Markets

Eager to electrify remote areas and support energy-intensive industries, governments across Asia are investing in electrical infrastructure projects. The Asia-Pacific region hence is about to become the largest market for power transformers worldwide.

Australia’s power provider Hydro Tasmania is preparing to run the combined-cycle gas turbine at its Tamar Valley Power Station as of Tuesday morning local time -- purely for economic reasons. "Mainland electricity prices are currently high. The CCGT will be operated to help reduce the amount of electricity Hydro Tasmania needs to import from Victoria over the drier months, therefore reducing overall cost,” the utility pointed out.

EnergyAustralia, one of the nation’s three big power generators, is understood to have hired Morgan Stanley to advise on a bid for IFM Investor’s gas-fired power stations in Victoria. The sale of two Ecogen assets, with a combined capacity of 960 MW, comes amid heightened uncertainty over Australia’s clean energy policy which has propelled up gas and electricity prices.

Gas-burn for power generation in Spain has ended the month of August with an increase of over 60% to reach 7,800 GWh – the highest figure for this month since 2011, according to Enagas figures. The steep increase in the contribution of gas in the Spanish power mix was caused by very low hydro power availability and a lower generation from wind power.

Having moved to a competitive market, Mexico’s Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) released its first monthly price report on August 18 which shows that Mexican marketers sold gas at $4.10/mmBtu on average in July. CENAGAS, Mexico’s pipeline system operator also launched its natural gas capacity reservation system with electronic bulletin boards for posting natural gas flows.

Indian LNG buyers have been courting the incumbent seller Qatar to invest in stranded gas-fired power station as a precondition for new long-term offtake agreements. "It won't be quid pro quo but mutual interest [...]" oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan commented; “They can share the profit of those power plants."

Eager to expand its foothold in the power sector, the Russian gas giant Gazprom has formulated strategy for the group’s electricity generating assets between 2018 and 2027. Today, Gazprom’s plants provide for about 16% of the electricity in Russia’s Unified Energy System, running primarily on proprietary gas.

Strengthening its presence in India, Sembcorp Industries of Singapore announced it is acquiring IDFC Private Equity Fund III (IDFC)’s remaining stake in Sembcorp Green Infra (SGI), for INR 1410.2 Crores (about S$301 million). Sembcorp CEO Said Neil McGregor said the deal will “increase our investment in a wind and solar generation portfolio that complements our thermal power assets in the country.”

Drilling activity and production of crude oil and natural gas is picking up in Oklahoma’s Anadarko Region, notably in two areas commonly known as the STACK (Sooner Trend Anadarko Canadian and Kingfisher) and the SCOOP (South Central Oklahoma Oil Province) plays. According to EIA’s Drilling Productivity Report, the rig count in the region has risen from 84 in January to 129 in July.

Over 250,000 inhabitants of Texas were left without electricity and electric utilities were struggling to restore supply as Hurricane Harvey barely moved away from the greater Houston area. With rescuers still working around the clock to help flooded citizens, utilities in the southeastern parts of Texas are facing days, or even weeks, before the floodwaters recede and they can begin to repair the damage.

Multiple record-breaking heat waves swept across the western United States this summer, with temperatures reaching 105 degrees in Portland – some 23 degress higher than the 30-year average. Record peak summer demand for electricity has been challenging some of the largest electricity balancing authorities in the area.

Rebuking reports about a recovery of U.S. coal industry, IEEFA energy data analyst Seth Feaster stressed that in actual fact coal companies keep losing money. AEP, one of the country's largest electric utilities, just purchased a wind farm while it is looking to retire, or sell two coal power plants by 2022.

Decentralisation, decarbonisation and electrification of vehicles are unravelling the way electricity is generated, consumed and accessed. In the view of Shayle Kann, head of GTM Reserach, “this could be the most dramatic transformation of electricity for a century.”

Energy Capital Partners, and an investor consortium, have agreed to buy the U.S. power generator Calpine for $5.6 billion, after the transaction value was established through an “exhaustive review of strategic alternatives,” undertaken by the Calpine board.

Heat rates of gas-fired power plants in the U.S., and notably of combined-cycle units, have decreased 7% between 2006 and 2015 – indicating more efficient generation, because less fuel is needed per kilowatthour. In contrast, heat rates of coal power plants remained stable, according to EIA data, showing no improvement.

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