Tuesday, 2 January 2018 / Markets

Chart acquires Skaff Cryogenics

Chart Industries, the US-based LNG equipment and technology supplier, has made its third acquisition in less than a year by buying Skaff Cryogenics & Cryo-Lease. Headquartered in Brentwood, New Hampshire, Skaff repairs and remanufactures cryogenic and gas storage tanks and trailors.

Global coal demand is facing a “decade of stagnation” and should remain nearly flat between 2017 and 2022, the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts. Lower gas prices, a surge in renewables and improvements in energy efficiency have caused a 1.9% fall in global coal consumption last year to 5,357 million tonnes of coal equivalent (Mtce) - the second year of decline.

Moody's Investors Service maintains its stable outlook for the power sector in India over the next 12-18 months. The Indian government's debt restructuring of financially weak distribution utilities, under the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY), is expected to “gradually improve the financial conditions of state-owned distribution companies,” alleviating off-taker risk.

The days when traditional utilities in Europe were retaining earnings to finance big projects off their balance sheet are over. As governments prioritize electricity security and a transition toward more sustainable energy use, financial investment decisions (FIDs) are becoming more complex, say IEA energy analysts Michael Waldron and Yoko Nobuoka. Yet regardless of the challenging economic environment, European utilities have increased their investment capabilities, and according to IEA findings, their Capex as a share of earnings has strengthened in recent years.

With world energy demand growing at 1.1% per year, the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) anticipates a 53% rise in global gas consumption between 2017 and 2040. Non-OECD Asia is seen as the main growth driver, followed by the Middle East and Africa.

China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) has said it started to divert almost 7 million cubic metres of natural gas from the southern province of Guangdong to northern China to ease gas shortages. The government’s 5-year plan, mandating power and heat generation in cities around Beijing to be led by natural gas instead of coal, has left northern China short of fuel at the time of a cold snap.

Faced with additional gas demand from new-build power stations, Nigeria needs nearly 2 billion standard cubic feet (Bscf) of gas to meet the country’s entire demand. Observers estimate the investment required to make that 2 Bscf available would be  $6 billion for plants, pipelines and other infrastructure.

Natural gas consumption in the US has increased 27% this week, propelled up by an 18% demand rise from the power sector as a cold weather front moved across the country. In the Northeast, where cold weather persisted throughout the week, prices jumped at the Algonquin Citygate which serves consumers in Boston and at the Transcontinental Pipeline Zone 6 trading point for New York.

Despite falling coal-burn in US power stations, the country’s overall energy sector is increasingly shifting to refined coal, made by mixing special additives to feedstock coal. Based to EIA data through September, use of refined coal has risen from 17% of power sector coal consumption last year to 19% so far in 2017.

The head of Alstom, Henri Poupart-Lafarge, has announced the French rail company will exercise its option to divest its stakes in joint ventures with General Electric. Alstom in 2015 sold off its power and grid business to GE for €9.7 billion, and following the divestment of all remaining stakes GE will have “complete and whole ownership,” the Alstom CEO pointed out.

German utility Uniper and the British commodities trading house Javelin have teamed up to start selling 45 million tons of thermal- and metallurgical coal though a new joint venture with the coal miner Blackjewel. This JV also bought Noble Group’s US coal business for an estimated $34 million.

Gas flows on all major transit pipelines from Austria’s Baumgarten hub have resumed to Italy, Germany and Hungary before midnight, less than 24 hours after a deadly explosion shut it down on Tuesday. “All transit lines are 100% productive,” Harald Stindl, co-head of Gas Connect Austria told ORF Radio this morning.

Shale gas production in the Appalachia region has been increasing rapidly for the past five years, growing by more than 14 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) since 2012, according to EIA’s Drilling Productivity Report. Overall Appalachian natural gas production grew from 7.8 Bcf/d in 2012 to 22.1 Bcf/d in 2016 and was 23.8 Bcf/d in 2017, based on EIA data through October 2017.

Italy has declared a state of emergency for energy after an explosion at Austria’s Baumgarten gas hub on Tuesday interrupted onward flows of Russian gas imports from the strategic hub towards Italy, the Balkans and southern Germany. Gas and power prices soared across Europe as the Baumgarten blast adds to fears over winter supply security, already impacted by Monday’s emergency closure of the UK’s Forties Pipeline System.

Demand for natural gas in Spain has reached a record 1,670 GWh on December 4 – the highest level seen in the past six years. Outage of one nuclear plant, combined with low wind power availability, propelled up gas demand from the power sector; but Enagas expects demand will rise further as the winter progresses.

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