Markets

Though Chinese workers have returned to factories of Airbus, General Motors and Toyota in recent days, many remain shuttered due to coronavirus quarantine measures. The recovery of Chinese gas demand is likely to stay subdued well into March, Energy Aspects says, forecasting a drop in LNG offtake volumes at least until early April.

The OPEC+ alliance, dominated by Saudi Arabia and Russia, is reacting to the global coronavirus spread by considering additional cuts to oil and associated gas production. As an emergency measure, crude oil output could be cut by 0.6 million barrels per day (mb/d) on top of the 1.7 mb/d already pledged, in a bid to stabilize prices.

Energy intensity keeps falling in the United States, with the Government forecasting energy consumption will grow more slowly than gross domestic product (GDP) through 2050. In the AEO2020 High Economic Growth Case, more effective energy use of U.S. industry is set to lower energy intensity by 1.6 percent annually.

Asian markets will be able to absorb most of the global gas and LNG supply growth from the mid-2020s, as new supply slows from 30 million tons of new liquefaction capacity last year to less than 20 mtpa by 2025, Royal Dutch Shell said. Europe will hence cease to be a balancing market.

Gazprom’s latest international gas marketing strategy is refocusing the company’s remit on growth in Asia. Having just started pipeline gas deliveries to China, the Russian gas giant seeks to scale up LNG supplies to Asia-Pacific while trying to maintain its strong position in Europe.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has urged German policy makers to promote the development of hydrogen technology and start importing LNG to advance its energy transition. The IEA lauded Germany’s “extraordinary progress with renewables,” but noted the “nuclear phase-out as well as higher electricity exports have offset some of the emissions benefits."

Not much unabated gas (without CCS) will be burnt in the European Union after 2040, as industry and transport sectors will be electrified to comply with low-carbon regulations, Energy Aspects finds. While Europe seeks to boost electricity in end-use sectors to 27 percent, and ultimately 30 percent, China and India just started on their electrification journey.

The Chinese Government is open to applications for tariff exemptions on several U.S. products, including crude oil and LNG, starting from March 2, 2020. The long-anticipated announcement was widely welcomed by traders, though there are concerns about long-term demand destruction due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude oil exporter, is gearing up to selling also natural gas and petrochemicals to global markets in a bid to diversify its economy. The Kingdom has been investing in gas exploration and recently made a large discovery in the Red Sea.

Pressure keeps piling up on the Northeast Asian LNG market as the coronavirus outbreak destroys demand. The Japan-Korea-Marker (JKM) for Apr-20 and Mar-20 delivery contracts trade at a discount to the Dutch TTF hub. For summer, Energy Aspects anticipates spreads as low as -0.15 $/MMBtu.

Warm weather and plentiful dry gas production has pushed down the daily spot price at the U.S. benchmark Henry Hub this winter heating season. A low-point of $1.81/MMBtu was reached at Henry Hub on February 10, while NYMEX gas futures traded as low as $1.77/MMBtu on the same day.

Alexey Miller, CEO of Gazprom, and the Government of Belarus have agreed on the pricing of Russian gas deliveries until the start of 2021. The transit volume of Russian gas is understood to remain at the same level, ensuring stable onward deliveries to Germany via the Belarus-Poland pipeline.

Page 9 of 216

News in Brief

Exxon, INNIO about to launch gas engine oil

June 1 – ExxonMobil and INNIO have announced the imminent launch of their first co-engineered and co-branded natural gas engine oil. The U.S. oil major and the Austrian engine maker have just extended their global lubricant collaboration agreement for INNIO’s Jenbacher Type 2, 3, 4, 6 and 9 natural gas engines.

BelGAS launches new pressure regulator

May 29 – BelGAS has introduced its new P1098 High-Capacity Pressure Reducing Regulator, a large-volume regulator for natural gas, propane and other fuels. The pilot-operated device has a large-area actuator diaphragm, allowing for fast and accurate response to modulating gas flow conditions. It is adaptable for low to extra-high pressure—up to 400 psi main valve inlet.

GE to sell lightning business

May 28 – GE has signed a definitive agreement to sell its lighting business to Savant Systems, a provider of smart homes. CEO H. Lawrence Culp called the divestment “an important step in the transformation of GE into a more focused industrial company.” The transaction is expected to close in mid-2020.

China’s fuel demand recovers

May 27 – The Chinese government has lifted restrictions on private travel since April which pushed up demand for transport fuels. Gasoline demand has recovered particularly fast and is expected to return to last year’s levels by June 2020. Wood Mackenzie estimates gasoline consumption to reach 3.4 million barrels per day (b/d) in the second quarter, down just a 0.8% year on year. Diesel or gasoil demand is expected to reach 3.4 million b/d in Q2 2020, a 3% decline year-on-year. Overall, China’s oil demand is seen rise a “modest” 13.6 million bpd, or 2.3%, in the second half of 2020.

