Daily News

Rampant US gas supply has been outpacing demand growth for the past year, slashing prices in Europe and Asia. Some US exporters are considering shutting in production as record low gas prices at the Dutch TTF hub challenge the profitability of liquefying and shipping gas to Europe.

Sempra Energy is getting close to offloading its interest in a second South American power company to a Chinese state firm. State Grid Corporation of China is understood to be willing to pay nearly $3 billion to acquire Sempra’s interests in Chilquinta Energía and Tecnored SA of Chile.

Hong Kong-listed VPower Group, together with Myanmar’s Zeya Associates, has been awarded four of the five emergency power projects tendered by the energy ministry. Three power projects, with a combined capacity of 900 MW, will run on imported LNG.

Pacific Gas & Electric has been cutting off electricity supply to almost 800,000 customers across California to minimize the risk of wild fire. PG&E’s transmission lines have been linked to recent wildfires, and the utility has told those affected they may be without electricity for up to five days.

Super storm Hagibis made landfall Japan on Saturday, paralyzing the capital and causing landslides and floods. The typhoon unearthed power pylons, leaving nearly half a million home without power and exposing once again exposed the vulnerability of Tepco’s ageing transmission infrastructure.

At times of negative power prices in Germany, when production exceeds demand, only a small fraction of conventional power plants would need to keep running, the energy regulator BNetzA found. To reduce costly oversupply, utilities are advised to invest in flexibility and energy storage.

Utilities, particularly in China and Europe, are retrofitting their gas turbine with combustor enhancements to make assets more cost-effective. To support this market, Ansaldo Energia affiliate PSM developed a Low Emission Combustor (LEC-III) and new FlameSheet combustor retrofit for B, E and F-class gas turbines.

Sun-soaked Egypt will soon finalize its first utility-scale solar PV power plant, the 1.8 GW Benban Solar Park. The government targets to add 3.5 GW of solar PV by 2027, whereby the cheap but inherently intermittent solar energy is backed up by three new 4.8 GW combined-cycle power plants.

Evonik and Siemens have launched the second phase of Rheticus in Marl, Germany, based on €3.5 million in government funding. The test plant contains a bioreactor and electrolyzers to turn water and CO2 into valuable chemicals, making use of excess electricity from renewable sources.

The creation of a national pipeline company in China is meant to maximise the country’s oil and gas output, but analysts warn it could result in higher end-user prices. Using the price-to-book methodology, Wood Mackenzie says China’s new pipeline company may be worth up to $105 billion.

Harnessing methane-laden waters from Lake Kivu, the government of Rwanda has entered a public-private partnership (PPP) with Shema Power Lake Kivu Ltd (SPLK), formerly Symbion Energy, to develop a 55 MW power plant. Ultimately, the government aims to fuel over 500 MW capacity with methane from the lake by 2024.

Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) has been urged by the Californian energy regulator to guarantee stable gas deliveries to utility customers. SoCalGas is required to inject more gas into storage to mitigate the risk of fuel shortages for power generation in the upcoming winter.

U.S. dry gas production will rise to an all-time high of 91.63 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) this year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said, forecasting a fall in Henry Hub gas prices by more than $1 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) to average $2.43/MMBtu in Q4-2019.

General Electric will freeze pensions for over 20,000 employees in the U.S. to lower its pension deficit by around $5-8 billion and net debt by up to $6 billion. However, analysts at J.P. Morgan say further steps are needed if GE wants to “truly normalize” its balance sheet.

German engineering giant Siemens is partnering with Hydrogen Renewables Australia (HRA) to develop a 5,000 MW wind and solar farm in Western Australia. Siemens electrolysers will convert the renewable power into low-cost renewable hydrogen for export to Asian markets.

News in Brief

Global gas glut may clear in 2021

Nov 11 – Economics of exporting American liquefied natural gas to Europe no longer add up. With Henry Hub spot prices around $2.7/MMBtu, moving LNG cargoes from the U.S. Gulf Coast to Europe is “not workable,” BP analysts said, indicating that production shut-ins could help clear the massive supply overhang towards the end of 2021.

Gazprom reassures Germany of Ukraine gas transits

Nov 8 – Alexey Miller, chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, has been trying to reassure the German government commissioner Georg Graf Waldersee that Russia was ready to signing a new transit contract with Naftogaz if both companies mutually waive claims. Before gas flows can proceed, however, Ukraine will have to create an independent gas transmission operator by January 1, 2020.

GE makes gains in wind power

Nov 7 – GE Power is gradually turning away from its loss-making fossil power segment to focus on the fast-growing renewable business. This week, GE struck a deal for its new Haliade-X turbines to be used at Dogger Bank Wind Farms. The three 1.2 GW Dogger Bank projects, situated offshore the UK’s Yorkshire coast, are expected to trigger approximately £9 billion of capital investment between 2020 and 2026.

