Daily News

Vowing to avoid shortages and price spikes, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is pushing through measures to expand both pipeline gas and LNG imports. Taking early action is meant to improve China’s gas reserve and helps to make pre-arrangements for peak demand. CNNOC just issued a tender for a strip of cargoes to be delivered between November 2018 and 2022.

Energy storage will play a growing role in the British power mix as the Brexit process is at a critical stage and the country seeks to reduce reliance on importing electricity through from mainland Europe. “Interconnectors are direct competitors in the flexibility marketplace,“ Wood Mackenzie said, suggesting Brexit could be good news for the UK storage market.

With the advent of utility-scale energy storage and hybrid power systems, traditional power producers are turning to system integrators to balance multiple generation assets and optimize the energy produced. Wärtsilä’s GEMS software helped ALTEO Group optimise an engine power plant with energy storage in Hungary, and on the Azores the software used a mircogrid form of AI to control and balance wind, solar and diesel gensets.

Swift and efficient completion of drilling at the Wolfcamp play has been driving up the overall hydrocarbon production in the Permian Basin. The Wolfcamp accounted for 1 million barrels of crude oil per day (b/d) and 4 Bcf/d of natural gas. Productivity gains were caused by drilling longer horizontal laterals and optimizing completions.

The offshore section of the TurkStream pipeline through the Black Sea is now complete after the Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Erdogan gave the command to weld the final joint of the pipeline’s second string. The entire pipeline will be commissioned in late 2019.

Leaked drafts of a report of Germany’s coal commission show the country’s coal exist will likely be delayed to 2022, rather than starting in 2020. The pathway of the coal exit is now in focus, rather than the exit date. Forced plant closure should be avoided, the commission said, stressing shut-downs need to agreed with operators who will claim compensation.

Seeking to cash in on the shift from coal to gas, Saudi Aramco has made plans to expand its multi-billion natural gas business at home and abroad. “Saudi Aramco is on the way to becoming a gas powerhouse in addition to its huge strength in oil,” the company stated, indicating it plans to boost production from 14 billion standard cubic feet per day (bscfd) to 23 bscfd of natural gas.

Iran has expanded its fleet of power plants by adding about 1,000 MW of new-built capacity since March 2018, the energy ministry reported. Installed capacity amounts to 80,000 MW, with gas powering nearly a third of the total. The government aims to add 3GW to meet peak demand.

Soaring costs of LNG imports have increased the importance of a swift restart of Japan’s nuclear reactors to generate comparatively cheap baseload power. Total cost for imported gas topped 418 billion yen ($3.71bn) in October, compared to 280 billion yen ($2.48bn) a year earlier, according to an alert by the Japanese finance ministry.

Seeking to strengthen ties with Europe, the Russian gas giant Gazprom is fast-tracking works on the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 project with the aim of starting first gas flows to northeast Germany in the autumn or early winter of 2019. Poland and the United States adamantly oppose the project.

Despite the drop in rig count, the actual output of crude oil and natural gas keeps rising in the United States thanks to advances in technology and drilling techniques. Even with fewer wells U.S. natural gas gross withdrawals increased from about 78.7 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) to 83.4 Bcf/d.

Siemens has started construction on a new energy center in Bolivia, designed to provide traditional and digital services to electric utilities in South America. Equipment from Siemens is being deployed to expand three combined-cycle gas power stations in Bolivia: Termoeléctrica del Sur, de Warnes and Entre Ríos.

“2018 is the year of electricity,” the International Energy Agency (IEA) noted given that electric power has been the fastest growing element of final demand, and will outpace all energy sources over the next 25 years. Digitalization of the global economy goes hand in hand with electrification, making it the “fuel of choice” for households and enterprises.

Hit by a triple-whammy of weak cash flows, meager profits and slumping stock values, CEOs in the oil and gas industry are vary about continuing to invest in increasingly risky fossil fuels. Looking for a quick return, investors want oil majors to prioritize profits over production growth. Some refocus on electricity markets.

MAN Energy Solutions has been contracted to provide a new combined-heat-and-power (CHP) solution for Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel. A dual-fuel engine MAN 9L51/60DF will be vital to power the airport, with plant handover scheduled for the end of 2019.

News in Brief

UK will not incentivize new gas storage

Nov 21 – Rebuking warnings of gas supply shortages, the UK government said it will not give any regulatory support for new gas storage facilities. Insisting that “the benefits of more insurance are not worthwhile,” energy secretary Greg Clarke said, insisting the market was already providing sufficient gas security and optionality.

PG&E uses SF6-fee switchgear

Nov 20 – California’s Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has contracted Siemens to supply SF6-free dead-tank circuit breakers and gas-insulated switchgear (GIS). They are destined for California’s 115-kilovolt (kV) high-voltage grid.

