Markets

Electricite de France (EDF) has signed a deal buy GE’s steam turbine factory for nuclear power plants in Belfort, as the American OEM seeks to cut debt while the French government wants to build new reactors. Finance minister Bruno Le Maire said “tens of billions of euros” would have to be spent to generate CO2-free energy, mostly from new nuclear.

Siemens Energy has cut its outlook after wind division Gamesa warned of continuing supply chain issues, piling more pressure on the German company to fully take over and restructure the unit. CEO Christian Bruch called the setback “disappointing” but pointed at the strong order intake of the company’s Gas and Power segment.

Russian gas deliveries to Europe has already fallen – and replaced by LNG – to such a degree that halting the remaining flows through Ukraine would have “a limited additional impact.” According to IHS Markit figures, LNG shipments to Europe surged in January, covering 34% of total supply while Russian pipeline gas fell to just 17%.

BP has reported a profit of $12.8 billion for 2021, the highest in eight years, as commodity prices soared during the post-pandemic economy rebound. Shifting focus, the British oil major aims to earn $9-10 billion from “resilient hydrocarbons” by 2030 – mostly from bioenergy, electric vehicle charging, renewables and hydrogen.

Risk of unseasonably cold weather and geopolitical tensions will keep gas and electricity prices very volatile in the coming weeks, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reckons. Global gas consumption rebounded 4.6% in 2021, more than double the scale of the pandemic-induced decline, and supply could not keep pace which resulted in steep price spikes.

Russia’s state-dominated Gazprom is pivoting East and has agreed to boost long-term supplies to China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) via the so-called Far Eastern route. Once the pipeline reaches full capacity, supplies will grow by 10 Bcm to a total 48 Bcm, including deliveries via the Power of Siberia gas trunkline.

Fuel cost inflation has made peak-hour electricity prices in China spiral up by more than 50% compared to baseload power prices as utilities pass through the high cost of imported fuels. China bought US$366 billion worth of energy commodities from abroad in 2021, a 45% increase year-on-year.

Price-savvy Chinese energy importers are buying less LNG, particularly spot cargoes, as import cost are higher than domestic sales prices. These sky-high prices make it financially unattractive for China’s numerous smaller third-party importers to pay for regas terminal slots from the state infrastructure company PipeChina.

Russia’s state-dominated Gazprom has admitted supplies to Western Europe were reduced by more than 41% year-on-year in January 2022, though it claims “gas deliveries are carried out in full compliance with contractual obligations.” Production in January notched up 1%, or 0.5 Bcm to 47.4 Bcm but most additional volumes were sent to Bulgaria and China.

Sharp spikes in electricity prices have hit businesses and households around the world which could cause political tensions, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol warned. In Europe, wholesale electricity prices in Q4-2021 were more than four times their 2015-2020 average and gas shortages also propelled up prices in Japan and India.

Germany’s new government considers enacting minimum gas storage levels and a strategic reserve as storage facilities are only 40% full – far less than in previous years. Storage levels are very low across Europe as Gazprom deliberately lowered gas flows by 25% since November, sending prices soaring and forcing the EU to shield against a possible halt of all Russian imports.

Finish technology group Wärtsilä has reported a 92% surge in order intake in the fourth quarter of 2021 amid solid sales and profits but its operating margin disappointed investors. CEO Hakan Agnevall said the situation in the energy market had stabilised not least thanks to major power plant orders from Mexico and Brazil.

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News in Brief

FlatFish drone inspects Shell fields off Brazil

May 25 – Shell and Petrobras have contracted Saipem to use its FlatFish subsea drone in pilot projects to inspect two ultra-deepwater oil and gas fields offshore Brazil in over 2,000-meter depth. Initial tests will be carried out at Saipem’s base in Trieste, Italy, with a view to deploying the drone to Brazilian waters in the third quarter of 2022.

Gazprom cuts off supplies to Finland

May 24 – Gazprom has completely suspended gas supplies to Gasum after the Finish company refused to pay in roubles, the two companies said in separate statements. Gasum is confident it will be able to supply all its customers with gas imported through the Balticconnector (2.6 Bcm/y) from Estonia.

Heisco wins tender in Kuwait

May 23 – Heavy Engineering Industries and Shipbuilding Company (Heisco) has won a KD1.8 million ($6.4 million) tender – floated by the energy ministry of Kuwait – to install, examine and test four high voltage transformers at the Doha East Power Generation and Water Distillation Station. Heisco, founded in 1974 and listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange, has developed into one of the largest energy engineering groups in the emirate.

JERA issues bond to finance power plant upgrades

May 20 – Japan’s leading LNG importer and power producer JERA has issued its first energy transition bond to help finance the accelerated deployment of decarbonisation technologies like hydrogen and ammonia co-firing, as well as the decommissioning of older thermal power stations. The bond is offered in two tranches: a 12 billion yen ($83 million) for a 5-year bond with a 0.420% per annum coupon, and a 8 billion yen $62 million) for a 10-year bond with a 0.664% rate coupon.

