Daily News

U.S. natural gas prices at Henry Hub have surged nearly 25% to top $3.60 per million British thermal units as a cold spell gripped the nation, pushing up domestic gas demand for power generation along with shale gas production. As a consequence, U.S. LNG exports were slightly lower this week.

VAKT, creator of a commodity post-trade processing system, has just won three new three new strategic investors: Chevron, Total and Reliance Industries. The oil majors will also become early users of VAKT’s blockchain-enabled platform.

Developing efficient aeromechanics analysis for gas turbines helps avoid blade damping or strains during operation. “The new aeromechanics analysis methodologies are at least 100 times faster than traditional methods which enable us to design their products faster, reducing time-to-market and also bring down the maintenance and operating costs substantially,” say researchers at the U.S. technology firm Ansys.

Japan’s Hitachi Group today decided to suspend construction works at its Horizon division’s Wylfa nuclear power plant in northern Wales. With the £20 billion Wylfa project shelved, Hinkely Point is now the only nuclear project left in Britain, so flexible gas power and renewables will have to fill the looming capacity gap.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has embarked on a review of its lending criteria for energy infrastructure projects, notably a 550g CO2/kWh emissions performance standard. EU negotiators had adopted this limit just weeks earlier for a ban on capacity payments to power plants exceeding it.

Qatar Power Company (QPower) has awarded Siemens a 15-year extension of a long-term service agreement for the Ras Laffan B combined-cycle power plant. The 1,025-MW Ras Laffan B plant, built in 2006, helps meet Qatar’s rising demand for power and water.

MAN Energy Solutions has commissioned six MAN 18V32/40 engines in Samara, Iraq, and delivered five more engines of the same type to a freshwater-treatment plant in Basra. The six engines in Samara will generate around 54 MW of electricity for a new cement plant owned by Kairat Al-Abar Iraqi.

Privately-held developer Invenergy has announced the start of commercial operations of its Lackawanna Energy Center. The 1,485-MW combined-cycle gas power plant, situated just outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania, is the largest project Invenergy has realized so far.

2019 could be a “year of incongruity,” Energy Aspects says, pointing to a rush of supply FID for gas liquefaction and export terminals happening against a backdrop of a market in oversupply. Analysts expect four new LNG Trains to start up or ramp up in Q1-2019, and considering the mild Asian winter, this leaves some 5.7 Bcm y/y of incremental supply available for the European market that quarter.

Bacteria and microbes living in oxygen-deprived environments – deep within mines, at the bottom of lakes or in the human gut – have evolved way of breathing that involves excreting and pumping out electrons. These microbes can actually produce electricity and MIT researchers are striving to harness these microbial power plants to run fuel cells.

Jamaica’s electric utility Jamalco is striving to get its LNG-fuelled cogeneration power station ready for completion by February 2020. Works currently focus on the inland segment of the gas feeder pipeline for the $189 million power project, built by New Fortress Energy (NFE).

South Australia’s large-scale Hornsdale battery (100 MW) has helped save nearly $40 million in grid stabilization costs in its first year running, but the success of energy storage undermines the role of gas peaking plants. Flexible combined-cycle plants get dispatched less, also due to higher gas prices, leaving some at risk of mothballing.

Start-up of Gibraltar’s first gas engine-driven power plant at North Mole is underpinned by fuel from a small-scale LNG shipment. A partial cargo has just been delivered by Shell on board the ‘Coral Methane’. Commissioning of the North Mole power project “is currently ongoing,” MAN Energy Solutions confirmed, with "several engines having had first fire.”

As the global sentiment turns against coal, the Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEE Japan) has modelled a case in which all new coal-fired power plant projects would be banned from 2020. If natural gas was to replace coal in the energy sector, global primary gas consumption would surge by 1.3 trillion cubic metres (Tcm) to reach 7.3 Tcm in 2050.

DREWAG, Dresden’s local electric utility, has contracted Wärtsilä to deliver a combined heat and power (CHP) plant on an EPC basis. Designed to deliver an output of 90 MW, Dresden-Reick power plant will be driven by eight Wärtsilä 31SG engines and is due to become operational in 2021.

News in Brief

PG&E nears bankruptcy

Jan 18 – Northern California’s utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has informed federal regulators that it expects to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by January. The San Francisco-based utility is under investigation for its shortcomings in the deadly 2018 wildfires. S&P this week downgraded PG&E’s gas and electric unit to ‘D’ to ‘CC’ after the utility failed to make a $21.6 million interest payment

Hitachi suspends work on Wales nuclear project

Jan 17 – Japan’s Hitachi is close to suspending construction works at its Horizon division’s Wylfa nuclear power plant in Wales. If the project gets shelved, EDF Energy's Hinkely Point-C will be the only nuclear project remaining hence flexible gas power will have to fill the capacity gap.

