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Steel and other energy-intensive industries have “no future the UK,” lobbyists claim, blaming the government’s 2050 Net Zero emissions target for the rise in electricity prices. Figures by the industry association UK Steel indicate electricity prices in Britain are between 60% and 80% higher than those in France and Germany.

Britain’s engineering major Rolls Royce announced today its Power Systems unit is expected to recover from the effects of the pandemic by the end of 2021. Revenues will be back to 2019 levels by 2022, the company said, stressing its success in China will allow it expand its business in Asia.

Western Gas is re-examining the idea of delivering natural gas from its Equus project in Australia at competitive prices to the East Coast via a transcontinental pipeline. The feasibility of that pipeline is being examined together with the infrastructure company APA Group, comparing the cost of transporting gas by pipeline versus LNG shipments.

Russia’s Gazprom is adding an auxiliary power plant to expand the output from its Chayandinskoye oil, gas and condensate field, put into operation in December 2019. Igor Krutikov, Director General of Gazprom Dobycha Noyabrsk announced the 72 MW auxiliary power plant is “ready for launch” and will help achieve “energy independence” for upstream operations.

Black Bear Transmission, headquartered in Houston, has completed the sale of gas gathering assets owned by BBT Alabama to an undisclosed buyer. The divesture comes just month after Black Bear bought NGT Assets from Third Coast Midstream in September 2020, in a move to streamline its business structure and save cost.

Risks of large-scale UK power generation units not being operational next winter have substantially increased National Grid’s procurement target in the latest capacity market auction. This, in turn, pushed up the clearing price in the T-1 auction Round 6 for deliver year 2021-22 to a record price of £45 per kW.

A sudden and critical drop in electrical frequency brought the EU power grid at the brink of collapse on January 8, 2021, when grid operators had to split up the integrated power system to avert blackouts.  4,000 fast-start Jenbacher gas engines helped TSOs to regain grid frequency within a few minutes.

US LNG export have notched up amid rising buying interest in Asia and Brazil, where more and gas peaking power plants are being dispatched as drought condition limits baseload hydropower generation. Several cargoes also set sail for Asia where the JKM price for North Asian spot cargoes for April increased to $6.000 per MMBtu, up from last week’s $5.805 per MMBtu.

Deutsche Börse AG announced late Wednesday that Siemens Energy has joined its blue-chip DAX stock index, replacing Beiersdorf AG which was shifted to the lower-ranking MDAX, along with Porsche Automobile Holding effective as of March 22.

Natural gas production across the United States has fallen by 1% over the course of 2020, despite rising output from Marcellus and Utica Shale where production kept growing despite low regional spot prices. Within the Appalachia region, West Virginia saw the largest rise in gas production, up by 1.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), or 20%, to reach 7.1 Bcf/d.

The 2021 February cold freeze has claimed the first victim, with Brazos Electric Power Cooperative filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Brazos said in a statement it was hit by “excessively high invoices” of $2.1 billion from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) for purported cost electricity service during February 13 and 19.

US gas demand spiked in the mid-February cold freeze, was pushing up storage withdrawals to record highs. Weekly stocks fell by 338 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in the week ending February 19, 2021, according to EIA figures, and a record 156 Bcf of natural gas was withdrawn in the South Central region which includes Texas.

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News in Brief

Enel’s Q1 investment up 8.8%

May 7 – Italy’s state-dominated utility Enel has stepped up investment in renewables and power transmission grids in the first quarter by 8.8% to €2,035 million in a further shift to green energy. Revenues fell by -14.4% to €17,107 million over the same period, largely due to losses in thermal generation and trading activities in Italy and Spain as well as lower volumes of electricity sold into the Spanish end-user market.

Germany advances Net Zero target to 2045

May 6 – The German government has pulled forward the date for Net Zero emissions to 2045 in a move designed to accelerate and intensify efforts to reduce emissions from the transport and power sector. The new target is to curb emissions by 65% by 2030 (up from the previous 55% goal) and reach a 88% reduction by 2040, followed by Net Zero five years later.

Cummins Q1 revenues up 22%

May 5 – Cummins today posed a 22% rise in first quarter revenues to $6.1 billion. Sales in North America increased 7% while international revenues surged 45% largely due to strong new product sales in China and India.  Based on latest developments, Cummins raised its full year 2021 revenue guidance to 20-24%, a considerable rise from previous 8 - 12% forecasts.

Actis vows to help Egypt divest Siemens-built CCGT

May 4 – Egypt’s sovereign wealth fund is cooperating with the private equity firm Actis to sell a 25-year concession to operate three 4.8 GW combined-cycle power plants built by Siemens under a €6 billion contract. The three CCGTs are owned by the Egyptian Electricity Holding, and Actis CEO Ayman Soliman promised to help selling one of the three plants.

RIX launches mobile hydrogen system

April 30 – California-based RIX Industries has launched an industry-first mobile hydrogen generation unit, part of its M2H2-Series of scalable Methanol-to-Hydrogen systems. Able to generate hydrogen onboard and on demand, the system is applicable for ships and remote small-scale production of the green fuel with the aim of replacing diesel for power generation. The M2H2 systems, combined with fuel cells, can produce electricity without any NOx, SOx, or particulate matter and Net Zero CO2 emission with renewable methanol.

