Daily News

China National Petroleum (CNPC) has committed to help raise funding funds for $2.8 billion Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline project designated to transport up to 3,500 million standard cubic feet per day (Mmscf/d) of wet gas from several gas gathering projects in southern Nigeria to centers of demand in the country’s North.

General Electric is losing share in a “rapidly concentrated market”, the Swiss bank UBS said in a note, reducing GE’s price target to $13 a share as this year’s sharp drop in sales puts future earnings at risk. GE already made hefty cost cuts at its power unit, but sluggish demand and tough competition may require even more cuts UBS says, warning this could be “forcing GE in a vicious cycle.”

Governments in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are preparing to take action to remove fuel subsidies and other price distortions that have for long rendered electricity trade unattractive, and undermined the creation of a pan-Arab energy market. Under discussion are cost-reflective fuel pricing, open-grid access and a gradual integration of existing interconnectors.

Over two thirds of British people, polled by YouGov, would like to see a more decentralised, local model succeed the Big Six’s current monopoly. Three-quarters say they are prepared to join community energy schemes and many want their pension or banking investments to avoid fossil fuel projects.

Siemens has launched a Frequency Stabilizer SVC Plus FS that combines static-var-compensation with supercapacitors. Capable to compensate voltage and frequency fluctuations, the device can feeds reactive power into the grid in less than 50 milliseconds. At the same time, the up to 200 megawatts of electric power stored in the supercapacitors can be transferred to the grid at full load.

A wave of nuclear restarts in Japan curbs LNG demand. Kansai Electric is preparing to restart its 870-MW reactor No. 4 reactor at its Takahama station, following in the footsteps of Kyushu Electric which just brought the 890-MW Unit-2 at its Sendai reactor back online. Each returning reactor is forecast to lower gas consumption in the power sector by up to 1 million tons per year.

Hong-Kong-based Energy World Corp. (EWC) is progressing with its Philippines LNG import and power generation hub as well as a small-scale liquefaction plant at Sengkang, Indonesia. Construction on the 650 MW Pagbilao combined-cycle as power project and adjacent LNG import terminal in Quezon Province continued throughout the year, EWC noted, with observers saying the venture is 90% complete.

Siemens and the South Korean manufacturer Iljin Electric have teamed up to develop an SF6-free gas-insulated switchgear (GIS)for the 170 kilovolt (kV) level, building on a similar Siemens application for up to 145 kV. The new GIS will use treated air, known as "Clean Air", instead of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) as the insulating medium.

China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) has started to develop the Lingshui find, the company’s the first independent deepwater gas discovery. CNOOC freed up an initial budget of 20 billion yuan (US$2,93bn) and set a design capacity of 343 million cubic feet as it aims to turn the Lingshui find into its main source of gas production after 2020.

China's Dongfang Electric has signed a memorandum with Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS), specifying plans to adopt the latest J-Series gas turbine at a combined-cycle power plant developed by Sichuan Provincial Investment Group in the province. The CCGT is meant to be the first in a series of projects as MHPS is taking steps to extend its foothold in China.

The Turkish government has decided to increase natural gas prices by 14%, while energy regulator EMRA announced a similar rise in electricity tariffs in reaction to a deepening currency crisis. The Turkish Lira  lost 42% against the U.S. Dollar this year and economists are concerned about the Central Bank’s apparent inability to rein in inflation.

As the difference in fuel cost between coal and LNG narrows, South Korean electric utilities increasingly opt for cleaner-burning natural gas. In H1-2018, about 41% of the country’s electricity came from coal, 28.8% from LNG and 21.5% from nuclear, according to the Korean government’s Electric Power Statistics Information System (EPSIS).

Construction on a disputed 303-mile stretch of the Mountain Valley Pipeline is proceeding after the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has modified its stop-work order and permitted works to resume. Next Era Energy and ConEdison Transmission, co-developers of the 2 Bcf/d interstate pipeline, now aim to have the overall project built and in service by late 2019.

Three MHPS turbine-driven power plants have started up in the United States in short succession – the most recent being the 475-MW Kings Mountain Energy Center. Operated by NTE Carolinas, the $500 million facility is driven by MHPS G-Series gas turbines and has been running uninterrupted for nearly a week.

November 1, 2018, is the date when the Val de Saone pipeline will commence full operation, supplying an additional 250 GWh of natural gas from the North to the South of France. Start up of this key interconnector will lay the foundation for a single gas market zone in France – the basis for a standardized pricing system.

News in Brief

IEA reviews Brazilian gas market

Oct 15 – The International Energy Agency (IEA) has published a review of the opening of Brazil’s natural gas transportation system. Through its Gás para Crescer initiative, the Brazilian government sets a plan to liberalize the local energy market by enhancing the build-out of natural gas and electricity interconnectors, unbundling of TSOs and implementing of network codes.

Global GT market looses value

Oct 12 – Though Asia emerges as No.1 market for gas turbines, the overall value of the global gas turbine market  is forecast to decline over the coming five years. According to a Global Data report, the market value between now and 2022 will be $37.97 billion, down compared with $52.39 billion in the 2013-2017 period.

