Markets

The German car industry has pledged to invest over 50 billion Euros in electro-mobility over the next few years, in an effort to lower emissions in the sector which have stayed stubbornly high. Tackling transport emissions is a priority after Energiewende policies reduced power sector emissions.

GE shares surged more than 9% today in early trading after the US manufacturer posted a surprise rise in third-quarter profit and free cash flow. “Our transformation of GE is accelerating,” CEO Larry Culp said, as industrial free cash flow for the quarter was a positive $514 million.

Spanish utility Naturgy has extended its LNG supply to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) until 2032. The contract covers annual supplies of 2 Bcm and could reach 3 Bcm, depending on the country's gas needs for power generation. The price is indexed to Henry Hub.

Developers of LNG-to-Power projects are advised to secure flexible gas delivery terms through an aggregator before the market flips again and demand outstrips supply. According to Watson Farley & Williams, this is likely to happen by 2022 or 2023 as current Capex cuts delay new liquefaction projects.

China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) has raised its year-to-date domestic gas production to 311.3 billion cubic feet (bcf), up from 250.6 bcf, in a first step towards making gas account for half of CNOOC’s total output by 2035. Two sizable fields, Lingshui 17-2 and Bozhong are due to come onstream.

After breakthroughs in curbing energy related emissions, industrial decarbonisation is the next frontier. At zero-carbon electricity prices below $50/MWh, using electricity for heat in industrial processes becomes more economical than carbon capture and storage (CCS), McKinsey finds.

Germany’s engineering giant Siemens Group has carved out its healthcare and energy businesses into stand-alone entities. Following the listing of Siemens Energy, the mother company now intends to gradually divest its interest in the spin-off over the next 12 to 18 months.

US gas markets are “increasingly supply-constrained,” Energy Aspects noted, after a cold snap has forced withdrawals from storage, driving up prices. The cash–prompt gap, which stood at $1.25/MMBtu at the end of last week, has shrunk to $0.49/MMBtu on early-season heating demand.

Efficient gas-fired power plants make up over 43% of operating generating capacity in the United States, covering 39% of the country’s electricity needs. Most recently added capacity uses combined-cycle gas turbine technology, surpassing new coal-fired capacity.

EDF Trading (EDFT) has started transacting Japanese power on the EEX platform, drawn by the market’s rising liquidity and its partnership with JERA in LNG trading. “We will be trading Japanese Power out of London for the time being,” said EDF Trading’s chief commercial officer, Philipp Büssenschütt.

India’s speed of electrification outpaces all other regions while China sees the largest absolute rise in electricity demand, accounting for over 40% of global growth to 2030. Electricity is in higher demand than any other fuel  and will soon meet 21% of final energy consumption.

Demand destruction due to the Covid-19 crisis has caused a “huge shock to the system,” the International Energy Agency (IEA) said, prompting investors to slash infrastructure spending by 18% in reaction to a 5% drop in global energy demand. Oil and coal use fell sharply, natural gas more modestly.

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News in Brief

Mitsubishi produces methanol in Trinidad

Jan 20 – Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company has launched commercial operations of a methanol and dimethyl ether plant in Trinidad and Tobago. The plant has an annual production capacity of one million tons of methanol and 20,000 tons of dimethyl ether, which can be used as an alternative fuel for cars and power generation.

First 8-cylinder B36:45 engine delivered

Jan 19 – Rolls-Royce has delivered the first 8-cylinder variant of its Bergen B36:45 gas engine to a tomato producer in Belgium. The medium speed genset is planned for delivery this spring and will drive an onsite power plant that generates 4700 kW electricity and 5520 kW heat. The new engine offers a 20% increase in power per cylinder and will replace an existing Bergen 12-cylinder B35:40 genset.

Moody’s upgrades Enel to Baa1

Jan 18 – Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded Enel’s long-term rating to Baa1, with a stable outlook. The upgrade reflects Enel’s progress in reducing its risk profile, analysts said, pointing at the Italian utilities ongoing investment in networks and renewables, growing geographical diversification and focus on centralised financing.

GE sues Siemens Energy

Jan 15 – General Electric has sued its German rival Siemens Energy over the alleged use of stolen trade secrets to win gas turbine contracts worth several billion dollars. GE told the US district court in Virginia that Siemens received the secret information from a Dominion Energy employee.

