Daily News

Wärtsilä today reported a lower than expected quarterly profit due to a slowdown in services while order-intake in its power plant business remained stable. “Net sales developed well in the third quarter, thanks to the strong growth in newbuild marine and energy deliveries. This, in combination with slower development in transactional service volumes, is affecting the group sales mix and burdening profitability,” said Wärtsilä CEO Jaakko Eskola.

India's Prime Minister Narenda Modi has voiced concerns over excessive delays in joint venture projects with Sri Lanka. The neigbouring island nation is expected to fast-track a LNG-fuelled power plant after a coal power project was halted, just when the Indian JV was about to start construction. Despite approval for a $250 million LNG import terminal near Colombo, the Indian-Japanese JV has followed through with the project.

A banking consortium led by JBIC, the state-owned Japan Bank for International Cooperation, has agreed to lend US$1.31 billion for a LNG-fuelled power generation project on the Indonesian island of Java. With a capacity of 1,760 MW, the power station will build and operated by Marubeni, Sojitz and Persero, while LNG supply will be arranged by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines. Start-up is scheduled for 2021.

Annual capacity factors for gas-fired power generators in the PJM Interconnection – the largest competitive wholesale electricity market in the United States – have increased in recent years, reflecting greater use of competitively priced shale gas in the region. The role of combined-cycle gas power plants (CCGTs), in particular, has shifted from load-following to frequently providing baseload power supply, instead of coal.

Siemens and General Electric, two rival global engineering companies, are at loggerheads over a multi-million dollar power generation deal in Iraq. The Trump administration now intervened and put severe pressure on the Iraqi government to award part of a $15 billion contract – first discussed and pre-arranged with Siemens – to GE Power & Gas.

Qasim Al-Fahdawi, the Iraqi electricity minster has signed a milestone agreement with Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser over the weekend to implement the company’s ‘Roadmap for repowering Iraq.’ Plans are to add 11 GW new gas-fired power plants in Iraq within four years, which would effectively boost existing capacity by almost 50%.

The pipeline rupture in early October at Enbridge’s BC gas interconnector still affects electricity markets and petroleum refining in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Imports averaged 1.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in the first half of this year, but fell to zero after the rupture and the pipeline now operates only at 80% capacity.

The global energy transition moves faster than expected Wood Mackenzie says, suggesting a "sustainability tipping point"  – when the world shifts from the ‘Age of Oil & Gas’ to the ‘Age of Renewables’ – will arrive by 2035, less than 18 years from now. Renewables and the use of electric vehicles are seen underpinning the pace and intensity of the transition.

As decommissioning of coal plants and grid-integration of renewables lead to rising variability of power supply in the area of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), GE and Clarke Energy have been asked to supply a turnkey combined heat and power (CHP) plant to Sebewaing Light & Water (SL&W), a municipal utility. The CHP is slated to start operating in Q1-2019.

Striving to roll-out battery storage, Duke Energy has announced to invest $500 million in several projects spread across North and South Carolina over the next 15 years. In total, the storage projects will have a combined capacity of 300 MW.

Iran’s MAPNA Group has been selected to supply turbines and generators to the Jandar combined-cycle gas power plant, under construction in Western Syria. Turbine delivery to the Jandar CCGT is part of a wider contract that will see MAPNA supply generating equipment to a total of 65 power units with a combined capacity of over 9,600 MW.

TenneT, Thyssengas and Gasunie Deutschland have announced plans to build a power-to-gas plant, designed to turn renewable energy into gas for industrial use in the Ruhr region. With an output of 100 MW, it will be the largest P2G plant of its kind in Germany, and is scheduled to be operational by 2022.

PW Power Systems, part of MHPS Americas, has signed up its first customer active in oil & gas upstream. U.S. Well Services (USWS) ordered 30-megawatt FT8 MOBILEPAC aero-derivative gas turbine generators to power its new electric frack fleet. USWS said its first two new-build  fleets will be deployed for two of its customers during the first quarter of 2019.

Alexey Miller, Gazprom Chairman and CEO, stays adamant in arguing China will prefer stepping up pipeline gas imports over incremental LNG supplies to meet the country’s rising energy demand. “Pipeline gas supplies from Russia will always be more competitive than LNG deliveries from any other part of the world,” Miller said, pointing out that Gazprom’s annual gas exports to Chinese buyers will reach 120 billion cubic meters this year alone.

Substantially less nuclear power supply has been available throughout the U.S. this autumn, mainly because the 2018 seasonal maintenance and refueling cycle began earlier. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the total nuclear outages averaged 14.5 GW in the last week of September, prompting utilities to fire up gas-fuelled power stations to balance supply and demand.

News in Brief

ABB relays help protect Brussels power grid

Oct 23 – Sibelga, the distribution system operator (DSO) of the Brussels metropolitan area, implements ABB’s Relion 615 series relays to ensure a protected power supply for 700,000 citizens. The agreement will see ABB add medium-voltage control relays to remote terminal units (RTUs), most of which will be retrofitted.

Fuel-switch capability falls

Oct 22 – U.S. manufacturers’ capability to switch fuels keeps falling because the equipment onsite does not support it. The amount of commonly used fuels that could readily be switched in less than 30 days dropped from 24% in 1994 to currently less than 10%, according to EIA figures. This trend leaves manufacturers vulnerable and less able to adapt to changes in regulations, market conditions and fuel prices.

