Seeking to end crippling power shortages, Myanmar is planning to build a series of gas-fired power stations with the aim of doubling the country’s installed electricity generation capacity by 2021. Aspiring full electrification by 2030, the government now said it aims to construct and commission four power plants.The cost for realising this ambitious plan comes with a price tag of $5.16 billion, according to Myanmar’s Ministry of Electricity and Energy.

Reacting to a “collapse in demand” in the worldwide market for fossil power generation, Joe Kaeser, the man at the helm of Siemens, today confirmed the company will shed 3,000 jobs in the fossil power plant sector in Germany over the next two years. “The massive decline in demand in this sector is not a “Siemens problem,” he stressed. ”It is the consequence of a massive – in part, over 40% – decline in the world market and of price erosion of over 30%."

Supply of natural gas from Mozambique’s Coral Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) project has the potential to revive South Africa’s subdued gas-based Independent Power Projects (IPPs). “South Africa has explored a gas-to-power programme and Coral FLNG is a future potential physical supplier to that scheme, noting the low shipping costs involved,” commented Standard Bank’s head of oil & gas Southern Africa, Paul Eardley-Taylor. Together with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Standard Bank invested about $8 billion in Coral FLNG, making it the project’s largest lender.

PetroVietnam Gas has filed for government approval to divest 30% of its stock to a strategic partner by 2020. Reacting to this news, Shell, Total and Anglo-Dutch Energy stepped forward and are understood to have expressed interests in purchasing the stake in PV Gas.

Diversifying beyond its oil & gas business, Shell has spent over $400 million on a range of acquisitions in solar power and electric car charging points – but investments are not limited to green energy. Shell, similar to its rivals BP, ExxonMobil and Chevron, also anticipates that natural gas will power the surge in electric vehicles for years to come.

Surging shale gas production in the three Appalachian states – Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia – is exceeding regional demand and keeps pushing down prices. The prolific Marcellus and Utica Shale increased their combined share in total US gas production from 2% in 2008 to currently 27%, according to EIA figures, while gas consumption in the Appalachian region has grown due to the power sector, but to a much lesser extent.

The February 2018 futures contract for natural gas on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) is trading at a discount to the current spot price. This pricing pattern provides economic incentives to withdraw natural gas from storage to avoid exposure to the spot market.

Seeking to unlock gas-to-power market opportunities, AG&P of the Philippines is developing pragmatic, end-to-end LNG delivery solutions for decentralized power plants in remote island nations. “Demand aggregation is the key to unlocking the market for gas,” AG&P said, revealing it is targeting to develop integrated LNG-fuelled power projects in South Asia, the Americas and Africa.

General Electric is bracing for 2018 to be another challenging period for its beleaguered power business. "We said '17 issues would carry over into '18 in power, but it's still a good franchise in power and we're going to make the most out of that," GE CEO John Flannery told investors on a conference call.

For the first year in three, Japan’s LNG purchases have risen as gas-fired power plants make up for the missing nuclear power supply. Delays in the restart of nuclear reactors also caused a 4.3% rise in thermal coal imports, while LNG purchases notched up 0.4% to 83.632 million tonnes in FY2017 – driven by a 5.4% rise in December.

Going from strength to strength, production of fossil fuels in the United States will average almost 73 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2018 – the highest level on record, according to EIA figures. Come 2019, production of US oil, gas and coal is forecast to 75 quadrillion Btu, setting yet another record.

China's proposed dual-credit scheme can reshape the electric vehicles (EV) market for a more sustainable development beyond the abolishment of subsidies in 2020, according to Wood Mackenzie. As growth accelerates, the EV penetration rate is projected to hit 17% in 2035.

Darshan Hiranandani, the head of H-Energy, has forged a joint venture with the Japanese shipping company Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, known as K-Line, striving to import LNG for power generation and industry customers in the Indian state of West Bengal and neighbouring Bangladesh. To that end, an FSRU is meant to be deployed in the offshore Digha region – the first facility on India’s East Coast.

Mexico, the largest offtaker of US pipeline gas and LNG importer from Peru, Nigeria and the US, is getting ready to launch an online gas trading platform by the summer of this year, at the latest. The Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), Mexico’s state-owned grid operator, also plans to set up several gas pricing points. “We'll have Henry Hub, too, as that's what we now have,” said Javier Gutierrez Becerril, director of operations at CFE Energy.

Speed and scope of implementing both grid and off-grid solutions is not fast enough to allow the world’s state leaders reach their common goal of reaching universal electricity access by 2030. To not miss their target, countries need to find innovative ways of integrating decentralized power sources, renewables and scale up demand-side management. Staying optimistic, the International Energy Agency (IEA) deems global electrification by 2030 to be “within reach.”

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