Daily News

The technology group Wärtsilä is witnessing the growing importance of utilities as a customer segment, alongside independent power producers. “Utility-scale solar projects with a full Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) are growing fast, and gas-fired power plants remains stable,” the Finnish manufacturer said. Geographically, it sees the highest demand growth the demand for EPC contractors in Africa and South-America.

Spanish manufacturer Himoinsa is opening a new 12,000 sqm factory in Santa Fe which has the capacity to produce 3,000 generator sets of between 8 kVA and 1745 kVA each year. Fitted with Cramaco alternators, these gensets will be wholly manufactured in Argentina for sale locally as well as in Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia.

The Iraqi Ministry of Electricity (MoE) has awarded GE Power a $400 million contract to develop 14 electric substations on a turnkey basis, including supply of transformers and circuit breakers to rehabilitate existing substations. The aim of the project is to bring electricity to remote areas in Iraq with crippling power shortages.

Nova Analytical Systems, part of Tenova Goodfellow, in June received an order from Ametek Reading Alloys for six DuraNOVA continuous process oxygen gas analyzers. These six units were commissioned in late October at Amtek's milling plant for titanium-based specility powders.

The US oil major ExxonMobil has joined a group of eight International Oil Companies (IOCs), led by the European majors Shell and BP, to jointly put forward proposals to curb methane emissions from upstream operations, notably shale gas fracking. For Exxon, this is the first time the company joins an environmental initiative alongside industry peers.

Global petrochemical manufacturer INEOS has struck a long-term supply agreement with SP Chemicals which will see ethane, derived from US shale gas, being shipped to China for the first time. The deal also stipulates the construction of a 95,000cbm Very Large Ethane Carrier (VLEC) which is expected to be delivered in 2019.

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.

NIOC, the National Iranian Oil Company is keen to follow through on Iran’s first ever gas export contract, sealed by IFLNG – a joint venture between Khark Gas Refining Company and Norway’s Helma. The 20-years contract, set to come into force within three months, stipulates the liquefaction and export of Iranian gas from the South Pars field starting from mid-2018.

For efficiency levels of fully air-cooled gas turbines – like Siemens’ new HL-class – to reach 63% and ultimately 65% combined-cycle efficiency, firing temperatures need to keep rising.  Siemens consequentially developed manufacturing technologies like laser engraving that allow the use of thicker/ multi-layer thermal barrier coating to better protect the turbine parts exposed to the hot combustion gases, says Guido Schuld, Product Family Owner large gas turbines.

The Polish Oil and Gas Company Group (PGNiG) has signed a five-year contract with Centrica for US LNG cargoes, delivered on a DES basis, from the Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana starting from 2018.

A new chemical composite, developed by researchers at MIT, can be used to store the energy from sunlight or any other heat source in a battery-like system that is capable of storing thermal energy and releasing it on demand. The new solution combines phase change material (PCM) with molecular switches that can be adjusted with light, enabling the overall system to store thermal energy at lower melting points than the original material.

Wison Offshore & Marine has forged a strategic cooperation with Shanghai Electric Power Generation Group to jointly develop a medium to large-scale floating LNG power generation barge. The two partners want to commercialise the new FLNG power ship as a first step of a wider strategic cooperation.

Controversy is mounting in Australia over whether the lifetime of AGL Energy’s 2,051-MW Liddell power plant should be extended – as proposed by the Turnbull government – even though the operator wants to shut down the “costly and unreliable” unit in 2022. A new report finds the government’s stipulated lifetime extension would cost around $3.6 billion over five years, compared to $2.2 billion for a combination of wind power, demand side-response and energy efficiency measures.

Solar power will outcompete natural gas as a fuel for power generation in the United States, with costs for utility-scale solar projects forecast to plunge 84% from 2009-levels by 2025. The US National Renewables Energy Laboratory (NREL) expects gas will maintain its relative cost advantages at $53/MWh for a combined-cycle power plant – except compared with the $32/MWh of utility-scale PV in 2030.

Three Mitsubishi business units have worked together and successfully completed testing of MHPS’s 2-shaft H-100 gas turbine. Utilizing latest combustor technology, the 120 MW turbine is now proven to be industry leader in terms of low NOx (single digit ppm) for full-load operations. MHI Group said the solution has been designed for thermal power plants as well as mechanical drive LNG-applications.

News in Brief

China’s gas production up 2.3% in Dec-2017

Jan 23 – Robust winter demand has propelled up gas prices in Northern China, prompting the government to ease restrictions on coal-burn for power generation. Domestic gas production subsequently increased. In December alone, gas production stood at 13.61 Bcm, up 2.3% year on year - the highest monthly rise since 2010, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Electric vehicle market on the up

Jan 22 – Electric car deployment is swift in some markets: In Norway, electric cars had a 29% market share last year, the highest globally, followed by the Netherlands with 6.4%, and Sweden with 3.4%. Globally, the number of electric cars on the roads rose to 2 million in 2016, following a year of strong growth in 2015, according to of the International Energy Agency’s latest Global EV Outlook. China was the largest EV market in 2016, accounting for more than 40% of new sales.

Bahrain to commence tight gas drilling

Jan 19 – Bahrain’s oil ministry is in talks with Schlumberger, Haliburton and others to start the development of its tight gas reserves in the course of this year, notably large deposits within the onshore Kuff reservoir. The drive to tap its own gas reserves complement’s Bahrain’s ongoing construction of an LNG import terminal, designed to balance seasonal demand.

