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Daily Energy News

Companies

German energy group Uniper has agreed to sell its 48.2% stake in OLT Offshore LNG Toscana (Italy) to Australian fund First State Investments for about €400m. The transaction, which is still subject to the approval of the competent authorities and other customary conditions, will result in net proceeds of around €340m.

Japanese power utility TEPCO and oil and metal conglomerate JXTG Holdings are considering entering the hydrogen business, with plans to develop one of the world’s largest production sites by mid-2020. The JV would use TEPCO's dormant thermal power plant in Tokyo to build and operate a hydrogen station on the site. The hydrogen plant would have a capacity of 600 Nm3/hour.

Policy & Regulatory

The Swiss Parliament has approved a November 2017 agreement for linking the Swiss and EU emissions trading schemes (ETS). The EU and Swiss ETS both cover the 2013-2020 period (with negotiations under way to extend beyond 2021) and have similar structures. The Swiss ETS already meets two of the three fundamental requirements to link to the EU ETS, i.e. covering large and energy-intensive installations since 2013 (over 50 companies emitting around 5 MtCO2) and introducing an absolute emissions cap.

Energy Markets

Chinese oil and gas production has released its 2018 results, posting a 1% growth in hydrocarbon production to 475 mboe. The 1.3% decline in crude oil and liquids production (to 383 mbl) was more than offset by a 12% increase in gas production to 530 bcf (15 bcm). 65% of the Group production was made in China and 35% overseas.

The shareholders of the Almaraz nuclear power plant in Spain - namely Iberdrola, Endesa and Naturgy - have agreed to apply for an operation license renewal before the 31 March 2019 deadline. Almaraz is the oldest nuclear plant in Spain, consisting of the two reactors, rated 1,011 MW and 1,006 MW and commissioned in 1981 and 1983. Their operating licenses will expire in June 2020.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, US gas consumption rose by 10% to 82.1 bcf/d (2.3 bcm/d or 848 bcm/year), pulled by a dynamic demand from the power sector and by weather-related factors. The electricity sector accounted for 35% of gas demand in 2018, followed by industry (28%), households (17%), businesses (12%) and others (9%).

Infrastructure & Investments

The Ministry of Energy of Saudi Arabia and the governor of Mecca Province have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development of a 2,600 MW solar complex in the Mecca region. The 2.6 GW Faisaliah solar power project would be built in phases, without any completion date specified. The bulk of the project - 2 GW - would be directly implemented by the government-run sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF) and selected partners, while 600 MW would be tendered by the Saudi Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) later in 2019.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has finalised up to US$3.7bn in loan guarantees to continue the construction of two AP1000 units, Vogtle-3 and Vogtle-4, rated 1,117 MW each, at the delayed Vogtle nuclear power project in Georgia (United States).

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has awarded the exploration rights for the Onshore Block 1 in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) to a 50-50 consortium of two Indian oil companies, namely Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOL). The consortium will hold a 100% stake in the exploration phase (35-year concession) and will invest up to AED626m (US$170m), including a participation fee, to explore for and appraise oil and gas opportunities in the block.

Spanish power transmission system operator (TSO) REE (Red Eléctrica de España) has announced plans to invest over €3.2bn over the 2018-2022 period to support the energy transition through the development of the domestic high-voltage power transmission grid, in line with national renewable energy targets of 32% by 2030.