Natural Gas

bulk cargo iron ore

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This morning in metals news: Rio Tinto’s iron ore shipments rose 2% year over year in Q4 2020; the Energy Information Administration forecast 2021 will see less power generation from natural gas this year; after rising during the first week of 2021, the LME three-month aluminum price has since been sliding.

Rio Tinto reports rise in iron ore shipments

Miner Rio Tinto released its Q4 2020 production results, reporting iron ore shipments rose 2% year over year. Iron ore shipments also jumped 8% compared with the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, iron ore production rose 3% year over year.

The miner’s aluminum production jumped 4% year over year. In addition, bauxite production fell 12% year over year.

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EIA forecasts less power generation from natural gas in 2021

Meanwhile, in energy news, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecast power generation from natural gas in the U.S. will decline this year.

The EIA forecast the decline will be about 8% this year.

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Aluminum production

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This morning in metals news: Rio Tinto and Meridian Energy have reached a deal that will allow New Zealand’s Aluminum Smelter to continue operating the Tiwai Point aluminum smelter; BHP unveiled plans to build a new wind fence; and the Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts U.S. oil and natural gas production will fall this year.

Rio Tinto, Meridian Energy reach deal on Tiwai Point aluminum smelter

Miner Rio Tinto announced it had reached a deal with Meridian Energy that will allow New Zealand’s Aluminum Smelter to continue operating the Tiwai Point aluminum smelter until 2024.

“The extension provides certainty to employees, the local community and customers while providing more time for all stakeholders to plan for the future,” Rio Tinto said in a release.

The agreement with Meridian helps make the smelter “economically viable and competitive,” Rio Tinto added.

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BHP plans to build wind fence

On Thursday, BHP announced plans to build a wind fence as part of its Pilbara Air Quality Program.

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E.U. flag

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This morning in metals news: new E.U. duties on iron and steel imports from Turkey take effect today; meanwhile, the Aluminum Association commented on President-elect Joe Biden’s nomination for the post of secretary of commerce; and natural gas prices fell to their lowest levels in decades last year.

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E.U. duties on Turkish iron, steel

E.U. duties on Turkish iron and steel imports are set to take into effect today, Reuters reported.

According to the report, the anti-dumping duties will range from 4.8-7.6%.

Meanwhile, the European Steel Association (Eurofer) in May 2020 filed the initial complaint that sparked the probe. In September 2020, Eurofer petitioned for the registration of Turkish hot-rolled steel imports.

Elsewhere, MetalMiner contributor Christopher Rivituso earlier this week surveyed the Turkish steel market.

Aluminum Association comments on Biden’s pick to lead DOC

On the heels of President-elect Joe Biden’s announcement that he intends to nominate Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo for the post of secretary of commerce, the Aluminum Association released a statement.

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natural gas

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The beginning of production at what is now Asia’s deepest offshore natural gas field will increase the share of natural gas India’s energy basket.

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India set to strengthen natural gas production

A few days ago, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and BP announced the start of production from the R Cluster, ultra-deepwater gas field in block KG D6 off the east coast of India. RIL and BP are developing three deepwater gas projects in block KG D6: R Cluster, Satellites Cluster and MJ –

Together, RIL said it expects the projects to meet over 15% of India’s natural gas demand by 2023.

What makes the find even more newsworthy is that it is located at a depth of more than 2,000 meters, making R Cluster the deepest offshore gas field in Asia.

Production ramp-up

By the end of next year it is expected to reach plateau gas production of about 12.9 million standard cubic meters per day (mmscmd), per MoneyControl.com.

These projects will utilize the existing hub infrastructure in KG D6 block. RIL is the operator of KG D6 with a 66.67% participating interest. BP holds a 33.33% participating interest.

R Cluster is about 60 kilometers from the existing KG D6 Control and Riser Platform (CRP).

Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Limited, said in a press release that production from the natural gas field marked a “significant milestone” in India’s energy landscape for a cleaner and greener gas-based economy.

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aluminum ingot stacked for export

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This morning in metals news: the Senate Committee on Appropriations allocated funding for a new Aluminum Import Monitoring system; the United States International Trade Commission voted to continue an aluminum foil investigation; and natural gas inventories are at a record high.

The MetalMiner 2021 Annual Outlook consolidates our 12-month view and provides buying organizations with a complete understanding of the fundamental factors driving prices and a detailed forecast that can be used when sourcing metals for 2021 — including expected average prices, support and resistance levels.

Senate includes funding for Aluminum Import Monitoring system

The domestic aluminum industry has long advocated for the creation of an aluminum import monitoring system. The Aluminum Association has often referred to the existing Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis system as a potential model.

Recently, the Senate Committee on Appropriations included $1.3 million in funding for a new aluminum import monitoring system during the fiscal year 2021.

“We are grateful for the committee’s leadership on this high priority issue for the U.S. aluminum industry, and we look forward to Congress taking action soon to enact this important provision in FY21 appropriations,” said Tom Dobbins, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association, in a release.

“Within Enforcement and Compliance, the Committee provides up to $1,300,000 for staffing and other necessary expenses to support development and implementation of the AIM system,” the Senate Committee on Appropriations said. “The Committee also encourages ITA to regularly consult with the aluminum industry on market dynamics to ensure the remedy is meeting its stated goal of supporting U.S. aluminum producers.”

USITC continues aluminum foil probe

The USITC voted to continue anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigation of aluminum foil from several countries.

The countries in question are Armenia, Brazil, Oman, Russia and Turkey.

In addition, the Department of Commerce will make preliminary countervailing duty determinations by Dec. 23, 2020. However, for its anti-dumping investigation, it will make preliminary determinations by March 8, 2021.

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scrap steel

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This morning in metals news: global steel groups renewed calls for the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity to continue its work targeting steel overcapacity; Freeport-McMoRan released its Q3 financial results; and, finally, U.S. natural gas exports to Mexico have increased.

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Steel groups call for renewed emphasis on steel overcapacity

Groups around the world have asked governments to “intensify” their work with the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity.

“Steel industries throughout the world expressed tremendous concern about the recent increase in steel overcapacity at a time when steel demand is severely depressed by the COVID-19 pandemic, reversing a trend of gradual decreases in overcapacity in the three years after the GFSEC was established (2016 – 2019),” the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) said in a release.

Among the action items suggested by the groups included development of “stronger disciplines” related to industrial subsidies. In addition, the groups called for upholding “effective trade remedies” in order to ensure a level playing field.

Freeport-McMoRan releases Q3 financials

Miner Freeport-McMoRan released its Q3 financials today, reporting net income of $329 million, up from a loss of $207 million in Q3 2019.

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copper smelter

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This morning in metals news: the copper price inched upward Wednesday; U.S. coal-fired plants have been transitioning to natural gas; and Norilsk Nickel recently released its production results for the first half of the year.

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India launched its first natural gas exchange earlier this week. The Indian Gas Exchange (IGX) is a nationwide, online delivery-based gas trading platform for delivery of natural gas, Zee News reported.

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Renewables are not normally a core topic of ours. In recognition of the growing importance of the sector and the legal and incentive landscape that is encouraging investment in such technologies, MetalMiner does produce a Renewables Monthly Metals Index (MMI) that tracks metal input costs to the sector.

But, as a rule, we tend not to cover the sector directly, so see this as a stroll off the reservation today as two posts this week in the Financial Times present both short-term negative issues and longer-term positive issues that some readers may find of interest.

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This morning in metals news, Indiana again led the way in U.S. steel production last year, Tesla is in talks to use cobalt-free batteries in its cars made in China and the Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects U.S. natural gas production will continue to rise over the next 30 years.

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