Markets

BG Group, U.K.'s third-largest natural-gas producer, has forecast a 40% surge in underlying profits on the back of higher oil and LNG prices. "The outlook for global gas and LNG demand is strong," BG Group's chief executive Sir Frank Chapman said this morning.

Operators of gas-fired power plants in Spain have joined forces to lobby for higher capacity payments in return for providing vital backup capacity to stabilize the grid against rising fluctuations in electricity supply from renewable energy sources, Stephen Woodhouse, Director at Pöyry Energy Consulting said. "In a true market environment, the flexible plants would earn higher prices for this new mode of operating but if there is a surplus of capacity then some of the generation fleet will become uneconomic," Woodhouse told 'Gas-to-Power Journal' in an interview.

ETN Christer_Bjorkqvist

Christer Björkqvist

Excessive subsidies for renewable energies have distorted the Spanish power market, forcing utilities to significantly curtail the operating hours of gas-fired power plants, Christer Björkqvist, Managing Director, ETN-European Turbine Network said today.

Now, the Spanish government has suspended all subsidies for new renewable energy installations in a move that is unlikely to prove a 'quick remedy' for the market distortion.

Escalating output of U.S. gas production has launched a "race to the bottom", with gas prices reacting negatively to rising production. Gas-for-coal substitution, meanwhile, is starting to put significant pressure on coal prices, Deutsche Bank said today.

China will increasingly favour of environmentally friendly gas-to-power plants over coal-fired plants. In 2050, China's gas demand to power sector is forecast to surge to 413 Mtoe (BLUE Map scenario), compared to 195 Mtoe (Baseline scenario), Hirohisa Yamada, IEA energy analyst, told Gas-to-Power Journal in an interview today.

Cold weather conditions across Europe will prolong the recent rally for gas and power demand, but still weak fundamentals may mitigate its impact on prices, Societe Generale forecasts. Recent macro data and sentiment surveys conducted in January "all surprise to the upside", it added.

Deutsche Bank has issued a bullish estimate on a continued increase in gas-coal substitution in the U.S. The current situation in the markets is "unchartered territory", it said in a report today.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has reported the "largest ever three-month gas demand fall" in the UK fir the three months ending November 2011, with gas demand plunging by 19.1% to around 188 TW.

The U.S. is awash with cheap gas supplies for power generation due to rising domestic shale gas production, with Canadian natgas imports providing a "reliable backstop" for US gas-to-power demand, Louis Caron, energy risk specialist at Risk Advisory, SAS Group, told Gas-to-Power Journal today.

Energy shortages and rolling blackouts could become a real possibility in the UK in five years' time, warns Pilgrim Beart, founder of AlertMe. "A large fraction of our coal power stations are scheduled to be decommissioned in 2016. If you reduce supply without reducing demand then you get rolling blackouts," he told Gas-to-Power Journal.

Weakness in UK power markets is forecast to continue until 2013 as significant oversupply of power generation capacity is cutting into profit margins of gas and coal-fired plans, JP Morgan Cazenove (JPMC) said today in a research report. "UK power demand is worse than anaemic," JCMC analyst, Edmund Reid, said with reference to a drop in electricity demand below 2009 levels.

Societe Generale forecasts Europe's electricity demand in 2012 will see a mere 0.7% rise in annual demand as economic growth remains lacklustre. "Consumption should recover in 2012, but overall growth will likely to be modest," the bank said in its latest Energy Pulse report.

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News in Brief

German utilities invest record amounts

Jan 21 – Energy companies in Germany invested a record €20.5 billion in 2021, and the industry association BDEW expects capital expenditure will stay high throughout 2022. Out of the total sum, €4.3 billion were invested in electricity generation plants, €9.9 billion in transmission and distribution plants and €1.2 billion in other assets, such as metering points and information technology.

H2-powered plant for French Guiana

Jan 20 – Siemens Energy will set up a hybrid plant to supply stable baseload electricity to 10,000 households in French Guiana. An intelligent combination of 55 MW photovoltaics, an electrolyser to produce green hydrogen, fuel cells and energy storage is scheduled to be commissioned in the autumn of 2023.

Decarbonising UK homes

Jan 19 – Just 9 million hot water cylinders are currently installed in British homes, leaving a gap of 18 million homes whose heating would need to be decarbonised for the UK to meet Net Zero. According to the trade body HWA, the political focus of decarbonising heating has been solely on the heat source; such as boilers and heat pumps – while little to no focus has been on hot water cylinder. This gap in in government policy, which could result in unnecessary costs to consumers.

Cresta to fund Lapis Energy’s CCS projects

Jan 18 – Texas-based Cresta Fund Management has agreed to finance Lapis Energy’s CCS and clean hydrogen projects. The two partners are now looking to identify, design and develop projects for the permanent sequestration of CO2, targeting customers within the heavy industry and petrochemical companies.

