Markets

Investment bank Goldman Sachs said today a 14 pence price rise of NBP gas contracts for delivery between July and end-September is needed to prompt diversions of LNG cargoes from higher-yielding Asian destinations to the U.K. European power producers are advised to hedge forward gas in anticipation of rising prices.

The share of gas-fired power generation in the U.S. is forecast to surge by about 17% in 2012, amid a 10% decline in coal-based power generation, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its short-term energy and summer fuels outlook.

India's gas shortage has reached alarming levels, undermining the Government's aims to boost the share of gas-to-power production. Operation of three gas-fired plants - with a combined capacity of 1,730 MW - had to be halted in India's National Capital Region (NCR) region due to a lack of gas supply to fuel the plants.

The growth pace of natural gas production in North America is set to slow down this year in reaction to low gas prices in the U.S. "More producers expect the drilling pullback in their dry gas plays to lead to a y/y [year-on-year] drop in their natural gas production," BarCap analyst Shiyang Wang said in a research note.

Eurelectric, the Union of the European Electricity Industry, calls on policy makers to improve the current negative political and economic climate for investments in the electricity sector. "Utilities need to get a proper return for their existing conventional power plants", it said today.

French investment bank Société Générale forecasts gas prices at the National Balancing Point (NBP) to turn south as the UK markets are well supplies and demand tepid. "Prices will start agreeing with fundamentals and turn south from their present levels," SocGen analysts Emmanuel Fages, Thierry Bros and Paolo Coghe said in a recent research note.

Natural gas is likely to take up a growing share in the U.K.'s energy mix, making up for any eventual capacity shortage following the withdrawal of E.ON and RWE npower from developing new nuclear capacity in the U.K under the Horizon Nuclear Venture. "Gas will fill the gap," Deutsche Bank analyst, James Brand, told Gas-to-Power Journal.

A growing number of power plant operators in the U.S. are choosing to retire coal-fired power plants in favour of gas-to-power generation in a move likely to propel up demand for domestic shale gas production.

Overcapacity in the German power generation mix and deteriorating economics of fossil-fuel plants has prompted Deutsche Bank to forecast closures, particularly of gas-fired power plants, until 2015.

Natural gas consumption in India and China has witnessed annual growth rates of 14% and 18%, respectively, over the last five years. Inaugurating the 7th Asia Gas Partnership Summit, in New Delhi today, India's Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh highlighted the role of gas as "an efficient fuel for power generation".

Electricity prices in Turkey have surged as markets are concerned about a looming reduction in Russian gas supply as well as bottlenecks in the country's gas transmission infrastructure, energy traders told ‘Gas-to-Power Journal’.

E.ON, the world’s largest utility by sales, is not planning to mothball any of its gas-fired power plants in Germany, despite the negative impact of oil-indexed gas purchase on the economics of operating power plants, a spokesman said today.

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News in Brief

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.

Central Hudson links solar farms to VPP

July 9 – Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp has established its distributed generation program within the broader context of New York State’s energy plan. Together with Sensus and their Remote Telemetry Module (RTM-III), the Central Hudson will monitor decentralized solar PV backed up by flexible gas gensets.

Siemens and GREEN Solar turn German town CO2-free

July 8 – GREEN Solar and Siemens Energy are jointly developing a concept for making Herzogenrath CO2-free. The plan is to provide an energy-efficient and economical combination of solar power plants, wind turbines, batteries, CHP and combined cycle power plants, as well as heat and hydrogen storage. The hybrid system will be built on the grounds of Nivelsteiner Sandwerke and will be large enough to cover the city’s entire energy demand with zero CO2 emissions by 2030.

Denmark paves the way for Nord Stream 2

July 7– Denmark on late Monday gave the Nord Stream 2 consortium permission to utilize pipe-laying vessels with anchors in Danish waters, paving the way for the Gazprom-led consortium to complete the interconnector. Construction of the 1,230-kilometre pipeline is nearly complete, except for a final stretch of about 120-kilometers in Danish waters. The project was halted in December when the Swiss-Dutch pipe-laying company Allseas suspended works over threats of U.S. sanctions.

EPRI tests early warning system

July 6– The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is conducting trial tests with multiple utilities across the United States of an early warning system. It can detect an off-gassing event as a precursor to thermal runaway up to 30 minutes prior to a cascading failure. This gives plant operators time to mitigate the problem or shut down the system.

KKR buys stake in First Gen

July 3 – Valorous Asia Holdings, owned by KKR investment funds, has bought a 11.9% stake in First Gen through a voluntary tender offer. First Gen, one of the Philippines’ largest independent power producers with 3,492 MW installed capacity, is owned by First Philippine Holdings which is controlled by the Lopez family. KKR’s acquisition of the First Gen stake is worth nearly $192.3 million.

Gazprom’s ‘BBB’ rating affirmed

July 2 – S&P Global Ratings, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings have affirmed Gazprom's long-term credit ratings as part of their annual reviews. The ‘BBB’ ratings for Gazprom from S&P and Fitch are in line with the sovereign credit rating of the Russian Federation, while Moody's ‘Baa2’ rating is a notch higher.

MHIEC to refurbish WtE plant in Kushiro

July 1 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Environmental & Chemical Engineering Co (MHIEC) has received an order from the Kushiro Wide-Area Federation to repair and improve the core equipment at the local Waste-to-Energy plant in Takayama. The WtE plant has a capacity of 240 tonnes per day (tpd). Renovation will increase the energy efficiency of the fluidized bed type gasification and ash melting furnace facility, reducing emissions by around 15% annually. Works are due completed in September 2023.

Nigeria: Only two of six power projects on target

June 30 – Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises has disclosed that only two out of six privatized power plants were delivered on target. Only Transcorp Power Ltd and Geregu Power Ltd out of the six privatised electricity generation companies (GENCOs) were said to have met their performance targets since taking over.

German investors prefer solar over wind

June 29 – Energy infrastructure investors are keen to build solar power projects in Germany, but shun wind parks. In the latest solar power auction, investors offered to build almost 450 MW of capacity – more than four times the 96 MW of volume on offer– with the average successful bid at 5.27 cents per kilowatt-hour (ct/kWh). The wind auction, in contrast, was undersubscribed: The German network agency  (BNetzA) tendered around 826 MW, but successful bids only totalled 464 MW, at an average price of 6.14 ct/KWh.

MAN ventures into synthetic fuels

June 26 – MAN Energy Solutions has entered the hydrogen economy with the recent pro rata acquisition of H-TEC SYSTEMS, an electrolysis tech firm. The German OEM also committed itself to upgrading its gas turbines to run on 100% hydrogen by 2030.

Varegro starts using Cummins gas genset

June 25 – Belgian-based horticultural company Varegro, has started to use a Cummins HSK78G gas generator to power its greenhouses in Oostrozebeke, West Flanders. Varegro said it selected the Cummins HSK78G genset to produce combined heat and power (CHP) on its premises at a competitive cost for use in energy-intensive greenhouse facilities.

GE names Deloitte as independent auditor

June 24 – GE’s audit committee has selected Deloitte as the company’s independent auditor for the 2021 fiscal year, replacing KPMG. The selection of Deloitte concludes GE’s latest audit tender process.

Northern German states push for hydrogen pilot cluster

June 23 – Northern German states are pushing for greater hydrogen use with a pilot project cluster. Some 12 large demonstration plants for the production and use of green hydrogen are meant to be realised in Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The aim is to demonstrate how 75% of CO2 emissions can be saved in the region by 2035.

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