Markets

Societe Generale forecasts Europe's electricity demand in 2012 will see a mere 0.7% rise in annual demand as economic growth remains lacklustre. "Consumption should recover in 2012, but overall growth will likely to be modest," the bank said in its latest Energy Pulse report.

North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) has alerted the U.S. energy industry of a growing reliance on natural gas as the primary fuel source at times of peak electricity demand. "The growing dependence on natural gas as a primary fuel source of on-peak capacity must be considered in planning, and operational measures must be in place to minimize interdependency risks," NERC told Gas-to-Power Journal.

The European Energy Exchange (EEX) will start OTC clearing for UK gas futures on 29 February, the bourse said Wednesday. Trading participants that are already admitted on the EEX Derivatives Market for natural gas can use the new service once they have registered for it at ECC, the clearing house of EEX.

Declining demand for Spanish gas-fired generation combined with unusually warm weather conditions this winter has led to an 8.7% drop in LNG imports to Europe in the second half of 2011, according to Deutsche Bank. Gas demand growth in Spain is forecast to remain sluggish as utilities are likely to favour coal over gas due to Spain's domestic coal subsidy scheme that will remain in place until 2014, analysts led by Mark Lewis in Deutsche Bank's latest European gas report.

China's State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) has forecast an 8.5% drop in power consumption in 2012 on the back a slow-down in China's economic growth. Compared with the 11.7% surge in electricity demand to 4.7 trillion kilowatts hours in 2011, this development marks a significant decline in China's energy hunger.

Power cut hit Turkey's north-western region including the city of Istanbul over the weekend, following a system failure in a gas-fired power plant in the city of Bursa.

The link to Trayport's 'Global Vision (GV) Screen' as a trading interface has helped to boost the liquidity at the European Energy Exchange (EEX). "At the EEX, future trades are effectuated via Eurex and spot trades via Comserv, but trades can also be made directly via the GV Screen interface. This helped to boost liquidity together with other steps undertaken in 2011 such as extended Cross-Margining in the clearing process," EEX marketing representative, Eileen Hieke, told Gas-to-Power Journal today.

Power trading in 2011 was the "mainstay of revenue" for the European Energy Exchange (EEX Group), the bourse said today when publishing a review of its business. The bourse said it observed "a shift in trading activities towards shorter terms" in the fields of power and natural gas.

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) today announced forecast of a fresh record volume of natural gas consumed for power generation as it aims to close the gap in nuclear power supply following the shutdown of its Fukushima Daiichi plant following an earthquake last March. For the financial year ending March 31, Tepco forecasts gas use will rise to a record of 22.67 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG), increasing an earlier estimate issued in November of 22.6 million tonnes.

Deutsche Bank today slashed its price projections of the German baseload power price for 2012 and 2013 on the back of an expected drop in demand of electricity, natural gas and carbon emission allowances in Europe in the prolonged recession.

Investments in carbon capture storage (CCS) for new-built and operational power plants has a softening effect on carbon prices - albeit not a big one, Energy Brainpool's chief analyst Tobias Federico estimates.

"The scale of the price effect largely depends on how widespread the implementation of CCS technology will be implemented in the power generation sector," he told Gas-to-Power Journal in an interview.

BDEW, Germany's energy and water association, today released data on the country's power generation mix. Gas-fired generation was virtually unchanged at 14% in 2011. The share of renewable energies in the country's overall power generation mix surged by 20% in 2011, according to BDEW statistics. In 2011, renewable energies have already overtaken nuclear plants (18%) and coal-fired power generation (19%) in terms of market share.

Societe Generale is anticipating that 2011 will be far worse than 2009 for gas demand. The year 2011 has so far seen a 9.3% yoy drop in gas consumption and a 1.9% decline in electricity demand, Societe Generale said in its latest SG Energy Pulse report.

The European Network of Transmission System Operators of Gas (entsog) has forecast that Europe has sufficient stocks of natural gas in storage to meet demand in the event of a cold-spell, when demand surges 10% above normal levels.

UK Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has called on attendees at the Durban COP17 climate conference plenary to join forces to combat climate change and avert power shortages in developing countries.

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News in Brief

Regulators approve CCGT in Wisconsin

Jan 20 – State regulators have approved a permit for Dairyland Power Cooperative to build a $700 million combined-cycle gas power plant in northwestern Wisconsin. The Nemadji Trail Energy Center will produce 625 MW and is scheduled to begin operations by 2025.

ExxonMobil enhances turbine oils

Jan 17 – New high performance turbine oils, developed by ExxonMobil Lubricants, are  entering the market which are formulated to prevent build-up of lacquer, varnish and deposits. The oils are designed to protect against thermal and oxidative degradation, one of the root causes of deposit build-up.

Wärtsilä signs O&M deals in the Bahamas

Jan 16 – Following the commissioning of a Wärtsilä-built 132 MW power plant in Bahamas in December, the Finish manufacturer now signed a two-year operation and maintenance (O&M) accord with the plant owner, the Bahamas Power and Light Company (BPL). Wärtsilä will transition, train, and develop the owner’s Bahamian work force and provide key performance guarantees.

China, S'Korea curtail coal to tackle air pollution

Jan 15 – Beijing city government’s aggressive approach to tackling air pollution is working and South Korea’s spring coal-fired curtailments show some success in cutting seasonal emissions. According to Wood Mackenzie, this should benefit LNG, particularly while spot prices remain low.

