Markets

The share of power generation from natural gas is forecast to surge by 24% in 2012 amid a 15% decline in coal-fired generation, the U.S Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its short-term energy outlook today.

Market participants in power and gas trading can fulfil their REMIT reporting requirements by disclosing generation data on the newly created 'Transparency in Energy Market's platform' of the European Energy Exchange (EEX).

E.ON, Germany's biggest utility, today posted a € 250 million drop in Q1 earnings, owing to lower prices in Europe power generation markets and the mandatory shut down of nuclear power stations in Germany.

The trend of gas displacing coal has accelerated in the U.S. as "the differential between gas and coal economics in the power generation sector has widened further," Deutsche Bank said in a research report today.

The shutdown of two power plants in Nigeria - due to a lack of gas to fuel the plants - has exacerbated the country's electricity shortage. Operators were forced to shut down two gas-fired plants at Sapele in Delta State and Oben in Edo state for an undetermined timeframe.

Analysts at Société Générale are "not overly optimistic" on an upside for German power prices. Spark spreads are likely to remain unattractive, while overall power consumption dropped, the French investment bank said in a research note.

Combined marketed production from the top five natural gas producing states - Texas, Louisiana, Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Colorado – has risen about 7.5% in 2011, according to latest EIA statistics. Abundant domestic supplies and low gas prices reinforce the trend among U.S. power producers of switching from coal to gas.

The share of electricity production from gas-fired power plants has fallen to the lowest levels in 14 years due to "unfavourable market conditions and low demand," data published by the department of energy and climate change (Decc) shows.

Transco, a key gas transmission pipeline in the U.S., is preparing to increase gas transport capacity to satisfy rising gas demand for power generation. "Power generation is the driver behind about a third of the volumes in proposed projects in development on our Transco pipeline," Alan Armstrong, chief executive of Williams Partners' said.

Southern has burned more natural gas than coal for power generation during the first quarter of this year as plunging gas prices due to abundant domestic supply makes gas the cheapest fossil fuel in the U.S.

The impact of today's strike at E.ON's gas- and coal-fired power plants in France is expected to be "minimal" and will not curtail electricity output as the German utility is not planning to operate the affected plants.

February 2012 was an "outlier" in electricity consumption and should be considered as such, Societe Generale  analysts, led by Paolo Coghe and Thierry Bros, wrote in the Energy Pulse report issued today. The prolonged and record-breaking cold spell endured by Europe during the first half of February resulted in strong electricity  consumption – but just for the month itself.

Gas prices across Europe need to drop by 20% to make the fuel competitive with coal for power generation during hours of peak demand, Vitol's gas head David Gallagher said. At that level it would make economic sense for electricity producers to switch from burning coal to gas.

Reliance Industries, India's biggest company by market capitalisation,  has filed for arbitration this week, claiming the Indian government is restricting it from recovering cost on developing an offshore gas block. The dispute prompted Reliance to curtail gas supplies to Indian power plant operatiors, leaving India with a severe electricity shortage.

International Power (IP), a London-based energy group, has posted a 5% rise in  revenues to €4,257 million in the first quarter driven by strong growth in Asia and Lation America. In an interim management statement, IP said revenue in Asia surged 22% to Eur491 million while revenue in Latin America increase by and 16% to Eur1.021 billion.

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