Daily News

Demand for natural gas from the US power generation sector is expected to flatline, if not slump, over the next five years, analysts say – provided that President Trump goes ahead with plans to scrap the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

"With increasingly low clean energy costs, renewables-based hydrogen production could once again be competitive with steam methane reforming (SMR)," says Cédric Philibert, senior energy analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA). New-built wind farms in Morocco, and solar PV in Dubai and Chile where electricity costs are around $30/MWh, according to his insight, can compete with SMR paired with carbon capture and storage.

Shell, Engie of France, Austria’s OMV and Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall have agreed to each pay €950 million to fund the Gazprom-led Nord Stream 2 pipeline project. The financing deal paves the way for the 55 Bcm/year gas interconnector that had faced strong opposition from some EU member states on competition grounds.

Singapore-based Sembcorp Industries is on time and budget with construction works for the Myingyan combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant. Upon commissioning in 2018, the 225MW facility will be the biggest CCGT in Myanmar. It will be run by Sempcorp for 22 years, and then the Government of Myanmar will take ownership.

Energy engineers and surveyors have carried out boiler inspections for over 25 years, but there are still instances that can shock them: Such as the boiler showing 180 cracks just two years after purchase, says Mark Ormrod, NDT & Material Testing Manager at British Engineering Services. “Of course, most plants are simply running their boilers in line with manufacturers’ guidelines and there are no unexpected shocks found on inspection. We’ve taken a look at the practical issues underpinning our worst and best findings for industrial boiler maintenance, to highlight how to maximise your boiler lifespan, instead of running it into the ground.” 

Working gas storage in the United States as of March 31 stood at 2,051 billion cubic feet (Bcf), ending the most recent gas year around 15% above the five-year average. Responding to slightly higher prices, gas consumed in electric power generation fell 2.1 Bcf from the 2015–2016 heating season, but the drop was almost entirely offset by a 2.0 Bcf increase in US gas exports, according to data from PointLogic.

The Government of Pakistan is pushing for 3,600 MW of gas power generation capacity to be added to the grid before the end of this year. The Jhang, Sheikhupura and Balloki projects are all due to be completed in 2017, Punjab chief minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif said, pointing out that developers managed to save a combined Rs.112 billion (US$1.06bn) during construction as many project are being fast-tracked.

Competitive natural gas prices, growth in renewables generation, EU air quality directives and weak electricity consumption have squeezed the role of coal in Europe's power mix, a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit finds. The EU market environment for coal-fired power is described as "a tough one," with little upside potential. 

As Ireland moves towards an Integrated Single Electricity Market (I-SEM), the regulator has just set out a methodology for a transition to competitive power auctions in a bid to attract investment in new capacity. The first auction will be held on December 15 for the rest of the delivery year 2017/18.

Together with the Chinese EPC contractor SEPCOIII, Siemens is carrying out the conversion of the Az Zour South 3 power plant from open-cycle to combined-cycle mode. The plant, operated by Kuwait’s Ministry of Electricity & Water, will have 263MW more generating capacity, once the upgrade is competed in mid-2019.

Egypt is positioning itself as a prominent gas importer during the northern hemisphere summer while becoming a winter exporter. WoodMackenzie points out that “a pragmatic approach to pricing” by the Petroleum Ministry has secured over US$28 billion in new gas field investment since 2015, so “this could be just the start of Egypt's second gas boom.”

Future use of hybrid energy will lead to a consistent baseload, without the need for top-up via fossil fuels, anticipates Francesco Falco, chief commercial officer at GE Power Conversion.
"When using Silicon Carbide (SiC), – a diamond-like substance – instead of traditional silicon chips in a solar inverter, its high power density feature can reduce power losses by up to 50 percent," he explains.

With global energy demand forecast to grow by 30 percent through to 2030, driven by industry and rising prosperity in emerging markets like ASEAN, Thailand’s energy secretary Areepong Bhoocha-Oom seeks to turn the country into a regional energy hub. For the Thai power sector that means liberalising integrated utilities and transforming the fuel mix toward clean gas and renewables.

