Daily News

Evonik and Siemens have launched the second phase of Rheticus in Marl, Germany, based on €3.5 million in government funding. The test plant contains a bioreactor and electrolyzers to turn water and CO2 into valuable chemicals, making use of excess electricity from renewable sources.

The creation of a national pipeline company in China is meant to maximise the country’s oil and gas output, but analysts warn it could result in higher end-user prices. Using the price-to-book methodology, Wood Mackenzie says China’s new pipeline company may be worth up to $105 billion.

Harnessing methane-laden waters from Lake Kivu, the government of Rwanda has entered a public-private partnership (PPP) with Shema Power Lake Kivu Ltd (SPLK), formerly Symbion Energy, to develop a 55 MW power plant. Ultimately, the government aims to fuel over 500 MW capacity with methane from the lake by 2024.

Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) has been urged by the Californian energy regulator to guarantee stable gas deliveries to utility customers. SoCalGas is required to inject more gas into storage to mitigate the risk of fuel shortages for power generation in the upcoming winter.

U.S. dry gas production will rise to an all-time high of 91.63 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) this year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said, forecasting a fall in Henry Hub gas prices by more than $1 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) to average $2.43/MMBtu in Q4-2019.

General Electric will freeze pensions for over 20,000 employees in the U.S. to lower its pension deficit by around $5-8 billion and net debt by up to $6 billion. However, analysts at J.P. Morgan say further steps are needed if GE wants to “truly normalize” its balance sheet.

German engineering giant Siemens is partnering with Hydrogen Renewables Australia (HRA) to develop a 5,000 MW wind and solar farm in Western Australia. Siemens electrolysers will convert the renewable power into low-cost renewable hydrogen for export to Asian markets.

Nigeria’s Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Ltd (IEPL) is benefitting from an upgrade of the first two out of six GE 6B gas turbines at its onsite power plant in Rivers State. The upgrade increased the electricity output of Indorama's plant by 15% per gas turbine.

Global energy utilities are facing a growing risk of cyberattacks with potentially severe financial damage. A survey by Siemens and the Ponemon Institute finds that 54% of utility respondents fear an attack on critical infrastructure in the next 12 months. To mitigate this risk, utilities need to improve the interface between Operational Technology (OT) and IT systems.

Though Europe is currently well stocked with gas, Wintershall Dea CEO Mario Mehren has warned prices could spike in 2020 if Russia's Gazprom and Ukraine's Naftogaz fail to reach a transit agreement. The current transit contract will expire at the end of this year.

Japan’s energy giant JERA has agreed to pay $300 million to buy a 22% stake in Summit Power International with the aim of getting involved in major energy infrastructure projects in Bangladesh.The deal follows an agreement between Summit Corp and JERA to jointly develop a $500 million project in Cox’s Bazar, which will include various terminals for cargo and LNG.

Fast-falling technology costs and supportive renewable policies spur a rapid regional load growth of hydropower, wind and solar power sources. Collectively, renewables are forecast to contribute 49% of global electricity generation by 2050, up from 28% last year.

First oil from Johan Sverdrup – Norway’s sixth-largest discovery, with 2.7 billion barrels reserves – is a red-letter day for the operator Equinor and partners Lundin Norway, Petoro, Aker BP and Total. The field started two months ahead of schedule and 40 billion Norwegian Krone ($4.38 bn) below budget.

Atlantic basin LNG producers, notably at the US Gulf Coast, get a better netback value at the Spanish Virtual Balancing Point (PVB) than at other European hubs. However, offtake obligations for Algerian pipeline gas will limit how much extra LNG the Iberian market can absorb in 2020.

Enagas, the Spanish gas system operator, has been busy to match an “extraordinary demand” from both the power sector and industry, leading to a 16.9% surge in gas offtake to 294 TWh. Much of the demand increase was prompted by a fuel switch in the electric power sector.

News in Brief

Brookfield invest $2bn in Cove Point LNG

Oct 22 – Brookfield Asset Management, an investor in energy infrastructure and power storage, has agreed to take a 25% stake in Cove Point LNG for just over $2 billion in cash. The alternative investor also owns assets in hydro (7.9 GW), wind (4.9 GW), solar (1.7 GW), distributed generation (400 MW) and energy storage (2.7 GW).

Ansaldo appoints new CEO

Oct 21 – Ansaldo Energia’s board of directors has appointed Giuseppe Marino as new CEO. Together with the chairman, Giuseppe Zampini, he will decide on the company’s strategy particularly relating to the new Chinese joint ventures.

Slow start of STT pipeline

Oct 18 – U.S. gas exports to Mexico have not picked up substantially despite the start of the Sur de Texas-Tuxpan (STT) pipeline. Exports are still below 6.0 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d), although there no current postings regarding maintenance on the Sistrangas pipeline that feeds from NET Mexico.

