Markets

To break the vicious cycle of high gas prices leading to demand destruction, no downstream investment and gas generation being displaced coal, analysts at the French investment bank Société Générale recommend to adapt pricing to the source of demand.

Britain is preparing to make a 'dash for gas generation' which may pove to be the more affordable option than renewables.

"Following the government's change in policy direction, it is now time and money that will determine whether a power plant, equipped with viable Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology, will be in operation by 2020," says Howard Rogers, Director, Gas Programme, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES).

GE has revealed plans to add 12.5 GW to its portfolio of operational gas turbines in Brazil by 2020, as the country turns to gas generation to dent a shortage in peak-load power supply.

Gas generation is the quickest way to dent India's energy hunger and underpin economic growth, but "what matters is the delivered price of gas in India," says B.C. Tripathi, chairman and managing director at GAIL, India's largest gas transmission and marketing company.

Supply woes notwithstanding, gas-based power generators are gaining in importance in India, according to country's Central Power Research Institute (CPRI). “Gas is a good, alternative solution for peaking problems,” an analyst with CPRI told Gas to Power Journal.

Coal has been displacing gas generation in Europe since 2009 and the International Energy Agency expects this trend to continue: "We will have a Golden Age of Coal in Europe, at least over the next five years," says Anne-Sophie Corbeau, senior gas analyst for the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Austria's Econgas foresees no imminent growth in Germany's gas demand, according to Norbert Kint, head of trading at the Austrian utility. "In 2013, renewable energy supply will continue to eat into consumption levels of gas for power generation," he said in a panel session at the Gastech conference in London.

SSE, formerly known as Scottish & southern Energy, has completed the acquisition of Endesa Ireland Ltd for a total cash consideration of 308m plus an estimated 53m for working capital, the UK utility said on Tuesday. Once completed, the acquisition makes SSE the third largest generation capacity owner in Ireland's all-island Single Electricity Market (SEM) with 1,568 MW, or around 13% of installed capacity, in operation.

Gazprom is considering laying down a third 27.5 Bcm/year pipeline leg of Nord Stream as it aims to increase gas supplies to Germany, Netherlands and the UK. "Investment decision will be made in a short time," the Russian energy minister Alexander Novak said at a press conference at the Gastech conference in London today.

China, the fastest growing gas market globally, is forecast to keep growing at annual rates of around 13 percent, Anne-Sophie Corbeau, senior analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA) said today, but she cautioned that the two-tier pricing system, with high prices paid for LNG imports and regulated low domestic gas prices, will keep hampering the growth of gas generation.

BG Group chief executive Frank Chapman has today said US LNG exports would add flexibility to global gas market, but he cautioned that exported volumes will not big enough to change the regionalized pricing structure of global LNG markets.

Gas generation is poised to play a bigger role in denting Brazil's need for peakload power supply, providing bottlenecks in the gas pipeline network get resolved in order to allow the country's power companies make full use of domestic gas reserves. Gas generation in 2011 made up 59.1 percent, or 13,220 megawatt, of Brazils 22,368 MW installed thermal capacity, according to GlobalData.

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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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