Daily News

Npower, one of the UK’s Big Six energy companies and owned by E.ON, has announced it will shed up to 4,500 jobs in Britain and merge its domestic customer service operations with E.ON UK. A carve-out of Npower’s industrial and commercial customers is meant enhance profitability but the restructuring will cost the energy supplier an estimated £500 million.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she disapproves of the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) decision to ban funding for natural gas projects by the end of 2021. Speaking in Parliament, Merkel said Germany would rely on gas as a bridging technology as it exits both nuclear and coal.

New EU-wide emission rules for large combustion plants, known as BREF, will take effect in 2021. Rising carbon prices - last seen trading at €25.01 per ton, combined with falling renewable energy costs will likely make European utilities opt for closing coal plants, instead of retrofitting them.

Jeju Island, South Korea’s southern resort, is now home to a newly built LNG import terminal that will fuel a 240 MW combined-cycle power plant. According to the South Korean energy ministry, the first LNG cargo will arrive shortly and Jeju households and business should have access to gas-fired power from March next year.

Gazprom chairman Alexey Miller has met Belarusian government officials to discuss the terms of Russian gas supplies and transit through Belarus from the start of 2020. Current contracts will expire on December 31 – the very date when Gazprom’s transit agreement with Ukraine also comes to an end.

Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D-printing, is making inroads in the energy sector. According to Global Data, power utilities and equipment manufacturers are “witnessing a huge opportunity in 3D printing to make their operations more efficient.” Early adopters of this technology are GE, Siemens, Rosatom and Westinghouse.

Defending Golar LNG’s new strategy to spin off shipping operations, Chairman Olav Troim said “significant progress” has been made on downstream LNG distribution for power generation and as a transportation fuel. In Brazil, Golar just won a 605 MW gas power project in Barcarena, while a similar project in Sergipe is about to come onstream.

The United Kingdom and Germany are ready to expand their cooperation in offshore wind and take the lead on hydrogen production in Europe. Together, the two countries are home to 85% of Europe’s installed offshore wind farms whose excess low-cost electricity output can be used to produce hydrogen, which can then be stored in the natural gas grid.

Siemens has installed the world’s first HL-class gas turbine, a SGT6-9000HL, at Duke Energy’s new 402 MW simple-cycle unit at the Lincoln Combustion Turbine Station near Denver, North Carolina. During a four-year testing period the customer only pays some fuel costs. When testing is finished in 2024, Duke will receive the unit at a discount.

The technology of Siemens’s new SGT6-9000HL engine, first installed for the customer Duke Energy, builds on four generations of technologies and five previous models, including the H-class. “But it’s the combustion system where the magic happens,” explains Peter DeHaan, who is leading development of the 9000HL.

Alternative use of gas pipelines for green hydrogen, combined with technologies like enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) could turn the UK North Sea into a “global leader for the energy transition,” a survey finds, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Oil & Gas UK.

The European TSO group ENTSO-E has allayed fears of electricity shortages in Continental Europe in 2025 amid rising intermittent supply from renewable power sources, combined with a coal and nuclear exit in Germany and staggered coal power closures in Belgium and France.

China Gas Holdings, the largest independent Chinese city-gas distributor, has reported a 22.2% rise in fiscal half-year net profits to HK$4.91 billion (US$627.3m) and over US$3.5 billion in revenues as Beijing’s ‘Blue Skies’ anti-pollution policies led to rising use of natural gas for power generation and as a transport fuel.

FirstGen of the Philippines has freed up another $300 million for its projected floating storage and regas unit (FSRU), developed to ensure continuous fuel supply for 3,200 MW gas power capacity near Batangas City. LNG imports are vital for FirstGen as contracts for domestic gas supply from the Malampaya field will run out in 2024.

U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil and GE Power have teamed up to develop the new Mobil SHCTM 918 EE gas turbine oil, capable of improving the efficiency of turbine bearings by up to 15% compared to conventional oils. The newly launched lubricant oil is designed for use in multi-shaft 7HA, 9HA, 6FA.01 and 7FA GE turbines.

News in Brief

Norway’s oil fund starts investing in renewables

Dec 11 – The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), traditionally heavily exposed to the oil and gas industry, has been permitted to shift its strategy. Acknowledging heavy losses of the world’s largest pension fund, worth an estimated $1 trillion, the government in Oslo has allowed GPFG fund managers to also invest in unlisted infrastructure, notably renewable energy sources and alternative fuels, including hydrogen.

ENGIE invests in wind energy in Italy and France

Dec 10 – France’s largest energy company ENGIE has completed the acquisition of Renvico from Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets and KRR. The move contributes to utility’s ambition of boosting its renewable energy assets to 3 GW in Europe and 9 GW worldwide by 2021. The Renvico takeover comprises 329 MW of operating wind farms of which 142 MW in Italy and 187 MW in France. It also includes a 300 MW greenfield portfolio of various fossil power assets.

Dominion issues Scammer Alert

Dec 9 – Dominion Energy Ohio has reminded customers they will begin receiving the next U.S tax credits automatically, beginning in April 2020, in their monthly bills. Customers were warned not to provide banking details to scammers who claim such data is required to receive the federal tax credits.

BOL finances entire 220 MW plant in Nassau

Dec 6 – Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) has agreed to cover the entire costs to build a 220 MW power plant at the Clifton Pier site in Nassau, and transfer the assets to Shell North America. BPL and Shell had agreed to jointly develop a 220 MW power plant plus LNG regas terminal, but the Bahamas state utility later signed a $95 million contract with Wärtsilä to install a 132 MW engine-driven power plant at the same site.

