Daily News

Italy has declared a state of emergency for energy after an explosion at Austria’s Baumgarten gas hub on Tuesday interrupted onward flows of Russian gas imports from the strategic hub towards Italy, the Balkans and southern Germany. Gas and power prices soared across Europe as the Baumgarten blast adds to fears over winter supply security, already impacted by Monday’s emergency closure of the UK’s Forties Pipeline System.

Chinese authorities have mandated power producers in some regions to return to burning coal, responding to acute gas shortages. Coal imports rebounded from a three-month low in November as utilities seek to replenish stocks prior to the period of peak winter demand.

Returning to Libya with contracts in the range of 700 million euros, Siemens will expand the installed power generation capacity of state-owned General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) by 1.3 GW. The deals will see Siemens build a 650 MW open-cycle power plant in Misrata, and a 690 MW open-cycle power plant in Tripoli West.

The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has been awarded a 7-year operation and maintenance (O&M) agreement to ensure efficiency and reliability of Termo Mechero Morro's power plant near Yopal in Colombia. The latest servicing deals expands on an earlier Wärtsilä construction contract (EPC) for the gas-powered plant, which is set to begin production in December 2017.

Demand for natural gas in Spain has reached a record 1,670 GWh on December 4 – the highest level seen in the past six years. Outage of one nuclear plant, combined with low wind power availability, propelled up gas demand from the power sector; but Enagas expects demand will rise further as the winter progresses.

Attending the inauguration of Novatek’s landmark $27-billion Yamal LNG plant, the Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih confirmed the Middle East oil nation is considering investing in future LNG projects in the Russian Arctic. Talks are being held about setting up a $1 billion energy fund, aimed at fostering future supply of Russian LNG as part of a Saudi government plan to use more gas for power generation.

Fluctuation in power supply to the grid amid rising renewable penetration has been increasing the need for black-start generators. Analysts expect this market will grow at a rate of 3.8%, up from an estimated $1.24 billion this year to $1.50 billion by 2021.

Toning down its green energy ambitions, the Government of South Korea has backed away from plans to convert four out of nine planed coal-fired power plant projects to run on natural gas. Instead, only one coal-to-gas conversion is now likely to go ahead, the country’s energy minister said over the weekend.

Strong seasonal gas demand this winter for power generation and heating, along with high spot LNG prices in Asia and Europe, are forecast to push up US LNG export volumes. Utilization at Sabine Pass is projected to remain well above 90% in winter 2017–2018, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) anticipates.

Inaugurating a 1,263-megawatt LNG-fuelled power plant in Jhang on Saturday, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi pointed out the swift project execution and start-up, contrary to what he called the previous government’s “failed rental power plants.”

South Africa’s national utility, Eskom, would benefit its ratepayers and investors by decommissioning its older coal-fired power units and scaling back construction of the controversial 4,800-MW Kusile coal power plant project, said Grové Steyn, lead economist at Meridian Economics in Cape Town. In his view, “South Africa does not for the foreseeable future need a new national nuclear-, coal- or gas-to-power construction program.”

In the South of the United States the intensity and speed of gas replacing coal in the power mix has been greater than anywhere else in the country. Over the course of the past ten years, southern states used natural gas for 42% of their electricity generation – substantially more than the U.S. average of 34% – while the share of coal power plunged to 29%.

Spark Cognition, a global artificial intelligence (AI) technology leader, and Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas are working together to advance AI applications in MHPS-Tomoni. This new digital platform from MHPS optimizes power plant processes through cognitive analytics, prioritizing customer collaboration.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has just disclosed that customers in Asia, the U.S., Mexico and South America have technically selected the M501JAC for their projects 26 times, representing over 14 GW of new power projects. MHPS's new JAC-class turbine has unprecedented statistics – 99.5% reliability while approaching 65% efficiency.

By 2019, about 600 MW of Jamaica’s generation will be powered by natural gas and renewables, exceeding the current 580 MW daily average. To help advance this goal, New Fortress Energy (NFE) has pledged to invest close to $1 billion into the country’s gas and power sector – the latest milestone being the ground breaking for a $265 million LNG-fuelled combined heat and power plant (CHP) at Jamalco’s Halse Hall headquarters in Clarendon.

News in Brief

ABB repowers Italian fashion supplier

Dec 12 – Italy’s Printing House of Martinengo, a major supplier to global fashion and couture brands, has partnered with ABB to upgrade with Ekip UP, digitizing its existing switchgear and circuit breakers. ABB Ekip UP is ideal for updating older facilities, capturing data and sharing it with cloud-based energy management functions without any other meter or external gateway required.

GE axes 12,000 jobs to realign business

Dec 11 – GE’s plans to axe 12,000 jobs globally highlights the struggles of the industry to shift the focus from heavy-duty gas turbine business towards the renewable segment. The $10 billion takeover of Alstom is now viewed by some analysts as a “bad bet on an old-school industry.”

GE breaks ground on 3D Campus in Lichtenfelds

Nov 8 – Concept Laser and GE have laid the foundation for a new 3D Campus that will unite research and development along with production, service, and logistics in Lichtenfels, Germany. The new offices, providing room for about 500 employees on 40,000 square meters, GE said, should be ready for move-in early 2019.

