Markets

Sempra Energy has agreed to divest its Peruvian businesses to a unit of China Yangtze Power Co for $3.59 billion, in a move to exit the South American market and focus on its natural gas infrastructure and LNG export business in the United States.

Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners has questioned the profitability of peaking power stations in Australia, indicating its Lockyer project is unlikely to proceed without government support. The 132 MW Lockyer gas power unit is the first stage of a 1,000 MW development in Gatton, Queensland.

British energy companies are preparing for Brexit on October 31 amid uncertainty about future cross-border energy flows and carbon pricing. Cornwall Insight warns that with the risk of a depreciation of sterling, prices in both electricity and gas markets will go up.

Japan has committed to invest $10 billion in LNG import infrastructure and related power projects in India and Southeast Asia. The initiative is backed by public-sector financing from JBIC, and analysts expect it will help LNG compete with other fuels like coal in emerging economies.

To meet burgeoning demand, Southeast Asia will have to invest an average of $17 billion per year in on new power generation units. Cheap coal is forecast to cover the lion’s share, before being overtaken by gas and renewables starting from 2034.

Fast-growing Asian economies will trigger a nearly 50% rise in world energy consumption by mid-century, according to the International Energy Outlook 2019. Gas use in non-OECD countries is set to surge 70% to reach 120 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2050.

India’s energy giant Petronet has signed a $7.5 billion agreement with Tellurian to take a stake in Driftwood LNG and import 5 mtpa. If supplies can be delivered at a close-to-fixed-price, analysts see it as “extremely attractive” for ensuring downstream sales to Indian power producers and industry.

South Korea’s state-run KOGAS has agreed with BP to buy 1.58 million tons of US LNG annually starting from 2025. The deal is worth an estimated $9.61 billion over 18 years and will help facilitate a coal-to-gas switch in the Korean power sector.

Wind power could soon be cheaper in Britain than electricity from gas-fired power plants. Contracts for difference (CfDs), awarded at auction for nearly 6 GW of new wind farms, came in at £8-9/MWh below the government’s ‘reference price’ for electricity in the open market.

McDermot, a leading EPC company for the gas and power industry, has received unsolicited offers to sell its Lummus Technology business for over $2.5 billion. The divestment could herald the start of a wider business overhaul.

The Japan-Korea-Marker, an LNG benchmark price for spot cargoes, is set to strengthen relative to the Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF). This winter, South Korea is preparing to halt a substantial share of its coal-fired power generating capacity, boosting LNG demand which is set to propel up JKM contracts starting from November.

Crude oil, thermal coal and natural gas continue to account for the largest share of energy use in the United States. With 79% of domestic production and 80% of consumption made up of fossil fuels, there is much room left for further renewable penetration.

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News in Brief

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.

Wärtsilä to design and equip battery-powered ferries

June 22– The Finish engine maker Wärtsilä has been awarded a contract to design and equip two new zero-emissions ferries on behalf of the Norwegian operator Boreal Sjö. For each ferry Wärtsilä will supply the thruster motors, batteries, onboard and shore-based battery charging equipment, the back-up generators, and various electrical systems. The equipment is scheduled for delivery to the yard in early 2021 for the ships to start commercial operations in autumn 2021.

Subsidy cut slashes Chinese wind turbine margins

June 19 – China’s wind turbine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) could have their gross profit margins halved due to subsidy cuts, Wood Mackenzie forecasts. Commissioned onshore wind power capacity is expected to drop by more than 16% to 19 gigawatts (GW) from 2020 to 2021 as government subsidies were terminated. This could also lead to a 27% drop in turbine prices over the next five years, slashing OEMs’ gross profit margins by half.

PowerPHASE converts gas peakers into storage engine

June 18 – U.S. emergency power provider PowerPHASE has developed an upgrade to convert 7F gas turbine-based peaking plants (350 MW each) to a so-called Storage Engine (400 MW). The unit would be able to store 3500 MWh daily and discharge 4800 MWh daily. CEO Bob Kraft claims utility customers could dispatch the Storage Engine, despite its lower heat rate (4000), ahead of higher heat rate options (9000 for gas peakers) in a competitive market like ERCOT in Texas.

Cummins names Davis head of New Power unit

June 17 – Cummins has appointed Amy Davis as Vice President and President of the company’s New Power Segment, effective July 1. The new unit includes Cummins’ electrified powertrains, battery design and assembly, battery management, fuel cell and hydrogen generation.

GE powers USS Zumwalt

June 16 – The US Navy has taken delivery of the USS Zumwalt, its first full-electric power and propulsion ship, equipped by GE’s Power Conversion. The ship features a high-voltage system, propulsion drive trains with multi-phase VDM25000 power converters and advanced induction motors. Kevin Byrne, head of GE’s North America marine segment said “the full-electric power and propulsion ship has the flexibility to direct energy where it is needed on the platform.”

New England power prices down 40%

June 15 – Spot electricity prices in New England (NE) has fallen since winter 2019/20 when it stood at an average $28/MWh, down 40% from an average $47/MWh in the previous winter. Low natural gas prices, warmer-than-normal temperatures, lower loads, and reduced needs to run expensive peakload generators were the cause for the substantial drop in NE’s winter electricity prices, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) finds.

Calpine closes $1.1bn in financing for Geysers Power

June 12 – Calpine Corp has closed $1.1 billion Climate Bonds Certified financing for its subsidiary, Geysers Power, the largest complex of geothermal power plants in the U.S. Geyers will use the proceeds to repay some debt it owes to Calpine and to fund ongoing operations and maintenance.

UK coal-free for two months

June 11 – The UK managed to keep the lights on without using coal for power generation for two months by now, National Grid figures show. Lower demand due to lockdowns and a rising contribution from gas and renewables has rendered less-efficient coal power units uneconomic. All unabated coal power stations are mandated to close by 2025, though Britain’s largest fossil power station Drax has converted its coal units to biomass.

Valmet transforms landfill gas into fuels

June 10 – Valmet, developer of process technologies for the energy industry, has won an order by the Dutch company CarbonOrO to supply and install a gas clean-up system at Viridor’s Dunbar Landfill site in East Lothian, Scotland, UK. Thy system will transforms landfill gas into transport fuels while capturing carbon.