Markets

Westwood Global Group says engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract awards for floating structures will reach just over $5 billion in 2020, a 59% decline from $13 billion seen last year. However, markets are expected to recover to pre-crisis levels starting from 2021.

Marketed gas production in the United States keeps falling to an average 96 Bcf/d in 2020, down from 99 Bcf/d in the previous year, according to EIA projections. In April, at the height of the coronavirus crisis, gas production declined less than crude oil production, down “only” 2.3 percent.

Should Germany’s energy demand stay subdued, wholesale power prices could fall by €10.20 per MWh in 2021, compared to pre-COVID estimates. Energy Brainpool says a deepening recession could pull down prices by another 5%, extending losses by further €3.60 per MWh.

Australia’s Woodside Petroleum has announced write-downs of nearly A$6.3 billion (US$3.92bn), mostly related to its exploration assets. Australia’s largest oil and LNG exporter today posted a US$768 million drop in Q2 sales, largely due to a 28.2 percent fall in its realised LNG price.

Monthly gas prices at the U.S. Henry Hub have fallen to a low of $1.63 per MMBtu in June – the lowest inflation-adjusted price recorded over the past three decades, according to government data. Starting from March, mild weather and Covid-19 related lockdowns depressed demand and prices.

Coal is no longer a favourite fuel in Japan’s new energy policy which stipulates to mothball or retire up to 100 inefficient coal-fired power plants by 2030. Analysts say this will shift Japan’s energy mix towards nuclear and gas, creating upside for LNG imports.

Though U.S. rig counts decline and dry gas production fell by 0.3% in recent weeks, overall gas supply is up 0.6%, largely due to rising output at Marcellus Shale. Gas-burn in the power sector is the only let-out for excess supplies, with rock-bottom prices accelerating coal-to-gas switching.

Denmark’s decision to allow Gazprom to build Nord Stream-2’s final stretch with Russian pipe-laying vessels means the controversial interconnector will become a reality. Fresh U.S. sanctions “cannot stop the project now” analyst say, as the permit makes works “cheaper and easier” for Gazprom.

Rolls-Royce’s power systems arm, hit hard by Covid-19 disruptions, has today posted a double-digit decline in revenue. Long-term, the outlook for sustainable power “remains positive,” Rolls-Royce's H1-2020 trading update reads. CEO Warren East stressed “as for Power Systems, many of our impacted end markets are forecast to recover by the end of 2021."

The UK energy industry has welcomed the £3 billion green energy stimulus package, unveiled by UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of a wider strategy to revive the economy from the impact of the coronavirus. Grants to insulate homes, improve energy efficiency and retrofit green heating technology are seen as “critical” for the UK’s overall 2050 net-zero emission targets.

Natural gas exports from the United States to Mexico are seen rise by 40% with the completion of the southern-most segment of the Wahalajara system, also known as the Villa de Reyes-Aguascalientes-Guadalajara (VAG) pipeline. The 0.89 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) pipeline entered service this June.

Shanghai Electric Power has made a fresh and slightly improved offer to K-Electric to acquire 66.4% of its shareholding. Arif Habib Ltd, the local bidding manager of Shanghai Electric, specified his client wants to buy up to 18.336 billion of K-Electric’s total issued shares.

Page 2 of 221

News in Brief

Tokyo Gas snaps up US shale assets

July 31 – The Japanese utility Tokyo Gas has agreed to raise its stake in the U.S. firm Castleton Resources to 70 percent from 46 percent to increase its foothold in shale gas production in Texas and Louisiana.  Castleton Resources holds acreage in the Haynesville and Cotton Valley formations. The transaction is scheduled to be completed on August 14.

Electrical PE market to grow 1.7% through 2027

July 30 – The market for electrical protective equipment (PE) in North America, valued at $2,787 million in 2019, is forecast to rise at an annual rate of 1.7 percent to reach $3,163 million by 2027. Main growth drivers, according to ResearchandMarkets, are ongoing power transmission projects in the context with U.S. LNG export infrastructure expansions.

GE wins turbine order from Italian paper mill

July 29 – DS Smith Paper Italia has ordered a GE LM6000PF aero-derivative gas turbine for its paper mill in Lucca, Italy. The paper mill is currently powered by two aero-derivative turbines, and the additional unit will increase plant efficiency by 2%, while assuring steam supply for the industrial process.

Aceleron secures £2m green energy investment

July 28 – UK battery developer Aceleron today announced receipt of a £2 million equity investment from BGF and Mercia Asset Management. Aceleron is BGF’s second investment into a pure clean technology, signalling a shift in behaviour as more and more fund managers support a green recovery and the UK’s policy of net-zero carbon by 2050.

