Markets

National Grid has projected Britain’s de-rated power margin for winter 2017/18 projected will be 6.2 GW, or 10.3%, anticipating a net flow of electricity from Continental Europe to the UK at peak times. Considering the current price spread, the TSO also expects a net flow from the UK to Ireland, though this may be reversed in cases of high wind levels in Ireland.

Shifting tact, Uniper CEO Klaus Schäfer has announced plans to expand the utility’s business supplying LNG to power generators in South America, Middle East and Asia. Speaking to investors he was adamant about Uniper’s aim to “remain independent” even after Fortum of Finland will acquire a significant stake in the German utility.

Rick Perry, the U.S. Secretary of Energy, is convinced “clean coal” will remain at the centre of his energy agenda, using “American innovation” to advance cleaner, cheaper coal which is also meant to help create jobs. Asked about President Trump’s favouritism of coal – in disregard of climate change concerns – Perry underlined “clean coal is not only pragmatic, but will become commonplace.”

China’s LNG trucking capacity is set to double in medium term and WoodMackenzie analysts see trucked LNG and distributed generation have the potential to create synergies. Yet, few distributed generation is currently fuelled by trucked LNG because most of these power units are in areas with pipeline coverage and enjoy discounted gas prices already.

Accelerating China’s global drive, President Xi Jinping has declared the two day Belt and Road Forum in Beijing “a success” after Chinese companies signed deals with 68 countries to jointly develop energy infrastructure along the new Silk Road trade routes. Siemens, alone, entered into more than ten agreements with Chinese partners.

Timera Energy is questioning the viability of SSE’s decision to invest £350 million in the 840MW Keadby-2 power plant even though there is currently no clear wholesale price signal to support CCGT economics, considering the £8.40/kW clearing price in the 2018 UK capacity auction. “The market risk sits firmly on the shoulders of project equity investors,” analysts said, and “without a 15 year capacity agreement the project will struggle to gain any significant advantage through debt financing.”

Exhilarated by the success of bringing electricity to every village in India, Prime Minister Narenda Modi has now moved the target of achieving ‘universal household electricity access’ to the end of this year. This next “last mile” challenge will not be easy to meet but will bring huge rewards: it will improve the lives of over 230 million people.

Gaining access to shale assets in Argentina, Qatar Petroleum has acquired a 30% stake in ExxonMobil’s prolific Vaca Muerta oil and gas play in the onshore Neuquén basin in Argentina. The deal is hoped to bring fresh drive to shale drilling in Argentina which had been rather slow due to local price controls for natural gas. However, President Mauricio Macri's right-of centre government lately doubled wellhead gas prices for existing fields and introduced incentive prices for new developments.

With falling battery technology costs, BP’s Technology Outlook predicts that buying, running and fuelling electric cars in Europe will become competitive with internal combustion engine-driven models before 2050. The question is, however, whether there are enough resources of lithium and cobalt globally for a battery-powered future.

Seeking to monetize Canada’s abundant natural gas reserves Shell has agreed to its former rival Petronas joining the US$11 billion LNG Canada project with the aim of making a financial investment decision by the end of this year. However, costs will remain a major concern of the project, Wood Mackenzie senior analyst Prasanth Kakaraparthi cautioned, advising the companies to try take advantage of the latest tax breaks announced by the government of British Columbia.

May just passed has been the month with the highest natural gas demand in Spain for industry since records began, with a total of 17,654 GWh, according to Enagas figures. Overall gas demand in Spain had grown by about 11.6% compared with May last year, reaching 26,255 GWh, largely driven by the industrial sector and some larger gas deliveries for power generation.

Fossil fuel consumption in the U.S. power sector has fallen to a 23-year record low with a slightly offsetting increase in the use of natural gas, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) finds. Overall fossil fuel-burn for power generation fell to 22.5 quadrillion British thermal units (quads) in 2017, the lowest level since 1994.

Singapore-based Sembcorp Industries has today reached an agreement to acquire the business and all assets of UK Power Reserve (UKPR) for £216 million ($167m). The deal gives Sembcorp an additional capacity of over 1,000 MW in the UK, where it currently supplies energy and services to industrial firms on Teesside.

For Austria, the decarbonization of electricity entails three major strategic initiatives: Generating 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2030; decarbonizing gas supply by adding biogases and later switching to hydrogen; and finally focussing on supply-side energy intelligence which allows consumers to produce and trading their own energy, independent of the big utilities.

Philippine’s dominant power producer First Gen is looking to cooperate with San Miguel Corp., a conglomerate invested in local energy infrastructure, to jointly realize a $1.2 billion LNG import terminal in Batangas province with a regasification capacity of 3-5 mtpa. The imported gas will be designated for the 1,200-MW Ilijan combined-cycle gas power plant, operated by San Miguel, that could be expanded by up to 1,800 MW.

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