Regulation & Policy

Re-elected U.S. president Barack Obama is expected to toughen regulation on producing shale gas, oil and burning natural gas, coal and oil for power generation at an early stage in his second term in office, analysts say.

The German chancellor Angela Merkel by next summer aims to have parliament agreed on some form of market orientated capacity payment to underpin investment in new power generation capacity. A regular leaders' meeting in December and a special meeting in March, dedicated to Germany's Energiewende [energy transition] policy, would specify and build on the progress reached so far, she said.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)'s support schemes of up to £10 million for offshore wind projects is expected to reinforce the need for backup gas generation.

China has to reform and liberalize its tight power tariff regime for gas-fired power generation to gather momentum and to attract investment in new-builds, says Gavin Thompson, principal consultant for Asia Pacific, Gas & Power at Wood Mackenzie.

"The power tariff is very flat, there is no capacity charge in peak generators and very little regional difference in power prices," Thompson told Gas to Power Journal at the sidelines of the Gas Asia Summit, held as part of the Singapore International Energy Week.

UK utilities and investors with gas to power assets in their portfolios face rising uncertainty in predicting long-term operational cash flows as market interventions as proposed under the UK's Electricity Market Reform have the effect of replacing market risk with political risk, says Dr. Jim Fitzgerald, Associate Partner at The Advisory House.

Are European regulators toothless tigers? Gunnar Streck, regulatory manager at E.on Energy Trading has criticized the "lack of ambition on the regulatory side to enforce rules that could ultimately lead to an integrated European energy market".

UK energy and climate change secretary Edward Davey has today urged the gas industry to step up investment, singling out gas generation with carbon capture storage (CCS) as "vital" to provide backup electricity supply as generation margins are seen dropping to close to zero by 2015/16.

An increasing share of variable renewable energy sources in the grid requires a market push for the development and demonstration of flexible conventional power generation, says Christer Björkqvist, Managing Director of the European Turbine Network (ETN).

Britain's energy regulator Ofgem today said the projected tightening of the spare power generation margin over the next four years would step up the urgency for the upcoming energy reform (EMR) package to encourage investment.

Capacity payment mechanism should not only consist of a lump sum for availability but should include a premium for flexibility, says Edward Nagelhout, Market Development Analyst, Wartsila Power Plants.

To launch a capacity mechanism in Britain is the right approach to incentivise new investment for security of supply, says to Ray Tomkins, founder and director at Economic Consulting Associates.

"We have been lucky that due a combination of circumstances - such as the dash-for-gas, the investment strategy of the vertically integrated oligopoly, and more recently the recession depressing demand- that major blackouts have been avoided as private generators have 'over-invested'," he said. "This cannot be relied on in the future...

As Germany's power grid operators are busy negotiating with power plant operators over the amount of available cold reserves, the federal network regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNA) confirmed that Germany will need over 2,000 MW of capacity reserve to guarantee supply security in during the upcoming winter.

The autumn statement of the UK finance ministry, set for 5 December, will impact on the timing of the Government's update on the Electricity Market Reform (EMR), JP Morgan Cazenove said today. As both the EMR and the gas generation strategy paper need to be consistent with the Government's fiscal targets, the papers are „only likely to be published once the fiscal targets are known in December,"  says Edmund Reid, analyst at the bank.

Nigeria's federal government has spent about $8 billion on power intervention projects since 1999, to support the construction of 10 power plant projects with a combined capacity of 4,774 MW, James Olotu, owner of the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), said in Lagos.

InterGen, a global power producer with a total installed capacity of 7,686 MW worldwide, has applied for generation licences in the UK for 1,800 MW of new gas-fired capacity, the British industry regulator Ofgem said on Monday.

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News in Brief

SPIG wins contract for Al Dur Phase II

Sept 23 – Italy-based SPIG, part of Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises, has won a contract to provide seawater cooling tower system to SEPCOIII for the Al Dur Phase II project in Bahrain. The Al Dur Phase II is a combined-cycle gas-turbine plant to generate 1,500 MW of electricity and approximately 50 million gallons fresh water per day.

MHI-MME to take over turbocharger production

Sept 20 – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems will no longer produce MET turbochargers, the standard worldwide exhaust gas turbochargers used in stationary engines. Starting from January 1, 2020, these devises will be produced by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Marine Machinery & Equipment (MHI-MME) instead.

Japan starts electricity futures trading

Sept 19 – Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM) has launched trading in electricity futures to advance price competition in Japan’s liberalized energy market. The East Area peakload electricity contract for October delivery first traded at 10.9 Yen per kWh, lower than the standard price of 11 Yen set by TOCOM in advance.

