Daily News

Iran’s state power company MAPNA and Indonesia’s state electricity company Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at collaborating in the energy sector.

Natural gas demand in Spain posted a growth of 2% year on year in 2016, standing at 321 Twh, Spanish grid operator Enagas reported.

US power plant developer Clean Energy Future is to construct a new 940 MW gas-fired power plant in Lordsdown, Ohio.

The new facility, to be located within Lordstown Industrial Park, is to be built in addition to the 940 MW Lordstown Energy Center power plant, currently under construction and expected to start operations in June 2018.

Saudi Arabia's electricity TSO National Grid SA has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Swiss electricity and distribution technology provider Pfisterer to develop the power transmission sector in the country.

UK energy regulator Ofgem and the UK Government have announced plans to create greater separation between the system operator role performed by National Grid and the rest of the National Grid group. 
As part of that, Ofgem has published a consultation for a legally separate electricity system operator to be established within National Grid.

Norwegian gas exports reached a new record in 2016, standing at 108.56 billion standard cubic meters delivered to Germany, Belgium, France and the UK, according to Norway's transmission system operator Gassco.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has completed testing of a new system aimed at automating combustion tuning in boilers using artificial intelligence (AI), which “demonstrated results that are comparable to those that could be achieved by a highly experienced engineer” MHPS said in a statement.

Dresser-Rand has secured a contract to supply two compressor trains to Eni Ghana for an onshore gas receiving facility in Ghana, Africa.

Eni Ghana is a subsidiary of Italian oil company Eni, and operates the Offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP) project (47.222%) in Ghana along with partners Vitol Ghana Upstream (37,778%) and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (15%).

Italy's Enel and Saudi Arabian utility Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) have signed a Framework Agreement for cooperation in the power distribution sector.

Gas-for-power consumption in the US is forecast to decline by 4.4% year on year in 2017, standing at around 20 billion cubic feet/day amid rising natural gas prices which will contribute to increasing coal use for electricity generation, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America has successfully completed construction in the US of what it deems the world's largest post-combustion CO2 capture and compression system, using technology it previously successfully deployed in projects for capturing emissions from both natural gas and oil combustion.

Wartsila is to supply a 40 MW smart power generation plant to Mendoza, Argentina, for Methax, a special purpose company owned by Grupo Galileo. The value of the order is approximately Eur25 million, Wartsila said in a statement.

Indonesia is making steady progress in tackling subsidies to fossil fuels, however the partial removal of subsidies has yet to be fully implemented with progress being hampered by “opposition to change from entrenched interest” according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

France's Engie is focusing on the potential of gas “to complement renewable energies” while at the same time it is developing “solutions that will make gas an increasingly renewable energy” the company said in a statement in December.

The European gas community should strengthen its efforts in promoting the role gas can play in the transition to decarbonised energy markets, according to the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES).

News in Brief

Elemize wins Enel's energy innovation competition in Italy

Jan 16 - Italian company Elemize is to support on its crowdfunding campaign after winning a competition to promote innovative energy and green economy projects in Italy.

The company created a platform to reduce power system imbalances, thus winning the competition “Call for Disruption in Energy” launched in June by Intermonte, Consilia, Ascomfidi and Enel.

The start-up will receive backing in structuring an equity crowdfunding campaign, as well as in an acceleration programme in support of their business, Enel said.

The solution developed by Elemize uses an algorithm, software and big data to reduce imbalances in the electrical system by optimising distributed energy storage with renewable energy installations. In this way, electricity flows are automatically distributed in prosumer buildings (producer-consumer).

Eni confirms Zohr gas field production startup by end-2017

Jan 13 - Development of the Zohr gas field in Egypt is “progressing in line with the expectations” and “the production startup is confirmed by the end of 2017”, Eni said.

The statement came after a meeting between Eni's CEO Claudio Descalzi and the president of the Republic of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo in early January.

Eni has invested some $2.7 billion in Egypt in 2016.

Its future exploration activities in the country include the two new concession agreements for the North El Hammad and the North Ras El Esh blocks, signed on December 27 as a result of the EGAS 2015 international bid round.

Enel launches first green bond on EU market

Jan 12 - Italy's Enel subsidiary Enel Finance International has placed on the European market its first green bond for institutional investors, backed by a guarantee issued by Enel.

The issue accounts for Eur1,250 million and provides for repayment in one instalment at maturity on September 16th, 2024, as well as the payment of a fixed-rate coupon of 1%, payable annually in arrears in the month of September, as from September 2017.

The net proceeds raised from the issuance will be used to finance Enel Group’s green projects, such as the development, construction and repowering of renewable power plants and the development of transmission and distribution networks, and the implementation of smart grids and smart meters.

TBC Bank, EBRD, EU finance 17.2 MW hydropower plant in Georgia

Jan 11 - TBC Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union (EU) are providing a financial package of $ 14.3 million (around Eur13.5 million) to Rustavi Group for the construction of the 17.2 MW Lukhuni 2 HPP hydropower plant (HPP) in northern Georgia. 

The EBRD is supporting the project with a $5.6 million loan and TBC Bank is contributing $8.7 million. Meanwhile, the EU is backing this transaction through a risk-sharing facility based on a guarantee mechanism that makes it possible to increase the amount of financing beyond the amounts that would be available without a guarantee of this kind, EBRD said in a statement.

The Lukhuni 2 HPP will have an expected annual generation of 86.3 GWh.

China lowers annual energy consumption growth at 2.5% in 2016-2020

Jan 10 - China has set its energy consumption annual growth target at an average 2.5% during over 2016-2020, 1.1% less than the 3.6% in 2011-15, according to the country's newly released 13th Five Year Plan, energy newswire Platts reported.

The lower growth was set according to the new energy consumption trend because of China's "new normal" economic growth, deputy deputy head of the National Energy Administration Li Yangzhe was quoted as saying.

GDP growth is expected at 6.7% in 2016 and 6.5% in 2017.

As a result, the total energy consumption will be contained within 5 billion mt of standard coal equivalent by 2020, the newswire reported.

UK suppliers return £670 mil owed to customers since 2014

Jan 9 - Large energy suppliers in the UK have returned almost £670 million owed to customers who closed their accounts since the start of 2014, when Ofgem called on the industry to take action, the energy regulator said.

In 2014, Ofgem challenged large suppliers to do more to return money to former customers who had credit on their account after their account was closed, typically after switching supplier. 
Large suppliers have since paid back some 90% of closed outstanding account balances, Ofgem said.

Engie sells Polaniec coal plant amid increased focus on gas

Jan 6 - France's Engie has completed the sale of 100% of its shares in Engie Energia Polska to Polish state-owned utility Enea for around Eur250 million.

Engie Energia Polska owns the Polaniec Power Plant in Poland, consisting of 7 coal units and 1 biomass unit with a total gross capacity of 1.9 GW.

The deal is in line with Engie's decision to “progressively withdraw from coal activities” and focus on gas infrastructures and low carbon activities, it said.

OpEn Fiber completes acquisition of Metroweb Italia

Jan 5 - OpEn Fiber - formerly Enel Open Fiber - has completed the acquisition of Metroweb Italia from F2i SGR and FSI Investimenti for approximately Eur714 million, Enel said in a statement.

The diversification of Enel's assets away from traditional power generation ones is in line with the company's strategy to reallocate resources to drive growth in areas such as networks and renewables.

Meanwhile, Enel said in December it had reached some Eur4.1 billion of disposals of assets, which include traditional thermoelectric power plants.

Enel, Verbund join forces with carmakers to create car charging infrastructure

Jan 4 - Italy's Enel and Austria’s utility Verbund have joined forces with carmakers including Renault, Nissan, BMW and Volkswagen Group Italia to create a fast charging infrastructure for electric vehicles on key roads and motorways in Italy and Austria.

The project, called Electric Vehicle Arteries (EVA+), has signed a grant agreement worth a maximum of Eur4.2 million euros with INEA, the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency, delegated by the European Commission (EC), Enel said.

EVA+ will be officially launched in Brussels in January 2017.

Eni, Terna to cooperate on sustainability, renewable energy projects

Jan 3 - Eni and Italy's power grid operator Terna have signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at developing sustainability and renewable energy projects.

The cooperation will focus on gas-to-power opportunities; access to energy; the design and implementation of power plants based on renewable sources and their connection and integration in the power grid; smart grid solutions; energy storage projects; R&D activities and energy projects with low environmental impact, Eni said.

