Markets

Electricity demand across major European markets will fall nearly 8.1% this year as lockdown easing have no great impact yet, so Wood Mackenzie sees full recovery taking several years. Growth in renewables and a bearish outlook for fuel prices will keep a power prices low well beyond 2020.

Forward prices at the Dutch TTF gas trading hub could fall further over the summer as Europe runs out of storage capacity. Through most EU countries lifted coronavirus lockdowns, demand stays weak and Energy Aspects sees TTF prices remain too low to attract US LNG cargoes until April 2021.

Russia’s state gas company Gazprom seeks to boost gas production in Yakutia and enhance pressure as well as throughput at the ‘Power of Siberia’ pipeline. There is “plenty of supply,” Gazprom noted, to ramp up exports to China gradually to 38 Bcm/y, as planned, by 2025.

Low U.S. gas demand due to the pandemic and unseasonably mild weather has prompted a sharp rise in storage injection, in particular in the South Central region. EIA figures show net injection into storage increased 109 Bcf last week, some 35 Bcm more than typical levels.

Energy demand patterns and grid dynamics have shifted dramatically since mid-March. In the absence of sufficient energy storage, Germany at times had to export 14 MW of excess renewable power at a loss of €80 MWh to countries like Norway and Austria, Wärtsilä’s energy tracking shows.

Business shutdowns in New York State to contain the coronavirus have slashed daily electricity demand on weekdays between 11% and 14% in March and April, according to government figures. Downtown New York, the NYISO Zone J, was hardest hit with demand up to 16% lower than temperature-comparable historical demand.

Siemens expects “even stronger impacts” from the coronavirus pandemic in the coming weeks as it posted an 18% drop in profits during the second quarter. The German technology conglomerate withdrew its guidance for fiscal-2020 but confirmed the timeline for the spin-off of its energy business.

April 2020 was the first month ever that renewables generated more electricity than thermal coal in the United States every single day. According to government data, coal’s market share in April declined to 15.3% amid a steep drop in power demand due to the pandemic.

Nationwide lockdowns in India have highlighted the financial risk of coal power plants – a technology increasingly uncompetitive compared with gas or renewables. In the first 33 days of the 2020/21 fiscal year, coal-fired generation was down just shy of 30 Terawatt-hours (TWh).

Asia’s Japan/Korea LNG (JKM) price marker is “potentially undervalued”, Energy Aspects says, pointing at a strong demand upswing in South Korea. Should KOGAS switch decisively from coal to gas generation, this would pull JKM prices above levels at the Dutch TTF starting from the fourth quarter.

Rising volumes of US LNG exports have boosted liquidity at traded gas markets, leading to greater price correlation of regional hubs and more integrated markets. Still, prices at the U.S. Henry Hub, Asia’s Japan/Korea LNG (JKM), and the UK National Balancing Point (NBP) show much less correlation than crude oil benchmarks.

U.S. electric carmaker Tesla has applied to the British energy regulator Ofgem to sell electricity in the UK. The purpose of the licence may be to introduce Tesla’s Autobidder energy trading platform in the UK, which is already running at Tesla’s Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia.

Page 2 of 216

News in Brief

BelGAS launches new pressure regulator

May 29 – BelGAS has introduced its new P1098 High-Capacity Pressure Reducing Regulator, a large-volume regulator for natural gas, propane and other fuels. The pilot-operated device has a large-area actuator diaphragm, allowing for fast and accurate response to modulating gas flow conditions. It is adaptable for low to extra-high pressure—up to 400 psi main valve inlet.

GE to sell lightning business

May 28 – GE has signed a definitive agreement to sell its lighting business to Savant Systems, a provider of smart homes. CEO H. Lawrence Culp called the divestment “an important step in the transformation of GE into a more focused industrial company.” The transaction is expected to close in mid-2020.

China’s fuel demand recovers

May 27 – The Chinese government has lifted restrictions on private travel since April which pushed up demand for transport fuels. Gasoline demand has recovered particularly fast and is expected to return to last year’s levels by June 2020. Wood Mackenzie estimates gasoline consumption to reach 3.4 million barrels per day (b/d) in the second quarter, down just a 0.8% year on year. Diesel or gasoil demand is expected to reach 3.4 million b/d in Q2 2020, a 3% decline year-on-year. Overall, China’s oil demand is seen rise a “modest” 13.6 million bpd, or 2.3%, in the second half of 2020.

Wärtsilä to retrofit CHP in Spain

May 26 – The Finish engine maker Wärtsilä has bagged an order to supply and install a 34SG gas-fuelled engine generating set for Rofeica Energia's combined heat and power plant in Barcelona, Spain. The installation of the gas engine will allow Rofeica to switch the CHP from heavy fuel oil to gas-fuelled operation, reducing emissions.

