Daily News

Declining demand for Spanish gas-fired generation combined with unusually warm weather conditions this winter has led to an 8.7% drop in LNG imports to Europe in the second half of 2011, according to Deutsche Bank. Gas demand growth in Spain is forecast to remain sluggish as utilities are likely to favour coal over gas due to Spain's domestic coal subsidy scheme that will remain in place until 2014, analysts led by Mark Lewis in Deutsche Bank's latest European gas report.

Investments in energy is "a high priority" for the Singapore government, Stephen Hill, senior trade & investment officer at the British High Commission told Gas-to-Power Journal today. Singapore's power stations mainly use imported natural gas, as "the city-state has no domestic oil and gas resources and limited opportunities for renewable energy generation in comparison to other countries," he said.

Enel, Italy's largest utility by market share, said today it will profit from the new Italian rate system for electricity distribution and metering services. "The new regulatory framework will generate a slight increase in 2012 rate revenues compared with 2011 levels," Enel said referring to preliminary earnings estimates.

Nuon has started to disclose details the availability of capacities of Vattenfall's power plants in the Netherlands and the Epe gas storage facility at the Dutch-German border on its website in order to comply with REMIT requirements.

China's State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) has forecast an 8.5% drop in power consumption in 2012 on the back a slow-down in China's economic growth. Compared with the 11.7% surge in electricity demand to 4.7 trillion kilowatts hours in 2011, this development marks a significant decline in China's energy hunger.

Qatar's budget for 2011 and 2012 is "expansionary", with government spending on utilities forecast to double the $10bn spent over last decade. A special emphasis will be placed on infrastructure spending, including power generation capacity, Belton Financial forecasts with reference to the double digit growth rate of Qatar's electricity consumption.

Myanmar's government has abandoned plans to build a 4,000 MW coal-fired power plant in Dawai and is supporting gas-to-power projects instead to meet electricity demand in the country's special economic zone. "We will have a 500 MW gas turbine instead ... we will be able to get enough gas by about 2015," Myanmar's union minister U Khin Maung Soe said today.

Power cut hit Turkey's north-western region including the city of Istanbul over the weekend, following a system failure in a gas-fired power plant in the city of Bursa.

The link to Trayport's 'Global Vision (GV) Screen' as a trading interface has helped to boost the liquidity at the European Energy Exchange (EEX). "At the EEX, future trades are effectuated via Eurex and spot trades via Comserv, but trades can also be made directly via the GV Screen interface. This helped to boost liquidity together with other steps undertaken in 2011 such as extended Cross-Margining in the clearing process," EEX marketing representative, Eileen Hieke, told Gas-to-Power Journal today.

Korea Western Power Co. (KOWEPO) has selected GE technology for the first integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) power plant to be built in Taean, South Korea. The Taean IGCC project will be the first commercial gasification combined-cycle plant to be developed under South Korea's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS).

GE Energy has launched a new monitoring technology - Multilin P30 - to help power plant operators improve the surveillance and analysis of the electricity transmission and distribution network across large geographical areas.

Power trading in 2011 was the "mainstay of revenue" for the European Energy Exchange (EEX Group), the bourse said today when publishing a review of its business. The bourse said it observed "a shift in trading activities towards shorter terms" in the fields of power and natural gas.

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) today announced forecast of a fresh record volume of natural gas consumed for power generation as it aims to close the gap in nuclear power supply following the shutdown of its Fukushima Daiichi plant following an earthquake last March. For the financial year ending March 31, Tepco forecasts gas use will rise to a record of 22.67 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG), increasing an earlier estimate issued in November of 22.6 million tonnes.

Privatisation of 25 Iranian state-run power plants is planned to be carried out by March 21 – the end of the current Iranian year - Iran's deputy energy minister, Ali Zabihi, said today. The privatisation is part of efforts to liberalise the Iranian power generation market.

E.ON and Brazil's MPX Energia have entered an agreement to create a 50/50 joint venture with a view to developing power generation and related supply and trading activities in Brazil. As part of the deal, E.ON will get a 10% share of Brazil's MPX Energia by investing R$ 850 million (€350 million) in MPX forthcoming move to raise R$ 1,000,000,063.00 (€ 423 million) through a capital increase.

News in Brief

Gazprom seeks to partner with Fortum

June 27 – The heads of Gazprom and Forum, Alexey Miller and Pekka Lundmark, have met in St. Petersburg to discuss a potential cooperation in the field of power generation. The Finish energy company Fortum owns 29.5% of the Russian power plant TGC-1 as well as a 49.99% share in the German utility Uniper. Through the talks, Gazprom could gain Fortum’s support to expand its firm long-term deliveries of Russian gas to Finland and Germany.

Quarrels over contract award

June 26 – Guam Power Authority’s decision to award a contract to finance, build and operate a new 180 MW power station on the island to Korea Electric Power has sparked protest by rival bidders. Four companies had submitted proposals – Korea Electric, Osaka Gas, Powerflex and Hanwha Energy Corp. Declining to comment on the quarrels over the contract awarding process, GPA said the deal with Korea Electric is expected to close by September 9, pending a related impact study.

PTT steps up power sector investment

June 25 – Thailand's state-run PTT Pcl has decided to boost investments in the retail and industrial power sectors to help insulate the energy company against the impact of a global economic slowdown on its oil refining and chemical businesses. Referring to the Sino-U.S. trade war as a global challenge, PTT chief executive Chansin Treenuchagron said the company is looking “how we can survive in the short term.”

