Daily News

Oxidation, discovered with a single blade component of GE turbines, have forced Exelon Corp to idle four units in a gas-fired power station in Texas. GE Power CEO Russel Stokes disclosed the oxidation could affect over 50 of its high-efficiency HA turbines and 75 of 9FB gas turbines, with the news casting a further shadow over the manufacturer’s ailing turbine business.

The Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) has selected Siemens to provide operation and maintenance services (O&M) for the Beni Suef, New Capital and Burullus combined-cycle gas power plants for the next eight years. Siemens had built the three mega CCPPs, each with an installed capacity of 4.8 GW.

Before the turn of 2018/19, Germany will decide where to locate its first LNG import terminal. The German economy and energy minister Altmaier announced this move as “a gesture to our American friends” that could help ease tensions over the Nord Stream-2 pipeline project, led by Russia’s Gazprom.

The Norwegian gas pipeline operator Gassco has reported a new peak for summer deliveries of natural gas to Europe, and will soon be opening its new Polarled pipeline to carry even more volumes from the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Gassco exported 36.8 billion cubic metres (scm) in May-August – a small rise from the same period in 2017 which was a record year for gas exports.  

UK shale gas explorer Cuadrilla has received government approval to start fracking at a second site in Lancashire, Northwest England. “We are currently completing works on the site in readiness to start hydraulically fracturing both wells in the next few weeks," said CEO Francis Egan.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has developed an interactive dashboard showing daily and weekly updates on Lower 48 and regional storage activity, as well as market fundamentals that affect underground gas storage activity. Updates are published online and in the Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report (WNGSR).

At the InnoTrans2018 trade show, General Electric has just launched a new high-speed engine program that will serve the marine, rail and power generation segments. The core architecture of the engine incorporates experience across GE’s Jenbacher and Waukesha product lines.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s blue-sky research program APRA-E has handed out $28 million in R&D grants for ten projects aimed at delivering long-duration energy storage systems. The grants are funded by ARPA-E's “Duration Addition to electricitY Storage (DAYS),” targeting the development of applications with 10 to approximately 100 hours of continuous operation.

As the US-China trade war escalates, Beijing is implementing a retaliatory 10% tariff on US LNG imports starting from September 24. In the twelve months up until June 2018 China used to be No.2 buyer of US LNG, accounting for about 3 mtpa mostly bought through Shell. Now, state-owned Chinese buyers started to snuff gas supplies from America, and PetroChina just entered a 22-year purchase agreement with Qatargas.

Siemens and E.ON have reached a milestone in the area of 3D-printing, with the world's first 3-D printed burner for an SGT-700 gas turbine having been in operation for one year at E.ON's combined-cycle power plant in Philippsthal, Germany. “The results are impressive,” Siemens said given that “the burner has been operating for over 8,000 hours with no reported issues.”

Global energy consumption is set to soar 28% between 2015 and 2040, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's latest International Energy Outlook 2017 (IEO2017). Countries with strong demand growth in non-OECD Asia – notably China and India – are seen to account for over two-thirds of the total rise in energy consumption through to 2040.

Most Japanese utilities that also operate nuclear power plants – such as Tokyo Electric, Kansai Electric and Kyushu Electric – have effectively stopped funding for the costly reprocessing of the nuclear fuel, their financial report shows. This move seems to indicate a long-term shift away from nuclear towards fossil fuels, notably natural gas.

As wholesale gas prices hit 10-year highs, Britain’s power producers are earning more by dispatching cheaper coal-fired power stations than their gas counterparts. If this trend continues, the UK may not be able to meet is emissions targets given that the extra coal-burn for power generation already increased emissions by 15% in September, analysts at the Imperial College London warn.

Finland-based technology group Wärtsilä has launched the next SparkUp Challenge for start-ups. This time the focus is on Power-to-X technologies, running under the name: ‘Towards a 100% renewable energy future’.

Gaztransport and Technigaz (GTT) has signed a licensing agreement with Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD), targeting the use of LNG as a fuel in gas carriers. The accord envisages the joint construction of a Mark III Flex mock-up and an audit led by GTT, the French 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.