Markets

As Malaysia's government gears up to lifting subsidies on natural gas the market share of gas-fired power generation is bound to drop, forecasts Sarah Fairhurst of The Lantau Group. "Gas-fired power generation is likely to fall in Malaysia as it slowly lifts subsidies. Gas, which was heavily subsidized before, is now becoming more expensive and less economic," she told Gas to Power Journal.

Gas generation is expected play a bigger role in denting Brazil's need for peak load power supply, providing bottlenecks in the gas pipeline network will get resolved so that power companies can make full use of domestic gas reserves, according to a GlobalData report. Gas-fired power plants in Brazil are predominately dispatched as peaker plants, due to high fuel prices for natural gas compared with hydropower.

Singapore is on track to reach 90% gas-fired power generation capacity, Neil McGregor, chief executive at Singapore LNG Corporation forecast.

Power generation companies and industries in Singapore have committed to purchasing around 2.7 million tons per annum (mtpa) of LNG, S. Iswaran, second minister for home affairs and trade and industry said at the Asia Gas Summit. BG, appointed as the aggregator for importing the first 3 mtpa of LNG, has already achieved 90% of its franchise, he revealed.

Plans for an ASEAN power grid must proceed cautiously with one step at a time, says power analyst Sarah Fairhurst of The Lantau Group. "There are too many players trying to align too many interests," she told delegates at the Electricity Roundtable organised as part of the Singapore International Energy Week, referring to wide disparities among South-East Asian countries.

The share of gas generation in India, which at present is about 10%, is expected to rise as the government steps up efforts to form a national gas grid. Provisions in the Electricity Act such as open access to transmission and distribution network, recognition of power trading as a distinct activity, flexibility accorded to captive generating plants and provision of supply in rural areas will introduce and encourage competition in the electricity sector, an analyst with India's Central Power Research Institute (CPRI) told Gas to Power Journal.

Siemens plans to divest its lossmaking solar sector to focus its renewable energy activities on wind and hydro power. The German engineering giant confirmed it is currently in talks with potential buyers.

The market share of natural gas in Germany's power generation mix is estimated to rise to 19%, the regulator BNA's estimated in a mid-range scenario, deemed more likely than a bullish or bearish case. The mid-range scenario anticipates installed capacity from gas-fired plants to surge from 26.5 GW in 2011 to 32.9 GW in 2023.

Unconventional gas, due to its estimated abundance, has improved energy security in the United States and started a process of gas displacing coal as the dominant power generation fuel. Europe needs to adapt regulation to foster shale gas drilling, as it needs unconventional gas to make up for depleting indigenous gas production and supply new-build gas-fired plants, says Morgan Bazilian, deputy director of the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis in Colorado, USA.

South Korean energy companies, in line with the government's "Green Growth policy", have shifted towards generating more electricity from nuclear and renewable energy sources backed up by gas generation, analysts say. The government has also embarked on the liberalization of its electricity market to improve competition in the industry and encourage investment with the aim of increasing installed capacity.

Singapore has ruled out nuclear energy as an alternative for the near future despite concerns over energy security. The city-state is heavily reliant on imported natural gas for power generation and policy makers had mulled the nuclear option to complement its energy mix.

Turkey keeps getting the attention of players from every corner of the natural gas-based power generation industry, even though the government complains about the country's dependency on natural gas and pledges to bring it down from today's 70% market share.

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News in Brief

Italy’s power exports Montenegro surge

Jan 22 – Italian electric power exports increased by 28% in 2020, largely driven by flows to Montenegro which surged 26% to 8.6 TWh. In contrast, domestic power demand fell 6% last year to 271.6 TWh with electricity sales from conventional plants down nearly 9% to 140.5 TWh, figures by the Italian energy exchange GME show.

US considers new nuclear

Jan 21 – The new US President Joe Biden has said his country could construct new nuclear power plants and reiterated plans to “swiftly rejoin” the Paris Climate Agreement swiftly. Germany’s environment minister, Svenja Schulze, called it illusionary to believe that newer, smaller reactors will be a technology of the future.

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.

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