Markets

Just days after launching a transformation plan, NRG Energy has disclosed it will divest 6 GW of conventional power generation capacity, and 50-100% of its renewable energy arm, NRG Yield. The American utility said it hoped to raise between $2.5 billion and $4 billion in cash proceeds from the sale. Mauricio Gutierrez, NRG president and CEO said underlined the board’s “commitment to simplify and strengthen the company to thrive through any market cycle.”

As war-torn Iraq seeks to raise electrification levels, it is becoming increasingly dependent on natural gas from neighbouring Iran to compensate for shortfalls in its domestic gas production. “New power stations are entering into service soon, hence the country’s need for gas imports,” Iraqi News quoted the electricity minister, Qasim Al-Fahdawi.

Demand from the industrial sector becomes the main engine of gas consumption growth, replacing power generation, where gas is being squeezed by growing renewables and competition from coal, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says in its latest five-year forecast Gas 2017. Global gas demand is forecast to rise from 3,630 bcm today to nearly 4,000 billion cubic meters (bcm) by 2022.

Spurred by the global expansion in LNG supply and trade, the growth of natural gas supply in absolute terms will outperform that of all other energy sources, notably coal and oil, CEDIGAZ said in its latest Medium and Long Term Natural Gas Outlook 2017. According to projections made by the Paris-based energy consultants, the share of gas in the world primary energy supply will rise from 21.2% in 2014 to 23.9% in 2035.

Supply-side overhang has made the energy component of the Standard and Poor’s Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI) shed 11% during the first half of 2017 – the largest drop in the index. Metals, lifestock and agriculture, by contrast, had higher end-of-June prices than those at the start of the year.

Acute fuel shortages have halted the operation of eight new-built power stations in Nigeria with a combined capacity of 4,201 MW. All affected plants had been built under the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) set up by the former President Goodluck Jonathan. At 6 am on Sunday, the actual power output supplied to the grid by the eight fuel-constaint plants was just 2,979.90 MW – less than two third of their installed capacity.

Capacity-weighted average construction costs for many generator types have fallen in recent years throughout the United States. The average cost of natural gas generators installed in 2015 was $696/kW, a 28% decline from 2013. Nearly 75% of the natural gas capacity installed was combined-cycle units, which had an average installed cost of $614/kW.

Utilities in India will face the most disruption” when having to come to terms with the trend that by 2020, renewable power will be the cheapest form of new-build capacity in most of the world, according to Morgan Stanley Research. “We think the market for Indian utilities has yet to fully price in the impacts of solar power becoming the cheapest form of new generation,” analysts said, remarking “[this is] driving our downgrade of the Indian utilities industry to In-Line.”

Dubbed a ‘Test of German power’ by the Financial Times, the construction of the second pipeline arm of North Stream 2 has sparked protest by 13 EU member states but German energy majors, including BASF, Wintershall and E.on are adamant that implementation of the project is vital for Europe’s energy security. Boosting Russian gas exports to Greifswald may bolster the German-Russian relations but it looks going against the principle of the ‘Energy Union’, an aspirational project launched by the European Commission to diversify supply sources.

Spanish engineering group SENER has been embarking on a number of major turnkey construction projects in Mexico, such as the 770 MW Empalme I project. “The Energy Reform extends the market share for private enterprises and increases the value of the [state operator] CFE. This creates a lot of opportunities for our company,” Alejandro De la Rúa, Power, oil & gas director at the firm in Mexico said, forecasting energy demand in northern Mexico is set to grow by 3.6% per year.

Exports of natural gas from the United States have reached a record-high level, surging 30% to 2,315 Bcf in 2016. Pipeline exports to Mexico more than doubled since 2013 and are set to rise further, according to EIA projections, once the pipeline projects currently under construction are completed and demand from new natural gas-fuelled plants in Mexico ramps up.

Sharjah National Oil Co. (SNOC) is aiming to take a financial investment decision on a floating LNG terminal before the end of 2017 in an effort to end intermittent power shortages in that emirate, located just north of its affluent neighbour Dubai.  

No new coal-fired generating capacity is added to the U.S. power mix in all cases set out in the EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2017 (AEO2017). Analysts stressed, however, that actual production levels of hard coal and lignite depend on resource availability on technological advancement – not just on policy choices around the much-debated effects of the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

PennWell Corp. today launches ‘Electrify Europe’, a new event dedicated to the convergence of power generation and transmission which is driven by trends like digitization and decentralization. According to Glenn Ensor, head of PennWell International, it is an “entirely new concept designed to foster information exchange between established and new players for the creation of advanced solutions across an entire electricity value network.” The launch event will be held in Vienna, Austria, in June 2018.

As the energy mix across the United States continues to shift towards renewables and gas, the carbon intensity of the overall electric power sector is now lower than that of gas-fired power generation. After averaging near 60kg CO2/MMBtu for decades, the combustion-weighted carbon intensity in the electric power sector fell to 48kg CO2/MMBtu in 2016 – slightly lower than that of natural gas, which produces 53kg CO2/MMBtu.