US gas future hit 7-year high

April 28 – US natural gas futures have increased over 2% to a seven-week high as LNG exports go from strength to strength, while domestic production eased off slightly. Moreover, a return of colder-than-average weather has pushed up gas demand for heating significantly so that utilities had to withdraw gas from storage, which is rather unusual in April.

Zhongyu Gas bucks the trend

April 27 – Zhongyu Gas, a pioneer in the Chinese gas industry, has achieved remarkable growth during the pandemic. The Hong-Kong headquartered TSO recorded a turnover of approximately HK $8,544 million in 2020, up 4.9% year-on year, while profit attributable to owners of the group was HK $1,057 million, a staggering 145.7%. At the end of 2020, the turnover of Zhongyu’s value-added gas services segment recorded HK $636 million, a year-on-year increase of 54.2%. To date, Zhongyu Gas has 18,777 industrial customers and 3.96 million residential users.

Germany agrees higher renewable goals for 2022

April 26 – The German parliament has voted in favour of higher tender volumes for next year’s wind and solar PV installations. However, parliamentarians did not yet agree on a new renewable target for 2030, even though this has become necessary after the EU raises its overall emission reduction target to 55%.

Rolls-Royce to deliver 16V 8000 engines to Taiwan

April 23 – British engineering giant Rolls-Royce has delivered the first 16-cylinder engines of the MTU Series 8000 to a customer in Taiwan. The shipyard CSBC will install the two engines, capable to deliver 7,280 kilowatts of power each, in new patrol vessels for the Taiwanese Coast Guard. The 16V engines‘ „big brother“ - 20V 8000 has been the best-selling engine in its power class since its introduction around 20 years ago, Rolls-Royce noted.

Rolls-Royce to deliver 16V 8000 engines to Taiwan

April 23 – British engineering giant Rolls-Royce has delivered the first 16-cylinder engines of the MTU Series 8000 to a customer in Taiwan. The shipyard CSBC will install the two engines, capable to deliver 7,280 kilowatts of power each, in new patrol vessels for the Taiwanese Coast Guard. The 16V engines‘ „big brother“ - 20V 8000 has been the best-selling engine in its power class since its introduction around 20 years ago, Rolls-Royce noted.

GE to equip Verbund’s pump storage power plant

April 22 – GE Power Conversion has been selected to equip Verbund’s new fully-fed pump storage power plant  Reißeck II+ in Kärnten, Austria. For the new 45 MW unit, GE will supply three MV7616 converters which are water cooled fully fed converters with an electrical voltage of 6.6kV each. In the wider Kärnten area, Verbund operates a total of 1,460 MW of hydropower plants that are often used for pump-water energy storage.

Fluxys takes stake in Brazilian TSO

April 21 – Belgian gas company Fluxyis, the operator of the Zeebrugge LNG import terminal and stakeholder in Dunkirk LNG and the TAP pipeline, has bought a minority stake in a Brazilian gas transmission system operator. The deal is for a stake in Transportadora Brasileira Gasoduto Bolívia-Brasil (TBG), the owner and operator of a 2,600-kilometres pipeline system that links the southern part of Brazil with neighbouring Bolivia. Fluxyis said the equity transfer was made via the US investment fund, EIG Global Energy Partners.

MHI launches 90MPa hydrogen booster pump

April 20 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has developed an ultra-high pressure liquid hydrogen booster pump for hydrogen fuelling stations. With 90 megapascal (MPa), the new unit achieves considerably higher pressure than the earlier 40 MPa unit. It is located at MHI’s research & innovation center in Nagasaki District, Japan.

New EU target may force Germany to achieve 68% emissions cut

April 19 – European Union leaders’ decision to raise the bloc’s 2030 target for cutting emissions by “at least 55%” means that Germany needs to step up its efforts and may have to cut emissions by 62% to 68% over 1990 levels, researchers say. Policymakers in Berlin initially aimed for a 55% reduction by 2030 but this is now no longer enough to comply with stricter rules.

Trafigura co-sponsors MAN’s ammonia engine

April 16 – Trafigura, a global commodity trading house, has agreed to co-sponsor the development of MAN Energy Solutions ammonia-fuelled engine for maritime vessels. The ammonia engine is expected to be commercially available for large-scale ocean-going ships by 2024, followed by a retrofit package for existing maritime vessels by 2025. In the future, ammonia-fuelled engine are also meant to be used for power generation.

Tula dDSF helps curb NOx emissions by 74%

April 15 – Tula Technologies, a leader in propulsion technology, and Cummins have showcased the results of a study on the effectiveness of Tula’s diesel Dynamic Skip Fire (dDSF) in reducing nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 74% and carbon dioxide emissions by 5% on a Cummins X15 HD Efficiency Series diesel engine. In comparison with current engine technologies and modifications to the thermal management techniques, use of the dDSF system saved 20% in fuel and related costs.

Marubeni starts EPC works for Rabigh IPP

April 14 – Japan’s Marubeni Corp has been granted limited-recourse financing for the 300 MW Rabigh solar IPP project in Saudi Arabia’s Makkah Province. The loan was granted by Mizuho Bank, Al Rajhi Banking and Investment and Japan’s Bank for International Cooperation. EPC work on the project is scheduled to start in early May. All electricity from the Rabigh IPP will be sold to the Saudi Power Procurement Company (SPPC) for 25 years starting with the plant’s commissioning.

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