Markets

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. Gas and power prices soared across Europe as the Baumgarten blast adds to fears over Europe’s winter supply security, already impacted by Monday’s emergency closure of the UK’s Forties Pipeline System.

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.

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.”

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%.

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.

The board of TransAlta Corp has approved additional elements in the company’s strategy to transition to gas and renewables generation. This includes a letter of intent to build a 120km gas pipeline from Tidewater's Brazeau River Complex to TransAlta's generating units at Sundance and Keephills, eventually supplying up to 340 million cubic feet of gas per day.

Gulf Energy, Thailand’s third largest power producer, has made its market debut today at the Thai Stock Exchange. The IPO was Thailand's largest corporate listing in a decade, raising 24 billion baht ($736.20 million). The company said it will use most of the funds to finance new gas-fuelled power plants with a view to reach over 11.1 GW in installed capacity by 2024.

Just weeks after merging with Braden, a maker of gas turbine auxiliary equipment, Innova Global announced it has won $43 million worth of new work. The new orders largely relate to a range of gas-fired power projects in North America, but also include contracts for work from Australia, Mexico, Chile, Jamaica, Pakistan and Russia.

Commenting on the UK Government’s decision to de-rate battery storage ahead of the Capacity Market auction in February next year, UK Power Reserve (UKPR) said it “accepts and understands” this move while remaining confident about the future of battery storage in Britain. UKPR also underlined its goal to bring 120MW of battery storage online before 2020.

The gas-oil ratio in North Dakota’s Bakken region, one of the most prolific US shale plays comprising the Bakken and Three Forks formations, has been gradually shifting towards natural gas. While oil production slowed over the past three years, gas production continues to rise and reached a record high of 1.94 Bcf/d in August 2017, or the energy equivalent of about 334,000 b/d of crude oil.

Virtuays, a single virtual interconnection point between the Belgian gas trading point at Zeebrugge and the French PEG Nord has been launched by the Belgium gas network operator Fluxys and its French equivalent GRTgaz. The aim is to facilitate cross-border trading and harmonize gas prices in North West Europe.

Exports of natural gas from the United States to Mexico – both by pipeline and shipments of LNG cargoes – have reached an all-time high of just under 7.8 Bcf/d this week, following record high Lower 48 gas production at around 77 Bcf/d at the start of the week. Amid healthy fundamentals, it will now by weather patterns that determine winter gas trading patterns and volumes of US gas exports.

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