Markets

Natural gas prices as delivered to power plants in the U.S. plunged to a ten-year low in April, allowing gas to reach parity with coal in net electric power generation for the first time since the Energy Information Administration (EIA) began collecting data.

Gazprom has entered negotiations with E.ON on a special pricing mechanism for gas used for power generation, which prompted Societe Generale to forecast that the majority of gas in Europe will not be priced under an oil-linked formula as of 2014e.

German utility E.ON raised its 2012 earnings outlook on Tuesday after settling a fierce and lengthy dispute with Gazprom, Russia's gas export monopoly, over pricing conditions of long-term gas import contracts.

The introduction of a carbon floor price under Britain's Electricity Market Reform (EMR) is estimated to make natural gas catch-up with coal in terms of profitability. "Using our forward-price assumption for coal, gas-fired generation and coal-fired generation are very nearly on equal footing in the April 2015 timeframe in the UK," Deutsche Bank forecast today.

One of India's largest gas-fired power plants, the 1,967 MW Dabhol facility, is operating at less than half of its installed capacity due to the severe shortage of natural gas, a source at Ratnagiri Gas and Power Private Limited (RGPPL), the plant operator, told 'Gas to Power Journal'.

Coal-fired power plants will continue to be the mainstay for India's power generation, despite growing demand for natural gas, consultant Anand Sharma told 'Gas to Power Journal' today. 
"Gas prices are rising in tandem with shrinking domestic supplies and costs are prohibitive for importing [large volumes of] gas through pipeline or in LNG ships," Sharma said, who is the director of Mumbai-based Mantrana Maritime Advisory that also tracks power utilities.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has examined 29 alternate scenarios for the future U.S. energy market in its Annual Energy Outlook 2012 (AEO2012). In the EIA reference case scenario, the share of gas-fired power generation is forecast to rise from 24 percent in 2010 to 28 percent in 2035. "Uncertainty is inherent in long-term projections," EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski said when unveiling report.

Russia's Gazprom has entered talks with Italy' Enel, France's EDF and Denmark's Dong with the aim of purchasing a stake in one of their European gas-fired power plants, according to Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller.

Turkey has been an island of high energy demand in Europe, with electricity demand growing by just under 6% in Turkey in 2000-2007, compared to 2% in OECD Europe, Alexander Antonyuk, Energy Analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA) said today.
"Turkey was one of the countries where power demand recovered fasted from the recession," he said cautioning that electricity demand growth has slowed down to 4.5% over the past two years. "This recent dip is mainly due to lower demand growth in energy-intensive industries," he told 'Gas to Power Journal' at the sidelines of a conference in Istanbul.

EnerjiSA, a Sabanci/Verbund joint venture, sees a growing need for LNG imports to Turkey as a flexible supply source of natural gas to underpin the growth of installed power generation capacity. "Gas-fired plants may well grow in number as LNG as a fuel is increasingly considered as an interim option by plant operators," Kivanc Zaimler, Commercial Director - Natural Gas, EnerjiSA said in Istanbul today.

Investment bank Société Générale today questioned the affordability of natural gas as a fuel for European power plant operators. „At today's prices, gas is too expensive a fuel for Europe," the bank said today, suggesting the "overprice" in terms of the bill is $315/1,000cm or $153bn for 2012e.

The drop in LNG supply to Japan is negatively impacting on the utilisation of gas-fired power plants. „If we were to measure a 30 mcm/d fall in LNG supply against higher gas-fired generation in Japan, then the drop in LNG supply is equivalent to power generation from 7.3 GW of gas-fired capacity," Deutsche Bank analysts said.

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News in Brief

Hamburg CHP runs fully on hydrogen

Dec 1 – Field testing has started for HanseWerk’s combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Hamburg to run fully on hydrogen. The converted 1 MW pilot plant, powered by Jenbacher engines, provides district heating equal to 13,000 MWh/year to 30 residential buildings, a sports facility, a daycare center, and the Othmarschen Park leisure centre.

Oil majors in the red

Nov 30 – For most oil majors worldwide, higher prices are needed to get their business out of the red. Breakeven prices for Saudi Arabia are $85 per barrel, around $64/bbl for Iraq, $49/bbl for Kuwait and as little as $40/bbl for Russia. As business confidence plummets, major oil companies have already slashed planned CAPEX spending by almost $89 billion in first quarter of 2020, with further cuts being made throughout the summer and autumn.

EU invests into battery cells

Nov 27 – Germany's EU Council Presidency has pledged Europe should develop an integrated value creation chain for battery cells, starting with the processing of raw materials over battery cell production to recycling. Germany is investing 3 billion Euros into the two projects that foster novel methods of battery production.

