Daily News

Thermoelectric generation in France continued to see sharp year on year increases in January, rising some 71% to 8.3 TWh, according to data from grid operator Rte.

The trend was on the back of the ongoing spell of cold weather affecting the country, and as thermoelectric power plants compensated lower output from nuclear plants (-2.6% at 40.5 TWh), and wind installations (-29% at 2 TWh).

A glut of LNG supplies in the coming years as new liquefaction projects come online at global level might lead to increased coal-to-gas switching in European markets, a recent paper by the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES) suggested.

Natural gas demand for power generation was down 13.2% year on year in December 2016 in the US, standing at 669 billion cubic feet (Bcf), or 21.6 Bcf/day, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

However, gas consumption posted increases in all other sectors, with residential consumption being up 34.9% at 797 Bcf or 25.7 Bcf/day; commercial deliveries increasing by 31.8% to 464 Bcf, or 15.0 Bcf/day, their highest level for December since 2013 and industrial deliveries gaining 8.3% year on year at 731 Bcf, or 23.6 Bcf/day.

Mexico should pursue an “active competition policy” in order to harness the benefit of the reform of its energy market initiated in recent years, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said.

Italy's industry ministry is finalising a decree on incentives to the biomethane sector, which might be approved as early as this summer.

Polish Oil and Gas Company (PGNiG) has signed a long-term agreement to supply natural gas to steelmaker ArcelorMittal in Poland. 

Failures at gas-fired power plants in New South Wales during a heatwave affecting eastern Australia at the beginning of February contributed to an overload in the electricity system in the state, according to a report of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

Injections of biomethane into the national gas grid rose 162% year on year in 2016 in France, standing at 215 GWh.

It emerged from a report published by grid operators Tigf, GrDF and GRTGaz, together with renewable and gas associations Ser and Spegnn.

Economic growth and an expanding population are going to pose a challenge for New Zealand from an energy perspective, requiring increased efforts in terms of both technology and policy, the International Energy Agency said.

In its latest New Zealand 2017 review of energy policies in the country, IEA stressed that despite New Zealand having long been “a global leader in developing effective energy markets, renewable energy and establishing robust policies for electricity security”, over the past decade its growing energy needs have “outpaced improvements in energy efficiency, mainly because of the country’s expanding economy and growing population.”

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is to provide financial support to help Latvian energy service companies (ESCOs) obtain long-term financing for energy efficiency upgrades.

ABB, through its venture capital unit ABB Technology Ventures, is investing in Canada-based Enbala Power Networks, a developer of software for managing power distribution networks.

GE is to supply a Jenbacher J316 gas engine for to Agrocam, a poultry hatchery in Douala, Cameroon.

The technology is to help the company address challenges related to long-term power outages, GE said, noting the “severe shortage of essential electrical infrastructure” being experienced in sub-Saharan Africa.

Siemens has received a $400 million order for five F-class gas turbines for a combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Saudi Arabia.

With a generating capacity of about 1,500 MW, the plant will supply about 400 MW of electricity and process steam to a new natural gas extraction plant in Fadhili, 100 km northwest of Dammam in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom, Siemens said.

A rebound in CO2 emission allowance prices in Europe in the second part of 2016 was among the factors contributing to the increase in competitiveness and output for gas-fired generation, according to Italy's Gestore Servizi Energetici (GSE).

Implementation of gas network codes by European countries as part of the gas regional initiative (GRI) showed a disconnect between progress in the south region and the south-southeast region, with the latter showing a somewhat slower progress in 2016.

It emerged from the Gas regional initiative status review report 2016 published in February by the Agency for the cooperation of energy regulators (ACER).

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.