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South Africa’s mining and manufacturing industry has been hit repeatedly by sharp increases in electricity tariffs. With President Zuma’s plans for new nuclear thwarted, South Africa’s future energy mix is seen shift towards renewables and flexible gas generation. An LNG-to-Power IPP Programme envisages some 1GW of new gas power capacity to be constructed at South Africa's Coega port, with another 2GW to be built at Richards Bay.

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Engie of France and AES have entered into a joint venture to market and sell LNG to third parties in Central America. The JV will utilize the Costa Norte LNG regasification terminal, currently under construction with a capacity of 1.5 million tons per annum (mtpa). Approximately 25% of the Costa Norte LNG regas capacity will supply fuel to a 380MW combined-cycle gas power plant in the city of Colón, Panama.

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With new electric devices being developed at a rapid rate, electricity will make up about 25% of final energy consumption by 2040, according to IEA estimates. Brushing climate concerns aside, Richard Zhang, technology executive at GE’s Power Conversion says: “Future electrical machines will generate power with higher density, higher efficiency and allow for a higher degree of integration.”

Shell, Total and others are advancing small-scale LNG-to-power projects across Southeast Asia. An ultra-shallow draft LNG carrier by Philippines-based Atlantic, Gulf & Pacific Co. (AG&P) will be a key driver for executing such projects.

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LNG-to-energy solutions, notably for distributed power, have made Wärtsilä one of the biggest supplier of gas- and liquid fuel-fired power stations in the 5–600 MW range. Such baseload and/or grid stability plants are used predominately as ‘wind chasers’ and ‘sunset balancers’, compensating for intermittent supply of renewable energy – soon also on the island of Aruba.

With global energy demand forecast to grow by 30 percent through to 2030, driven by industry and rising prosperity in emerging markets like ASEAN, Thailand’s energy secretary Areepong Bhoocha-Oom seeks to turn the country into a regional energy hub. For the Thai power sector that means liberalising integrated utilities and transforming the fuel mix toward clean gas and renewables.

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Steep rise in the deployment and use of new Floating Regasification and Storage Units (FSRUs) – notably in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa – will substantially increase the supply of natural gas for decentralised power generation projects worldwide. From 2019 onwards, Energy Aspects anticipates the deployment of three to four new FSRUs per year, with a combined LNG import capacity of some 12-15mtpa, as “the maximum level of uptake.”

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Global traded LNG volumes rose 5% last year to reach 258 million tonnes, according to a new report from the International Gas Union (IGU).

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The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) says growing LNG trade could support the development of an Asian LNG benchmark.

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The rise in oil prices from last summer onwards is now filtering through to Russian contract gas prices, while at the same time LNG prices and European benchmarks are falling – making Russian gas less competitive and increasing the likelihood of large volumes of LNG moving to Europe. The trend comes after a period of record Russian gas imports to Europe, coinciding with low gas prices linked to crude’s earlier weakness in 2015 and the first half of 2016.

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News in Brief

AsiaPacific drives growth in global GT market

Nov 17– Urbanisation and rapid economic growth in Asia Pacific will dominate market during the forecast period, according to MarketsandMarkets. The global market for gas turbines is expected to grow from an estimated $17.51 billion in 2017 to $20.66 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 3.36%.

Kepco, Tadmax to build 1.3-MW CCGT in Malaysia

Nov 16 – Malaysia’s listed developer Tadmax Resources, together with South Korea’s state-run utility provider Kepco, are planning to build 1,300-MW  combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) some 60km southwest of Kuala Lumpur. The overall project is expected to cost $1 billion. Kepco announced it will invest $50 million to hold a 25% stake, while Tadmax Resources will own the 75% majority share.

Siemens delivers mobile turbines to Afghanistan

Nov 15 – Siemens has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bayat Power and the Government of Afghanistan to provide SGT-A45 mobile gas turbines for a three-phase energy project. Upon completion, it will provide more than 200-MW of electricity, enough to meet the needs of more than 700,000 Afghan homes and businesses.

Baker Huges to supply 150MW of power gen equipment to Iraq

Nov 14 – Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE), has won a contract by PetroChina International Iraq to deliver Frame 6B gas turbine electric generator trains , with a combined output of 150 MW, for production at the onshore Halfaya oilfield in Iraq.

Gazprom gets €700m loan from Unicredit

Nov 13 – Gazprom and Unicredit have signed a five-year loan agreement worth €700 million. The loan will be used by Gazprom for “corporate purposes,” the company said in a statement.

