Markets

Carbon emissions will remain “stubbornly high” for another 15 years, the Norwegian classification society DNV GL says, though global emissions from energy use are forecast to fall 15% in the years through 2035. The oil & gas industry will still account for over 80% of energy-related emissions in 2050.

Coal is losing out against natural gas in the U.S. on fuel cost; hence utilities have started to use their under-utilized coal power units to cover seasonal demand peaks. This became evident during the latest heat wave that gripped most of the United States during July and August 2020.

Global regasification capacity under construction is forecast to reach a 10-year high at 144 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) in 2020, with China accounting for over a third of the new-built capacity. Wood Mackenzie warned, however, the expansion of the Caofeidian and Rudong LNG terminals could be delayed to 2021.

Mitsubishi Power, part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group, has changed its corporate name from Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS). The rebranding marks the company’s fresh focus on green energy solutions, notably hydrogen- and ammonia co-firing.

Siemens Energy has laid out its post-spin-off strategy and set a target for an adjusted EBITA margin of 6.5 to 8.5% for fiscal year 2023. In its first phase, the company will focus on increasing profitability and cash flow by implementing a leaner cost structure, optimized logistics and centralized purchasing.

Japanese power utilities’ LNG demand has partially recovered this month, due to high temperatures, specifically in western Japan. However, the outlook for the autumn and winter season remains bearish as a coronavirus-related recession dampens energy demand from the industrial sector.

Fitch Ratings believes the recent gas-fired power tariff cut in China's Guangdong province came in response to the falling spot gas price. The government aims to increase the ratio of gas-fired power in the province’s energy mix, allowing utilities to take advantage of falling procurement costs.

Rolls-Royce Power Systems has formed a joint venture with Shanghai Cooltech Power Co. to serve the fast-growing Chinese market. Cooltech Power Systems will produce gensets based on MTU Series 1600, 2000 and 4000 engines for use in hospitals, airports, mining and data centres.

Royal Dutch Shell today posted a significant asset impairment of 16.8 million post-tax. Net losses amount to $18.1 billion, mainly from write-down on assets such as Queensland Curtis LNG and the Prelude FLNG hull, compared with a profit of $2.99 billion, the oil major said in an update to its Q2-2020 outlook.

Italian energy major Eni has said its latest exploration in Block 114 of the Song Hong Basin offshore Vietnam shows a “significant natural gas accumulation.” The Ken Bau discovery will complement LNG imports and “provide a fast-track solution” to realise several gas-fired power projects.

Tesla will be manufacturing battery cells for energy storage along with electric vehicles at its planned German factory in Grünheide near Berlin. “There will be local cell production that meets the needs of the Berlin factory," Tesla CEO Elon Musk told investors during a virtual conference.

Myanmar’s Thanlyin LNG-to-Power venture is now seen importing LNG near full capacity, with the super-chilled fuel supplied by Petronet of Malaysia. The 350 MW power unit, developed by V-Power and CNTIC, has been built within seven months though commissioning was delayed over fuel supply issues.

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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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