Gas-burn in the electric power sector is forecast to peak around 2035 and start declining from 2040, by when wind and solar are set to become the dominant energy sources. Data by the classification society DNV GL shows that gas demand in Europe already peaked in 2010, and will do so in North America by 2020, whereas in South-East Asia and China it will only peak in the mid-2030s.
Demand growth for natural gas in China is outpacing supply. Despite rapidly rising LNG imports, some domestic shale gas production and the scheduled start of an additional 38 Bcm of Russian gas supplies through the ‘Power of Siberia Pipeline’ before the end of 2019, analysts expect a gas deficit in in the China market from 2020 onwards.
Consultations have officially started as to whether Uniper will divest all its French power plant assets to the Central European energy investment group EPH, majority-owned by the billionaire Daniel Kretinsky. Uniper confirmed it received a unilateral binding offer from EPH, but did not disclose the value of a potential deal.
Colder weather in China is pushing up heating demand which is the first resilience test for the gas network. Some 3.2 million new residential gas users have been grid-connected this year, adding 4.5 Bcm in demand which comes on top of even higher demand growth from industries. Overall demand in winter 2018/19 is forecast to be 40 Bcm over last year’s levels.
Saudi Arabia’s 2019 budget has allocated 33 billion riyals ($8.8 billion) for the energy, industry, mining and logistics sectors – more than three times the amount spent in the previous budget. State spending will rise by over 7% next year to an equivalent of $295 million, and most of these higher expenses are intended to be financed through rising oil revenues.
Despite rising oil prices and production levels U.S. gas fracking companies are continuing to lose money, according to a review of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEA). In the third quarter of 2018, the 32 mid-size U.S. exploration companies reported nearly $1 billion in negative cash flows.
Switching from coal to cleaner-burning gas for power generation has led to a 28% decline in carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. power sector. Slower growth of electricity demand also contributed to the decline, with the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) calculating that power generation-related CO2 emission fell to a near 30-year low at 1,744 million metric tons (MMmt).
Norway’s gas system operator Gassco has announced the start-up of the Polarled pipeline, opening up a new supply route for supplying Norwegian gas to Europe. Spanning 482 kilometres, Polarled carries output from the Aasta Hansteen field via the Nyhamna processing plant to the UK and continental Europe.
By 2030, green hydrogen – produced from renewables – could substitute more than 45% of the European Union's industrial (grey) hydrogen demand, or 10% of the EU's natural gas consumption. If the right policies are put in place to facilitate this transformation, it would decarbonise the “hard-to-abate” sectors like industry and heavy transport. But not all clean hydrogen will be produced within Europe.
Russia’s ability to meet Europe’s growing gas demand seems hampered by infrastructure bottlenecks across the continent, creating room for LNG exporters to grab market share. Gazprom targets to deliver 200 Bcm of piped gas to Europe this year but Wood Mackenzie forecasts the continent will need a further 77 Bcm/y by 2025.
Steep decline in coal use in the American power sector has drastically reduced emissions. Coal-fired generation peaked at 2,026 million MWh in 2007 and dropped to less than 1,200 million MWh today, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). As a consequence, energy-related emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) fell by 88% and 76%, respectively.
Strong, sustained growth in U.S. gas production is putting downward pressure on Henry Hub spot and futures prices. Dry gas production increased to 83.3 Bcf/d in 2018, according to figures by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), which forecasts a subsequent fall in Henry Hub spot gas prices to $3.11 per MMBtu on average in 2019.
Japan’s largest LNG importer JERA will also become the nation’s biggest power producer as of April 2019 when it will take control of TECPO and Chubu Electric’s domestic power business. Rated ‘A-minus by Standard & Poor’s, analysts caution that over the next three years JERA plans to invest in high-risk upstream LNG concessions and unregulated power projects overseas.