Daily News

Striving to streamline China’s energy market, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is advancing plans to create a single oil and gas pipeline company by mid-2019. The new China-wide TSO will integrate the pipeline assets of former competitors, notably CNPC and its listed arm PetroChina, Sinopec and CNOOC.

Global CO2 intensity has decoupled from electricity demand growth since the mid-2010s, and this trend intensified when China and other major Asian economies started to turn their back on coal use for power generation, while falling costs for wind and solar PV made clean energy more attractive.

Surface coating developer Hardide has announced that testing – commissioned by EDF Energy and carried out by the British National Physical Laboratory (NPL) – indicates nanostructured chemical vapour deposition (CVD) coating can extend the life of steam turbine blades. The CVD coating made the tested FV520B turbine blades more resistant to erosion and cracking.

Drax Power has secured regulatory approval for its Millbrook Power Station, a proposed 299-MW open cycle gas turbine (OCGT) power plant to be built in Bedfordshire County, England. Developed at a cost of up to £90 million, the new Millbrook OCGT could start generating electricity as soon as 2022, provided it secures a UK capacity contract.

MAN Energy Solutions has received the Storage Highlight award for its new energy management solution, offering scalable and CO2-neutral energy storage and sector coupling. The basic principle of MAN ETES is the reversible conversion of electrical energy into thermal energy via storage in form of hot water and ice.

Leading LNG players like ExxonMobil, Shell and Total, as well as the engineering contractor Bechtel, have all completed qualification studies on Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems' H-100 gas turbine (120 MW) for use as the mechanical driver together with MHI compressors. Encouraged by this customer acceptance, MHI group is now marketing their H-100-driven liquefaction solution in single, stand-alone 1x100% strings or multi-unit large scale trains.

The South African arm of AEP Energy is about to purchase two power plants in Nairobi from Iberafrica and considers converting these units from diesel to natural gas. In Kenya, diesel-generated electricity is about 3 times costlier than geothermal, wind and hydropower and about 2.5 times more expensive than gas power.

Powergen Kyaukse Company has signed a 5-year operations and maintenance agreement with Wärtsilä to help its 145 MW power plant in Mandalay region meet its availability guarantees. The newly installed plant, driven by eight Wärtsilä 50SG gas fuelled engines, has been built to alleviate electricity shortages in Myanmar.

Length in natural gas supply the U.S. Mid-Atlantic and Ohio region is building up amid rising production from the Marcellus and Utica Shale. Simultaneously, growing demand in the South Central region for feed-gas for LNG export facilities on the Gulf Coast has caused a reversal in gas flows on key interstate pipelines.

Latest earnings calls from publicly-traded U.S. gas producers show a slowdown in 2019 gas production as the role of private producers increase. The 25 firms sampled by Energy Aspects have a combined base output of 23.1 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d), and said they expect 1.3 bcf/d annual production gains in 2019. This projected 6% uplift is less than their earlier growth 9% forecast.

As the second wave of the US shale revolution unfolds, the United States is forecast to account for 70% of the rise in global oil production and some 75% of the expansion in LNG trade over the next five years. On global oil markets, the U.S. has “essentially compensated for recent production shortfalls in Venezuela and Iran,“ commented Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Sorgenia has turned to GE to make its 765-MW Termoli combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant more efficient, reliable and flexible by enhancing its digital capabilities. In this context, Sorgenia also extended the multiyear O&M agreement with GE through 2031.

Spain’s gas network operator Enagás has agreed to pay $590 million for a 10.93% ownership interest in Tallgrass Energy (TGE), the operator of several U.S. interstate pipelines. To finance the deal, Enagás partnered with the private equity firm Blackstone and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC.

Finish technology group Wärtsilä has been contracted by Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) to supply an engine-driven power plant to help improve the grid reliability on the island. The 132 MW dual-fuel plant will be delivered and built on a fast-track basis as it is due to go into commercial operations in summer 2019.

Since the start of the February billing cycles, customers of the Dominion Energy subsidiary SCE&G are enjoying a 15% drop in their expenses for electricity. Dominion had to commit to lower energy bills to get approval from South Carolina’s state regulators for the $7.9 billion SCANA takeover.

News in Brief

France imports more Russian gas

March 21 – Demand for Russian gas continues to grow in France, with Gazprom’s exports rising 5.4% last year to 12.9 billion cubic meters (bcm). The upward continued into early 2019 and provisional estimates show some 2.5 bcm of gas was exported to France from January 1 to March 14, 2019, a 1.9% increase on the previous year period, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller noted when discussing contractual supplies with his counterpart at ENGIE, Isabelle Kocher.

Merger wave grips UK oil &gas sector

March 20 – Significant pressures are here to stay in the UK oil and gas sector, with the trade association Oil & Gas UK (OGUK) saying the industry is facing a “new reality” amid high levels of M&A activity and the related transfer of assets. The ongoing consolidation process forces the industry to embrace new forms of collaboration and business models.

Chevron Nigeria to supply gas to Dangote

March 19 – Chevron Nigeria has agreed to supply natural gas to Dangote’s fertilizer plant in Nigeria. The deal is part of the international oil major’s gas supply obligation to the domestic market under the Nigerian Gas Master Plan.