NRG buys Centrica’s North American arm for over $3.6bn

July 27 – U.S. utility NRG Energy has agreed with Centrica to acquire the latter’s North American subsidiary Direct Energy for $3.625 billion in an all-cash transaction. The transaction will diversify NRG’s earnings by adding more than three million retail customers and generate an estimated $740 million in adjusted EBITDA upon closing.

Siemens rolls out Comfy app

July 24 – Siemens is deploying its workplace experience solution Comfy across its global offices, including major utility customers. The aim is to equip approximately 600 company locations by October 2020.

BlackRock puts $18bn into sustainable investment

July 23 – Sustainability aspects are poised to bring about "fundamental change" to the way financial market actors operate, said Philipp Hildebrand, vice head of U.S. investment company BlackRock. About 18 billion dollars have been put into BlackRock's sustainable investment products since the beginning of 2020, he told the German business daily FAZ, arguing this would be "only the beginning" of a much larger shift in investment practices.

Vaca Muerta output slows

July 22 – Argentina has resorted to importing LNG for the Southern Hemisphere winter as domestic production at the vast Vaca Muerta shale formation fell in the first half of 2020. State-owned IEASA purchased 28 LNG cargoes at average prices of $2.87 million British thermal units (mmBtu).

GE to implement air quality control systems in India

July 21 – GE Power India Ltd (GEPIL) has won three contracts with a combined value of $112.57 million to supply air quality control systems. One semi-dry flue-gas desulfurization (FDG) unit will be installed for Hindalco Industries’ 1x150MW power plant at the Aditya aluminium smelter in Sambalpur. A wet FDGs system will be installed on behalf of NTPC for their Feroze Gandhi Unchahar thermal power plant (2x210MW plus 2x210 MW plus 1x210MW units) in Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh.

Wärtsilä CEO sees “tough” H2 ahead

July 20 – Wärtsilä CEO Jaakko Eskola has told analysts he sees a “tough second half of the year ahead,” as the Finish manufacturer seeks to mitigate Covid-related business disruptions. In the segment of up to 500 MW, Wärtsilä’s market share fell from 9% to 8%, while orders for gas- and liquid- power plants increased by 1% to 17.8 GW during the twelve-month period ending in March 2020.

GE launches update to digital plant software

July 17 – GE Digital has unveiled updates to its digital power plant software: Proficy Plant Applications, Proficy Operations Hub, Proficy Historian, and Proficy CSense. The software accelerates digitization for industries and integrates related onsite power generation units.

Germany EEG fund slips into the red

July 16 – Germany's green energy fund, funded through the renewable energy surcharge (EEG levy), has slipped into the red for the first time since 2013, according to TSO data. The account, funded by end-customers through a surcharge on their power bill, fell from about €2 billion in available funds to €-1.16 billion in the first six months of 2020.

China seen overtake Japan as worlds’ largest LNG buyer by 2025

July 15 – The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects China to overtake Japan as the world’s biggest LNG buyer with imports of 128 Bcm a year by 2025, equivalent to around 174 million tonnes. However, IEA analysts cautioned this scenario is “highly dependent on China’s future policy direction” and whether that includes an ongoing push for coal-to-gas switching for industry, residential heating and power generation.

IEA stages Clean Energy Transitions Summit

July 14 – Ministers from dozens of countries, accounting for over 80% of the world economy, have participated in the first Clean Energy Transitions Summit organised by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, said there “clearly is momentum” behind a sustainable recovery from the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Participants agreed to reconvene in mid-2021.

Siemens Energy to exit coal

Jul 13 – Newly formed technology company Siemens Energy wants to phase-out any operations and technology to related to coal-fired power generation, CEO Joe Kaeser said, without giving a specific timeline. Siemens had been harshly criticised earlier this year for participating in the Adani coal mine project in Australia.

Statkraft, GE enhance GB grid stability

July 10 – Statkraft and GE Power Conversion are working together to stabilise Britain’s power grid. To that end, GE will manufacture and install two Rotating Stabiliser synchronous machines at Statkraft’s site in Keith, Moray. Statkraft was awarded four stability contracts (two at Keith and two at Lister Drive) by National Grid ESO (NGESO) earlier this year.

Siemens Energy spin-off approved

July 9 – A large majority of Siemens shareholders have voted to approve the spin-off of the company’s energy business. The spin-off was approved by 99.36 percent of capital stock represented at today’s extraordinary shareholders’ meeting.

House ad Jul2020