Daily News

China has chosen April 1 as the date when two-digit reductions in Value-Added Tax (VAT) will have to be implemented by key industries, including electric power producers, in bid to lower fuel costs and ultimately reduce electricity prices. Manufacturing companies will benefit from 13% to 16% VAT cuts, while construction and transport firms will pay around 10% less VAT and industrial users of thermal coal, including power producers will see VAT drop by 3%.

Striving to streamline China’s energy market, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is advancing plans to create a single oil and gas pipeline company by mid-2019. The new China-wide TSO will integrate the pipeline assets of former competitors, notably CNPC and its listed arm PetroChina, Sinopec and CNOOC.

Global CO2 intensity has decoupled from electricity demand growth since the mid-2010s, and this trend intensified when China and other major Asian economies started to turn their back on coal use for power generation, while falling costs for wind and solar PV made clean energy more attractive.

Surface coating developer Hardide has announced that testing – commissioned by EDF Energy and carried out by the British National Physical Laboratory (NPL) – indicates nanostructured chemical vapour deposition (CVD) coating can extend the life of steam turbine blades. The CVD coating made the tested FV520B turbine blades more resistant to erosion and cracking.

Drax Power has secured regulatory approval for its Millbrook Power Station, a proposed 299-MW open cycle gas turbine (OCGT) power plant to be built in Bedfordshire County, England. Developed at a cost of up to £90 million, the new Millbrook OCGT could start generating electricity as soon as 2022, provided it secures a UK capacity contract.

MAN Energy Solutions has received the Storage Highlight award for its new energy management solution, offering scalable and CO2-neutral energy storage and sector coupling. The basic principle of MAN ETES is the reversible conversion of electrical energy into thermal energy via storage in form of hot water and ice.

Leading LNG players like ExxonMobil, Shell and Total, as well as the engineering contractor Bechtel, have all completed qualification studies on Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems' H-100 gas turbine (120 MW) for use as the mechanical driver together with MHI compressors. Encouraged by this customer acceptance, MHI group is now marketing their H-100-driven liquefaction solution in single, stand-alone 1x100% strings or multi-unit large scale trains.

The South African arm of AEP Energy is about to purchase two power plants in Nairobi from Iberafrica and considers converting these units from diesel to natural gas. In Kenya, diesel-generated electricity is about 3 times costlier than geothermal, wind and hydropower and about 2.5 times more expensive than gas power.

Powergen Kyaukse Company has signed a 5-year operations and maintenance agreement with Wärtsilä to help its 145 MW power plant in Mandalay region meet its availability guarantees. The newly installed plant, driven by eight Wärtsilä 50SG gas fuelled engines, has been built to alleviate electricity shortages in Myanmar.

Length in natural gas supply the U.S. Mid-Atlantic and Ohio region is building up amid rising production from the Marcellus and Utica Shale. Simultaneously, growing demand in the South Central region for feed-gas for LNG export facilities on the Gulf Coast has caused a reversal in gas flows on key interstate pipelines.

Latest earnings calls from publicly-traded U.S. gas producers show a slowdown in 2019 gas production as the role of private producers increase. The 25 firms sampled by Energy Aspects have a combined base output of 23.1 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d), and said they expect 1.3 bcf/d annual production gains in 2019. This projected 6% uplift is less than their earlier growth 9% forecast.

As the second wave of the US shale revolution unfolds, the United States is forecast to account for 70% of the rise in global oil production and some 75% of the expansion in LNG trade over the next five years. On global oil markets, the U.S. has “essentially compensated for recent production shortfalls in Venezuela and Iran,“ commented Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Sorgenia has turned to GE to make its 765-MW Termoli combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant more efficient, reliable and flexible by enhancing its digital capabilities. In this context, Sorgenia also extended the multiyear O&M agreement with GE through 2031.

Spain’s gas network operator Enagás has agreed to pay $590 million for a 10.93% ownership interest in Tallgrass Energy (TGE), the operator of several U.S. interstate pipelines. To finance the deal, Enagás partnered with the private equity firm Blackstone and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC.

Finish technology group Wärtsilä has been contracted by Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) to supply an engine-driven power plant to help improve the grid reliability on the island. The 132 MW dual-fuel plant will be delivered and built on a fast-track basis as it is due to go into commercial operations in summer 2019.

News in Brief

ABB microgrid makes Indian villages energy self-reliant

May 17 – ABB’s MGS100 microgrid is helping some 39,000 homes and shops in remote regions in India to become energy independent, relying solely on renewable power sources and energy storage. Together with Husk Power Systems, ABB developed the MGS100 microgrid using wind and solar power to reduce household energy costs by up to 40% and improve productivity in 85% of factories and small businesses.

J-ENG develops new biofuel engine

May 16 – Japan Engine Corp. (J-ENG) has started to cooperate with Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line) to research and development a test engine running on biofuel. The new engine is designed for use in the maritime sector and is likely to be re-calibrated at a later stage for use in small-scale power generation applications.

‘Smarter E-Europe’ conference opens doors in Munich

May 15 – Today, the 2019 “Smarter E-Europe” conference and trade show is opening its doors to visitors in Munich. At the exhibition, Siemens is presenting decentralized energy solutions based on renewables and intelligent energy management systems for buildings, infrastructure and industry. Expert presentations on transforming the energy system, renewable integration and storage technologies can be seen at Siemens’ exhibit at Booth 110 in Hall B2.

Marubeni buys stake in U.S. distributed energy firm

May 14 – Japan's Marubeni Corp. has invested an undisclosed sum to buy an equity stake in GridMarket, a U.S.-based provider of development services to distributed energy resources (DER). Using proprietary analytics and machine learning, GridMarket’s distributed energy project platform helps utilities by recommending best-fit solutions like battery storage, solar PV, fuel cells and combined heat and power. By cooperating with GridMarket, Marubeni expects to identify cost-effective projects and source best-fit technologies for its own DER network in North America and Japan.

