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natural gas

Wärtsilä has been contracted to supply a major Flexicycle power plant to Energía del Pacífico S.A. in Acajutla, El Salvador. It will be the largest and most efficient power plant in El Salvador, and the first in Central America to be fired by LNG-based natural gas. The 378 MW installation will feed electricity to the national grid.

The order is estimated to be included in Wärtsilä’s order book in 2016, and the plant completion is scheduled for 2018. The value of the order is approximately EUR 240 million.

As of today, about 50 percent of the 1600 MW generation capacity in El Salvador is based on oil. The new power station will decrease the price of electricity because the fuel, LNG-based natural gas, is cheaper than oil. Natural gas also produces 30 percent less carbon emissions and 99 percent less sulphur dioxide emissions than oil.

The power plant will be the first in Central America to run on LNG-based natural gas. A dedicated LNG import terminal will be built at the same location.

The power plant will comprise nineteen Wärtsilä 50SG engines and a combined cycle steam turbine, producing high fuel efficiency of close to 50 percent. The Dry Flexicycle technology with a closed loop cooling system requires zero water consumption, which is a major benefit in El Salvador which has recently suffered from the worst droughts in 40 years.

Wärtsilä’s installed capacity in Central America and the Caribbean is approximately 4800 MW, and globally 58 GW.

Natural gas is a fossil fuel, but not a petroleum product. Due to its composition, which is essentially methane (CH4), it is a very light gas when it is released, rising into the atmosphere and dissipating, thus eliminating the risk of accumulations at ground level. Natural gas also offers a renewable alternative via biogas/biomethane that is still the same chemical product – methane gas – but is produced from the fermentation of biomass of any type. Valdemingómez in Madrid is home to Europe’s largest biomethane plant from solid urban waste that every year injects into the grid an amount of biomethane gas equal to the consumption of Madrid’s 450 refuse trucks all of which run off compressed natural gas (CNG).

As it is the hydrocarbon with the simplest molecule, it offers very clean combustion with significant environmental advantages. Apart from almost entirely eliminating the emission of particles and NOx, the emission of NO2, which is the NOx component used to measure air quality in cities, completely disappears. It is thus a paradox that the sharp fall in NOx that has taken place in diesel engines from €1 to €5 has resulted in all NOx being NO2, leading to an increase in the specific emission of NO2.

This is one of the reasons for alarm bells ringing in Madrid in January because of NO2 and during the end of July due to high levels of troposphere ozone, a secondary contaminant caused by the effect of the sun on NOx and others elements of the air we breathe. CNG in urban fleets is helping improve the air quality of our cities and this is why it will end up becoming the urban fuel of choice. Read more…


Article published in: FuturENERGY September 2015

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Axpo Iberia S.L. has decided to strengthen its presence in the Portuguese energy market by acquiring 25% of the share capital of Goldenergy, a company belonging to the Grupo Dourogás which has a current portfolio of more than 250,000 customers to which it supplies electricity and natural gas within different consumption categories: industry, services and the domestic market. Present in several areas of Portugal, Goldenergy has been selling natural gas and electricity on the Portuguese market since May 2008 and directly and indirectly provides employment for around 400 workers.

Following the liberalisation of the Portuguese natural gas market, which took place in recent years, Goldenergy has posted notable growth in consumers’ transition from the regulated market to the free market. It currently has a 23% market share in terms of the number of customers in the domestic gas consumption sector on the liberalised market and it believes that there are still opportunities for growth. Axpo is therefore the ideal shareholder to provide the financial soundness and experience needed.

To date, Axpo has had a limited presence in the Portuguese market with a market share of around 1.3%, very much based on supplying energy to industrial customers spanning practically all lines of business. This transaction will decidedly strengthen its activity in Portugal and it will take on new markets with lower consumption customers, SMEs and even domestic consumers.

The agreement was arranged in Lisbon on 30 july between Nuno Afonso Moreira, CEO from Golden-ergy, and Ignacio Soneira, CEO at Axpo Iberia, S.L. “Following this transaction, Goldenergy will be able to benefit from Axpo’s international experience, experience with wholesale energy markets and its risk management. Its financial robustness will be key in financing our plans for growth and together we will be able to improve both companies’ positions in the Iberian market”, Nuno Afonso Moreira com-mented.

