Nigeria's natural gas demand is expected to hit 16 million tons per year (mtpa) by 2015; forecast gas production for 2013 is 6.9mtpa, up from just 4.6mtpa in 2010, according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the corporation expects steady supply growth will boost the gas to power sector as new projects come online.
Higher natural gas prices relative to coal prices in the US have caused a 14% plunge in the use of gas for power generation over the first seven month of this year, according to EIA figures. Henry Hub spot prices currently hover around $3.50/MMBtu – a substantial rise from the $2.39/MMBtu average spot price for the first half of 2012.
China's energy market reform, to be announced in November, and efforts to curb pollution is forecast to increase natural gas and uranium imports for power generation, while thermal coal will be "one of the most likely losers," Deutsche Bank analyst Michael Hsueh told Gas to Power Journal. Volumes of gas and uranium imports are forecast to rise substantially over the next 5 years, as China shifts its energy mix towards cleaner-burning fuels.
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.