Steep rise in the deployment and use of new Floating Regasification and Storage Units (FSRUs) – notably in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa – will substantially increase the supply of natural gas for decentralised power generation projects worldwide. From 2019 onwards, Energy Aspects anticipates the deployment of three to four new FSRUs per year, with a combined LNG import capacity of some 12-15mtpa, as “the maximum level of uptake.”

“Effective digitalization is key to driving performance,” ABB's Tarak Mehta said at the pre-Launch of its cloud-based Electrical Distribution Control System ‘ABB Ability’ that is claimed to make power grids “safer, smarter and more reliable for industry 4.0”. The Zurich-based manufacturer will showcase the grid control system, along with new switch gear, at Hanover Fair next week.

News in Brief

HHI, MAN renew 2-stroke engine license

April 25 – Building on a collaboration that dates back to 1976, the engine and machinery division of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI-EMD) has extended its two-stroke license agreement with MAN Diesel & Turbo. “Hyundai has always played a significant role in the development of two-stroke innovation and, indeed, produces the full range of our low-speed portfolio,” commented MAN’s head of Two-Stroke Licensing, Thomas Knudsen.

TransAlta starts coal to gas switch

April 25 – Accelerating a transition to clean energy, TransAlta has decided to retire the two units of its 560 MW Sundance coal power station in Alberta over a two-year period starting from January 1, 2018. The Canadian utility will also spend around $300 million on converting the remaining four Sundance units and the Keephills unit one and two, with works set to be carried out in 2021-33 to extend the lifetime of the plants until the mid-2030s.

Turboden wins 6 MW ORC unit for glass factory in Turkey

April 24 – MHI group company Turboden has signed an order with Çalbıyık Group for a new waste heat recovery Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) unit to be installed at the Düzcecam Glass Plant in Düzce, Turkey. The Turboden 65 HRS ORC unit, designed for 6.2 MW nominal capacity, converts the off-gas waste heat from the two float glass production lines into electric power. Commercial operation is due to start in early 2018.

Caterpillar launches new gas genset

April 21 – Caterpillar has launched the latest model of its CAT G3512 natural gas-fired genset that features a 12-cylinder engine, rated for continuous power at 750 kW or 1000 kW at 60 Hz. The onsite power equipment is targeted at flexible applications in the North American non-emergency market, both for standby and load-management operations, Caterpillar said. The company just moved its global headquarter back to Deerfield, Illinois, abandoning its offices in downtown Chicago.

 

Toshiba wins 1GW order in Indonesia

April 20 – Toshiba has been contracted to install two 1,000MW ultra-supercritical steam turbines and generators for the Tanjung Jati B unit 5&6 Expansion project in Indonesia. Delivery of the main equipment will start from 2019, and commercial operation is scheduled for 2021.
For units 1-4 of the same plant, Toshiba supplied four 660MW steam turbines and generators earlier, so its latest win at Tanjung is a follow-up order.

Ingersoll Rand to unveil CARE Suite at Hanover Fair

April 19 – New Ingersoll Rand CARE Suite service offerings have been showcased at Hanover Fair today. Industries are looking for ways to increase reliability and reduce energy use, as pressure mounts on regulatory compliance, cost-efficiency and meeting customer demands. “High-quality reliable air and gas compression helps industries increase their profitability and competitiveness,” Eric Seidel, VP product management at Ingersoll Rand said. He pointed out that compressed air equipment can last for decades, and “our service suite of offerings is suited to help customers improve uptime and reach their reliability and energy use goals.”

TESS heats up energy storage debate

April 18 – The ‘1414 Degrees prototype’ of the patented thermal energy storage system (TESS) has been built in the Tonsley Park Innovation Precinct in Adelaide. Inside the unit elements heat silica in receptacles to its melting point, 1414 degrees Celsius, where it has “a large energy capacity associated with every unit of silica,” he says. The elements require energy to get sufficiently heated up and supply spikes from renewable energy sources would fit the bill.

Latest EIA statistics show US gas output drop of 2% for 2016

US gas consumption rose 1% and production fell 2% in 2016, according to the March 2017 Monthly Energy Review (MER), from the US Energy Information Agency (EIA).

Rumours of Engie bid interest in Innogy

According to reports in Bloomberg, French utility, Engie, is considering a bid for German renewable energy utility Innogy, which is majority owned by RWE. Other sources claim this is not the case.

