Markets

China’s switch from coal to gas, to de-carbonise its energy mix and tackle pollution under its Blue Sky policy, requires importing considerably more gas imports and investment in related infrastructure, DNV GL said in a report. Gas currently accounts for only 7% of China’s energy mix, compared to a global average of 22% – but the Chinese government aims to boost that share to 10% by 2020, and as much as 15% by 2030.

This week, the UK’s National Grid claimed it had produced electricity without using coal for seven days. The UK pioneered the use of coal-fired power stations back in the 1880s and became a prolific user of coal as well as a major exporter, which lasted for nearly a century. “As more and more renewables come onto our energy system, coal-free runs like this are going to be a regular occurrence," said Fintan Slye, director of National Grid Group’s Electricity System Operator.

Siemens is to spin-off its Gas and Power (GP) division as part of the next phase in its ‘Vision 2020+’ plan. The plan involves creating a major new player in the energy market with a business volume of €30 billion and over 80,000 employees through the spin-off and the transfer of Siemens’ SGRE stake.

With a wave of coal-fired power plant closures in Alberta, Canada over the next several years, natural gas demand in the province is projected to surge. Alberta has told power companies to shut all coal-fired facilities by 2030.

Britain’s energy needs may be entirely covered by non-fossil fuels for short periods starting from 2025, National Grid said, stressing it aims to be “zero-carbon capable” by then. To achieve this goal, flywheels and supercharged capacitator technology need to be deployed to ensure the grid has the necessary resilience, known as inertia.

Occidental Petroleum has sweetened its buyout bid for Anadarko, now offering 78% cash and 22% stock rather than a 50:50 split, in an effort to outbid Chevron. Anadarko reacted by stressing the Chevron Merger Agreement is still valid, but analysts reckon the revised terms and Occidental’s pledge to sell Anadarko’s Mozambique LNG stake to Total could force Chevron to improve its offer.

NRG Energy’s latest quarterly earnings came in at $0.34 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, just below analysts’ estimate of $0.39. During the second quarter of 2019, the utility accumulated revenues of $2.17 billion, up 4.8% compared to the same quarter last year. Return on equity was 129.32% that quarter, resulting in a net margin of 2.58%.

The French oil major Total has announced plans to invest between $1.5 billion and $2 billion per year on low-carbon power sources in a strategic shift to the retail energy sector. CEO Patrick Pouyanne said the Group’s target of 7 million retail energy clients in France and Belgium, equaling about 15% of the market, would be achievable before 2022.

Neonenergia, a Brazilian electric utility with 4.5 GW installed capacity and majority-held by Iberdrola, has started a second attempt for an IPO after it had to call off an effort to get listed on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange in 2017. Iberdrola shareholders now hope for higher price in the IPO, based on Neonenergia’s improved results since its merger with Elektro.

Although the owners of three new Dutch coal power stations – ENGIE, RWE and Uniper – are burdened with around €4 billion in losses due to market headwinds and a mandated coal phase-out, only ENGIE has chosen to divested its assets. RWE and Uniper, in contrast, seek compensation for shutting down their plants which risks delaying the shift to clean energy in the Netherlands.

JERA, the world’s largest LNG buyer and owner of half of Japan’s power generating capacity, has pledged to reduce its reliance on coal power faster than the government’s official target. The aim is to scale down the contribution of coal in Japan’s energy mix from 33% in 2016 to less than 26% by 2030.

The Finish marine and energy technology company Wärtsilä has posted an 8% growth in net sales to €1,151 million for the period from January to March 2019, and a 6% rise in order intake to € 1,416 million. “Demand improved in the gas carrier segment but despite this positive development, reduced activity in the energy markets resulted in a decline in group order intake,” Wärtsilä CEO Jaakko Eskola said.

Energy trade between Mexico and the United States has undergone massive change. The value of U.S. exports of petroleum products nearly tripled from $10.4 billion in 2008 to a record high of $30.5 billion in 2018, while U.S. energy imports from Mexico stayed a near record low of $15.8 billion for a second year in a row.

The U.S.-based Fortune 500 power company AES Corp is divesting its interests in six power plants in Jordan and the United Kingdom for a total of $211 million. Andrés Gluski, AES’ President and CEO said the company decided to cut back the number of countries in which it operates and will shift its focus to renewables, energy storage and LNG.

Natural gas future prices for May at the U.S. benchmark Henry Hub have firmed to $2.535/MMBtu due to increased demand from the power sector and for feedgas for a growing number of liquefaction and export plants. Energy Aspects flow data shows Sabine Pass LNG is taking 3.4 bcf/d would indicate all five trains are operating.

Page 12 of 158

News in Brief

Slow start of STT pipeline

Oct 18 – U.S. gas exports to Mexico have not picked up substantially despite the start of the Sur de Texas-Tuxpan (STT) pipeline. Exports are still below 6.0 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d), although there no current postings regarding maintenance on the Sistrangas pipeline that feeds from NET Mexico.

EIB defers ban on fossil projects

Oct 17 – Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank (EIB) has bowed to pressure from Germany and the European Commission and deferred its decision to ban loans to fossil-fuel projects until mid-November. Germany wants the bank to keep financing gas-fired power projects as it views the cleaner-burning fossil fuel as a vital backup for renewable energy sources.