Wärtsilä to retrofit CHP in Spain

May 26 – The Finish engine maker Wärtsilä has bagged an order to supply and install a 34SG gas-fuelled engine generating set for Rofeica Energia's combined heat and power plant in Barcelona, Spain. The installation of the gas engine will allow Rofeica to switch the CHP from heavy fuel oil to gas-fuelled operation, reducing emissions.

New York body rejects William’s plans for gas pipeline expansion

May 21 – New York’s and New Jersey’s state bodies for environmental conservation have rejected Williams’ plans for the Northeast Supply Enhancement project, designed to transport 400 million cubic feet per day of gas from Pennsylvania to New York. The state bodies had already denied wetland permits in 2019, but Williams pipeline subsidiary Transco filed another application with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), arguing firm services under the project were agreed with UK’s National Grid for customers in New York City districts of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island.

UK inflation at 4-year low amid falling energy costs

May 20 – The rate of inflation in the UK has fallen to a four-year low as the pandemic pushed down global oil and fuel prices which translate into lower wholesale power prices. The consumer price index fell to an annual rate of 0.8% in April, down from 1.5% in March, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Deficit grows in German green energy fund

May 19 – German regional grid operator TransnetBW has warned of a growing shortfall in the country’s fund for green energy sources, financed under the so-called renewable energy (EEG) levy. TransnetBW, the TSO in southwest Germany, said “due to the EEG cost allocations defined for 2020, we anticipate there will be a negative year end bank account balance in the high three-digit million euro range for 2020.”

Spanish gas companies ‘resilient’

May 18 – Spain’s regulated gas companies “should prove to be resilient” to external shocks arising from coronavirus containment measures, Standard & Poor’s analysis finds, calculating with an average drop in EBITBA at less than 3% in 2020. A new remuneration framework for 2021-2026, recently enacted by the Spanish government, provides enhanced visibility rated grid operators amid the pandemic.

German electricity prices second highest in EU

May 15 – Taxes and the renewable energy surcharge have pushed up Germany’s household electricity prices to the second highest level in Europe, topped only by prices in Denmark. While Danish households paid 29.2 Euros per 100 kWh on average in the second half of 2019, prices in Germany averaged 28.7 Euros, according to the EU statistics office Eurostat.

Calpine’s Q1 earnings fall

May 14 – Calpine, America’s largest generator of electricity from gas and geothermal, has reported a net income of $128 million for the first quarter of 2020, down from $175 million in the prior year period. Lower commodity margins and unfavourable change in income taxes were partially offset by earnings from hedge positions for the three month ending March 31.

Siemens to supply hybrid plant in the Philippines

May 13 – Berkley Energy has contracted Siemens Energy to build a hybrid power project on the island of Mindoro in the Philippines. The project links 16 MW wind power with battery storage, stabilizing energy supply in a remote location with a weak link to the grid and reducing its dependence on diesel.

U.S. energy emissions fall

May 12 – Energy-related carbon emissions in the United States have fallen more than energy consumption, down 2.8% over the course of last year to 5,130 million metric tons (MMmt). Power sector emissions were down 145 MMmt, due to a switch from coal to gas and renewables. In April 2020, emissions experienced another unprecedented fall in due to Covid-19 lockdowns.

MAN expands Omincare concept

March 11 – MAN Energy Solutions’ service brand has extended its ‘PrimeServ Omnicare’ concept from turbomachinery to the marine and power segments. The one-stop service solution is now also applicable for maintenance of third-party machinery, including engines, turbochargers and related auxiliaries.

MIVOLT launches cooling fluid

May 7 – MIVOLT, part of the British company M&I Materials, has launched two specialist fluids to improve cooling efficiency at data centres. The electricity demand of data centres is forecast to rise to 20% of global supply to accommodate lifestyle changes like 5G internet network, autonomous vehicles and bitcoin mining.

Germany adds 1,300 km to power grid

May 6 – Germany has made progress in expanding its strained power grid. According to the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), over 1,300 kilometres of new power transmission lines have been built and another 830km approved. A further 3,600km are planned to be built by 2030 to alleviate grid bottlenecks and allow transporting rising volumes of offshore wind southbound.

 

 

 

Oman nationalizes first IPP

May 5 – Manah Power, the first privately-run Independent Power Project (IPP) in Oman, has been transferred to state ownership, following the expiry of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between United Power Company and state-owned OPWP. Manah IPP was developed under Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) model, which stipulates an eventual nationalization of the assets – a feature absent in subsequent IPPs.