Sri Lanka at brink of power shortages

Jan 14 – Sri Lanka could face power cuts by March, after plans for a large-scale coal power plant were been cancelled just prior to start of construction, and a tender for a 300 MW diesel plants ended up in court. On the demand side, pressure is building up as the region is moving into the dry season in February and March. Weather warnings say the island is likely to receive lower than average rainfall in the first quarter of 2020.

Caterpillar’s new genset comply with UK & German grid codes

Jan 13 – Caterpillar Inc. has launched a series of new generator sets that comply with the new G99 United Kingdom, VDE-AR-N 4110 German and Belgium C10/C11 grid codes. The following gensets – G3500H, CG132B, CG170, and CG260 (rated from 280-4,500kVA) – have been verified to be able to accommodate different reactive power modes, active power functions, and connection conditions for normal operation or reconnection after mains decoupling.

Transneft launches battery-based power supply for ILI tools

Jan 10 – Transneft Diascan, the largest Russian inspection service provider for pipelines, has developed and put into operation a power supply system for in-line inspection (ILI) tools based on rechargeable batteries. Flaw detectors performing inspections of trunk oil pipelines, gas pipelines and oil product pipelines can now use the energy from rechargeable batteries, which helps save time and reduces the cost of in-line inspection.

Pavilion starts trading LNG out of Madrid

Jan 9 – Singapore-based Pavilion Energy has completed the acquisition of all gas and LNG assets of the Spanish utility Iberdrola. From its new European headquarters in Madrid, Pavilion said has launched 2020 LNG trading operations with supplies focusing on Spain and the UK market.

Gazprom extends gas transits via Belarus until 2021

Jan 8 – Gazprom and Gazprom Transgaz Belarus have sealed additional agreements to extend the contracts for gas supplies to and gas transportation across Belarus until 2021. According to the newly-signed documents, the contractual supply and transit volumes in 2020 will remain at the level of 2019.

EastMed pipeline to take FID by 2022

Jan 7 – Greece, Cyprus and Israel have signed an agreement to build the 1,900-kilometre EastMed pipeline at an estimated cost of 6 billion Euros. The subsea pipeline, spanning over 1,900-kilometres would initially carry 10 Bcm of gas per annum from Israeli and Cypriot waters to Crete and then on to the Greek mainland and into the European gas network via Italy. A final investment decision (FID) is meant to be reached in 2022, given that the pipeline is scheduled for completion by 2025.

U.S. energy-related emissions drop over 2%

Jan 6 – Fewer emissions from coal consumption, combined with lower energy demand, have helped to significantly reduce the overall energy-related carbon emissions in the United States. According to government statistics, energy-related CO2 emissions fell 2.2 percent last year, and the downward trend is forecast to continue into 2020.

Brent crude prices surge

Jan 3 – North Sea Brent crude prices have risen to their highest level since September 2019, up nearly $3 per barrel because of Middle East tensions coupled with improved Chinese economic forecasts. Brent crude futures for March 2020 delivery were last seen trading at 69.21 per barrel the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). This bullish price sentiment will feed through to oil-indexed natural gas contracts and LNG deliveries, linked to the Japanese crude cocktail (JCC) basket price.

IEA says coal’s fate tied to Asia

Dec 23 – Rapid rise of wind and solar power in many parts of the world has pushed coal-fired power generation into steep decline in most developed countries. "But this is not the end of coal, since demand continues to expand in Asia," analysts at the International Energy Agency commented: "The region’s share of global coal power generation has climbed from just over 20 percent in 1990 to almost 80 percent in 2019, meaning coal’s fate is increasingly tied to decisions made in Asian capitals."

Drop in coal-burn makes Germany edge closer to climate targets

Dec 20 – In 2019, Germany managed to increase its greenhouse gas emissions for the second year in a row, mainly due to a 20 percent drop of coal use for power generation and a growing contribution from renewables. Energy savings and efficiency increases also helped. According to calculations by energy research group AG Energiebilanzen (AGEB), Germany’s primary energy consumption declined by 2.3 percent this year, overall energy use fell more than 2 percent, and energy-related CO2 emissions fell by as much as 7 percent.

Glencore buys Orsted’s lgas business unit

Dec 19 – UK-listed mining company Glencore has agreed to take over a loss-making natural gas business from Orsted, including long-term import capacity at the Gate regas terminal in Rotterdam and five other LNG purchase agreements. “The transaction entails a payment from Orsted to Glencore and will result in a loss that exceeds our current provision related to the LNG activities,” stated Copenhagen-based Orsted without disclosing the value of the transaction.

Carbon-intensive firms may shed over 40% in value

Dec 18 – Energy- and carbon-emissions intensive companies could lose up to 43% of their value if national governments enact more stringent policies to reduce air pollution and tackle climate change. Companies using green energy, in contrast, could gain up to 33% in value, research by the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) finds.

COP25 – a “lost opportunity”

Dec 17 – UN Secretary António Gutierrez has dismissed the outcome of the COP25 climate talks in Madrid as “disappointing” and “lost opportunity“. Some of the world’s largest emitters, including Australia, Brazil, China and Saudi Arabia had joined the U.S. in pushing for accounting loopholes to weaken commitments to reduce emissions in the transport and power generation sector.