Posts Tagged ‘power generation’

Is natural gas a 1% shift or a leap of faith?

This is my first year attending the Offshore Technology Conference, that oil and gas annual event that turns Houston’s Reliant Park area into a chaotic zoo and brings out more blindingly shiny display items than a diamond show.

I’ve been to many conferences for oil and gas before, but OTC is the one of the few that strikes awe and fear into a journalist’s heart. So many sessions! So many speakers! How on earth can I be expected to make a decision about what to attend?

One of my decisions on the third day was to attend a luncheon featuring Jeff Immelt, chairman of the board and CEO of GE. Coincidentally, it was Immelt’s first time at OTC as well, and he explained the company’s investments in the oil and gas industry, and emphasized the role he believes natural gas can play in the future of the risk-adverse production industry.

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The iceman cometh again: winter isn’t over for US natural gas markets

After the wallop of the polar vortex earlier this month that sent US gas demand and US Northeast gas prices soaring to all-time highs, one would think that the worst is over, no?

That would be a negative.

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Can US Northeast natural gas demand rise again?

The US Northeast is flooded with natural gas such that supplies are desperately trying to find alternative homes in eastern Canada, the Midwest and the Southeast.

Effectively — with the US Northeast due to pump out 13 Bcf/d by year’s end — the region has become what the pre-Katrina US Gulf Coast once was: the production basin in North America. Read the rest of this entry »

A few thoughts on winter and US natural gas

Granted the market is only now just in the throes of hurricane season, but given the volatility already present in natural gas financial basis markets, I offer up a few thoughts on winter.

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Canada’s natural gas business needs Channing Tatum

If expected growth in power generation is, for US gas demand, the Channing Tatum, People magazine’s the Sexiest Man Alive — a.k.a, the silver bullet — Canada’s gas-fired power generation growth would look more like Zach Galifianakis.

As in, not all that hot.

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Talk of tattoos, and other things, from “The Big Dog” Bill Clinton

I had the opportunity August 8 at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, to hear “the Big Dog” speak, which is what one of my editors in Washington calls former President Bill Clinton.

Clinton, at 26, and his then-girlfriend Hilary Rodham, spent time in Dallas and in Austin running George McGovern’s Texas campaign for president in 1972 when I was at the University of Texas.

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Budget busters: exploring Mars and preserving coal at Kemper

One budget buster is fabulous and fascinating: OMG, we have an apparently robust explorer on Mars, and we can see what it’s doing more than a hundred million miles from here. A hard-fought triumph of brilliance and doggedness. But some wonder if the US should be spending the money on Curiosity.

The other budget buster, at Mississippi Power’s Kemper plant, is minus the glamour, though some believe the integrated gasification combined-cycle project represents a strong opportunity to save coal as a major source of electricity. Here, too, some wonder–with real material effect–about the wisdom of spending money on it.

Both projects have had cost overruns. Both cost more than $2 billion: Curiosity around $2.5 billion and Kemper maybe about $2.9 billion.

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What do bankruptcy and incest have in common? Merchant generation

Some Wall Street analysts were not very surprised by the announcement this week of the merger of two more merchant generators.

And they shouldn’t have been. There are only so many combinations possible when there are only four publicly traded merchant generation companies, and some of those combinations have already been tried. 

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Renewable energy developer looks first to transmission as a key

One of the challenges facing renewable energy growth in the United States is geography. The strongest wind is found smack in the middle of the country, between the Rockies and the Mississippi River. Yet the biggest population centers are hundreds of miles away.


A Houston-based energy company says it has the answer: high-voltage direct current lines.

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Renewables developers begin to look beyond tax credits

Some people would say that developers of renewable energy projects are optimists. A rosy outlook would certainly be helpful in an environment in which low natural gas prices are challenging the push toward the Holy Grail of renewable energy, reaching price parity with fossil fuel-fired generation.

That alone could be enough to dim the outlook of a US renewable energy developer, without the added concerns of a tighter banking climate brought about by more restrictive capital requirements and legislative gridlock over renewable incentives such as the production tax credit, which expires at the end of the year.

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