Daily News

Escalating output of U.S. gas production has launched a "race to the bottom", with gas prices reacting negatively to rising production. Gas-for-coal substitution, meanwhile, is starting to put significant pressure on coal prices, Deutsche Bank said today.

Shanxi Ruiguang Heat & Power Company has started commercial operations of the second unit of its 2x300 MW Ruiguang power plant, located in China's Jiangsu province.

A combination of flexible combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT) and Shallow Salt storage is "best placed" to balance electricity supply and demand in the U.K. amid a rise of intermittent renewable energy production, John Baldwin, managing director, CNG Services Ltd told Gas-to-Power Journal today.

American Electric Power (AEP) has started commercial operation of the 580 MW combined-cycle gas power plant in Dresden, near Ohio, U.S. The operational start-up of the Dresden plant is "another step in the transformation of AEP's generating fleet", said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP president and CEO.

GE Energy plans to complete works to upgrade two 30-year-old 9B Gas Turbines at an Italian power plant in Trapani to GE 9E Gas Turbines in 2013, the company's Italian division told Gas-to-Power Journal today.

Renewable gas – in the form of biogas, syngas or hydrogen – will cover a growing share of Denmark's gas demand. "By 2020, we expect to have about 5% of biogas in the Danish gas system," Nybroe, senior project manager, Energinet.dk told Gas-to-Power Journal at the sidelines of a conference in London today.

Utilities in Europe currently have access to a lot of natural gas, but it is cheaper for them to use their coal-fired plants for generating electricity, Albrecht Müller von Blumencron, director project finance Bayern LB said today. Nonetheless, he foresees a "brighter future" for the gas-to-power sector in Europe in the mid-term, provided utilities will have to more flexible gas supply.

The U.K. will face a capacity gap at the end of this decade. Investors in new flexible gas-fired power generation capacity will have to find a way to handle the risks posed by ambitious renewable targets and uncertainties surrounding the implications of the Energy Market Reform, Clare Duffy, General Manager, ESB International, said in London today.

Uncertainty about the liberalization process of the Turkish natural gas market may hamper investors to commit to realizing large gas-fired power plant projects in Turkey, Robert Selim Hill, researcher at Energy Brainpool said today. "For the near future it will especially be difficult to plan and realize large natural gas power plant projects," he told Gas-to-Power Journal.

TLT-Bancock India said today it will open a new manufacturing facility near Bangalore, in April 2012. The components produced at the facility will be sold to power producers in the growing Indian market. "When production begins in a few months, TLT-Babcock will have fully arrived in support of India's electric power expansion and general growth plans," David Klossner, President of TLT-Babcock said.

China will increasingly favour of environmentally friendly gas-to-power plants over coal-fired plants. In 2050, China's gas demand to power sector is forecast to surge to 413 Mtoe (BLUE Map scenario), compared to 195 Mtoe (Baseline scenario), Hirohisa Yamada, IEA energy analyst, told Gas-to-Power Journal in an interview today.

Cold weather conditions across Europe will prolong the recent rally for gas and power demand, but still weak fundamentals may mitigate its impact on prices, Societe Generale forecasts. Recent macro data and sentiment surveys conducted in January "all surprise to the upside", it added.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is supporting a 216 MW gas-fired power plant project in Cameroon with 29.5 million euro in long-term funding. Kribi will be the first gas-to-power plant in Cameroon.

Fortum, a Finland utility with power generation assets in the Nordic and Baltic countries, Poland and Russia, is at the brink of commissioning a biomass-fired Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant in Järvenpää in early 2013. The proposed 130 GWh plant will run on biomass as a replacement for natural gas.

Deutsche Bank has issued a bullish estimate on a continued increase in gas-coal substitution in the U.S. The current situation in the markets is "unchartered territory", it said in a report today.

News in Brief

PG&E nears bankruptcy

Jan 18 – Northern California’s utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has informed federal regulators that it expects to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by January. The San Francisco-based utility is under investigation for its shortcomings in the deadly 2018 wildfires. S&P this week downgraded PG&E’s gas and electric unit to ‘D’ to ‘CC’ after the utility failed to make a $21.6 million interest payment

Hitachi suspends work on Wales nuclear project

Jan 17 – Japan’s Hitachi is close to suspending construction works at its Horizon division’s Wylfa nuclear power plant in Wales. If the project gets shelved, EDF Energy's Hinkely Point-C will be the only nuclear project remaining hence flexible gas power will have to fill the capacity gap.

PG&E files for bankruptcy by Jan 29

Jan 16 – Northern California’s utility Pacific Gas & Electric has informed federal regulators that it expects to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by end of this month. The San Francisco-based utility is under investigation for its shortcomings in the deadly 2018 wildfires.