Ignacio Soneira stated after concluding the agreement: “Until now, Axpo Iberia’s presence in Portugal was limited to the large and medium customer segments and with this transaction we are taking a major step towards entering into a new segment such as domestic gas and electricity customers. This represents a highly attractive challenge and an opportunity to learn and continue to grow in other markets and segments”.

This agreement is subject to approval by the authorities regulating the market, and it is forecast to come into effect in October. Following the share investment, Goldenergy’s management team will stay intact, and so will the business structure and employment positions.

Since it entered the Iberian market in 2002, Axpo Iberia has gradually expanded its lines of business in Spain and Portugal. It currently covers a wide range of services: electricity and gas sales; energy management for special system producers; Operation and control power generation centres (CECOGEL in Spanish); structured products and electricity, biomass and CO2 trading.

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No-one can deny the fact that CHP is one of the most efficient ways of generating power. To name but a few of its advantages, it helps reduce natural gas consumption and the energy bill; by being generating at the points of consumption there are no losses from its distribution; it strengthens the security of the energy supply; it increases the competitiveness of those industries that use it; it creates jobs and contributes to the industrialisation of the country. And these are not its only benefits. So why are we letting it die out?

There are many reasons to defend CHP as a technology that we cannot do without as it generates electrical energy and heat. The above benefits are the most obvious; they are those that would feature in any efficient energy generation manual. But they are not alone.

In 1990, the Member States of the European Union undertook that, by 2020, they would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20%; increase the presence of renewables by 20%; and bring down the consumption of energy by 20% through increased energy efficiency. The majority of the States are, to a lesser or greater extent, complying with the first two objectives. However, both globally and individually, we are a long way from achieving the 20% energy saving target. Read more…

Óscar Cubero
Secretary General, Cogen España

Article published in: FuturENERGY July-August 2015

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Today, gensets with biodiesel- or natural gas-powered engines, are one of the most widely-used technologies in the distributed generation market, whether for emergency applications, prime or continuous power, CHP and so on. The global market keeps on growing and in line with two reports published by Navigant Research, global installed capacity in diesel gensets could grow from 62.5 GW in 2015 to 103.7 GW in 2024. Natural gas gensets are forecast to grow from 12.9 GW in 2015 to over 27.1 GW in 2024. Despite the predominance of diesel gensets, the line between both is increasingly blurred given the growing popularity of dual-fuel diesel-gas gensets. This article covers some of the main conclusions of these reports.

Reciprocating engines represent the most widespread and mature technology for any type of energy generation, from small portable gensets to larger industrial engines that power generators of several megawatts. Reciprocating engine-based gensets can be grouped together to form power plants, even though their primary use is for distributed generation.

As a source of emergency, continuous or prime power, diesel gensets have historically been the most popular for energy generation applications, in almost any power range and are positioned to continue this steady growth in most regions and power classes. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY July-August 2015

At the World Gas Conference in Paris last month, Chevron chief executive John Watson highlighted the need for investors and stakeholders in prospective liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects to remain focused on the long-term goals ahead, warning them not to defer new developments due the anticipated wave of cheap United States LNG. New business models are required, he remarked, to keep alive the next wave of projects that would be needed to serve the rise in global demand for gas over the next decade.

The significant majority of this new demand will come from Asia, and from emerging economies seeking to develop gas and LNG infrastructure. Although a recent International Energy Agency (IEA) report highlighted the need for gas to make itself more competitive with other fuel sources, tightening markets are forecasted not to last long as demand is again likely to outstrip supply beyond 2020 – with much of this rising demand coming from new Asian markets.

Critical in the goals to continue developing new gas and LNG infrastructure – and to repel short-term investor wobbles – will be placing natural gas at the forefront of Asia’s drives to reduce air pollution, reduce carbon emissions and further expand gas as a transportation fuel – onshore and offshore. Major suppliers now look firmly to Asia for positive momentum and the uptake of new sources of gas and LNG supply, thus fuelling confidence in new projects and ensuring demand growth will continue to be met beyond 2025.

In line with focusing business in this region, the world’s leading investors, stakeholders and players in gas and LNG will gather in Singapore this October. Facilitating and driving these business discussions and connections is the Gastech Conference & Exhibition, which will arrive in Singapore from 27 to 30 October 2015, coinciding with Singapore’s Golden Jubilee.