Rolls-Royce wins order from Hinkley Point C

Nov 26 – Rolls-Royce has been awarded an order from Hinkley Point C to deliver 140 Bibloc pressure transmitters for the two EPR nuclear reactors currently under construction in Somerset, UK. The transmitters will measure the flow, level and pressure of the Nuclear Steam Supply System (NSSS).

CHP industry to grow 14.4% through 2025

Nov 25 – The combined heat and power (CHP) market, evaluated at $12.152 billion, is expected to expand nearly 14.4% per year to reach $27.196 million by 2025. Growth is primarily driven by government funding and subsidy schemes. According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, the country aims to install 40 GW of new, cost-effective CHP to save $10 billion per year, compared to current energy use.

Rolls-Royce opens US customer center

Nov 24 – Rolls-Royce has opened its latest US customer support center in Savannah, Gerogia. The 62,000 square feet facility houses a power plant completion center, a wing services repair unit and a warehouse, all under one roof.

Lithium Werks grows manufacturing

Nov 23 – US-Dutch manufacturer Lithium Werks is growing the output and sales fuel cells and battery modules for use as power, pulse, and stand-by applications. The company’s 26650 Nanophosphate cells are used as single cells, as well as to build cell-packs and modules like Lithium Werks P40-24 battery modules. The Austin and Enschede-based company said it can “produce millions of 18650 and 26650 cells a month in China.”

AGL plans 1,000 MWh battery

Nov 20 – Australian power producer and retailer ALG wants to realise a large grid-connected battery storage unit of up to 250 MW rated output and four hours’ duration of storage, equalling 1,000 MWh. The battery will be built in stages on the site of Torrens Island Power Station in South Australia. AGL vowed to reach net zero emissions by 2050, but is currently still operating some 40 GW of coal-fired generation.

Fusion demo plant to be designed in Canada

Nov 19 – Vancouver-based General Fusion has entered a partnership with the architecture firm AL_A to design a demonstration plant, based on magnetized target fusion (MTF). Once operational, the demo plant will showcase MTF technology under power plant-relevant conditions.

Toshiba opens H2One fuelling station

Nov 18 – Toshiba has opened the first ‘H2OneMulti Station’ which fills fuel cell vehicles with green hydrogen and supplies for green electricity at Tsuruga City in Fukui prefecture. The station consists of H2One ST Unit and H2One, using hydrogen produced from wind and solar power sources.

Shale gas market grows at 7% rate

Nov 17 – Unconventional gas markets are poised to grow by $41.76 billion through 2024, rising at a rate of almost 7%. According to Technavio, about 87% of the supply growth this year is coming from the Americas.

Agua Blanca pipeline expanded

Nov 16 – Austin-based WhiteWater Midstream and MPLX have completed a 1.8 billion cubic-feet-per-day (Bcf/d) expansion of their joint venture Agua Blanca pipeline system. Christer Rundlof, CEO of WhiteWater CEO, said the expansion will be brought into service ahead of schedule. Testing and commissioning will begin this month, for the new pipeline stretch to be brought into full service in early 2021.

Wärtsilä integrates clean energy

Nov 13 – Finish technology group Wärtsilä strives to integrate variable clean power sources to achieve a 100% renewable energy future. The necessary operational flexibility will come from gas generation assets running on synthetic renewable fuels and by the extended use of energy storage.

First German-Belgium power link to start operation

Nov 12 – The two TSOs Amprion and Elia are preparing to launch the first electric interconnector between Germany and Belgium. The 1,000 MW interconnector stretches between Aachen and Lüttich, from where it links to the Rhineland region and Wallonia. It will go into operation as of 18 November, with intraday capacities to begin trading on 8 December.

Sachsen Energie takes on E.ON and RWE

Nov 11 – A small regional energy provider in Saxony seeks to counter the dominance of E.ON and RWE. Sachsen Energie, set up in a merger between two local utilities, claims it will become "the largest municipal utility in eastern Germany," catering to about one million customers, when it begins operation in 2021.

Rolls-Royce to build Czech nukes

Nov 10 – British engine maker Rolls-Royce and the Czech energy conglomerate CEZ have agreed to design and develop small modular reactors (SMR). These low-cost nuclear power stations are being built by the UK SMR Consortium aimed at installing a “fleet of factory built” nukes in the UK, and exporting the design abroad.

CCUS to reach $3.5bn by 2025

Nov 9 – The global carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) market size is expected to grow at a rate of 17% from $1.6 billion in 2020 to $3.5 billion by 2025. According to ResearchAndMarkets, the rising use of captured carbon for enhanced oil recovery plays a key role for the expanding CCUS market.

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