Markets

Natural gas is forecast to overtake coal as the predominant fuel in power generation in the U.S. by 2025. Gas will become the world's No. 2 overall fuel source due to its abundant supply and the political backing for less carbon emission intensive gas-fired power plants, according to the latest long-term outlook published by ExxonMobil Corp today.

More regulations under Dodd Frank, MiFID and EMIR may prompt financial trading houses to shy away from commodities. Trading on less liquid market hubs for gas and electricity may take a battering once the new regulation comes into force in 2012.

"Speculators might exit, liquidity might take a plunge and trading – particularly in less liquid commodity markets – might be down to the utilities again," Louis Caron, global executive lead, energy and commodity risk at RiskAdvisory/SAS Group told 'Gas-to-Power Journal' in an interview today.

RWE has confirmed to 'Gas-to-Power Journal' today that is considering divesting stakes in German power plants and splitting-off and selling of parts of the company.

Annual gas demand of natural gas in seven core European countries - UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Netherlands and Belgium – is forecast to plunge by fall by 44 Bcm year –on-year, or 10.7%, to 370 Bcm in 2011, Deutsche Bank said in a report.

European utilities are profiting from a rebound in a power prices and production margins, Societe Generale commodity analysts said, estimating that between 20% and 50% of hedge for 2012 has been achieved by higher generation margins post Fukushima. "Some utilities have delayed their hedging strategy and will thus benefit from higher margins post-Fukushima that should flow into the accounts as soon as 2012," the bank said in a recent report.

International Energy Agency's Executive Director, Maria Van der Hoeven sees "golden prospects for natural gas. However she urged the gas industry in Riyadh today to step-up security standards in unconventional gas production.

Coal is forecast to increase in its competitiveness against gas, Société Générale said in a research note on Tuesday. "Demand for imports [of coal] will in our view keep on increasing, even if more slowly," analyst Emmanuel Fages said with reference to the expected recession in the Eurozone throughout 2012.

The gas value chain is integrating as upstream companies such as Gazprom and Taqa have an incentive to venture beyond their midstream activities into gas-to-power. "Upstream players - producers of oil and gas – have an incentive to go downstream," Sybren Hettinga, head of European gas structuring at Cargill, told 'Gas-to-Power Journal' in an interview.

The Russian gas giant Gazprom and Essen-based RWE are in negotiations to form a joint venture (JV) on power generation, an RWE spokesperson confirmed to 'Gas-to-Power Journal' today. "We do not comment on the status of negations," he said, adding joint projects in gas-to-power would be "one of the options".

The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) has alerted grid operators of the risk of reduced margins of available power generation overload in Europe this winter. ENTSO-E published its Winter Outlook 2011-2012 and Summer Review 2011 on Thursday this week, indicating that under severe conditions, December and January could be the most stressed months of the winter for security of electricity supply.

The power generation sector is forecast to be the main driver for global gas demand, according to projections of the International Energy Agency (IAE). "Global gas demand will be driven by power generation", IEA analyst, Warner de Kate, said at the EMART energy conference in Lyon.

Gas markets are a different animals than power markets, so the integration of European gas trading hubs cannot replicate the integration of European power markets, panalists at a gas trading session the EMART Energy conference agreed on today. "Financially, it has already happened; physically, however, gas market integration works different from electricity markets," APX-ENDEX CEO, Bert den Ouden, said at the conference in Lyon.

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News in Brief

Batteries get cheaper

Oct 1 – Cost for battery production is falling rapidly as manufacturers bring large Gigafactories on-line. By 2030, Bloomberg New Energy Finance anticipates battery pack prices to drop to $73 per kilowatt-hour, down from a current volume-weighted average of below $270/kWh.

Barclays may help fund Rolls-Royce

Sept 30 – UK’s prime engine maker Rolls-Royce is understood to be close to getting fresh financing from Barclays Bank. The Derby-based company, however, insists no final decision has been taken on the precise amount that may be raised or any allotment of shares to any investor.

Petronas to truck LNG to off-grid users

Sept 29 – Petronas Dagangan Group is gearing up to build a LNG truck delivery service for off-grid customers in Peninsular Malaysia. Trucks fitted with cryogenic tanks will bring the super-chilled fuel to remote industries and small-scale power generators with no access to the natural gas grid. Malaysia’s Peninsular Gas Utilisation (PGU) pipeline is only 2,500 kilometers in length and was initially built to export gas to Singapore.