Rolls-Royce conducts laser field tests in the US

May 18 – Rolls-Royce has successfully conducted laser field tests to demonstrate ‘deep magazine’ power capability for directed applications in connection with Lockheed Martin’s layered laser defense project. Deep magazine power can be provided by a battery-only system, but the Rolls-Royce ColdFire system includes both battery-powered and near-continuous firing modes provided by M250 gas turbine engines.

Gas vs oil ratio increases in the Bakken

May 17 – The ratio of natural gas to crude oil production has risen in North Dakota’s Bakken region since 2008, and continues to accelerate. According to the US Energy Information Administration's (EIA) Drilling Productivity Report, annual gas gross withdrawals in the Bakken increased by 9% to an annual high of 2.97 Bcf/d in 2021, even though the region’s crude oil production fell by 6%.

Middle East shifts to gas power

May 16 – The Middle East, a region vulnerable to climate change, is undergoing a major shift from petroleum-based power plants towards gas-fired generation and renewable power sources. Capacity additions of over 185.46 GW are the pipeline, according to ResearchandMarkets, as the regions electricity demand for industry and residential cooling is set to grow. In fact, cooling already accounts for 70% of residential power demand.

Carbon utilisation in strong demand

May 13 – The market for carbon utilisation is forecast to grow rapidly from the 2030s onwards to surpass $285 billion by 2042, driven by rising climate commitments and a favourable regulatory framework. In its latest report IDTechEx also highlights the role of technology advances such as thermodynamics which help sequester CO2 permanently.

MTU gensets approved for biofuels

May 12 – Rolls-Royce has gained approval to use synthetic fuels in its MTU Series 4000 and Series 1600 diesel engines for power generation application. Field testing confirmed both engines can use a range of sustainable fuels including biomass-to-liquid, hydrotreated vegetable oil and power-to-liquid fuels such as e-diesel.

E.ON tells Germans how to save gas

May 11 – A large-scale switch to heat pumps, solar power and better demand-side management could help save Germany nearly 100 TWh of natural gas per year, E.ON has said, calling on households to contribute to Europe’s efforts to reduce reliance on Russian gas imports. “If 10% of the homes in Germany are equipped with solar PV installations, 20% of gas boilers are replaced by heat pumps, and the average temperature in all households is reduced by one degree Celsius on average, this would lead to natural gas savings of 103 TWh per year," E.ON Energy CEO Filip Thon said, noting this volume would equate to about 30% of Germany’s current gas imports from Russia.

Exelon Q1 earnings lower following Constellation cave-out

May 10 – Exelon has reported lower first quarter earnings and a higher operating revenue, having completed the separation of Constellation Energy – Excelon’s former power gen business. Focussing now solely on transmission and distribution, Exelon’s net income from continuing operations for the first quarter of 2022 decreased to $0.49 per share from $0.53 a share in pre-year period. In contrast, adjusted operating earnings notched up to $0.64 per share, primarily due to due to higher electric distribution earnings at ComEd from higher rate base and higher allowed electric distribution. Rate increases at Excelon’s group companies PECO, BGE, and PHI were partially offset by higher depreciation expenses at BGE and PHI.

South Africa to add 2.6 GW of new capacity

May 9 – South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, has just announced the REIPPPP BW6 Request for Proposals (RFP).  The bid round will add 2,600 MWs of new capacity to the energy mix. The ministry seeks to procure 11,813 MW of electricity from various power sources including renewable energy, storage, gas and coal.

GE Gas Power authorized as CVE Numbering Authority

May 6 – GE Gas Power’s increased focus on cybersecurity has been recognized by the Common Vulnerability and Exposures Programm as a ‘CVE Numbering Authority (CNA).  As such, GE Gas Power can now assign CVE identification numbers to newly discovered vulnerabilities potentially related to its products and allow GE Gas Power to directly publish new CVE Records and streamline the reporting process.

Heliogen gets nearly $90m in funding

May 5 – Heliogen has moved from design into testing and implementation of its supercritical CO2 power gen system that will be deployed for Woodside in California. The system consists of a 5 MWe sCO2 power block integrated with high temperature solid media thermal energy storage. The demonstration project is being funded with up to $50 million from Woodside, along with $39 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE).

Capstone to install microturbine in the Caribbean

May 4 – E-Finity Distributed Generation, Capstone's distributor for the Mid-Atlantic, Southeastern United States and the Caribbean, has secured an order for two C1000S microturbines for a government water authority in the Caribbean. The 2 MW system will provide emergency standby power to several pumping stations throughout the remote island community and is scheduled to be commissioned towards the end of 2022.

Forecasting solar and energy storage in CAISO

May 3 – Marubeni has chosen Veritone’s AI-based distributed energy resource management solution (iDERMS) to provide price, demand and generation forecasts at their pilot project in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) SP-15 region. In addition to day-ahead and real-time generation figures, Veritone will also forecast production and demand for the overall CAISO region.

Forecasting solar and energy storage in CAISO

May 2 – Marubeni has chosen Veritone’s AI-based distributed energy resource management solution (iDERMS) to provide price, demand and generation forecasts at their pilot project in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) SP-15 region. In addition to day-ahead and real-time generation figures, Veritone will also forecast production and demand for the overall CAISO region.