Daily News

A rise in gas-to-power generation would be a bet on the failure of U.K. energy policies under the Electricity Market Reform that favour renewables and nuclear energy, Pierre Noel, senior researcher at the Energy Policy Forum at the University of Cambridge said today. Calling for a level playing field for all power generation technologies, Noel opposed the introduction of subsidies for capital-intensive technologies that infringe on the role of gas in the European energy mix.

Gujarat State Energy Generation (GSEG), a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed by Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation, has confirmed the imminent start-up of a 360 MW gas-fired unit at the Hazira power plant. "The gas-based power plant at Hazira is ready for commissioning and could start generating electricity any day now", GSEG said.

Energy shortages and rolling blackouts could become a real possibility in the UK in five years' time, warns Pilgrim Beart, founder of AlertMe. "A large fraction of our coal power stations are scheduled to be decommissioned in 2016. If you reduce supply without reducing demand then you get rolling blackouts," he told Gas-to-Power Journal.

Weakness in UK power markets is forecast to continue until 2013 as significant oversupply of power generation capacity is cutting into profit margins of gas and coal-fired plans, JP Morgan Cazenove (JPMC) said today in a research report. "UK power demand is worse than anaemic," JCMC analyst, Edmund Reid, said with reference to a drop in electricity demand below 2009 levels.

Societe Generale forecasts Europe's electricity demand in 2012 will see a mere 0.7% rise in annual demand as economic growth remains lacklustre. "Consumption should recover in 2012, but overall growth will likely to be modest," the bank said in its latest Energy Pulse report.

The implementation of Smart Grids – as a flexible demand response mechanism - is rising. "In Europe, we are selling Smart Grids based on the rise of green energy. In the U.S., the key driver for smart grids is to ensure security of power supply," Dietrich Biester, representative of Siemens' Smart Grid Division told Gas-to-Power Journal' in an interview.

North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) has alerted the U.S. energy industry of a growing reliance on natural gas as the primary fuel source at times of peak electricity demand. "The growing dependence on natural gas as a primary fuel source of on-peak capacity must be considered in planning, and operational measures must be in place to minimize interdependency risks," NERC told Gas-to-Power Journal.

Alstom, the French engineering company, today reported a rebound in orders this quarter to €4.9 billion. Thermal power orders reached a value of €1.9 billion, benefiting from successes in Iraq and Poland.

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Eurelectric has warned that "reliable and flexible fossil power generation capacity is required as a back-up supply" to ensure security of energy supply and mitigate the risk of intermittent power generation from renewable energy sources. Eurelectric representative Julia Eichhorst told 'Gas-to-Power Journal' in an interview prior to today's conference in Brussels that "Capacity Remuneration Mechanisms (CRMs) could be needed to encourage power generators to invest in new fossil power generation".

FlexEnery, a developer of clean energy platforms, announced today it has won a contract to supply BP with gas turbine technology. Three of Flex Energy's MT250s turbines have already been shipped to the BP facility through a contract with Power Service.

The European Energy Exchange (EEX) will start OTC clearing for UK gas futures on 29 February, the bourse said Wednesday. Trading participants that are already admitted on the EEX Derivatives Market for natural gas can use the new service once they have registered for it at ECC, the clearing house of EEX.

Lithuanian utility Lietuvos Energija confirmed it will commence operations of a 455 MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant this autumn with a view of increasing do-mestic electricity supply. Lithuania has suffered from a net deficit in power supplies since the shut-down of the Ignalina nuclear reactor in 2009.

Declining demand for Spanish gas-fired generation combined with unusually warm weather conditions this winter has led to an 8.7% drop in LNG imports to Europe in the second half of 2011, according to Deutsche Bank. Gas demand growth in Spain is forecast to remain sluggish as utilities are likely to favour coal over gas due to Spain's domestic coal subsidy scheme that will remain in place until 2014, analysts led by Mark Lewis in Deutsche Bank's latest European gas report.

Investments in energy is "a high priority" for the Singapore government, Stephen Hill, senior trade & investment officer at the British High Commission told Gas-to-Power Journal today. Singapore's power stations mainly use imported natural gas, as "the city-state has no domestic oil and gas resources and limited opportunities for renewable energy generation in comparison to other countries," he said.

