Daily News

The Nigerian government has announced plans to implement a new gas pricing regime on May 29 in an effort to reduce chronic supply shortfalls and subsequent electric power cuts. Payment issues, and problems with debt collections, have so far made it difficult to enforce domestic gas supply obligations for critical infrastructure such as power stations.

TTS Martin, the EPC lead for a combined heat and power project in Slovakia, has contracted Rolls-Royce to supply Bergen reciprocating gas engines to replace existing coal-fired gensets. The CHP is being built on behalf of the state-owned utility Martinska teplarenska and is scheduled to start commercial operations in early 2020.

Energy giant E.ON has delivered a strong operating performance in the first quarter of this year in all markets except the UK. The Essen-based company blamed Britain’s new regulatory cap on energy price for the €90 million decline in its earnings there.

Dominion Energy’s CEO Tom Farrell is pushing to resume construction works on the $7.8 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline, vowing to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, if needed. Though “frustrated” by regulatory hurdles, Farrell said he would not back down from the project which is meant to transport fracked natural gas from West Virginia via Virginia to North Carolina.

Falling gas prices in Europe and Asia pose no risk of reducing US LNG exports, the Cheniere CEO Jack Fusco told analysts. “There haven’t been any spot cargos that haven’t cleared the US and made a margin,” he said in his company’s Q1-2019 earnings call.

Australia, in its third consecutive year of record-breaking emission levels, has finally started to promote the use of electric vehicles. Research, led by the Electric Vehicle Council (EVC), finds if Australia extensively adapts to an electric-powered mobility system it can eliminate 16 million barrels of imported oil every year by 2030.

Germany-based MAN Energy Solution has opened its new U.S. headquarters in Brookshire, some 30 miles west of Houston, Texas. The new workshop and office complex combines engine and turbomachinery repair operations, which were formerly located at two different Gulf Coast sites.

Swiss-based energy trading company Axpo and German LNG Terminal GmbH, the joint venture formed to build Germany’s first LNG terminal, have signed a Heads of Agreement (HoA) for a long-term capacity contract for LNG offtake from the terminal to be located at Brunsbüttel on the River Elbe in northern Germany. The HoA was claimed to be another important step towards taking the investment decision on the terminal.

US demand for coal to generate electricity will keep falling in the coming months, federal officials said Thursday. This is despite President Trump’s efforts to shore up the struggling industry. Renewable energy sources including wind, solar and hydropower are expected to fill much of the gap left by coal's decline, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). However, natural gas is expected to remain the fuel of choice for power generation with an expected 40% share of US markets this summer.

China’s switch from coal to gas, to de-carbonise its energy mix and tackle pollution under its Blue Sky policy, requires importing considerably more gas imports and investment in related infrastructure, DNV GL said in a report. Gas currently accounts for only 7% of China’s energy mix, compared to a global average of 22% – but the Chinese government aims to boost that share to 10% by 2020, and as much as 15% by 2030.

This week, the UK’s National Grid claimed it had produced electricity without using coal for seven days. The UK pioneered the use of coal-fired power stations back in the 1880s and became a prolific user of coal as well as a major exporter, which lasted for nearly a century. “As more and more renewables come onto our energy system, coal-free runs like this are going to be a regular occurrence," said Fintan Slye, director of National Grid Group’s Electricity System Operator.

“The path towards a de-carbonised future is unstoppable,” claims David Ledesma, Energy & Strategy Consultant and Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES). The industry must, therefore, develop long-term strategies as to what it will do to achieve the European carbon emission targets and set out what additional costs will be incurred and who will pay them.

Gibraltar has officially opened a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification terminal recently completed by Shell and Gasnor - a 100% Shell-owned subsidiary. As a result, Gibraltar is switching from diesel-fueled power generation to cleaner-burning natural gas, using a newly commissioned 80 MW gas-fired power plant.

Siemens is to spin-off its Gas and Power (GP) division as part of the next phase in its ‘Vision 2020+’ plan. The plan involves creating a major new player in the energy market with a business volume of €30 billion and over 80,000 employees through the spin-off and the transfer of Siemens’ SGRE stake.

With a wave of coal-fired power plant closures in Alberta, Canada over the next several years, natural gas demand in the province is projected to surge. Alberta has told power companies to shut all coal-fired facilities by 2030.

News in Brief

Fuel switch could abate 1.2bn tons of CO2

July 19 – Some 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 could be abated by switching to gas using existing infrastructure, if prices and regulation are supportive. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), this would be enough to bring global CO2 emissions back down to where they were in 2013.

IEA launches methane tracker

July 18 – A new ‘methane tracker’, launched by the International Energy Agency (IEA), provides up-to-date estimates of current oil and gas methane emissions by drawing on the best available data. Analysts stressed methane emissions could be reduced by nearly half at no net cost.

Canada’s CO2 tax also affects gas power

July 17 – Change in Canada’s carbon tax regulation for new power plants has changed to also affect cleaner-burning, gas combined-cycle power stations starting from 2021. The move could cause SaskPower to reconsider its planned upcoming Moose Jaw gas power station.

