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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.

Brazil, second-largest producer of hydropower in the world after China, is implementing policy measures to add more solar PV capacity to the country’s energy mix, backed up by flexible gas gensets and energy storage. As part of the government’s 10-year energy expansion plan, nonhydro renewables is intended to grow 3% per year and reach up to 28% of Brazil’s domestic energy mix by 2027.

Cyprus has been racking up a string of giant gas discoveries, notably ExxonMobil’s Glaucus and Eni’s Calypso find. In total Wood Mackenzie estimates 11 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of recoverable gas resource was recently discovered in Cypriot waters but analysts question whether all discoveries can be commercialized. Building a pipeline to Egypt, or an FLNG plant off Cyprus, are the most viable options.

BP, one of the world's seven oil and gas supermajors, is understood to have agreed to pay around $10 billion to the private firm of the Romanian businessman Frank Timis after having purchased his stake in a gas field off the coast of Senegal for $250 million in 2017. BBC reporters uncovered this suspicious deal, but both BP and Mr. Timis deny any wrong doing.

Siemens has won a contract from an U.S. shale gas producer to supply three electric-drive centrifugal Dresser-Rand DATUM compression trains for two 250 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscf/d) cryogenic gas plants in the Delaware Basin, part of the greater Permian Basin in West Texas. The equipment will be commissioned in the latter part of 2020.

MAN Energy Solutions has won the "Africa Europe Award 2019" for its efforts in promoting German-African economic relations and establishing a sustainable and efficient local power supply on the continent. By 2050, Africa will be home to 25% of the world's population, hence sustainable power supply is vital to reach global climate goals.

Bruno Le Maire, the French finance minister, has pledged he would fight to save jobs at GE Power sites throughout the country. The minister’s comments come in reaction to GE's announcement it is seeking ways to lay off more than 1,044 employees at its Belfort manufacturing plant in eastern France, near the border with Switzerland.

Blackstone affiliate Zarou Ltd as well as Edra Power Holdings of Malaysia have both expressed interest to purchase three Siemens-build combined-cycle gas power stations in Egypt with a total capacity of 14.4 GW. A sale of the plants would ease the debt burden of state-run Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC), which owns and operates the three CCGTs.

Despite significant progress in energy access, the world is falling short of meeting the global energy targets set in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for 2030. The global electrification rate is now just over 89%, but the International Energy Agency (IEA) warns there is still a “dramatic lack of access to reliable, modern and sustainable energy in certain parts of the world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Spreads for arbitrage trading are narrowing between the Dutch TTF and the US Henry Hub as well as the TTF and the Japan Korea Marker (JKM), so Energy Aspects warns "any further tightening could close the arb windows and lock-in US supply.” The coal-to-gas switching level is seen at $3.70/mmbtu, or €11.1/MWh – below the breakeven to ship cargoes from the US to Europe at current freight rates.

Con Edison, the largest utility in the New York City area, has imposed a moratorium on new natural gas connections in most of Westchester County, claiming it it cannot guarantee uninterrupted service to new connections. Despite rising shale gas production in the Northeast, the rise in demand and infrastructure bottlenecks in the NYC area is now jeopardizing supply security.

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News in Brief

Evol LNG helps power Australian gold mine

June 18 – Kirkalocka Gold Mine in Western Australia will use Evol LNG to fuel Zenith Energy’s 14.5 MW power station with regasified natural gas starting from September 2019. The mine is run by Adaman Resources and had been relying on diesel to cover its energy needs. Based on the current diesel price, Adaman Resources expects to reduce fuel costs by more than A$13 million (US$9 million) during the first six years of operation of the new onsite LNG-to-Power plant.

Shell Energy ordered to refund overcharged UK customers

June 17 – UK energy regulator Ofgem has ordered Shell Energy Retail to refund around 12000 customers who were overcharged after the Government’s cap on gas and electricity prices came into force in January. Shell Energy Retail s agreed to refund these customers by paying £29,000 in compensation (£5 per fuel), and also pay an additional £200,000 into Ofgem’s voluntary redress fund.

BASF enters battery market

June 14 – German chemical company BASF is using NGK Insulators’ sodium sulfur batteries as its entry point into the energy market. The Japanese manufacturer NGK is currently the only maker of the large-scale sodium sulfur (NAS) batteries, capable to store several hours of energy. A joint project in northern Germany uses NAS batteries that store energy for five hours, while a recently completed project in Abu Dhabi using 108MW / 648MWh of the systems with a full six hours storage duration.

CNPC boosts domestic gas production

June 13 – China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), the largest Chinese oil and gas company, has announced plans for domestic natural gas output to reach 55% of overall domestic supply by 2025. Last year, CNPC managed to boost production by 5.9% to reach 138.02 billion cubic metres, while also increasing imports of pipeline gas and LNG.

Gazprom taps new gas deposits for Nord Stream 2

June 12 – Gazprom is fast-tracking hydrocarbon production in northwest Russia to boost reserves for export through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline (55 Bcm/y), currently being built through the Baltic Sea. At a meeting with Nord Stream shareholders, Gazprom noted that its Yuzhno-Russkoye field has yielded about 276 Bcm of natural gas, including 0.9 Bcm of hard-to-recover Turonian gas, since the start of operations. Turonian gas reserves, consisting of about 99% methane with no heavy residues, lie at a depth of 800–850 meters in reservoirs with low permeability. Commercial production at the Turonian deposit is scheduled to start in late 2019.