Kepco to operate CCGT in Uruguay

Dec 5 – Kepco KPS has been awarded a contract to operate and maintain the recently commissioned combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant in Punta del Tigre, Uruguay. Under the O&M contract, Kepco said it expects to earn 17 billion Won in sales every year, for a maximum eight years.

Siemens to create thermal twin for Bajaj Energy plant

Dec 4 – Lalitpur Power Generation Company Ltd (LPGCL), part of Bajaj Group, has contracted Siemens to create a complete twin for its fossil power plant in Uttar Pradesh, India. The thermal twin, powered by thermodynamic analysis and machine learning, allows power plant operators to diagnose performance gaps for every asset in the cycle in real time.

Talks between Gazprom and Naftogaz continue

Dec 3 – Russia’s Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukrainy have continued difficult negotiations about an extension of Russian gas supplies and transit after the current contract expires on December 31, 2019. The two state-run companies are embroiled in a legal dispute that still needs resolving, however, they confirmed talks are underway and focus on the technical aspects of transiting Russian gas to Europe from 2020 onwards.

Asia seen add 400 GW by 2030

Dec 2 – Asian nations are expected to add more than 400 gigawatts (GW) of electrical capacity to the grid over the next decade — equaling about twice the installed capacity of Germany. Much of the new capacity will be renewables, backed up by some 140 GW of dependable gas-fired capacity, according to GE Energy findings. Hence, the U.S. turbine manufacturer decided to invest up to US$60 million to convert its Singapore repair center into a HA engineering and development center.

Total starts up hybrid plant with energy storage

Nov 29 – Total Quadran has started up the largest hybrid power plant combined with energy storage to harness the ample solar power potential of New Caledonia, a French overseas territory. With an installed capacity of 16 MW-peak, the plant also features a 10 MW lithium-ion energy storage system. Combining of hybrid solar PV units and possibly gas-powered generator sets with energy storage balance out supply swings and enhances the reliability of the electricity grid.

Rolls-Royce, AVK partner on standby gensets

Nov 28 – AVK, Britain’s largest supplier of critical power solutions for data centres and the financial sector, has partnered with Rolls-Royce’s MTU brand for standby gensets in UK and Ireland. The deal covers MTU Series 2000 and 4000 diesel systems in a range from 825 to 4,000 kVA. In the past 30 years, AVK has developed into the largest solutions provider in the UK’s critical power market and has to date supplied gensets equipped with MTU engines with a total capacity of more than 3.5 GW.

Golar suffers setback amid restructuring

Nov 27 – Golar LNG, owner of a fleet of 27 vessels, has seen operating revenues plunge 20% to $98.67 million, in the first nine month of this year, while net losses amounted to over $236 million. Bermuda-registered Golar in May 2019 announced plans to spin off its LNG carrier fleet with the aim of becoming a gas project developer. It recently won a contract for the Barcarena power project (605 MW) in northeastern Brazil.

Burckhardt buys remaining share of Arkos

Nov 26 – Burckhardt Compression’s subsidiary in North America has purchased the remaining 60% of Arkos Group. The US has the world’s largest installed base of reciprocating compressors, and the integration of Burckhardt and Arkos Field Services, will turn the company into the only independent one-stop provider for equipment and service in the upstream, midstream and downstream business.

Gazprom’s exports to Austria reach fresh record

Nov 25 – Supplies of Russian gas to Austria and transits to Western Europe have already exceeded record levels set last year. From January 1 through November 21, 2019, Gazprom delivered over 12.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas – 33.5% more than in the same period in 2018. Austria’s OMV imports Russian gas under a long-term contract that was recently extended until 2040.

OGUK responds to Labour Party Manifesto

Nov 21 – The UK North Sea industry association Oil & Gas UK (OGUK) has warned of an investment hiatus in reaction to Labour’s pledge to introduce a windfall tax on oil and gas companies, if it wins the General Election on December 12. Responding to this, OGUK said any increase in tax rates would drive investors away, damage the competitiveness of the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry, and could potentially increase the country’s reliance on imports. OGUK underlined it has put in place a ‘Roadmap 2035 a blueprint for net zero emission’ and is investing in technology to achieve this goal.

France, Germany and UK led on demand-side flexibility

Nov 21 – France, Germany and the UK are leading on demand-side flexibility (DSF) and grid-integration of decentralized energy sources while Sweden, Spain and Portugal are lagging behind the rest of Europe, the consultancy Delta-EE and SmartEN finds. Areas covered by their new DSF monitoring tool include availability and accessibility of demand-side response, and its monetization across the gas value chain.

AI predicts peak in power use

Nov 20 – ABB and Verdigris Technologies have developed machine-learning algorithms to predict unplanned peaks in electricity consumption and help avoid them. The Energy Forecasting app will enable users to reduce their electricity bills by reducing peak demand charges.

India’s first UHVDC link commissioned

Nov 19 – GE Grid Solutions has commissioned Pole-3 - the ultra high-voltage direct current (UHVDC) transmission line in India, capable to transmit 4,500 MW of electricity. Once completed the Champa-Kurukshetra UHVDC project will be expanded to transmit 6,000 MW of electricity at 800 kV, serving customers in the areas of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh.