Daily News

Oil and gas giant Royal Dutch Shell has underwhelmed expectations by posting a Q2 net income of $4.69 billion – less than even the lowest analyst forecast. The launch of a $25 billion share buyback, however, is seen as a signal that Shell has recovered from a three-year downturn in the energy sector.

Speedy development of Argentina’s Vaca Muerta shale gas play is hope to accelerated plans to restart exports of pipeline gas to Chile and end imports of LNG cargoes within in a few years’ time. Repsol-YPY, the Spanish Argentine joint venture, just signed a contract to supply gas via the Andes to Chile’s southern province of Biobio.

The Swiss arm of MAN Diesel & Turbo and ABB Switzerland have started to jointly develop, produce and commercialize a three-way Electro-Thermal Energy Storage system (ETES). Based on so-called ‘charging cycle,’ the ETES uses surplus renewable-electricity to generate heat and cold for storage in insulated reservoirs. The stored heat and cold can then be converted back into electrical energy on demand.

Assessing the link between economic growth and energy demand, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects that China, India and Africa – three heavily populated parts of the world – will account for 36% of global energy consumption in 2040. “How these regions develop economically is likely to have important implications for global energy markets because of increased demand from the production and provision of goods and services,” the EIA said in its International Energy Outlook 2018 (IEO2018).

Eager to gain proprietary turbine technology, State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) of China has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ansaldo Energia this week to achieve mutually beneficial results in the heavy duty gas turbine area. The accord comes just weeks after Siemens and SPIC struck a technology cooperation in early June to enhance their heavy duty gas turbine programme.

South Korea has called off plans to phase out nuclear power after a summer heatwave exposed security of supply issues. Eager to avert the risk of blackouts, the Administration of President Moon Jae-in mandated five nuclear power plants to restart operations in order to support LNG and coal-fired power generation during the peak demand period of August.

The ‘Egypt Megaproject’ – three power stations at Beni Suef, Burullus and New Capital with a total capacity of 14.4 GW – have been completed and commissioned in record time. With this milestone, Egypt and Siemens and its consortium partners, Orascom Construction and Elsewedy Electric, have set a new world record for execution of modern, fast-track power projects.

Deployment of large-scale battery storage is rapidly increasing across the United States, but capital costs of energy storage systems vary greatly, dependent on the technology uses. Energy-oriented batteries systems, used for peakload shaving, are designed for longer durations and consequently have higher average costs per kilowatt and lower costs per kilowatthour. This type is mostly used in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) area.

China’s State Power Investment Corp (SPIC) and the Italian turbine manufacturer Ansaldo Energia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate on developing a new gas turbine. The two partners stated the technical cooperation will focus on heavy-duty gas turbines and is aimed at setting up a “win-win partnership”.

Lacklustre rewards and regulatory risk is weighing down the oil, gas and coal sector, hence the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) sees a growing rationale for divesting from the fossil fuel industry. “Future returns from the fossil fuel sector will not replicate past performance,” IEEF analysts warned.

General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) is gearing up to adding 500 MW of gas power generation capacity to the national power grid. The additional supply comes from the start-up of unit-1 at the Gulf Power Plant in Sirte and Unit-2 of the Al-Sareer Power Plant.

Fivesgroup, an Italian industrial engineering group, has opened up its European test centre based in the Italy’s northern province of Piacenza. Claimed to be the largest combustion research centre in Europe, the centre will help Fives to reduce time-to-market of new systems through digital design processes.

Reacting to soaring global coal prices, the Malaysian government continues to levy a surcharge on electricity rates for industrial customers for the second half of 2018. With this move, the Energy Commission for Peninsular Malaysia is factoring in the surge in Australian thermal coal prices to nearly US$120 per ton and helps power generators to hand down fuel costs to end-customer.

Energy SRS and partners have secured £727,000 in funding from Innovate UK to develop phase-2 of a gravitational energy storage. Dubbed GENSSIS, this prototype bundles the knowledge of industry and academia to deliver a gravitational storage prototype, ready for testing in 2019.

Major American utilities, representing about 70% of total U.S. electric load, have nearly doubled their capital investment in power distribution systems. Spending on grid expansions and upgrades has risen 54% over the past two decades, rising from $31 billion to reach $51 billion annually.

News in Brief

Sparrow gets permit to work in Saudi Arabia

Aug 13 – Sparrows Group, a specialist equipment maker and integrated engineering services providers, has been granted commercial registration to operate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The commercial registration allows Sparrows Saudi Arabia LLC, a newly established entity in Dammam, to deliver services related to the extraction of oil and natural gas

Puerto Rico electricity sales almost back to normal

Aug 9 – Electricity sales on the island of Puerto Rico, part of U.S. territory, has returned to pre-hurricane levels as of April and May 2018 after the longest blackout in American history. However, residential electricity sales appear to continue to lag historical levels, reflecting some continued outages, EIA data shows. As of April 2018, around 95% of Puerto Rico’s electricity customers had restored power, while about 62,000 customers remained without power.

