Daily News

Italy has declared a state of emergency for energy after an explosion at Austria’s Baumgarten gas hub on Tuesday interrupted onward flows of Russian gas imports from the strategic hub towards Italy, the Balkans and southern Germany. Gas and power prices soared across Europe as the Baumgarten blast adds to fears over winter supply security, already impacted by Monday’s emergency closure of the UK’s Forties Pipeline System.

Chinese authorities have mandated power producers in some regions to return to burning coal, responding to acute gas shortages. Coal imports rebounded from a three-month low in November as utilities seek to replenish stocks prior to the period of peak winter demand.

Returning to Libya with contracts in the range of 700 million euros, Siemens will expand the installed power generation capacity of state-owned General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) by 1.3 GW. The deals will see Siemens build a 650 MW open-cycle power plant in Misrata, and a 690 MW open-cycle power plant in Tripoli West.

The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has been awarded a 7-year operation and maintenance (O&M) agreement to ensure efficiency and reliability of Termo Mechero Morro's power plant near Yopal in Colombia. The latest servicing deals expands on an earlier Wärtsilä construction contract (EPC) for the gas-powered plant, which is set to begin production in December 2017.

Demand for natural gas in Spain has reached a record 1,670 GWh on December 4 – the highest level seen in the past six years. Outage of one nuclear plant, combined with low wind power availability, propelled up gas demand from the power sector; but Enagas expects demand will rise further as the winter progresses.

Attending the inauguration of Novatek’s landmark $27-billion Yamal LNG plant, the Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih confirmed the Middle East oil nation is considering investing in future LNG projects in the Russian Arctic. Talks are being held about setting up a $1 billion energy fund, aimed at fostering future supply of Russian LNG as part of a Saudi government plan to use more gas for power generation.

Fluctuation in power supply to the grid amid rising renewable penetration has been increasing the need for black-start generators. Analysts expect this market will grow at a rate of 3.8%, up from an estimated $1.24 billion this year to $1.50 billion by 2021.

Toning down its green energy ambitions, the Government of South Korea has backed away from plans to convert four out of nine planed coal-fired power plant projects to run on natural gas. Instead, only one coal-to-gas conversion is now likely to go ahead, the country’s energy minister said over the weekend.

Strong seasonal gas demand this winter for power generation and heating, along with high spot LNG prices in Asia and Europe, are forecast to push up US LNG export volumes. Utilization at Sabine Pass is projected to remain well above 90% in winter 2017–2018, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) anticipates.

Inaugurating a 1,263-megawatt LNG-fuelled power plant in Jhang on Saturday, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi pointed out the swift project execution and start-up, contrary to what he called the previous government’s “failed rental power plants.”

South Africa’s national utility, Eskom, would benefit its ratepayers and investors by decommissioning its older coal-fired power units and scaling back construction of the controversial 4,800-MW Kusile coal power plant project, said Grové Steyn, lead economist at Meridian Economics in Cape Town. In his view, “South Africa does not for the foreseeable future need a new national nuclear-, coal- or gas-to-power construction program.”

In the South of the United States the intensity and speed of gas replacing coal in the power mix has been greater than anywhere else in the country. Over the course of the past ten years, southern states used natural gas for 42% of their electricity generation – substantially more than the U.S. average of 34% – while the share of coal power plunged to 29%.

Spark Cognition, a global artificial intelligence (AI) technology leader, and Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas are working together to advance AI applications in MHPS-Tomoni. This new digital platform from MHPS optimizes power plant processes through cognitive analytics, prioritizing customer collaboration.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has just disclosed that customers in Asia, the U.S., Mexico and South America have technically selected the M501JAC for their projects 26 times, representing over 14 GW of new power projects. MHPS's new JAC-class turbine has unprecedented statistics – 99.5% reliability while approaching 65% efficiency.

By 2019, about 600 MW of Jamaica’s generation will be powered by natural gas and renewables, exceeding the current 580 MW daily average. To help advance this goal, New Fortress Energy (NFE) has pledged to invest close to $1 billion into the country’s gas and power sector – the latest milestone being the ground breaking for a $265 million LNG-fuelled combined heat and power plant (CHP) at Jamalco’s Halse Hall headquarters in Clarendon.

News in Brief

Bahrain to commence tight gas drilling

Jan 19 – Bahrain’s oil ministry is in talks with Schlumberger, Haliburton and others to start the development of its tight gas reserves in the course of this year, notably large deposits within the onshore Kuff reservoir. The drive to tap its own gas reserves complement’s Bahrain’s ongoing construction of an LNG import terminal, designed to balance seasonal demand.

Siemens rebrands its HSRG arm

Jan 18 – Siemens has rebranded and renamed its full subsidiary NEM Energy into Siemens Heat Transfer Technology (HTT). Headquartered in the Netherlands, NEM Energy mainly designs, engineers and sells components for power plants: Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HSRG), Waste Heat Recovery Units (WHRUs), Exhaust & Diverter Systems and related equipment.

CPUC rules to replace gas plants with energy storage

Jan 17 – California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has ruled that Calpine needs to replace three gas-fired peaking power plants with energy storage facilities by 2019, “if feasible and at a reasonable cost to ratepayers.” Calpine had initially sought regulatory permission to maintain “must-run status” for the two 47-MW peaking plants in Feather River and Yuba and a 605-MW gas power plant in Metcalf.

