Regulation & Policy

Rishi Sunak, the UK Chancellor is expected to set out new mechanisms to reach the 2050 Net Zero emission target in the Government’s 2021 budget on March 3. With November’s Climate Change Conference in mind, the Government is looking at novel ways to tax carbon emissions.

Germany’s investments under the European recovery programme are below the required minimum share. The government proposed a €130 billion recovery package in 2020 and promised to add another €300 billion to the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility, but green energy spending is still significantly below the 37% benchmark set by the European Commission.

Australia-listed Energy World Corp has received a favourable ruling from the Indonesian regulator that reverses a zoning error, allowing EWC to proceed with its Sengkang LNG plant in South Sulawesia and an adjacent 315 MW power project. The site had been classified as ‘forestry land’ but is now ‘industrial land’.

President Joe Biden has moved swiftly to reconfigure US energy policy, cancelling the Keystone XL oil pipeline and signalling to factor in emissions costs into project reviews. Analysts warn this could put key gas interconnectors at risk, notably the 2.0 Bcf per day Mountain Valley Pipeline meant to alleviate take-away constraints from the Appalachian.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is about to launch the world’s first roadmap to net-zero emissions by 2050. The UK and the Netherlands already set binding CO2 reduction goals and if US President Biden follows through on his pledges, countries accounting for over 60% of global emissions will have net-zero ambitions.

The United States has informed German officials its plans to levy sanctions on the Russian pipe-laying vessel ‘Fortuna’ and its owner, KVT-RUS, effective today. ‘Fortuna’ is building the Gazprom-led Nord Stream 2 pipeline, opposed by Washington as it raises Germany’s reliance on Russian gas.

The US Department of Energy’s Office, staffed by the outgoing President Trump, has launched a report on impacts of the so-called “ill-conceived ban on hydraulic fracturing,” proposed by the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden. The ban will allegedly cost millions of jobs and make gas and power prices surge.

Striving to get Nord Stream 2 finalised, Germany’s north-eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania plans to carry out a bulk purchase of construction materials and machinery. These would be made available to companies involved in the project, in an effort to circumvent US sanctions.

Britain’s energy regulator Ofgem has told EDF Energy to pay £6 million for breach of energy market rules. From September 2017 to March 2020, EDF frequently inflated the minimum amount of power it said its West Burton B plant could supply, making National Grid buy more electricity than needed.

Norwegian-German registrar and classification society DNV-GL has decided to suspend works for the Nord Stream 2 project. Vessels, supervising progress on the controversial pipeline project, are deemed “subject to US sanctions,” DNV-GL said, noting it “will no longer provide services that may be incompatible with the PEESA law.”

The first round of auctions for decommissioning 4 GW of Germany’s hard coal plants has been oversubscribed, with almost 5 GW to be offline by year-end. Stiff competition at the auction drove down compensation payments for plant operators to €60,000, well below the planned maximum of €165,000.

Electricity Generating Public Company (Egco) of Thailand has applied to the state regulator for a licence to import LNG to fuel gas-fired power plants. Egco said the 256 MW Banpong plant and the 121 MW Klongluang plant “could use additional supplies,” though they already source gas from state-run PTT.

Page 1 of 75

News in Brief

B&W wins $13m new contracts in North America

Feb 25 – The thermal segment of Babcock & Wilcox has been awarded several energy-related projects in North America, worth approximately $13 million, as the market strengthens and projects continue to restart following delays in 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis.” We’re seeing customers now moving forward with necessary work that had been previously put on hold. The recent inclement weather also has forced higher loads within the utility sector and we anticipate stronger demand for parts and services going forward,” said B&W Chief Operating Officer Jimmy Morgan.

PIC Group to service 1.1 GW Hummel Power Station

Feb 24 – Atlanta-based PIC Group has been awarded an Operation and Maintenance (O&M) contract for the Hummel Power Station, a 1,124 MW combined-cycle plant operated by LS Power Group. Situated in Shamokin Dam, Pennsylvania, the CCGT is equipped with three SGT6-5000F gas turbines, one SST6-5000 steam turbine, three SGen6-1000A air-cooled generators and one hydrogen-cooled SGen6-2000H generator.

Duke Energy claims natural gas is cheaper than energy storage

Feb 23 – Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas have both indicated in their latest integrated resource plans (IRPs) they view battery storage as potentially more costly than proven gas-fired generating technology. Market observers noted, however, that Duke’s estimates peg the capital costs of a 50 MW/200 MWh energy storage plant at $347 per kWh —far higher than the cost of units that entered commercial service in 2020, as per Lazard data.

EU emission rules could herald end of combustion engine

Feb 22 – Future EU emission rules for cars could mean the abrupt end of combustion engines and put many jobs at risk, the German engineering federation VDMA has warned in a position paper. The use of efficient combustion engines is “still important” – both for vehicles and small generators –VDMA President Karl Haeusgen stressed, especially since these engines can be operated in a climate-neutral manner with synthetic fuels or hydrogen.