Enel, Italy's largest utility by market share, said today it will profit from the new Italian rate system for electricity distribution and metering services. "The new regulatory framework will generate a slight increase in 2012 rate revenues compared with 2011 levels," Enel said referring to preliminary earnings estimates.

News in Brief

Latest EIA statistics show US gas output drop of 2% for 2016

US gas consumption rose 1% and production fell 2% in 2016, according to the March 2017 Monthly Energy Review (MER), from the US Energy Information Agency (EIA).

Rumours of Engie bid interest in Innogy

According to reports in Bloomberg, French utility, Engie, is considering a bid for German renewable energy utility Innogy, which is majority owned by RWE. Other sources claim this is not the case.

RWE holds a 76.8% stake in Innogy, which had a market value of about €18.6B ($19.8B) before the reported interest.
Bloomberg said that the former French natural gas monopoly was speaking to advisers and had not made a final decision about whether to proceed. The French government has been reducing its holding in Engie but still owns a 29% stake.
However, other sources reported that Engie was not interested in making a bid. French BFM TV, quoted a source close to Engie: "We have no interest in being a minority shareholder in a big company that already has a controlling shareholder."

EIA: Warm weather leads to first recorded natural gas storage injection in February

Warmer than normal weather throughout much of the United States resulted in the first recorded net natural gas injection during a week in February since weekly storage data has been collected. For the week ending February 24th, the amount of natural gas in storage in the Lower 48 states increased by 7 Bcf.

Engie acquires UK regeneration business

March 3 - France's Engie has signed an agreement to acquire the regeneration business of Keepmoat, a UK’s provider of regeneration services for local authorities.

The company specialises in the design, refurbishment and upgrade of buildings and places.

The acquisition, worth at £330 million “is in line with ENGIE’s strategy to be leader of the energy transition in the world” by developing “integrated and innovative solutions for its clients” Engie said.
 

ABB divests high-voltage cable business

March 2 - ABB has completed the divestment of its high-voltage cables and cable accessories businesses to NKT Cables.

The divestment, which was announced in September 2016, is in line with ABB’s commitment to active portfolio management, the company said.

As part of the strategic partnership, ABB and NKT Cables will work together on future project opportunities and R&D, it said.

Engie, Schneider Electric ink digital solutions MoU

March 1 - Energy management and automation specialist Schneider Electric and French energy company Engie have signed a memorandum of understanding “to explore and deploy new digital solutions” for operational efficiency of renewable assets (wind and solar PV).

Under the MoU, Engie looks to leverage Schneider Electric's software, including Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), Engie said.

Asset management, remote monitoring and diagnostics and cybersecurity in a complex ecosystem will also be investigated as part of the agreement, it added.

IoT network reaches 95% coverage in Singapore

Feb 28 - French energy company Engie, together with communication services provider Sigfox and technology company UnaBiz jointly announced that they have reached a milestone in the deployment of the first Internet of Things (IoT) network in Singapore, achieving 95% outdoor coverage across the island.

This network, which is “the first of its kind in Southeast Asia” is set to “help improve energy efficiency, facility management and customer-centred solutions for businesses in the region” with the capacity to support over 100 million connected devices while maintaining high network reliability and security, Engie said.

Tap “strategic” for Italy's energy system: industry ministry

Feb 27 - The Trans Adriatic Pipeline project and the partnership with Azerbaijan are “strategic” for Italy's energy system, the Italian energy ministry reiterated February 27.

The statement came after a meeting in Baku between Italy's industry minister, Carlo Calenda and the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.

The ministry said once completed, Tap will strengthen the energy collaboration between the two countries. It added Italy was also evaluating business opportunities for Italian companies in the country, as some twenty major Italian companies accompanied the minister in its visit to Azerbaijan, including Telecom Italia Sparkle, Danieli, Ferrero, CNH and Enerco.

IEA, Australia discuss energy security

Feb 24 - IEA's executive director Fatih Birol and Australia's prime minister Malcolm Turnbull have met in Sidney on February 24 as part of an official visit to Australia.

They discussed Australia's domestic energy situation and its options to ensure affordable, reliable and secure energy as it works towards its commitments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions under the Paris climate change treaty.

Their talks also covered prospects for carbon capture and storage and the role Australia is playing as a major energy exporter, particularly in Asia, IEA said.

