Daily News

Joe Biden’s inauguration as US President today heralds major policy shifts on trade with China and climate goals. China’s Phase 1 trade commitment to buy an additional $52.4 billion of energy from the US by end-2021 will remain in place, though analysts say it looks “difficult to achieve.”

Bakken Midstream, infrastructure developer in North Dakota, has signed its first ethane supply term sheet with Williston Basin Energy Center, a large baseload power plant. Novel combustion technology allows the Williston plant to run on ethane which is otherwise flared in the fracking process.

Fossil fuel production in the United States will stay flat this year as rising coal output offsets falling gas production, the US administration’s Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) finds. Starting from 2022, production of all fossil fuels is set to increase though growth will stay below the 2019 peak.

The US Department of Energy’s Office, staffed by the outgoing President Trump, has launched a report on impacts of the so-called “ill-conceived ban on hydraulic fracturing,” proposed by the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden. The ban will allegedly cost millions of jobs and make gas and power prices surge.

The United States has informed German officials its plans to levy sanctions on the Russian pipe-laying vessel ‘Fortuna’ and its owner, KVT-RUS, effective today. ‘Fortuna’ is building the Gazprom-led Nord Stream 2 pipeline, opposed by Washington as it raises Germany’s reliance on Russian gas.

Edinburg-based Spectrolytic has developed an in-line measurement system for oil condition monitoring. The system streams key parametric data of the oil to a machine control centre, customer intranet or cloud which provides the customer with real-time process control.

Siemens Energy has teamed up with Abu Dhabi state investment firm Mubadala to establish a hydrogen value-chain in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Together with Masdar, they will build a demo plant powered by a solar PV electrolyser to produce hydrogen to fuel cars, planes and ships.

Germany’s largest insurer Allianz has made plans to restructure €800 billion in investments to lower emissions related to equities and corporate bonds by a quarter by 2025, compared to 2019. The measures are part of the insurer’s interim target as it aspires to reach climate neutrality by 2050.

General Electric has been contracted to deliver more than 1 GW of power gen equipment for the Tongyeong combined cycle power plant in South Korea. Construction is set to begin in 2021 by Hanwha E&C with a view to starting commercial operations in 2024.

Shares of Siemens Energy have shed around 6% in value in German trading after GE filed a lawsuit against its German rival, alleging the theft of trade secrets for gas turbines. GE told the US district court in Virginia that Siemens received the secret insight from a Dominion Energy employee.

Alkaline fuel cell producer AFC Energy is collaborating with Ricardo hydrogen applications. The two US-based companies agreed to jointly develop and commercialise hydrogen fuel cell products and services with an initial focus on marine, rail and stationary power generation.

Price-sensitive Chinese buyers are shunning spot LNG for February delivery after Beijing put a lid on domestic prices. Utility buyers in China are reluctant to pay anything above $15 per MMBtu given that they can also revert to pipeline gas, imported from Russia and Turkmenistan, or domestic supplies.

News in Brief

Mitsubishi produces methanol in Trinidad

Jan 20 – Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company has launched commercial operations of a methanol and dimethyl ether plant in Trinidad and Tobago. The plant has an annual production capacity of one million tons of methanol and 20,000 tons of dimethyl ether, which can be used as an alternative fuel for cars and power generation.

First 8-cylinder B36:45 engine delivered

Jan 19 – Rolls-Royce has delivered the first 8-cylinder variant of its Bergen B36:45 gas engine to a tomato producer in Belgium. The medium speed genset is planned for delivery this spring and will drive an onsite power plant that generates 4700 kW electricity and 5520 kW heat. The new engine offers a 20% increase in power per cylinder and will replace an existing Bergen 12-cylinder B35:40 genset.

Moody’s upgrades Enel to Baa1

Jan 18 – Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded Enel’s long-term rating to Baa1, with a stable outlook. The upgrade reflects Enel’s progress in reducing its risk profile, analysts said, pointing at the Italian utilities ongoing investment in networks and renewables, growing geographical diversification and focus on centralised financing.

GE sues Siemens Energy

Jan 15 – General Electric has sued its German rival Siemens Energy over the alleged use of stolen trade secrets to win gas turbine contracts worth several billion dollars. GE told the US district court in Virginia that Siemens received the secret information from a Dominion Energy employee.

