Regulation & Policy

Activists have staged an animal-themed invasion of a public relations firm to protest against fracking in the UK.

U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2016 totalled 5,170 million metric tons (MMmt), 1.7% below their 2015 levels, after dropping 2.7% between 2014 and 2015, according to the Energy Information Agency (EIA).

Only 5.5% of households switched to new electricity suppliers after Japan’s retail power market was liberalized in April 2016, industry data shows, leaving the big utilities relatively unscathed.

Europe’s energy firms have pledged not to invest in any more coal fired power stations from 2020, which would effectively leave gas as the only fossil fuel option for power generation across the continent.

Poland's desire to cut gas imports from Russia has led to an "understanding" with the United States to work toward a deal to export LNG to its new Baltic Sea terminal, according to Reuters, quoting the country's deputy prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki.

The UK government continues to see a role for carbon capture and storage (CCS) in its emission reduction plan, which the government expects to publish “this year”, according to Alex Chisholm, permanent secretary at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Poland is considering a second LNG import terminal to further reduce its reliance on Russian gas imports. Polish gas system operator Gaz-System said on March 27 that it would launch a feasibility study into the project this year, with a view to it possibly coming online by 2021.

New statistics from the UK’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) show the UK is experiencing a steady reduction in emissions, mainly due to coal to gas switching in power generation.

Donald Trump has signed an Executive Order unwinding Obama’s policies aimed at tackling climate change. The order will dismantle the Clean Power Plan and lift the ban on federal leasing for coal production, along with a number of other elements that together attempt to reset or extinguish the whole global warming debate.

The United Arab Emirates forecasts that savings from switching half its energy needs from subsidised gas to solar by mid-century will outstrip investment costs by $42 billion.

At least one of the Dutch political parties calling for lower Groningen production could become part of a new coalition government following last week's second chamber elections, according to a report from Argus Media.

President Trump is preparing to issue an executive order on climate change, which could disassemble former President Obama’s Clean Power Plan and end the moratorium on federal-land coal mining. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already issued an order informing power plants that they no longer need to report CO2 emissions’ data.

New research from Purdue University in the US suggests that methane emissions from gas power plants may be significantly higher than accounted for in current inventories. Methane is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

Australia’s big LNG exporters – including Shell and Exxon - have agreed to a request from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to supply more gas to the domestic market.

The UK government is preparing to intervene to control energy prices because the market is “manifestly not working” for consumers, according to Prime Minister May. The Government has faced repeated calls for a fixed price cap on energy tariffs amid accusations that the so-called Big Six energy companies are not competitive enough on pricing.

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News in Brief

India’s first UHVDC link commissioned

Nov 19 – GE Grid Solutions has commissioned Pole-3 - the ultra high-voltage direct current (UHVDC) transmission line in India, capable to transmit 4,500 MW of electricity. Once completed the Champa-Kurukshetra UHVDC project will be expanded to transmit 6,000 MW of electricity at 800 kV, serving customers in the areas of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh.

COP25 urged to step up climate efforts

Nov 18 – The COP25 UN climate conference in Madrid is urged to enshrine greater commitments from the world's industrialised nations to curb their greenhouse gas emissions. “Europe will have to play a key role in this regard,“ environment minister Svenja Schulze said, adding Germany's recently announced climate package marks a "restart" in the country's climate policy.

Wärtsilä launches ‘Expertise Centre’ in Singapore

Nov 15 – The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has chosen Singapore as the location for its latest Expertise Centre (EC) that provides operational support and dynamic maintenance planning, both for marine and energy business customers. All of Wärtsilä’s Expertise Centres combined currently monitor some 900 installations with more than 2,000 engines around the world.

U.S. storage injection hits record high

Nov 14 – Near-record volumes of natural gas have been placed into storage in the United States in the current injection season. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the amount of gas held in storage in 2019 surged from a relatively low value of 1,155 billion cubic feet (Bcf) at the beginning of April to 3,724 Bcf at the end of October.

SaskPower proceeds with Moose Jaw project

Nov 13 – Canadian utility SaskPower has taken a significant step towards realizing a 350 MW gas power plant at Moose Jaw. The project was first proposed in 2017, but in the Canadian federal government June last year introduced new regulations for gas generation coming online after January 1, 2021, which stalled the plans. Having completed its regulatory review, Sask Power was now granted permission to proceed from the municipality of Moose Jaw. Major Fraser Tolmie said “this $700-million investment into the city of Moose Jaw, will ensure we have base-load power in the province of Saskatchewan and to maintain our power independence.”