Southern gas corridor advisory council meets in Baku

Feb 23 - Energy ministers of countries involved in the Southern Gas Corridor initiative and representatives of EU institution have started the third ministerial meeting of the Southern gas corridor advisory council on February 22 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The meeting was also attended by EU Commission vice-president for energy union, Maros Sefcovic.

The event was expected to focus on the financing of the project, among other things, with the participation of representatives of the World Bank and European bank for reconstruction and development (EBRD), according to a statement from the Azeri energy ministry.

Gazprom inks contract for construction of TurkStream second string

Feb 22 - South Stream Transport and construction company Allseas Group have signed a contract to build the second string of the TurkStream gas pipeline’s offshore section.

South Stream, which is responsible for the construction of TurkStream’s offshore section, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gazprom.

TurkStream is the project for the construction of a transit-free export gas pipeline stretching across the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey and further to Turkey’s border with neighbouring countries.

The first string of the gas pipeline is intended for Turkish consumers, while the second string will deliver gas to southern and southeastern Europe. Both will have a throughput capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

In October 2016, Russia and Turkey signed the Intergovernmental Agreement on the TurkStream project.

World's first purpose-built LNG bunkering vessel delivered

Feb 21 - Engie, Fluxys, Mitsubishi Corporation, and NYK have taken delivery of the world’s first purpose built liquefied natural gas bunkering vessel (LBV) from Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction at the Yeongdo shipyard in Busan, Korea.

Zeebrugge in Belgium will be the home port of the vessel.

From there, the 5,000 m3 LNG capacity LBV will supply LNG as a marine fuel to ships operating in Northern Europe, Engie said.

BNetzA consults on underground power cabling

Feb 20 - Germany's regulator Bundesnetzagentur has launched a public consultation, which closed on February 13, on documentation requirements for TSOs in order to install new direct current (DC) power lines underground. 

According to recent legislation in Germany, underground cabling should have priority for new projects.

BNetzA said “the aim is to increase public acceptance and, consequently, speed up grid expansion' adding that the use of overhead lines will be considered “only in exceptional cases.”

ABB delivers substation at Dubai solar park

Feb 17 - ABB has successfully energised a substation in Dubai that will help distribute power from the Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MBR) Solar Park.

The 400/132 kilovolt (kV) gas-insulated switchgear substation has been built for Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) to connect the second phase of the MBR Solar Park and integrate 200 megawatts (MW) of electricity to the transmission grid.

Further expansions are planned at the facility, which, when completed by 2030, will be “the largest single-site solar project in the world with a capacity of 5,000 MW” ABB said.

OPEC agreed cuts achieve “record compliance rate”: IEA

Feb 16 - Oil production cuts agreed by members of OPEC and eleven non-OPEC countries have “achieved a record initial compliance rate” of 90%, with some producers, notably Saudi Arabia “appearing to cut by more than required” the International Energy Agency (IEA) said.

The IEA estimates that OPEC production in January was 32.1 mb/d.

OPEC “appears to have made a solid start to what is a six-month process” the IEA said, adding “this first cut is certainly one of the deepest in the history of OPEC output cut initiatives.”

EBRD, Moldova hold talks on energy and transport projects

Feb 15 - A delegation from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) met Moldova's PM Pavel Filip, minister of economy Octavian Calmic, minister of finance Octavian Armasu, and governor of the National Bank Sergiu Cioclea on February 13-14.

The two sides discussed the implementation of large transport, energy and municipal infrastructure projects, including those co-funded by the European Union.

The EBRD is working with the authorities to promote key reforms in these sectors, it said.

Eni sells 10% stake in Egypt's Shorouk concession to BP

Feb 14 - Eni’s CEO, Claudio Descalzi, Bob Dudley, CEO of BP, and   the Egyptian minister of petroleum, Tarek El Molla signed a deed completing the sale to BP of a 10% stake in the Shorouk concession, offshore Egypt.

Eni and BP first agreed on the sale of the concession stake, where the super-giant Zohr gas field is located, in November 2016, Eni said.

Eni, through its subsidiary IEOC, now holds a 90% stake in the license, while Rosneft has agreed to acquire a 30% stake, subject to the Egyptian governmental approval.