The event’s four day conference programme features a wealth of C-level executives representing key investor, procurement and supplier interests. Truly reflective of the regional shift, the opening plenary sessions on Tuesday 27 October focus on connecting global suppliers with key Asian consumers, with leadership confirmed from CNOOC Gas & Power, JERA (Chubu-TEPCO), Tokyo Gas Company, CPC Taiwan, KOGAS, IE Singapore, Pavilion Energy, Chevron, ExxonMobil, RasGas/Qatar Petroleum, ENGIE, and more.

Highlighting more specific commercial and technical aspects, the remaining three days of the conference will address 10 highly-relevant topics: gas market outlook, future use of gas and LNG in the Asian fuel mix, contracting, pricing and trading, LNG projects: non-technical risks and deliver, application of innovative technology, shipping, gas as a transport fuel, health, safety, security and environment, emerging gas market developments and investment, and FLNG innovation with containment and storage.

With Singapore at the heart of Asia’s drive for economic prosperity and its government’s regional ambitions in gas and LNG trade, Gastech will provide attendees an insight into regional and global opportunities, and a unique and first-hand outlook of the city state’s overseas energy investment plans. The opportunities for those working in gas and LNG to develop new business and new markets are unprecedented, with the focus firmly on the role Asia will play in leading the ongoing growth of gas and LNG, through key business development, partnerships and deal-brokering.

Gastech Conference & Exhibition is hosted by BG Group. The event is also supported by the Energy Market Authority (EMA) Singapore, International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and the Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau (SECB), and will be held in association with the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW).

Over 20,000 international attendees from the gas industry and it related sectors are set to gather at Gastech Singapore 2015 from 27 to 30 October 2015. Gastech, now in its 43rd year, is the world’s leading natural gas LNG conference & exhibition and brings together all the major industry players from the commercial and technical communities within the global energy supply chain.

Gastech boasts the accolade of having the world’s largest award winning natural gas and LNG exhibition – at an expansive 40,000sqm, it spans 10 pavilions across Europe, America, Asia, Scandinavia & Australia, and hosts 500 international, regional and local exhibitors.

Confirmed Exhibitors from leading IOCs, NOCs and global EPC, shipping, transportation, infrastructure, equipment and manufacturing companies include the likes of Qatar Petroleum, ADNOC, Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, BG Group, Gazprom, Nigeria LNG, GDF Suez ,Cheniere, Total, Gas Natural Fenosa, Mitsui, Sonatrach, Bechtel, KBR, WorleyParsons (Intecsea), Chiyoda, Technip, Wood Group Mustang, Black & Veatch, Linde, Toyo, Larsen & Toubro, JGC, Fluor, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Hanjin Heavy Industries, among some.

Showcasing a plethora of gas industry related sectors, the exhibition features 4 dedicated zones: offshore technology, ports & marine, LNG facilities and infrastructure, and natural gas vehicles. In addition there will be over 80 free technical seminars offered at the Centres of Technical Excellence (CoTEs).

The 11 sector focused streams at this year’s seminar programme are; gas processing, LNG bunkering, LNG & gas carrier ship building, LNG facilities & infrastructure, natural gas vehicles, floating LNG, offshore technology, LNG as a marine fuel, pipeline infrastructure, information & communications technology in gas and small & mid-scale LNG.

The CoTEs seminars will be dedicated to delivering knowledge and awareness of the latest technological developments and applications in the gas industry and will be attended by over 3,000 gas professionals

As a global meeting place for the gas community, networking opportunities will also be abundant before
and during the 4 day event. A new networking tool for 2015 attendees is the Gastech Global Meetings Programme – a personal business networking and matching programme. The free programme will enable attendees to specify their preferences so that they can do business and meet with other attending professionals.

Pre-event registration is free and is currently open; already hundreds of industry professionals have registered to attend what is set to be this year’s largest gathering for the gas industry and its related sectors.

Gastech Conference & Exhibition is hosted by BG Group. The event is also supported by the Energy Market Authority (EMA) Singapore, International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and the Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau (SECB), and will be held in association with the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW).