EIB defers ban on fossil projects

Oct 17 – Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank (EIB) has bowed to pressure from Germany and the European Commission and deferred its decision to ban loans to fossil-fuel projects until mid-November. Germany wants the bank to keep financing gas-fired power projects as it views the cleaner-burning fossil fuel as a vital backup for renewable energy sources.

Brexit will not impact UK gas supply

Oct 16 – Security of power and gas supply in the UK will not be jeopardized this winter by the country’s imminent departure from the European Union, even in the event of a hard Brexit, National Grid said. In its assessment, the TSO factored in a halt to flows via the Belgium and Dutch gas interconnectors “from EU exit day one”, but said ongoing deliveries from Norway, the UK Continental Shelf and storage will continue as usual.

Ferrybridge C gets demolished

Oct 15 – Four cooling towers at the Ferrybridge Power Station have been taken down as the coal-fired power station will make way to a new, high-efficiency gas power station. Operator SSE shut down the 500 MW Ferrybridge C unit in March 2016 and now started to tear it down.

Global energy storage tops 10 GW by 2025

Oct 14 – The global market for grid-connected energy storage will grow by 6,900 MW, or 16.6% to reach over 10,500 MW by the end of 2025, according to Reportlinker.com. Germany will add over 267 MW energy storage installations over the next five to six years, while 330 MW will come from other European markets. These numbers are dwarfed by China, where up to 1,200 MW energy storage units could be connected to the grid by 2025.

Wärtsilä services EDL plant

Oct 11 – Energy Developments Ltd (EDL) of Australia has awarded Wärtsilä a service contract for gas engine-based baseload power plant at the McArthur River zinc mine in Northern Territory. The maintenance approach for the 53 MW onsite power plant is no longer pre-planned and scheduled but has been changed to condition-based and predictive maintenance, with an advisory contract.

EPH buys CCGT in Galway

Oct 10 – The Czech energy company EPH has received regulatory approval to purchase an 80% stake in the 400 MW Tynagh Energy combined-cycle gas power plant in Galway, Ireland. Mountainside Partners will continue to own the remaining stake in the CCGT, which operates based on a security-of-supply contract from the Irish TSO based on guaranteed power prices.

ITM gets £38m boost from Linde

Oct 9 – Sheffield-based ITM Power, maker of electrolysers for hydrogen production, has been boosted by a £38 million cash injection, as Linde acquired a 20% stake in ITM at 40 pence per share. Looking ahead, ITM said it is seeking to raise £14 million from new and existing institutional investors.

Drax to convert two power units

Oct 8 – Drax Group has received government approval to convert up to two coal-fired generating units at its power station in North Yorkshire to run on natural gas. With this ruling, the UK regulator overturned objections by ClientEarth, stressing some fossil power is vital for the UK to backup intermittent renewable power source.

Storage use tops 80% in key U.S. regions

Oct 7 – Gas storage utilization in the United States is rising in the autumn, with net injections topping 112 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in the first week of October. According to EIA figures, underground storages are at least 80% full in the East, Midwest, and South Central non-salt regions, allowing for seasonal withdrawals to help meet peak-day gas demand throughout the upcoming winter.

Maine, NY aspire to 100% clean energy

Oct 4 – Three U.S. states—Maine, New York, and Ohio—have updated their renewable portfolio standards (RPS), since May 2019. As a result, Maine and New York joined California, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, and the District of Columbia in requiring 100% clean electricity by 2050.

TransAlta to built CHP in Alberta

Oct 3 – Canada-based Transalta and SemCAMS Midstream have agreed to develop, construct and operate a new cogeneration facility at the Kaybob South No. 3 sour gas processing plant in Alberta. To be built at a cost of some 105 million, the CHP will have an installed capacity of 40 MW. Start of commercial operation is targeted for late 2021.

GE’s 100th HA turbine sold in Greece

Oct 2 – Greek industrial firm Mytilineos has ordered a GE 9HA.02 gas turbine to be the heart of the 826 MW Agios Nikolaos combined-cycle gas power plant. This deal also marks the 100th unit of GE’s HA gas turbine sold. Construction of the CCGT is due to start before the end of the year.

ABB launches M4M analyzer

Oct 1 – Swiss technology firm ABB has launches its first Bluetooth-equipped network analyzers, called M4M. The system gathers data from distribution grids and connects them to a cloud-based control system, allowing users to react on energy consumption and on-site power generation trends.

Microsoft invests in wind power

Sept 30 – Microsoft and ENGIE have entered a long-term solar and wind energy power purchase agreement (PPA) in the United States. The deal will see Microsoft purchase a total of 230 MW from two ENGIE projects in Texas, bringing Microsoft’s renewable energy portfolio to more than 1,900 MW.