Markets

Nine shale gas producers in the US Appalachian Basin have spent half a billion dollars more during Q3-2020 on drilling and new projects than they earned. According to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), eight of these nine fracking companies cut Capex substantially but still incurred losses.

In a trading update today, Rolls-Royce said it will carry out at least £1 billion of cash cost mitigations before year-end and is on track to deliver its targeted £1.3 billion cost savings by 2022. The Power System end market is recovering from a drastic fall in demand, supported by China’s swift recovery.

DNV GL’s 2020 Energy Transition Outlook forecasts global electricity demand will more than double from 26 PWh/yr today to 56 PWh/yr in 2050. Progressive electrification will make industrial and transport sectors, that previously used various energy carriers, increasingly compete for the same sources of renewable energy.

Rapid renewables build-out makes California subject to rising volumes of intermittent electricity, hence peak demand is covered by thermal power from Arizona and Utah. California’s net imports were the largest in the U.S. last year at 70.8 million MWh, or 25% of the state’s total supply.

‘Dirty king coal’ is losing out on cost not only to natural gas but also increasingly to solar power. Based on solar PV’s “extremely competitive costs,” the International Energy Agency (IEA) expects solar-derived power will become the “new king” of world electricity markets, overtaking gas.

British utility ContourGlobal enters the US energy market by acquiring gas power plants in Texas and New Mexico as part of an $837 million deal. ContourGlobal said it was buying the assets, including a 1,502 MW combined-cycle plant in Trinidad, from Western Generation Partners on a debt and cash-free basis.

Electricity from gas-fired generation has increased throughout the United States over the past five years. Gas-burn surged 31% in the Northeast, by 20% in the Central region, and by 17% in the South but remained flat in California and the Northwest, where renewables gained ground.

Japanese and Korean investors need to reassess the financial risk of gas-fired power projects in the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland (PJM) system, where wind and solar gain competitiveness against natural gas. Analysts say Japan’s exposure to such projects in PJM amounts to several billion U.S. dollars, and several plants face delays.

The German government has set up an ‘International Power-to-X (PtX) Hub Berlin’ as a platform for dialogue between industrial companies and researchers. Hot and arid regions in Australia, Morocco and potentially Congo could be used by local partners to produce solar-based hydrogen for export.

South Africa’s state utility Eskom needs to reconfigure its fleet given that 10,000 MW of thermal capacity will retire by 2030. Bhavtik Vallabhjee, Head of Power Utilities at Absa Bank pointed out a renewables rollout would still be cheaper than retrofitting ageing coal power plants to clean coal units.

Northern Powergrid, TSO for Britain’s North East, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, has launched a call for flexibility services. The expression of interest call is open to all customers who can shift the time of energy use, or provide flexible supply from distributed power and energy storage.

Gazprom has made a loss due to a weak Russian currency and 40% plunge in sales to Europe as the pandemic depressed demand and prices. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, Gazprom booked a net loss of 218.38 billion Rubles ($2.85 billion) compared with a 1.048 trillion Rubles profit in the pre-year period.

Page 3 of 229

News in Brief

Mitsubishi produces methanol in Trinidad

Jan 20 – Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company has launched commercial operations of a methanol and dimethyl ether plant in Trinidad and Tobago. The plant has an annual production capacity of one million tons of methanol and 20,000 tons of dimethyl ether, which can be used as an alternative fuel for cars and power generation.

First 8-cylinder B36:45 engine delivered

Jan 19 – Rolls-Royce has delivered the first 8-cylinder variant of its Bergen B36:45 gas engine to a tomato producer in Belgium. The medium speed genset is planned for delivery this spring and will drive an onsite power plant that generates 4700 kW electricity and 5520 kW heat. The new engine offers a 20% increase in power per cylinder and will replace an existing Bergen 12-cylinder B35:40 genset.

Moody’s upgrades Enel to Baa1

Jan 18 – Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded Enel’s long-term rating to Baa1, with a stable outlook. The upgrade reflects Enel’s progress in reducing its risk profile, analysts said, pointing at the Italian utilities ongoing investment in networks and renewables, growing geographical diversification and focus on centralised financing.

GE sues Siemens Energy

Jan 15 – General Electric has sued its German rival Siemens Energy over the alleged use of stolen trade secrets to win gas turbine contracts worth several billion dollars. GE told the US district court in Virginia that Siemens received the secret information from a Dominion Energy employee.

