Daily News

Ofgem, the U.K. energy regulator, warns Britain might face a gap in power generation capacity as ageing plants are being retired while construction of new nuclear, gas-fired or offshore wind power projects are delayed. "Britain is facing pretty frightening times with regards to spare capacity," Alistair Buchanan, Ofgem CEO said today.

Except for Europe, the global gas-to-power sector is expanding rapidly driven by rising electricity demand in emerging markets. "Even if gas is regulated to death in Europe, the growth of gas-to-power generation will continue outside Europe," Stefan Judisch, chief executive of RWE Supply & Trading said today.

The share of gas-fired power generation is likely to rebound in the mid-term future in line with growing renewable power production. "The key driver for gas demand growth in Europe will come from the power generation sector," Klaus Schäfer, CEO, E.ON Trading & E.ON Ruhrgas forecast today.

Gas does not get to play its rightful role in the European energy mix, Rune Bjornson, senior vice president natural gas, Statoil said today. Adverse economics currently hamper the rise of gas in the energy sector, he said, suggesting "the price of carbon is far too low to incentivise a switch from coal to gas".

China is set to become "the engine of global gas demand" in the coming years, as opportunities for a greater share of gas in power generation arise due to Government concerns about air pollution, Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA) said today.

China's State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) has imposed measures compelling power plant operators to improve coordination of plant dispatchment to meet summer peak demand. To this end, SERC set out measures to enhance stability of the power grid by closer supervision of plant dispatchment and load scheduling.

ABB, a power and automation technology group, will invest about $50 million to build new facilities in India to manufacture high-voltage products and transformers. "This decision supports our business philosophy to locate production facilities closer to markets," Bernhard Jucker, head of ABB's Power Products division said today.

The Middle East has seen the highest growth rate globally of dry natural gas consumption, rising from 53 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) to 113 Tcf between 1980 and 2010, according to figures published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). A key driver for the rise was the expanding in gas-fired power generation sector in the Gulf region.

Tianjin Electric Power Construction Company (TEPC), the project contractor of the Huaneng Yingkou Cogeneration project, is forging ahead with construction works at the plant, located in Beijing. TECP is close to finalising building the boiler for the plant, according to Huaneng Power International.

NRG Energy subsidiary Louisiana Generating  has abandoned plans to convert the 230 MW Big Cajun-I gas-fired power plant to coal generation. Declining natural gas prices prompted the operator to stick to gas-to-power as the more economic option of generating electricity.

Traded natural gas contracts in the U.S. need stay on low levels to motivate electricity producers to continue with coal-to-gas substitution in Powder River Basin coal-burning regions, investment bank Goldman Sachs said.

Eurelectric sees the introduction of capacity remuneration mechanisms as an 'option of last resort'. "Policymakers should only consider introducing capacity remuneration mechanisms, or capacity markets, where the proper functioning of energy-only markets is still not enough to ensure system security," Anne-Malorie Géron, head of Eurelectric's Market Unit, told Gas-to-Power Journal.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs said today a 14 pence price rise of NBP gas contracts for delivery between July and end-September is needed to prompt diversions of LNG cargoes from higher-yielding Asian destinations to the U.K. European power producers are advised to hedge forward gas in anticipation of rising prices.

Datang International Power Generation, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed entity of state-owned utility China Datang, has received the regulatory green light to build a gas-fired power project in Beijing.

The Danish government pledges the country can rely entirely on renewable energy by 2050, however gas-fired power generation and increased interconnection capacity are vital to balance electricity supply and demand. "Gas will be needed as a backup for renewable energies, but we are working on replacing natural gas with biogas and other renewable gases," Marlene Hein Nybroe, gas development and preparedness manager at Energinet DK told Gas-to-Power Journal.

News in Brief

France imports more Russian gas

March 21 – Demand for Russian gas continues to grow in France, with Gazprom’s exports rising 5.4% last year to 12.9 billion cubic meters (bcm). The upward continued into early 2019 and provisional estimates show some 2.5 bcm of gas was exported to France from January 1 to March 14, 2019, a 1.9% increase on the previous year period, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller noted when discussing contractual supplies with his counterpart at ENGIE, Isabelle Kocher.

Merger wave grips UK oil &gas sector

March 20 – Significant pressures are here to stay in the UK oil and gas sector, with the trade association Oil & Gas UK (OGUK) saying the industry is facing a “new reality” amid high levels of M&A activity and the related transfer of assets. The ongoing consolidation process forces the industry to embrace new forms of collaboration and business models.

Chevron Nigeria to supply gas to Dangote

March 19 – Chevron Nigeria has agreed to supply natural gas to Dangote’s fertilizer plant in Nigeria. The deal is part of the international oil major’s gas supply obligation to the domestic market under the Nigerian Gas Master Plan.

