Summer gas prices in the United States are increasingly likely to fall to record lows not seen over the past 20 years due to high gas inventories and abundant new supply. For June, July and August, Henry Hub spot prices will average $2.37/MMBtu – some 19% lower than last summer’s average, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts.
The French power grid operator RTE has halted operations of three nuclear power plants with a combined capacity of 3 GW amid a lack of cooling water as Europe’s latest heat wave unfolds. The onus is now on flexible combined-cycle gas power stations to balance the grid as demand for air conditioning surges amid scorching temperatures.
As Japan’s gas-burn in the power sector falls amid competition from coal, nuclear and renewables, the country is expected to lose its position as the world’s No.1 LNG importer to China by 2022. Despite sustained low LNG spot prices, it is cheaper for Japanese utilities to burn coal than natural gas.
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness has confirmed the country is on track to generate half of its electricity from imported natural gas and renewables. The recent commissioning of New Fortress Energy's floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) at Old Harbour helped boost the share of clean fuels to 44% of Jamaica’s energy mix.
Diversifying supply sources, Pakistan strives to secure attractively-priced LNG for power generation. Qatar is currently the country’s main supplier but the Pakistani government hopes to buy LNG from Australia and the U.S. at a price of around $3.5 per million British thermal units in the near future.
Wärtsila’s energy segment has lost market share as the performance in the second quarter was burdened by fewer power plant deliveries, as well as an unfavourable project and equipment mix. “We still need some orders to come through in the energy sector, but the sales pipeline is good and we expect those orders to be signed,” said Wärtsilä CEO Jaakko Eskola.
High carbon and low fuel prices in June gave Germany’s gas power plants a competitive edge over lignite-fired generation. According to Fraunhofer ISE findings, gas units’ fuel and carbon costs at €24-28/MWh outcompeted costs of lignite plants at €30-40/MWh, at a time when power prices averaged just under €32/MWh.