Orbital Energy launches Eclipse

Jan 14 – Nasdaq-listed Orbital Energy Group has launched a new subsidiary, Eclipse Foundation, a drilled shaft construction company. The new company specialises in providing services for power transmission and substations, communication tower and a disaster restoration through emergency power.

S’Korean coal and LNG imports slide

Jan 13 – South Korea’s imports of thermal coal and LNG have fallen 12% and 11%, respectively, as the government cracks down on fossil fuel usage to curb air pollution. Customs data shows that coal imports amounted to 10.2 million tons in December, down 1.4 million tons from the same month last year but up from November’s imports of 9.5 million tons.

SMC builds 1.7 GW CCGT in Batangas

Jan 13 – Excellent Energy Resources, part of SMC Global Power Holdings, is building a 1,700 MW combined cycle gas power plant in Barangay Dela Paz and Ilijan in Batangas City with investments of about 67.863 billion Philippine Pesos ($1.41bn). The project is estimated to be completed in 36 to 40 months.

UK’s National Grid issues supply warning

Jan 12 – Natural gas prices in the UK surged as National Grid issued warnings on supply deficit as LNG cargoes are being diverted to North Asia. Prices at the British NBP gas trading hub soared to the equivalent of $8.95 per MMBtu, while the JKM price for North Asian spot LNG cargoes for February 2021 was last at $19.700 per MMBt.

Fortistar invests in hydrogen

Jan 11 – Fortistar, a privately-held fund, has joined an equity investment of up to $157 million in hydrogen producer BayoTech. Cottonwood Technology Funds and the New Mexico State Investment Council also participated in the latest financing round. BayoTech’s systems produce local hydrogen close to the application, serving end users in the industrial gas and petrochemical segment as well as those who use of hydrogen to power fuel cells.

Ashtead appoints new CFO

Jan 5 - Ashtead Technology has appointed a chief financial officer (CFO) and five managers for newly created roles across its international team. The appointments are meant to cement the company’s position in the offshore energy market, including offshore wind and decommissioning of thermal power plants

NFE secures LNG for Puerto Rico, Mexico and Nicaragua

Dec 23 – New Fortress Energy (NFE) has agreed to purchase Henry-Hub-indexed LNG for its integrated gas and power businesses in Puerto Rico, Mexico and Nicaragua. The New York-based project developer said it now has covered 80% of its expected needs throughout Latin America, thus reducing its need for spot purchases and its exposure to changes in the market price for LNG.

China and Korea mandate coal-to-gas switch

Dec 22 – The Chinese government has launched a coal-to-gas boiler switching programme, targeting 7.1 million homes, which makes gas demand more weather-sensitive this winter. Similarly, South Korea mandated the closure of 15 coal-fired plants since the start of December in an effort to reduce air pollution. Analysts expect this will accelerate the drawdown of LNG terminal inventories going into Q1-2021.

GE repowers oil field in Brazil

Dec 21 – GE Power Conversion has been awarded a contract by Sulzer Pumps UK to supply motors for four water injection pumps of a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel. The 8,000 kW, two pole motors will run at 3,600 rpm with a limitation of the starting current at 300%, enabling the oil and gas field operator to optimise the generator which supplies electricity on the FPSO.

VELO distributes Sapphire Metal 3D-Printers in the US

Dec 18 – California-based VELO3D has formed a distribution partnership with GoEngineer for Flow pre-print software, Sapphire metal AM printer, and Assure quality assurance and controls. GoEngineer will be VELO’s only distributor in the United States.

Indian electric boats to achieve zero emissions

Dec 17 – Cochin Shipyard, India’s largest shipbuilder, has asked Siemens Energy to equip India’s first fleet of 23 boats with electric propulsion drive train, integrated with batteries and vessel automation. Combining the electric propulsion drive trains, energy storage, and automation systems is expected to significantly reduce fuel consumption.

Terna BESS auction six times oversubscribed

Dec 16 – A pilot auction, held by the Italian TSO Terna, for battery energy storage systems (BESS) to provide reserve grid services has been six times oversubscribed. The auction was held with an expectation that around 230 MW would be on offer, but Terna received 1,327 MW worth of bids and eventually awarded contracts for 249.9 MW.

New £150m link to UK’s Easington terminal

Dec 15 – National Grid has completed a gas pipeline under the River Humber, build in 18 months and at a cost £150 million, as new link to the import terminal at Easington. Following commissioning, the pipeline is now operational and can now transport between 70 to 100 million cubic metres - around a quarter of Britain's gas needs.

House ad Jul2020