POSCO wins $100m CHP deal in Mexico

March 18 – POSCO Engineering & Construction, part of the leading South Korean steelmaker POSCO, has signed a $100 million agreement with Ener AB to build a 100-MW combined heat and power plant in Mexico. Situated in Coahila, the CHP will serve the energy needs of the nearby Magnelec chemical plant.

Wood to install Siemens turbine in North Carolina

March 15 – Wood Group has secured a contract from Siemens to install a HL-class gas turbine at a power plant in North Carolina. Construction works are estimated to involve 400 people and last for approximately 11 months, Wood Group said. Once installed, the turbine will add 400 MW to the plant's existing capacity 1,200 MW. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

J-series turbine passes 750000 hours

March 14 – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has announced their global fleet of J-Series gas turbines accumulated over 750,000 hours of commercial operation. The J-Series fleet now includes 39 turbines in commercial operation, with 28 of those exceeding 8,000 hours and the fleet leader having more than 45,000 hours of operation.

German gas prices up 9% in March

March 13 – Household energy prices in Germany have risen substantially in March 2019, compared to the same month in the previous year, according to the price comparison site Verivox.  Electricity prices increased 5% to a new record of 29.42 cents per kilowatt hour (ct/kWh) in March to date, up from 27.99 cents a year ago, while natural gas prices jumped 9% to 6.1 ct/kWh.

MAN turbines commissioned at Chinese CHP

March 12 – MAN Energy Solutions has installed and commissioned a MGT6000 gas turbine and a THM-series gas turbine at a combined heat and power (CHP) plant that replaces a coal-based power plant in Changsa, Hunan Province. Another MGT6000 just started commercial operation at a cogeneration plant, optimized to run on natural gas, at an industrial zone of Dongguan City in Guangdong Province.

Gazprom breaks ground on 200-MW CHP plant in Serbia

March 11 – Russia’s state-run Gazprom has started construction of a combined-cycle gas cogeneration plant near Pancevo Refinery in Serbia. The site is owned by Novi Sadpart, part of Gazprom Neft Group. The 200 MW plant will be Gazprom Energoholding Group’s first power project outside of the Russian Federation and is slated for commissioning in 2020

ABB pilots digital control rooms in Sweden

Jan 8 – Swiss-based ABB has launched a new digital solution for control centers that is being pioneered and tested in a pilot project by the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE). The cloud-based application works in synergy with many other ABB Ability solutions, and provides a platform for information-sharing.

MHPS opens new office in Bangladesh in bid to boost sales

Jan 7 – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Ltd. (MHPS) has opened a branch office in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, to strengthen its regional sales capabilities for thermal power stations. With the economy growing 6% in recent years, the Bangladeshi government seeks to boost the nation’s power generation capacity from currently 17 GW to approximately 24 GW by 2021 and further to 40 GW by 2030. To reach this goal, Bangladesh has started importing LNG amid state supports for private sector investment in large scale LNG-to-Power projects.

Shell mulls sale of Mahanagar Gas stake

March 6 – Shell India, the local business of Royal Dutch Shell, is considering to exit its city gas distribution business by selling its 10% stake in Mahanagar Gas Ltd. Shell acquired the stake in connection with the BG takeover in 2016, and last year already offloaded most of shareholding two two bulk divestment deals.

Siemens buys KACO’s string inverter arm

Jan 5 – Siemens announced it will acquire the string inverter business of the KACO GmbH, a manufacturers of power electronics, for an undisclosed amount. Siemens said wants to integrate KACO in its new Smart Infrastructure Operating Company, and expects the deal to close in H1-2019.

Power gen dominates Rolls-Royce’s engine business

March 4 – For the first time, Rolls-Royce Power System has manufactured more engines for electric power generation than for marine propulsion, the UK-based company said when reporting solid full year results. Revenue surged 15% to a record €3.9 billion in 2018, with adjusted profit up at €358 million resulting in a 9.1% return on sales.

Siemens produces module batteries in Trondheim

March 1 – Siemens has invested in a battery module factory in Trondheim, northern Norway, equipping the factory with a robotizied and digitally supervised production line with eight 300 MWh stations. Up to 55 battery modules per shift can be assembled every day, for use mainly in the marine and offshore market.

GE CEO committed to reduce debt “soon”

Feb 28 – General Electric CEO Larry Culp, in his first letter to shareholders, has said the company has too much debt and needs to reduce it “thoughtfully and soon.” Seeking to rebuild the ailing manufacturer, Culp focuses on GE’s four core businesses: power, renewable energy, aviation and healthcare. By adopting a “disciplined financial policy,” he wants GE achieve an industrial net debt/EBITDA ratio of less than 2.5x and a dividend in line with peers over time.

IEA launches ESCOs directory

Feb 28 – The International Energy Agency (IEA) has launched a new web resource dedicated entirely to energy service companies (ESCOs). The value of the global ESCO market grew 8% to $28.6 billion in 2017, helped by an 11% expansion in China and continued strong growth in the U.S.