Orbital Energy launches Eclipse

Jan 14 – Nasdaq-listed Orbital Energy Group has launched a new subsidiary, Eclipse Foundation, a drilled shaft construction company. The new company specialises in providing services for power transmission and substations, communication tower and a disaster restoration through emergency power.

S’Korean coal and LNG imports slide

Jan 13 – South Korea’s imports of thermal coal and LNG have fallen 12% and 11%, respectively, as the government cracks down on fossil fuel usage to curb air pollution. Customs data shows that coal imports amounted to 10.2 million tons in December, down 1.4 million tons from the same month last year but up from November’s imports of 9.5 million tons.

SMC builds 1.7 GW CCGT in Batangas

Jan 13 – Excellent Energy Resources, part of SMC Global Power Holdings, is building a 1,700 MW combined cycle gas power plant in Barangay Dela Paz and Ilijan in Batangas City with investments of about 67.863 billion Philippine Pesos ($1.41bn). The project is estimated to be completed in 36 to 40 months.

UK’s National Grid issues supply warning

Jan 12 – Natural gas prices in the UK surged as National Grid issued warnings on supply deficit as LNG cargoes are being diverted to North Asia. Prices at the British NBP gas trading hub soared to the equivalent of $8.95 per MMBtu, while the JKM price for North Asian spot LNG cargoes for February 2021 was last at $19.700 per MMBt.

Fortistar invests in hydrogen

Jan 11 – Fortistar, a privately-held fund, has joined an equity investment of up to $157 million in hydrogen producer BayoTech. Cottonwood Technology Funds and the New Mexico State Investment Council also participated in the latest financing round. BayoTech’s systems produce local hydrogen close to the application, serving end users in the industrial gas and petrochemical segment as well as those who use of hydrogen to power fuel cells.

Ashtead appoints new CFO

Jan 5 - Ashtead Technology has appointed a chief financial officer (CFO) and five managers for newly created roles across its international team. The appointments are meant to cement the company’s position in the offshore energy market, including offshore wind and decommissioning of thermal power plants

NFE secures LNG for Puerto Rico, Mexico and Nicaragua

Dec 23 – New Fortress Energy (NFE) has agreed to purchase Henry-Hub-indexed LNG for its integrated gas and power businesses in Puerto Rico, Mexico and Nicaragua. The New York-based project developer said it now has covered 80% of its expected needs throughout Latin America, thus reducing its need for spot purchases and its exposure to changes in the market price for LNG.

China and Korea mandate coal-to-gas switch

Dec 22 – The Chinese government has launched a coal-to-gas boiler switching programme, targeting 7.1 million homes, which makes gas demand more weather-sensitive this winter. Similarly, South Korea mandated the closure of 15 coal-fired plants since the start of December in an effort to reduce air pollution. Analysts expect this will accelerate the drawdown of LNG terminal inventories going into Q1-2021.

GE repowers oil field in Brazil

Dec 21 – GE Power Conversion has been awarded a contract by Sulzer Pumps UK to supply motors for four water injection pumps of a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel. The 8,000 kW, two pole motors will run at 3,600 rpm with a limitation of the starting current at 300%, enabling the oil and gas field operator to optimise the generator which supplies electricity on the FPSO.

VELO distributes Sapphire Metal 3D-Printers in the US

Dec 18 – California-based VELO3D has formed a distribution partnership with GoEngineer for Flow pre-print software, Sapphire metal AM printer, and Assure quality assurance and controls. GoEngineer will be VELO’s only distributor in the United States.

Indian electric boats to achieve zero emissions

Dec 17 – Cochin Shipyard, India’s largest shipbuilder, has asked Siemens Energy to equip India’s first fleet of 23 boats with electric propulsion drive train, integrated with batteries and vessel automation. Combining the electric propulsion drive trains, energy storage, and automation systems is expected to significantly reduce fuel consumption.

Terna BESS auction six times oversubscribed

Dec 16 – A pilot auction, held by the Italian TSO Terna, for battery energy storage systems (BESS) to provide reserve grid services has been six times oversubscribed. The auction was held with an expectation that around 230 MW would be on offer, but Terna received 1,327 MW worth of bids and eventually awarded contracts for 249.9 MW.

New £150m link to UK’s Easington terminal

Dec 15 – National Grid has completed a gas pipeline under the River Humber, build in 18 months and at a cost £150 million, as new link to the import terminal at Easington. Following commissioning, the pipeline is now operational and can now transport between 70 to 100 million cubic metres - around a quarter of Britain's gas needs.

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