Markets

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.

Operators of gas-fired power plants in Spain have joined forces to lobby for higher capacity payments in return for providing vital backup capacity to stabilize the grid against rising fluctuations in electricity supply from renewable energy sources, Stephen Woodhouse, Director at Pöyry Energy Consulting said. "In a true market environment, the flexible plants would earn higher prices for this new mode of operating but if there is a surplus of capacity then some of the generation fleet will become uneconomic," Woodhouse told 'Gas-to-Power Journal' in an interview.

ETN Christer_Bjorkqvist

Christer Björkqvist

Excessive subsidies for renewable energies have distorted the Spanish power market, forcing utilities to significantly curtail the operating hours of gas-fired power plants, Christer Björkqvist, Managing Director, ETN-European Turbine Network said today.

Now, the Spanish government has suspended all subsidies for new renewable energy installations in a move that is unlikely to prove a 'quick remedy' for the market distortion.

Escalating output of U.S. gas production has launched a "race to the bottom", with gas prices reacting negatively to rising production. Gas-for-coal substitution, meanwhile, is starting to put significant pressure on coal prices, Deutsche Bank said today.

China will increasingly favour of environmentally friendly gas-to-power plants over coal-fired plants. In 2050, China's gas demand to power sector is forecast to surge to 413 Mtoe (BLUE Map scenario), compared to 195 Mtoe (Baseline scenario), Hirohisa Yamada, IEA energy analyst, told Gas-to-Power Journal in an interview today.

Cold weather conditions across Europe will prolong the recent rally for gas and power demand, but still weak fundamentals may mitigate its impact on prices, Societe Generale forecasts. Recent macro data and sentiment surveys conducted in January "all surprise to the upside", it added.

Deutsche Bank has issued a bullish estimate on a continued increase in gas-coal substitution in the U.S. The current situation in the markets is "unchartered territory", it said in a report today.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has reported the "largest ever three-month gas demand fall" in the UK fir the three months ending November 2011, with gas demand plunging by 19.1% to around 188 TW.

Page 148 of 151

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.