Saudi cement producer renews Wärtsilä O&M deal

Feb 19 – The Saudi Arabian cement producer Umm AlQura Cement has signed a five year Operation and Maintenance (O&M) agreement with Wärtsilä for the customer’s captive power plant in Taif City. The 47 MW plant operates with five Wärtsilä 32TS engines. The initial three year maintenance agreement was signed in 2015, and thereafter renewed once.

Gazprom expands Sakhalin–Vladivostok gas pipeline

Feb 18 – The Russian major Gazprom is expanding the Sakhalin – Khabarovsk – Vladivostok gas trunkline at the section between Komsomolsk-on-Amur and Khabarovsk. More than 315 kilometers, or three quarters of its overall length, has been welded to date. Gazprom’s 2021-2025 investment programme will total RUB 5.49 billion ($70 million) – more than three times he money spent in 2016–2020. Planned projects include 14 inter-settlement gas pipelines, 9.3 kilometers of gas pipeline branches, and six gas distribution stations.

Enstor closes sale of Waha gas storage

Feb 17 – Houston-based Enestor Gas has completed the sale of its Waha Gas Storage assets in northwest Texas to WhiteWater Midstream. Waha Gas Storage assets have the capacity, when fully developed, to store approximately 10 Bcf of natural gas and include six underground caverns and permits for five additional caverns.

Technip Energies listed in Paris

Feb 16 – Today, Technip Energy has been listed at Euronext’s regulated market in Paris. CEO Arnaud Pieton said the company’s mission is to “serve the energy transition” through its leading position in LNG, hydrogen and ethylene. As growth areas, he singled out sustainable chemistry and CO2 management.

US renewable energy share to double by 2050

Feb 15 – The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that the share of renewables in the U.S. electricity generation mix will increase from 21% in 2020 to 42% in 2050. Wind and solar generation are responsible for most of that growth, while nuclear and coal-fired generation decrease. The share of gas-fired generation will remain stable even though gas prices remain low at an estimated $3.50 per MMBtu, according to EIA projections.

Nikkiso to build electric-mechanical actuators

Feb 12 – The clean energy arm of Nikkiso Cryogenic Industries has bought the intellectual property to manufacture electric-mechanical actuators (EMA) and control panels. Coupled to a cryogenic pump, the system works without gearbox which reduces the size of these vertical pumps frequently used in the oil and gas industry.

Europe’s hydrogen projects outnumber current plants

Feb 11 – The number of hydrogen projects across Europe is almost double that of operational electrolysers as demand for the clean fuel is rising fast. According to research by DLA Piper and inspirata, there are 192 planned or announced hydrogen projects in Europe compared to 107 currently operational ones.

NTE to develop 5 GW clean energy projects

Feb 10 – Florida-based NTE Energy is working with investment partners to develop 1.2 GW of solar and 3.9 GW of battery energy storage systems (BESS) next to thermal power plants. “By co-locating renewable projects with thermal generation, we can offer customers access to affordable solar power options backed up by reliable natural gas,” said Steve Remen, NTE managing director. The company aims to bring 4 GW of its proposed clean energy projects into commercial operation by 2026.

Oil price bounces back

Feb 9 – The price of crude oil has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, after plunging to an all-time low last year. Brent crude oil prices for the front-month April were last seen trading at nearly $61 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the benchmark for US oil, has risen above the $58 a barrel mark for the first time in over a year.

Equinor VP named co-chair of OGUK board

Feb 8 – Arne Gürtner, Senior Vice President UK & Ireland Offshore at Equinor has been appointed to co-chair the Oil & Gas UK board, as the sector strive to recover while meeting its net-zero targets for 2021. He will be working with Phil Simons, VP North Sea & Canada, Subsea 7.

Enagás to tap wind power for hydrogen

Feb 5 – The Spanish utilities Enagás and Naturgy are evaluating the potential of producing hydrogen from a 250 MW floating off-shore wind farm and a 100 MW on-shore wind farm in Asturias. The project is hoped to generate more than 1500 jobs during construction and operation, with developers applying for funding under the IPCEI scheme.

Turboden wins contract in the Philippines

Feb 4 – Italy-based Turboden, part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, has been awarded a contract by the Philippine utility EDC to supply a 20 MW geothermal power plant at Bacon-Manito, on the island of Luzon. The zero-emissions power unit is scheduled to start operations before the end of 2022, and will help lower the local grid’s dependence on fossil energy source.

DNV GL streamlines energy businesses

Feb 3 –Norwegian-German classification society DNV GL has combined its current Oil & Gas and Power & Renewables business. The new ‘Energy Systems’ unit employs over 4,000 experts as of February 1, 2021, providing certification, advisory and digital monitoring services across the entire energy value chain. By combining its expertise, DNV GL said it is “better equipped to support clients in tackling the energy transition.”

Sponsored Video

IRIDIUM GLOBAL MARITIME DISTRESS AND SAFETY SYSTEM.

House ad Jul2020