Daily News

Medco Energi, Indonesia's national oil and gas company, is in talks to acquire the UK-listed Ophir Energy in a cash takeover. No amount or other details have yet been disclosed, other than Medco has to make a clear binding offer by January 28, if a deal is to proceed.

Consultations have officially started as to whether Uniper will divest all its French power plant assets to the Central European energy investment group EPH, majority-owned by the billionaire Daniel Kretinsky. Uniper confirmed it received a unilateral binding offer from EPH, but did not disclose the value of a potential deal.

Flexibility and system integration of renewable energy sources will be in focus of a Ministerial Summit co-hosted by the German government and the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Berlin in September. Tackling the intermittency challenge will be critical for 33 countries are likely to have up to 20% variable renewables in their power systems by 2023.

MIT researchers have developed a membrane-based system that can convert power plant emissions into fuels for cars, trucks and planes, as well as chemical feedstocks. The membrane – made of a compound of lanthanum, calcium, and iron oxide – allows oxygen from a stream of carbon dioxide (CO2) to migrate through, leaving carbon monoxide (CO) behind. Combined with hydrogen or water, this CO can be turned into syngas.

Colder weather in China is pushing up heating demand which is the first resilience test for the gas network. Some 3.2 million new residential gas users have been grid-connected this year, adding 4.5 Bcm in demand which comes on top of even higher demand growth from industries. Overall demand in winter 2018/19 is forecast to be 40 Bcm over last year’s levels.

Future use of hybrid energy will lead to a consistent baseload, without the need for top-up via fossil fuels, says 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%."

Despite rising oil prices and production levels U.S. gas fracking companies are continuing to lose money, according to a review of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEA). In the third quarter of 2018, the 32 mid-size U.S. exploration companies reported nearly $1 billion in negative cash flows.

A consortium of Enagás, Snam and Fluxys has completed the acquisition of a 66% stake in DESFY, the Greek gas transmission system operator. The stake was bought from the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) and Hellenic Petroleum for € 535 million.

Saudi Arabia’s 2019 budget has allocated 33 billion riyals ($8.8 billion) for the energy, industry, mining and logistics sectors – more than three times the amount spent in the previous budget. State spending will rise by over 7% next year to an equivalent of $295 million, and most of these higher expenses are intended to be financed through rising oil revenues.

Rising use of thermal coal in the Japanese power sector has led to a 1% drop in LNG imports in November while coal shipments increased by more than 5%. Utilities prefer coal over gas as a fuel for their power stations after the cost of LNG cargoes surged year-on-year by nearly $1 billion.

Competitive Power Ventures (CPV), an independent investor in energy assets, has sold a quarter of its shareholding in the 805 MW Towantic Energy Center in Connecticut to the American subsidiary of Osaka Gas. The Japanese utility previously bought stakes in three other CPV gas power plants.

Research into Integrally Geared Centrifugal (IGC) compressors for gas-fired power units can maximise operating pressures and flows while optimizing the plant's efficiency. “In terms of efficiency, it is typical that we can offer 2-5% of efficiency enhancements," an Ingersoll Rand product manager said, "and in more extreme cases we have seen where we improve that range as high as 10-15% depending on the next best alternative.”

Mubadala and Dubai Holding have set up a joint project vehicle to develop the United Arab Emirates’ (UEA) self-proclaimed “most efficient power plant” at Emirates Global Aluminium’s (EGA) smelter in Jebel Ali. The 600 MW power unit and integrated water desalination plant will be built under a 25-year deal worth over 1 billion dirhams ($272m).

Veolia North America and Arizona Public Service (APS) have selected GE’s Fleet360 total plant solutions to increase performance at power plants in Boston and Arlington. APS expects to garner a 6% higher output and a 2% drop in heat rate will boost flexibility at its Redhawk Power Station (1,060 MW).

Success of the global energy revolution – the shift from fossil to low-carbon power generation – hinges on the quality of the cable that underpins. Yet an estimated 20% of all cables in the UK are either sub-standard, counterfeit or non-approved. Pointing out the risks of such shortcomings, Jean-Sébastien Pelland, Director of Eland Cables said: “For a project, sub-standard cables can result in downtime, reliability issues and ballooning maintenance costs at best and major safety hazards at worst, as well as potential environmental damage.”

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.