PetroVietnam eyes LNG-to-Power project

Nov 6 – PetroVietnam has signed an agreement with B.Grimm Power Public Company (BGRIM) to jointly study the development of an integrated LNG import and power generation project. The aim is to build a 3,000 MW gas-fuelled power plant and an adjacent LNG import terminal. The location of the project has not been disclosed.

ABB launches ‘Smart City’

Nov 5 – Electrification specialists of the Swiss manufacturer ABB have designed an interactive ‘Smart City’ that contains smart buildings, e-mobility, energy management and data centers. The use of smart technologies and digitalization are encouraged by the United Nations as a way to help decarbonize cities around the world.

Gazprom, BASF cooperate on sulfur separation

Nov 4 – The Russian major Gazprom and the German chemical company BASF have agreed to devise a comprehensive solution for separation of sulfur from natural gas. The aim is to  enhance eco-efficiency of the Astrakhan gas processing plant and improve operational efficiency of BASF’s amine gas treatment units at the Orenburg gas-fired power plant.

Germany’s emission fall ‘markedly’

Nov 1 – Germany is headed for second consecutive year of substantial reductions in carbon emissions, amid a sharp drop in coal-burn in the power sector and an overall decline in energy use in 2019. If this trend continues, the country could get much closer to its 2020 climate target than widely anticipated.

Exmar to refinance Tango FLNG

Oct 31 – Exmar, the Belgian shipping company, is trying to refinance the Tango FLNG vessel, moored offshore Argentina on behalf of YPF. The aim is to generate around $60 million in additional capital, Exmar said, suggesting a deal will likely be struck in the first months of 2020.

Petronet doubles net profit

Oct 30 – Indian LNG importer Petronet has nearly doubled its net profits in the third quarter although revenues fell by 13%. Net profits came in at 1,089 crore rupees ($153.6m), an increase of 90% on the same period in 2018 as the company benefited from India’s lower corporate tax rates. Third-quarter revenues, in contrast, fell to 9,449 crore rupees ($1.33 billion).

Wildfires spread around LA

Oct 29 – Thousands of Los Angeles residents have been evacuated as wildfires spread fast around the metropolis and power outages brought life close to a standstill. The risk of fires caused by overland transmission lines prompted Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to prolong precautionary blackouts that could last up to three days.

Dominion embraces solar & storage

Oct 28 – Dominion Energy South Carolina has signed contracts for more than 1,000 MW of solar capacity. About half of that capacity has entered service. To complement intermittent solar energy supply, Dominion earlier announced several energy storage projects.

Wärtsilä downgrades outlook for its energy business

Oct 25 – Wärtsilä has downgraded the outlook of its Energy Business from “soft” to “weak” amid low equipment demand, although the its services activity “remains sound.” The current order book for 2019 deliveries is 1,708 million Euros, comprised mainly of equipment deliveries, Wärtsilä stated today when posting mixed Q3 results. Looking ahead, the company said its operating result for full-year 2019 will be approximately 100 million Euros lower than in the 2018 result of 577 million Euros.

Siemens names new CIO

Oct 24 – Hanna Hennig will be appointed as new Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Siemens starting from January 2020. The change at Siemens’ IT organization supports the execution of the company’s Vision 2020+.

GE to service Austrian CHP

Oct 23 – Sappi Austria, provider of sustainable woodfibre products, has handed GE Power a multi-year service agreement to for its 42 MW onsite power plant.  GE will carry out a cross-fleet turbine and combustor upgrade to help Sappi reduce costs through a maintenance interval extension and better plant performance.

Brookfield invest $2bn in Cove Point LNG

Oct 22 – Brookfield Asset Management, an investor in energy infrastructure and power storage, has agreed to take a 25% stake in Cove Point LNG for just over $2 billion in cash. The alternative investor also owns assets in hydro (7.9 GW), wind (4.9 GW), solar (1.7 GW), distributed generation (400 MW) and energy storage (2.7 GW).

Ansaldo appoints new CEO

Oct 21 – Ansaldo Energia’s board of directors has appointed Giuseppe Marino as new CEO. Together with the chairman, Giuseppe Zampini, he will decide on the company’s strategy particularly relating to the new Chinese joint ventures.

Slow start of STT pipeline

Oct 18 – U.S. gas exports to Mexico have not picked up substantially despite the start of the Sur de Texas-Tuxpan (STT) pipeline. Exports are still below 6.0 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d), although there no current postings regarding maintenance on the Sistrangas pipeline that feeds from NET Mexico.