Markets

Jeju Island, South Korea’s southern resort, is now home to a newly built LNG import terminal that will fuel a 240 MW combined-cycle power plant. According to the South Korean energy ministry, the first LNG cargo will arrive shortly and Jeju households and business should have access to gas-fired power from March next year.

Gazprom chairman Alexey Miller has met Belarusian government officials to discuss the terms of Russian gas supplies and transit through Belarus from the start of 2020. Current contracts will expire on December 31 – the very date when Gazprom’s transit agreement with Ukraine also comes to an end.

Defending Golar LNG’s new strategy to spin off shipping operations, Chairman Olav Troim said “significant progress” has been made on downstream LNG distribution for power generation and as a transportation fuel. In Brazil, Golar just won a 605 MW gas power project in Barcarena, while a similar project in Sergipe is about to come onstream.

The European TSO group ENTSO-E has allayed fears of electricity shortages in Continental Europe in 2025 amid rising intermittent supply from renewable power sources, combined with a coal and nuclear exit in Germany and staggered coal power closures in Belgium and France.

China Gas Holdings, the largest independent Chinese city-gas distributor, has reported a 22.2% rise in fiscal half-year net profits to HK$4.91 billion (US$627.3m) and over US$3.5 billion in revenues as Beijing’s ‘Blue Skies’ anti-pollution policies led to rising use of natural gas for power generation and as a transport fuel.

FirstGen of the Philippines has freed up another $300 million for its projected floating storage and regas unit (FSRU), developed to ensure continuous fuel supply for 3,200 MW gas power capacity near Batangas City. LNG imports are vital for FirstGen as contracts for domestic gas supply from the Malampaya field will run out in 2024.

Two of Britain’s top energy firm, SSE and National Grid, have moved the ownership of their UK operations abroad to protect themselves from the Labour Party’s nationalization plans. According to the Sunday Times, they set up offshore branches in Switzerland, Luxemburg and Hong Kong.

Norwegian shipping company Höegh LNG sees continued growth in global gas demand as falling LNG prices help developers press ahead with decentralized power projects, supplied with natural gas via floating regas and storage units. Höegh participates in two FRSU tenders in Asia, and seeks to renew all its short-term charters by 2021.

Algerian state-owned Sonatrach has renewed its gas export contract with the French utility ENGIE – just days after Kamel Eddine Chikhi was appointed as its new CEO. Energy sales are vital for the Algerian economy, and Sonagas stated it has already renewed its gas delivery arrangement with Botas, Galp Energia, Enel, Eni and Edisson as well as Naturgy.

Fast adoption of floating LNG technology across Asia is opening up new gas markets in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. According to Black & Veatch, gas-fired power projects are “attractive for emerging markets” due to advantages in price, reliability and fuel access over developing technologies such as battery storage.

Ratings agency Moody’s has raised its forecast for German wholesale power prices by €5, reflecting higher carbon emissions prices. Wholesale power prices are seen to vary in a range of €40-50/MWh through 2022, and will also "become more volatile” as the share of renewables increases.

Energy demand in Africa, home to the fastest growing and youngest population on the planet, will be “critical for the world’s energy future, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA). In its latest World Energy Outlook (WEO2019), the Paris-based agency urged African leaders to tap the continent’s huge potential from solar, wind and natural gas.

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News in Brief

Tokyo Gas snaps up US shale assets

July 31 – The Japanese utility Tokyo Gas has agreed to raise its stake in the U.S. firm Castleton Resources to 70 percent from 46 percent to increase its foothold in shale gas production in Texas and Louisiana.  Castleton Resources holds acreage in the Haynesville and Cotton Valley formations. The transaction is scheduled to be completed on August 14.

Electrical PE market to grow 1.7% through 2027

July 30 – The market for electrical protective equipment (PE) in North America, valued at $2,787 million in 2019, is forecast to rise at an annual rate of 1.7 percent to reach $3,163 million by 2027. Main growth drivers, according to ResearchandMarkets, are ongoing power transmission projects in the context with U.S. LNG export infrastructure expansions.

GE wins turbine order from Italian paper mill

July 29 – DS Smith Paper Italia has ordered a GE LM6000PF aero-derivative gas turbine for its paper mill in Lucca, Italy. The paper mill is currently powered by two aero-derivative turbines, and the additional unit will increase plant efficiency by 2%, while assuring steam supply for the industrial process.

Aceleron secures £2m green energy investment

July 28 – UK battery developer Aceleron today announced receipt of a £2 million equity investment from BGF and Mercia Asset Management. Aceleron is BGF’s second investment into a pure clean technology, signalling a shift in behaviour as more and more fund managers support a green recovery and the UK’s policy of net-zero carbon by 2050.