PG&E files for bankruptcy by Jan 29

Jan 16 – Northern California’s utility Pacific Gas & Electric has informed federal regulators that it expects to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by end of this month. The San Francisco-based utility is under investigation for its shortcomings in the deadly 2018 wildfires.

Gas engine market to top $4.4bn by 2020

Jan 15 – Global demand for natural gas engines is forecast to expand with the market set to exceed $4.4 billion in value by 2022, according to Zion Market Research. Key manufacturers include, GE, Rolls-Royce, Cummins, Caterpillar, Wärtsilä, Kawasaki, MAN, Deutz, Doosan and Yanmar.

Encana selects Siemens rotating equipment

Jan 14 – Siemens has been selected to provide one feed and sales gas train and one refrigeration compression train for Encana’s Pipestone Processing Facility in Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada. The new unit, due to operational in 2021, will provide Encana with 19,000 barrels per day of net raw condensate processing capacity plus 170 million cubic feet per day of net inlet gas processing capacity.

Cheap U.S. LNG underpins power project in Panama

Jan 11 – AES Colón expects the entry of low-cost US LNG will transform the Central American energy sector, much as it has in the Panama. The utility in September started up an $1.15 billion LNG import terminal and adjacent combined-cycle power plant.

Rolls-Royce joins forces with OT industries

Jan 10 – Britain’s bellwether manufacturer Rolls-Royce has signed an accord with OT Industries to explore areas of joint work for the provision of Emergency Diesel Generators (EDGs) and Instrumentation and Control (I&C) systems for new units at the Paks nuclear power plant in Hungary. OT industries is majority owned by the MOL Group.

State-run utilities dominate energy spending

Jan 9 – Future investments in global energy supply largely rest in the hands of governments. In the power sector, a striking 95% of monies are spent by regulated utilities under schemes to minimize risk associated with variable prices on competitive markets. However, once China will have completed its power sector reform the share of countries that rely on competitive markets will rise from 54% to almost 80%.

Floating power market to top $1.4bn by 2022

Jan 8 – The market for floating power plants (<250MW capacity) is expected to grow at an annual rate of 10.11%, expanding from currently $889.6 million to reach $1,440 million by 2022. Main growth drivers, according to MarketsandMarkets, are cost advantages of floating over land-based power plants, particularly in regions with a lack of power infrastructure.

Energean to supply gas to Israel

Jan 7 – Energean Oil and Gas has agreed to supply 5.5 Bcm of natural gas Karish and Tanin fields over 19 years to the Israeli power producer I.P.M. Beer Tuvia. The deal is expected to $900 million in revenue for Energean over the contract duration.

Eranove builds 390 MW plant in Ivory Coast

Jan 4 – Ciprel, a subsidiary of Eranove Group of France, is preparing to construct a 390 MW power plant in Jacqueville near Abidjan, the capital of the Ivory Coast. Driven by one of GE’s F-class turbine the combined-cycle power plant will be similar to one that Ciprel already has in operation.

Works advance on Jawa-1 CCGT

Jan 3 – Construction works are forging ahead for Jawa-1, a 1,760 MW combined-cycle gas-fired power plant. Built at cost of $1.8 billion the facility will be built by PT Jawa Satu Power (JSP) and PT Jawa Satu Regas (JSR) in Karawang, West Java.

Grozny TPP due onstream in 2019

Jan 2 – Construction of Unit 2 of the Grozny Thermal Power Plant (TPP) is advancing fast with a view having the entire plant operational in mid-2019. The first 180 MW unit has been running uninterruptedly for a fortnight and once the second unit will start up, Grozny TPP will reach its design value of approximately 360 MW.

E&P profitable at $50/bbl

Dec 21 – Globally, Wood Mackenzie expects exploration budgets to remain steady in 2019. But with stronger prices, lower costs and a greater focus on commerciality, the exploration sector is now seen to be more resilient than ever, and “well positioned to generate positive full-cycle returns at oil prices of US$50/barrel or even lower.”

GE upgrades substation in Germany

Dec 20 – TransnetBW has asked GE Power to upgrade one of the substations in so-called ‘Badische Rheinschiene’, a highly loaded link in the transmission grid of southwest Germany. The project will deliver 22 bays of 400 kV GIS to reduce the substation’s footprint while increasing its capacity.

Burckhardt opens service centre for Central Europe

Dec 19 – Swiss-based Burckhard Compressions has opened a new service centre for Central Europe in Slovakia. Reciprocating compressors of any brand are serviced there for operators in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

Global CCS growth nears 10% per year

Jan 19 – A report from analysts Research and Markets says the global Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) market will grow 9.18% per year between 2017 and 2021, with Babcock & Wilcox, ENGIE, GE Power, Linde and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries dominating developments.