Dry natural gas production in the United States will keep growing over the next three decades, driven by demand from the industrial and electric power sectors. Beyond 2020, production is likely to grow faster than consumption, according to the EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2018, with excess volumes to be exported to Mexico or sold on global LNG markets.

Energy companies, investors and policy makers in Germany need to move faster to not miss the tipping points in the energy transition, which would leave many conventional energy investments stranded and could see taxpayers picking up the bill, experts warned at an industry event in Berlin. Blackrock Vice President Sverker Akerblom said there was enough capital available and renewables were competitive, but there were simply not enough projects to invest in. "A global carbon price would be important to drive investment," he said.

Oil major Total today announced it will buy the majority stake (74.33%) in the French utility Direct Energie for €1.4 billion (US$1.73 billion). Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné said the deal “is part of the group’s strategy to expand along the entire gas-electricity value chain and to develop low-carbon energies.”

Eni, the Italian state-owned oil and gas producer, has set out the timeline for sanctioning its LNG project in Mozambique. Final investment decision (FID) on the Coral FLNG project is set to be made in 2019, or 2020, with Eni targeting first gas from its Mamba discovery in the Rovuma basin for the Coral FLNG plant by 2024. Investors hope supply from the Coral venture could revive South Africa’s subdued gas-based Independent Power Projects (IPPs).

Iran’s Thermal Power Plants Holding Co. (TPPH) is working on realizing plans for adding nearly 3,000MW of new power generation capacity to help meet the nation’s growing demand in the peak summer period. Two-thirds of the projected capacity is already in place, with the remaining 1GW to be started up and grid-synchronized before the summer demand hikes.

Contributing of distributed power, largely derived from wind and solar energy, is expected to account for over 25% of Pakistan’s energy mix over the next decade. According to Reon Energy CEO, deployment of distributed power generators is booming due to the deficit in Pakistan’s power distribution infrastructure and as a response to high energy cost of fossil-fuelled generators.

Crippling gas supply shortages will soon be a thing of the past in Bangladesh as the country is about to start importing LNG, with the first cargo scheduled to arrive by mid-April. Though LNG imports will bring some relief, increases in gas-fired power generation capacity are likely to be limited to 1.0 GW in 2018, and 1.4 GW in 2019.

Natural gas production keeps on rising in the United States with two out of three of EIA’s measures on gas output at new all-time highs. Gross withdrawals reached 90.9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2017, the highest volume on record, and marketed gas production also hit a new high.

National Grid is anticipating a drop in the UK’s natural gas demand of at least 2.5% to 35.7 billion cubic metres (Bcm) in the summer 2018 period (April 1 to September 30), mainly due a decline in gas consumption in the electric power sector (gas burn) amid higher renewables energy contributions and lower gas injections into storage.

Blackouts are far and few between in the U.S. electric distribution system, with frequency and duration of power cuts varying greatly across the many electric distribution systems that serve about 145 million customers throughout the country. Customers in 2016 suffered an average of 1.3 interruptions and were left without electricity for four hours during the year.

Major U.S. coal producers like Peabody Energy, Arch Coal and Foresight Energy had to acknowledge their reserves were overstated, and are now taking significant write-downs. This move lowers the investment rational in the American coal industry given that insurers, investors and analysts typically consider company-reported reserves as an indicator of what can be cashed in.

Retail electricity sales in the United States fell by 80 billion kilowatthours (kWh) in 2017, the largest drop since the economic recession in 2009, amid subdued demand due to favourable weather conditions. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the 2% demand drop left total electricity retail sales in 2017 as low as 3,682 billion kWh, identical to levels recorded more than a decade ago.

Enel Generación Chile S.A., formerly known as Endesa Chile and Empresa Nacional de Electricidad, is now almost fully in the hands of the Italian utility group Enel. After minority shareholders, including Endesa, accepted Enel’s public tender offer to purchase their shares, Enel Chile managed to raise its shareholding in Enel Generación Chile to 93.55% from approximately 60%. The move is part of Enel’s business restructuring in Chile.

A 10% tax credit of construction expenditures related to combined heat and power (CHP) projects, with no stated maximum limit, is accelerating a trend in the US manufacturing sector towards building onsite power stations adjacent to their production facilities. According to data from the US Census Bureau, manufacturing firms in 2006-16 purchased 87% to 89% of their electricity from the grid and generated the remaining 11% to 13% onsite.

Renewables deployment and coal-to-gas switching helped reduce energy-related carbon emissions in the United States, Japan, Mexico and the UK. Globally, however, robust economic growth pushed up energy related CO2 by 1.4%, or 460 million tonnes in 2017, to reach a historic high of 32.5 gigatonnes (Gt).

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