Profit margins for burning coal and natural gas for power generation – dark & spark spreads – have both declined during the first half of this year. Still, comparing both spreads, according to the EIA analysts, “appear to indicate that natural gas-fired units have been more profitable than coal-fired units recently,” notably at the PJM Western hub.
China’s Huaneng Power International, a listed power producer with controlled generation capacity of 102.5 GW, has seen rapid growth both at home and abroad. Over the first three quarters of this year, Huaneng Power recorded a 26.52% growth in output of its power plants within China, with total electricity sold amounting to 294.271 billion kWh.
Low global LNG prices have improved the economics in China to generate electricity from natural gas instead of coal, and the subsequent surge in imports also increased the number of landed cargoes from the United States. According to the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, the worth of US LNG exports in Jan-July 2017 exceeded $139 million, already 2% more than the 2016 total.
In 2018, energy-related CO2 emissions forecast to rise for each fossil fuel—petroleum, natural gas, and coal—for a total increase of 111 million metric tons. According to EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), this rise in energy-related emissions is caused by an overall rise in electricity output, and reverses a 3-year trend of falling emissions in the power sectors.
Regardless of the implementation of the Clean Power Plan, NRG and several other large U.S. power generators have already come forward with their own commitments to reduce carbon emissions. Over the past two years, NRG managed to reduce its absolute GHG emissions by 35%, putting it well on track to reach its 50% reduction goal by 2030.
Peak power demand in the UK is forecast to top 50.7GW, but National Grid is “confident” to be able to balance the system “even under colder conditions than we have experienced in recent years,” the grid operator said in its 2017/18 winter outlook. Without intervention, reserve margins would be 1.2% - the lowest in a decade.
Renewable natural gas (RNG), derived from biogas collected at landfills, is getting increasingly used to meet fuel production targets set out by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA). About 189 million gallons of RNG were consumed last year to meet about 82% of federal targets, set specifically for cellulosic biofuel.
Investment in energy efficiency exceeds $231 billion worldwide, growing a 9% rate globally and at 24% in China. Energy efficiency codes and standards now cover about 32% of global energy use which helped to decrease energy intensity by 1.8% last year, said Dr Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Regardless of continuously rising power prices, Germany is likely to miss five out of a total of 15 key Energiewende goals, including its 2020 greenhouse gas reduction target. Among the targets still on track are offshore wind expansion, security of power supply, and employment in the renewables sector, according to McKinsey’s bi-annual Energiewende indices; however “goals that do not receive direct financial support become ever more unrealistic.”
The Indian government in Delhi needs to give hydrocarbon developers more freedom on gas pricing in order to incentivise production in less explored basins, Wood Mackenzie’s Asia office recommends. The removal of multiple pricing regimes that are currently in place across India will also help drive greater use of gas in the industrial and power sector.
Encouraged by a seismic survey of Atlantic coast acreage, Argentina has announced it will auction offshore oil and gas exploration rights near its northeastern sea border next year. The energy ministry hopes the subsalt basin off Brazil continues south which could lead to discovery of attractive conventional fields that help reverse Argentina’s energy deficit.
The conversion Sasol’s coal-to-liquids plant in Secunda, South Africa, to a gas-to-liquids facility is one of two large-scale projects that drive the global GTL market. Sasol, an integrated energy and chemicals company, is working on getting its GTL plant started up by 2024, while a delayed GTL project in Uzbekistan is hoped to come online by 2021.
Rising exports of “abundant US natural gas” is estimated to support up to 452,000 new jobs and give a $73 billion boost to the economy by 2040 – at a “minimal impact on the natural gas prices,” according to a study by the American Petroleum Institute (API). The resource base is now seen as “larger, less expensive and more price responsive,“ API Chief Strategy Officer Marty Durbin commented.