GE to repower Long Lake plant

Jan 17 – GE will modernize four generors at the Long Lake hydropower plant in northwest US, operated by Avista Utilities. Once refurbished, the plant will have an installed capacity of more than 100 MW. The first modernized Long Lake unit is scheduled to go into operation at the end of 2024 and the last one in 2029

mtu to power Romania’s largest data center

Jan 14 – mtu Series 4000 gas generators will provide electricity heat and cooling for Romania’s largest data center. ClusterPower is building a 273,000-squaremetre technology campus near Craiova by 2025, where it will host five data centers with a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.1

Green hydrogen from Quebec

Jan 13 – Charbone has agreed to provide the US propane distributer Superior with green hydrogen from its Sorel-Tracy facility in Quebec, Canada, starting from the third quarter of 2022. The hydrogen will be delivered directly from Charbone’s H2 plant to Superior’s customers which include mining, power generation, transportation and industrial energy users. 

Cresta to fund Lapis Energy’s CCS projects

Jan 12 – Texas-based Cresta Fund Management has agreed to finance Lapis Energy’s CCS and clean hydrogen projects. The two partners are now looking to identify, design and develop project for the permanent sequestration of CO2, targeting customers within the heavy industry and petrochemical companies.

US rivals Australia as world’s largest LNG exporter

Jan 11 – Analysts at the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) are confident that the growth in US LNG exports could see America’s liquefaction and send-out capacity exceed that of Australia and Qatar – the world’s two largest LNG exporters. Looking ahead, the EIA expects US exports of the super-chilled gas will rise 17% from 2021 levels to average 11.1 Bcf/d from December through March.

Africa’s first FLNG plant arrives in Mozambique

Jan 10 – Coral Sul FLNG, Africa’s first-ever floating LNG facility has arrived in Mozambican waters. The plant is critical to develop the US$7 billion Coral South project, led by the Italian oil and gas company Eni. Some of the produced gas will be used for power generation in Mozambique, though most will be liquefied and sold to global markets.

GE snaps up Opus One Solutions

Dec 23 – GE Digital has agreed to acquire Opus One Solutions Energy Corp, a Californian software company that helps utilities integrate renewables and Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) at scale across the electric grid. The transaction is expected to close within 30 days, GE stated without disclosing what price was paid for the takeover.

Qatar invests in Rolls-Royce’s nuclear power business

Dec 22 – Qatar Investment Authority, the state’s sovereign wealth fund, has agreed to invest £85 million in Rolls-Royce SMR, the company’s new technology for small-scale, low carbon nuclear power. UK business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng called the investment a “clear vote of confidence” in the UK’s nuclear innovation. It follows £210 million Qatari investment in the development in Small Modular Reactors. Now fully funded, Rolls-Royce SMR business also received £490 million through commercial equity and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) grant funding. 

JERA helps Japanese film producer curb emissions

Dec 20 – Toho, a Japanese film producer and entertainment company, will get support from the country’s largest power producer JERA to reduce CO2 emission from film production. To that end, JERA will supply zero-emissions energy to Toho and draw up a roadmap to decarbonise the media company as a whole.

Tractebel develop concept to store H2 offshore

Dec 17 – Tractebel Overdick and partners have developed an offshore infrastructure and processing facilities concept that relies on the storage of hydrogen (H2) in offshore caverns. The design study outlines a scalable offshore platform for the compression and storage of up to 1.2 million cubic meters of hydrogen.

Ethatec uses CO2-free power to produce ethanol

Dec 15 – ESG Clean Energy has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Ethatec to use ESG’s patented CO2-free gensets to its ethanol production. Ethatec uses waste from bakeries and pizza factories which is being crushed and then mixed with water and enzymes and heated in a multi-stage mashing process to saccharify the starch. It is then cooled and fed into fermentation tanks, where yeast is added. for alcoholic fermentation of the sugar. After 72 hours, the mixture is fed to a distillation system where ethanol is obtained.

Anax helps Magellan mine bitcoin under US$12m deal

Dec 16 – Ohio-based Magellan Scientific has entered a long-term accord, worth US$12 million, with Anax Power to generate zero-emission electricity from natural gas flows for Magellan’s distributed data centres, using 500 kW Anax turboexpanders. This green power will be used to lower the carbon-intensity of bitcoin mining and help US interstate pipeline operators and utilities accelerate their net-zero emission goals.

Cryogenic insulation market to top $4.6m by 2026

Dec 14 – The global market for cryogenic insulation is forecast to reach $4,659.85 million by 2026, expanding at an annual rate of 8.76% over the next five years. According to ResearchandMarkets, companies need to keep investing in R&D to deliver more efficient products at a lower cost and improve product durability.