Markets

Wells drilled horizontally into shale formations - in contrast to vertical wells - have surged in number over the past few years and now account for nearly all of U.S. tight oil and gas production. Horizontal wells in 2004 still made up about 15% of shale oil and 14% of gas production, but this share has risen to well over 97% for both.

Tight oil and gas production in the United States could soon become less sensitive to price as super-majors like Chevron and ExxonMobil increase their shale acreage and commit to development spending. BP’s chief economist Spencer Dale said “cash-rich supermajors can smooth through price variations” and just keep fracking regardless.

As electrification accelerates around the globe, three-quarters of the entire growth in primary energy will likely be used for power generation, with half of all primary energy being burnt to produce electricity by 2040. According to the BP 2019 Energy Outlook, nearly all power demand stems from just two developing economies – China and India.

Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City Mayor and news tycoon, is giving $500 million to a ‘Beyond Carbon’ campaign with the aim to prop up political candidates who share his vision of shutting all coal power plants by 2030, and restricting the use of natural gas for power generation.

Dirty king coal is still a stronghold in the American energy mix, and nearly all the coal consumed is produced domestically. Of the more than 755 million short tons (MMst) of coal produced in the United States last year, the electric power sector burnt 636 MMst, while industry consumed 50 MMst and another 115 MMst went for export.

By 2030, the United Kingdom will see its share of variable renewables account for half of the country’s total energy mix, the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts. To mitigate the intermittency risk, analysts see an urgent need for flexible gas peaking plants, energy storage, demand response and new interconnectors to neighbouring EU countries.

Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens, seeks to carve out further company units and prepare them for a stock market listing or a merger with a rival manufacturer. The aims its simplify operations by separating the Siemens conglomerate into what Kaeser called “a fleet of speedboats” which are meant to thrive under their own steam.

Siemens seeks to offload its loss-making Power & Gas unit in an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in early 2019, and has chosen the former Osram CFO Klaus Patzak to manage the process swiftly and effectively. The unit’s profit margin used to be around 4% in the last few years, but is intended to rise to 8% or even 10% by 2023.

Rolling out a network of electric vehicles (EV) charging stations across Britain to fast-track consumer adoption could reduce National Grid’s need to build extra power storage, potentially saving the network some £1.16 billion a year. Smart chargers can help balance the grid as they would allow for EV only to be charged outside of peak demand hours.

Gazprom Neft, Repsol and Shell have agreed to set up joint venture to develop the Leskinsky and Pukhutsyayakhsky license blocks on the Gydan Peninsula, situated on the Siberian coast in the Kara Sea. The signatories of the memorandum plan to have detailed terms in place before year-end, aiming for contracts to be signed in 2020.

Demand from Asia is set to power the growth of the global gas industry over the next five years, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says, forecasting annual growth rates of over 4% in Asia and 1.6% worldwide until 2024. China’s policy drive to switch from coal-to-gas in the power sector plays a major role in driving demand in Asia-Pacific.

NASDAQ-listed New Fortress Energy has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Angolan Ministry of Mineral Resources and Petroleum to fund, build and operate an LNG regas terminal to supply gas for use in Angola’s industrial and power generation sectors.

Events, particularly major sporting shows, require fast-track power solutions that can maintain a stable, continuous energy supply. RnRMarketResearch sees the market expand at over 8% per annum, and forecasts it will be worth nearly $20.7 billion by 2022.

Eager to reduce fuel costs, Saudi Arabia has reigned it the use of crude oil in the electric power sector to an average 0.4 million barrels per day (b/d), mainly by burning associated gas or fuel oil instead. A steady population growth keeps driving electricity consumption, although the government seeks to dedicate most crude oil production for export and incentivises solar power.

General Electric has vowed to find ways to keep open its Belfort manufacturing site despite plans for downsizing and job cuts. Hugh Bailey, general manager of GE in France said the company is looking for alternatives such as building aeronautical parts at Belfort - instead of large turbines. “I want to be clear, Belfort will not close. It will remain GE Power’s number one industrial site in Europe,” he told French media.

Page 9 of 158

News in Brief

Slow start of STT pipeline

Oct 18 – U.S. gas exports to Mexico have not picked up substantially despite the start of the Sur de Texas-Tuxpan (STT) pipeline. Exports are still below 6.0 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d), although there no current postings regarding maintenance on the Sistrangas pipeline that feeds from NET Mexico.

EIB defers ban on fossil projects

Oct 17 – Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank (EIB) has bowed to pressure from Germany and the European Commission and deferred its decision to ban loans to fossil-fuel projects until mid-November. Germany wants the bank to keep financing gas-fired power projects as it views the cleaner-burning fossil fuel as a vital backup for renewable energy sources.

Brexit will not impact UK gas supply

Oct 16 – Security of power and gas supply in the UK will not be jeopardized this winter by the country’s imminent departure from the European Union, even in the event of a hard Brexit, National Grid said. In its assessment, the TSO factored in a halt to flows via the Belgium and Dutch gas interconnectors “from EU exit day one”, but said ongoing deliveries from Norway, the UK Continental Shelf and storage will continue as usual.

