Insight Magazine December 2019

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Editors note from Emma Slawinski

This year has been full of geopolitical drama, as well as clashes between citizens, states and corporations on flashpoints including the envrionment and economy.

Energy and commodities are highly exposed to these influences, and while for some market participants volatility can be a good thing, others may be hoping that 2020 will offer greater stability and clarity, allowing them to plan for the future with more confidence.

We kick off this edition of insight with a look at the year to come, and S&P Global Platts President Martin Fraenkel offers his view on the themes that will dominate the energy and commodities spheres in 2020. Global director of analytics Chris Midgley also shares a longer-term outlook on the role technology will play in our evolving energy systems.

Zooming into individual markets, there are fascinating changes taking place. The growth of Guarantees of Origin certifying electric power from renewable sources, the emergence of an Asian spot LNG hub, and the shifting strategies of national oil corporations are covered in the special section of the magazine.

Consumer pressure is having a growing impact om the way companies approach sustainability and energy transition. One of the most high-profile examples is the boom in environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting among corporates. Jeffrey Ryser shows that this is having a tangible affect on US utilities strategies, as they publicize more precise and ambitious goals for CO2 emission cuts, implying an ever-faster shift towards renewables.

The global war on plastic waste continued to be a major focus this year, and Ben Brooks and Luke Milner look at how the EU is taking the lead when it comes to plastic recycling. They find that while there are cost challenges involved for manufacturers, consumer pressure is pushing in one directoon only – greater recycled content and less virgin material.

We are also two years into a dispute over trade terms between the US and China, and S&P Global Platts metals editors assess the impact on the US steel and aluminum sectors, delivering a mixed verdict. Meanwhile, US oil exports continue to make inroads in Asia, as other countries have been keen to step in even as Chinese appetite for American barrels has waned, Gawoon Philip Vahn reports.

Finally, in this edition we celebrate the winners of this year’s S&P Global Platts Energy Awards. This includes for a second year the Energy Transition Award which recognizes the efforts of power companies to transition to a low-carbon economy. You can learn more about all of this year’s awards and the judges’s verdicts on the winning entries in the magazine.

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Read the first article from the Insight Magazine