Markets

South Korea's ministry of Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE) will establish a master plan for shale gas development before the end of the year as it aims for shale gas-derived LNG imports to account for 20% of the country's LNG import capacity, a ministry official told 'Gas to Power Journal'.

Despite short term restraints in the market for gas-fired power generation, Frost & Sullivan's Energy Industry Director, Harald Thaler sees "sound medium- and long-term prospects" for the industry and forecasts global gas-fired power plant orders will total 537 GW through 2020.

Electricity is the largest sector for growth for the gas industry and the trend is likely to continue as coal-fired plants are retired, ExxonMobil's Americas gas marketing manager, Paul Greenwood, told a gas forum in Chicago this week.

Japan's ministry for economy, trade and industry (METI) will host an LNG conference in Tokyo on September 19 to evaluate the increasingly central role of gas supplies for power generation as the country considers a nuclear phase-out by 2030. METI is aiming to overhaul the current strict regionalization of Japan's main electric power utilities, which consume about 5 million tonnes per month of LNG for to fuel gas-fired power plants.

The rapid implementation of India's 'National Gas Grid for LNG', designed to accommodate rising gas supply from LNG import terminals on the western coast, will provide a fillip to gas-fired power generation. "The formation of the gas grid (12,000 km) in India is a great leap which is going to encourage the use of gas-based power generation over a wider geographical area," an analyst at India's Central Power Research Institute told Gas to Power Journal.

While European power prices are will stay flat over the coming days they  are likely to increase in by the end of September on colder weather conditions, the Italian bank UniCredit forecast. Gas generation remained on low levels throughout Europe, while higher profit margins and subsequently higher utilisation of power generation have supported carbon prices in recent weeks, bank research shows.

At current prices, "gas is too expensive a fuel for Europe", Société Générale said in a report today. The bank remains more bearish than the forward curve and recommends selling the front year NBP Summer 13 contract.

A surge in Japan's LNG imports for thermal power generation is on the cards as the party of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is gearing up to adopting a zero-reliance policy on nuclear power to win voters' support in the forthcoming election.

Hot-weather-driven electricity demand for air conditioning coupled with low natural gas prices has led to a 24% surge in U.S. gas demand for power generation in the period through August 15, according to the U.S. Energy Administration (EIA).

The British government has proposed to set a cap "broadly equivalent to 1 GW" for new biomass-fired power plant capacity. Energy secretary Ed Davey said the cap will "ensure that the Renewables Obligation delivers value-for-money for the bill-payer while enabling shovel-ready projects to come forward."

UK gas exports have dropped this week, after the NBP Zeebrugge spread turned towards the zero or slightly negative level at the start of September. "UK gas flows shift early towards winter flow patterns," Deutsche Bank analysts said today, commenting "last year this shift did not occur until the start of December". 

Should plans of NRG Energy Inc to buy GenOn, an independent power producer (IPP) with assets in some shared markets, get regulatory approval, the deal would create the largest IPP in the United States.

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News in Brief

New York body rejects William’s plans for gas pipeline expansion

May 21 – New York’s and New Jersey’s state bodies for environmental conservation have rejected Williams’ plans for the Northeast Supply Enhancement project, designed to transport 400 million cubic feet per day of gas from Pennsylvania to New York. The state bodies had already denied wetland permits in 2019, but Williams pipeline subsidiary Transco filed another application with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), arguing firm services under the project were agreed with UK’s National Grid for customers in New York City districts of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island.

UK inflation at 4-year low amid falling energy costs

May 20 – The rate of inflation in the UK has fallen to a four-year low as the pandemic pushed down global oil and fuel prices which translate into lower wholesale power prices. The consumer price index fell to an annual rate of 0.8% in April, down from 1.5% in March, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Deficit grows in German green energy fund

May 19 – German regional grid operator TransnetBW has warned of a growing shortfall in the country’s fund for green energy sources, financed under the so-called renewable energy (EEG) levy. TransnetBW, the TSO in southwest Germany, said “due to the EEG cost allocations defined for 2020, we anticipate there will be a negative year end bank account balance in the high three-digit million euro range for 2020.”

Spanish gas companies ‘resilient’

May 18 – Spain’s regulated gas companies “should prove to be resilient” to external shocks arising from coronavirus containment measures, Standard & Poor’s analysis finds, calculating with an average drop in EBITBA at less than 3% in 2020. A new remuneration framework for 2021-2026, recently enacted by the Spanish government, provides enhanced visibility rated grid operators amid the pandemic.