POSCO wins $100m CHP deal in Mexico

March 18 – POSCO Engineering & Construction, part of the leading South Korean steelmaker POSCO, has signed a $100 million agreement with Ener AB to build a 100-MW combined heat and power plant in Mexico. Situated in Coahila, the CHP will serve the energy needs of the nearby Magnelec chemical plant.

Wood to install Siemens turbine in North Carolina

March 15 – Wood Group has secured a contract from Siemens to install a HL-class gas turbine at a power plant in North Carolina. Construction works are estimated to involve 400 people and last for approximately 11 months, Wood Group said. Once installed, the turbine will add 400 MW to the plant's existing capacity 1,200 MW. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

J-series turbine passes 750000 hours

March 14 – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has announced their global fleet of J-Series gas turbines accumulated over 750,000 hours of commercial operation. The J-Series fleet now includes 39 turbines in commercial operation, with 28 of those exceeding 8,000 hours and the fleet leader having more than 45,000 hours of operation.

German gas prices up 9% in March

March 13 – Household energy prices in Germany have risen substantially in March 2019, compared to the same month in the previous year, according to the price comparison site Verivox.  Electricity prices increased 5% to a new record of 29.42 cents per kilowatt hour (ct/kWh) in March to date, up from 27.99 cents a year ago, while natural gas prices jumped 9% to 6.1 ct/kWh.

MAN turbines commissioned at Chinese CHP

March 12 – MAN Energy Solutions has installed and commissioned a MGT6000 gas turbine and a THM-series gas turbine at a combined heat and power (CHP) plant that replaces a coal-based power plant in Changsa, Hunan Province. Another MGT6000 just started commercial operation at a cogeneration plant, optimized to run on natural gas, at an industrial zone of Dongguan City in Guangdong Province.

Gazprom breaks ground on 200-MW CHP plant in Serbia

March 11 – Russia’s state-run Gazprom has started construction of a combined-cycle gas cogeneration plant near Pancevo Refinery in Serbia. The site is owned by Novi Sadpart, part of Gazprom Neft Group. The 200 MW plant will be Gazprom Energoholding Group’s first power project outside of the Russian Federation and is slated for commissioning in 2020

ABB pilots digital control rooms in Sweden

Jan 8 – Swiss-based ABB has launched a new digital solution for control centers that is being pioneered and tested in a pilot project by the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE). The cloud-based application works in synergy with many other ABB Ability solutions, and provides a platform for information-sharing.

MHPS opens new office in Bangladesh in bid to boost sales

Jan 7 – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Ltd. (MHPS) has opened a branch office in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, to strengthen its regional sales capabilities for thermal power stations. With the economy growing 6% in recent years, the Bangladeshi government seeks to boost the nation’s power generation capacity from currently 17 GW to approximately 24 GW by 2021 and further to 40 GW by 2030. To reach this goal, Bangladesh has started importing LNG amid state supports for private sector investment in large scale LNG-to-Power projects.

Shell mulls sale of Mahanagar Gas stake

March 6 – Shell India, the local business of Royal Dutch Shell, is considering to exit its city gas distribution business by selling its 10% stake in Mahanagar Gas Ltd. Shell acquired the stake in connection with the BG takeover in 2016, and last year already offloaded most of shareholding two two bulk divestment deals.

Siemens buys KACO’s string inverter arm

Jan 5 – Siemens announced it will acquire the string inverter business of the KACO GmbH, a manufacturers of power electronics, for an undisclosed amount. Siemens said wants to integrate KACO in its new Smart Infrastructure Operating Company, and expects the deal to close in H1-2019.

Power gen dominates Rolls-Royce’s engine business

March 4 – For the first time, Rolls-Royce Power System has manufactured more engines for electric power generation than for marine propulsion, the UK-based company said when reporting solid full year results. Revenue surged 15% to a record €3.9 billion in 2018, with adjusted profit up at €358 million resulting in a 9.1% return on sales.

Siemens produces module batteries in Trondheim

March 1 – Siemens has invested in a battery module factory in Trondheim, northern Norway, equipping the factory with a robotizied and digitally supervised production line with eight 300 MWh stations. Up to 55 battery modules per shift can be assembled every day, for use mainly in the marine and offshore market.

GE CEO committed to reduce debt “soon”

Feb 28 – General Electric CEO Larry Culp, in his first letter to shareholders, has said the company has too much debt and needs to reduce it “thoughtfully and soon.” Seeking to rebuild the ailing manufacturer, Culp focuses on GE’s four core businesses: power, renewable energy, aviation and healthcare. By adopting a “disciplined financial policy,” he wants GE achieve an industrial net debt/EBITDA ratio of less than 2.5x and a dividend in line with peers over time.

IEA launches ESCOs directory

Feb 28 – The International Energy Agency (IEA) has launched a new web resource dedicated entirely to energy service companies (ESCOs). The value of the global ESCO market grew 8% to $28.6 billion in 2017, helped by an 11% expansion in China and continued strong growth in the U.S.