Daily News

The Australian government has agreed to support a second Bass Straight interconnector – the 1.2 GW Project Marlin – with up to A$65 million ($40m). The funding was granted based on a feasibility study by TasNetworks which shows the power cable, set to deliver renewable power from Tasmania to Victoria, is both technically feasible and economically viable.

Voters in a referendum have approved developers to proceed with a long-delayed gas power plant in central Mexico, one of seven projects halted in the region. About 60% of the votes cast were in favour of finalizing construction of the $1.3 billion power plant project in Huexca, southeast of Mexico City.

Marubeni Corp and the energy-tech firm LO3 Energy have launched a pilot project in Japan whereby LO3 Energy will administer a virtual energy market place, using blockchain to connect several of Marubeni’s power production facilities and test simulated transactions.

Following a 9E gas turbine installation at Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity’s (MoE) Al-Quds power plant, GE Power now prepares to provide maintenance, supply part and rehabilitation services for up to seven 9E turbines at the 874-MW plant in 2019.

Spanish-owned Scottish Power has unveiled its “biggest ever investment in the UK in a single year," announcing to splash out £2 billion on green energy in 2019. Programmes include building giant batteries to store excess energy at wind farms, investing in smart grids for customers to buy and sell electricity, and charging points for electric cars.

U.S. engineering company McDermott International has posted a fourth-quarter loss, largely due to $2.2 billion in charges related to works on Cameron LNG and Freeport LNG and higher construction costs for Calpine’s York 2 Energy Center. The Houston-based McDermott today reported a net fourth quarter loss of $2.8 billion – a stark contrast to its $26 million profit in Q4-2017.

Natural gas will become the fastest-growing energy source in the coming decade, displacing coal as a fuel for power plants and heavy industries, Royal Dutch Shell said in its 2019 LNG Outlook 2019. Global energy demand is seen grow 18% by 2035, spurred by clean-air policies in China and India, with gas set to meet 40% of that largely through expanding LNG trade.

Novel, a Swiss-Italian joint venture between Alpiq and Geogreen, has turned to General Electric to modernize its gas combined-cycle cogeneration power plant in Novara, northwest Italy. The contract will see GE upgrade the gas turbine that drives the CHP to increase power output and steam for the industrial process at Radici Chimica’s chemical plant.

Economic growth, combined with a rapidly expanding population, has led to an investment boost in the Indonesian power sector which forecast to expand at a rate of 18.7%, reaching a market value of $63.6 billion by the end of 2022. Coal-fired power will retain its leading position but decentralized LNG-fuelled projects are seen gaining attractiveness.

McCoy Reports has singled out Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Ltd. (MHPS) as the 2018 market leader on global orders wins for heavy duty gas turbines (>100 MW). The J-series gas turbine, with its industry-leading 64% plus efficiency rating, was instrumental for MHPS’ heavy duty turbine business segment to capture over 41% market share globally.

Nuclear restarts and rising coal-burn for power generation has decreased LNG imports to Japan. Nine of Japan's 54 nuclear power plants have re-started, leading to a 8.7% drop in LNG shipments to 7.54 million tonnes in January, down from 8.26 mt a year earlier.

Taiwan Power Company has awarded a contract worth 130 billion Japanese Yen ($1.17bn) to GE and its EPC partner Marubeni for the DaTan 8&9 project. The upgrade will see GE equip the units with four HA turbines, boosting output to over 2,000 MW.

After more than a century in operation, Alabama Power’s 1,221 MW Plant Gorgas will be shut down as retrofits, mandated under Obama-era regulation, would be too costly to run it at a profit. Retrofits related to the handling of coal ash would cost around $300 million, said the operator, who now takes steps to shift to cleaner fuels.

Reciprocating internal combustion engines –  typically used for backup, standby, or emergency power – are playing a fast advancing role in utility-scale power generation applications, according to EIA findings. In Texas alone, the share of gas-fired recip engines surged 20% to over 4,600 MW largely as a reaction to the state’s rapid growth in installed wind power capacity.

Today’s power grids are becoming increasingly complex as more decentralized power sources are added, requiring the network to carry bulk power in ways it was never designed to do. Recent order wins for GE’s Fixed Series Compensation (FSC) total over $60 million as TSOs turn to the technology to enhance flexibility of the grid.

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.