Markets

The heads of Siemens Energy and BASF have warned of dramatic repercussions if Germany cuts off Russian gas deliveries. An embargo would threaten the existence of small- and medium-sized companies, BASF chief executive Martin Brudermüller said, suggesting it would take up to five years to substitute supply from Gazprom with other sources.

European importers can continue to pay for Russian gas in euros, not roubles, President Vladimir Putin told the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, provided the money goes to Gazprom Bank which is not subject to sanctions. Germany had triggered an emergency plan over fears of supply cuts.

An emergency plan, activated today, could see the German government ration electricity use if Russian gas supplies will be disrupted or halted over a dispute on payment terms. Markets are anxious as to whether the Kremlin will insist on rouble payments, making German year-ahead power prices soar 6.3% to a three-week high of €185/MWh.

Germany can manage to wean itself off Russian oil and coal imports by the end of this year, but finding alternative gas supply poses a big challenge. Economy minister Robert Habeck said it could take until mid-2024 for Germany to forgo deliveries from Russia, though RWE and Uniper are rushing to lease three FLNG terminals to import LNG directly.

Gas-burn in the European power sector could be halved and fuel costs curbed, if electric generators rapidly scaled up renewables. Modelling by Wärtsilä shows that investment to deliver up to 80 GW per year of new wind and solar power capacity, backed by balancing technologies, would help utilities save €323 billion ($356bn) in fuel costs by 2030.

High gas prices, combined with electricity supply imbalances due to coal plant closures and a strong rebound in demand are propelling up power prices. Fitch Ratings expects prices will soar to well above €200/MWh in some major European markets, vs €120/MWh on average last year and a slight drop in prices is deemed unlikely before 2023.

Japan is considering diverting additional LNG cargoes to Europe from April, government officials said after a meeting in Brussels. In March, Japan had already offered its surplus LNG cargoes to the EU to alleviate the bloc’s gas crisis after Russia lowered supplies. Shifting to green energy sources, both sides now want to cooperate on hydrogen.

The United States has promised to deliver at least 15 bcm of LNG to the EU this year to support the bloc's energy security and reduce dependence on Russian gas imports. In return, the Commission will work with European market operators to pool demand for additional US LNG until at least 2030.

Suddenly stopping all energy imports from Russia would plunge Europe’s economy into recession, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned. Defying criticism about the EU’s slow reaction, he said the bloc is unprepared for an embargo which would have “incalculable consequences” – though German authorities and power generators already discuss a shutdown sequence in case of an emergency.

Responding to the UK Chancellor’s Spring Statement, Shell has announced plans to invest between £20 and £25 billion into the UK energy system over the next decade. Over 75% of this will be spent on low and zero-carbon products and services – notably offshore wind, hydrogen and electric mobility, said Shell UK country chair David Bunch.

BP, Shell and the likes have been spared a windfall tax on promises to boost upstream spending. The UK Treasury’s takings from the North Sea are forecast to more than double to £7.8 billion in 2022/23 as companies cash in on soaring oil and gas prices, but Chancellor Rishi Sunak refuted calls for a windfall tax as this might jeopardise investment.

The world needs to double-down on efforts to limit the rise in temperatures to within 1.5˚C by 2050. Electrification, renewables build-out and carbon capture retrofits will help – but to reach Net Zero emission the global carbon price would need to soar from of $25 per tonne of CO2 today to $175/t CO2 in 2050, Wood Mackenzie finds.

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News in Brief

FlatFish drone inspects Shell fields off Brazil

May 25 – Shell and Petrobras have contracted Saipem to use its FlatFish subsea drone in pilot projects to inspect two ultra-deepwater oil and gas fields offshore Brazil in over 2,000-meter depth. Initial tests will be carried out at Saipem’s base in Trieste, Italy, with a view to deploying the drone to Brazilian waters in the third quarter of 2022.

Gazprom cuts off supplies to Finland

May 24 – Gazprom has completely suspended gas supplies to Gasum after the Finish company refused to pay in roubles, the two companies said in separate statements. Gasum is confident it will be able to supply all its customers with gas imported through the Balticconnector (2.6 Bcm/y) from Estonia.

Heisco wins tender in Kuwait

May 23 – Heavy Engineering Industries and Shipbuilding Company (Heisco) has won a KD1.8 million ($6.4 million) tender – floated by the energy ministry of Kuwait – to install, examine and test four high voltage transformers at the Doha East Power Generation and Water Distillation Station. Heisco, founded in 1974 and listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange, has developed into one of the largest energy engineering groups in the emirate.

JERA issues bond to finance power plant upgrades

May 20 – Japan’s leading LNG importer and power producer JERA has issued its first energy transition bond to help finance the accelerated deployment of decarbonisation technologies like hydrogen and ammonia co-firing, as well as the decommissioning of older thermal power stations. The bond is offered in two tranches: a 12 billion yen ($83 million) for a 5-year bond with a 0.420% per annum coupon, and a 8 billion yen $62 million) for a 10-year bond with a 0.664% rate coupon.

