Markets

Working natural gas inventories in the U.S. have ended the withdrawal season on 30% lower levels than the previous five-year average for that time of year. According to EIA figures, natural gas in storage in the Lower 48 states at the end of March totaled 1,137 billion cubic feet (Bcf).

Resurgent economic growth in many developing countries will push the market for steam turbines to over $32 billion by 2024. Analysts at Global Market Insights anticipate the <3 MW steam turbine market will grow over 2% annually, with demand driven by decentralized cogeneration and geothermal units.

The Indian government may give way to utilities’ demands and allow power plants running on regasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) to sell electricity into the higher-priced spot market, without having to adhere to their power purchase agreements. The proposed e-RLNG scheme will likely require fewer subsidies than in past years due to the fall in global oil prices.

Working natural gas in storage in the Lower 48 United States ended the heating season on March 31 at 1,137 billion cubic feet (Bcf) – the lowest level since 2014. The 2018–19 heating season was characterized by periods of significantly colder-than-normal temperatures, particularly in the Upper Midwest, the EIA said in its latest Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report.

Chevron’s $33 billion takeover of Anadarko, one of the world’s largest independent oil companies, will boosts its lead in the Permian Shale, and grow its midstream and LNG export business. Chevron CEO, Michael Wirth commented: “The transaction underscores our commitment to short-cycle, higher-return investments.”

Demand for natural gas in the U.S. power sector keeps rising as the number of combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plants has overtaken coal-fired plants, making the power sector compete for fuel with LNG export projects. Thankfully, the production of U.S. dry gas is going from strength to strength.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects natural gas prices at the benchmark Henry Hub will to fall to an average $2.82/MMBtu this year, and decline further in 2020. The bearish sentiment is caused by a continuous rise in U.S. dry gas production, forecast to expand by 7.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) this year to reach around 91.0 Bcf/d.

In the wake of Egypt’s latest tender for exploration licenses in the Red Sea, the Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Tarek El-Molla has forecast the country's overall natural gas output will reach more than 5 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) by the early 2020s. Anticipating a substantial gas surplus, the Government aims to use these volumes to increase power generation and to meet Egypt's LNG export obligations.

Updated data for 2019 by the International Energy Agency (IEA) show Chinese-added power generation capacities in Sub-Saharan Africa will total 9 GW over the decade between 2014 and 2024.  This does not include two large dams currently under construction  – the 2,160 MW Cacula dam in Angola and the 3,048 MW Mambila dam in Nigeria, which are unlikely completed before 2024.

Saudi Arabia will become the largest Middle East wind power market, Wood Mackenzie finds, with developers expected to build 6.2GW of wind capacitry, or 46% of the region’s total wind capacity addition, between 2019 and 2028. Flexible gas turbine or engine-driven power plants will be an ideal backup for rising volumes of intermittent wind energy.

JERA Co Inc., the largest Japanese LNG buyer and owner of power generation assets, has announced an overhaul of its business to increase medium-term LNG purchase activities, striving to cater for an anticipated rise in gas-burn in the Japanese power sector through 2030.

California, dubbed the Sunshine State, remains the largest net importer of all United States, receiving an average of 77 million megawatthours (MWh) annually, according to EIA figures. Pennsylvania was the largest net exporter, sending an annual average of 59 million MWh of electricity outside the state.

Global energy majors should take action to help governments promote the use of LNG and clean energy sources to meet national carbon emission targets, says Woodside Petroleum CEO Peter Coleman. Implementing carbon pricing internationally, in his view, would be “the most effective mechanism” to reduce emissions.

China’s powerful National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has decided to reduce city-gate natural gas prices and trans-provincial gas pipeline tariffs starting from April. Electricity tariffs for industrial and commercial users are also being slashed, said the state-planner who just cut VAT rates for several key industries.

Utilities in the United States implement more and more demand-side management programs to help customers save energy and reduce peak power demand. The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) allows demand-response aggregators to participate in reserve markets, which reduces close to 4% of annual peak energy demand.

Page 6 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.