Daily News

 The volatility of natural gas demand in Spain is set to rise as the integration of electricity and gas market intensifies, Maria Teresa Bravo, responsible of European gas infrastructure development at Enagas said today. "Natural gas is as a facilitator for Spain's rising renewable energy production, therefore gas infrastructure needs provide sufficient flexibility for gas to play that role, she said at the LNG & Gas-to-Power conference in Valencia.

Operating profit of Statkraft, Norway's largest utility, eased off slightly in the first quarter as the negative impact of lower power prices was offset by higher electricity production.

Japan's hunger for LNG imports to fuel gas-fired power plants is set to ease off gradually as a regional government approves the restart of nuclear reactors. Global LNG markets, however, are forecast to stay tight, investment bank JP Morgan forecasts.

German engineering conglomerate Siemens has started a second project on carbon capture and storage (CCS) with the Masdar Institute. The R&D projects focus on improvement and adaptation of proprietary Siemens Post-Combustion technology to CO2 capture at gas fired power stations, the Erlangen-based company said.

 Russia's energy minister Anatoly Yanovsky has backed efforts of Gazprom to go downstream by buying gas-fired power generation assets in Western Europe.

Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), an integrated power plant equipment manufacturer, has bagged a Rs.3800 million (US$70.43 million) contract for setting up a 160 MW Combined Cycle Power Plant (CCPP) in Rajasthan.

E.ON has not decided on whether to close three gas-fired power plants with a combined capacity of 1,420 MW in southern Germany. "We have not taken a formal decision on whether to close these or other gas-fired plants but we in the process of evaluation the profitability of each plant," an E.ON spokesman said today, dismissing contrary news reports.

Wärtsilä, supplier of flexible and efficient power plant solutions, has signed an Operations & Maintenance (O&M) agreement with South Africa's Sasol New Energy Holdings. The three-year agreement covers Sasol's gas engine power plant project in Sasolburg, South Africa.

Franco-Belgian utility GDF Suez has sold a 40% stake in Bahrain's Al Hidd power and water plant to Malakoff, Malaysia's largest independent power producer for US$113.4 million (€87.6 million). The divestment was made to fulfil a Bahraini regulatory requirement.

Drax Power Station is a month away from completing a £100 million upgrade programme to modernize the steam turbines. Upon completion, Drax and Siemens will have replaced the low pressure and high pressure turbines on all six units at the power station.

Investment bank Societe Generale anticipates a drop in traded prices for natural gas in the U.S.  due to lower demand. The NYMEX front month is forecast to drop to US$2/MMBtu, with falling gas prices set to increase the share of gas-fired power generation in the U.S. energy mix.

Alstom, the French manufacturer of power generation technology, is ramping up manufacturing capacity and output at its Chattanooga facility in Tennessee, with a view to boosting its share in the buoyant U.S. market.

"Our investment in Chattanooga is a reflection of our confidence in the U.S. market," Patrick Fetzer, Regional Vice President of Alstom's gas power plant business in North America said with reference to forecasts about "a substantial short-term grow of the country's gas-fired power generation sector.

The British government is developing a gas generation strategy with the aim of encouraging investment in new gas plants, said Charles Hendry, minister of state for energy in the U.K.

"The role of gas has not been sufficiently clear," Hendry said at a Lloyd's Register press conference late yesterday, voicing support for a growing role of gas in Britain's energy mix. "The earliest we can have a new gas plant is 2019," he forecast.

Siemens Energy has been awarded a contract to provide long-term maintenance services for 16 SGT-400  industrial gas turbines at the Santos GLNG Project in Queensland, Australia. The multi-million dollar service order is Siemens' largest ever for its small gas turbine (SGT) product line, it said today.

RWE posted a 14% drop in operating result to €2.4 billion today. "Declining margins in electricity generation and burdens suffered by the gas midstream business in particular adversely affected the result for the quarter," the Essen-based company said.

News in Brief

IEA reviews Brazilian gas market

Oct 15 – The International Energy Agency (IEA) has published a review of the opening of Brazil’s natural gas transportation system. Through its Gás para Crescer initiative, the Brazilian government sets a plan to liberalize the local energy market by enhancing the build-out of natural gas and electricity interconnectors, unbundling of TSOs and implementing of network codes.

Global GT market looses value

Oct 12 – Though Asia emerges as No.1 market for gas turbines, the overall value of the global gas turbine market  is forecast to decline over the coming five years. According to a Global Data report, the market value between now and 2022 will be $37.97 billion, down compared with $52.39 billion in the 2013-2017 period.

FERC approves $6bn CenterPoint/Vectren merger

Oct 11 – US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved the $6 billion merger of CenterPoint Energy and Vectren, whereby shareholders of the latter will be paid $72.00 in cash for each CenterPoint share. Vectren CEO Carl Chapman welcomed the ruling and added the companies “now anticipate a closing no later than the first quarter of 2019.”

Dürr buys part of Babcock & Wilcox

Oct 10 – Dürr Group, a Germany-based mechanical and plant engineering firm, has completed the acquisition Babcock & Wilcox’ (B&W) industrial environmental technology business. The takeover broadens Dürr’s portfolio on exhaust-air purification technologies, with a workforce of around 1,500 and estimated sales of € 400 million.

Azure achieves $12.50 per share

Oct 9 – India-based Azure Power Global Ltd has priced its underwritten public offering of 14,800,000 equity shares at a price of $12.50 per equity share. The company also granted underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1,200,000 shares at the same price, less underwriting discounts and commissions. The offering will close on October 10, 2018.

Global gas use grows at 2%/yr

Oct 8 – The International Gas Union (IGU) expects global gas consumption to grow by 1.6 to 2% per year in the coming decades. “Competitiveness, affordability, and eco-friendliness will remain essential in that regard,” said IGU President Joe M. Kang.

Financing agreed for EVM-II plant in Mexico

Oct 5 – A financing package of $740 million has been agreed for the Energias del Valle de Mexico II (EVM-II) combined-cycle power plant. Commercial banks involved in the financing were led by BNP Paribas, Citi, SMBC, and Mexico’s Banco National del Comercio Exterior. Milbank served as legal advisor.

MAN wins award for small-scale LNG paper

Oct 4 – A whitepaper by MAN Energy Solutions entitled ‘Small-scale LNG - powering the future of Asia’s island communities’ has won the Best Paper Award at this year’s Power-Gen Asia trade show. The paper ties in with MAN’s new strategy to deliver the entire value chain from small scale regas and import terminals to decentralized gas- and dual-fuel engine, and turbine-driven power plants. Carsten Dommermuth, International Business Development Manager, said “this setup is a real advantage for customers seeking to source a complete LNG-to-Power solution from the same provider.”

IEA laments steep drop in clean energy investment

Oct 3 – The latest steep drop in clean energy investment is “worrying,” according to Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency (IEA). Official figures show spending on renewables fell to $298 billion worldwide in 2017, down from $318bn in the previous year, marking the biggest absolute fall on record.

Siemens closes Mendix acquisition

Oct 2 – The German engineering conglomerate Siemens has closed the Mendix acquisition, just eight weeks after the transaction was first announced. Part of Siemens’ Vision 2020+ strategy, the integration of Medix digital platform is aimed at creating new SaaS solutions and extensions, particularly for the Digital Enterprise Software, MindSphere.

Merger of BASF Wintershall and DEA goes ahead

Oct 1 – BASF Group has agreed to merge its German oil and gas business BASF Winterhall and with Deutsche Erdöl AG (DEA), owned by the Russian investor group LetterOne. The joint venture will operate under the name Wintershall DEA.

Toshiba splits R&D for Power and Industrial Systems

Sept 28 – Toshiba Corp has announced it completed all necessary steps to separate its Power and Industrial System Research and Development Center and transfer the R&D on electricity to Toshiba Energy Systems, while research on industrial systems will be taken over by the company’s infrastructure arm. The split take effect on October 1.  

Gazprom’s supply to Austria up 34%

Sept 27 – The Russian gas major Gazprom has delivered record volumes to its Austrian partner OMV after an existing longterm contract was extended in June to run through to 2040.  From January 1 through September 23, 2018, Gazprom delivered 7.8 billion cubic meters (Bcm) of gas to Austria, a 34.5% rise compared with the same period last year. Full-year 2017 export volumes amounted to 9.1 Bcm.

Keystone XL construction to start in 2019

Sept 26 – TransCanada has received a key permit for $8bn Keystone XL pipeline, with the U.S. State Department ruling the 1,900km pipeline will not have any significant impact to either water or wildlife. Construction is now slated to start next year.

ABB partners with UBC

Sept 25 – Zurich-based ABB has entered a 3-year partnership with the University of British Columbia (UBC), focusing on biometric sensing. ABB will provide a total of $300,000 in funding ($100,000 per year), which will be matched by the Government of Canada.

GE launches ServiceMax 18.3.

Sept 24 – GE Digital has launched Service Max 18.3., a new version of its Predix ServiceMax Field Service Management (FSM). The new solution is said to give service technicians greater autonomy, dispatchers with more robust decision-making tools which utilities to better plan and execute complex service projects.

Aramco collaborates with Schneider Electric

Sept 21 – Saudi Aramco has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Schneider Electric to work together on various advanced digital technologies, including virtual reality. The MoU is one of several accords to support the Aramco’s 2020 Transformation Programme and the kingdom’s own Vision 2030 economic blueprint.