Siemens to reduce emissions at NLNG

Sept 28 – Nigeria LNG has contracted Siemens Energy to provide a cryogenic boil-off gas (BOG) compression train for its liquefaction plant on Bonny Island. The new BOG train will be driven by an high-efficiency electric motor and includes two compressors. Manufactured in Duisburg, Germany, the equipment will be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Supercapcitors to replace batteries

Sept 25 – The global market for supercapacitors was valued at over $487 million last year and is forecast to top $1,570 millio by 2025, growing at an annual rate of 21.8%. Supercapacitor, an emerging technology for energy storage systems, can offer higher power density than batteries was may soon replace the latter.

Atos, Siemens expand digital partnership

Sept 24 – Atos, a global leader in digital transformation, has expanded its strategic partnership with Siemens AG for five years, helping the latter with data driven digital, cloud transformation and cybersecurity. The extension comes in the context of 5-year total €3 billion agreements which were separately signed with Siemens AG, Siemens Energy and Siemens Healthineers.

Rotterdam Port to store CO2 beneath the North Sea

Sept 23 – The Porthos project, a joint venture between the Port of Rotterdam Authority, Gasunie and EBN, seeks to transport CO2 from industry in the port to empty gas fields beneath the North Sea. In its early years, the Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) will be able to store approximately 2.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year with plans to be operational by 2024.

German power sector to reach net zero in 2040s

Sept 22 – Revisions to Germany’s Renewable Energy Act (EEG) stipulate the power sector should become greenhouse-gas neutral in the early 2040s. Despite the gradual electrification of heating and transport, the German energy ministry is so far sticking to its estimate of 580 terawatt-hours (TWh) of power consumption in 2030 – close to current levels.

B&W to supply superheaters to Lumiant

Sept 21 – Babcock & Wilcox’s thermal segment has been contracted to design, manufacture and supply new superheater components for a high-efficiency boiler at Luminant’s Oak Grove Power Plant near Franklin, Texas. Material delivery to Oak Grove is scheduled for February 2021.

EC targets 55% emission cut by 2030

Sept 17 – The European Commission’s latest 2030 Target Plan stipulates a 55% cut in emissions by 2030, compared to 1990-levels. The lobby group COGEN Europe stressed the importance of combined heat and power generation (CHP) to reach that goal, calling for more stable policies and supportive regulation.

Rolls-Royce may sell ITP Areo

Sept 17 – Britain’s prime manufacturer Rolls-Royce confirmed it is looking to strengthen its balance sheet, possibly by disposing of ITP Aero which his hoped to generate proceeds of more than £2bn over the next 18 months. Further cost cutting is meant to deliver £1 billion and revamping of the company’s Civil Areospace business should save another £1.3 billion.

China’s GDP may grow 1.8%

Sept 16 – China’s GDP is forecast to grow 1.8% this year as the economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic. The government slashed electricity tariffs to support manufacturing but the Asian Development Bank (ADB) warns of mounting credit risk for banks. Fiscal revenue pressure also intensifies as 1.5% of China’s GDP growth in the first half of 2020 was based on bond-funded investment by local governments.

Zeebrugge goes for green hydrogen

Sept 15 – Colruyt Group (Eoly), Parkwind and Fluxys aim to spend up to 35 million Euros to develop a green hydrogen plant in Zeebrugge, Belgium, by 2023. The plan is to convert off-shore wind energy into green hydrogen which can then be injected in the high-pressure natural gas transmission grid.

Shale gas market to top $41bn

Sept 14 – Global markets for unconventional gas, mostly developed by shale fracking, is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 7% to reach $ 41.76 billion by 2024. According to Technavio, the Americas region will remain dominant with an 87% market share as hydraulic fracturing technologies evolve. Top players in the market are BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, PetroChina, Gazprom, Shell, Santos, Saudi Arabian Oil Co., and YPF.

SNAM, Saipem join forces on hydrogen

Sept 11 – Two Italian energy companies, SNAM and Saipem, have agreed to develop initiatives for green hydrogen production and transport, as well as for carbon dioxide capture, transport and reuse or storage (CCRS). The move supports the European Commission’s Hydrogen Strategy to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

MAN, Wasco to drive Power-to-Gas Tech in Asia

Sept 10 – MAN Energy Solutions and Wasco have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote and commercialize Power-to-X (PtX) projects in South-East Asia. The technology in question converts electricity into carbon-neutral synthetic fuels, gas or liquid, for use as a clean, carbon-neutral energy source.

Romgaz, GSP to realise 200 MW gas and solar project

Sept 9 – Romania’s state gas company Romgaz has agreed to build 200 MW power generation capacity with the privately-owned Grup Servicii Petroliere (GSP) which is controlled by the local businessman Gabriel Comanescu. The project entails a 150 MW gas-fired power plant and a 50 MW solar photovoltaic park, to be built on the site of a disused coal power plant in southern Romania.

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