Daily News

Advances in technology and drilling techniques have allowed for production of U.S. crude oil and natural gas to keep rising despite fewer wells. According to government figures, the total number of wells fell to just 982,000 last year, down from a peak of 1,035,000 wells.

All eyes are on China’s health crisis and its impact on economic and energy demand growth. Though a U.S.-China trade deal includes a promise for $52.4 billion in further purchases of American energy exports in 2020 and 2021, Beijing has left import tariffs in place. This could allow Russian pipeline gas to gain the upper hand over US LNG imports.

Stranded gas wells at the Marcellus Basin in Pennsylvania are being tapped via mobile trailor-mounted liquefaction units. Initial operations were launched and are set to last until at least 2020, Edge LNG announced, stressing the technology allows to “reap economic benefits on assets unreachable by pipeline.”

British utilities SSE and EDF Energy are among the winners of the latest T3 auction for capacity in 2022/23. Contracts for 45.06 gigawatts (GW) of back-up power generation capacity were awarded at a price of £6.44 per kilowatthour per year. SSE’s Keadby 1&2 gas power units as well as the Hinkley Point B nuclear reactor failed to get contracts.

The last two coal units at Drax Power Station may soon shut down as the operator weighs up options. On a positive note, Drax said it secured capacity contracts for 2,562 MW at the latest T3 auction for existing gas, pumped storage and hydro assets. These contracts, running from October 2022 to September 2023, are priced at £6.44 per kilowatt and worth some £15 million.

Concerns over China’s gas demand grow after the government said it would hand out ‘force majeure’ certificates to domestic companies if they cannot fulfill their offtake obligations. Beijing apparently tries to mitigate potential losses of state-owned gas companies though the impact on LNG imports is still unclear.

Natural gas prices at Henry Hub are forecast to stay lower than $4 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) through 2050 amid an abundance of low-cost resources, primarily in the Permian Basin.“With continued technologically-enabled growth in production, we see the United States remaining a net exporter of energy for some time,” said the head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Linda Capuano.

Electricity generation from renewable energy sources in the United States is forecast to double between now and 2050. Declining capital costs, and higher renewable portfolio standards (RPS) targets in some U.S. states, will prolong the sharp growth in renewables seen during the past ten years while gas-fired generation stays rangebound.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) will conduct joint research with Indonesia's Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) analyzing big data from local power plant operations on the island of Java to advance clean energy technologies. The aim is to probe new fuels like ammonia and hydrogen.

LNG and pipeline gas have still a long way to go to reduce, let alone replace, the current “massive coal consumption” by Asian nations. In contrast to Europe, where gas is regarded as one of the fossil fuels amid strives for net-zero emissions, "coal-to-gas switching is important in Asia," the Institute of Energy Economics in Japan (IEEJ) noted.

Coal gasification helps curb air pollution in China's mega-cities given that the emissions-intensive thermal fuel accounts for nearly 70 percent of China's power generation mix. Siemens recently built a 5x500 MW coal gasification plant for the Shenhua Ninxia coal mining group near China's border with Mongolia.

Wärtsilä has missed Q4 expectations as order intake plunged 17 percent and the operating result fell to 202 million Euros, or 12 percent of net sales. Anticipating “soft” demand, Wärtsilä CEO Jaakko Eskola said “the year 2019 was characterised by a difficult environment and poor financial performance.”

Crude oil and associated gas production in the United States will keep growing, albeit at a much slower rate due to a decline in rigs. Projections of the U.S. government, revised in January, expect growth rates in crude oil production to slow down from 9 percent to just 3 percent by 2021, and remain subdued.

Germany's gas industry plans to establish a 5,900 kilometres pipeline network to enable the large-scale use of hydrogen use. FNB Gas, representing German gas TSOs, intends to use mainly existing infrastructure to transport hydrogen from future generation sites in the north of the country to industrial centres in the west and south.

Power-to-X through electrolysis can swiftly utilize large overcapacities of wind and solar power, helping to balance the grid. Producing ammonia – a hydrogen liquid – is more attractive than hydrogen gas, the World Energy Council (WEC) says, given its energy density is higher by a factor 300.

News in Brief

MHPS extends service for Thai power station

Feb 26 – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has been awarded a third long-term maintenance agreement for the 1,400 MW BLCP Power Station in Thailand. The service accord covers the power plant’s major equipment including boilers, steam turbines and flue gas cleaning system built by MHPS on a turnkey basis.

VPower signs PPA in Sri Lanka

Feb 25 – Hong Kong listed VPower Group has entered into a power purchase agreement for two 38.8 MW projects in Sri Lanka. The latest deal brings VPower Group's installed capacity in the Chinese city state to nearly 100 MW.