Emerson to retrofit at turbines Engie’s DK6

Nov 10 – Emerson Electric, an American multinational corporation, has won a contract to retrofit controls on two Alstom GT13 turbines at Engie’s DK6 combined-cycle gas power plant (800 MW) in Dunkirk, France. The upgrade is the first time a vendor other than the turbine OEM has been selected to retrofit GT13 combustion turbine controls, Emerson pointed out. The first retrofitted unit is due to be back operational in September 2018, and the second in July 2019.

Rolls-Royce’s trading outlook unchanged

Nov 9 – providing a brief update on its trading outlook, Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East reconfirmed the full year outlook. Looking beyond 2017, he added: “While markets for our Power Systems products continue to improve, we note the ongoing weakness in offshore oil and gas markets for Marine and timing changes to new export orders for Defence Aerospace.”

Public consultation starts for Drax’s coal-to-gas conversion

Nov 9 – Plans by Drax Power to upgrade two units at its 2,000 MW coal- and wood pellet-fired power station to run on natural gas have gone to public consultation. The operator said it also notified the UK planning inspectorate about its intention to build a new natural gas pipeline and a 200-MW battery storage at the site near Selby, North Yorkshire.

ABB to optimize its transformer manufacturing

Nov 8 – Swiss-based ABB has announced a strategic realignment of its global transformer manufacturing, engineering and service divisions. In the United States, ABB will consolidate its power transformers manufacturing footprint by investing in its South Boston and Crystal Springs units and discontinue production at its unit in St. Louis, Missouri, which will continue to focus on engineering and service activities.

Flow-Cal launches on-demand gas measurement software

Nov 7 – Flow-Cal Inc., a Houston-based a developer of measurement data management software, has launched CALCit.Cloud, a an on-demand measurement calculator for natural gas and petroleum liquids. It allows users to perform various spot calculations, including gas volume, plate size, liquid correction factors and speed of sound. The source code of the application is in C computer language, or as a DLL that can be integrated into other applications. 

Russia, Iran sign MoE on gas cooperation

Nov 6 – A number of documents, aimed at fostering Russian-Iranian cooperation in the gas sector, were signed in Tehran over the weekend during the visit of the Russian President Vladimir Putin to Iran. The parties will evaluate prospects in developing Iranian gas fields with subsequent monetization either through liquefaction and export or petrochemical production. Gazprom and National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) also signed a MoU to work together on the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project.

MHI to launch new engineering company in 2018

Nov 3 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) will launch a dedicated engineering company on January 1, 2018, to be named Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering, Ltd. The new company, to be formed under an absorption-type split, will take over MHI's engineering businesses relating to chemical plants, transportation systems and environmental technologies. Shigehisa Kobayashi will serve as the new company’s inaugural President and CEO.

AsiaPacific drives growth in global GT market

Nov 2 – Urbanisation and rapid economic growth in Asia Pacific will dominate market during the forecast period, according to MarketsandMarkets. The global market for gas turbines is expected to grow from an estimated $17.51 billion in 2017 to $20.66 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 3.36%.

Global Power divests Mexico facility for $3.5m

Nov 1 – Global Power Equipment Group has completed the sale of its facility in Mexico and the auction of the remaining production equipment for net proceeds of $3.5 million – about $1.5 million of which will be used to reduce debt. Following the divestment of its Mechanical Solutions segment, Global Power will focus on Electrical Solutions and Services.

GE’s Predix to enhance performance at Energo fleet

Oct 31 – Pakistan-based utility Energy has contracted GE to roll out Predix across its power  generation fleet in Pakistan and Nigeria. Under the 10-year agreement, GE will implement its asset performance management solution, Predix, at Energy’s six power plants with combined capacity of 1,500 MW. The facilities include the 220MW Engro Powergen Qadirpur CCGT, Engro 660MW Thar power plant, 450MW Kolachi CCGT and two new-built wind power sites in Pakistan, as well as the GEL 75MW facility in Nigeria.

Cummins, Microsoft team up in fuel cell lab

Oct 30 – Columbus-based Cummins, a large US maker of diesel engines, has partnered with Microsoft and McKinstry by opening an Advanced Energy Lab in Seattle. The aim is to demonstrate that an enclosed facility, e.g. a data centre, can run without power from the grid by integrating fuel cells directly into the 20-rack data center.

Construction starts for Żerań CCGT in Warsaw

Oct 27 – PGNiG Termika and the consortium of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems and Polimex-Mostostal have laid the foundation stone for a new combined-cycle gas turbine unit at the Żerań cogeneration power plant in Warsaw. The new unit (output 490 MWe, 326 MWt) will be build by the MHPS/Polimex consortium under an EPC contract; handover is scheduled for 2020.