Daily News

Nigeria's natural gas demand is expected to hit 16 million tons per year (mtpa) by 2015; forecast gas production for 2013 is 6.9mtpa, up from just 4.6mtpa in 2010, according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the corporation expects steady supply growth will boost the gas to power sector as new projects come online.

Capacity markets look set to strengthen their role in assuring reliable power supply in the US, following a conference, hosted by John Norris of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), on Wednesday. Topics discussed ranged from the metrics used to measure success, design elements, key challenges and effective accommodation of federal and state policies in centralized capacity markets.

Higher natural gas prices relative to coal prices in the US have caused a 14% plunge in the use of gas for power generation over the first seven month of this year, according to EIA figures. Henry Hub spot prices currently hover around $3.50/MMBtu – a substantial rise from the $2.39/MMBtu average spot price for the first half of 2012.

A tax on the use of fossil fuel for power generation in France was announced by prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault this week. Scheduled to be in place from 2014 onwards, the carbon tax will be levied on power producers in proportion to carbon emissions.

China's energy market reform, to be announced in November, and efforts to curb pollution is forecast to increase natural gas and uranium imports for power generation, while thermal coal will be "one of the most likely losers," Deutsche Bank analyst Michael Hsueh told Gas to Power Journal. Volumes of gas and uranium imports are forecast to rise substantially over the next 5 years, as China shifts its energy mix towards cleaner-burning fuels.

As renewable, intermittent wind and solar energy replaces traditional base load coal-fired and nuclear energy in Europe, the need for substantial sources of fast-start and cost-effective backup gas power increases, says Swift Tarbell, PW Power Systems Area Director for Europe. Following the sale of the first FT4000 SWIFTPAC to Exelon, PWPS is showcasing the technology in Europe.

Energi Danmark analyst today issued a 'buy' recommendation for the German front year Cal-14 that currently hovers around 38.85 EUR/MWh, suggesting players should buy the contract now before the new-elect government will implement "less business-friendly" policies.

Japan is to start publishing benchmark prices for short-term LNG imports, in a bid to reduce costs for gas power generators in the country. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will initiate the index in a bid to reduce the spread between Japanese and US gas prices, and encourage greater use of gas in the country's energy mix.

Profit margins for gas-fired power in Russia are set to see a further squeeze as domestic gas prices rise over the mid-term, forecasts Alexander Grigoryev, analyst at Russia's Institute of Natural Monopolies Research (IPEM). Admitting that the government's recent decision to freeze Gazprom's domestic tariffs in 2014 makes gas forecasts "very speculative", he suggested reduced exports to Europe will lead to higher domestic prices.

Rebuking plans of Labour leader Ed Miliband to freeze gas and electricity prices for 20 months if he wins the 2015 election, the UK Big 6 energy companies have condemned this proposal – at a cost of £4.5 billion – as a roadblock to investment in new power plants which exacerbates the risk of blackouts.

Gas turbine lifetimes could double thanks to new sensor monitoring technology developed by researchers at Cambridge University. The tested sensors monitor turbine operation at higher temperatures more accurately and help reduce fuel consumption between 0.5% and 1.5% as "improved accuracy allows greater control over the amount of fuel ingress," project lead Dr Michele Scervini told Gas to Power Journal.

California's power mix has seen a 10% rise in the contribution from natural gas and other fossil fuel sources over the summer months. In-state fossil fuel account of 47% of the mix on average, but this number can rise well above 50% on an hourly basis depending on the level of intermittent renewable supply, latest daily figures from the California Independent Systems Operator (CAISO) show.

News in Brief

Tula dDSF helps curb NOx emissions by 74%

April 15 – Tula Technologies, a leader in propulsion technology, and Cummins have showcased the results of a study on the effectiveness of Tula’s diesel Dynamic Skip Fire (dDSF) in reducing nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 74% and carbon dioxide emissions by 5% on a Cummins X15 HD Efficiency Series diesel engine. In comparison with current engine technologies and modifications to the thermal management techniques, use of the dDSF system saved 20% in fuel and related costs.

Marubeni starts EPC works for Rabigh IPP

April 14 – Japan’s Marubeni Corp has been granted limited-recourse financing for the 300 MW Rabigh solar IPP project in Saudi Arabia’s Makkah Province. The loan was granted by Mizuho Bank, Al Rajhi Banking and Investment and Japan’s Bank for International Cooperation. EPC work on the project is scheduled to start in early May. All electricity from the Rabigh IPP will be sold to the Saudi Power Procurement Company (SPPC) for 25 years starting with the plant’s commissioning.

BASF’s power demand set to triple

April 13 – Chemicals group BASF expects its electricity consumption will triple to over 44 TWh per year by 2035, rising from 14.7 TWh last year. The growth estimate is based on demand forecasts for Ludwigshafen, the group’s biggest site, where energy demand is anticipated to rise from 6 TWh to around 20 TWh. Currently, BASF meets most of its electricity needs with combined-cycle power stations, many of which are installed on or nearby its chemical production sites. The company has site in 390 locations worldwide.