RWE holds a 76.8% stake in Innogy, which had a market value of about €18.6B ($19.8B) before the reported interest.
Bloomberg said that the former French natural gas monopoly was speaking to advisers and had not made a final decision about whether to proceed. The French government has been reducing its holding in Engie but still owns a 29% stake.
However, other sources reported that Engie was not interested in making a bid. French BFM TV, quoted a source close to Engie: "We have no interest in being a minority shareholder in a big company that already has a controlling shareholder."

EIA: Warm weather leads to first recorded natural gas storage injection in February

Warmer than normal weather throughout much of the United States resulted in the first recorded net natural gas injection during a week in February since weekly storage data has been collected. For the week ending February 24th, the amount of natural gas in storage in the Lower 48 states increased by 7 Bcf.

Engie acquires UK regeneration business

March 3 - France's Engie has signed an agreement to acquire the regeneration business of Keepmoat, a UK’s provider of regeneration services for local authorities.

The company specialises in the design, refurbishment and upgrade of buildings and places.

The acquisition, worth at £330 million “is in line with ENGIE’s strategy to be leader of the energy transition in the world” by developing “integrated and innovative solutions for its clients” Engie said.
 

ABB divests high-voltage cable business

March 2 - ABB has completed the divestment of its high-voltage cables and cable accessories businesses to NKT Cables.

The divestment, which was announced in September 2016, is in line with ABB’s commitment to active portfolio management, the company said.

As part of the strategic partnership, ABB and NKT Cables will work together on future project opportunities and R&D, it said.

Engie, Schneider Electric ink digital solutions MoU

March 1 - Energy management and automation specialist Schneider Electric and French energy company Engie have signed a memorandum of understanding “to explore and deploy new digital solutions” for operational efficiency of renewable assets (wind and solar PV).

Under the MoU, Engie looks to leverage Schneider Electric's software, including Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), Engie said.

Asset management, remote monitoring and diagnostics and cybersecurity in a complex ecosystem will also be investigated as part of the agreement, it added.

IoT network reaches 95% coverage in Singapore

Feb 28 - French energy company Engie, together with communication services provider Sigfox and technology company UnaBiz jointly announced that they have reached a milestone in the deployment of the first Internet of Things (IoT) network in Singapore, achieving 95% outdoor coverage across the island.

This network, which is “the first of its kind in Southeast Asia” is set to “help improve energy efficiency, facility management and customer-centred solutions for businesses in the region” with the capacity to support over 100 million connected devices while maintaining high network reliability and security, Engie said.

Tap “strategic” for Italy's energy system: industry ministry

Feb 27 - The Trans Adriatic Pipeline project and the partnership with Azerbaijan are “strategic” for Italy's energy system, the Italian energy ministry reiterated February 27.

The statement came after a meeting in Baku between Italy's industry minister, Carlo Calenda and the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.

The ministry said once completed, Tap will strengthen the energy collaboration between the two countries. It added Italy was also evaluating business opportunities for Italian companies in the country, as some twenty major Italian companies accompanied the minister in its visit to Azerbaijan, including Telecom Italia Sparkle, Danieli, Ferrero, CNH and Enerco.

IEA, Australia discuss energy security

Feb 24 - IEA's executive director Fatih Birol and Australia's prime minister Malcolm Turnbull have met in Sidney on February 24 as part of an official visit to Australia.

They discussed Australia's domestic energy situation and its options to ensure affordable, reliable and secure energy as it works towards its commitments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions under the Paris climate change treaty.

Their talks also covered prospects for carbon capture and storage and the role Australia is playing as a major energy exporter, particularly in Asia, IEA said.

Southern gas corridor advisory council meets in Baku

Feb 23 - Energy ministers of countries involved in the Southern Gas Corridor initiative and representatives of EU institution have started the third ministerial meeting of the Southern gas corridor advisory council on February 22 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The meeting was also attended by EU Commission vice-president for energy union, Maros Sefcovic.

The event was expected to focus on the financing of the project, among other things, with the participation of representatives of the World Bank and European bank for reconstruction and development (EBRD), according to a statement from the Azeri energy ministry.