Markets

Uncertainty surrounding China's future energy mix is alerting key global gas suppliers such as Qatar's Rasgas. "The Chinese power market is perhaps the biggest demand uncertainty in Asia. Coal has been the fuel of choice so far, but as environmental concerns increase, gas has a vast opportunity to have an increased role in the market," Al Mohannadi, general manager of the Qatari LNG producer Rasgas he told delegates at the World Gas Conference (WGC2012) in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.

Germany's gas consumption could rise markedly in the medium term as a result of the nuclear phase out – it could impact prices across Europe, say analysts. Much depends, however, on whether Chancellor Merkel's energy policy – alias 'Energiewende' – will ultimately work out.

E.ON, Germany's largest utility, is facing a loss in the lower double-digit million euro range on deals of an ex-trader. E.ON did not disclose whether the losses were incurred by traded contracts of natural gas or electricity in the forward market.

To launch capacity payment schemes at a national level in EU countries makes "no sense", said Philip Lowe, Director General for DG Energy in the European Commission. Only pan-European mechanisms could make sense and would support investment in new gas-fired plants, he said at Eurelectric's annual conference in Malta on Tuesday.

Investments in carbon capture storage (CCS) for new-built and operational power plants has a softening effect the carbon price - albeit not a big one, Energy Brainpool's chief analyst Tobias Federico said. Gas-fired power plants are allowed to operate without CCS until 2045 in the U.K., the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) confirmed.

Amid gas replacing coal as the fuel choice for American power plant operators, the stockpile of coal has risen to a record high, latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows.

Demand for natural gas is estimated to surge by more than 50% by 2035, provided that vast global resources of unconventional gas can be tapped in a profitable and environmentally friendly manner, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a special report.

The U.S. is experiencing a boom in shale gas production, with gas prices on record lows and power producers switching from coal to comparatively cheap and less carbon-intensive gas.

Hong Kong is running out of natural gas and is looking to augment its supply sources, Maggie Go, Business Engineer at Hong Kong power utility CLP said in Singapore today. "Demand for natural gas in power generation - a cleaner and more environmentally friendly alternative to coal - is burgeoning," Go told delegates at IBC Asia's 6th annual Gas Turbines Conference.

The dynamics of European energy prices are intertwined with those relative to the Euro area debt crisis. "As long as markets do not perceive a real turning point, there will continue to be a lot of volatility and – at times – some lack of strong direction coming from the fundamentals," the French investment bank Société Générale forecasts.

Turkey is close to importing natural gas from Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region with the buyer understood to have earmarked some of the volumes for gas-to-power generation. A deal could be struck soon: "A buyer is out there, right next door to Iraq," said Ibrahim Palaz, general manager of Botas International.

As the UK government is searching for a cheap and quick fix to avert a looming gap in power generation capacity, new gas-fired power plants are likely to emerge as the preferred solution, investment bank JP Morgan said today.

EU power demand is holding up better than anticipated despite declining gas consumption, Société Générale said today. Between January and April, EU gas consumption declined by 1.8% year-on-year (yoy) while electricity demand increased by 0.7%, respectively, figures in the bank's monthly demand report 'SG Energy Pulse' show.

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News in Brief

Thermoelectrics enters fast track

Aug 2 – Thermoelectrics cools, heats, makes electricity and sense. ID TechEx sees a real possibility of thermoelectric generators becoming viable in geothermal energy and other high-power applications. New research scrutinizes 90 companies involved, from patents to research papers, product offerings, and financials.

Mining site used for solar PV

July 30 – German lignite operator Leag takes advantage of the country's coal phase-out by using part of the Jänschwalde opencast mine to build a 400 MW solar power. Construction for the ‘Energy Park Bohrau’ is slated to begin in 2023 with a view to go into operation in 2024.

Howden powers methanol plant

July 29 – Howden will deliver a hydrogen compressor to Johnson Matthey to serve the world’s first methanol plant that harnesses energy from the wind, in Patagonia, Chile. The Haru Oni project will deliver around 900,000 litres per year of e-methanol as early as 2022 and will be scaled up to 550 million litres of e-fuels per year by 2026.

Bloom SOFCs to power micro plant in South Korea

July 28 – California-based Bloom Energy, in cooperation with SK ecoplant, will install solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) in a combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Donghae City, South Korea. The CHP will provide heat and warm water for the nearby Bukpyung sports center. Construction on the project is slated to start this autumn.

