Markets

French investment bank Société Générale today forecast the German baseload 2013 clean spark spread – the profit margin from generating electricity using gas – will remain negative at €5.1/MWh.

The Japanese electricity sector is understood to be close to hitting a physical limit in its overall gas-to-power generation capacity at about 6 million tonnes per month. Keen to avert looming electricity shortages, the Tokyo government now considers restarting two nuclear reactors in April, according to a Japanese media report.

E.ON Energy has extended the 446 MW capacity reduction at its gas-fired power plant Irsching 5 until Wednesday, February 15, an E.ON Energy spokeswoman told Gas-to-Power Journal today. The plant operator had filed an Urgent Market Message (UMM) this morning, indicating capacity at the plant was cut due to "issues with fuel supply".

Power supply in Nigeria has plunged to as low as 3,900 MW from already reduced levels at 4,400 MW, as operations at the Sapele Power Station were halted following the failure of a domestic gas transmission pipeline that feeds the plant.

South Korean operators of gas-fired power plants increasingly focus on the efficient operation of their plants as prices for importing LNG remain at high levels. Siemens Energy, a major seller of gas turbines, has singled out efficiency as the key selling point for selling turbines into Asian markets.

BG Group, U.K.'s third-largest natural-gas producer, has forecast a 40% surge in underlying profits on the back of higher oil and LNG prices. "The outlook for global gas and LNG demand is strong," BG Group's chief executive Sir Frank Chapman said this morning.

Operators of gas-fired power plants in Spain have joined forces to lobby for higher capacity payments in return for providing vital backup capacity to stabilize the grid against rising fluctuations in electricity supply from renewable energy sources, Stephen Woodhouse, Director at Pöyry Energy Consulting said. "In a true market environment, the flexible plants would earn higher prices for this new mode of operating but if there is a surplus of capacity then some of the generation fleet will become uneconomic," Woodhouse told 'Gas-to-Power Journal' in an interview.

ETN Christer_Bjorkqvist

Christer Björkqvist

Excessive subsidies for renewable energies have distorted the Spanish power market, forcing utilities to significantly curtail the operating hours of gas-fired power plants, Christer Björkqvist, Managing Director, ETN-European Turbine Network said today.

Now, the Spanish government has suspended all subsidies for new renewable energy installations in a move that is unlikely to prove a 'quick remedy' for the market distortion.

Escalating output of U.S. gas production has launched a "race to the bottom", with gas prices reacting negatively to rising production. Gas-for-coal substitution, meanwhile, is starting to put significant pressure on coal prices, Deutsche Bank said today.

China will increasingly favour of environmentally friendly gas-to-power plants over coal-fired plants. In 2050, China's gas demand to power sector is forecast to surge to 413 Mtoe (BLUE Map scenario), compared to 195 Mtoe (Baseline scenario), Hirohisa Yamada, IEA energy analyst, told Gas-to-Power Journal in an interview today.

Cold weather conditions across Europe will prolong the recent rally for gas and power demand, but still weak fundamentals may mitigate its impact on prices, Societe Generale forecasts. Recent macro data and sentiment surveys conducted in January "all surprise to the upside", it added.

Deutsche Bank has issued a bullish estimate on a continued increase in gas-coal substitution in the U.S. The current situation in the markets is "unchartered territory", it said in a report today.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has reported the "largest ever three-month gas demand fall" in the UK fir the three months ending November 2011, with gas demand plunging by 19.1% to around 188 TW.

The U.S. is awash with cheap gas supplies for power generation due to rising domestic shale gas production, with Canadian natgas imports providing a "reliable backstop" for US gas-to-power demand, Louis Caron, energy risk specialist at Risk Advisory, SAS Group, told Gas-to-Power Journal today.

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.