Markets

Gazprom chairman Alexey Miller has met Belarusian government officials to discuss the terms of Russian gas supplies and transit through Belarus from the start of 2020. Current contracts will expire on December 31 – the very date when Gazprom’s transit agreement with Ukraine also comes to an end.

Defending Golar LNG’s new strategy to spin off shipping operations, Chairman Olav Troim said “significant progress” has been made on downstream LNG distribution for power generation and as a transportation fuel. In Brazil, Golar just won a 605 MW gas power project in Barcarena, while a similar project in Sergipe is about to come onstream.

The European TSO group ENTSO-E has allayed fears of electricity shortages in Continental Europe in 2025 amid rising intermittent supply from renewable power sources, combined with a coal and nuclear exit in Germany and staggered coal power closures in Belgium and France.

China Gas Holdings, the largest independent Chinese city-gas distributor, has reported a 22.2% rise in fiscal half-year net profits to HK$4.91 billion (US$627.3m) and over US$3.5 billion in revenues as Beijing’s ‘Blue Skies’ anti-pollution policies led to rising use of natural gas for power generation and as a transport fuel.

FirstGen of the Philippines has freed up another $300 million for its projected floating storage and regas unit (FSRU), developed to ensure continuous fuel supply for 3,200 MW gas power capacity near Batangas City. LNG imports are vital for FirstGen as contracts for domestic gas supply from the Malampaya field will run out in 2024.

Two of Britain’s top energy firm, SSE and National Grid, have moved the ownership of their UK operations abroad to protect themselves from the Labour Party’s nationalization plans. According to the Sunday Times, they set up offshore branches in Switzerland, Luxemburg and Hong Kong.

Norwegian shipping company Höegh LNG sees continued growth in global gas demand as falling LNG prices help developers press ahead with decentralized power projects, supplied with natural gas via floating regas and storage units. Höegh participates in two FRSU tenders in Asia, and seeks to renew all its short-term charters by 2021.

Algerian state-owned Sonatrach has renewed its gas export contract with the French utility ENGIE – just days after Kamel Eddine Chikhi was appointed as its new CEO. Energy sales are vital for the Algerian economy, and Sonagas stated it has already renewed its gas delivery arrangement with Botas, Galp Energia, Enel, Eni and Edisson as well as Naturgy.

Fast adoption of floating LNG technology across Asia is opening up new gas markets in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. According to Black & Veatch, gas-fired power projects are “attractive for emerging markets” due to advantages in price, reliability and fuel access over developing technologies such as battery storage.

Ratings agency Moody’s has raised its forecast for German wholesale power prices by €5, reflecting higher carbon emissions prices. Wholesale power prices are seen to vary in a range of €40-50/MWh through 2022, and will also "become more volatile” as the share of renewables increases.

Energy demand in Africa, home to the fastest growing and youngest population on the planet, will be “critical for the world’s energy future, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA). In its latest World Energy Outlook (WEO2019), the Paris-based agency urged African leaders to tap the continent’s huge potential from solar, wind and natural gas.

Natural gas production in the United States is going from strength to strength, as is domestic gas use and export. According to Government figures, dry gas output surged 12% to 83.8 Bcf/d in 2018 and is on course to a fresh record this year. Consumption rose 11% over the same period, driven by demand from the power sector.

Chart Industries has installed and commissioned Europe’s largest LNG fuelling station near the northern German city of Bakum. Using cleaner-burning LNG as a transport fuel will help reduce sector emissions before Germany’s new national emission trading system (ETS) for transport comes into effect in 2021.

Amid growing needs for grid balancing, manufacturers of battery-based energy storages systems are struggling to source enough cobalt, lithium, and nickel. Analysts warn that the current low price for these raw materials defers the expansion of mining activity which could cause a supply crunch by mid-2020.

Fast-rising oil and gas production in the United States keeps pushing up utility-scale electricity generation from gas-fired power plants. The share of gas generation will rise from 37% this year to 38% in 2020, while the contribution of coal power falls from 25% to less than 22%, the EIA said in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook.

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News in Brief

Norway’s oil fund starts investing in renewables

Dec 11 – The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), traditionally heavily exposed to the oil and gas industry, has been permitted to shift its strategy. Acknowledging heavy losses of the world’s largest pension fund, worth an estimated $1 trillion, the government in Oslo has allowed GPFG fund managers to also invest in unlisted infrastructure, notably renewable energy sources and alternative fuels, including hydrogen.

ENGIE invests in wind energy in Italy and France

Dec 10 – France’s largest energy company ENGIE has completed the acquisition of Renvico from Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets and KRR. The move contributes to utility’s ambition of boosting its renewable energy assets to 3 GW in Europe and 9 GW worldwide by 2021. The Renvico takeover comprises 329 MW of operating wind farms of which 142 MW in Italy and 187 MW in France. It also includes a 300 MW greenfield portfolio of various fossil power assets.

Dominion issues Scammer Alert

Dec 9 – Dominion Energy Ohio has reminded customers they will begin receiving the next U.S tax credits automatically, beginning in April 2020, in their monthly bills. Customers were warned not to provide banking details to scammers who claim such data is required to receive the federal tax credits.

BOL finances entire 220 MW plant in Nassau

Dec 6 – Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) has agreed to cover the entire costs to build a 220 MW power plant at the Clifton Pier site in Nassau, and transfer the assets to Shell North America. BPL and Shell had agreed to jointly develop a 220 MW power plant plus LNG regas terminal, but the Bahamas state utility later signed a $95 million contract with Wärtsilä to install a 132 MW engine-driven power plant at the same site.

