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Global oil and gas policy 2013

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Following on from the summary of global energy policy and global energy efficiency policy below are summaries of oil and gas policies from six countries around the world.


Natural gas storage has become a very important part of Australian oil and gas policy. Domestic gas production in the country, since the 1970s, has been proved insufficient to meet demand. Natural gas is however the cornerstone of Australian energy supplies, due to the development of the gas storage network.

In recent years import volumes have risen to 9.2 billion m3 in 2011 from 1.6 billion m3 in 1972, and gas storage has always been important as it ensures a constant delivery of gas compatible with seasonal fluctuations. Often these storage facilities are depleted gas fields. Now more than 80% of the nation’s annual gas consumption can be stored in existing storage facilities, which adds substantially to security of supply.

Australia’s gas storage facilities are also important to Slovenia which has no storage of its own.


In 2007 the Irish government committed to ‘rebalance the strategic oil reserve by maximising Ireland’s wholly owned stocks of oil and the level of stocks held on the island, subject to increased storage availability and value for money considerations.’

The National Oil Reserves Agency (NORA) now has maximised the use of all commercial storage and refurbished and commissioned three new facilities. These improvements help Irish security of supply, as there is limited refining capacity and no domestic oil production.


Transition to a liberalised gas market, in order to keep prices own is of importance to Italy. The increased use of gas for heating and power generation began in Italy in 2000 and since then there has been a 50% increase in gas consumption, a halving of domestic production and a doubling of imports. The government has now identified gas price reduction as a key way to keeping Italian industry competitive and has introduced several measures including the gas exchange market.

The gas exchange market is the latest improvement tool, and was implemented in October 2013. It aims to integrate the various exchange platforms and increase market efficiency within Italy.


Japan’s imports of LNG increased by nearly 30% after the Fukushima disaster and prices between 2010 and 2012 of LNG imports to the country increased from JPY 3.5 trillion to 6.5 trillion /y. Despite this, Japan sees the natural gas market as full of potential due to the US shale revolution.

LNG currently provides most of the nation’s natural gas so securing supplies in a stable and inexpensive way is important to the country as a whole. The steps Japan has been taking towards this are as follows;

  • Importing from the US.
  • Diversifying supplier countries by participating in upstream and LNG projects overseas.
  • Enhancing the buyers’ bargaining power.


Poland is looking towards gas market liberalisation, as it has traditionally been a closed market with one dominant supplier. The country is now looking to become an open market and developments include the opening of an LNG terminal next year. Poland is also already phasing out regulated gas prices. A procedure for changing suppliers has been determined as well as transmission system alterations, which includes a virtual trading point.

Polish Energy law has also been amended. The amendment allows trade without intermediation from brokerages. This will hopefully allow more transparency in the Polish gas market.


Portugal is making efforts to improve the security of its gas supply in the following ways:

  • Expanding capacity at the Sines LNG Terminal.
  • Increasing underground gas storage capacity at Carrico.
  • Constructing a new interconnection pipeline with Spain.

Written by Claira Lloyd.

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