Markets

New offshore wind parks have pushed the share of renewables in the UK past that of fossil fuel power plants over the past three month – a first for the country. Wind farms, solar panels, biomass and hydropower produced a total of 29.5 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity in Q3-2019 – slightly more than the 29.1 TWh generated from coal, gas and oil.

Rampant US gas supply has been outpacing demand growth for the past year, slashing prices in Europe and Asia. Some US exporters are considering shutting in production as record low gas prices at the Dutch TTF hub challenge the profitability of liquefying and shipping gas to Europe.

Sempra Energy is getting close to offloading its interest in a second South American power company to a Chinese state firm. State Grid Corporation of China is understood to be willing to pay nearly $3 billion to acquire Sempra’s interests in Chilquinta Energía and Tecnored SA of Chile.

Pacific Gas & Electric has been cutting off electricity supply to almost 800,000 customers across California to minimize the risk of wild fire. PG&E’s transmission lines have been linked to recent wildfires, and the utility has told those affected they may be without electricity for up to five days.

Super storm Hagibis made landfall Japan on Saturday, paralyzing the capital and causing landslides and floods. The typhoon unearthed power pylons, leaving nearly half a million home without power and exposing once again exposed the vulnerability of Tepco’s ageing transmission infrastructure.

Sun-soaked Egypt will soon finalize its first utility-scale solar PV power plant, the 1.8 GW Benban Solar Park. The government targets to add 3.5 GW of solar PV by 2027, whereby the cheap but inherently intermittent solar energy is backed up by three new 4.8 GW combined-cycle power plants.

The creation of a national pipeline company in China is meant to maximise the country’s oil and gas output, but analysts warn it could result in higher end-user prices. Using the price-to-book methodology, Wood Mackenzie says China’s new pipeline company may be worth up to $105 billion.

U.S. dry gas production will rise to an all-time high of 91.63 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) this year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said, forecasting a fall in Henry Hub gas prices by more than $1 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) to average $2.43/MMBtu in Q4-2019.

General Electric will freeze pensions for over 20,000 employees in the U.S. to lower its pension deficit by around $5-8 billion and net debt by up to $6 billion. However, analysts at J.P. Morgan say further steps are needed if GE wants to “truly normalize” its balance sheet.

Though Europe is currently well stocked with gas, Wintershall Dea CEO Mario Mehren has warned prices could spike in 2020 if Russia's Gazprom and Ukraine's Naftogaz fail to reach a transit agreement. The current transit contract will expire at the end of this year.

Fast-falling technology costs and supportive renewable policies spur a rapid regional load growth of hydropower, wind and solar power sources. Collectively, renewables are forecast to contribute 49% of global electricity generation by 2050, up from 28% last year.

Atlantic basin LNG producers, notably at the US Gulf Coast, get a better netback value at the Spanish Virtual Balancing Point (PVB) than at other European hubs. However, offtake obligations for Algerian pipeline gas will limit how much extra LNG the Iberian market can absorb in 2020.

Enagas, the Spanish gas system operator, has been busy to match an “extraordinary demand” from both the power sector and industry, leading to a 16.9% surge in gas offtake to 294 TWh. Much of the demand increase was prompted by a fuel switch in the electric power sector.

Dubai-based Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) has agreed to sell electricity from its onsite power units in Jebel Ali to Dubai Natural Gas Company (DUGAS) for use in industrial operations. The deal allows EGA to fully utilize its 2.8 GW Jebel Ali combined-cycle gas power plant.

More money than ever is going to energy venture capital deals, but spread across fewer start-ups. Digital sensors, batteries, electric vehicles and smart algorithms are among the main recipients of the more than $4 billion of deals in 2019, the International Energy Agency (IEA) finds.

Page 5 of 162

News in Brief

Norway’s oil fund starts investing in renewables

Dec 11 – The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), traditionally heavily exposed to the oil and gas industry, has been permitted to shift its strategy. Acknowledging heavy losses of the world’s largest pension fund, worth an estimated $1 trillion, the government in Oslo has allowed GPFG fund managers to also invest in unlisted infrastructure, notably renewable energy sources and alternative fuels, including hydrogen.

ENGIE invests in wind energy in Italy and France

Dec 10 – France’s largest energy company ENGIE has completed the acquisition of Renvico from Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets and KRR. The move contributes to utility’s ambition of boosting its renewable energy assets to 3 GW in Europe and 9 GW worldwide by 2021. The Renvico takeover comprises 329 MW of operating wind farms of which 142 MW in Italy and 187 MW in France. It also includes a 300 MW greenfield portfolio of various fossil power assets.

Dominion issues Scammer Alert

Dec 9 – Dominion Energy Ohio has reminded customers they will begin receiving the next U.S tax credits automatically, beginning in April 2020, in their monthly bills. Customers were warned not to provide banking details to scammers who claim such data is required to receive the federal tax credits.

BOL finances entire 220 MW plant in Nassau

Dec 6 – Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) has agreed to cover the entire costs to build a 220 MW power plant at the Clifton Pier site in Nassau, and transfer the assets to Shell North America. BPL and Shell had agreed to jointly develop a 220 MW power plant plus LNG regas terminal, but the Bahamas state utility later signed a $95 million contract with Wärtsilä to install a 132 MW engine-driven power plant at the same site.