Gas engine market to top $4.4bn by 2020

Jan 15 – Global demand for natural gas engines is forecast to expand with the market set to exceed $4.4 billion in value by 2022, according to Zion Market Research. Key manufacturers include, GE, Rolls-Royce, Cummins, Caterpillar, Wärtsilä, Kawasaki, MAN, Deutz, Doosan and Yanmar.

Encana selects Siemens rotating equipment

Jan 14 – Siemens has been selected to provide one feed and sales gas train and one refrigeration compression train for Encana’s Pipestone Processing Facility in Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada. The new unit, due to operational in 2021, will provide Encana with 19,000 barrels per day of net raw condensate processing capacity plus 170 million cubic feet per day of net inlet gas processing capacity.

Cheap U.S. LNG underpins power project in Panama

Jan 11 – AES Colón expects the entry of low-cost US LNG will transform the Central American energy sector, much as it has in the Panama. The utility in September started up an $1.15 billion LNG import terminal and adjacent combined-cycle power plant.

Rolls-Royce joins forces with OT industries

Jan 10 – Britain’s bellwether manufacturer Rolls-Royce has signed an accord with OT Industries to explore areas of joint work for the provision of Emergency Diesel Generators (EDGs) and Instrumentation and Control (I&C) systems for new units at the Paks nuclear power plant in Hungary. OT industries is majority owned by the MOL Group.

State-run utilities dominate energy spending

Jan 9 – Future investments in global energy supply largely rest in the hands of governments. In the power sector, a striking 95% of monies are spent by regulated utilities under schemes to minimize risk associated with variable prices on competitive markets. However, once China will have completed its power sector reform the share of countries that rely on competitive markets will rise from 54% to almost 80%.

Floating power market to top $1.4bn by 2022

Jan 8 – The market for floating power plants (<250MW capacity) is expected to grow at an annual rate of 10.11%, expanding from currently $889.6 million to reach $1,440 million by 2022. Main growth drivers, according to MarketsandMarkets, are cost advantages of floating over land-based power plants, particularly in regions with a lack of power infrastructure.

Energean to supply gas to Israel

Jan 7 – Energean Oil and Gas has agreed to supply 5.5 Bcm of natural gas Karish and Tanin fields over 19 years to the Israeli power producer I.P.M. Beer Tuvia. The deal is expected to $900 million in revenue for Energean over the contract duration.

Eranove builds 390 MW plant in Ivory Coast

Jan 4 – Ciprel, a subsidiary of Eranove Group of France, is preparing to construct a 390 MW power plant in Jacqueville near Abidjan, the capital of the Ivory Coast. Driven by one of GE’s F-class turbine the combined-cycle power plant will be similar to one that Ciprel already has in operation.

Works advance on Jawa-1 CCGT

Jan 3 – Construction works are forging ahead for Jawa-1, a 1,760 MW combined-cycle gas-fired power plant. Built at cost of $1.8 billion the facility will be built by PT Jawa Satu Power (JSP) and PT Jawa Satu Regas (JSR) in Karawang, West Java.

Grozny TPP due onstream in 2019

Jan 2 – Construction of Unit 2 of the Grozny Thermal Power Plant (TPP) is advancing fast with a view having the entire plant operational in mid-2019. The first 180 MW unit has been running uninterruptedly for a fortnight and once the second unit will start up, Grozny TPP will reach its design value of approximately 360 MW.

E&P profitable at $50/bbl

Dec 21 – Globally, Wood Mackenzie expects exploration budgets to remain steady in 2019. But with stronger prices, lower costs and a greater focus on commerciality, the exploration sector is now seen to be more resilient than ever, and “well positioned to generate positive full-cycle returns at oil prices of US$50/barrel or even lower.”

GE upgrades substation in Germany

Dec 20 – TransnetBW has asked GE Power to upgrade one of the substations in so-called ‘Badische Rheinschiene’, a highly loaded link in the transmission grid of southwest Germany. The project will deliver 22 bays of 400 kV GIS to reduce the substation’s footprint while increasing its capacity.

Burckhardt opens service centre for Central Europe

Dec 19 – Swiss-based Burckhard Compressions has opened a new service centre for Central Europe in Slovakia. Reciprocating compressors of any brand are serviced there for operators in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

Global CCS growth nears 10% per year

Jan 19 – A report from analysts Research and Markets says the global Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) market will grow 9.18% per year between 2017 and 2021, with Babcock & Wilcox, ENGIE, GE Power, Linde and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries dominating developments.