More rigs have been drilled for natural gas than for oil in Saudi Arabia for the first time in seven years, marking a quiet but swift shift to gas and renewables in power generation. The Saudi Kingdom is accelerating its drive to reduce dependence on crude oil exports, while direct burning of heavy fuel oil (HFO) in the power sector has reached multi-year lows.
Saudi Arabia-based Najran Cement Company has renewed the three-year asset management agreement with Wärtsilä for Najran’s two captive power plants in Sultana and Akfah. Under the deal, Wärtsilä will ensure day-to-day operation of the two baseload plants, and carry out preventive and predictive maintenance.
Lacking access to financing is a key hurdle for clean power generation across Africa, Asia and Latin America. To overcome such challenges, the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has raised over $1.2 billion in private financing to build, install and operate 701 MW of clean energy projects – notably biogas power plants, solar and wind farms and decentralized mini-grids for underserved areas.
West-to-east power flows on the ERCOT transmission system are bound to rise substantially, following a surge in wind capacity addition in the Panhandle northwestern Texas, and new solar PV resources in far southwest Texas. Rising supply of inherently intermittent renewable energy is proving difficult to integrate; hence transmission line upgrades need to be fast-tracked to allow the grid operator ERCOT balance wind energy in the Northwest with flexible gas-fired generation in the eastern part of the state.
Funding of about $44 million has been freed up by the US Department of Energy (DOE) for design and testing of advanced carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies. Selected projects include engineering-scale testing of transformational solvent- or membrane-based CO2-capture, and the design of a commercial-scale, post-combustion CCS system at an existing coal power unit.
Noble Energy and Delek Drilling and Noble Energy, partners in developing Israel’s Tamar and Leviathan gas fields, confirmed they signed a $15 billion deal to export up to 64 billion cubic meters (Bcm) of natural gas over 10 years to Egypt’s Dolphinus Holding. Hurdles of how to export the gas to Egypt have not been solved yet, but the Arab nation urgently needs the more gas supply to fuel three 4.8 gigawatt combined-cycle power plants, currently under construction.
Construction of the Afghan section of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline is scheduled to start on Friday, February 23. Through long in the making, the TAPI interconnector is envisaged to transport Turkmen gas to countries in Asia, notably energy-hungry India.
Mexico, one of Latin America's leading energy producers, has officially become the 30th member country of the International Energy Agency (IEA). The Paris-based agency now helps formulate energy policies for its members with regards to supply security and investment – an attractive proposition as Mexico seeks to implement its energy reforms and develop a liquid natural gas market. An online gas trading platform is meant to be launched by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) in summer 2018.
Substitution of Australia’s ageing coal- with gas power plants would be ideal to comply with the National Emission Reduction target but gas prices are very high and availability is tight which leads to “constrained electricity generation,” according to the IEA's latest Australia 2018 Review. "Relatively high-cost production from unconventional gas” impact on the expansion of LNG projects in Western Australia and the start of LNG exports from Queensland. At the same time, domestic gas consumption has surged 70% over the past decade, notably in power generation.
Future use of hybrid energy will lead to a consistent baseload, without the need for top-up via fossil fuels, anticipates Francesco Falco, chief commercial officer at GE Power Conversion. "When using Silicon Carbide (SiC), – a diamond-like substance – instead of traditional silicon chips in a solar inverter, its high power density feature can reduce power losses by up to 50%," he explained.
Poland’s national power transmission system operator PSE will get ABB Ability software installed to enhance efficiency and reliability of the electricity network and its interface within the European energy market. The initiative is part of Poland’s efforts to upgrade and modernize the country’s power grid.
At the Munich Security Conference today, Siemens and eight partners from industry have signed the first joint charter for greater cybersecurity while seeking to advance digitalization. Co-signatories of the charter are Airbus, Allianz, Daimler Group, IBM, NXP, SGS and Telekom.
Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) is celebrating its first win in Brazil for the technical selection of the M501 JAC gas turbine for the Vale Azul-II project. The power plant, which will have a contracted output of 466MW in combined-cycle mode, was successful in the A-6 Brazilian Electricity Auction held on December 20.
Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL), a subsidiary of TransCanada, has commissioned Siemens to supply a gas turbine-driven compressor train for the Winchell Lake Compressor Station in Alberta, Canada. The train will be a critical part for the US$1.5 billion expansion program on the NGTL system, responding to new contracted customer demand of 3 Bcf/d.
Danish EPC-specialist, BWSC, in consortium with MAN Diesel & Turbo, has been contracted to build the ‘Maria Gleta’ power plant near Cotonou, largest city and economic centre of Benin. The 127-MW plant, equipped with seven 51/60DF gensets, is due for delivery during 2018. Maria Gleta is scheduled to commence operation in the first half of 2019.