Markets

The Japanese utility Hokkaido Electric Power has started loading trucks with LNG at its Ishikari import facility to supply industry and a decentralized gas power plant at Ishikari Bay New Port. The 3x569 MW power plant is set to start operations in February 2019.

Hurricanes and winter storms have extended the duration of power cuts for U.S. customers to 470 minutes, or 7.8 hours – nearly doubling the average time of blackouts. Puerto Rico was hit by the longest blackout in American history due to Hurricane Maria.

A bitter early cold in the U.S. has propelled up the Henry Hub Dec-18 contract prior to its expiry, raising questions about how much higher the Jan-19 contract can go. “The market is searching for a sweet spot in pricing,” according to Energy Aspects, “[whereby] enough power demand is being redirected away from gas and that deliverability concerns do not arise in the first half of Q1-2019.”

UK-based Turbine Efficiency Group (TEG) has agreed to pay almost $3 million for the acquisition of Gas Turbine Applications (GTA), an after-market service provider in Oklahoma. The takeover broadens TEG’s service offering for include industrial gas turbines, notably for SGT-100, SGT-200, SGT-300, TA, TB, Saturn and Centaur.

Doors will swing open today for the 30-year strong POWER-GEN International conference and trade show. Held at the Orange County Convention Centre in Orlando, Florida, organizers expect to welcome more than 20,000 attendees and exhibitors.

Qatar has announced to withdraw from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) effective January 1, 2019. Following a long feud with Saudi Arabia – the de facto leader of the oil cartel – Qatar now wants to focus efforts on increasing its gas production by over a third to nearly 110 million tons in a bid to boost LNG exports.

Accelerating development of shale and low permeability formations, largely due to a price rebound, have nearly doubled proven reserves for crude oil and natural gas in the United States. Gas reserves surged 36.1% to 464.3 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) at year-end 2017, and continued to rise ever since.

Carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) represents a massive untapped opportunity, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Over 450 million tons of carbon emissions could be captured for use or storage each year with an incentive equivalent to less than $40 per tonne of CO2.

French energy major Total seeks to limit its exposure to commodity cycles by integrating its activities across the supply chain. “We start our integration quite high upstream on the gas chain and that leads all the way to electricity, considering that 60% of all gas is used to generate electricity,” said Philippe Sauquet, President of Total’s Gas, Renewables & Power.

Cost and performance of battery technologies will not only be shaping customer acceptance of electric vehicles in the coming years, but also determine how easy it will be to integrate renewable energy into the grid. Tracking the relation between the dramatic drop in prices for batteries and their usage, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says “for each doubling of output, lithium ion battery prices have been getting 19% cheaper.”

Surging shale gas production at Vaca Muerta has prompted Argentina to resume exports to neighbouring Chile. The Gasoducto del Pacífico has just been reopened after being shut in 2008, and exports of Argentine gas also resumed via the GasAndes pipeline to Chilean power generators.

Though the deepwater industry appears in good health, Wood Mackenzie warns that cyclical cost inflation could raise break-even costs once again. The most competitive region is the Americas, and particularly Brazil, Guyana, and the Gulf of Mexico, where over 50 billion boe of pre- and post-sanction deepwater developments are now profitable under an oil price of US$60/bbl.

Electrification can help to reduce the energy use and emissions impacts of automated vehicles (AVs). Under a best-case scenario of improved efficiency through automation and ride-sharing, road transport energy use could decrease by nearly 50% compared with current levels, the International Energy Agency (IEA) finds.

Spark Energy has become the seventh and biggest UK provider to go bankrupt this year, following the market exit of Extra Energy on Wednesday last week. Spark blamed “increasingly tough trading conditions” when the company’s debts were uncovered after it missed a deadline to make a £14 million ‘renewables obligation’ payment to Ofgem.

Radical change in Britain’s power mix is driven by the fast fall in technology costs of renewables. By 2030, a system with wind and solar supplying 50% of the country’s electricity needs would be comparable in cost to one dominated by combined-cycle gas power station, according to New Resource Partners.

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