Markets

SoCal’s inability this summer to fully utilize Aliso Canyon, California’s largest storage with a capacity of 86 Bcf, is impacting flow, pricing and storage dynamics in the U.S. Pacific Region. Peak summer demand conjured up fierce competition for gas between Northern and Southern California which let to tighter price spreads between the two regional gas trading hubs, SoCal and PG&E, this August.

Dirty king coal is still on track to surpass natural gas generation for 2017, with total shares of almost 32 % and 31%, respectively, the latest short-term energy outlook from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows. That near-tie comes after natural gas generated 34% of the nation’s electricity needs in 2016, with coal finishing at 30%.

The re-balancing of global oil markets is viewed by the IEA as “a stubborn process” given that some producers, party to the OPEC’s output cut agreement, are "showing signs of weakening their resolve." The compliance rate fell again in July to a new low of 75% from June’s 77%. Still, IEA analysts believe “the market is re-balancing” as the price of Brent crude recently stabilised above $50/bbl.

A tender for the procurement of LNG for 500 MW decentralized power in Indonesia will be opened by Singapore in due course. Maritime minister Luhut Pandjaitan announced the LNG cargoes will be shipped to small-scale, decentralized power plants (25-50 MW) in seven locations in close proximity to Singapore.

Driven by falling costs, increasing investor confidence and policy support, renewable power and decarbonisation technologies are reshaping global energy markets. In Wood Mackenzie and GTM Research’s latest report ‘Future of renewables: a radical disruption,’ over 21% of all cars on the road are estimated to be electric by 2035 under the carbon-constrained scenario. Such a stark shift to EVs can displace up to 6.5 million barrels of oil demand.

Excess growth in global LNG supply, notably through the ramp-up of US LNG through 2018 and into 2019, will make European gas prices “move through the coal floor [price]”. Fuel-switching in the Western European power market, according to Societe Generale, will ultimately be determined by short-term gas prices hinging at the variable cost of shipping a US LNG cargo to Europe.

Smart electrically-driven heating is a “valuable field in which to invest”, Delta-EE says, pointing at the substantial installed base of electrically-driven heating – 30 million units across Europe. Considering that European utilities have lost over €100 billion in value since 2008, Delta-EE industry recommends “stakeholders should take advantage of digitalisation” and try to extract value from the electrification of heat.

Unabated growth in energy consumption prevails in Texas: The Lone Star State has consumed the most energy in every year since 1960, the earliest year for which EIA has data. By year-end it is estimated to exceed 12,998 trillion Btu. California ranked second, consuming about 8% of U.S. total energy use.

Plans for another FRSU with 17 mtpa regas capacity and an onshore LNG terminal show the government of Bangladesh “is clearly in support to boost its LNG supply,” Wood Mackenzie comments. Already, private capital is being attracted to this sector with Summit Power, Reliance Power and Petronet looking to invest in these terminals.

UK Power Reserve said it is “on track to deliver its 2014 capacity market obligations” with nine power stations built so far in 2017 and another nine set for completion by the end of the year. Once all 18 are commissioned and fully operational, UKPR will contribute 364MW of fast-ramp, flexible gas generation to the UK power grid.

Natural gas-fuelled power generation in the United States reached its highest daily level at 41 Bcf/day on July 20 – just a tick lower than the 2016 peak of 42 Bcf/d seen on August 11 last year.  Higher gas prices relative to last summer explain part of the decrease; but PointLogic Energy analysts stressed that “although power burn in 2017 is lower than in 2016, it is still relatively high compared with the previous five-year average for that period.”

Falling costs for renewables and energy storage will squeeze out gas-fired generation in South Australia as early as 2025, Wood Mackenzie and GTM Research find. By then, wind, solar and battery costs are seen decline by 15%, 25% and 50% respectively – hence they offer a “lower cost alternative” to CCGTs, which cover the bulk of South Australia’s base load power today.

At events, particularly major sporting shows, there is need to fast-track power solutions and maintain a stable, continuous supply. RnRMarketResearch has singled out the sector as the growth driver for rental power solution: Expanding at over 8% per annum, the global power rental market is estimated to be worth $20.64 billion by 2022.

German engineering conglomerate Siemens is exiting its Russian power plant services JV Interautomatika after it was uncovered that the latter had sold four gas turbines designated for use in Russia to Crimea, a region under EU sanctions on energy technology. The Munich-based group added it will also halt all deliveries of power generation equipment from existing contracts to state-controlled customers in Russia for the time being.

Despite pledges South Korea’s new liberal President Moon Jae-in to halt several nuclear and coal power projects, the country’s remains highly dependent on fossil fuels. In fact, the output of coal-fired power plants topped 95,500 GWh in the first five month of 2017, up 13.6% year-on-year, according to data by Korea Power Exchange.

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