Daily News

Fast-rising oil and gas production in the United States keeps pushing up utility-scale electricity generation from gas-fired power plants. The share of gas generation will rise from 37% this year to 38% in 2020, while the contribution of coal power falls from 25% to less than 22%, the EIA said in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook.

Saudi Aramco has been selected to source and supply LNG for a future 3,600-megawatt LNG-based power plant, under development in Bangladesh. Aramco and Acwa Power are building the integrated $3 billion project on behalf of the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB).

RWE, Germany’s largest electricity provider, might opt to divest its 70% shareholding the Denizli gas power plant (775 MW) in Turkey, Reuters reported, after the utility posted a 20 million Euro fall in EBIT at its lignite and nuclear business unit in January-September – a start contrast with its 38 million Euro profit a year ago.

Burning hydrogen (H2) in a combined-cycle power plant is a step towards dispatchable, totally CO2-free power generation. However, the main challenge of H2 combustion lies in its properties, notably its increased reactivity. In contrast to natural gas, the flame position moves upstream during H2 combustion, which increases the risk of flashback.

Tesla’s decision to build Gigafactory-4 – its first European factory for battery cells and e-vehicles – in German is expected to bring an “enormous boost” for the country's lagging shift to electric mobility. Economy minister Peter Altmaier called the surprise announcement by Tesla CEO Elon Musk a "milestone" for the production of battery cells production and the rollout of e-mobility.

Though green hydrogen is still more costly to produce than conventional sources, Wood Mackenzie expects it could reach parity by 2030 in Australia, Germany and Japan based on $30 per MWh for renewables. While technology is advancing, analysts see “considerable uncertainty” around hydrogen investment in Asia-Pacific.

German transmission grid operator TransnetBW has commissioned Siemens to build new switchgear in the 380 kilovolt (kV) Daxlanden substation in Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg. The order is priced in the low triple-digit millions range, and the commissioning of the turnkey solution will be completed by 2029.

The German government has come under pressure from climate lawyers to ban all fossil fuel projects from the list of those eligible for European Investment Bank (EIB) support. Luxemburg-based EIB deferred its decision to ban loans to fossil-fuel projects until mid-November after Germany had urged the bank to keep financing gas-fired power projects.

U.S. infrastructure firm AECOM has seen its full-year revenue rise to $20.2 billion, despite a 3% drop in earnings at its construction services segment. Completion of several combined-cycle power plants in the fourth quarter was not replaced by new orders, as AECOM said it “decided to extract itself from the fixed-priced power plant market.”

Deep disparities between well-supplied oil and gas markets, growing emissions and the insufficiency of stated policies to curb those emissions are the key theme of the 2019 World Energy Outlook (WEO), published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) today. However, critics the IEA is “underplaying the speed” at which the world could switch to green energy.

South Korea’s construction conglomerate HDC Group has teamed up with Hanwha Energy to develop an LNG-fuelled power station in Tongyeong, some 330 kilometers south of Seoul. Under the deal, Hanwha will guarantee the LNG supply for the 1,012 MW combined-cycle power plant that is due operational in 2024.

Siemens has been contracted by Vietnam’s Hiep Phuoc Power Co. to convert the customer’s steam power unit in Ho Chi Minh City to combined-cycle mode. The upgraded plant will run on regasified LNG, instead of oil, and see its capacity boosted from 780 MW to nearly 1,200 MW.

The Canadian power producer ENMAX has asked GE to upgrade and hybridize an LM6000 gas turbine at the Crossfield Energy Center in Alberta. Coupled with GE’s battery energy storage system (BESS) and hybrid controls, the turbine will supply backup energy starting from the third quarter of 2020.

Siemens has launches its new Grid Diagnostic Suite at the European Utility Week (EUW) in Paris today, helping grid operators cope with new challenges from the expansion of e-mobility and increasing infeed of volatile generating capacity. Four cloud-based applications collect data from devices installed anywhere in the grid for better distribution automation and power quality.

Rolls-Royce’s power system unit and 2G Energy, German maker of gensets and cogeneration modules, have agreed to mutually supply gas-powered gensets. Under the deal, Rolls-Royce will buy 2G gensets in the 250-550 kilowatt range and re-sell them under its MTU brand, while 2G buys MTU Series 4000 generators in a range of 776 kW to 2,535 kW.

News in Brief

ExxonMobil enhances turbine oils

Jan 17 – New high performance turbine oils, developed by ExxonMobil Lubricants, are  entering the market which are formulated to prevent build-up of lacquer, varnish and deposits. The oils are designed to protect against thermal and oxidative degradation, one of the root causes of deposit build-up.

Wärtsilä signs O&M deals in the Bahamas

Jan 16 – Following the commissioning of a Wärtsilä-built 132 MW power plant in Bahamas in December, the Finish manufacturer now signed a two-year operation and maintenance (O&M) accord with the plant owner, the Bahamas Power and Light Company (BPL). Wärtsilä will transition, train, and develop the owner’s Bahamian work force and provide key performance guarantees.

China, S'Korea curtail coal to tackle air pollution

Jan 15 – Beijing city government’s aggressive approach to tackling air pollution is working and South Korea’s spring coal-fired curtailments show some success in cutting seasonal emissions. According to Wood Mackenzie, this should benefit LNG, particularly while spot prices remain low.

