Markets

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has examined 29 alternate scenarios for the future U.S. energy market in its Annual Energy Outlook 2012 (AEO2012). In the EIA reference case scenario, the share of gas-fired power generation is forecast to rise from 24 percent in 2010 to 28 percent in 2035. "Uncertainty is inherent in long-term projections," EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski said when unveiling report.

Russia's Gazprom has entered talks with Italy' Enel, France's EDF and Denmark's Dong with the aim of purchasing a stake in one of their European gas-fired power plants, according to Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller.

Turkey has been an island of high energy demand in Europe, with electricity demand growing by just under 6% in Turkey in 2000-2007, compared to 2% in OECD Europe, Alexander Antonyuk, Energy Analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA) said today.
"Turkey was one of the countries where power demand recovered fasted from the recession," he said cautioning that electricity demand growth has slowed down to 4.5% over the past two years. "This recent dip is mainly due to lower demand growth in energy-intensive industries," he told 'Gas to Power Journal' at the sidelines of a conference in Istanbul.

EnerjiSA, a Sabanci/Verbund joint venture, sees a growing need for LNG imports to Turkey as a flexible supply source of natural gas to underpin the growth of installed power generation capacity. "Gas-fired plants may well grow in number as LNG as a fuel is increasingly considered as an interim option by plant operators," Kivanc Zaimler, Commercial Director - Natural Gas, EnerjiSA said in Istanbul today.

Investment bank Société Générale today questioned the affordability of natural gas as a fuel for European power plant operators. „At today's prices, gas is too expensive a fuel for Europe," the bank said today, suggesting the "overprice" in terms of the bill is $315/1,000cm or $153bn for 2012e.

The drop in LNG supply to Japan is negatively impacting on the utilisation of gas-fired power plants. „If we were to measure a 30 mcm/d fall in LNG supply against higher gas-fired generation in Japan, then the drop in LNG supply is equivalent to power generation from 7.3 GW of gas-fired capacity," Deutsche Bank analysts said.

Venezuela has seen a surge in new-built gas turbine and distributed power plants to cover rising demand, a study shows. Increment power generation capacity is mainly supplied by gas turbines and CCGTs (2,057 MW) and distributed generation plants (983 MW), in accordance with the policy of the Venezuelan government to decrease dependency from hydropower.

Alstom has refocused its sales strategy into the German market as the country's energy mix is undergoing a dramatic change to accommodate the nuclear exit.  "Chances in renewables and in upgrading Germany's existing fossil power plants are clearly driving our business in Germany, which is a positive outcome of the nuclear phase-out," says Alf-Henryk Wulf, chief executive, Alstom Deutschland.

The German 'Energiewende' concept – a replacement of nuclear capacity mainly with renewables and some fossil power plants – is not technically impossible. Its implementation, however, requires "a great deal of coordination, time, money and public acceptance," Bernhard Fischer, chief executive, E.ON Generation said at PowerGen2012 in Cologne today.

Gas and wind is set to become "the backbone" of Germany's future power generation portfolio, Michael Süß, chief executive, Siemens Energy said today. "It is not about if and when. We have to combine renewable and fossil fuels - with gas as the backbone – to ensure security of energy supply," he said at PowerGen2012 in Cologne.

Gas is the "ideal backup" fuel for renewable energy sources (RES), key note speakers at PowerGen2012 agreed in Cologne today. "This is good news if you are building gas turbines because the capacity is needed. But this is not good news if you are investing in gas-fired plants as your return in investment is extremely unpredictable," said  Laszlo Varro, Head of Gas, Coal and Power Market Division (GCP), International Energy Agency (IEA).

China will more than double its natural gas consumption over the next five years, the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts in its Medium-Term Gas Market Report 2012, released at the World Gas Conference 2012.

"As gas competes against other energy sources in all market segments, notably in the power sector, pricing conditions are a key element to keep it competitive everywhere," IEA Executive Director, Maria van der Hoeven, said at the official presentation of the report on Thursday.

Uncertainty surrounding China's future energy mix is alerting key global gas suppliers such as Qatar's Rasgas. "The Chinese power market is perhaps the biggest demand uncertainty in Asia. Coal has been the fuel of choice so far, but as environmental concerns increase, gas has a vast opportunity to have an increased role in the market," Al Mohannadi, general manager of the Qatari LNG producer Rasgas he told delegates at the World Gas Conference (WGC2012) in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.

Germany's gas consumption could rise markedly in the medium term as a result of the nuclear phase out – it could impact prices across Europe, say analysts. Much depends, however, on whether Chancellor Merkel's energy policy – alias 'Energiewende' – will ultimately work out.

E.ON, Germany's largest utility, is facing a loss in the lower double-digit million euro range on deals of an ex-trader. E.ON did not disclose whether the losses were incurred by traded contracts of natural gas or electricity in the forward market.