Sembcorp powers up first BESS unit in the UK

Nov 12 – Sembcorp Energy UK, part of Singapore-based Sempcorp Group, has started to operate the first 60 MW unit of its battery energy storage system (BESS) fleet, supplied by GE. Combined, the three storage units in Leicestershire and Cheshire will bring Sembcorp Energy UK’s total energy portfolio to 973 MW.

Global gas glut may clear in 2021

Nov 11 – Economics of exporting American liquefied natural gas to Europe no longer add up. With Henry Hub spot prices around $2.7/MMBtu, moving LNG cargoes from the U.S. Gulf Coast to Europe is “not workable,” BP analysts said, indicating that production shut-ins could help clear the massive supply overhang towards the end of 2021.

Gazprom reassures Germany of Ukraine gas transits

Nov 8 – Alexey Miller, chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, has been trying to reassure the German government commissioner Georg Graf Waldersee that Russia was ready to signing a new transit contract with Naftogaz if both companies mutually waive claims. Before gas flows can proceed, however, Ukraine will have to create an independent gas transmission operator by January 1, 2020.

GE makes gains in wind power

Nov 7 – GE Power is gradually turning away from its loss-making fossil power segment to focus on the fast-growing renewable business. This week, GE struck a deal for its new Haliade-X turbines to be used at Dogger Bank Wind Farms. The three 1.2 GW Dogger Bank projects, situated offshore the UK’s Yorkshire coast, are expected to trigger approximately £9 billion of capital investment between 2020 and 2026.

PetroVietnam eyes LNG-to-Power project

Nov 6 – PetroVietnam has signed an agreement with B.Grimm Power Public Company (BGRIM) to jointly study the development of an integrated LNG import and power generation project. The aim is to build a 3,000 MW gas-fuelled power plant and an adjacent LNG import terminal. The location of the project has not been disclosed.

ABB launches ‘Smart City’

Nov 5 – Electrification specialists of the Swiss manufacturer ABB have designed an interactive ‘Smart City’ that contains smart buildings, e-mobility, energy management and data centers. The use of smart technologies and digitalization are encouraged by the United Nations as a way to help decarbonize cities around the world.

Gazprom, BASF cooperate on sulfur separation

Nov 4 – The Russian major Gazprom and the German chemical company BASF have agreed to devise a comprehensive solution for separation of sulfur from natural gas. The aim is to  enhance eco-efficiency of the Astrakhan gas processing plant and improve operational efficiency of BASF’s amine gas treatment units at the Orenburg gas-fired power plant.

Germany’s emission fall ‘markedly’

Nov 1 – Germany is headed for second consecutive year of substantial reductions in carbon emissions, amid a sharp drop in coal-burn in the power sector and an overall decline in energy use in 2019. If this trend continues, the country could get much closer to its 2020 climate target than widely anticipated.

Exmar to refinance Tango FLNG

Oct 31 – Exmar, the Belgian shipping company, is trying to refinance the Tango FLNG vessel, moored offshore Argentina on behalf of YPF. The aim is to generate around $60 million in additional capital, Exmar said, suggesting a deal will likely be struck in the first months of 2020.

Petronet doubles net profit

Oct 30 – Indian LNG importer Petronet has nearly doubled its net profits in the third quarter although revenues fell by 13%. Net profits came in at 1,089 crore rupees ($153.6m), an increase of 90% on the same period in 2018 as the company benefited from India’s lower corporate tax rates. Third-quarter revenues, in contrast, fell to 9,449 crore rupees ($1.33 billion).

Wildfires spread around LA

Oct 29 – Thousands of Los Angeles residents have been evacuated as wildfires spread fast around the metropolis and power outages brought life close to a standstill. The risk of fires caused by overland transmission lines prompted Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to prolong precautionary blackouts that could last up to three days.

Dominion embraces solar & storage

Oct 28 – Dominion Energy South Carolina has signed contracts for more than 1,000 MW of solar capacity. About half of that capacity has entered service. To complement intermittent solar energy supply, Dominion earlier announced several energy storage projects.