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.
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.
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.
China’s new'2+26' cities policy – a pledge to cut emission in the country’s 28 northern cities by 15% year-on-year in the winter months – is limiting the use of coal for power generation and in industries. As an alternative to coal, gas demand could rise by 23 bcm this year compared to previous winters, according to WoodMackenzie projections. In fact, Chinese LNG imports almost doubled last month, surging 95.7% compared to October 2016, to reach 3.57 million tonnes, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.
Following a record supply of Russian gas to Europe last year, Gazprom touted it expects that its full-year 2017 exports will exceed the 179.3Bcm exported in the previous year by 13.3Bcm. Eager to cement its position as Europe’s largest gas supplier, Gazprom is creating new export routes such as the 32 Bcm TurkStream gas link through the Black Sea, for which works are already underway in Turkey’s economic zone.
As persistent overhang in global gas supplies reduces state revenues, energy ministers from Qatar, Iran, Russia and Venezuela are gathering at this week’s Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The question is how GECF countries – often referred to as the Gas OPEC – should react to the rampant US gas exports which has adopted a price-setting function on global spot LNG markets.
LNG imports to Spain jumped 45% in October, spurred by rising demand from industry and the power sector which propelled up the country's total gas imports 29% year-on-year to an equivalent of 37.8TWh. According to data from the Spanish TSO Enagas, most LNG cargoes in October were imported from Nigeria, followed by Algeria.
Reacting to pressure from investors, General Electric’s new CEO John Flannery announced plans to exit the locomotives and industrial lighting markets to focus on aviation, power generation and healthcare, while shedding 25% of its corporate staff. “Complexity has hurt us,” he said, adding GE needed “right-sizing” in its power segment to reduce costs.
China Energy Investment Corp has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (Mou) to invest up to $83.7 billion over the next 20 years in shale gas development and downstream gas markets in West Virginia. “Projects will focus on power generation, chemical manufacturing, and underground storage of natural gas liquids and derivatives," the U.S. Department of Commerce stated, adding planning for the projects "is underway."
China and India will continue to lead world nuclear growth as their impetus is expected to offset declines in nuclear capacity in the United States, Japan, and countries in Europe. According to the EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2017 (IEO2017), global nuclear capacity will grow at an average annual rate of 1.6% from 2016 through 2040.