This MoU is part of Eni's strategy for the development of renewable energy and the gradual decarbonisation of its energy mix, it said.

Energy among EU top priorities in 2017

Dec 30 - The presidents of the EU Parliament, EU Commission and the EU Council have signed a joint declaration in which they commit to give energy and climate change policies legislative priority in 2017.

“Delivering on our objective of an ambitious Energy Union and a forward looking climate change policy, notably through the implementation of the 2030 climate and energy framework, the follow-up to the Paris Agreement and the Clean Energy for all Europeans package” is a key objective for the coming year, presidents Martin Schulz, Jean-Claude Juncker and Robert Fico said.

Jobs, security and the single digital market also figured among the top priorities for 2017.

The declaration comes after the Inter-institutional Agreement on Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016, which stated the three EU bodies would agree each year on a number of proposals to which they want to give priority treatment in the legislative process.

Enel, api to develop electric cars recharging stations in Italy

Dec 16 - Enel Energia and api Group have signed a memorandum of understanding for the installation of fast recharging points for electric cars in IP service stations in Italy.

The agreement envisages the installation of fast recharging points at six IP service stations, three in Rome and three in Milan, alongside petrol and diesel pumps, by spring 2017.

Moreover, it involves the conversion of two IP petrol stations to Enel electrical recharging stations.

Developing electric cars solutions is part of Enel's strategy of diversifying its offering, against the backdrop of an increasingly challenging market environment for traditional power generators.

Enel starts operations at world's first geothermal-hydro plant

Dec 15 - Italy's Enel, through its subsidiary Enel Green Power North America, has started operations at the world’s first integrated, commercial-scale geothermal-hydro power plant at its 25 MW Cove Fort site in Utah, US.

At Cove Fort, EGPNA added a fully submersible downhole generator technology to a geothermal injection well, combining geothermal and hydroelectric power at one site, Enel said.

"The operation of this technology, a world’s first, is a major milestone for the geothermal industry and a reinforcement of our commitment to innovation and energy efficiency," said Francesco Venturini, head of Enel’s global renewable energies.

MHPS awarded two IGCC plant orders in Fukushima prefecture

Dec 14 - A consortium led by Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems has received successive full-turnkey orders for two integrated coal gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) plants in Japan.

The plants will be located respectively in Iwaki City and Futaba District in the Fukushima prefecture, and will have a generating capacity of 540 MW, with operations slated to commence in September 2020 and September 2021, respectively.

The projects are set to support the "development of industrial infrastructure and economic recovery in the area” the company said.

Eni sells 30% stake in Shourouk concession to Rosneft

Dec 13 - Eni has agreed to sell to Rosneft a 30% participating interest in the Shourouk Concession, offshore Egypt, where the supergiant gas field Zohr is located. Eni, through its subsidiary IEOC, currently holds a 90% stake in the block.

The completion of the transaction "is subject to the fulfilment of certain standard conditions, including all necessary authorisations from Egypt’s authorities," Eni said.
 
The Zohr field was discovered by Eni in August 2015 and is the largest natural gas field ever found in the Mediterranean, with a total potential of 850 billion cubic meters of gas in place. First gas out of the field is expected by the end of 2017.

Contract for construction of TurkStream's first offshore section signed

Dec 12 - South Stream Transport and Allseas Group have signed in Amsterdam a contract to build the first string of the TurkStream gas pipeline’s offshore section with an option for laying the second string.

According to the contract, Allseas will lay more than 900 km of pipes across the seabed, Gazprom reported.

Allseas will start building the first string of the pipeline in the second half of 2017.

Gazprom, Schneider Electric sign scientific cooperation agreement

Dec 9 - Gazprom and energy efficiency solutions provider Schneider Electric have signed a Program for scientific & technical cooperation and partnership for 2017-2019.

As part of the program, the companies will cooperate in areas such as: development and introduction of smart technologies into hydrocarbon production, transportation and processing; energy efficiency, energy saving, and the use of alternative energy; innovation, research and technology management and incorporation of the Industrial Internet of Things into the gas business, Gazprom said.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a concept for computing networks that entails restructuring of business and production processes and is "conducive to improving business efficiency and profitability" the company said.