UAVT launches portable genset

Feb 24 – UAV Turbines has launched a lightweight microturbine generator for on-demand electrical power ranging from 3 kilowatt (kW) to 40 kW. The new device extends UAVT’s micro propulsion technology, the Monarch 1, and features a new portable micro-turbogenerator system that fits in a small case that can be carried by two people.

Castleton buys CCGT in Spain

Feb 21 – Castleton Commodities International (CCI), a British independent power producer, has acquired the Amorebieta combined-cycle gas power plant in Bilbao, Spain, for an undisclosed amount. CCI claims the 786 MW plant is “one of the most efficient CCGTs in the Iberian Peninsula.”

NNPC scrutinizes Abuja IPP project

Feb 20 – Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is scrutinizing technicality and economics of developing a 1,350 MW Independent Power Plant (IPP) project in Abuja. The project is likely to be realized, as it is backed by a $1.1 million grant from the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and will be powered by GE gas turbines.

Batteries vs. hydro power

Feb 19 – More than 28 GW of lithium batteries deployed for stationary storage applications by the year 2028, according Navigant Research. Pumped hydro power plants, however, dominate the market as they account for 96 percent of installed energy storage worldwide.

Micro CHP market to top $3bn by 2026

Feb 18 – The global micro CHP market revenue is forecast to exceed $3 billion by 2026 amid rising demand for captive combined heat and power units by industry. According to Global Market Insights, micro CHPs are also increasingly combined with solar PV and energy storage into hybrid power units.

Rio Tinto uses battery to power Pilbara mine

Feb 18 – Australian mining company Rio Tinto has freed up $98 million for a new solar PV unit and a lithium-ion battery energy storage system to help power its entire Pilbara mining network. The 12 MWh battery storage at Tom Price will provide spinning reserve to help stabilize the local grid.

Japan and Korea eager to build ‘hydrogen economy’

Feb 17 – Liquid hydrogen is meant to become the basis of Japan’s and South Korea’s new energy economy. Several public-private partnerships accelerate efforts to produce hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and use hydrogen as a clean energy source, gradually replacing oil and natural gas.

MHPS teams up with KBR to expand sales

Feb 14 – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has agreed to cooperate with U.S. firm KBR to expand sales of SDA pitch-fired power plants. The fuel for these plants is insoluble matter (SDA pitch), which remains when light oil fractions are recovered from heavy oil fractions using the solvent de-asphalting (SDA) process. The petroleum industry can now utilize this residual material for power generation.

Turboden provides CHP to First Nations

Feb 13 – Brescia-based Turboden, part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), has agreed to an 8,000 kW combined heat and power (CHP) plant, running on woody biomass to indigenous First Nations in Saskatchewan, Canada. The Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) power gen system will uses sawmill residual woody biomass as fuel and help electrify some 5,000 homes.

Himoinsa gensets win award

Feb 12 – Himoinsa has received an Innovation Trail Live award for its rental gas generator sets. Three gensets – HRGO 30, HRGO 40 and HRGO 70 – were distinguished due to their long running time, low operational costs, as well as reduced emissions and sound level.

Ofgem lowers default price cap

Feb 11 – UK energy regulator Ofgem has announced it will lower the default price cap by £17 to £1,162 for the six months effective from 1 April 2020. Analysts say Ofgem’s decision comes amid a “warm winter” and “healthy LNG supply,” which pushed down wholesales gas prices to a 13-month low. Looking ahead, there might well be “another slight reduction to the cap later this year.”

Opel plans Gigafactory for battery cells

Feb 10 – German carmaker Opel, part of French PSA, plans to manufacture enough battery cells for half a million e-cars annually in a new factory in the western German town of Kaiserslautern from 2024. Two billion Euros would be invested in the factory, designed to house three units with 8 GWhs each, which would be the largest in Europe so far.

GE adds 235 MW in Ivory Coast

Feb 7 – GE is carrying out a gas turbine extension at the Azito power plant in the Ivory Coast. Under the contract, GE will supply its GT13E2 gas turbine in combined-cycle configuration, one HRSG, one steam turbine and associated equipment. The upgrade will boost the plant’s capacity by 30 percent, or 253 MW to reach a total of 710 MW.

FID on Azito extension

Feb 6 – Independent power producer Globeleq and IPS have reached financial close on expanding the Azito gas-fired power plant in Ivory Coast. The plant currently has 460 MW installed capacity and provides 25 percent of the country’s power supply. Once the lasted upgrade will be completed, Azito’s capacity will be boosted to 713 MW.

Batteries vs. hydro power

Feb 5 – More than 28 GW of lithium batteries deployed for stationary storage applications by the year 2028, according Navigant Research. Pumped hydro power plants, however, dominate the market as they account for 96% of installed energy storage worldwide.