Gazprom Export joins tax monitoring

Oct 19 – As Gazprom Groups transitions to a new form of tax control – tax monitoring, Gazprom Export will be the first unit to join the new regime as of January 1, 2019. Russia’s Federal Taxation Service (FTS) will be given remote access to Gazprom Export's data mart, with the new cooperation intended to streamline tax administration practices, reduce audit costs, and bring tax disputes to a minimum.

Wärtsilä 31DF engine to power cruise ship

Oct 18 – Wärtsilä’s 31DF dual-fuel engine has been selected to power a polar ice-class cruise vessel, built for the French operator Ponant at the Vard Søviknes yard in Norway. The equipment is scheduled to be delivered in 2020, one year before the in-service date of the cruise ship.

U.S. navy bases mulled to handle coal, gas exports

Oct 17 – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has proposed using some West Coast naval facilities to handle U.S. coal or natural gas exports, thereby circumventing local opposition. In particular, the abandoned military base at on Adak Island could be an option as an LNG export hub, he said.

DHIC partners with Dell EMC

Oct 16 – Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction (DHIC) has partnered with Dell EMC on digital energy, and the first joint project is to implement a digital solution at an Indian power plant. The Dell EMC system has a built-in power plant combustion optimizer, developed by DHIC based on the SAP platform.

IEA reviews Brazilian gas market

Oct 15 – The International Energy Agency (IEA) has published a review of the opening of Brazil’s natural gas transportation system. Through its Gás para Crescer initiative, the Brazilian government sets a plan to liberalize the local energy market by enhancing the build-out of natural gas and electricity interconnectors, unbundling of TSOs and implementing of network codes.

Global GT market looses value

Oct 12 – Though Asia emerges as No.1 market for gas turbines, the overall value of the global gas turbine market  is forecast to decline over the coming five years. According to a Global Data report, the market value between now and 2022 will be $37.97 billion, down compared with $52.39 billion in the 2013-2017 period.

FERC approves $6bn CenterPoint/Vectren merger

Oct 11 – US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved the $6 billion merger of CenterPoint Energy and Vectren, whereby shareholders of the latter will be paid $72.00 in cash for each CenterPoint share. Vectren CEO Carl Chapman welcomed the ruling and added the companies “now anticipate a closing no later than the first quarter of 2019.”

Dürr buys part of Babcock & Wilcox

Oct 10 – Dürr Group, a Germany-based mechanical and plant engineering firm, has completed the acquisition Babcock & Wilcox’ (B&W) industrial environmental technology business. The takeover broadens Dürr’s portfolio on exhaust-air purification technologies, with a workforce of around 1,500 and estimated sales of € 400 million.

Azure achieves $12.50 per share

Oct 9 – India-based Azure Power Global Ltd has priced its underwritten public offering of 14,800,000 equity shares at a price of $12.50 per equity share. The company also granted underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1,200,000 shares at the same price, less underwriting discounts and commissions. The offering will close on October 10, 2018.

Global gas use grows at 2%/yr

Oct 8 – The International Gas Union (IGU) expects global gas consumption to grow by 1.6 to 2% per year in the coming decades. “Competitiveness, affordability, and eco-friendliness will remain essential in that regard,” said IGU President Joe M. Kang.

Financing agreed for EVM-II plant in Mexico

Oct 5 – A financing package of $740 million has been agreed for the Energias del Valle de Mexico II (EVM-II) combined-cycle power plant. Commercial banks involved in the financing were led by BNP Paribas, Citi, SMBC, and Mexico’s Banco National del Comercio Exterior. Milbank served as legal advisor.

MAN wins award for small-scale LNG paper

Oct 4 – A whitepaper by MAN Energy Solutions entitled ‘Small-scale LNG - powering the future of Asia’s island communities’ has won the Best Paper Award at this year’s Power-Gen Asia trade show. The paper ties in with MAN’s new strategy to deliver the entire value chain from small scale regas and import terminals to decentralized gas- and dual-fuel engine, and turbine-driven power plants. Carsten Dommermuth, International Business Development Manager, said “this setup is a real advantage for customers seeking to source a complete LNG-to-Power solution from the same provider.”

IEA laments steep drop in clean energy investment

Oct 3 – The latest steep drop in clean energy investment is “worrying,” according to Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency (IEA). Official figures show spending on renewables fell to $298 billion worldwide in 2017, down from $318bn in the previous year, marking the biggest absolute fall on record.

Siemens closes Mendix acquisition

Oct 2 – The German engineering conglomerate Siemens has closed the Mendix acquisition, just eight weeks after the transaction was first announced. Part of Siemens’ Vision 2020+ strategy, the integration of Medix digital platform is aimed at creating new SaaS solutions and extensions, particularly for the Digital Enterprise Software, MindSphere.

Merger of BASF Wintershall and DEA goes ahead

Oct 1 – BASF Group has agreed to merge its German oil and gas business BASF Winterhall and with Deutsche Erdöl AG (DEA), owned by the Russian investor group LetterOne. The joint venture will operate under the name Wintershall DEA.