ABB launches new transformers

Nov 19 – ABB Ability TXpert Dry, the world’s first dry-type (oil free) digital transformer, has been launched together with TXpand at a customer event in Xiamen, China. Dry-type transformers work without oil, with core and coil being cooled by air and non-flammable solid insulation material which makes the process safer.

Siemens opens Pittsburg Service Center

Nov 16 – Pittsburgh Service Center (PSC), a $32 million state-of the art facility spanning over 300,000 square feet, has been opened by Siemens in Mount Pleasant. The centre is home to Siemens Turbine Generator Specialty Services (TGSS) which belongs to the company’s large-scale turbine segment

Drax faces legal action over Repower project

Nov 15 – Britain’s power producer Drax is facing a law suit over plans to start converting two coal-fired units at the plant into four combined cycle gas turbines (CCGTs). Drax argues the move will help it exit coal by 2023, but environmentalist object the Repower project, arguing it would “risk locking in high-carbon energy onto the grid until 2050.”

U.S. turbine market to top 14GW by 2024

Nov 14 – The U.S. industrial gas turbine market is expected to exceed 14 GW by 2024. Federal government initiatives to expand the penetration of natural gas-fired station will augment the industry outlook, according to a Market Study Report.

Xcel snaps up Mankato Energy Center

Nov 13 – U.S. electric utility Xcel Energy has agreed to purchase Mankato Energy Center in Minnesota from Southern Power in a $650 million deal. A second gas-fired power unit is scheduled to come online in 2019, set to increase the plant’s total generating capacity to 760 MW.

Shell re-focuses on new energies

Nov 12 – Electricity and new green fuels have risen on the agenda of Royal Dutch Shell, with the company announcing plans to invest up to $2 billion a year through to 2020. “That might seem modest by oil and gas standards, but we can do a lot with it in this space,” commented Brian Davis, Shell’s VP energy solutions.

Kollsnes shut down

Nov 9 – A collision between the frigate Helge Ingstad and the tanker TS Sola off the Sture terminal near Bergen in western Norway has led to the closure of the Vestprosess pipeline and Kollsnes gas processing plant, the Norwegian TSO Gassco said in a market note.

MHPS to service Uzbekenergo’s power plants

Nov 8 – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Ltd. (MHPS) has signed an accord with state-owned Uzbekenergo and Mitsubishi Corp to collaborate in a service and maintenance program (CSMP) for power plants in Uzbekistan. The agreement is meant to help grow the reach of Japanese companies in Central Asia.

Austria to import more Russian gas

Nov 7 – Russia’s gas giant Gazprom and OMV of Austria have signed Gazprom and OMV an amendment to their supply contract, stipulating deliveries to Austria will be increased by 1 Bcm/y beyond the contractual. In the first ten month of 2018, alone supplies of Russian pipeline gas have grown by a third compared to the previous year, reaching 8.8 Bcm.

UK launches 1st geothermal plant

Nov 6 – The UK’s first geothermal electricity plant has gotten underway today, backed by £18 million in funding. Drilling started using a rig from Helsinki. Once operational, demonstration plant will deliver up to 3 MW of electricity to the National Grid.

Germans register more EVs

Nov 5 – Electric vehicles (EVs) are gaining popularity in Germany: The share of pure EVs in s new car registrations climbed to 1.3% in October, as the total number of new EVs increased 55% year-on-year, according to the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA). Hybrid cars account for a 4.4% market share, diesel fell to 31.8% and the lion’s share of 62.3% is still taken by petrol models.

GE retrofits Wet FDG in India

Nov 2 – India’s largest energy conglomerate NTPC Ltd. has asked GE Power to supply and install Wet Flue Gas Desulphurization (Wet FDG) technology at four power plants in a deal worth US$247 million. The four facilities are the 2x660 MW Solapur power plant, the 2x660 MW Tanda Stage-II, the 1x500 MW Feroze Gandhi Unchahar project and the 2x660 MW Meja power project.

Floating power barge

Nov 1 – Siemens has developed barge-based, turnkey floating power solutions that take a critical part of an FLNG facility’s infrastructure — power generation — off a project’s critical path. According to the manufacturer, this helps reduce overall project execution time by as much as 25% or more, maximizing return on investment.

KBR posts 28% rise in profit

Oct 31 – U.S. engineering company KBR has reported a rise in net profits and voiced optimism to secure more mid-scale LNG and downstream projects with its joint venture partner ConocoPhillips. Third-quarter revenues rose by more than 23% to $1.27 billion, compared with $1.03bn in Q3-2017. Net profit was $58 million, up 28% from $45m in the year-ago period.

Togo: IPP gets go-ahead

Oct 30 – Eranove, a private equity-backed independent power producer (IPP), has received the green light for a $110 million power project in Togo. A concession agreement was signed for the combined-cycle power plant to be built in the area of Lomé port. The Spanish firm Grupo TSK was selected as EPC contractor for the 65-MW project.