Daily News

Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions has set out an internal business re-design project to accelerate a digital transformation. Eager to simplify its set-up, Toshiba ESS will consolidate its nuclear, thermal, hydro and services units into a new Power System Division, while transformation, distribution and energy aggregation will be folded into a Grid Aggregation Division as of April 1.

Britain is strong market for sellers looking to home excess gas supply this winter, National Grid said when announcing a record send-out of its Grain LNG import terminal. A robust NBP price and anticipated lower variable costs for gas processing are likely to keep attracting spot cargoes to the UK.

Demand for LNG in Japan is anticipated to fall for the third year in a row as the renewable energy build-out accelerates and nuclear reactors restart gradually. According to the Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEE Japan) LNG supplies will ease from 82.3 mt in fiscal 2018, down 0.3% to 82 million ton in fiscal 2019, which starts on April 1.

Natural gas and wind will form the basis of 80% of new-build power plants in the United States this year. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest inventory of electric generators, 23.7 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity additions and 8.3 GW of capacity retirements are expected to occur in the course of 2019.

Texas’ electric power grid operator ERCOT is heading into spring and summer 2019 with lowest ever supply of back-up power. The actual reserve margins fell from 8.1% in December to 7.4% in January – just half of ERCOT's 13.75% reserve margin goal.

Gassco, the Norwegian natural gas pipeline operator, transported 114.2 billion cubic metres of gas during 2018 from the Norwegian Continental Shelf to mainland Europe and the UK. That is nine times Norway’s annual hydropower output and the second-highest exports ever.

The first Power-to-Gas (P2G) pilot project in South Korea is about to be built under a government scheme, funded by 49 billion Korean won (US$44 million). The P2G project will convert surplus electricity supply from wind or solar power sources into hydrogen or methane gas. It is scheduled to start operating in 2023.

Growth prospects for gas-distribution utilities are at risk in several American states, as decarbonization policies on state level and rising cost-competitiveness of renewables undermine the role of gas. According to McKinsey analysis, this could pose a challenge to gas distributors in some states as early as 2026, and in most of them by 2030.

Development banks of Brazil and Germany, BNDES and KfW Ipex-Bank, have agreed a corporate financing deal worth R$1.76 billion ($471m) for an LNG-fuelled power project at the port of Açu, Brazil. The financing covers 39% of the total project costs of R$4.5 billion, with the 1.3 GW plant to be built by Prumo Logística and Siemens.

In a surprise move, Uniper has announced it will build a 300 MW gas-fired power plant in Irsching, Bavaria – the first such project in Germany in a decade. The new fast-ramp unit will act as a “safety cushion,” set to be dispatched only if grid stability is at risk. Start-up is scheduled for October 1, 2022.

Coal is likely to be the largest application of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), expects Laszlo Varro, chief economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA). Around 85% of the reduction in coal plant emissions came from efficiency and renewables, leading to fewer coal plants running less hours and only a minority from capturing the emissions from continuous operation.

For January, another 250 billion cubic feet (bcf) is likely to be lost in gas demand amid unseasonably warm weather, erasing fears about a storage deficit. On the contrary, if the mild weather continues Energy Aspects expects end-March inventories to remain north of 1.55 trillion cubic feet (tcf).

Power producers in Europe, as well as parts of the U.S. and Australia, have been feeling the pinch due to a decline in wholesale energy prices brought about by stagnant demand, low gas prices and higher output of generation with low marginal costs, notably renewables. New-builds are no longer profitable which puts reserve margins at risk, hence the International Energy Agency (IEA) calls for a re-design of competitive power markets.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) chief executive Kenji Ando has used his New Year address to warn of a difficult business environment in 2019, with “turbid conditions” in the thermal power generation sector. “Our competitors are also seeing sharp declines in business results,” he said, stressing MHPS will forge ahead with business restructuring.

Wärtsilä has stared site work for a 378 MW power plant being supplied under an EPC contract in El Salvador. Ordered by Energía del Pacífico, the facility will be one of Central America’s first LNG-fuelled power plants, with a floating regas terminal being built nearby.

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.