Markets

Norway’s Golar LNG has started to unload the first commissioning cargo at its Golar Nanook FSRU (floating storage and regas unit) offshore Sergipe, northeastern Brazil. The supply is designated for the Porto de Sergipe-I Power Project, a 1.5GW combined-cycle gas power plant, developed by Golar in a joint venture with Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners.

U.S. major ExxonMobil, together with Qatar Petroleum, has made a gas discovery of 5-8 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) its Glaucus-1 well off Cyprus. The find adds another giant discovery to the East Mediterranean but a lack of subsea pipelines hamper the use of this gas in the local power sector, so Exxon considers teaming up with other majors to monetize the find through a new LNG venture.

Electric load at the MISO grid in the Midwest of the United States was pushed to its limits during the recent period of extreme cold weather in late January. According to EIA figure, day-ahead gas spot prices reached $7.42/MMBtu) at Chicago, the main hub in the region, while MISO day-ahead electricity prices surged to $120/MWh.

Enagas, the Spanish gas network and LNG terminal operator, has announced construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) - part of Europe’s Southern Gas Corridor - is 85% complete. Enagas saw a 1% rise in its 2018 annual profit to 442.6 million Euros amid a 4.5% increase in conventional gas demand.

Spanish-owned Scottish Power has unveiled its “biggest ever investment in the UK in a single year," announcing to splash out £2 billion on green energy in 2019. Programmes include building giant batteries to store excess energy at wind farms, investing in smart grids for customers to buy and sell electricity, and charging points for electric cars.

U.S. engineering company McDermott International has posted a fourth-quarter loss, largely due to $2.2 billion in charges related to works on Cameron LNG and Freeport LNG and higher construction costs for Calpine’s York 2 Energy Center. The Houston-based McDermott today reported a net fourth quarter loss of $2.8 billion – a stark contrast to its $26 million profit in Q4-2017.

Natural gas will become the fastest-growing energy source in the coming decade, displacing coal as a fuel for power plants and heavy industries, Royal Dutch Shell said in its 2019 LNG Outlook 2019. Global energy demand is seen grow 18% by 2035, spurred by clean-air policies in China and India, with gas set to meet 40% of that largely through expanding LNG trade.

Economic growth, combined with a rapidly expanding population, has led to an investment boost in the Indonesian power sector which is forecast to quadruple in size over the coming decade, growing at a 18.7% rate to reach $63.6 billion in market value by 2022. Coal-fired power will retain its leading position while decentralized LNG-fuelled projects also gain attractiveness.

Nuclear restarts and rising coal-burn for power generation has decreased LNG imports to Japan. Nine of Japan's 54 nuclear power plants have re-started, leading to a 8.7% drop in LNG shipments to 7.54 million tonnes in January, down from 8.26 mt a year earlier.

Reciprocating internal combustion engines –  typically used for backup, standby, or emergency power – are playing a fast advancing role in utility-scale power generation applications, according to EIA findings. In Texas alone, the share of gas-fired recip engines surged 20% to over 4,600 MW largely as a reaction to the state’s rapid growth in installed wind power capacity.

The Japanese energy majors JERA and Tepco Power Grid have agreed to jointly invest up to $32.68 billion (£25 million) in Zenobe Energy, a UK-based battery storage company. Zenobe owns and operates some 73 MW of batteries and is currently looking to use its technology in related business areas, notably the charging of electric vehicles.

The Japanese trading house Itochu has pulled the plug on investments in thermal coal mines and coal-fired power projects. Having just sold its stake in the Rollestone mine in Queensland, the Japanese firm said it seeks to increase the renewables ratio in its power plant portfolio to over 20% by the end of fiscal 2031.

Abundant supply of cost-competitive shale gas, combined with technological advances, has led to an ever-increasing average size of a combined-cycle gas power block in the United States. While the average CCGT had about 500 MW installed capacity before 2014, the power block capacity has since then increased to an average 820 MW, according to the EIA’s electric generator report.

Indonesia's upstream regulator SKK Migas has announced a significant gas discovery at the Repsol-operated Sakakemang PSC onshore Central Sumatra, Indonesia. If pre-drill estimates are realised, it would be the largest discovery in the country since ExxonMobil's Cepu find in 2001. The latest discovery has the potential to alter Indonesia’s gas supply balance and power generation mix.

New hybrid energy sources, consisting of a combination of renewabes and flexible gas generators, will cover up to 85% of the world’s energy demand growth through 2040, according to BP’s latest Energy Outlook. Fast-developing countries in Asia are expected to push up global energy demand by a third from today’s levels.

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News in Brief

Tohoku Electric tenders for LNG cargo

Aug 19 – Tohoku Electric Power, the fourth-largest electric utility in Japan in terms of revenue behind Tepco, Kepco and Chubu, is understood to be seeking an LNG cargo for delivery in September. A tender process is ongoing.

