Markets

Energi Danmark analyst today issued a 'buy' recommendation for the German front year Cal-14 that currently hovers around 38.85 EUR/MWh, suggesting players should buy the contract now before the new-elect government will implement "less business-friendly" policies.

Japan is to start publishing benchmark prices for short-term LNG imports, in a bid to reduce costs for gas power generators in the country. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will initiate the index in a bid to reduce the spread between Japanese and US gas prices, and encourage greater use of gas in the country's energy mix.

Profit margins for gas-fired power in Russia are set to see a further squeeze as domestic gas prices rise over the mid-term, forecasts Alexander Grigoryev, analyst at Russia's Institute of Natural Monopolies Research (IPEM). Admitting that the government's recent decision to freeze Gazprom's domestic tariffs in 2014 makes gas forecasts "very speculative", he suggested reduced exports to Europe will lead to higher domestic prices.

California's power mix has seen a 10% rise in the contribution from natural gas and other fossil fuel sources over the summer months. In-state fossil fuel account of 47% of the mix on average, but this number can rise well above 50% on an hourly basis depending on the level of intermittent renewable supply, latest daily figures from the California Independent Systems Operator (CAISO) show.

Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Alaska's Natural Resources commissioner with a view to developing LNG exports to Japan to dent the island nation's growing hunger for gas to fuel power plants.

A flurry of new discoveries helps natural gas emerge as a key fuel in the global power mix over the coming decade. Figures published by research firm, GlobalData, suggest that gas-fired power generation capacity will reach 1,861 GW by 2020, up from 1,416 GW in 2012.

Keen to avert India's persistent energy shortages, the government is set to provide $3.8 billion in subsidies to state-run gas-pipeline operator GAIL India to supply natural gas at a discount to power generators.

Despite the substantial reductions in carbon emissions delivered by the switch from coal to gas generation due to the current boom in US gas production, report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) suggests there will be a 'gas ceiling'.

As Russia shifts its outlook east and engages with China on a range of deals for oil, coal and power supply China, energy trade between the two neighbouring countries is likely to quadruple by 2025, according to Wood Mackenzie analysts. "If large projects are to be realised, Russia may have to allow deeper Chinese involvement," said Ian Thom, head of Russia upstream research, suggesting an gas supply deal will be reached in the next two years.

Gas-fired power will increase to account for 40 percent of the energy mix in the US market by 2035, spurring a growth in natural gas demand by one third, analysts with the consultancy ICF International forecast. Gas-fired power currently generates 1,000 Terawatt-hours per year (TWh/y) but new ICF figures expect this to double to 2,000 TWh/y.

The UK carbon floor price is not sufficient to encourage CCS-retrofitting in fossil plants in the short-term, says Heather Haydock, Practice Director, Energy & Climate Change at Ricardo-AEA. Neither has backloading of carbon permits in EU-ETS has helped to prop up carbon prices beyond €6/ton – too low to incentivise CCS or a switch from coal to gas generation in much of continental Europe.

Shale gas will bolster security of supply in the UK, displace a proportion of LNG imports and underpin new gas power generation projects. Substantial volumes of shale gas production, however, are not expected to be forthcoming until the mid-2020ies, delegates at the Gas to Power Britain conference learnt.

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News in Brief

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.

Wärtsilä to service Argentinean power plant

May 1 – Wärtsilä has signed a 10-year maintenance and service agreement with one of Argentina’s upstream companies. Under the deal, Wärtsilä provides a guaranteed performance for a 57.6 MW onsite power plant in the southern part of Argentina, with excess power sold to the national grid.

Zink-Air batteries for NY

April 30 – Zinc8 Energy Solutions has entered a cooperation with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to install a zinc-air battery energy storage, backed by $2.55 million in state funding over a three year period. The Zinc8 ESS units can deliver power in the range 20-50 MW, with capacity of 8 hours of storage duration. The project will help New York State achieve its goal of installing 3 GW of energy storage by 2030.