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Coal-fired power plants will continue to be the mainstay for India's power generation, despite growing demand for natural gas, consultant Anand Sharma told 'Gas to Power Journal' today. 
"Gas prices are rising in tandem with shrinking domestic supplies and costs are prohibitive for importing [large volumes of] gas through pipeline or in LNG ships," Sharma said, who is the director of Mumbai-based Mantrana Maritime Advisory that also tracks power utilities.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has examined 29 alternate scenarios for the future U.S. energy market in its Annual Energy Outlook 2012 (AEO2012). In the EIA reference case scenario, the share of gas-fired power generation is forecast to rise from 24 percent in 2010 to 28 percent in 2035. "Uncertainty is inherent in long-term projections," EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski said when unveiling report.

Russia's Gazprom has entered talks with Italy' Enel, France's EDF and Denmark's Dong with the aim of purchasing a stake in one of their European gas-fired power plants, according to Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller.

Turkey has been an island of high energy demand in Europe, with electricity demand growing by just under 6% in Turkey in 2000-2007, compared to 2% in OECD Europe, Alexander Antonyuk, Energy Analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA) said today.
"Turkey was one of the countries where power demand recovered fasted from the recession," he said cautioning that electricity demand growth has slowed down to 4.5% over the past two years. "This recent dip is mainly due to lower demand growth in energy-intensive industries," he told 'Gas to Power Journal' at the sidelines of a conference in Istanbul.

EnerjiSA, a Sabanci/Verbund joint venture, sees a growing need for LNG imports to Turkey as a flexible supply source of natural gas to underpin the growth of installed power generation capacity. "Gas-fired plants may well grow in number as LNG as a fuel is increasingly considered as an interim option by plant operators," Kivanc Zaimler, Commercial Director - Natural Gas, EnerjiSA said in Istanbul today.

Investment bank Société Générale today questioned the affordability of natural gas as a fuel for European power plant operators. „At today's prices, gas is too expensive a fuel for Europe," the bank said today, suggesting the "overprice" in terms of the bill is $315/1,000cm or $153bn for 2012e.

The drop in LNG supply to Japan is negatively impacting on the utilisation of gas-fired power plants. „If we were to measure a 30 mcm/d fall in LNG supply against higher gas-fired generation in Japan, then the drop in LNG supply is equivalent to power generation from 7.3 GW of gas-fired capacity," Deutsche Bank analysts said.

Venezuela has seen a surge in new-built gas turbine and distributed power plants to cover rising demand, a study shows. Increment power generation capacity is mainly supplied by gas turbines and CCGTs (2,057 MW) and distributed generation plants (983 MW), in accordance with the policy of the Venezuelan government to decrease dependency from hydropower.

Alstom has refocused its sales strategy into the German market as the country's energy mix is undergoing a dramatic change to accommodate the nuclear exit.  "Chances in renewables and in upgrading Germany's existing fossil power plants are clearly driving our business in Germany, which is a positive outcome of the nuclear phase-out," says Alf-Henryk Wulf, chief executive, Alstom Deutschland.

The German 'Energiewende' concept – a replacement of nuclear capacity mainly with renewables and some fossil power plants – is not technically impossible. Its implementation, however, requires "a great deal of coordination, time, money and public acceptance," Bernhard Fischer, chief executive, E.ON Generation said at PowerGen2012 in Cologne today.

Gas and wind is set to become "the backbone" of Germany's future power generation portfolio, Michael Süß, chief executive, Siemens Energy said today. "It is not about if and when. We have to combine renewable and fossil fuels - with gas as the backbone – to ensure security of energy supply," he said at PowerGen2012 in Cologne.

Gas is the "ideal backup" fuel for renewable energy sources (RES), key note speakers at PowerGen2012 agreed in Cologne today. "This is good news if you are building gas turbines because the capacity is needed. But this is not good news if you are investing in gas-fired plants as your return in investment is extremely unpredictable," said  Laszlo Varro, Head of Gas, Coal and Power Market Division (GCP), International Energy Agency (IEA).