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The Secretary of Energy and Chairman of the Board of the CFE, Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission, Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, and its Chief Executive, Enrique Ochoa Reza, have announced the start of the tender processes for 24 electric and natural gas infrastructure projects with a total estimated investment of US$9.836bn. These involve eight natural gas pipeline projects; four power plants; three transmission line and substation projects; and nine power distribution projects. These projects will add 2,385 km to the gas pipeline network, 1,442 MW to the installed capacity of the National Electrical System, 122 km to the transmission grid and 2,962 to the distribution network.

Transparencia Mexicana will accompany the bidding processes of the eight gas pipelines, the geothermal plant and the fifth phase of the losses reduction project. The other projects will have benefit from a social witness appointed by Mexico’s Civil Service Secretariat. And this is despite the costs involved as the CFE is not required to involve this entity in the process.

At the event organised to present these tenders, the CFE’s Chief Executive commented that thanks to the Energy Reform, the Federal Electricity Commission has entered a new phase as the State power utility with the primary objective of offering a better quality and more environmentally-friendly energy service at lower cost. He added that to achieve this goal, it is essential to have a modern energy generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure in addition to sufficient gas pipelines to transmit natural gas.


Dr. Ochoa Reza explained that these gas pipelines, together with the 11 that are already under construction and undergoing the tender process, the CFE in conjunction with PEMEX, coordinated by the Energy Secretariat, will comply with the target established by the National Infrastructure Programme to increase the National Gas Pipelines System by 75% during the term of office of President Enrique Peña Nieto.

The Secretary of Energy, Pedro Joaquín Coldwell added that the new gas pipelines will cover the energy needs of the central, eastern and western regions of the country.
He highlighted that this gas pipeline grid will connect the main industrial and commercial areas of the Republic, thus resulting in a costs reduction. According to the Secretary, this will make businesses more competitive and the country as a whole more attractive for the location of new factories.
The event, that was held in the Auditorium at CFE, was also attended by Emilio Lozoya Austin, CEO of Pemex; César Emiliano Hernández Ochoa, Under-Secretary of Electricity; and David Suárez, Director General of CENAGAS, the National Control Center for National Gas.

The details of the project tenders are as follows:

Gas pipelines

Tula – Villa de Reyes Gas Pipeline. 280 km long. Capacity 550 MCF/D. Investment US$420m. Prebases publication June 2015; commercial operation December 2017.
Villa of Reyes – Aguascalientes – Guadalajara Gas Pipeline. 355 km long. Capacity 1 BCF/D. Investment US$555m. Prebases publication July 2015; commercial operation December 2017.
Sur de Texas – Tuxpan Gas Pipeline (Offshore). This will transmit natural gas via an underwater route through the Gulf of Mexico, from the south of the state of Texas in the US to Tuxpan in Veracruz State, Mexico. 800 km long. Capacity 2.6 BCF/D. Investment US$3.1bn. Prebases publication July 2015; commercial operation June 2018.
Nueces – Brownsville Gas Pipeline. Will transmit natural gas originating in the south of the US and will supply natural gas to the offshore gas pipeline. 250 km long. Capacity 2.6 BCF/D. Investment US$1.55Bn. Publication of the Draft Application July 2015; commercial operation June 2018.
La Laguna – Aguascalientes Gas Pipeline. 600 km long with 1.15 BCF/D capacity. Estimated investment US$1bn. Prebases publication July 2015, commercial operation December 2017.
Empalme Branch.20 km long. Capacity 236 MCF/D. Investment US$35m. Prebases publication August 2015; commercial operation April 2017.
Hermosillo Branch. 48 km long, it will transmit natural gas from the Sásabe – Guaymas pipeline to the Hermosillo CCP plant (Sonora). Capacity 100 MCF/D. Investment US$68m. Prebases publication August 2015; commercial operation June 2017.
Topolobampo Branch. This will transmit 248 MCF/D of natural gas from the El Encino – Topolobampo gas pipeline to the North-Eastern (Topolobampo II) and Topolobampo III CCPs, in Sinaloa. 32 km long. Investment US$55m. Prebases publication October 2015; commercial operation March 2018.