Ferrybridge C gets demolished

Oct 15 – Four cooling towers at the Ferrybridge Power Station have been taken down as the coal-fired power station will make way to a new, high-efficiency gas power station. Operator SSE shut down the 500 MW Ferrybridge C unit in March 2016 and now started to tear it down.

Global energy storage tops 10 GW by 2025

Oct 14 – The global market for grid-connected energy storage will grow by 6,900 MW, or 16.6% to reach over 10,500 MW by the end of 2025, according to Reportlinker.com. Germany will add over 267 MW energy storage installations over the next five to six years, while 330 MW will come from other European markets. These numbers are dwarfed by China, where up to 1,200 MW energy storage units could be connected to the grid by 2025.

Wärtsilä services EDL plant

Oct 11 – Energy Developments Ltd (EDL) of Australia has awarded Wärtsilä a service contract for gas engine-based baseload power plant at the McArthur River zinc mine in Northern Territory. The maintenance approach for the 53 MW onsite power plant is no longer pre-planned and scheduled but has been changed to condition-based and predictive maintenance, with an advisory contract.

EPH buys CCGT in Galway

Oct 10 – The Czech energy company EPH has received regulatory approval to purchase an 80% stake in the 400 MW Tynagh Energy combined-cycle gas power plant in Galway, Ireland. Mountainside Partners will continue to own the remaining stake in the CCGT, which operates based on a security-of-supply contract from the Irish TSO based on guaranteed power prices.

ITM gets £38m boost from Linde

Oct 9 – Sheffield-based ITM Power, maker of electrolysers for hydrogen production, has been boosted by a £38 million cash injection, as Linde acquired a 20% stake in ITM at 40 pence per share. Looking ahead, ITM said it is seeking to raise £14 million from new and existing institutional investors.

Drax to convert two power units

Oct 8 – Drax Group has received government approval to convert up to two coal-fired generating units at its power station in North Yorkshire to run on natural gas. With this ruling, the UK regulator overturned objections by ClientEarth, stressing some fossil power is vital for the UK to backup intermittent renewable power source.

Storage use tops 80% in key U.S. regions

Oct 7 – Gas storage utilization in the United States is rising in the autumn, with net injections topping 112 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in the first week of October. According to EIA figures, underground storages are at least 80% full in the East, Midwest, and South Central non-salt regions, allowing for seasonal withdrawals to help meet peak-day gas demand throughout the upcoming winter.

Maine, NY aspire to 100% clean energy

Oct 4 – Three U.S. states—Maine, New York, and Ohio—have updated their renewable portfolio standards (RPS), since May 2019. As a result, Maine and New York joined California, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, and the District of Columbia in requiring 100% clean electricity by 2050.

TransAlta to built CHP in Alberta

Oct 3 – Canada-based Transalta and SemCAMS Midstream have agreed to develop, construct and operate a new cogeneration facility at the Kaybob South No. 3 sour gas processing plant in Alberta. To be built at a cost of some 105 million, the CHP will have an installed capacity of 40 MW. Start of commercial operation is targeted for late 2021.

GE’s 100th HA turbine sold in Greece

Oct 2 – Greek industrial firm Mytilineos has ordered a GE 9HA.02 gas turbine to be the heart of the 826 MW Agios Nikolaos combined-cycle gas power plant. This deal also marks the 100th unit of GE’s HA gas turbine sold. Construction of the CCGT is due to start before the end of the year.

ABB launches M4M analyzer

Oct 1 – Swiss technology firm ABB has launches its first Bluetooth-equipped network analyzers, called M4M. The system gathers data from distribution grids and connects them to a cloud-based control system, allowing users to react on energy consumption and on-site power generation trends.

Microsoft invests in wind power

Sept 30 – Microsoft and ENGIE have entered a long-term solar and wind energy power purchase agreement (PPA) in the United States. The deal will see Microsoft purchase a total of 230 MW from two ENGIE projects in Texas, bringing Microsoft’s renewable energy portfolio to more than 1,900 MW.

Gazprom tackles issue of ownerless gas grid

Sept 27 – Gazprom, the main supplier of pipeline gas to Europe, is trying to settle the issue of ownerless gas pipelines – a relic of the former Soviet Union. Abandoned gas transmission pipeline spanned 6,651 kilometers as of March 1, with the issue seen as “especially acute” in the North Caucasus region where half of this infrastructure is located. If no owner registers these facilities within three months, Gazprom will take over to ensure reliability and safety.

Investors flock to Myanmar

Sept 26 – Fitch Ratings has singled out Myanmar’s power sector as one of the largest beneficiaries of foreign direct investments (FDI) worldwide. Nearly $21.2 billion was poured into power generation and energy infrastructure projects thus far in 2019, which is 27% of total FDI under the Myanmar Investment Law.