Cost for decarbonizing industry tops $21tr

Aug 16 – Total costs to fully decarbonize the four most polluting industries – cement, steel, ammonia and ethylene – are estimated to amount to $21 trillion between today and 2050. McKinsey said this could be lowered to about $11 trillion if zero-carbon electricity prices come down further compared to fossil fuel prices. In this event, industry could switch to using electricity for heating processes.

Co-firing Braskem plant with hydrogen

Aug 15 – Siemens is making fossil energy greener at the Braskem onsite power plant in Brazil. In this modernization project two SGT-600 gas turbines are co-fired up to 60% with hydrogen, enhancing efficiency for the production process of the adjacent the petrochemical complex.

Canada's CO2 tax to hit CCGTs

Aug 5 – Change in Canada’s carbon emissions tax regulation for new power plants has changed to also affect cleaner-burning, gas combined-cycle power stations starting from 2021. The move could significantly lower the profitability of gas generation and could prompt SaskPower reconsider its planned Moose Jaw gas power station.

GE CFO steps down

Aug 2 – Jamie S. Miller, General Electric’s chief financial officer, has decided to quit after two years in the job and 11 years with the company. Having overseen GE’s fiscal activities during a period of intense restructuring, Miller will remain in office while the GE board is looking for a successor.

Siemens HR boss quits

Aug 1 – Janina Kugel, Siemens chief HR officer, is leaving the company amid an apparently scattered working relationship and stark personal differences with CEO Joe Kaeser. Her contract will expire by mutual agreement on January 31, 2020.

ABB standardizes eBus chargers

July 31 – Zurich-based ABB, a member of the ASSURED consortium, is working on standardizing the specifications for automatic charging of heavy vehicles. The aim is to drive down the total cost of ownership for electric fleet operators, helping increase adoption of eBuses and eTrucks. Conformance and interoperability tests will be carried out in Q4-2019.

U.S. Senate helps fund EV charging stations

July 30 – The need for expanded electric vehicle charging infrastructure is greater than expected given that there had been over 1.75 million electric vehicles (EV) in North America at the end of 2018, a nearly 60% increase from the previous year. To help fund additional charging stations, among other things, the U.S. Senate approved the $287 billion America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA).

PNOC, Lloyds to develop merchant LNG-to-Power projects

July 29 – Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Lloyds Energy to develop a 1,200 MW LNG-fuelled power plant in partnership with Mitsubishi. Dubai-based Lloyds Energy is looking at ways to develop integrated LNG import facilities and gas power plants on a merchant basis in Bataan and Batangas provinces.

Macquarie finances CCGT in Mexico

July 26 – Macquarie Capital has chosen Credit Agricole, Natixis and SMBC to co-finance a $380 million combined-cycle gas power plant. The 560 MW plant is designated to be built in San Louis Potosi, a city in central Mexico.

Naturgy cashes in on gas network

July 25 – Spanish gas utility Naturgy has posted a 7% rise in core earnings for the first half of the year due to strong gains from its gas network business that helped offset falling revenues from power generation and slimmer LNG margins.

French court rejects appeal against Total CCGT

July 24 – Judges at an appeal court in Nantes have thrown out an appeal by environmentalist against Total’s planned Landivisiau combined-cycle gas power plant in Brittany. The 440 MW project, initiated by Direct Energy which was since acquired by Total, is over two years behind schedule. The French grid operator RTE has singled out the Landivisiau CCGT as “critical” in guaranteeing supply security in winter 2020/21 due to the planned shutdown of four coal power plants.

U.S. gas production falls in wake of ‘Barry’

July 23 – Shut-ins related to Hurricane Barry have scaled back U.S. gas production by 1.6 billion cubic feet per day, compared to last week, while power sector gas demand rose by just over 2.0 bcf/d. Consequently, there is significantly less gas available for storage so the injection rate has halved, according to Energy Aspects figures.

Blackout after fire at Madison substation

July 22 – Electricity is gradually being restored at Madison, Wisconsin, after 13,000 people experience a blackout following an explosion at a substation near Madison Gas & Electric’s 100 MW gas-fired Blount Generating Station. No injuries were reported.

Fuel switch could abate 1.2bn tons of CO2

July 19 – Some 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 could be abated by switching to gas using existing infrastructure, if prices and regulation are supportive. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), this would be enough to bring global CO2 emissions back down to where they were in 2013.

IEA launches methane tracker

July 18 – A new ‘methane tracker’, launched by the International Energy Agency (IEA), provides up-to-date estimates of current oil and gas methane emissions by drawing on the best available data. Analysts stressed methane emissions could be reduced by nearly half at no net cost.

Canada’s CO2 tax also affects gas power

July 17 – Change in Canada’s carbon tax regulation for new power plants has changed to also affect cleaner-burning, gas combined-cycle power stations starting from 2021. The move could cause SaskPower to reconsider its planned upcoming Moose Jaw gas power station.