Markets

Coal, in contrast to gas generation, has limited prospects to expand its global marked share amid a decline in coal quality and tightening environmental legislation, according to asset management group Axa Investment Managers.

The City watchdog, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) is investigating claims by a whistleblower that price assessments of Britain's £300bn wholesale gas market have been "regularly manipulated" by some big power companies.

While Iraq's energy sector competes with a host of other spending needs in Iraq, one urgent priority for the government is to catch up and add new power generation capacity to keep pace with rising electricity demand, say analysts from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Natural gas is the only fossil fuel for which global demand grows in all scenarios, showing that it "fares well under different national policy condition", the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its 2012 Outlook, released today.

Japanese utilities are gearing up to add about 18 GW of gas-fired capacity over the coming ten years, boosting the country's capacity by 30 percent to counterbalance for lost nuclear capacity and cater for rising electricity demand, analyst forecast.

Gas prices at the US's Henry Hub price benchmark are seen to become less competitive than coal in 2013 which should offset gains in the use of gas for power generation, industrial and residential use, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecast.

China will subsidise shale-gas production to help boost domestic gas supplies, earmarked to underpin plans of the Beijing government plans to expand share of gas in the nation's energy mix. Subsidies of 0.4 yuan (6.4 cents) per cubic meter of shale gas will be offered for shale gas developed and consumed between 2012 and 2015, according to China's ministry of finance.

Rising LNG imports to India, and government efforts to form a national gas grid, will help gas generation to expand beyond its present 10 percent market share. LNG imports can help to boost India's gas supplies, provided that Indian buyers are prepared to pay high prices for attracting cargoes in the tight Pacific Basin, an analyst with India's Central Power Research Institute (CPRI) told Gas to Power Journal.

As Malaysia's government gears up to lifting subsidies on natural gas the market share of gas-fired power generation is bound to drop, forecasts Sarah Fairhurst of The Lantau Group. "Gas-fired power generation is likely to fall in Malaysia as it slowly lifts subsidies. Gas, which was heavily subsidized before, is now becoming more expensive and less economic," she told Gas to Power Journal.

Gas generation is expected play a bigger role in denting Brazil's need for peak load power supply, providing bottlenecks in the gas pipeline network will get resolved so that power companies can make full use of domestic gas reserves, according to a GlobalData report. Gas-fired power plants in Brazil are predominately dispatched as peaker plants, due to high fuel prices for natural gas compared with hydropower.

Singapore is on track to reach 90% gas-fired power generation capacity, Neil McGregor, chief executive at Singapore LNG Corporation forecast.

Power generation companies and industries in Singapore have committed to purchasing around 2.7 million tons per annum (mtpa) of LNG, S. Iswaran, second minister for home affairs and trade and industry said at the Asia Gas Summit. BG, appointed as the aggregator for importing the first 3 mtpa of LNG, has already achieved 90% of its franchise, he revealed.

Plans for an ASEAN power grid must proceed cautiously with one step at a time, says power analyst Sarah Fairhurst of The Lantau Group. "There are too many players trying to align too many interests," she told delegates at the Electricity Roundtable organised as part of the Singapore International Energy Week, referring to wide disparities among South-East Asian countries.

The share of gas generation in India, which at present is about 10%, is expected to rise as the government steps up efforts to form a national gas grid. Provisions in the Electricity Act such as open access to transmission and distribution network, recognition of power trading as a distinct activity, flexibility accorded to captive generating plants and provision of supply in rural areas will introduce and encourage competition in the electricity sector, an analyst with India's Central Power Research Institute (CPRI) told Gas to Power Journal.

Siemens plans to divest its lossmaking solar sector to focus its renewable energy activities on wind and hydro power. The German engineering giant confirmed it is currently in talks with potential buyers.

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News in Brief

India’s first UHVDC link commissioned

Nov 19 – GE Grid Solutions has commissioned Pole-3 - the ultra high-voltage direct current (UHVDC) transmission line in India, capable to transmit 4,500 MW of electricity. Once completed the Champa-Kurukshetra UHVDC project will be expanded to transmit 6,000 MW of electricity at 800 kV, serving customers in the areas of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh.

COP25 urged to step up climate efforts

Nov 18 – The COP25 UN climate conference in Madrid is urged to enshrine greater commitments from the world's industrialised nations to curb their greenhouse gas emissions. “Europe will have to play a key role in this regard,“ environment minister Svenja Schulze said, adding Germany's recently announced climate package marks a "restart" in the country's climate policy.

Wärtsilä launches ‘Expertise Centre’ in Singapore

Nov 15 – The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has chosen Singapore as the location for its latest Expertise Centre (EC) that provides operational support and dynamic maintenance planning, both for marine and energy business customers. All of Wärtsilä’s Expertise Centres combined currently monitor some 900 installations with more than 2,000 engines around the world.

