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Aspiring full electrification by 2030, the Government of Myanmar has vowed to fast-track several gas-fired power projects as it aims to add some 3,000 MW to effectively double the country’s installed capacity over the next two to three years. Realizing this plan comes with a price tag of $5.16 billion, according to estimates by Myanmar’s Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MOEE).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

State-owned utility Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) has signed two non-binding LNG supply deals, seeking to start shipments from 2023. The imported fuel is designated for Taipower’s combined-cycle gas power project at Taichung, where unit 1 of 2 is scheduled to start up in early 2024.

Electricity consumption in the United States will continue to grow but at a slower pace than in recent years, the EIA forecasts, as global trade tension have an adverse effect on economic growth and reduce electricity demand from the manufacturing sector. Though net U.S. electricity output rose 4% last year to a record high of 4,178 million MWh, the EIA attributes this to a one-off weather related effect.

Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) has agreed with NFEnergía, the local New Fortress Energy affiliate, to supply LNG and convert Units 5&6 of the San Juan power plant. The diesel-to-gas conversion of these two combined-cycle power units is expected to generate about $750 million in fuel cost savings.

Striving to achieve universal electricity access, utilities invested $500 million globally in off-grid energy access last year. Though investments in energy access grew another 22% in 2018, after surging 37% the year before, Wood Mackenzie says “total volumes still fall well short of the estimated financing needed to reach universal electricity access globally by 2030.”

Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has filed to Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) of the Philippines, requesting to end interim power supply agreements prior to the next Malampaya gas field maintenance – but the regulator wants utilities to keep producing electricity from condensate. The upcoming October shutdown will affect gas supply to three of Luzon’s major power plants: Santa Rita (1,000 MW), San Lorenzo (500 MW) and Ilijan (1,200 MW).

As Japanese utilities keep restarting shuttered nuclear power units, analysts say the return of cheap nuclear power will displace baseload generation from fossil sources, in particular natural gas. Japan has to import its entire gas demand as LNG, which is more costly than thermal coal, so a rise in nuclear power output is forecast to reduce LNG shipments by up to 10% this year.

Norway’s Golar LNG has started to unload the first commissioning cargo at its Golar Nanook FSRU (floating storage and regas unit) offshore Sergipe, northeastern Brazil. The supply is designated for the Porto de Sergipe-I Power Project, a 1.5GW combined-cycle gas power plant, developed by Golar in a joint venture with Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners.

U.S. major ExxonMobil, together with Qatar Petroleum, has made a gas discovery of 5-8 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) its Glaucus-1 well off Cyprus. The find adds another giant discovery to the East Mediterranean but a lack of subsea pipelines hamper the use of this gas in the local power sector, so Exxon considers teaming up with other majors to monetize the find through a new LNG venture.

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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.