Rolls-Royce conducts laser field tests in the US

May 18 – Rolls-Royce has successfully conducted laser field tests to demonstrate ‘deep magazine’ power capability for directed applications in connection with Lockheed Martin’s layered laser defense project. Deep magazine power can be provided by a battery-only system, but the Rolls-Royce ColdFire system includes both battery-powered and near-continuous firing modes provided by M250 gas turbine engines.

Gas vs oil ratio increases in the Bakken

May 17 – The ratio of natural gas to crude oil production has risen in North Dakota’s Bakken region since 2008, and continues to accelerate. According to the US Energy Information Administration's (EIA) Drilling Productivity Report, annual gas gross withdrawals in the Bakken increased by 9% to an annual high of 2.97 Bcf/d in 2021, even though the region’s crude oil production fell by 6%.

Middle East shifts to gas power

May 16 – The Middle East, a region vulnerable to climate change, is undergoing a major shift from petroleum-based power plants towards gas-fired generation and renewable power sources. Capacity additions of over 185.46 GW are the pipeline, according to ResearchandMarkets, as the regions electricity demand for industry and residential cooling is set to grow. In fact, cooling already accounts for 70% of residential power demand.

Carbon utilisation in strong demand

May 13 – The market for carbon utilisation is forecast to grow rapidly from the 2030s onwards to surpass $285 billion by 2042, driven by rising climate commitments and a favourable regulatory framework. In its latest report IDTechEx also highlights the role of technology advances such as thermodynamics which help sequester CO2 permanently.

MTU gensets approved for biofuels

May 12 – Rolls-Royce has gained approval to use synthetic fuels in its MTU Series 4000 and Series 1600 diesel engines for power generation application. Field testing confirmed both engines can use a range of sustainable fuels including biomass-to-liquid, hydrotreated vegetable oil and power-to-liquid fuels such as e-diesel.

E.ON tells Germans how to save gas

May 11 – A large-scale switch to heat pumps, solar power and better demand-side management could help save Germany nearly 100 TWh of natural gas per year, E.ON has said, calling on households to contribute to Europe’s efforts to reduce reliance on Russian gas imports. “If 10% of the homes in Germany are equipped with solar PV installations, 20% of gas boilers are replaced by heat pumps, and the average temperature in all households is reduced by one degree Celsius on average, this would lead to natural gas savings of 103 TWh per year," E.ON Energy CEO Filip Thon said, noting this volume would equate to about 30% of Germany’s current gas imports from Russia.

Exelon Q1 earnings lower following Constellation cave-out

May 10 – Exelon has reported lower first quarter earnings and a higher operating revenue, having completed the separation of Constellation Energy – Excelon’s former power gen business. Focussing now solely on transmission and distribution, Exelon’s net income from continuing operations for the first quarter of 2022 decreased to $0.49 per share from $0.53 a share in pre-year period. In contrast, adjusted operating earnings notched up to $0.64 per share, primarily due to due to higher electric distribution earnings at ComEd from higher rate base and higher allowed electric distribution. Rate increases at Excelon’s group companies PECO, BGE, and PHI were partially offset by higher depreciation expenses at BGE and PHI.

South Africa to add 2.6 GW of new capacity

May 9 – South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, has just announced the REIPPPP BW6 Request for Proposals (RFP).  The bid round will add 2,600 MWs of new capacity to the energy mix. The ministry seeks to procure 11,813 MW of electricity from various power sources including renewable energy, storage, gas and coal.

GE Gas Power authorized as CVE Numbering Authority

May 6 – GE Gas Power’s increased focus on cybersecurity has been recognized by the Common Vulnerability and Exposures Programm as a ‘CVE Numbering Authority (CNA).  As such, GE Gas Power can now assign CVE identification numbers to newly discovered vulnerabilities potentially related to its products and allow GE Gas Power to directly publish new CVE Records and streamline the reporting process.

Heliogen gets nearly $90m in funding

May 5 – Heliogen has moved from design into testing and implementation of its supercritical CO2 power gen system that will be deployed for Woodside in California. The system consists of a 5 MWe sCO2 power block integrated with high temperature solid media thermal energy storage. The demonstration project is being funded with up to $50 million from Woodside, along with $39 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE).

Capstone to install microturbine in the Caribbean

May 4 – E-Finity Distributed Generation, Capstone's distributor for the Mid-Atlantic, Southeastern United States and the Caribbean, has secured an order for two C1000S microturbines for a government water authority in the Caribbean. The 2 MW system will provide emergency standby power to several pumping stations throughout the remote island community and is scheduled to be commissioned towards the end of 2022.

Forecasting solar and energy storage in CAISO

May 3 – Marubeni has chosen Veritone’s AI-based distributed energy resource management solution (iDERMS) to provide price, demand and generation forecasts at their pilot project in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) SP-15 region. In addition to day-ahead and real-time generation figures, Veritone will also forecast production and demand for the overall CAISO region.

Forecasting solar and energy storage in CAISO

May 2 – Marubeni has chosen Veritone’s AI-based distributed energy resource management solution (iDERMS) to provide price, demand and generation forecasts at their pilot project in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) SP-15 region. In addition to day-ahead and real-time generation figures, Veritone will also forecast production and demand for the overall CAISO region.