Leaders of Cyprus, Greece and Israel are planning to sign an agreement early in the new year for the construction of a new natural gas pipeline. In Athens on January 2nd, the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will meet to sign the agreement. The deal will be finalized at a later date dependent on Italy’s signature, they have already expressed displeasure with the project earlier this year. The pipeline will transverse the Mediterranean from the Levantine Basin offshore gas reserve of Israel, to the Greek Island of Crete and the Greek Mainland, then to Italy. The EastMed Pipeline project has an estimated completion date of 2025.
This past Monday, China has launched its new oil and gas pipeline group. This group consists of multiple assets combined into one group with a net worth of between 80 – 105 Billion USD. This has been a plan of China for years, but according to reports, it was just approved this past year.
A bill seeking to improve pipeline safety and reduce emissions concerning climate change was introduced to the House of Representatives on November 15, 2019. The Safe, Accountable, Fair, and Environmentally Responsible (SAFER) Pipelines Act of 2019 was introduced by representative Peter DeFazio (Democrat, Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee) and Frank Pallone (Democrat, Chairman of The House Energy and Commerce Committee). Current federal regulations are supposed to enforce safety in our environment and the public. DeFazio claims that the current legislation is, “woefully outdated”, he adds, “In 2018 alone there were 636 pipeline incidents that left eight people dead and injured another 90, including the horrific incident that occurred in Merrimack Valley Massachusetts.” The National Safety Transportation Board recently declared the cause of the Merrimack explosion resulted from inadequate management and poor oversight from Columbia Gas of Massachusetts.
The Laurel Pipeline, which has operated since 1957, runs east-to-west across the state of Pennsylvania, delivering gasoline, diesel and heating fuels from the Philadelphia refineries to central and western Pennsylvania. Laurel Pipe Line Co., a subsidiary of Buckeye Partners LP based in Houston, TX, owns and operates the pipeline. Over the past few years, Laurel Pipe Line Co has been petitioning to change the direction of the pipeline to run west-to-east. Local gasoline retailers such as GetGo and Sheetz have been fighting against Laurel Pipe Line Co. on the reversal since this first began last June. The local retailers fear that the pipeline reversal will reduce competition, eliminate jobs in the area and drive up pump prices. The retailers have won the initial fight as the Public Utility Commission (PUC) decided to block Laurel Pipe Line Co. from a full reversal.
Across North America, temperature fluctuations, refinery turnarounds, and pipeline disruptions have created supply challenges getting petroleum to market. When refineries shut down for maintenance there is always a potential for a supply shortage in the effected markets, couple that with increased demand due to weather and all of a sudden a long (plenty of product) market becomes a short (scant amounts of product) market.