Markets

Franco-Belgian utility GDF Suez is in the process of restarting operations of its gas-fired power plant in Spem, France. The plant currently generates 47 MW but it is expected to be ramped up to full capacity of 435 MW by the end of today, a GDF Suez representative told 'Gas-to-Power Journal'.

Endesa, Spain's second largest utility, has reinforced its leading position the Spanish power generation market by hiking its electricity output in the country by 12 % to 74,249 GWh in 2011. Endesa has a 39.4% market share in the Spanish electricity market.

India is gearing up to become the largest single market for thermal power plants in the world after China. "The world's leading power plant facilities companies are racing to enter the Indian market," Doosan Heavy said with reference to plans of Indian energy companies to spend US$ 25 billion annually on new power plants through 2020 to ease the country's energy shortage.

Plans of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) to raise corporate electricity rates by an average of 17% in April have sparked fierce opposition from the Japanese industry and regional governors. Tepco needs approval from the central government for raising electricity rates.

The German power market is undergoing a transition in generation capacity on the supply side, while demand growth remains subdued, the French investment bank Societe Generale said. "2013 will be a key year for new build, but retirement decisions will be a key strategic variable as early as this year," the bank said in a special report.

Indonesia's state electricity company PLN has halted operations at six gas-fired power plants as it is struggling to obtain sufficient gas supplies from the Tangguh Field. "Some of PLN's power plants have not received gas supply [at all]," PLN chief executive Nur Pamudji told local reporters today.

French investment bank Société Générale recommends selling the Summer 2012 contract for natural gas traded at the British National Balancing Point (NBP), forecasting additional deliveries of Russian gas in over the coming months will leave markets oversupplied.

Snam Rete Gas, the Italian gas grid operator, has alerted market participants late Monday that Russian gas supplies have dropped below contractually committed volumes. Operators of gas-fired power plants may face a squeeze in supplies.

RWE has halted operations of three units (1,065 MW) of the gas-fired Gersteinwerk power plant, located near Dortmund, due to a lack of gas supply. "We buy the gas for running the plant on a short-term basis from Open Grid Europe, so gas supply can be intermittent," a RWE Power spokesman told Gas-to-Power Journal.

French investment bank Société Générale today forecast the German baseload 2013 clean spark spread – the profit margin from generating electricity using gas – will remain negative at €5.1/MWh.

The Japanese electricity sector is understood to be close to hitting a physical limit in its overall gas-to-power generation capacity at about 6 million tonnes per month. Keen to avert looming electricity shortages, the Tokyo government now considers restarting two nuclear reactors in April, according to a Japanese media report.

E.ON Energy has extended the 446 MW capacity reduction at its gas-fired power plant Irsching 5 until Wednesday, February 15, an E.ON Energy spokeswoman told Gas-to-Power Journal today. The plant operator had filed an Urgent Market Message (UMM) this morning, indicating capacity at the plant was cut due to "issues with fuel supply".

Power supply in Nigeria has plunged to as low as 3,900 MW from already reduced levels at 4,400 MW, as operations at the Sapele Power Station were halted following the failure of a domestic gas transmission pipeline that feeds the plant.

South Korean operators of gas-fired power plants increasingly focus on the efficient operation of their plants as prices for importing LNG remain at high levels. Siemens Energy, a major seller of gas turbines, has singled out efficiency as the key selling point for selling turbines into Asian markets.

BG Group, U.K.'s third-largest natural-gas producer, has forecast a 40% surge in underlying profits on the back of higher oil and LNG prices. "The outlook for global gas and LNG demand is strong," BG Group's chief executive Sir Frank Chapman said this morning.