Kepco to operate CCGT in Uruguay

Dec 5 – Kepco KPS has been awarded a contract to operate and maintain the recently commissioned combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant in Punta del Tigre, Uruguay. Under the O&M contract, Kepco said it expects to earn 17 billion Won in sales every year, for a maximum eight years.

Siemens to create thermal twin for Bajaj Energy plant

Dec 4 – Lalitpur Power Generation Company Ltd (LPGCL), part of Bajaj Group, has contracted Siemens to create a complete twin for its fossil power plant in Uttar Pradesh, India. The thermal twin, powered by thermodynamic analysis and machine learning, allows power plant operators to diagnose performance gaps for every asset in the cycle in real time.

Talks between Gazprom and Naftogaz continue

Dec 3 – Russia’s Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukrainy have continued difficult negotiations about an extension of Russian gas supplies and transit after the current contract expires on December 31, 2019. The two state-run companies are embroiled in a legal dispute that still needs resolving, however, they confirmed talks are underway and focus on the technical aspects of transiting Russian gas to Europe from 2020 onwards.

Asia seen add 400 GW by 2030

Dec 2 – Asian nations are expected to add more than 400 gigawatts (GW) of electrical capacity to the grid over the next decade — equaling about twice the installed capacity of Germany. Much of the new capacity will be renewables, backed up by some 140 GW of dependable gas-fired capacity, according to GE Energy findings. Hence, the U.S. turbine manufacturer decided to invest up to US$60 million to convert its Singapore repair center into a HA engineering and development center.

Total starts up hybrid plant with energy storage

Nov 29 – Total Quadran has started up the largest hybrid power plant combined with energy storage to harness the ample solar power potential of New Caledonia, a French overseas territory. With an installed capacity of 16 MW-peak, the plant also features a 10 MW lithium-ion energy storage system. Combining of hybrid solar PV units and possibly gas-powered generator sets with energy storage balance out supply swings and enhances the reliability of the electricity grid.

Rolls-Royce, AVK partner on standby gensets

Nov 28 – AVK, Britain’s largest supplier of critical power solutions for data centres and the financial sector, has partnered with Rolls-Royce’s MTU brand for standby gensets in UK and Ireland. The deal covers MTU Series 2000 and 4000 diesel systems in a range from 825 to 4,000 kVA. In the past 30 years, AVK has developed into the largest solutions provider in the UK’s critical power market and has to date supplied gensets equipped with MTU engines with a total capacity of more than 3.5 GW.

Golar suffers setback amid restructuring

Nov 27 – Golar LNG, owner of a fleet of 27 vessels, has seen operating revenues plunge 20% to $98.67 million, in the first nine month of this year, while net losses amounted to over $236 million. Bermuda-registered Golar in May 2019 announced plans to spin off its LNG carrier fleet with the aim of becoming a gas project developer. It recently won a contract for the Barcarena power project (605 MW) in northeastern Brazil.

Burckhardt buys remaining share of Arkos

Nov 26 – Burckhardt Compression’s subsidiary in North America has purchased the remaining 60% of Arkos Group. The US has the world’s largest installed base of reciprocating compressors, and the integration of Burckhardt and Arkos Field Services, will turn the company into the only independent one-stop provider for equipment and service in the upstream, midstream and downstream business.

Gazprom’s exports to Austria reach fresh record

Nov 25 – Supplies of Russian gas to Austria and transits to Western Europe have already exceeded record levels set last year. From January 1 through November 21, 2019, Gazprom delivered over 12.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas – 33.5% more than in the same period in 2018. Austria’s OMV imports Russian gas under a long-term contract that was recently extended until 2040.

OGUK responds to Labour Party Manifesto

Nov 21 – The UK North Sea industry association Oil & Gas UK (OGUK) has warned of an investment hiatus in reaction to Labour’s pledge to introduce a windfall tax on oil and gas companies, if it wins the General Election on December 12. Responding to this, OGUK said any increase in tax rates would drive investors away, damage the competitiveness of the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry, and could potentially increase the country’s reliance on imports. OGUK underlined it has put in place a ‘Roadmap 2035 a blueprint for net zero emission’ and is investing in technology to achieve this goal.

France, Germany and UK led on demand-side flexibility

Nov 21 – France, Germany and the UK are leading on demand-side flexibility (DSF) and grid-integration of decentralized energy sources while Sweden, Spain and Portugal are lagging behind the rest of Europe, the consultancy Delta-EE and SmartEN finds. Areas covered by their new DSF monitoring tool include availability and accessibility of demand-side response, and its monetization across the gas value chain.

AI predicts peak in power use

Nov 20 – ABB and Verdigris Technologies have developed machine-learning algorithms to predict unplanned peaks in electricity consumption and help avoid them. The Energy Forecasting app will enable users to reduce their electricity bills by reducing peak demand charges.

India’s first UHVDC link commissioned

Nov 19 – GE Grid Solutions has commissioned Pole-3 - the ultra high-voltage direct current (UHVDC) transmission line in India, capable to transmit 4,500 MW of electricity. Once completed the Champa-Kurukshetra UHVDC project will be expanded to transmit 6,000 MW of electricity at 800 kV, serving customers in the areas of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh.