Markets

Russian gas exports to Europe have dropped 14.5% to 32.8 Bcm in the second quarter of 2012 on reduced offtake volumes from Gazprom's continental European buyers who prefer coal over gas generation.

Germany's second-largest utility RWE on Tuesday announced it will cut more than 2,400 jobs as first-half year profit came in 'unchanged', while electricity sales fell 8 percent and gas sales dropped 11 percent. "The present framework conditions are anything but favourable", Peter Terium, RWE chief executive said when presenting the H1 results in Essen today.

As profitability at several of E.on's conventional gas- and coal-fired power plants across Europe is squeezed due to reduced operating hours and low power prices, E.on chief executive Johannes Teyssen said plant closures may have to be considered.

Average on-peak wholesale electricity prices in the US have plunged between 24% and 39% across major price hubs from January to June this year as natural gas prices fell to a 10-year low, according to EIA statistics.

German utility E.on today posted a Eur2.4 billion increase in its H1 earning to Eur6.7 billion, largely due to successful gas negotiations with suppliers.

Global Power Equipment Group said it "remains optimistic regarding future prospects for new natural gas-fired power generation projects", despite posting a drop in Q2 revenue to $94.7 million, down from $138.3 million due to shipment delays and reduced maintenance services.

Japan's high gas-to-power to backfill nuclear generation capacity will be a key driver to prolong the diversion of LNG cargoes from Europe to Asia until 2015, UK investment bank Barclays said in a research note.

Power generation companies have built fewer power plants in the US during the first six months of 2012. New-build capacity dropped by 927 MW as operators realised 54 plant units less than in the first half of 2011, according to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Spot-price elements in long-term gas purchase contracts (LTCs) are required for new gas power projects to ensure enough gas is supplied at a sufficiently low price. "Since the end of 2008, the price level of supply contracts for [gas fired power plants] has often been above the level required for a commercially attractive use in power generation," Uli Brunner, energy expert, PA Consulting Group told Gas to Power Journal.

German utility E.ON said today it expects its first-half underlying net income to be around EUR 3.3bn, more than trippling in value from EUR 0.9bn in the previous year.

The Indian state of Andhra Pradesh is facing further cuts in gas supply from the Reliance-operated Krishna-Godavari basin which will reduce gas-to-power generation by another 400-700 MW, exacerbating the energy shortage in the region. 

The profit margin of gas-fired power plants in Germany has dropped to a 4-year low, as the clean spark spread for baseload 2013 delivery has plunged to minus Eur8/MWh at the end of last week. Utilities can only operate their gas plants profitably for generating power for higher priced peak load hours between 8am and 8pm local time.

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News in Brief

Siemens to service Kalamkas gas turbines

June 4 – JSC Mangistaumunaigaz, one of Kazakhstan’s largest oil and gas producers, has contracted Siemens to service two STG-800 gas turbines at a power plant, designed to meet the entire energy needs of the nearby Kalamkas oil and gas field. The nine-year contract covers turbine maintenance and eventual upgrades as well as remote monitoring of operations.

NamPower to invest $575m on grid expansion

June 3 – Namibia’s state-owned utility NamPower is planning to spend $575 million over the next three years in upgrading and extending its power transmission infrastructure. Namibia imports 60% of its total electrical energy requirement, primarily through bilateral contracts from South Africa’s Eskom and to a lesser extent, the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP).

UK TSOs call for £900m green gas investment

June 2 – Britain’s five gas network companies – Cadent, National Grid, NGN, SGN and Wales & West Utilities – have urged the Government to unlock over £900 million (€1bn) for new green gas infrastructure. Research by the Energy Networks Association (ENA) shows that if investment into zero-carbon hydrogen infrastructure started today, the UK could save energy bill payers £89 billion (€99.2bn) by 2044 – five years prior to its 2050 net-zero targets.

Exxon, INNIO about to launch gas engine oil

June 1 – ExxonMobil and INNIO have announced the imminent launch of their first co-engineered and co-branded natural gas engine oil. The U.S. oil major and the Austrian engine maker have just extended their global lubricant collaboration agreement for INNIO’s Jenbacher Type 2, 3, 4, 6 and 9 natural gas engines.

BelGAS launches new pressure regulator

May 29 – BelGAS has introduced its new P1098 High-Capacity Pressure Reducing Regulator, a large-volume regulator for natural gas, propane and other fuels. The pilot-operated device has a large-area actuator diaphragm, allowing for fast and accurate response to modulating gas flow conditions. It is adaptable for low to extra-high pressure—up to 400 psi main valve inlet.

GE to sell lightning business

May 28 – GE has signed a definitive agreement to sell its lighting business to Savant Systems, a provider of smart homes. CEO H. Lawrence Culp called the divestment “an important step in the transformation of GE into a more focused industrial company.” The transaction is expected to close in mid-2020.

China’s fuel demand recovers

May 27 – The Chinese government has lifted restrictions on private travel since April which pushed up demand for transport fuels. Gasoline demand has recovered particularly fast and is expected to return to last year’s levels by June 2020. Wood Mackenzie estimates gasoline consumption to reach 3.4 million barrels per day (b/d) in the second quarter, down just a 0.8% year on year. Diesel or gasoil demand is expected to reach 3.4 million b/d in Q2 2020, a 3% decline year-on-year. Overall, China’s oil demand is seen rise a “modest” 13.6 million bpd, or 2.3%, in the second half of 2020.

Wärtsilä to retrofit CHP in Spain

May 26 – The Finish engine maker Wärtsilä has bagged an order to supply and install a 34SG gas-fuelled engine generating set for Rofeica Energia's combined heat and power plant in Barcelona, Spain. The installation of the gas engine will allow Rofeica to switch the CHP from heavy fuel oil to gas-fuelled operation, reducing emissions.

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.