Control System market to top 6.2bn by 2022

Jan 16 – As more and more emphasis gets placed on alternative energy production, the market for power plant control systems is set to grow at an annual growth rate of 5.78%, expanding from $4.70 billion in the past year to $6.22 billion by 2022. According to MarketsandMarkets, top players in this electricity management are ABB, Siemens, Schneider Electric, Emerson and GE.

California to close last nuke in 2025

Jan 15 – The Public Utility Commission has reached an agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to close California's last nuclear power plant reactors at Diablo Canyon by 2025. As the state’s largest power plant, Diablo Canyon currently covers 9% of California’s electricity needs.

Halyard hands out EPC contract for Texas peaking plant

Jan 12 – Lauren Engineers & Constructors has been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for a 348MW natural gas-fired peaking power plant in Texas from Halyard Energy Wharton, a part of Halyard Energy Ventures.

Bord Gáis to develop battery storage, not OCGT in Kilkenny

Jan 11 – Kilkenny County Council is processing an application Greener Ideas, a joint venture set up in 2009 between Bord Gáis Energy and Mountside Properties,for the construction of a 100MW battery energy storage system. Initially the project partners intended to develop an open-cycle gas turbines power plant on the site which is now listed for the battery project.

L&T commissions 360-MW Bheramara plant

Jan 10 – Larsen & Tourbo, the India-based engineering firm, has commissioned and handed over the 360-MW Bheramara gas power plant to North West Power Generation Company, a subsidiary of Bangladesh Power Development Board. L&T said it had carried out EPC for the plant which was built on a turnkey basis for Marubeni, with gas and steam turbines supplied by Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS).

Floating power market to hit $1.4bn by 2022

Jan 9 – The floating power plant market is expected to grow from an estimated $889.6 million in 2017 to $1,440.1 million by 2022, growing at an average annual rate of 10.11% through to 2022. According to MarketsandMarkets, growth in this sector is spurred rising electricity demand in remote areas combined with benefits of floating vs. land-based power projects, e.g. issues related to land acquisition.

Israeli refinery to build 135-MW captive power plant

Jan 8 – ORL, Israel's largest refining and petrochemicals group, has confirmed plans to build a 135-MW gas-fired heat and power plant that will eventually be expanded to 340-MW. The cogeneration plant will produce both steam and electricity to power ORL's own operations, replacing an old coal-fired unit. Gas supply for the new CHP will be sourced via Energean from two offshore Israeli gas fields.

JERA sells 6% stake in New York gas power plant

Jan 5 – Japan’s JERA, a fuel joint venture between Tepco and Chubu Electric, has sold 6% of its equity interest in Cricket Valley Energy Center, the operator of 1,100-MW combined-cycle gas power plant under construction in Dover, New York. The buyer of the JERA’s equity stake is the Development Bank of Japan which is already invested in the project.

Pipeline blast halves Nigeria’s power output

Jan 4 – A fire at the NNPC-operated Escravos-Lagos gas pipeline in Nigeria’s southern Edo state has halted gas supply to the 1,320-MW Egbin power plant and five others, according to a statement by the Nigerian Power, Works and Housing Ministry. In total, the pipeline blast interrupted gas supplies to utilities generating more than 3,000-MW. The sudden load change tripped Nigeria’s power grid.

US biodiesel output rises despite tax credits expiry

Dec 21 – Biodiesel production levels in the United States were slightly higher in the first nine month of 2017 than in the previous year, despite the expiration of a federal biodiesel blender's tax credit at the end of 2016. The EIA forecasts a continued increased of domestic US biodiesel production due to changes to import policies which will make it more difficult to import biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia.

Aggreko to implement Q-Pulse in 200 sites

Dec 20 – Aggreko, a leading provider of modular mobile power gensets, will install Ideagen’s Q-Pulse software in 200 locations worldwide. Once implemented at Aggreko’s regional hubs, the Q-Pulse software will enable around 200 supplier surveillance audits per year. Live data from the system will also allow Aggreko to assess trends and potential risks from across the business quickly and efficiently.

TimkenSteel to use NextGen off-gas analysis system

Dec 19 – TimkenSteel has placed an order to install Tenova’s NextGen off-gas analysis system, iEAF dynamic process control and water detection at its Faircrest steel plant in Canton, Ohio. When fully implemented, the three technologies combined will help reduce energy consumption, improve water leak detection and increase the plant’s overall productivity.

New England to start power projects worth $16.5bn in 2018

 

Dec 18 – Power producers in New England’s electricity market region (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont) are taking steps to start projects worth more than $9 billion starts in 2018. With this project volume, the energy sector plans to invest nearly triple the amount of $3.2 billion to be spent by the region’s manufacturing industry.

ABB pioneers microgrid on Woodside offshore platform

Dec 15 – Woodside, Australia’s largest independent oil and gas company, has contracted ABB to install a microgrid - combined with a PowerStore battery storage system - on the Goodwyn-A offshore platform for dry gas production. The solution will help reduce emissions and lower operations and maintenance cost.