Markets

German engineering group Siemens has again raised its full-year earnings forecast after most of its business beat expectations in the third quarter. The Power & Gas division saw double-digit growth which raised the order backlog to €116 billion. “We did well – compared to our industry rivals actually very well,” CEO Joe Kaeser said, stressing company’s continued drive to cut costs.

A floating gas storage unit (FSU), headed for Malta from Singapore, will enable Maltese citizens to “start breathing cleaner air,” prime minister Joseph Muscat suggested. Due to arrive by September, the vessel will store LNG which will then be regasified onshore for use in new gas-fired power plants.

Bijan Zanganeh, the Iranian oil minister, has reiterated government goal to triple exports of natural gas to neighbouring Armenia to 3 million cubic metres by the end of 2018. This moves as Iran is stepping up the proportion of gas-to-power barter between both countries.

Spark spreads in Turkey, measuring the profitability of gas generation, are seen to triple once an expected 10-15% cut in Turkey’s regulated industrial gas tariffs gets implemented in October. Though this gives CCGT operators some relief – profit margins of coal power will remain way more attractive.

As the heat wave in Central and Eastern US eases, gas demand from the power sector is tapering off. Energy Aspects forecasts gas-burn for power over the first two weeks of August to average around 38 Bcf/d while Henry Hub cash prices are seen “stabilising at levels just above the fuel switching price trigger that now sits at 2.73 $/mmBtu.”

Despite funding approval from EDF late Thursday, the £18bn Hinkley Point project in Somerset has been dealt an unexpected blow after the UK government pushed back a final decision in the early autumn. Construction will be delayed once again – leaving it to flexible gas power plants to cover demand in the interim.

Load shapes, reflecting daily variations in electricity demand, are now more meticulously forecast by US power grid operators. Balancing requirements, based on hourly load forecasts, are used to develop resource schedules and anticipate dispatch of power plant assets – key to meet energy needs at time of peak demand.

South Africa’s largest Independent Power Plant (IPP), the 670 MW Avon open-cycle gas turbine plant is now in full commercial operation. Together with its sister power plant, the 335 MW Dedisa IPP, the 4-unit Avon power project was initiated by South Africa’s Department of Energy and has been realised on a on a Build, Own and Operate (BOO) basis.

India’s indebted private utility Essar Power is stepping up efforts to get its plants back into operation and profitable. “We have no plans now to monetize any assets for now," a spokesman said, trying to tone down comments of the company’s CFO that the sell-off of two gas power assets in Gujarat in the making.

Regulatory dismissal of NextEra Energy’s takeover application of Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) will see the Juno Beach-based suitor pay $95 million in “break-up” fees and other costs, the companies stated. Part of these funds will go towards Hawaii's state policy objective to get off fossil fuels by 2045.

China Machinery Engineering Corp (CMEC) is evaluating a 500 MW LNG-fuelled power project in Hambantota, southern Sri Lanka, which is meant to expanded to 1,000 MW at a later stage. President Maithripala Sirisena pushes for another 500 MW LNG-to-power plant just north of Colombo as he seeks to scrap coal-fired projects, or have them converted to natural gas.

Power generation and transmission infrastructure upgrades are the key points of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Cuban’s state-owned utility Unión Eléctrica (UNE) and Siemens. Company heads discussed new energy projects when signing the deal in Havana, including supply of generating technology for plant upgrades and new-builds.

Cleaning up China’s power mix is becoming an increasingly tedious process as domestic shale gas production slows. Faced with a challenging geology and spiralling costs, the government cut 2020 targets by a third to around 30 Bcm, simultaneously to slashing subsidies – but analysts call even these reduced goals ‘unrealistic’.

With exports of pipeline gas to Mexico on the rise, and LNG exports from Louisiana ramping up, the United States is forecast to become a net exporter of natural gas by the second half of next year. "For the first time since 1957, the United States is on track to export more natural gas than it imports,” commented said EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski. Yet, the spread widens between Marcellus spot and Henry Hub gas prices.

Pollution control equipments have recently been installed at US fossil power plants in Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). The rule requires all coal generators with a nameplate capacity greater than 25 MW to comply with specific emission limits from April 2015, though some units received extensions – following adamant opposition from some operators.