Duke to reduce rates in 2020

Sept 18 – Duke Energy Florida (DEF) customers will see lower bills in 2020. The utility filed a proposal with the Florida Public Service Commission to reduce rates for electricity and gas by more than 3% while adding more solar power and making grid improvements.

Myanmar approves three power projects

Sept 17 – Myanmar’s Ministry of Electricity and Energy has given the green light to plans for a 1,230 MW gas-fired power plant in Kanpauk, Taninthayi region, a 377 MW gas-fired unit in Ahlon, Yangon region and a 1,390 MW thermal plant in Milaunggyine in Ayeyawady region. The conflict-ridden country is currently producing electricity from 5,600 MW installed capacity, derived both from state- private-owned power stations.

Bonny Train-7 to cost $6.5bn

Sept 16 – Nigeria LNG is preparing to add a seventh processing train to Bonny LNG, bringing total capacity from 22 million tons per annum (mtpa) to 30 mtpa. Estimated to cost $6.5 billion, Bonny Train-6 will include a new liquefaction unit, a storage and a condensate tank as well as three gas turbine generators.

Schneider to complete L&T takeover by early 2020

Sept 13 – Venturing into India, Schneider Electric hopes to finalise the Rs 14,000 crore acquisition of Larsen & Toubro's electrical and automation business by early 2020. After the transaction is completed, Schneider will have a 65% stake in L&T, while the remainder will be held by Temasek.

MHI to advice China on energy conservation

Sept 12 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Thermal Systems, part of MHI, has set up a joint venture withan affiliate of State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) to perform technical consulting for energy conservation projects in China. The focus of SGCC lies on building new decentralized power stations, biomass-derived power gensets and energy saving solutions.

Tender extended

Sept 11 – Turkmengas has extended a tender for the overhaul of the gas turbine engines of the NK-12ST and NK-14ST brands. Bidders need to pay to receive the tender documents, and then submit a written application to Turkmenistan’s state gas company.

Gas power units to buffer Germany’s coal exit

Sept 10 – Electricity output of Germany’s fleet of gas-fired power plants has risen to a over 13,5 billion kilowatt-hours in the three months from June to August, Fraunhofer ISE figures show. These productivity gains put CCGTs in pole position to balance supply swings in connection with the German coal exit.

Power of Siberia gas flows to start on Dec 1

Sept 9 – Russian gas supplies to China via the eastern route are going to start on December 1, 2019, Gazprom chairman Alexey Miller told his counterpart at CNPC in Beijing. The huge Chayandinskoye field, containing some 1.2 trillion cbm of gas, had already been connected to the 38 Bcm per year ‘Power of Siberia’ gas pipeline in August.

Hurricane Dorian causes havoc in the Bahamas

Sept 6 – In the aftermath of Hurricane Doran, a Category 5 storm, Bahamas Power and Light has said there is a total blackout in New Providence, the most populous island of the archipelago. Dorian made landfall twice on Sunday, ripping off roofs and electricity lines. In most parts, electricity has not been restored.

LNG cargoes via Bab-el Mandeb decrease

Aug 30 – Northbound LNG shipments via Bab el-Mandeb, a sea route chokepoint between the Horn of Africa and the Middle East, have fallen over the past three years as Egypt imports less natural gas from the Persian Gulf. In 2015 and 2016, both Jordan and Egypt imported up to 1.4 Bcf/d of LNG into Red Sea ports but these shipments fell sharply following the development of large gas finds in the Mediterranean.

Hokuriku Electric buys LNG cargo

Aug 29 – Japanese utility Hokuriku Electric has purchased an LNG cargo for delivery in November as soaring temperatures drew down gas in storage for the autumn. The cargo is understood to be scheduled for delivery in the second half of November from Malaysia’s Petronas and may well be destined for Hokuriku Electric’s first LNG-fired power generation unit,  the Toyama Shinko plant.

Technip spins off LNG activities

Aug 28 – TechnipFMC, has decided to spin off its European-based engineering and construction operations into a separate business, leaving the American half of the firm as an equipment supplier to the oil and gas sector. The split is due to be completed in the first half of 2020.

FLNG power market to top $930m by 2023

Aug 27 – The global market for floating LNG power vessel is projected to reach $ 931.6 million by 2023, up from $ 860.1 million seen last year, according to ReportsnReports. Major vendors of FLNG power vessels are Siemens, MAN, Wärtsilä, Caterpilar and GE which are targeting to use the technology to supply decentralized power to island nations in Southeast Asia and along the coast of sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas.

EIA monitors grid hourly

Aug 26 – The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has launched a beta release of its hourly electric grid monitor. The enhanced version analyses hourly generation by energy source and hourly sub-regional demand for certain balancing authorities in the Lower 48 states.