NRG buys Centrica’s North American arm for over $3.6bn

July 27 – U.S. utility NRG Energy has agreed with Centrica to acquire the latter’s North American subsidiary Direct Energy for $3.625 billion in an all-cash transaction. The transaction will diversify NRG’s earnings by adding more than three million retail customers and generate an estimated $740 million in adjusted EBITDA upon closing.

Siemens rolls out Comfy app

July 24 – Siemens is deploying its workplace experience solution Comfy across its global offices, including major utility customers. The aim is to equip approximately 600 company locations by October 2020.

BlackRock puts $18bn into sustainable investment

July 23 – Sustainability aspects are poised to bring about "fundamental change" to the way financial market actors operate, said Philipp Hildebrand, vice head of U.S. investment company BlackRock. About 18 billion dollars have been put into BlackRock's sustainable investment products since the beginning of 2020, he told the German business daily FAZ, arguing this would be "only the beginning" of a much larger shift in investment practices.

Vaca Muerta output slows

July 22 – Argentina has resorted to importing LNG for the Southern Hemisphere winter as domestic production at the vast Vaca Muerta shale formation fell in the first half of 2020. State-owned IEASA purchased 28 LNG cargoes at average prices of $2.87 million British thermal units (mmBtu).

GE to implement air quality control systems in India

July 21 – GE Power India Ltd (GEPIL) has won three contracts with a combined value of $112.57 million to supply air quality control systems. One semi-dry flue-gas desulfurization (FDG) unit will be installed for Hindalco Industries’ 1x150MW power plant at the Aditya aluminium smelter in Sambalpur. A wet FDGs system will be installed on behalf of NTPC for their Feroze Gandhi Unchahar thermal power plant (2x210MW plus 2x210 MW plus 1x210MW units) in Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh.

Wärtsilä CEO sees “tough” H2 ahead

July 20 – Wärtsilä CEO Jaakko Eskola has told analysts he sees a “tough second half of the year ahead,” as the Finish manufacturer seeks to mitigate Covid-related business disruptions. In the segment of up to 500 MW, Wärtsilä’s market share fell from 9% to 8%, while orders for gas- and liquid- power plants increased by 1% to 17.8 GW during the twelve-month period ending in March 2020.

GE launches update to digital plant software

July 17 – GE Digital has unveiled updates to its digital power plant software: Proficy Plant Applications, Proficy Operations Hub, Proficy Historian, and Proficy CSense. The software accelerates digitization for industries and integrates related onsite power generation units.

Germany EEG fund slips into the red

July 16 – Germany's green energy fund, funded through the renewable energy surcharge (EEG levy), has slipped into the red for the first time since 2013, according to TSO data. The account, funded by end-customers through a surcharge on their power bill, fell from about €2 billion in available funds to €-1.16 billion in the first six months of 2020.

China seen overtake Japan as worlds’ largest LNG buyer by 2025

July 15 – The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects China to overtake Japan as the world’s biggest LNG buyer with imports of 128 Bcm a year by 2025, equivalent to around 174 million tonnes. However, IEA analysts cautioned this scenario is “highly dependent on China’s future policy direction” and whether that includes an ongoing push for coal-to-gas switching for industry, residential heating and power generation.

IEA stages Clean Energy Transitions Summit

July 14 – Ministers from dozens of countries, accounting for over 80% of the world economy, have participated in the first Clean Energy Transitions Summit organised by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, said there “clearly is momentum” behind a sustainable recovery from the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Participants agreed to reconvene in mid-2021.

Siemens Energy to exit coal

Jul 13 – Newly formed technology company Siemens Energy wants to phase-out any operations and technology to related to coal-fired power generation, CEO Joe Kaeser said, without giving a specific timeline. Siemens had been harshly criticised earlier this year for participating in the Adani coal mine project in Australia.

Statkraft, GE enhance GB grid stability

July 10 – Statkraft and GE Power Conversion are working together to stabilise Britain’s power grid. To that end, GE will manufacture and install two Rotating Stabiliser synchronous machines at Statkraft’s site in Keith, Moray. Statkraft was awarded four stability contracts (two at Keith and two at Lister Drive) by National Grid ESO (NGESO) earlier this year.

Siemens Energy spin-off approved

July 9 – A large majority of Siemens shareholders have voted to approve the spin-off of the company’s energy business. The spin-off was approved by 99.36 percent of capital stock represented at today’s extraordinary shareholders’ meeting.

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