Daily News

U.S. oil major, Chevron, announced the acquisition of a 50 per cent stake in the privately held Lithuanian oil and natural gas exploration company LL Investicijos. Through entering the Lithuanian market the organisation is expanding its shale gas business in Europe. The acquisition is expected to impact Russian Gazprom’s monopoly on the Lithuanian market.

Russian gas exporter, Gazprom, has launched its commercial gas production on the Yamal Peninsula. Over the last six years, the state-run company (including its subsidiary companies) has invested capital totalling RUB 1.6 trillion into the mega project.

Chevron Corporation, a leading integrated energy company, has announced that its Australian subsidiary, Chevron Australia Pty Ltd, has reported a further offshore drilling success in the Greater Gorgon Area, one of the world's largest natural gas projects and the largest single resource natural gas project in Australia. 

Centrica Energy's fleet of gas-fired plants has undergone "a massive change in operation" as flexibility is paramount to counterbalance the intermittency of renewable energy supply. The operator now runs the 230 MWe gas-fired Barry Power Station as a peaking plant in an open-cycle mode to boost operational flexibility.

China has to reform and liberalize its tight power tariff regime for gas-fired power generation to gather momentum and to attract investment in new-builds, says Gavin Thompson, principal consultant for Asia Pacific, Gas & Power at Wood Mackenzie.

"The power tariff is very flat, there is no capacity charge in peak generators and very little regional difference in power prices," Thompson told Gas to Power Journal at the sidelines of the Gas Asia Summit, held as part of the Singapore International Energy Week.

Power generation companies and industries in Singapore have committed to purchasing around 2.7 million tons per annum (mtpa) of LNG, S. Iswaran, second minister for home affairs and trade and industry said at the Asia Gas Summit. BG, appointed as the aggregator for importing the first 3 mtpa of LNG, has already achieved 90% of its franchise, he revealed.

Plans for an ASEAN power grid must proceed cautiously with one step at a time, says power analyst Sarah Fairhurst of The Lantau Group. "There are too many players trying to align too many interests," she told delegates at the Electricity Roundtable organised as part of the Singapore International Energy Week, referring to wide disparities among South-East Asian countries.

GE is showcasing its new FlexEfficiency 60 Portfolio at today's opening of GE's Energy Technology Center in Seoul. The US engineering giant said it has configured its gas-fired FlexEfficiency 60 technology to meet efficiency and operating flexibility needs of 60-hertz countries, including South Korea.

The F-class turbine fleet is now mature and of the right size to interest third party part and service providers, says Intergen manager for project development engineering, Kevin Baker. Intergen has terminated a maintenance support contract with an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and tendered for a third party provider to service one of its power plants.

Siemens plans to divest its lossmaking solar sector to focus its renewable energy activities on wind and hydro power. The German engineering giant confirmed it is currently in talks with potential buyers.

The share of gas generation in India, which at present is about 10%, is expected to rise as the government steps up efforts to form a national gas grid. Provisions in the Electricity Act such as open access to transmission and distribution network, recognition of power trading as a distinct activity, flexibility accorded to captive generating plants and provision of supply in rural areas will introduce and encourage competition in the electricity sector, an analyst with India's Central Power Research Institute (CPRI) told Gas to Power Journal.

Carbon capture reduces the efficiency of the combined-cycle gas turbine power plant (CCGT) by 11%-point, a study by Sari Siitonen, Gasum Oy and Leena Pirhonen ÅF-Consult shows. The study analyses how the integration of pre-combustion carbon capture technology in the gas-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plant affects the efficiency, power-to-heat ratio, CO2 emissions and costs of the power plant.

The market share of natural gas in Germany's power generation mix is estimated to rise to 19%, the regulator BNA's estimated in a mid-range scenario, deemed more likely than a bullish or bearish case. The mid-range scenario anticipates installed capacity from gas-fired plants to surge from 26.5 GW in 2011 to 32.9 GW in 2023.

Unconventional gas, due to its estimated abundance, has improved energy security in the United States and started a process of gas displacing coal as the dominant power generation fuel. Europe needs to adapt regulation to foster shale gas drilling, as it needs unconventional gas to make up for depleting indigenous gas production and supply new-build gas-fired plants, says Morgan Bazilian, deputy director of the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis in Colorado, USA.

Enel has taken action to increase the competitiveness of its fleet of combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plants, as the operator needs to come to terms with reduced operating hours and increases number of plant start-ups and shut-downs to balance renewable energy supply.

News in Brief

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.

Ofgem expects green energy to cost more

Feb 4 – Britain’s energy regulator Ofgem has been seeking to incentivize investment in green energy. However, the watchdog’s new head, Johnathan Brearly, cautioned “more investment does mean higher cost.” Though investors’ returns could come down, technology improvements will reduce down capital costs further in the long run.

FES takes over 1.3 GW Pleasants Power Station

Feb 3 – FirstEnergy Solutions (FES), soon to be renamed Energy Harbor, has completed the ownership transfer of the Pleasants Power Station, a 1,300-MW thermal plant located in Pleasants County, West Virginia. FES took over the power unit from Allegheny Energy Supply Company.

Körte heads Siemens Strategy

Jan 31 – Peter Körte, aged 44, has been appointed the new head of Siemens’ Strategy Department, effective February 1, 2020. In his new role, he will develop Siemens’ strategies for digitalization and the Internet of Things (IoT) which are deemed “crucial growth drivers.”