PG&E turns off electricity to avoid wild fires

June 11 – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has turned off electricity for some Californian communities at risk of a wildfire during the lastest heat wave. The authorized blackout started on Saturday in Napa, Solano and Yolo counties, with electricity being gradually restored over the course of Monday. Approximately 16,000 customers have been affected.

Gazprom to build power plants in Serbia

June 10 – Gazprom Energoholding has signed an Agreement of Intent (AoI) to build an upgrade several gas-fired power plants in Serbia. Together with Novi Sad, Gazprom Energoholding is already building a CCGT with some 200 MW capacity near a refinery in the Serbian town of Pancevo.

U.S. fund splashes out $4bn to buy El Paso Electric

June 7 – Infrastructure Investment Fund (IIF), a private investment vehicle within J.P. Morgan Inc., has agreed to acquire the U.S. utility El Paso Electric Co for $68.25 per share in a cash transaction. The enterprise value on the transaction is estimated at $4.3 billion. El Paso Electric customers will receive a total $21 million in bill credits over three years.

Caterpillar gensets back up Finnish data center

June 6 – The Swedish telecom giant Telia has ordered 12 Caterpillar gensets to provide standby emergency power to back up operations at its new data center in Helsinki. The Cat dealer Witraktor figured a system which includes eight Cat 3516B and four 3516E generator sets. The Telia Helsinki Data Center is the largest such facility in Finland, and its primary electric power supply comes from a combination of wind, hydroelectric and biomass.

Capstone wins orders in Iraq

June 5 – Micro-turbine producer Capstone has secured an order for two C600 Signature Series microturbines to provide 1.2 MW of energy to power a triethylene glycol (TEG) dehydration facility near Basra, in southern Iraq. The contract also includes Capstone’s new self-cleaning pulse filtration system, allowing the turbines to better withstand hot and sandy conditions with minimal maintenance.

Gas to supply record 43% of US power needs

June 4 – This summer, natural gas is forecast to cover between 40% and 43% of 2019 peak electricity demand in all U.S. states except Texas, according to projections by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Gas demand soared to nearly 10,700 billion cubic feet (Bcf) last summer, a 16% rise from 2017 levels. Should there be another heat wave this year, that record may well be broken. Capacity wise, natural gas is on course to top its 45% share in the U.S. power mix.

Lukoil to upgrade CHP at Krasnodar

June 3 – Russia’s oil and gas company Lukoil has received government approval to modernize and expand three combined heat and power units in Krasnodar. The gas-fired CHP units have more than 400,000 hours and ran an average 74% utilization rate, the operator said. The upgrade will add 150 MW of power generation capacity and Lukoil said it expects the revamped power plant to be ready for commissioning as early as 2022.

GE commissions Al-Qudus CCGT in Iraq

May 31 – GE Power has installed and commissioned a new 9E gas turbine at the Al-Qudus combined-cycle gas power plant, run by the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity’s (MoE). The CCGT was previously capable of generating up to 1,125 MW and the turbine upgrade adds another 125 MW of capacity.

Groundbreaking takes place for Ohio CCGT project

May 30 – This Thursday morning, groundbreaking will take place for the $500 million Long Ridge Energy Generation Project in Hannibal, Ohio. Long Ridge, a 485 MW combined-cycle power project, is being developed by Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors (FTAI). It will create up to 350 construction jobs and some 25 permanent jobs. The CCGT is expected to open in 2021.

Asia to spend more on renewables than oil & gas by 2020

May 29 – Utilities in Asia-Pacific region will invest more in renewables than on oil and gas exploration by 2020. Total capital expenditure in renewables will rise above $30 billion in the region by 2020, according to forecast of the consultancy Rystad Energy. India, Australia, Japan, Vietnam and South Korea will led the way in Asia’s green energy transition.

Ichthys LNG looses court claim against power sub-contractor

May 28 – JKC Australia LNG consortium, developer of the US$34 billion Inpex-built Ichthys LNG plant near Darwin, has lost a US$1.9 billion court case claim against a power station sub-contractor. Construction of the power station was subcontracted to UGL-led group which CIMIC took over in 2016 and subsequently cancelled the Ichthys power contract. The Western Australian Supreme Court in Perth now dismissed an application by JKC Australia LNG for upfront payment of damages. The power plant’s five gas turbines have already been handed over to Inpex, and KBR aims for the plant to be ready for commissioning this autumn.

San Miguel Energy claims $6.19bn subsidy for Ilijan plant

May 24 – South Premier Power Corp. (SPPC), San Miguel Energy’s development vehicle for the 1,200-MW Ilijan gas power project, has claimed that it already paid $6.19 billion in subsidies to state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp (PSALM) for its financial obligations as independent administrator. The build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract for the Ilijan plant will expire in 2022; and by that time, SPPC will get ownership of the plant.