FERC approves $6bn CenterPoint/Vectren merger

Oct 11 – US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved the $6 billion merger of CenterPoint Energy and Vectren, whereby shareholders of the latter will be paid $72.00 in cash for each CenterPoint share. Vectren CEO Carl Chapman welcomed the ruling and added the companies “now anticipate a closing no later than the first quarter of 2019.”

Dürr buys part of Babcock & Wilcox

Oct 10 – Dürr Group, a Germany-based mechanical and plant engineering firm, has completed the acquisition Babcock & Wilcox’ (B&W) industrial environmental technology business. The takeover broadens Dürr’s portfolio on exhaust-air purification technologies, with a workforce of around 1,500 and estimated sales of € 400 million.

Azure achieves $12.50 per share

Oct 9 – India-based Azure Power Global Ltd has priced its underwritten public offering of 14,800,000 equity shares at a price of $12.50 per equity share. The company also granted underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1,200,000 shares at the same price, less underwriting discounts and commissions. The offering will close on October 10, 2018.

Global gas use grows at 2%/yr

Oct 8 – The International Gas Union (IGU) expects global gas consumption to grow by 1.6 to 2% per year in the coming decades. “Competitiveness, affordability, and eco-friendliness will remain essential in that regard,” said IGU President Joe M. Kang.

Financing agreed for EVM-II plant in Mexico

Oct 5 – A financing package of $740 million has been agreed for the Energias del Valle de Mexico II (EVM-II) combined-cycle power plant. Commercial banks involved in the financing were led by BNP Paribas, Citi, SMBC, and Mexico’s Banco National del Comercio Exterior. Milbank served as legal advisor.

MAN wins award for small-scale LNG paper

Oct 4 – A whitepaper by MAN Energy Solutions entitled ‘Small-scale LNG - powering the future of Asia’s island communities’ has won the Best Paper Award at this year’s Power-Gen Asia trade show. The paper ties in with MAN’s new strategy to deliver the entire value chain from small scale regas and import terminals to decentralized gas- and dual-fuel engine, and turbine-driven power plants. Carsten Dommermuth, International Business Development Manager, said “this setup is a real advantage for customers seeking to source a complete LNG-to-Power solution from the same provider.”

IEA laments steep drop in clean energy investment

Oct 3 – The latest steep drop in clean energy investment is “worrying,” according to Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency (IEA). Official figures show spending on renewables fell to $298 billion worldwide in 2017, down from $318bn in the previous year, marking the biggest absolute fall on record.

Siemens closes Mendix acquisition

Oct 2 – The German engineering conglomerate Siemens has closed the Mendix acquisition, just eight weeks after the transaction was first announced. Part of Siemens’ Vision 2020+ strategy, the integration of Medix digital platform is aimed at creating new SaaS solutions and extensions, particularly for the Digital Enterprise Software, MindSphere.

Merger of BASF Wintershall and DEA goes ahead

Oct 1 – BASF Group has agreed to merge its German oil and gas business BASF Winterhall and with Deutsche Erdöl AG (DEA), owned by the Russian investor group LetterOne. The joint venture will operate under the name Wintershall DEA.

Toshiba splits R&D for Power and Industrial Systems

Sept 28 – Toshiba Corp has announced it completed all necessary steps to separate its Power and Industrial System Research and Development Center and transfer the R&D on electricity to Toshiba Energy Systems, while research on industrial systems will be taken over by the company’s infrastructure arm. The split take effect on October 1.  

Gazprom’s supply to Austria up 34%

Sept 27 – The Russian gas major Gazprom has delivered record volumes to its Austrian partner OMV after an existing longterm contract was extended in June to run through to 2040.  From January 1 through September 23, 2018, Gazprom delivered 7.8 billion cubic meters (Bcm) of gas to Austria, a 34.5% rise compared with the same period last year. Full-year 2017 export volumes amounted to 9.1 Bcm.

Keystone XL construction to start in 2019

Sept 26 – TransCanada has received a key permit for $8bn Keystone XL pipeline, with the U.S. State Department ruling the 1,900km pipeline will not have any significant impact to either water or wildlife. Construction is now slated to start next year.

ABB partners with UBC

Sept 25 – Zurich-based ABB has entered a 3-year partnership with the University of British Columbia (UBC), focusing on biometric sensing. ABB will provide a total of $300,000 in funding ($100,000 per year), which will be matched by the Government of Canada.

GE launches ServiceMax 18.3.

Sept 24 – GE Digital has launched Service Max 18.3., a new version of its Predix ServiceMax Field Service Management (FSM). The new solution is said to give service technicians greater autonomy, dispatchers with more robust decision-making tools which utilities to better plan and execute complex service projects.

Aramco collaborates with Schneider Electric

Sept 21 – Saudi Aramco has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Schneider Electric to work together on various advanced digital technologies, including virtual reality. The MoU is one of several accords to support the Aramco’s 2020 Transformation Programme and the kingdom’s own Vision 2030 economic blueprint.