Kepco to operate CCGT in Uruguay

Dec 5 – Kepco KPS has been awarded a contract to operate and maintain the recently commissioned combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant in Punta del Tigre, Uruguay. Under the O&M contract, Kepco said it expects to earn 17 billion Won in sales every year, for a maximum eight years.

Siemens to create thermal twin for Bajaj Energy plant

Dec 4 – Lalitpur Power Generation Company Ltd (LPGCL), part of Bajaj Group, has contracted Siemens to create a complete twin for its fossil power plant in Uttar Pradesh, India. The thermal twin, powered by thermodynamic analysis and machine learning, allows power plant operators to diagnose performance gaps for every asset in the cycle in real time.

Talks between Gazprom and Naftogaz continue

Dec 3 – Russia’s Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukrainy have continued difficult negotiations about an extension of Russian gas supplies and transit after the current contract expires on December 31, 2019. The two state-run companies are embroiled in a legal dispute that still needs resolving, however, they confirmed talks are underway and focus on the technical aspects of transiting Russian gas to Europe from 2020 onwards.

Asia seen add 400 GW by 2030

Dec 2 – Asian nations are expected to add more than 400 gigawatts (GW) of electrical capacity to the grid over the next decade — equaling about twice the installed capacity of Germany. Much of the new capacity will be renewables, backed up by some 140 GW of dependable gas-fired capacity, according to GE Energy findings. Hence, the U.S. turbine manufacturer decided to invest up to US$60 million to convert its Singapore repair center into a HA engineering and development center.

Total starts up hybrid plant with energy storage

Nov 29 – Total Quadran has started up the largest hybrid power plant combined with energy storage to harness the ample solar power potential of New Caledonia, a French overseas territory. With an installed capacity of 16 MW-peak, the plant also features a 10 MW lithium-ion energy storage system. Combining of hybrid solar PV units and possibly gas-powered generator sets with energy storage balance out supply swings and enhances the reliability of the electricity grid.

Rolls-Royce, AVK partner on standby gensets

Nov 28 – AVK, Britain’s largest supplier of critical power solutions for data centres and the financial sector, has partnered with Rolls-Royce’s MTU brand for standby gensets in UK and Ireland. The deal covers MTU Series 2000 and 4000 diesel systems in a range from 825 to 4,000 kVA. In the past 30 years, AVK has developed into the largest solutions provider in the UK’s critical power market and has to date supplied gensets equipped with MTU engines with a total capacity of more than 3.5 GW.

Golar suffers setback amid restructuring

Nov 27 – Golar LNG, owner of a fleet of 27 vessels, has seen operating revenues plunge 20% to $98.67 million, in the first nine month of this year, while net losses amounted to over $236 million. Bermuda-registered Golar in May 2019 announced plans to spin off its LNG carrier fleet with the aim of becoming a gas project developer. It recently won a contract for the Barcarena power project (605 MW) in northeastern Brazil.

Burckhardt buys remaining share of Arkos

Nov 26 – Burckhardt Compression’s subsidiary in North America has purchased the remaining 60% of Arkos Group. The US has the world’s largest installed base of reciprocating compressors, and the integration of Burckhardt and Arkos Field Services, will turn the company into the only independent one-stop provider for equipment and service in the upstream, midstream and downstream business.

Gazprom’s exports to Austria reach fresh record

Nov 25 – Supplies of Russian gas to Austria and transits to Western Europe have already exceeded record levels set last year. From January 1 through November 21, 2019, Gazprom delivered over 12.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas – 33.5% more than in the same period in 2018. Austria’s OMV imports Russian gas under a long-term contract that was recently extended until 2040.

OGUK responds to Labour Party Manifesto

Nov 21 – The UK North Sea industry association Oil & Gas UK (OGUK) has warned of an investment hiatus in reaction to Labour’s pledge to introduce a windfall tax on oil and gas companies, if it wins the General Election on December 12. Responding to this, OGUK said any increase in tax rates would drive investors away, damage the competitiveness of the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry, and could potentially increase the country’s reliance on imports. OGUK underlined it has put in place a ‘Roadmap 2035 a blueprint for net zero emission’ and is investing in technology to achieve this goal.

France, Germany and UK led on demand-side flexibility

Nov 21 – France, Germany and the UK are leading on demand-side flexibility (DSF) and grid-integration of decentralized energy sources while Sweden, Spain and Portugal are lagging behind the rest of Europe, the consultancy Delta-EE and SmartEN finds. Areas covered by their new DSF monitoring tool include availability and accessibility of demand-side response, and its monetization across the gas value chain.

AI predicts peak in power use

Nov 20 – ABB and Verdigris Technologies have developed machine-learning algorithms to predict unplanned peaks in electricity consumption and help avoid them. The Energy Forecasting app will enable users to reduce their electricity bills by reducing peak demand charges.

India’s first UHVDC link commissioned

Nov 19 – GE Grid Solutions has commissioned Pole-3 - the ultra high-voltage direct current (UHVDC) transmission line in India, capable to transmit 4,500 MW of electricity. Once completed the Champa-Kurukshetra UHVDC project will be expanded to transmit 6,000 MW of electricity at 800 kV, serving customers in the areas of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh.