Markets

Aggreko, a UK-based provider of mobile power solutions, has agreed to support Wärtsilä with the launch of its new Modular Block solution. This pre-fabricated, modular enclosure – based on medium-speed W32 and 34 engines – is mobile and can be re-deployed at various sites which enables operators new financing models, such as power as a service or rentals.

Wells drilled horizontally into shale formations - in contrast to vertical wells - have surged in number over the past few years and now account for nearly all of U.S. tight oil and gas production. Horizontal wells in 2004 still made up about 15% of shale oil and 14% of gas production, but this share has risen to well over 97% for both.

Tight oil and gas production in the United States could soon become less sensitive to price as super-majors like Chevron and ExxonMobil increase their shale acreage and commit to development spending. BP’s chief economist Spencer Dale said “cash-rich supermajors can smooth through price variations” and just keep fracking regardless.

As electrification accelerates around the globe, three-quarters of the entire growth in primary energy will likely be used for power generation, with half of all primary energy being burnt to produce electricity by 2040. According to the BP 2019 Energy Outlook, nearly all power demand stems from just two developing economies – China and India.

Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City Mayor and news tycoon, is giving $500 million to a ‘Beyond Carbon’ campaign with the aim to prop up political candidates who share his vision of shutting all coal power plants by 2030, and restricting the use of natural gas for power generation.

Dirty king coal is still a stronghold in the American energy mix, and nearly all the coal consumed is produced domestically. Of the more than 755 million short tons (MMst) of coal produced in the United States last year, the electric power sector burnt 636 MMst, while industry consumed 50 MMst and another 115 MMst went for export.

By 2030, the United Kingdom will see its share of variable renewables account for half of the country’s total energy mix, the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts. To mitigate the intermittency risk, analysts see an urgent need for flexible gas peaking plants, energy storage, demand response and new interconnectors to neighbouring EU countries.

Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens, seeks to carve out further company units and prepare them for a stock market listing or a merger with a rival manufacturer. The aims its simplify operations by separating the Siemens conglomerate into what Kaeser called “a fleet of speedboats” which are meant to thrive under their own steam.

Siemens seeks to offload its loss-making Power & Gas unit in an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in early 2019, and has chosen the former Osram CFO Klaus Patzak to manage the process swiftly and effectively. The unit’s profit margin used to be around 4% in the last few years, but is intended to rise to 8% or even 10% by 2023.

Rolling out a network of electric vehicles (EV) charging stations across Britain to fast-track consumer adoption could reduce National Grid’s need to build extra power storage, potentially saving the network some £1.16 billion a year. Smart chargers can help balance the grid as they would allow for EV only to be charged outside of peak demand hours.

Gazprom Neft, Repsol and Shell have agreed to set up joint venture to develop the Leskinsky and Pukhutsyayakhsky license blocks on the Gydan Peninsula, situated on the Siberian coast in the Kara Sea. The signatories of the memorandum plan to have detailed terms in place before year-end, aiming for contracts to be signed in 2020.

Demand from Asia is set to power the growth of the global gas industry over the next five years, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says, forecasting annual growth rates of over 4% in Asia and 1.6% worldwide until 2024. China’s policy drive to switch from coal-to-gas in the power sector plays a major role in driving demand in Asia-Pacific.

NASDAQ-listed New Fortress Energy has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Angolan Ministry of Mineral Resources and Petroleum to fund, build and operate an LNG regas terminal to supply gas for use in Angola’s industrial and power generation sectors.

Events, particularly major sporting shows, require fast-track power solutions that can maintain a stable, continuous energy supply. RnRMarketResearch sees the market expand at over 8% per annum, and forecasts it will be worth nearly $20.7 billion by 2022.

Eager to reduce fuel costs, Saudi Arabia has reigned it the use of crude oil in the electric power sector to an average 0.4 million barrels per day (b/d), mainly by burning associated gas or fuel oil instead. A steady population growth keeps driving electricity consumption, although the government seeks to dedicate most crude oil production for export and incentivises solar power.

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News in Brief

Tohoku Electric tenders for LNG cargo

Aug 19 – Tohoku Electric Power, the fourth-largest electric utility in Japan in terms of revenue behind Tepco, Kepco and Chubu, is understood to be seeking an LNG cargo for delivery in September. A tender process is ongoing.

Cost for decarbonizing industry tops $21tr

Aug 16 – Total costs to fully decarbonize the four most polluting industries – cement, steel, ammonia and ethylene – are estimated to amount to $21 trillion between today and 2050. McKinsey said this could be lowered to about $11 trillion if zero-carbon electricity prices come down further compared to fossil fuel prices. In this event, industry could switch to using electricity for heating processes.

Co-firing Braskem plant with hydrogen

Aug 15 – Siemens is making fossil energy greener at the Braskem onsite power plant in Brazil. In this modernization project two SGT-600 gas turbines are co-fired up to 60% with hydrogen, enhancing efficiency for the production process of the adjacent the petrochemical complex.

Canada's CO2 tax to hit CCGTs

Aug 5 – Change in Canada’s carbon emissions tax regulation for new power plants has changed to also affect cleaner-burning, gas combined-cycle power stations starting from 2021. The move could significantly lower the profitability of gas generation and could prompt SaskPower reconsider its planned Moose Jaw gas power station.

GE CFO steps down

Aug 2 – Jamie S. Miller, General Electric’s chief financial officer, has decided to quit after two years in the job and 11 years with the company. Having overseen GE’s fiscal activities during a period of intense restructuring, Miller will remain in office while the GE board is looking for a successor.

Siemens HR boss quits

Aug 1 – Janina Kugel, Siemens chief HR officer, is leaving the company amid an apparently scattered working relationship and stark personal differences with CEO Joe Kaeser. Her contract will expire by mutual agreement on January 31, 2020.

ABB standardizes eBus chargers

July 31 – Zurich-based ABB, a member of the ASSURED consortium, is working on standardizing the specifications for automatic charging of heavy vehicles. The aim is to drive down the total cost of ownership for electric fleet operators, helping increase adoption of eBuses and eTrucks. Conformance and interoperability tests will be carried out in Q4-2019.

U.S. Senate helps fund EV charging stations

July 30 – The need for expanded electric vehicle charging infrastructure is greater than expected given that there had been over 1.75 million electric vehicles (EV) in North America at the end of 2018, a nearly 60% increase from the previous year. To help fund additional charging stations, among other things, the U.S. Senate approved the $287 billion America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA).

PNOC, Lloyds to develop merchant LNG-to-Power projects

July 29 – Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Lloyds Energy to develop a 1,200 MW LNG-fuelled power plant in partnership with Mitsubishi. Dubai-based Lloyds Energy is looking at ways to develop integrated LNG import facilities and gas power plants on a merchant basis in Bataan and Batangas provinces.

Macquarie finances CCGT in Mexico

July 26 – Macquarie Capital has chosen Credit Agricole, Natixis and SMBC to co-finance a $380 million combined-cycle gas power plant. The 560 MW plant is designated to be built in San Louis Potosi, a city in central Mexico.

Naturgy cashes in on gas network

July 25 – Spanish gas utility Naturgy has posted a 7% rise in core earnings for the first half of the year due to strong gains from its gas network business that helped offset falling revenues from power generation and slimmer LNG margins.

French court rejects appeal against Total CCGT

July 24 – Judges at an appeal court in Nantes have thrown out an appeal by environmentalist against Total’s planned Landivisiau combined-cycle gas power plant in Brittany. The 440 MW project, initiated by Direct Energy which was since acquired by Total, is over two years behind schedule. The French grid operator RTE has singled out the Landivisiau CCGT as “critical” in guaranteeing supply security in winter 2020/21 due to the planned shutdown of four coal power plants.

U.S. gas production falls in wake of ‘Barry’

July 23 – Shut-ins related to Hurricane Barry have scaled back U.S. gas production by 1.6 billion cubic feet per day, compared to last week, while power sector gas demand rose by just over 2.0 bcf/d. Consequently, there is significantly less gas available for storage so the injection rate has halved, according to Energy Aspects figures.

Blackout after fire at Madison substation

July 22 – Electricity is gradually being restored at Madison, Wisconsin, after 13,000 people experience a blackout following an explosion at a substation near Madison Gas & Electric’s 100 MW gas-fired Blount Generating Station. No injuries were reported.

Fuel switch could abate 1.2bn tons of CO2

July 19 – Some 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 could be abated by switching to gas using existing infrastructure, if prices and regulation are supportive. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), this would be enough to bring global CO2 emissions back down to where they were in 2013.

IEA launches methane tracker

July 18 – A new ‘methane tracker’, launched by the International Energy Agency (IEA), provides up-to-date estimates of current oil and gas methane emissions by drawing on the best available data. Analysts stressed methane emissions could be reduced by nearly half at no net cost.

Canada’s CO2 tax also affects gas power

July 17 – Change in Canada’s carbon tax regulation for new power plants has changed to also affect cleaner-burning, gas combined-cycle power stations starting from 2021. The move could cause SaskPower to reconsider its planned upcoming Moose Jaw gas power station.