German electricity prices second highest in EU

May 15 – Taxes and the renewable energy surcharge have pushed up Germany’s household electricity prices to the second highest level in Europe, topped only by prices in Denmark. While Danish households paid 29.2 Euros per 100 kWh on average in the second half of 2019, prices in Germany averaged 28.7 Euros, according to the EU statistics office Eurostat.

Calpine’s Q1 earnings fall

May 14 – Calpine, America’s largest generator of electricity from gas and geothermal, has reported a net income of $128 million for the first quarter of 2020, down from $175 million in the prior year period. Lower commodity margins and unfavourable change in income taxes were partially offset by earnings from hedge positions for the three month ending March 31.

Siemens to supply hybrid plant in the Philippines

May 13 – Berkley Energy has contracted Siemens Energy to build a hybrid power project on the island of Mindoro in the Philippines. The project links 16 MW wind power with battery storage, stabilizing energy supply in a remote location with a weak link to the grid and reducing its dependence on diesel.

U.S. energy emissions fall

May 12 – Energy-related carbon emissions in the United States have fallen more than energy consumption, down 2.8% over the course of last year to 5,130 million metric tons (MMmt). Power sector emissions were down 145 MMmt, due to a switch from coal to gas and renewables. In April 2020, emissions experienced another unprecedented fall in due to Covid-19 lockdowns.

MAN expands Omincare concept

March 11 – MAN Energy Solutions’ service brand has extended its ‘PrimeServ Omnicare’ concept from turbomachinery to the marine and power segments. The one-stop service solution is now also applicable for maintenance of third-party machinery, including engines, turbochargers and related auxiliaries.

MIVOLT launches cooling fluid

May 7 – MIVOLT, part of the British company M&I Materials, has launched two specialist fluids to improve cooling efficiency at data centres. The electricity demand of data centres is forecast to rise to 20% of global supply to accommodate lifestyle changes like 5G internet network, autonomous vehicles and bitcoin mining.

Germany adds 1,300 km to power grid

May 6 – Germany has made progress in expanding its strained power grid. According to the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), over 1,300 kilometres of new power transmission lines have been built and another 830km approved. A further 3,600km are planned to be built by 2030 to alleviate grid bottlenecks and allow transporting rising volumes of offshore wind southbound.

 

 

 

Oman nationalizes first IPP

May 5 – Manah Power, the first privately-run Independent Power Project (IPP) in Oman, has been transferred to state ownership, following the expiry of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between United Power Company and state-owned OPWP. Manah IPP was developed under Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) model, which stipulates an eventual nationalization of the assets – a feature absent in subsequent IPPs.

U.S inventories at record highs

May 4 – Inventories for crude oil and natural gas have reached a new record high in the United States, as fuel demand declines both for transport and the electric power sector. From March 13 – when a national emergency was declared due to the Covid-19 pandemic – to April 24, U.S. commercial crude oil inventories increased by 74 million barrels, or 16%, according to government figures. The acute scarcity of crude storage on April 20 led to a sell-off of future contracts at negative prices.

Wärtsilä to service Argentinean power plant

May 1 – Wärtsilä has signed a 10-year maintenance and service agreement with one of Argentina’s upstream companies. Under the deal, Wärtsilä provides a guaranteed performance for a 57.6 MW onsite power plant in the southern part of Argentina, with excess power sold to the national grid.

Zink-Air batteries for NY

April 30 – Zinc8 Energy Solutions has entered a cooperation with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to install a zinc-air battery energy storage, backed by $2.55 million in state funding over a three year period. The Zinc8 ESS units can deliver power in the range 20-50 MW, with capacity of 8 hours of storage duration. The project will help New York State achieve its goal of installing 3 GW of energy storage by 2030.

UK again ‘coal-free’

April 29 – The UK continues to break its coal-free record as thermal coal-fired power plants currently remain off the system, according to National Grid data. Faltering demand due to the pandemic and high renewable energy supply radically altered the energy mix in many developed countries, with power in-feed from solar PV reaching 10 GW in Britain at the start of this week. “Coal is due off the system by 2025 and renewables have shown they are cost competitive with a viable route to market,” Delta-EE director Andy Bradley commented.

China’s fuel demand to rebound in Q2

April 28 – China’s demand for refined fuel is forecast to rebound in the second quarter, nearly reaching year-ago levels, as lockdowns to contain the coronavirus get lifted. Analysts at SIA Energy in Beijing expect second quarter demand for the three main transportation fuels to increase by 1.1 million barrels per day compared with the first quarter of 2020.