China will more than double its natural gas consumption over the next five years, the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts in its Medium-Term Gas Market Report 2012, released at the World Gas Conference 2012.

"As gas competes against other energy sources in all market segments, notably in the power sector, pricing conditions are a key element to keep it competitive everywhere," IEA Executive Director, Maria van der Hoeven, said at the official presentation of the report on Thursday.

Uncertainty surrounding China's future energy mix is alerting key global gas suppliers such as Qatar's Rasgas. "The Chinese power market is perhaps the biggest demand uncertainty in Asia. Coal has been the fuel of choice so far, but as environmental concerns increase, gas has a vast opportunity to have an increased role in the market," Al Mohannadi, general manager of the Qatari LNG producer Rasgas he told delegates at the World Gas Conference (WGC2012) in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.

Germany's gas consumption could rise markedly in the medium term as a result of the nuclear phase out – it could impact prices across Europe, say analysts. Much depends, however, on whether Chancellor Merkel's energy policy – alias 'Energiewende' – will ultimately work out.

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News in Brief

Quarrels over contract award

June 26 – Guam Power Authority’s decision to award a contract to finance, build and operate a new 180 MW power station on the island to Korea Electric Power has sparked protest by rival bidders. Four companies had submitted proposals – Korea Electric, Osaka Gas, Powerflex and Hanwha Energy Corp. Declining to comment on the quarrels over the contract awarding process, GPA said the deal with Korea Electric is expected to be closed by September 9, pending a related impact study.

PTT steps up power sector investment

June 25 – Thailand's state-run PTT Pcl has decided to boost investments in the retail and industrial power sectors to help insulate the energy company against the impact of a global economic slowdown on its oil refining and chemical businesses. Referring to the Sino-U.S. trade war as a global challenge, PTT chief executive Chansin Treenuchagron said the company is looking “how we can survive in the short term.”

APR helps power Libya’s recovery

June 24 – Libya’s state-owned GECOL has asked APR Energy to bring in temporary generators to provide a rapid 450 MW boost. Under the latest contracts, APR provided mobile gas turbines at four key sites in Libya (250 MW) as well as 200 MW of diesel generators at two sites.

GE supplies SCADA to New Zealand

June 21 – GE’s Renewable Energy Grid Solution’s business has won an order from two New Zealand utilities to upgrade their traditional Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems with GE’s Advanced Distribution Management Solutions (ADMS). The orders were placed by Top Energy Ltd with some 31,000 customers and Northpower serving over 60,000 customers, though the contract values were not disclosed.

Top 5 OEMs to rule two thirds of global wind market

June 20 – After a decade of fragmentation, the top 5 turbine OEMs are consolidating again and Wood Mackenzie anticipates key players will surpass a combined market share of 68% by 2020, up from 47% five years ago. Vestas, SGRE and GE remain the top 3 wind turbine producers wwhile the Chinese leaders, Goldwind and Envision, are becoming increasingly popular due to their product reliability and track record.

Keane to merge with C&J Energy

June 19 – Oil- and gasfield service providers C&J Energy Services and Keane Group have agreed a merger-of-equals in a $746 deal that will give the two companies the necessary uplift in an industry burdened by budget cuts of hydrocarbon producers. The 50:50 merger will create a company will create a company with a combined enterprise value of $1.8 billion, including $255 million in debt. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

Evol LNG helps power Australian gold mine

June 18 – Kirkalocka Gold Mine in Western Australia will use Evol LNG to fuel Zenith Energy’s 14.5 MW power station with regasified natural gas starting from September 2019. The mine is run by Adaman Resources and had been relying on diesel to cover its energy needs. Based on the current diesel price, Adaman Resources expects to reduce fuel costs by more than A$13 million (US$9 million) during the first six years of operation of the new onsite LNG-to-Power plant.