India’s solar PV market slumps

Aug 8 – India’s market for solar photovoltaic is forecast to experience negative growth this year after the Ministry of Finance imposed a safeguard duty on solar cells and modules for a period of two years, starting on 30th July 2018. The move exacerbates the effect of a slowdown in the China market, Wood Mackenzie commented.

Shell expects electricity to become “biggest game in town”

Aug 3 – By 2050, power consumption is expected to outstrip demand for Shell’s core business of oil and gas. The company’s most recent Future Energy scenarios foresees oil and gas demand to peak in the next 50 years, while reliance on electricity is expected grow from around 20% of energy consumption to closer to 50% by midcentury.

ADB funds power lines in Bangladesh

Aug 2 – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved an assistance package of more than $357 million for a project to develop two power lines in Bangladesh. The grid extension supports Bangladesh’s national target of reaching electricity for all citizens by 2021.

Tadmax to develop CCGT in Selangor

Aug 1 – Malaysia-based Tadmax Resources has signed an accord with Worldwide Holdings to develop a combined-cycle gas power plant with up to 1,200 MW in Pulau Indah, Selagor. The deal comes as Worldwide seeks to acquire a 30% stake in Tadmax. Technical partner for the CCGT project is Korean Electric Power Corp.

Renewables hit new record

July 31 – Germany's electricity supply from renewables reached a record high in the first half of 2018, catering for an unprecedented 41.5 % of the country's electricity supply. A total of 113 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity was generated by all renewable technologies, mainly consisting of biomass, wind and solar energy.

Dominion aims to add 3GW renewables by 2020

July 30 – Striving to add 3 GW of solar and wind capacity in the next two years, Dominion Energy has has filed its first set of the plans under Grid Transformation & Security Act (GTSA) to the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) for the approval. Dominion VP Ed Baine said the GTSA legislation, effective from 1 July, would provide a roadmap for Virginia’s energy future.

GE to develop critical infrastructure in Lagos

July 27 – GE and the Lagos State Government have agreed to pool their resources for the development of critical infrastructure in the state in the areas of Power, Healthcare and Skills Development. This was announced during the signing of a Support and Cooperation Agreement by both parties during the France-Nigeria Business Forum held in Lagos.

Orbital Insight teams up with Energy Aspects

July 26 –Orbital Insight and Energy Aspects have teamed up, striving to transform how energy data is used for investing. The two research firms will integrate geospatial analytics, based on artificial intelligence and machine learning, with energy analysis with a view to giving customers unprecedented global oil storage level data.

Cost for US wind generation down 33%

July 25 – Capacity-weighted cost of wind installations in the United States have declined by one-third thanks to improving technology and manufacturing capability and a concentration of new-builds in the best-suited regions. Installation costs fell from $2,361 per kilowatt (kW) in 2010 to currently less than $1,587/kW, based on analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy’s office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy(DOE/EERE).

Iran’s NISOC prepares tender

July 24 – National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC) has announced plans to hold an international tender to purchase parts for G.E.C gas turbine. NISOC seeks to buy parts of the turbine type Centaur.

Chart reports full-year sales at $1.2bn

July 23 – U.S. equipment manufacturer Chart Industries has reported a 34% rise second-quarter sales, with the order volumes amounting to $360.3 million. “Strength in Asian orders was driven by packaged gas applications as well as respiratory and cryobiological product lines,” Charts said when posting the results.

ABB spends $30m on transformer factory in Sweden

July 20 – ABB is investing more than $30 million in a new manufacturing unit, under construction in Ludvika, Sweden. The new unit will increase production, expanding the capacity and the range of its high-voltage dry bushings offering.

Wärtsilä’s order intake up 14%

July 19 – The Finish equipment manufacturer Wärtsilä has seen its order increase 15% to €1,553 million in the second quarter, while net sales fell 4% to €1,246 million. Looking at the full year 2018, Wärtsilä said its Services and Solutions business will “improve somewhat from the previous year.” Good demand prospects are on the cards for Energy Solutions, as the global shift towards renewables and rising electricity demand in the emerging markets support the need for distributed power capacity.

NRG abandons Dunkirk coal-to-gas conversion project

July 18 – Shying away from having to pay $114 million in re-interconnection costs, NRG Energy has shelved plans to repower and convert its mothballed Dunkirk power plant in western New York from coal to natural gas. The company said in a statement that it has withdrawn its request to have New York ISO interconnect the Chautauqua County generating facility with the power grid.

Akwa Ibom, BlackRhino sign $1.6bn power deal

July 17 – BlackRhino, operator of the Qua Iboe Power Plant (QIPP), has agreed with the Akwa Ibom State Government to build a power plant and electricity transmission lines in the state. QIPP’s management  committed an investment of $1.1 billion for the facility, with an additional $500 million for gas.