New York body rejects William’s plans for gas pipeline expansion

May 21 – New York’s and New Jersey’s state bodies for environmental conservation have rejected Williams’ plans for the Northeast Supply Enhancement project, designed to transport 400 million cubic feet per day of gas from Pennsylvania to New York. The state bodies had already denied wetland permits in 2019, but Williams pipeline subsidiary Transco filed another application with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), arguing firm services under the project were agreed with UK’s National Grid for customers in New York City districts of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island.

UK inflation at 4-year low amid falling energy costs

May 20 – The rate of inflation in the UK has fallen to a four-year low as the pandemic pushed down global oil and fuel prices which translate into lower wholesale power prices. The consumer price index fell to an annual rate of 0.8% in April, down from 1.5% in March, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Deficit grows in German green energy fund

May 19 – German regional grid operator TransnetBW has warned of a growing shortfall in the country’s fund for green energy sources, financed under the so-called renewable energy (EEG) levy. TransnetBW, the TSO in southwest Germany, said “due to the EEG cost allocations defined for 2020, we anticipate there will be a negative year end bank account balance in the high three-digit million euro range for 2020.”

Spanish gas companies ‘resilient’

May 18 – Spain’s regulated gas companies “should prove to be resilient” to external shocks arising from coronavirus containment measures, Standard & Poor’s analysis finds, calculating with an average drop in EBITBA at less than 3% in 2020. A new remuneration framework for 2021-2026, recently enacted by the Spanish government, provides enhanced visibility rated grid operators amid the pandemic.

German electricity prices second highest in EU

May 15 – Taxes and the renewable energy surcharge have pushed up Germany’s household electricity prices to the second highest level in Europe, topped only by prices in Denmark. While Danish households paid 29.2 Euros per 100 kWh on average in the second half of 2019, prices in Germany averaged 28.7 Euros, according to the EU statistics office Eurostat.

Calpine’s Q1 earnings fall

May 14 – Calpine, America’s largest generator of electricity from gas and geothermal, has reported a net income of $128 million for the first quarter of 2020, down from $175 million in the prior year period. Lower commodity margins and unfavourable change in income taxes were partially offset by earnings from hedge positions for the three month ending March 31.

Siemens to supply hybrid plant in the Philippines

May 13 – Berkley Energy has contracted Siemens Energy to build a hybrid power project on the island of Mindoro in the Philippines. The project links 16 MW wind power with battery storage, stabilizing energy supply in a remote location with a weak link to the grid and reducing its dependence on diesel.

U.S. energy emissions fall

May 12 – Energy-related carbon emissions in the United States have fallen more than energy consumption, down 2.8% over the course of last year to 5,130 million metric tons (MMmt). Power sector emissions were down 145 MMmt, due to a switch from coal to gas and renewables. In April 2020, emissions experienced another unprecedented fall in due to Covid-19 lockdowns.

MAN expands Omincare concept

March 11 – MAN Energy Solutions’ service brand has extended its ‘PrimeServ Omnicare’ concept from turbomachinery to the marine and power segments. The one-stop service solution is now also applicable for maintenance of third-party machinery, including engines, turbochargers and related auxiliaries.

MIVOLT launches cooling fluid

May 7 – MIVOLT, part of the British company M&I Materials, has launched two specialist fluids to improve cooling efficiency at data centres. The electricity demand of data centres is forecast to rise to 20% of global supply to accommodate lifestyle changes like 5G internet network, autonomous vehicles and bitcoin mining.

Germany adds 1,300 km to power grid

May 6 – Germany has made progress in expanding its strained power grid. According to the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), over 1,300 kilometres of new power transmission lines have been built and another 830km approved. A further 3,600km are planned to be built by 2030 to alleviate grid bottlenecks and allow transporting rising volumes of offshore wind southbound.

 

 

 

Oman nationalizes first IPP

May 5 – Manah Power, the first privately-run Independent Power Project (IPP) in Oman, has been transferred to state ownership, following the expiry of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between United Power Company and state-owned OPWP. Manah IPP was developed under Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) model, which stipulates an eventual nationalization of the assets – a feature absent in subsequent IPPs.

U.S inventories at record highs

May 4 – Inventories for crude oil and natural gas have reached a new record high in the United States, as fuel demand declines both for transport and the electric power sector. From March 13 – when a national emergency was declared due to the Covid-19 pandemic – to April 24, U.S. commercial crude oil inventories increased by 74 million barrels, or 16%, according to government figures. The acute scarcity of crude storage on April 20 led to a sell-off of future contracts at negative prices.