Shell Energy ordered to refund overcharged UK customers

June 17 – UK energy regulator Ofgem has ordered Shell Energy Retail to refund around 12000 customers who were overcharged after the Government’s cap on gas and electricity prices came into force in January. Shell Energy Retail s agreed to refund these customers by paying £29,000 in compensation (£5 per fuel), and also pay an additional £200,000 into Ofgem’s voluntary redress fund.

BASF enters battery market

June 14 – German chemical company BASF is using NGK Insulators’ sodium sulfur batteries as its entry point into the energy market. The Japanese manufacturer NGK is currently the only maker of the large-scale sodium sulfur (NAS) batteries, capable to store several hours of energy. A joint project in northern Germany uses NAS batteries that store energy for five hours, while a recently completed project in Abu Dhabi using 108MW / 648MWh of the systems with a full six hours storage duration.

CNPC boosts domestic gas production

June 13 – China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), the largest Chinese oil and gas company, has announced plans for domestic natural gas output to reach 55% of overall domestic supply by 2025. Last year, CNPC managed to boost production by 5.9% to reach 138.02 billion cubic metres, while also increasing imports of pipeline gas and LNG.

Gazprom taps new gas deposits for Nord Stream 2

June 12 – Gazprom is fast-tracking hydrocarbon production in northwest Russia to boost reserves for export through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline (55 Bcm/y), currently being built through the Baltic Sea. At a meeting with Nord Stream shareholders, Gazprom noted that its Yuzhno-Russkoye field has yielded about 276 Bcm of natural gas, including 0.9 Bcm of hard-to-recover Turonian gas, since the start of operations. Turonian gas reserves, consisting of about 99% methane with no heavy residues, lie at a depth of 800–850 meters in reservoirs with low permeability. Commercial production at the Turonian deposit is scheduled to start in late 2019.

PG&E turns off electricity to avoid wild fires

June 11 – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has turned off electricity for some Californian communities at risk of a wildfire during the lastest heat wave. The authorized blackout started on Saturday in Napa, Solano and Yolo counties, with electricity being gradually restored over the course of Monday. Approximately 16,000 customers have been affected.

Gazprom to build power plants in Serbia

June 10 – Gazprom Energoholding has signed an Agreement of Intent (AoI) to build an upgrade several gas-fired power plants in Serbia. Together with Novi Sad, Gazprom Energoholding is already building a CCGT with some 200 MW capacity near a refinery in the Serbian town of Pancevo.

U.S. fund splashes out $4bn to buy El Paso Electric

June 7 – Infrastructure Investment Fund (IIF), a private investment vehicle within J.P. Morgan Inc., has agreed to acquire the U.S. utility El Paso Electric Co for $68.25 per share in a cash transaction. The enterprise value on the transaction is estimated at $4.3 billion. El Paso Electric customers will receive a total $21 million in bill credits over three years.

Caterpillar gensets back up Finnish data center

June 6 – The Swedish telecom giant Telia has ordered 12 Caterpillar gensets to provide standby emergency power to back up operations at its new data center in Helsinki. The Cat dealer Witraktor figured a system which includes eight Cat 3516B and four 3516E generator sets. The Telia Helsinki Data Center is the largest such facility in Finland, and its primary electric power supply comes from a combination of wind, hydroelectric and biomass.

Capstone wins orders in Iraq

June 5 – Micro-turbine producer Capstone has secured an order for two C600 Signature Series microturbines to provide 1.2 MW of energy to power a triethylene glycol (TEG) dehydration facility near Basra, in southern Iraq. The contract also includes Capstone’s new self-cleaning pulse filtration system, allowing the turbines to better withstand hot and sandy conditions with minimal maintenance.

Gas to supply record 43% of US power needs

June 4 – This summer, natural gas is forecast to cover between 40% and 43% of 2019 peak electricity demand in all U.S. states except Texas, according to projections by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Gas demand soared to nearly 10,700 billion cubic feet (Bcf) last summer, a 16% rise from 2017 levels. Should there be another heat wave this year, that record may well be broken. Capacity wise, natural gas is on course to top its 45% share in the U.S. power mix.