Wärtsilä has launched a new product called the GasReformer for turning gas associated with the production of oil into energy. Traditionally such gases would be flared and wasted but the GasReformer uses steam reforming technology to convert gases rich in hydrocarbons into a methane rich product which can be used as fuel in gas fuelled engines.
The use of natural gas to generate electricity in Japan was up by 15 percent in 2012 when compared to 2011, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Japan's use of all fossil-fuelled power generation was also up 21 percent in 2012 when compared to 2011, and now represents 90 percent of the country's energy mix.
Temporary energy provider Aggreko has signed Tri-Party Power Purchase Agreements (TPPA) with Mozambique utility Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM) and Namibian utility NamPower to provide them with up to 32MW and up to 90MW of gas fuelled power, respectively from its interm power plant at Gigawatt Park in Ressano Garcia, Mozambique.
As dispatch patterns shift, gas-fired power plants can now increasingly be described as intermittent energy sources, much in the same way as renewables, Richard Sarsﬁeld-Hall, principal consultant at Pöyry Energy Consulting, said at this year's FLAME Conference in Amsterdam. Weather conditions impact the output of wind and solar installations and subsequently determine what levels of backup power is required from combined-cycle gas and coal plants on an intermittent basis.
Most European power markets face an oversupply of fossil power plant capacity, Guido Custers, Managing Director at Delta Energy said at this year's FLAME conference in Amsterdam. In both the Netherlands and Germany, adverse market conditions and negative profit margins is prompting operators to consider either mothballing or even decommissioning existing gas-fired plants.
Norwegian utility Statkraft has decided to put a second gas-fired power plant in Germany into cold reserve by announcing the planned closure of its 510 MW 'Robert Frank' installation in Landesbergen, Germany this summer due to unprofitable market conditions. The transmission system operator TenneT had recently classified the power plant as non-system relevant.
Vattenfall, Europe's fifth largest utility, is pessimistic about the prospects of gas as a fuel source in the future energy mix; so in the next few years it is unlikely that new investments (apart from already planned investments) in gas power plants will be forthcoming, said Gabrielle Seeling-Hochmuth, head of gas strategy at Vattenfall's gas competence centre at this year's FLAME gas conference in Amsterdam.
Natural gas consumption in Mexico is on the rise with the country's consumption increasing by 4 percent per year on average during the period between 2007 and 2011 due to growing demand in the industrial sector. Mexico also plans to add 28GW of gas-fired power generation capacity between 2012 and 2027 according to the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), Mexico's state-run electricity provider. CFE estimates that this could raise natural gas needs for power generation by 5.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d).
The gas market is not yet fully liberalized and things still needs time, but as the government we are committed to duplicating the efforts made when we liberalized the power market, Turkey's deputy minister for energy and natural resources, Hasan Murat Mercan, told a conference in Istanbul organized by Gas to Power Journal.
The hunger of Turkey's industry for natural gas is unabated, while new government incentives and tax breaks aim to put the use of domestic lignite resources at an advantage over natural gas as a fuel source for power generation.
"We are over reliant on gas imports and this dependency is set to rise in line with GDP growth," said Levent Özcan Caner, Strategy Department, Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, suggesting that government regulation in favour of coal would help reduce Turkey's gas import dependency.
Keen to fast-track the liberalisation process of the Turkish energy market, the government has set a timeline for divestment of state-owned power generation assets.
"We hope to finish the privatization of Turkey's thermal power plants by 2015," Atif Kir, Head of Project Group, at the Turkish Ministry of Privatization Administration (OIB) told Gas to Power Journal in an interview.
Turkey's gas-fired power generation capacity will continue to expand until new nuclear capacity starts operation. "We believe 60 bcm is a viable figure for Turkey's total gas demand volume by 2020, as gas-fired capacity will defend its 45 percent levels of market share until new nuclear capacity starts operation, said Ali Güleç, Senior Consultant at Deloitte.