Daily News

Wartsila, the Finnish producer of lifecycle power solutions for the marine and energy markets, today posted a 15% decrease in net sales to EUR 1,238 million, down from EUR 1,462 in the previous quarter, mainly due to a backlog in power plant deliveries. "After a very strong fourth quarter, we managed to fulfill our order intake target and reached 11.1% profitability. Due mainly to delayed power plant deliveries, our net sales decreased slightly more than expected," Wartsila's president and CEO, Bjorn Rosengren said.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has reported the "largest ever three-month gas demand fall" in the UK fir the three months ending November 2011, with gas demand plunging by 19.1% to around 188 TW.

The U.S. is awash with cheap gas supplies for power generation due to rising domestic shale gas production, with Canadian natgas imports providing a "reliable backstop" for US gas-to-power demand, Louis Caron, energy risk specialist at Risk Advisory, SAS Group, told Gas-to-Power Journal today.

Australia's ERM Power confirmed it has received development approval to build and operate a 500MW gas-fired power plant at Braemar, around 240 kilometres west of Brisbane. "The next stage in the development of the Braemar 4 project is finalising fuel supply and electricity take-off agreements, which will allow us to make a final investment decision on this development," Philip Baker, managing director and CEO at ERM Power said.

In North-West Europe, investments in new gas-fired power plant projects will be in the money post 2018 at the earliest, Thomas Birr, VP corporate development & strategy at RWE Group forecast. "In Turkey and Eastern Europe, where power demand is rising, things are looking better," he said at the Gas-to-Power Europe Forum in Berlin.

If the spark spread stays below 10 Euro/MWh at times of peak electricity demand, building new gas-fired plants in Germany does not make economic sense, Torsten Amelung, senior vice president Trading and Origination at Statkraft Markets said today. "The only way out is ramping down capacity simply by shutting down power stations, until peak electricity prices are sufficiently high to sustain operations of the remaining gas-fired plants," he told Gas-to-Power Journal at the sidelines of a conference in Berlin.

Markets in Asia, the Middle East and North America are the "centres of growth" for new projects of gas-fired power plants , Brigitte Urban, VP global marketing, energy solutions at Siemens Energy forecasts. In reaction to the surge in gas-to-power demand in Saudi Arabia, Siemens has started construction of a new gas manufacturing plant in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, she confirmed in Berlin today.

Denmark's Dong Energy has set out the vision of shifting its power generation portfolio to a 85% share in green energies by 2020, including gas-fired plants, by reducing its share of coal-fired plants to 15%. "Throughout the transition period, when coal will leave Dong's power generation portfolio, gas-fired capacity is crucial as it delivers the flexibility required by modern and sustainable energy systems," Anders Eldrup, CEO of Dong Energy said in Berlin today.

A rise in gas-to-power generation would be a bet on the failure of U.K. energy policies under the Electricity Market Reform that favour renewables and nuclear energy, Pierre Noel, senior researcher at the Energy Policy Forum at the University of Cambridge said today. Calling for a level playing field for all power generation technologies, Noel opposed the introduction of subsidies for capital-intensive technologies that infringe on the role of gas in the European energy mix.

Gujarat State Energy Generation (GSEG), a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed by Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation, has confirmed the imminent start-up of a 360 MW gas-fired unit at the Hazira power plant. "The gas-based power plant at Hazira is ready for commissioning and could start generating electricity any day now", GSEG said.

Energy shortages and rolling blackouts could become a real possibility in the UK in five years' time, warns Pilgrim Beart, founder of AlertMe. "A large fraction of our coal power stations are scheduled to be decommissioned in 2016. If you reduce supply without reducing demand then you get rolling blackouts," he told Gas-to-Power Journal.

Weakness in UK power markets is forecast to continue until 2013 as significant oversupply of power generation capacity is cutting into profit margins of gas and coal-fired plans, JP Morgan Cazenove (JPMC) said today in a research report. "UK power demand is worse than anaemic," JCMC analyst, Edmund Reid, said with reference to a drop in electricity demand below 2009 levels.

Societe Generale forecasts Europe's electricity demand in 2012 will see a mere 0.7% rise in annual demand as economic growth remains lacklustre. "Consumption should recover in 2012, but overall growth will likely to be modest," the bank said in its latest Energy Pulse report.

The implementation of Smart Grids – as a flexible demand response mechanism - is rising. "In Europe, we are selling Smart Grids based on the rise of green energy. In the U.S., the key driver for smart grids is to ensure security of power supply," Dietrich Biester, representative of Siemens' Smart Grid Division told Gas-to-Power Journal' in an interview.

North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) has alerted the U.S. energy industry of a growing reliance on natural gas as the primary fuel source at times of peak electricity demand. "The growing dependence on natural gas as a primary fuel source of on-peak capacity must be considered in planning, and operational measures must be in place to minimize interdependency risks," NERC told Gas-to-Power Journal.

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.