U.S. storage injection hits record high

Nov 14 – Near-record volumes of natural gas have been placed into storage in the United States in the current injection season. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the amount of gas held in storage in 2019 surged from a relatively low value of 1,155 billion cubic feet (Bcf) at the beginning of April to 3,724 Bcf at the end of October.

SaskPower proceeds with Moose Jaw project

Nov 13 – Canadian utility SaskPower has taken a significant step towards realizing a 350 MW gas power plant at Moose Jaw. The project was first proposed in 2017, but in the Canadian federal government June last year introduced new regulations for gas generation coming online after January 1, 2021, which stalled the plans. Having completed its regulatory review, Sask Power was now granted permission to proceed from the municipality of Moose Jaw. Major Fraser Tolmie said “this $700-million investment into the city of Moose Jaw, will ensure we have base-load power in the province of Saskatchewan and to maintain our power independence.”

Sembcorp powers up first BESS unit in the UK

Nov 12 – Sembcorp Energy UK, part of Singapore-based Sempcorp Group, has started to operate the first 60 MW unit of its battery energy storage system (BESS) fleet, supplied by GE. Combined, the three storage units in Leicestershire and Cheshire will bring Sembcorp Energy UK’s total energy portfolio to 973 MW.

Global gas glut may clear in 2021

Nov 11 – Economics of exporting American liquefied natural gas to Europe no longer add up. With Henry Hub spot prices around $2.7/MMBtu, moving LNG cargoes from the U.S. Gulf Coast to Europe is “not workable,” BP analysts said, indicating that production shut-ins could help clear the massive supply overhang towards the end of 2021.

Gazprom reassures Germany of Ukraine gas transits

Nov 8 – Alexey Miller, chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, has been trying to reassure the German government commissioner Georg Graf Waldersee that Russia was ready to signing a new transit contract with Naftogaz if both companies mutually waive claims. Before gas flows can proceed, however, Ukraine will have to create an independent gas transmission operator by January 1, 2020.

GE makes gains in wind power

Nov 7 – GE Power is gradually turning away from its loss-making fossil power segment to focus on the fast-growing renewable business. This week, GE struck a deal for its new Haliade-X turbines to be used at Dogger Bank Wind Farms. The three 1.2 GW Dogger Bank projects, situated offshore the UK’s Yorkshire coast, are expected to trigger approximately £9 billion of capital investment between 2020 and 2026.

PetroVietnam eyes LNG-to-Power project

Nov 6 – PetroVietnam has signed an agreement with B.Grimm Power Public Company (BGRIM) to jointly study the development of an integrated LNG import and power generation project. The aim is to build a 3,000 MW gas-fuelled power plant and an adjacent LNG import terminal. The location of the project has not been disclosed.

ABB launches ‘Smart City’

Nov 5 – Electrification specialists of the Swiss manufacturer ABB have designed an interactive ‘Smart City’ that contains smart buildings, e-mobility, energy management and data centers. The use of smart technologies and digitalization are encouraged by the United Nations as a way to help decarbonize cities around the world.

Gazprom, BASF cooperate on sulfur separation

Nov 4 – The Russian major Gazprom and the German chemical company BASF have agreed to devise a comprehensive solution for separation of sulfur from natural gas. The aim is to  enhance eco-efficiency of the Astrakhan gas processing plant and improve operational efficiency of BASF’s amine gas treatment units at the Orenburg gas-fired power plant.

Germany’s emission fall ‘markedly’

Nov 1 – Germany is headed for second consecutive year of substantial reductions in carbon emissions, amid a sharp drop in coal-burn in the power sector and an overall decline in energy use in 2019. If this trend continues, the country could get much closer to its 2020 climate target than widely anticipated.

Exmar to refinance Tango FLNG

Oct 31 – Exmar, the Belgian shipping company, is trying to refinance the Tango FLNG vessel, moored offshore Argentina on behalf of YPF. The aim is to generate around $60 million in additional capital, Exmar said, suggesting a deal will likely be struck in the first months of 2020.

Petronet doubles net profit

Oct 30 – Indian LNG importer Petronet has nearly doubled its net profits in the third quarter although revenues fell by 13%. Net profits came in at 1,089 crore rupees ($153.6m), an increase of 90% on the same period in 2018 as the company benefited from India’s lower corporate tax rates. Third-quarter revenues, in contrast, fell to 9,449 crore rupees ($1.33 billion).

Wildfires spread around LA

Oct 29 – Thousands of Los Angeles residents have been evacuated as wildfires spread fast around the metropolis and power outages brought life close to a standstill. The risk of fires caused by overland transmission lines prompted Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to prolong precautionary blackouts that could last up to three days.

Dominion embraces solar & storage

Oct 28 – Dominion Energy South Carolina has signed contracts for more than 1,000 MW of solar capacity. About half of that capacity has entered service. To complement intermittent solar energy supply, Dominion earlier announced several energy storage projects.