Siemens rebrands its HSRG arm

Jan 18 – Siemens has rebranded and renamed its full subsidiary NEM Energy into Siemens Heat Transfer Technology (HTT). Headquartered in the Netherlands, NEM Energy mainly designs, engineers and sells components for power plants: Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HSRG), Waste Heat Recovery Units (WHRUs), Exhaust & Diverter Systems and related equipment.

CPUC rules to replace gas plants with energy storage

Jan 17 – California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has ruled that Calpine needs to replace three gas-fired peaking power plants with energy storage facilities by 2019, “if feasible and at a reasonable cost to ratepayers.” Calpine had initially sought regulatory permission to maintain “must-run status” for the two 47-MW peaking plants in Feather River and Yuba and a 605-MW gas power plant in Metcalf.

Control System market to top 6.2bn by 2022

Jan 16 – As more and more emphasis gets placed on alternative energy production, the market for power plant control systems is set to grow at an annual growth rate of 5.78%, expanding from $4.70 billion in the past year to $6.22 billion by 2022. According to MarketsandMarkets, top players in this electricity management are ABB, Siemens, Schneider Electric, Emerson and GE.

California to close last nuke in 2025

Jan 15 – The Public Utility Commission has reached an agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to close California's last nuclear power plant reactors at Diablo Canyon by 2025. As the state’s largest power plant, Diablo Canyon currently covers 9% of California’s electricity needs.

Halyard hands out EPC contract for Texas peaking plant

Jan 12 – Lauren Engineers & Constructors has been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for a 348MW natural gas-fired peaking power plant in Texas from Halyard Energy Wharton, a part of Halyard Energy Ventures.

Bord Gáis to develop battery storage, not OCGT in Kilkenny

Jan 11 – Kilkenny County Council is processing an application Greener Ideas, a joint venture set up in 2009 between Bord Gáis Energy and Mountside Properties,for the construction of a 100MW battery energy storage system. Initially the project partners intended to develop an open-cycle gas turbines power plant on the site which is now listed for the battery project.

L&T commissions 360-MW Bheramara plant

Jan 10 – Larsen & Tourbo, the India-based engineering firm, has commissioned and handed over the 360-MW Bheramara gas power plant to North West Power Generation Company, a subsidiary of Bangladesh Power Development Board. L&T said it had carried out EPC for the plant which was built on a turnkey basis for Marubeni, with gas and steam turbines supplied by Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS).

Floating power market to hit $1.4bn by 2022

Jan 9 – The floating power plant market is expected to grow from an estimated $889.6 million in 2017 to $1,440.1 million by 2022, growing at an average annual rate of 10.11% through to 2022. According to MarketsandMarkets, growth in this sector is spurred rising electricity demand in remote areas combined with benefits of floating vs. land-based power projects, e.g. issues related to land acquisition.

Israeli refinery to build 135-MW captive power plant

Jan 8 – ORL, Israel's largest refining and petrochemicals group, has confirmed plans to build a 135-MW gas-fired heat and power plant that will eventually be expanded to 340-MW. The cogeneration plant will produce both steam and electricity to power ORL's own operations, replacing an old coal-fired unit. Gas supply for the new CHP will be sourced via Energean from two offshore Israeli gas fields.

JERA sells 6% stake in New York gas power plant

Jan 5 – Japan’s JERA, a fuel joint venture between Tepco and Chubu Electric, has sold 6% of its equity interest in Cricket Valley Energy Center, the operator of 1,100-MW combined-cycle gas power plant under construction in Dover, New York. The buyer of the JERA’s equity stake is the Development Bank of Japan which is already invested in the project.

Pipeline blast halves Nigeria’s power output

Jan 4 – A fire at the NNPC-operated Escravos-Lagos gas pipeline in Nigeria’s southern Edo state has halted gas supply to the 1,320-MW Egbin power plant and five others, according to a statement by the Nigerian Power, Works and Housing Ministry. In total, the pipeline blast interrupted gas supplies to utilities generating more than 3,000-MW. The sudden load change tripped Nigeria’s power grid.

US biodiesel output rises despite tax credits expiry

Dec 21 – Biodiesel production levels in the United States were slightly higher in the first nine month of 2017 than in the previous year, despite the expiration of a federal biodiesel blender's tax credit at the end of 2016. The EIA forecasts a continued increased of domestic US biodiesel production due to changes to import policies which will make it more difficult to import biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia.

Aggreko to implement Q-Pulse in 200 sites

Dec 20 – Aggreko, a leading provider of modular mobile power gensets, will install Ideagen’s Q-Pulse software in 200 locations worldwide. Once implemented at Aggreko’s regional hubs, the Q-Pulse software will enable around 200 supplier surveillance audits per year. Live data from the system will also allow Aggreko to assess trends and potential risks from across the business quickly and efficiently.

TimkenSteel to use NextGen off-gas analysis system

Dec 19 – TimkenSteel has placed an order to install Tenova’s NextGen off-gas analysis system, iEAF dynamic process control and water detection at its Faircrest steel plant in Canton, Ohio. When fully implemented, the three technologies combined will help reduce energy consumption, improve water leak detection and increase the plant’s overall productivity.