Romgaz pulls the plug on Iernut CCGT

April 12 – Romania’s Romgaz has terminated a contract for the construction of a 430 MW combined-cycle power plant in Iernut, in Romania’s central Transylvania region. The construction consortium consisted of DuroFelguera and Romelectrico.

Wärtsilä test bio LNG fuel at Coast Guard vessel

April 9 – Gasum, Finland’s state gas company and biogas refiner is supplying Wärtsilä with green fuels that are currently being tested in a Coast Guard patrol vessel. The 96 metre long ship, the named ‚Turva’, is fitted with Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines. Use of Bio LNG, a 100% renewable fuel, emits no particulate matter, and close to zero nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur oxides (SOx) when burnt and has over 90% lower CO2 emission compared to conventional fuels.

ACWA Power signs PPA for Kom Ombo plant in Egypt

April 8 – Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power has finalised a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) for the 200MW Kom Ombo PV plant. Financial close is now scheduled for Q3-2021, developers said, provided they will obtain $40 million in debt financing and a $14 million equity bridge loan from the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), as well as a $27.2 million loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Scottish network charges keep rising

April 7 – Network charges payable by Scottish generators continue to rise. According to National Grid’s 5-year view Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) charges, annual TNUoS costs for a typical 40 MW onshore wind site in Northern Scotland will rise to £1.28 million by 2025-26 – a 180% increase in nine years. Critics warn some developers see these costs as a potential investment barrier which could undermine the UK’s path to net zero emissions.

LYTT launches well visualisation dashboard

April 6 – The British software and analytics company LYTT has launched a cloud-based visualization dashboard, enabling operators of oil & gas wells to visualise the operation and resource base of reservoirs, Insights are derived from acoustic and temperature data sourced from fiber optic sensors that allow oil & gas to “see exactly what is happening downhole.“

PIC Group to staff North Valmy Generating Station

April 1 – Atlanta-based NV Energy has awarded PIC Group the staffing services agreement to help with the selection of key personnel at its 552 MW North Valmy Generating Station in Valmy, Nevada through 2025. Under the agreement, PIC Group will also provide Operation & Maintenance (O&M) services up until the plant’s staggered retirement starting from 2022.

MHIET launches new 2,000 kVA genset

March 31 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engine & Turbocharger (MHIET) has developed a 2,000 kVA diesel generator with the highest output level in a Japanese-made packaged generator. The genset is designed for use in critical infrastructure such as factories, hospitals and data centers. Sales of the new system will officially begin on April 1.

NextDecade sells $10m of Series C stock

March 30 – Houston-based NextDecade Corp has agreed to sell $10 million of Series C preferred stock in a private placement to OGCI Climate Investments. Earlier this month, NextDecade announced its subsidiary NEXT Carbon Solutions is developing one of the largest CCS projects in North America at Rio Grande LNG, designed to enable the capture and permanent geologic storage of more than five million tonnes of CO2 per year.

Linde to help Gazprom advance Amur GPP

March 29 – German engineering and industrial gases company Linde has been contracted by Gazprom to help fast-track works at the Amur Gas Processing Plant (GPP) in the Russian Far East and build a new natural gas liquefaction and GPP at Ust-Luga west of St. Petersburg. Gazprom underlined the Ust-Luga complex will be “the largest in northwest Europe in terms of LNG production at 13 mtpa” and a gas processing capacity of up to 45 Bcm of gas per year.

Spectrolytic improves turbine oil monitoring

March 29 – Edinburg-based Spectrolytic has developed an in-line measurement system to monitor turbine oils by streaming key operating data to a cloud-based control centre which provides the customer with real-time process control. Called Fieldkit, the plug-and-play system can be integrated into the main oil flow of the engine or in a bypass flow from the oil sump or tank.

Toshiba recycles CO2 into carbon monoxide

March 26 – Toshiba has developed the world’s most efficient electro-catalyst technology for converting CO2 into carbon monoxide (CO), a raw material for fuel and chemicals. The electro-catalyst has the size of a C5 envelope, operates at room temperature, and can process up to 1 ton of CO2 a year.

Gazprom and TMK/ChelPip discuss future cooperation

Mar 25 – The heads of Gazprom and TMK, one of Russia's largest producers of steel pipe coatings, are in talks about their future cooperation following TMK’s merger with ChelPip. Alexey Miller and Dmitry Pumpyansky discussed how the merged company could best meet Gazprom’s needs with regards to pipeline supplies for wells and transportation of hydrocarbons, as well as technical maintenance and support and repair services.

ADM develops Barracuda oil and gas field

Mar 24 – ADM Energy has agreed to invest up to US$1.3 million in developing the Barracuda oil and gas condensate field by acquiring a 51% interest in K.O.N.H. UK. Named OML 141, the field is situated in shallow waters offshore Nigeria. Developers said they intend to provide or procure funding in return for 235% of approved Capex to be recovered plus a 15% net profit interest (NPI) from the field.

Wärtsilä services engines at NYK’s LNG carriers

Mar 23 – Japan-based NYK LNG Ship Management has awarded Wärtsilä two long-term Optimised Maintenance agreement. The 15-year contracts cover Wärtsilä’s 50DF dual-fuel engines and other equipment installed on two LNG carrier vessels. The deal took effect from January 2021.

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