Brexit will not impact UK gas supply

Oct 16 – Security of power and gas supply in the UK will not be jeopardized this winter by the country’s imminent departure from the European Union, even in the event of a hard Brexit, National Grid said. In its assessment, the TSO factored in a halt to flows via the Belgium and Dutch gas interconnectors “from EU exit day one”, but said ongoing deliveries from Norway, the UK Continental Shelf and storage will continue as usual.

Ferrybridge C gets demolished

Oct 15 – Four cooling towers at the Ferrybridge Power Station have been taken down as the coal-fired power station will make way to a new, high-efficiency gas power station. Operator SSE shut down the 500 MW Ferrybridge C unit in March 2016 and now started to tear it down.

Global energy storage tops 10 GW by 2025

Oct 14 – The global market for grid-connected energy storage will grow by 6,900 MW, or 16.6% to reach over 10,500 MW by the end of 2025, according to Reportlinker.com. Germany will add over 267 MW energy storage installations over the next five to six years, while 330 MW will come from other European markets. These numbers are dwarfed by China, where up to 1,200 MW energy storage units could be connected to the grid by 2025.

Wärtsilä services EDL plant

Oct 11 – Energy Developments Ltd (EDL) of Australia has awarded Wärtsilä a service contract for gas engine-based baseload power plant at the McArthur River zinc mine in Northern Territory. The maintenance approach for the 53 MW onsite power plant is no longer pre-planned and scheduled but has been changed to condition-based and predictive maintenance, with an advisory contract.

EPH buys CCGT in Galway

Oct 10 – The Czech energy company EPH has received regulatory approval to purchase an 80% stake in the 400 MW Tynagh Energy combined-cycle gas power plant in Galway, Ireland. Mountainside Partners will continue to own the remaining stake in the CCGT, which operates based on a security-of-supply contract from the Irish TSO based on guaranteed power prices.

ITM gets £38m boost from Linde

Oct 9 – Sheffield-based ITM Power, maker of electrolysers for hydrogen production, has been boosted by a £38 million cash injection, as Linde acquired a 20% stake in ITM at 40 pence per share. Looking ahead, ITM said it is seeking to raise £14 million from new and existing institutional investors.

Drax to convert two power units

Oct 8 – Drax Group has received government approval to convert up to two coal-fired generating units at its power station in North Yorkshire to run on natural gas. With this ruling, the UK regulator overturned objections by ClientEarth, stressing some fossil power is vital for the UK to backup intermittent renewable power source.

Storage use tops 80% in key U.S. regions

Oct 7 – Gas storage utilization in the United States is rising in the autumn, with net injections topping 112 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in the first week of October. According to EIA figures, underground storages are at least 80% full in the East, Midwest, and South Central non-salt regions, allowing for seasonal withdrawals to help meet peak-day gas demand throughout the upcoming winter.

Maine, NY aspire to 100% clean energy

Oct 4 – Three U.S. states—Maine, New York, and Ohio—have updated their renewable portfolio standards (RPS), since May 2019. As a result, Maine and New York joined California, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, and the District of Columbia in requiring 100% clean electricity by 2050.

TransAlta to built CHP in Alberta

Oct 3 – Canada-based Transalta and SemCAMS Midstream have agreed to develop, construct and operate a new cogeneration facility at the Kaybob South No. 3 sour gas processing plant in Alberta. To be built at a cost of some 105 million, the CHP will have an installed capacity of 40 MW. Start of commercial operation is targeted for late 2021.

GE’s 100th HA turbine sold in Greece

Oct 2 – Greek industrial firm Mytilineos has ordered a GE 9HA.02 gas turbine to be the heart of the 826 MW Agios Nikolaos combined-cycle gas power plant. This deal also marks the 100th unit of GE’s HA gas turbine sold. Construction of the CCGT is due to start before the end of the year.

ABB launches M4M analyzer

Oct 1 – Swiss technology firm ABB has launches its first Bluetooth-equipped network analyzers, called M4M. The system gathers data from distribution grids and connects them to a cloud-based control system, allowing users to react on energy consumption and on-site power generation trends.

Microsoft invests in wind power

Sept 30 – Microsoft and ENGIE have entered a long-term solar and wind energy power purchase agreement (PPA) in the United States. The deal will see Microsoft purchase a total of 230 MW from two ENGIE projects in Texas, bringing Microsoft’s renewable energy portfolio to more than 1,900 MW.

Gazprom tackles issue of ownerless gas grid

Sept 27 – Gazprom, the main supplier of pipeline gas to Europe, is trying to settle the issue of ownerless gas pipelines – a relic of the former Soviet Union. Abandoned gas transmission pipeline spanned 6,651 kilometers as of March 1, with the issue seen as “especially acute” in the North Caucasus region where half of this infrastructure is located. If no owner registers these facilities within three months, Gazprom will take over to ensure reliability and safety.

Investors flock to Myanmar

Sept 26 – Fitch Ratings has singled out Myanmar’s power sector as one of the largest beneficiaries of foreign direct investments (FDI) worldwide. Nearly $21.2 billion was poured into power generation and energy infrastructure projects thus far in 2019, which is 27% of total FDI under the Myanmar Investment Law.