Power plants

Los Azufres III, Phase II, Geothermal Plant. Hidalgo and Zinapécuaro, Michoacán. This involves the construction of a geothermal 25 MW plant. Prebases publication May 19; conditions July 2015 and commercial operation June 2018. Investment US$63m.
Internal Combustion Plant (Dual), Baja California Sur VI. La Paz, Baja California Sur. This involves the construction of a 42 MW internal combustion plant with a dual fuel oil-natural gas powered engine. Investment US$105m. Prebases publication July 2015; commercial operation May 2018.
San Luis Potosí Combined-Cycle Plant. Villa de Reyes, San Luis Potosí. This concerns the construction of a 790 MW CCP with an investment of US$864m. Prebases publication July 2015; entry into commercial operation April 2019.
Eólica Sureste II and III Plant. The project is located in the municipality of Ixtepec, Oaxaca. This will comprise two modules with a total capacity of 585 MW. Investment US$1.079bn. Prebases publication July 2015 and operational start-up December 2017.


Transmission lines and electrical substations

1902 North-East Substations and Compensation (3rd phase). Sinaloa. It comprises five transmission lines of 400 and 115 kV, 74 km long. It will include two 500 MVA substations and eight feeders of 400 and 115 kV. The project will be executed performed under the Financed Public Works format. Investment US$35m. Prebases and conditions published in April and May 2015; commercial operation March 2017.
1302 North-East Transformation. Coahuila. This comprises five 115 kV transmission lines, 25 km long. It will include a 500 MVA substation and eight feeders of 400 and 115 kV. Investment US$37m. Prebases and conditions published in April and May 2015; commercial operation March 2017.
Baja California Transmission and Transformation (5th phase). Baja California. It comprises two transmission lines, 230 and 161 kV respectively, and a total length of 23 km. It will include three substations with two 230 kV feeders and two at 161 kV. Investment US$19m. Prebases publication June 2015; commercial operation January 2017.

Power distribution

Substations and Distribution Lines 1920 (6th phase). Hermosillo, Sonora. It comprises an electric substation with a capacity of 30 MVA and 2 115 kV feeders and six at 13.8 kV. Investment US$6m. Prebases and conditions published in May and June; commercial operation October 2016.
2021 Project: Reduction in energy distribution losses (8 phases). 44 projects divided into eight phases. Its objective is to reduce energy losses in Campeche, Chiapas, Mexico City, Mexico State, Morelos, Quintana Roo, Sinaloa, Tabasco and Veracruz. It includes 1,217,399 meters; 36,612 distribution transformers and 2,962 km of transmission lines.
Reduction in energy distribution losses 2021 (1st phase). Morelos. Supply and installation of 16,048 measurers, 957 distribution transformers and a 37 km line. Investment US$14m. Prebases and conditions published in May and June; commercial operation October 2016.
Reduction in energy distribution losses 2021 (2nd phase). Sinaloa. Supply and installation of 5,727 meters. Investment US$5m. Conditions June 2015; commercial operation October 2016.
Reduction in energy distribution losses 2021 (3rd phase). Veracruz. Supply and installation of 20,456 meters. Investment US$8m. Prebases and conditions published in April and June; commercial operation September 2016.

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DF has signed a turnkey contract as primary consortium member via its Oil & Gas line of business, with Fluxys LNG for the project to extend the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at Zeebrugge (Belgium), one of the most important in Europe. The consortium led by DF competed with some of the world’s leading companies in the sector.

The project has a total budget of 208 million euros, of which 150 million correspond to works to be carried out by DF via its subsidiaries. This is the most important project carried out to date by the Oil & Gas line of the Spanish group, in terms of cost and technical characteristics.

The extension of the Zeebrugge regasification plant, located at the port of the same name and near the Belgian city of Bruges, will comprise of two stages: the construction of an 180,000 m3 capacity LNG tank and a boil-off recovery system.

The tank to be installed at the terminal belonging to Fluxys LNG at the Belgian port will be one of the largest of its kind in the world. The total containment type tank will be semi-buried and will extend the storage capacity of the terminal which currently stands at 380,000 m3 due to the existing four tanks. The delivery schedule of the new tank is 44 months.

In addition, a boil-off recovery system will also be installed, to recirculate, cool down and recover natural gas vapours that are generally lost due to evaporation. In this case, the delivery schedule is 35 months.