OPRA Turbines taken over by Dalian Energas

Nov 7 – OPRA Turbines has just disclosed that its entire shareholding has been taken over by China’s Dalian Energas Group since August. OPRA Turbines has been continuing its operation at their new headquarter in Hengelo as a member of Energas Group.

Adven to buy E.ON’s distributed energy business in Sweden

Nov 6 – Adven, a leading energy and water infrastructure and services provider in Finland, Sweden and Estonia, has agreed to acquire E.ON’s Swedish district heating and distributed energy solutions business (EVLE), which owns heating operations in nine municipalities in the south and centre of the county. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.

Reliance completes $1bn power project in Bangladesh

Dec 5 – Reliance Power has completed execution of agreements for Phase 1 of the power project in Bangladesh. Phase-1 consists of 750MW combined cycle gas power plant to be set up at Meghnaghat near Dhaka and 500 mmscfd LNG terminal at Kutudbia Island.

AWE hopes for higher offer after CERCG bid

Dec 4 – Australian Energy company AWE, shareholder in the Waitsia gas field off Western Australia, is playing the waiting game after it received an unsolicited, non-binding proposal from China Energy Reserve and Chemical Group (CERCG), proposing to acquire 100% of AWE’s shares at A$0.71 cash per share. However, the initial reaction of AWE’s has been that the takeover bid is seen as “not sufficiently attractive” to provide access for due diligence.

Distributed power market to top $103bn by 2022

Dec 1 – Driven by increasingly stringent mandates to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and rising electricity demand in remote regions, the market for distributed generation is forecast to grow at a rate of 11.48% annually. According to MarketsandMarkets projections, the sector will expand in revenue from $60.04 billion in 2017 to $103.38 billion by 2022. Key global players in this market segment are Siemens, GE, Schneider, Mitsubishi, Capstone and Doosan.

Simit V9.1 simulation for faster commissioning

Nov 30  – Siemens has released an upgrade to its Simit simulation platform for virtual commissioning and operator training. Version 9.1 can also be used in modular plants, speeding up actual commissioning by up to 60% and reducing unwanted standstill periods, particularly during plant conversion and migration processes.

Nigeria halts commissioning of 215-MW plant

Nov 29 – The Senate of Nigeria has stopped the scheduled commissioning of the 215 MW dual-fuel power plant in Kaduna state over a dispute between the power ministry and the plant’s gas supplier, Abuja-based Greenville LNG. The power ministry had unexpectedly changed the terms of its contract with its gas supplier, deciding to run the plant on diesel. Greenville LNG, meanwhile, insists that natural gas remains the cheapest fuel source for the $186 million Kaduna project. The plant was meant to be commissioned in January 2018, but construction works have already fallen three years behind schedule.

Gas OPEC condemns unilateral sanctions

Nov 28 – The Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), also known as Gas OPEC, has condemned unilateral economic sanctions by the US against some members of the group, notably Russia, Iran and Venezuela. The GEFC condemned such sanctions that are not authorized by the United Nations “as a weapon against other nations.”

GE helps Saudi’s NDU drive digital industry

Nov 28 – The Saudi Arabia’s National Digitization Unit (NDU) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with GE to drive the country’s digital industrial diversification, leveraging GE’s digital applications and ServiceMax which allows field service engineers’ time to be utilized more efficiently. The partnership will focus on community- based digital solutions in sectors identified for transformation under Saudi Vision 2030.

ADNOC opens Habshan-5 gas processing plant

Nov 27 – ADNOC has inaugurated and commenced operation at its $6.85 billion Habshan-5 gas processing plant. Linked via a 215km pipeline to ADNOC’s offshore Umm Shaif gas field, the plant has four gas processing trains and four sulphur recovery units. Its daily production capacity is 12,000 tonnes of natural gas liquids, 1.1 billion of sales gas; 5,200 tonnes of liquid sulphur and 3,000 barrels of condensate.

Nigerian regulator extends Afam VI licence

Nov 24 – The Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has renewed the power generation licence for Shell’s 650-MW Afam VI power plant. Operated by the Shell Petroleum Development Company Joint Venture (SPDC JV), the combined-cycle gas power plant between 2008 and 2016 delivered over 24.16 million MWh to the Nigerian grid.

German gas power output up 13%

Nov 23 – Electricity output from German gas-fired power plants in the first nine months of 2017 totalled 62.23 TWh, a 13% rise compared with the same period last year, according to BDEW data. In September, the most recent month for which the BDEW data is available, gas power output dropped 1.5% on the year to 6.24 TWh which marks the second on-year drop in a row, the industry lobby group said.

SimoticsIQ connects MindSphere and open IoT systems

Nov 22 – With Simotics IQ, the new IoT-compatible drive concept from Siemens, the Simotics SD low-voltage motors are fitted with a compact sensor box which captures important operating and condition parameters and transmits them by WiFi to the cloud. The operating data can then be stored and analyzed by the Simotics IQ MindApp on MindSphere.

CT market worth $4.4bn by 2020

Nov 21 – The Coiled Turbine (CT) market, by service, is projected to grow at an annual rate of 6-7% from an estimated value of $3.2 billion in 2015 to around $4.4 billion by 2020. According to MarketsandMarkets analysis, North America accounted for nearly half of the total revenue in 2013, driven by demand in the ultra-deep CT service sector as shale gas drilling activities keeps expanding.