MAN, Daewoo, HSD partner on engine digitalization

July 16 – MAN Energy Solutions, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) and HSD Engine (HSD) have signed a strategic agreement to cooperate in the field of marine engine systems digitization. The three companies also work together on auxiliary systems and data analysis, aiming to apply part of their know-how to power generation and related sectors.

Canada launches first utility-scale smart microgid

July 15 – The Ontario-based municipal utility North Bay Hydro Services is cooperating with the smart grid solutions firm S&C Electric to launch Canada’s first utility-scale microgrid system. Among some solar power, the 789KW microgrid system will be powered by two 265kW natural gas generators.

Macquarie funds Mexican power plant

July 12 – Macquarie Capital has chosen Credit Agricole, Natixis and SMBC to co-finance a $380 million combined-cycle gas power plant. The 560 MW plant is designated to be built in San Louis Potosi, a city in central Mexico.

B&V launches distributed energy group

July 11 – Black & Veatch has launched a dedicated distributed energy group to place its conventional power business in the context of the global energy transition. The distribute energy group will look into new fuel sources such as hydrogen and aspires to “re-power the more-than-century-old power industry.”

Funding secured for Kazah CHP project

July 10 – Kazinform Erg has committed to spend $500 million on a gas cogeneration station that will provide heat and electricity to the south of Kazakhstan. Over 87% of Kazakhstan’s electricity is generated from fossil fuels, and in 2018 the country produced 107,060 billion kWh of electricity, a 3.8% increase over the previous year and enough to cover total power use of 103,228 kWh.

Bitcoin mining uses much energy

July 9 – Estimates of bitcoin’s electricity consumption are wide-ranging, on the order of 20‑80 TWh annually. According to George Kamiya, digital energy analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA), bitcoin mining consumed around 45 TWh in 2018 although this has risen significantly this year. Through the first six months of 2019, bitcoin mining has already consumed an estimated 29 TWh.

Coal exit doesn’t impact Germany's supply security

July 8 – Electricity supply security in Germany is set to stay “very high” even as the country begins to phase out coal-fired power generation, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) said in a monitoring report. “Energy supply is adequately ensured”, the ministry said, in all scenarios examined up to 2030. Thereafter, things are less clear but the German Coal Commission is adamant that its proposal to exit coal power by 2038 is feasible and won’t seriously impact reserve margins.

Hydrogen demo plant starts in Adelaide

July 5 – The Australian Gas Networks (AGN), part of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG), has received A$4.9 million in government funding for an A$11.4m hydrogen electrolyser demonstration project at the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide. At the test site, AGN plans to blend 5% renewable hydrogen with natural gas for supply to customers using its existing gas distribution networks. The project is based on a Siemens proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser, running based on wind and solar power.

Wärtsilä forms biogas solution

July 4 – Wärtsilä Puregas Solutions, specialists in biogas upgrading technology, has merged with Wärtsilä’s biogas liquefaction team to create a one-stop-shop service for biofuel production. Having installed the world’s largest bioLNG facility in Skogn, Norway, Wärtsilä will deliver two more bio-LNG plants to customers in Scandinavia. The company’s Puregas CA process recovers more than 99.9% of the biomethane present in raw biogas.

PNM to close San Juan Generating Station

July 3 — New Mexico's largest energy holding, PNM Resources, has filed an application to the Public Regulation Commission to close the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station. For replacement power, PNM said the preferred option was a mix of gas power plants, solar and wind farms and new battery storage facilities. The utility strives to be ‘emissions-free’ by 2040.

ADB opens office in Singapore

July 2 — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has decided to open an office in Singapore. The lean office with twelve staff will focus on the expansion of its private sector operations, e.g. through Public-Private Partnerships. “We estimate that developing Asia will need $1.7 trillion per year in infrastructure investments until 2030 to maintain the region’s growth momentum,” commented Singapore’s finance minister Heng Swee Keat.

Testing starts at Haliade-X

July 1 – Technology testing has started at GE’s Haliade-X, the world’s biggest offshore wind turbine. The 12 MW nacelle and 107-metre long blade was shipped to the UK as part of an advanced technology testing program, focused on enhancing the platform before it enters into serial production in 2021.

Tata to build UK’s first CCUS plant

June 28 – Tata Chemicals has announced plans to build the UK’s first industrial-scale Carbon Capture, Usage and Demonstration plant at its Northwich industrial site. The CCUD unit will be built at an estimated cost of£16.7 million and is planned to start operation in 2021. It will make use of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel power plants and turn it into sodium bicarbonate, which can then be sold to pharmaceutical industries.

Gazprom seeks to partner with Fortum

June 27 – The heads of Gazprom and Forum, Alexey Miller and Pekka Lundmark, have met in St. Petersburg to discuss a potential cooperation in the field of power generation. The Finish energy company Fortum owns 29.5% of the Russian power plant TGC-1 as well as a 49.99% share in the German utility Uniper. Through the talks, Gazprom could gain Fortum’s support to expand its firm long-term deliveries of Russian gas to Finland and Germany.