is hope, consider Germany’s new Northvolt factory, proving that this global industry is far from settled, and that Europe may just be in a position to leapfrog Beijing without too over protectionism.

While heat pumps, often produced in Asia, are far from popular with policymakers, their producers have already begun turning Eastern Europe into a manufacturing hotspot for the new wave of heating appliances.

And that leaves wind. Developments in recent months suggest that EU countries – most of all Germany and Denmark – are aware of this.

While the solar industry has made desperate pleas for support, the wind industry has received a dedicated wind power package and a charter where the EU-26, bar Hungary, committed to putting the package into effect.

No other clean-tech sector has received similar levels of support, and there’s more to come: The European Commission is currently deliberating whether it will entirely exclude foreign wind turbines from European markets.

Ultimately, it may indeed be the wind industry that will walk away with the largest share of taxpayer support on offer due to the protectionist reflexes of national capitals – and Ursula von der Leyen.

Source: Euractiv.com

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Spain calls Israel’s criticism over Palestinian statehood recognition ‘nonsense’

Energy News Beat

 

Spain’s decision to recognise Palestine as an independent state is not rewarding terrorism, Israel’s claims otherwise are “nonsense”, according to Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares in an interview on Tuesday (26 March)

In November, during a joint trip with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo to Israel and the Rafah border checkpoint with Egypt, Sanchez first mentioned the possibility of recognising Palestine unilaterally if the EU does not do so.

Then, in early March, Sanchez announced he would push Congress to recognise Palestine before the end of his mandate in 2027.

This sparked anger from Israel, with Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lior Haiat stating it “sends a message to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organisations that murderous terrorist attacks against Israelis will be reciprocated with political gestures towards the Palestinians.”

Albares rebuked the statement in an interview with private radio station Cadena SER.

“It is nonsense (…) to think that to support the creation of a Palestinian state is to reward terrorism,” Albares said.

He argued that the Palestinian people “have a right to a land and a hope”, which is that of a Palestinian state encompassing the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and this “is not incompatible with (the existence of) the state of Israel.”

“The hope of the Palestinian people and the security of Israel are closely intertwined”, he added.

The pledge to recognise Palestine was also included in the electoral pact signed in October 2023 between Sanchez’s PSOE party and the junior coalition partner, left-wing platform Sumar, led by the Vice President of the progressive executive and Labour Minister, Yolanda Díaz.

The recent spat follows a recent joint letter from Spain, Ireland, Malta and Slovenia in which they expressed their readiness to recognise the state of Palestine as the “only way to achieve peace and security” in the region.

“We discussed together our readiness to recognise Palestine and said that we would do so when it can make a positive contribution and the circumstances are right,” the four wrote in a joint statement after an EU summit in Brussels.

Source: Euractiv.com

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