Global RES additions stall after 20-year growth

May 13 – The International Energy Agency (IEA) has reported an “unexpected flattening of growth trends” in the deployment of renewable energy sources (RES) deployment that raises concerns about meeting long-term climate goals. After two decades of strong annual growth, renewable energy developers around the world added as much net capacity in 2018 as they did in 2017.

RWE cancels €1.5bn coal power project

May 10 – The German utility RWE has decided to no longer invest in any coal-fired power projects and has cancelled a planned €1.5 billion ($1.68bn) lignite-fired power plant in Niederaussem, Germany. Instead, the utility is accelerating its transformation to renewables, energy storage and gas-fired generation through an asset swap with Europe’s largest utility, E.ON.

China’s CPECC to process gas from Iraq’s Halfaya oilfield

May 9 – Iraq and China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corporation (CPECC) have signed a $1.07 billion deal to build and operate facilities to process natural gas extracted alongside crude oil at Iraq’s giant Halfaya oilfield. CPECC, an affiliate of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), will process around 300 million standard cubic feet per day (mcf/d) of natural gas extracted from the field alongside crude oil, the oil ministry said.  Halfaya, operated by PetroChina, is Maysan Oil Company’s largest oilfield, producing 370,000 barrels per day (bpd) of the company’s total output of around 510,000 bpd.
Iraq continues to flare some of  gas extracted alongside crude oil but the Iraqi oil minister Thamer Ghadhban told Reuters Iraq is in talks with international oil companies to build a 300 mcf plant to process gas from the West Qurna 2 and Majnoon oilfields.

Chiyoda to get large cash injection

May 8 - Following losses of nearly $1 bill on an liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant project in Louisiana, Japanese construction company Chiyoda is to get a $1.4 bill cash injection. The company suffered a $953 mill loss in the six months to 30th September, 2018 after costs spiralled on the $10 bill Hackberry LNG plant in Louisiana, largely, due to escalating labour costs, it was claimed. Chiyoda was expected to record a net loss of about $1.4 bill for the fiscal year to March. Mitsubishi Corp, which owns a 33.4% stake in Chiyoda, and the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, have agreed to provide capital while the company implements a rescue strategy, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.

Siemens, TÜV SÜD partner on digital energy security

May 7 – Siemens and the German technical verification association TÜV SÜD have come together to address the growing risk of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, notably in the energy sector. The companies will digitally asses industrial control systems in both the oil and gas and power generation sectors (nuclear applications excluded). All tests will be vendor-agnostic.

UK ‘can cut emissions to net-zero’ by 2025

May 6 – Advisors to the British government have urged the Cabinet to “set and vigorously pursue” a new target to cut greenhouse gas emissions to ‘net-zero’ levels by 2050, replacing the current target of an 80% reduction against 1990 levels. The the Committee on Climate Change, which published the report, believes the new target could be achieved within the same cost-framework as the current more lenient goals.

Iraq’s gas imports from Iran bound to rise in June

May 2 – Iraq has no alternative to importing more Iranian gas to meet peak summer demand, the country’s electricity ministry said. He specified that halting imports would cost Iraq’s power grid 4,000 MW per day. Some 14 GW of Iraq’s installed capacity is run on domestic gas, and supplies from Iran keep an additional 4GW operational. “Until now, we have no alternatives to Iranian gas,” a spokesman of the energy ministry said, adding imports from Iran are expected to increase in June from currently 28 million cubic metres per day to 35 MMcm/d.

Waukesha gas engines delivered to CHP in East Germany

May 1 – INNIO’s authorized partner, S&L Energie-Projekte, has provided four packages of INNIO’s Waukesha VHP 9394GSI gas engines for a CHP, operated by the municipal utility of Lutherstadt Wittenberg in eastern Germany. The modernized district heating plant is claimed to achieve an overall efficiency above 95%.

Burns & McDonnell oversee commissioning of fast-ramp plants in Michigan

April 30 – Two quick-ramp gas power plant projects in Michigan, overseen by Burns & McDonnell, are now commissioned and in full commercial operation. Both the F.D. Kuester and A.J. Mihm generating stations are powered by 18-MW, gas-fueled Wärtsilä 18V50SG reciprocating engines. The two plants have a combined 180 MW in generating capacity.

Gazprom advances start of ‘Power of Siberia’ link

April 29 – Russia’s Gazprom is preparing to start injecting natural gas into the ‘Power of Siberia’ pipeline to China in Q3-2019. Preparations are “going according to schedule”, Gazprom chairman Alexey Miller told CNPC chairman Wang Yilin at a working meeting in Beijing.

Siemens to focus on energy transition at OTC 2019

April 26 – “Navigating the new normal” in the oil and gas industry - against the backdrop of the global energy transition - is in focus of Siemens’ exhibit at the 50th annual Offshore Technology Conference (OTC). The event will be held in Houston, Texas, on May 6-9.

Norway’s sovereign fund invests $14bn in renewables

April 25 – The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) has been given permission to invest up to $14 billion in unlisted renewables. Norway’s finance minister, Siv Jensen, said the new approach was based on financial rather than environmental considerations. Moreover, Norway’s GPFG decided to tighten its coal criteria, which will lead to the divestment of large mines and coal-exposed power companies.

Smart grid market to top $70bn by 2027

April 24 – The global Smart Grid Market is expected to reach around $70 billion, growing at an annual rate of 15.56% in the coming years through to 2027.North America is forecast to see the largest revenue growth, according to ResearchNester, while Europe also shows promising growth in smart grids due to high awareness for decentralized power generation, battery storage and conserving energy.