APR helps power Libya’s recovery

June 24 – Libya’s state-owned GECOL has asked APR Energy to bring in temporary generators to provide a rapid 450 MW boost. Under the latest contracts, APR provided mobile gas turbines at four key sites in Libya (250 MW) as well as 200 MW of diesel generators at two sites.

GE supplies SCADA to New Zealand

June 21 – GE’s Renewable Energy Grid Solution’s business has won an order from two New Zealand utilities to upgrade their traditional Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems with GE’s Advanced Distribution Management Solutions (ADMS). The orders were placed by Top Energy Ltd with some 31,000 customers and Northpower serving over 60,000 customers, though the contract values were not disclosed.

Top 5 OEMs to rule two thirds of global wind market

June 20 – After a decade of fragmentation, the top 5 turbine OEMs are consolidating again and Wood Mackenzie anticipates key players will surpass a combined market share of 68% by 2020, up from 47% five years ago. Vestas, SGRE and GE remain the top 3 wind turbine producers wwhile the Chinese leaders, Goldwind and Envision, are becoming increasingly popular due to their product reliability and track record.

Keane to merge with C&J Energy

June 19 – Oil- and gasfield service providers C&J Energy Services and Keane Group have agreed a merger-of-equals in a $746 deal that will give the two companies the necessary uplift in an industry burdened by budget cuts of hydrocarbon producers. The 50:50 merger will create a company will create a company with a combined enterprise value of $1.8 billion, including $255 million in debt. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

Evol LNG helps power Australian gold mine

June 18 – Kirkalocka Gold Mine in Western Australia will use Evol LNG to fuel Zenith Energy’s 14.5 MW power station with regasified natural gas starting from September 2019. The mine is run by Adaman Resources and had been relying on diesel to cover its energy needs. Based on the current diesel price, Adaman Resources expects to reduce fuel costs by more than A$13 million (US$9 million) during the first six years of operation of the new onsite LNG-to-Power plant.

Shell Energy ordered to refund overcharged UK customers

June 17 – UK energy regulator Ofgem has ordered Shell Energy Retail to refund around 12000 customers who were overcharged after the Government’s cap on gas and electricity prices came into force in January. Shell Energy Retail s agreed to refund these customers by paying £29,000 in compensation (£5 per fuel), and also pay an additional £200,000 into Ofgem’s voluntary redress fund.

BASF enters battery market

June 14 – German chemical company BASF is using NGK Insulators’ sodium sulfur batteries as its entry point into the energy market. The Japanese manufacturer NGK is currently the only maker of the large-scale sodium sulfur (NAS) batteries, capable to store several hours of energy. A joint project in northern Germany uses NAS batteries that store energy for five hours, while a recently completed project in Abu Dhabi using 108MW / 648MWh of the systems with a full six hours storage duration.

CNPC boosts domestic gas production

June 13 – China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), the largest Chinese oil and gas company, has announced plans for domestic natural gas output to reach 55% of overall domestic supply by 2025. Last year, CNPC managed to boost production by 5.9% to reach 138.02 billion cubic metres, while also increasing imports of pipeline gas and LNG.

Gazprom taps new gas deposits for Nord Stream 2

June 12 – Gazprom is fast-tracking hydrocarbon production in northwest Russia to boost reserves for export through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline (55 Bcm/y), currently being built through the Baltic Sea. At a meeting with Nord Stream shareholders, Gazprom noted that its Yuzhno-Russkoye field has yielded about 276 Bcm of natural gas, including 0.9 Bcm of hard-to-recover Turonian gas, since the start of operations. Turonian gas reserves, consisting of about 99% methane with no heavy residues, lie at a depth of 800–850 meters in reservoirs with low permeability. Commercial production at the Turonian deposit is scheduled to start in late 2019.

PG&E turns off electricity to avoid wild fires

June 11 – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has turned off electricity for some Californian communities at risk of a wildfire during the lastest heat wave. The authorized blackout started on Saturday in Napa, Solano and Yolo counties, with electricity being gradually restored over the course of Monday. Approximately 16,000 customers have been affected.

Gazprom to build power plants in Serbia

June 10 – Gazprom Energoholding has signed an Agreement of Intent (AoI) to build an upgrade several gas-fired power plants in Serbia. Together with Novi Sad, Gazprom Energoholding is already building a CCGT with some 200 MW capacity near a refinery in the Serbian town of Pancevo.

U.S. fund splashes out $4bn to buy El Paso Electric

June 7 – Infrastructure Investment Fund (IIF), a private investment vehicle within J.P. Morgan Inc., has agreed to acquire the U.S. utility El Paso Electric Co for $68.25 per share in a cash transaction. The enterprise value on the transaction is estimated at $4.3 billion. El Paso Electric customers will receive a total $21 million in bill credits over three years.

Caterpillar gensets back up Finnish data center

June 6 – The Swedish telecom giant Telia has ordered 12 Caterpillar gensets to provide standby emergency power to back up operations at its new data center in Helsinki. The Cat dealer Witraktor figured a system which includes eight Cat 3516B and four 3516E generator sets. The Telia Helsinki Data Center is the largest such facility in Finland, and its primary electric power supply comes from a combination of wind, hydroelectric and biomass.

Capstone wins orders in Iraq

June 5 – Micro-turbine producer Capstone has secured an order for two C600 Signature Series microturbines to provide 1.2 MW of energy to power a triethylene glycol (TEG) dehydration facility near Basra, in southern Iraq. The contract also includes Capstone’s new self-cleaning pulse filtration system, allowing the turbines to better withstand hot and sandy conditions with minimal maintenance.