Markets

General Electric has vowed to find ways to keep open its Belfort manufacturing site despite plans for downsizing and job cuts. Hugh Bailey, general manager of GE in France said the company is looking for alternatives such as building aeronautical parts at Belfort - instead of large turbines. “I want to be clear, Belfort will not close. It will remain GE Power’s number one industrial site in Europe,” he told French media.

Brazil, second-largest producer of hydropower in the world after China, is implementing policy measures to add more solar PV capacity to the country’s energy mix, backed up by flexible gas gensets and energy storage. As part of the government’s 10-year energy expansion plan, nonhydro renewables is intended to grow 3% per year and reach up to 28% of Brazil’s domestic energy mix by 2027.

Cyprus has been racking up a string of giant gas discoveries, notably ExxonMobil’s Glaucus and Eni’s Calypso find. In total Wood Mackenzie estimates 11 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of recoverable gas resource was recently discovered in Cypriot waters but analysts question whether all discoveries can be commercialized. Building a pipeline to Egypt, or an FLNG plant off Cyprus, are the most viable options.

BP, one of the world's seven oil and gas supermajors, is understood to have agreed to pay around $10 billion to the private firm of the Romanian businessman Frank Timis after having purchased his stake in a gas field off the coast of Senegal for $250 million in 2017. BBC reporters uncovered this suspicious deal, but both BP and Mr. Timis deny any wrong doing.

Siemens has won a contract from an U.S. shale gas producer to supply three electric-drive centrifugal Dresser-Rand DATUM compression trains for two 250 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscf/d) cryogenic gas plants in the Delaware Basin, part of the greater Permian Basin in West Texas. The equipment will be commissioned in the latter part of 2020.

MAN Energy Solutions has won the "Africa Europe Award 2019" for its efforts in promoting German-African economic relations and establishing a sustainable and efficient local power supply on the continent. By 2050, Africa will be home to 25% of the world's population, hence sustainable power supply is vital to reach global climate goals.

Bruno Le Maire, the French finance minister, has pledged he would fight to save jobs at GE Power sites throughout the country. The minister’s comments come in reaction to GE's announcement it is seeking ways to lay off more than 1,044 employees at its Belfort manufacturing plant in eastern France, near the border with Switzerland.

Blackstone affiliate Zarou Ltd as well as Edra Power Holdings of Malaysia have both expressed interest to purchase three Siemens-build combined-cycle gas power stations in Egypt with a total capacity of 14.4 GW. A sale of the plants would ease the debt burden of state-run Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC), which owns and operates the three CCGTs.

Despite significant progress in energy access, the world is falling short of meeting the global energy targets set in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for 2030. The global electrification rate is now just over 89%, but the International Energy Agency (IEA) warns there is still a “dramatic lack of access to reliable, modern and sustainable energy in certain parts of the world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Spreads for arbitrage trading are narrowing between the Dutch TTF and the US Henry Hub as well as the TTF and the Japan Korea Marker (JKM), so Energy Aspects warns "any further tightening could close the arb windows and lock-in US supply.” The coal-to-gas switching level is seen at $3.70/mmbtu, or €11.1/MWh – below the breakeven to ship cargoes from the US to Europe at current freight rates.

Con Edison, the largest utility in the New York City area, has imposed a moratorium on new natural gas connections in most of Westchester County, claiming it it cannot guarantee uninterrupted service to new connections. Despite rising shale gas production in the Northeast, the rise in demand and infrastructure bottlenecks in the NYC area is now jeopardizing supply security.

Infigen Energy, an Australian listed renewable energy developer, has surprised market observers by announcing it will buy a 159 MW gas peaking power plant in New South Wales. The utility claims the Smithfield gas peaking plant will serve as a backstop, and allow it to invest in “up to 400 MW more cheap renewables.”

Japanese LNG imports notched up 0.3% in April, after dropping for five straight months over slowing demand for thermal energy as the restart of nuclear reactors progresses and coal outcompetes regasified LNG on price. Nine of Japan's 54 nuclear power stations were re-started last month, although only seven are currently operating.

Indian imports of LNG increased 9.75% in April, spurred by a drop in the costs of shipment and tepid demand from the power sector. Demand is bound to rise further if the Government will allow power plants running on regasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) to sell electricity into the higher-priced spot market.

Russia’s Federal Agency for Mineral Resources has approved Gazprom’s latest gas discoveries on the Yamal Peninsular, the Dinkov and Nyarmeyskoye fields, containing over 500 Bcm of proven reserves combined. The finds underpin Gazprom’s plans to produce up 360 Bcm/y from its 32 fields in the region, with most of the volume designated for export through the Nord Stream pipeline.

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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.