Markets

Turkey is close to importing natural gas from Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region with the buyer understood to have earmarked some of the volumes for gas-to-power generation. A deal could be struck soon: "A buyer is out there, right next door to Iraq," said Ibrahim Palaz, general manager of Botas International.

As the UK government is searching for a cheap and quick fix to avert a looming gap in power generation capacity, new gas-fired power plants are likely to emerge as the preferred solution, investment bank JP Morgan said today.

EU power demand is holding up better than anticipated despite declining gas consumption, Société Générale said today. Between January and April, EU gas consumption declined by 1.8% year-on-year (yoy) while electricity demand increased by 0.7%, respectively, figures in the bank's monthly demand report 'SG Energy Pulse' show.

Profitability of combined cycle power plants (CCGTs) in Spain is likely to deteriorate further on rising electricity supply from solar PV and wind power generation. “We may not have reached the bottom yet. No investment in new CCGTs is likely in the next 10 to 15 years,” James Cox, Principal Consultant, Poery Energy Consulting, said at the ‘Gas to Power conference’ in Valencia today.

The share of LNG re-exports from Spain has risen to a record 30% of import volumes in 2012 as shippers divert cargoes contracted on flexible terms to profit from high gas prices in Asia, lga Vedernikova, LNG Divisions Director at Clarksons said today. Spain gas demand is forecast to remain on low levels, leaving regas capacity underutilized.

 The volatility of natural gas demand in Spain is set to rise as the integration of electricity and gas market intensifies, Maria Teresa Bravo, responsible of European gas infrastructure development at Enagas said today. "Natural gas is as a facilitator for Spain's rising renewable energy production, therefore gas infrastructure needs provide sufficient flexibility for gas to play that role, she said at the LNG & Gas-to-Power conference in Valencia.

Operating profit of Statkraft, Norway's largest utility, eased off slightly in the first quarter as the negative impact of lower power prices was offset by higher electricity production.

Japan's hunger for LNG imports to fuel gas-fired power plants is set to ease off gradually as a regional government approves the restart of nuclear reactors. Global LNG markets, however, are forecast to stay tight, investment bank JP Morgan forecasts.

E.ON has not decided on whether to close three gas-fired power plants with a combined capacity of 1,420 MW in southern Germany. "We have not taken a formal decision on whether to close these or other gas-fired plants but we in the process of evaluation the profitability of each plant," an E.ON spokesman said today, dismissing contrary news reports.

Investment bank Societe Generale anticipates a drop in traded prices for natural gas in the U.S.  due to lower demand. The NYMEX front month is forecast to drop to US$2/MMBtu, with falling gas prices set to increase the share of gas-fired power generation in the U.S. energy mix.

Alstom, the French manufacturer of power generation technology, is ramping up manufacturing capacity and output at its Chattanooga facility in Tennessee, with a view to boosting its share in the buoyant U.S. market.

"Our investment in Chattanooga is a reflection of our confidence in the U.S. market," Patrick Fetzer, Regional Vice President of Alstom's gas power plant business in North America said with reference to forecasts about "a substantial short-term grow of the country's gas-fired power generation sector.

RWE posted a 14% drop in operating result to €2.4 billion today. "Declining margins in electricity generation and burdens suffered by the gas midstream business in particular adversely affected the result for the quarter," the Essen-based company said.

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.

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News in Brief

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.

Wärtsilä downgrades outlook for its energy business

Oct 25 – Wärtsilä has downgraded the outlook of its Energy Business from “soft” to “weak” amid low equipment demand, although the its services activity “remains sound.” The current order book for 2019 deliveries is 1,708 million Euros, comprised mainly of equipment deliveries, Wärtsilä stated today when posting mixed Q3 results. Looking ahead, the company said its operating result for full-year 2019 will be approximately 100 million Euros lower than in the 2018 result of 577 million Euros.

Siemens names new CIO

Oct 24 – Hanna Hennig will be appointed as new Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Siemens starting from January 2020. The change at Siemens’ IT organization supports the execution of the company’s Vision 2020+.

GE to service Austrian CHP

Oct 23 – Sappi Austria, provider of sustainable woodfibre products, has handed GE Power a multi-year service agreement to for its 42 MW onsite power plant.  GE will carry out a cross-fleet turbine and combustor upgrade to help Sappi reduce costs through a maintenance interval extension and better plant performance.

Brookfield invest $2bn in Cove Point LNG

Oct 22 – Brookfield Asset Management, an investor in energy infrastructure and power storage, has agreed to take a 25% stake in Cove Point LNG for just over $2 billion in cash. The alternative investor also owns assets in hydro (7.9 GW), wind (4.9 GW), solar (1.7 GW), distributed generation (400 MW) and energy storage (2.7 GW).

Ansaldo appoints new CEO

Oct 21 – Ansaldo Energia’s board of directors has appointed Giuseppe Marino as new CEO. Together with the chairman, Giuseppe Zampini, he will decide on the company’s strategy particularly relating to the new Chinese joint ventures.

Slow start of STT pipeline

Oct 18 – U.S. gas exports to Mexico have not picked up substantially despite the start of the Sur de Texas-Tuxpan (STT) pipeline. Exports are still below 6.0 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d), although there no current postings regarding maintenance on the Sistrangas pipeline that feeds from NET Mexico.