The United States has remained the world's top producer of petroleum and natural gas, reaching a record high output in 2017. Petroleum production surged by 745,000 barrels per day (b/d), driven by a 21% increase in oil prices to approximately $65 per barrel by the end of last year, and as of late oil prices keep rising.
Though the Pakistani government hailed the sudden surge in power production and supply, load-shedding still persists and cripples the local industry. Electric power supply jumped 48% to over 10,135 GWh in April, a substantial rise compared with 6,879 GWh in April last year, flowing the startup of three RLNG-fuelled power plants in Punjab province.
Quaid-e-Azam Thermal Power Private Ltd (QATPL), owned by the government of Punjab, has announced the completion of commissioning and start of full commercial operations at the Bhikki Power plant. Start of full-fledged commercial operations was on May 20 at midnight hours, supported by Harbin Electric International (HEI) and GE Power. Dispatch of the Bhikki combined-cycle plant now adds up to 1,180 MW of power to the national grid, enough to supply 2.4 million Pakistani homes.
Price-sensitive Japanese utilities prefer thermal coal over regasified LNG as they seek to minimize fuel costs for power generation. Consequently, Japan’s LNG imports fell 14.5% during the month of April to 5.60 million tonnes while import of thermal coal for power generation increased by 6.7% during April to 8.74 million tonnes, according to preliminary trade figures from the Japanese finance ministry.
State-owned Pakistan LNG is seeking to purchase spot LNG cargoes as three new combined-cycle power plant – the Haveli, Bhikki and Balloki projects – have started operating, or are about to come online. The 1,230 MW Haveli CCGT started operating at full capacity some ten days ago, but delays in the construction of the two other plants have pushed back their in-service dates.
Chicago-based Exelon has approached the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), suggesting it would keep operating two gas-fired power plants and the LNG import facility in Everett between 2022 and 2024, if it gets permission to collect about $1 per month from all electricity customers in New England. The Mystic gas-fired power plants are some of the largest generators in New England, but they are not economical in the current market environment.
Santos CEO Kevin Gallagher has dismissed a West-East gas pipeline through Australia as the “least viable option” for tackling regional gas supply shortages, stressing domestic LNG shipments would be “more economic”. A government-led feasibility study is examining the potential of building a 1,500 km gas pipeline to supply eastern and southern markets with Western Australia’s abundant supplies.
Seeking to resolve gas supply imbalances, Australian Industrial Energy (AIE) has approached the Japanese gas giant JERA seeking to secure LNG for a planned import terminal in New South Wales. A feasibility study for the regas terminal is underway, although sources of gas supply are still open at this stage. Most of the imported gas will be used for power generation.
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), the leading energy group in the United Arab Emirates, has announced plans to invest $45 billion in downstream projects at its Ruwais refinery, including generators to power the expanded refining and petrochemical operations. The sour gas venture alone foresees the construction of 11 onshore artificial islands that could meet up to 20% of the UAE's domestic gas demand after 2026.
Oil- and gas-rich countries in the Middle East are adding coal-fired power plants in a seemingly counterintuitive move. Over the next decade, some 41 gigawatts (GW) of coal power capacity is at a planning stage in countries in and around the Middle East, with Turkey being the heaviest user of coal for power generation among these countries with about 18.5 GW installed capacity, according to EIA figures.