Orbital Energy launches Eclipse

Jan 14 – Nasdaq-listed Orbital Energy Group has launched a new subsidiary, Eclipse Foundation, a drilled shaft construction company. The new company specialises in providing services for power transmission and substations, communication tower and a disaster restoration through emergency power.

S’Korean coal and LNG imports slide

Jan 13 – South Korea’s imports of thermal coal and LNG have fallen 12% and 11%, respectively, as the government cracks down on fossil fuel usage to curb air pollution. Customs data shows that coal imports amounted to 10.2 million tons in December, down 1.4 million tons from the same month last year but up from November’s imports of 9.5 million tons.

SMC builds 1.7 GW CCGT in Batangas

Jan 13 – Excellent Energy Resources, part of SMC Global Power Holdings, is building a 1,700 MW combined cycle gas power plant in Barangay Dela Paz and Ilijan in Batangas City with investments of about 67.863 billion Philippine Pesos ($1.41bn). The project is estimated to be completed in 36 to 40 months.

UK’s National Grid issues supply warning

Jan 12 – Natural gas prices in the UK surged as National Grid issued warnings on supply deficit as LNG cargoes are being diverted to North Asia. Prices at the British NBP gas trading hub soared to the equivalent of $8.95 per MMBtu, while the JKM price for North Asian spot LNG cargoes for February 2021 was last at $19.700 per MMBt.

Fortistar invests in hydrogen

Jan 11 – Fortistar, a privately-held fund, has joined an equity investment of up to $157 million in hydrogen producer BayoTech. Cottonwood Technology Funds and the New Mexico State Investment Council also participated in the latest financing round. BayoTech’s systems produce local hydrogen close to the application, serving end users in the industrial gas and petrochemical segment as well as those who use of hydrogen to power fuel cells.

Ashtead appoints new CFO

Jan 5 - Ashtead Technology has appointed a chief financial officer (CFO) and five managers for newly created roles across its international team. The appointments are meant to cement the company’s position in the offshore energy market, including offshore wind and decommissioning of thermal power plants

NFE secures LNG for Puerto Rico, Mexico and Nicaragua

Dec 23 – New Fortress Energy (NFE) has agreed to purchase Henry-Hub-indexed LNG for its integrated gas and power businesses in Puerto Rico, Mexico and Nicaragua. The New York-based project developer said it now has covered 80% of its expected needs throughout Latin America, thus reducing its need for spot purchases and its exposure to changes in the market price for LNG.

China and Korea mandate coal-to-gas switch

Dec 22 – The Chinese government has launched a coal-to-gas boiler switching programme, targeting 7.1 million homes, which makes gas demand more weather-sensitive this winter. Similarly, South Korea mandated the closure of 15 coal-fired plants since the start of December in an effort to reduce air pollution. Analysts expect this will accelerate the drawdown of LNG terminal inventories going into Q1-2021.

GE repowers oil field in Brazil

Dec 21 – GE Power Conversion has been awarded a contract by Sulzer Pumps UK to supply motors for four water injection pumps of a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel. The 8,000 kW, two pole motors will run at 3,600 rpm with a limitation of the starting current at 300%, enabling the oil and gas field operator to optimise the generator which supplies electricity on the FPSO.

VELO distributes Sapphire Metal 3D-Printers in the US

Dec 18 – California-based VELO3D has formed a distribution partnership with GoEngineer for Flow pre-print software, Sapphire metal AM printer, and Assure quality assurance and controls. GoEngineer will be VELO’s only distributor in the United States.

Indian electric boats to achieve zero emissions

Dec 17 – Cochin Shipyard, India’s largest shipbuilder, has asked Siemens Energy to equip India’s first fleet of 23 boats with electric propulsion drive train, integrated with batteries and vessel automation. Combining the electric propulsion drive trains, energy storage, and automation systems is expected to significantly reduce fuel consumption.

Terna BESS auction six times oversubscribed

Dec 16 – A pilot auction, held by the Italian TSO Terna, for battery energy storage systems (BESS) to provide reserve grid services has been six times oversubscribed. The auction was held with an expectation that around 230 MW would be on offer, but Terna received 1,327 MW worth of bids and eventually awarded contracts for 249.9 MW.

New £150m link to UK’s Easington terminal

Dec 15 – National Grid has completed a gas pipeline under the River Humber, build in 18 months and at a cost £150 million, as new link to the import terminal at Easington. Following commissioning, the pipeline is now operational and can now transport between 70 to 100 million cubic metres - around a quarter of Britain's gas needs.

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