Daily News

Strong economic growth in Asia and other non-OECD countries is forecast to push up the world’s energy consumption by nearly 50 percent over the next three decades. According to the U.S. government projections, industry accounts for most of the energy demand growth and is expected to reach about 315 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) globally by 2050.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) President and CEO Ken Kawai has used his New Year address to highlight the company’s focus on decarbonization by promoting fuel conversions to biomass, hydrogen and ammonia. In 2020, the MHPS President anticipates “further growth” for combined-cycle gas turbine orders to help convert CCGT and ICGT units to hydrogen co-firing.

Zhefu Holding Group of China and the Myanmar-listed firm Supreme Trading Co. have made plans to invest up to $2.57 billion to build an LNG import terminal and adjacent gas-fired power station at Mee Laung Gyaing. The integrated project will cover the energy needs for regional industrial zones, hotels and the city of Yangon.

Hong Kong-listed VPower Group, together with Myanmar’s Zeya Associates, are fast-tracking construction works for four emergency power projects in Myanmar, after having won a competitive tender in mid-October. The three power units, with a combined capacity of 900 MW, will be operated on imported LNG.

Engas, the Spanish gas transmission system operator, has recorded an 80 percent rise in gas demand in the year just past, reaching 111 TWh. Coal-to-gas fuel switch in the power sector was the main cause of the “extraordinarily high demand,” along with higher industrial consumption, Enagas said, pushing up Spain's total 2019 gas demand to 398 TWh.

Smart electrically-driven heating is a “valuable field in which to invest”, Delta-ee says with reference to over 30 million units of electrically-driven heating units across Europe. In the UK, new business models provide heat-as-a-service, helping the customer avoid buying natural gas or wood pallets to fuel heating appliances by simply purchasing the heat, and comfort that comes with it.

Lowest levelized cost of energy (LCOE), a widely-used metric to compare the profitability of power sources, is “not the right approach” when it comes to hybrid units, according to the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). “A paradigm shift is underway,” NREL said, stressing hybrid plants that include energy storage need to be rewarded for providing flexibility and grid ancillary services.

Four of Japan’s nine currently operational nuclear power plants face shutdowns in 2020 as the country’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) is enforcing stricter anti-terrorism measures at nuclear facilities. Analysts expect this will trigger a rise LNG or thermal coal imports.

US equity fund Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), alongside Alberta Investment, has sealed a deal to purchase a 65 percent equity interest in the Coastal GasLink Pipeline. Spanning over 416 miles, the gas interconnector links the Montney Shale with the Pacific Coast and has been built by TC Energy at a cost of cost of C$6.6 billion (US$5.04bn).

Heads of state in Russia and Germany have reacted angrily to sanctions imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump against building Nord Stream 2, the second 55 Bcm/year pipeline leg of the Baltic Sea interconnector. The sanctions target in particular the Swiss-Dutch pipe-laying firm AllSeas, which suspended works in anticipation.

The stark gap between government pledges to reduce emission and the lack of far-reaching actions heralds a growing regulatory risk. According to Fitch Ratings, energy-intensive industries, thermal power producers and the transport sector can be hit by a sudden rise in more stringent climate rules.

Burckhardt Compression has been contracted to deliver a high-speed compressor to Ganzair in Hungary, where it will be used to inject natural gas from a key transmission pipeline to a nearby underground gas storage (UGS). The ISO 13631-compliant compressor is the first of its kind made by Burckhardt for this application in Europe.

Marubeni and LO3 Energy, an energy-tech firm, have launched a virtual market place in Japan, using blockchain to connect several of Marubeni's small-scale power units and test simulated transactions. Ultimately, the JV partners want to create a utility-scale network with associated trading platform. In the United States, LO3 pioneered its transactive platform by setting up a microgrid in Brooklyn, New York.

Brazil’s state development bank (BNDES) has agreed debt financing of over 2 billion Brazilian Real (US$0.49bn), spread over 24 years, for the 565 MW Marlim Azul combined-cycle gas power project in Macaé, Rio de Janeiro State. The 565 MW plant is being co-developed by Patria Investments, Shell and Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas (MHPS).

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has made it easier to access and use information by launching a State Energy Portal. When visualizing data for one state, users can add other states, regional, or weather data to make quick comparisons. They can also filter by data frequency, time period, geographic location, energy source, and sector.

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.