Shanghai Electric to digitalise factories

July 27 – Shanghai Electric has entered a partnership with AI Investment Fund at the WAIC 2021 conference to provide digital solutions to industrial parks and medical institutions. Yang Hong, Vice President of Shanghai Electric said the aim is to help industries to minimise emissions and waste while maintaining low unit costs.

Slow LNG uptake in Africa

July 26 – In Africa, the uptake of LNG imports to new markets has been slow. Both Ghana’s 1.7 million tons per annum (mtpa) Tema LNG and Senegal’s 1.0 mtpa Dakar Powership are still awaiting their first LNG deliveries, though their respective FSRUs Vasant and Karmol LNGt Powership Africa have been in place since June.

Growth in turbine air filtration tops 3%

July 22 – The turbine air filtration market is expected to grow 3.27% annually from $1.92 billion in 2020 to reach $2.29 billion in 2026. Demand from the oil & gas industry and electric utilities had plunged during the corona crisis and subsequent economic downturn, but the latest trend towards clean energy is driving robust growth for turbine air filtration which can be widely and easily applied in the power sector.

US oil exports stay high

July 21 – Despite volatile prices, U.S. crude oil exports reached a record high in 2020 and remained strong this year, averaging 3.51 million barrels per day (b/d). Expanded ports at Houston and Corpus Christi allow for oil to be exported from the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Basin.

CVEC to be converted to hydrogen

July 20 – Cricket Valley Energy Center (CVEC) is taking steps to run the  combined-cycle plants on hydrogen. Works to convert the plant will be carried out by GE and are scheduled to start in late 2022. One of three GE 7F.05 gas turbines at CVEC will be introduced to a 5% hydrogen blend with natural gas.

MAN ETES labelled solar impulse efficient

July 16 – MAN Electro-Thermal Energy Storage (ETES) was attributed the “Solar Impulse Efficient Solution” label by independent auditors. In January, the German manufacturer supplied to ETES heat pumps to DIN Forsyning for a heat and power plant in the Danish port city Esbjerg.

Electricity sales to US industry rebounds

July 14 – Economic recovery has caused a 5.1% rise electricity sales to US industry this year, dwarfing 2.8% more retail sales and a 2.1% rise in the commercial sector as many office workers continue working from home. The US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) acting administrator, Steve Nalley, called the rebound in electricity sales to industry a “strong sign of rising levels of economic output as the Covid-19 pandemic recedes.”

Solar PV to triple in Asia by 2030

July 13 – Asia Pacific solar photovoltaic capacity could triple to 1,500 gigawatts (GW) by 2030. According to Wood Mackenzie estimates, China will add 619 GW of mainly utility-scale capacity while most other nations in Asia prefers distributed solar due to land constraints. Solar PV tends to be backed up by flexible gas gensets and energy storage, forming hybrid power units.

Kinder Morgan closes on Stagecoach assets

July 12 – US energy infrastructure major Kinder Morgan has closed its acquisition of Stagecoach Gas Services. The deal include 4 gas storage facilities with a 41 bcf working gas capacity and a transmission network with multiple interconnects to major interstate pipelines, including Tennessee Gas Pipeline. The Stagecoach assets add to Kinder Morgan’s approximately 83,000 miles of pipelines and 144 terminals.

Dortmund cancels electrotechnik fair

July 9 – The elektrotechnik fair, planned for 29 September to 1 October 2021, will now not be taking place in Dortmund due to requests from the industry. The next trade fair for building, industrial, energy and lighting technology will now open its doors again in spring 2023.

Hitachi to change name of ABB Power Grids

July 7 – Hitachi ABB Power Grids will become Hitachi Energy in October. The Japanese manufacturer bought a controlling stake in ABB’s grid business a year ago and is about to fully take the name of the merged company while expanding its direction towards e-mobility and data centres.

Tapping wind energy for hydrogen

July 6 – Spanish utility Naturgy and the gas grid operator Enagás are evaluating the use of 350 MW offshore and onshore wind capacity to produce green hydrogen. The fuel will be used to decarbonise the steel industry and shipyard in northwest Spain.

EU seeks to expand Green Deal to Africa

July 5 – The European Green Deal should be expanded to also include African states as partners, the German development minister Gerd Müller said. Green hydrogen production in Africa, in his view, should be a “cornerstone for economic cooperation with the Europe.”

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