Sri Lanka at brink of power shortages

Jan 14 – Sri Lanka could face power cuts by March, after plans for a large-scale coal power plant were been cancelled just prior to start of construction, and a tender for a 300 MW diesel plants ended up in court. On the demand side, pressure is building up as the region is moving into the dry season in February and March. Weather warnings say the island is likely to receive lower than average rainfall in the first quarter of 2020.

Caterpillar’s new genset comply with UK & German grid codes

Jan 13 – Caterpillar Inc. has launched a series of new generator sets that comply with the new G99 United Kingdom, VDE-AR-N 4110 German and Belgium C10/C11 grid codes. The following gensets – G3500H, CG132B, CG170, and CG260 (rated from 280-4,500kVA) – have been verified to be able to accommodate different reactive power modes, active power functions, and connection conditions for normal operation or reconnection after mains decoupling.

Transneft launches battery-based power supply for ILI tools

Jan 10 – Transneft Diascan, the largest Russian inspection service provider for pipelines, has developed and put into operation a power supply system for in-line inspection (ILI) tools based on rechargeable batteries. Flaw detectors performing inspections of trunk oil pipelines, gas pipelines and oil product pipelines can now use the energy from rechargeable batteries, which helps save time and reduces the cost of in-line inspection.

Pavilion starts trading LNG out of Madrid

Jan 9 – Singapore-based Pavilion Energy has completed the acquisition of all gas and LNG assets of the Spanish utility Iberdrola. From its new European headquarters in Madrid, Pavilion said has launched 2020 LNG trading operations with supplies focusing on Spain and the UK market.

Gazprom extends gas transits via Belarus until 2021

Jan 8 – Gazprom and Gazprom Transgaz Belarus have sealed additional agreements to extend the contracts for gas supplies to and gas transportation across Belarus until 2021. According to the newly-signed documents, the contractual supply and transit volumes in 2020 will remain at the level of 2019.

EastMed pipeline to take FID by 2022

Jan 7 – Greece, Cyprus and Israel have signed an agreement to build the 1,900-kilometre EastMed pipeline at an estimated cost of 6 billion Euros. The subsea pipeline, spanning over 1,900-kilometres would initially carry 10 Bcm of gas per annum from Israeli and Cypriot waters to Crete and then on to the Greek mainland and into the European gas network via Italy. A final investment decision (FID) is meant to be reached in 2022, given that the pipeline is scheduled for completion by 2025.

U.S. energy-related emissions drop over 2%

Jan 6 – Fewer emissions from coal consumption, combined with lower energy demand, have helped to significantly reduce the overall energy-related carbon emissions in the United States. According to government statistics, energy-related CO2 emissions fell 2.2 percent last year, and the downward trend is forecast to continue into 2020.

Brent crude prices surge

Jan 3 – North Sea Brent crude prices have risen to their highest level since September 2019, up nearly $3 per barrel because of Middle East tensions coupled with improved Chinese economic forecasts. Brent crude futures for March 2020 delivery were last seen trading at 69.21 per barrel the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). This bullish price sentiment will feed through to oil-indexed natural gas contracts and LNG deliveries, linked to the Japanese crude cocktail (JCC) basket price.

IEA says coal’s fate tied to Asia

Dec 23 – Rapid rise of wind and solar power in many parts of the world has pushed coal-fired power generation into steep decline in most developed countries. "But this is not the end of coal, since demand continues to expand in Asia," analysts at the International Energy Agency commented: "The region’s share of global coal power generation has climbed from just over 20 percent in 1990 to almost 80 percent in 2019, meaning coal’s fate is increasingly tied to decisions made in Asian capitals."

Drop in coal-burn makes Germany edge closer to climate targets

Dec 20 – In 2019, Germany managed to increase its greenhouse gas emissions for the second year in a row, mainly due to a 20 percent drop of coal use for power generation and a growing contribution from renewables. Energy savings and efficiency increases also helped. According to calculations by energy research group AG Energiebilanzen (AGEB), Germany’s primary energy consumption declined by 2.3 percent this year, overall energy use fell more than 2 percent, and energy-related CO2 emissions fell by as much as 7 percent.

Glencore buys Orsted’s lgas business unit

Dec 19 – UK-listed mining company Glencore has agreed to take over a loss-making natural gas business from Orsted, including long-term import capacity at the Gate regas terminal in Rotterdam and five other LNG purchase agreements. “The transaction entails a payment from Orsted to Glencore and will result in a loss that exceeds our current provision related to the LNG activities,” stated Copenhagen-based Orsted without disclosing the value of the transaction.

Carbon-intensive firms may shed over 40% in value

Dec 18 – Energy- and carbon-emissions intensive companies could lose up to 43% of their value if national governments enact more stringent policies to reduce air pollution and tackle climate change. Companies using green energy, in contrast, could gain up to 33% in value, research by the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) finds.

COP25 – a “lost opportunity”

Dec 17 – UN Secretary António Gutierrez has dismissed the outcome of the COP25 climate talks in Madrid as “disappointing” and “lost opportunity“. Some of the world’s largest emitters, including Australia, Brazil, China and Saudi Arabia had joined the U.S. in pushing for accounting loopholes to weaken commitments to reduce emissions in the transport and power generation sector.

Industry produces over 13% of Germany’s electricity

Dec 16 – Decentralized power generation at industrial sites keeps rising in Germany. According to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), industry produced 55 Terawatt-hours (TWh) of in 2018, meaning local units of mining and manufacturing generated 12.6 percent of the country's gross electricity output, mostly from gas-fired power units. The use of gas as a fuel for industrial power plants has consequently risen from around 35 percent to almost 50 percent over the last ten years.