Energy. Nuclear, TPP’s on Coal, Oil & Gas, LNG

Governments in Southeast Europe (SEE) due to insufficient investment in the energy sector after 2010 threatened the darkness, and due to the lack of energy stagnation in economic development – a year back energy experts warn. These countries should quickly move into the construction of new capacity. According to the latest World Bank study said country if they wish to timely prevent oncoming darkness should turn accelerated gasification of the region and the Kosovo coal.

Investment opportunities:

  1. Invest in newly constructed LNG terminals in Croatia and Slovenia.
  2. Invest in modernizing of TPP facilities in SEE countries.
  3. PPP with already existing TPP to expand an existing capacity.
  4. Invest in ecological equipment in the production facilities (TPP, NPP) to cover the requirements of EU and Kyoto’s protocol demands.
  5. Getting the concession for a new coal mines and BOT of TPP in cooperation with a National electrical producer/operator.

There are three nuclear countries in SEE – Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria.

The Slovenian government is seriously considering to increase the strength of the Krsko nuclear power plant for an additional 1000 MW, country is currently a shortage of 400 to 500 MW of new capacity for the production of electricity. Croatia also states that nuclear power is a necessity, because it is the only way that energy is produced economically and environmentally acceptable. The price of oil rises, stocks are reduced, and if Croatia wants the EU must ratify the Kyoto Protocol and reduce CO2 emissions. Due to the necessity of cooling the reactor, nuclear power plants must be on the bank of the Sava, Danube and Adriatic. But Croatia does not have to build a nuclear power plant on its territory. There are indications that some neighbouring countries are interested in a possible joint construction of a nuclear power plant, perhaps in Hungary, or the possible construction of new units within the NE Krsko in Slovenia. True, the listed indications still not official, but that the authorities have to talk with.

Romania has two nuclear reactors generating almost 20 percent of its electricity. Romania’s first commercial nuclear power reactor began operating in 1996. Its second started up in May 2007. China General Nuclear Power (CGN) has agreed to complete two more units.

Romanian government support for nuclear energy is strong. Electricity consumption in Romania has been steady over the last decade. In 2006, 62.7 billion kWh gross was produced, with net exports of 4.3 TWh. Nuclear energy now provides almost 20% of the electricity at very low cost, only hydro (one third of supply) is cheaper. In 2006, 40% of electricity came from coal, 19% from gas, 29% from hydro and 9% from nuclear. In 2010, 34% of electricity came from brown coal, 12% from gas, 33% from hydro and 19% from nuclear.

Bulgaria has two nuclear reactors generating about one-third of its electricity. Two others, shut down under duress as a condition of Bulgaria joining the European Union, could be restarted.

Bulgaria’s first commercial nuclear power reactor began operating in 1974. Government commitment to the future of nuclear energy is strong, though finance is lacking. Construction of a new nuclear plant was planned, but instead, a 1200 MWe unit will be added to the present plant.

In 2012 gross electricity production was 47 TWh, with 23 TWh from coal, 16 TWh nuclear, 2.4 TWh from gasb, 4 TWh hydro, and 2 TWh renewables. With net export of 8 TWh, consumption was 28 TWh.

In 2006 – the last year of operation of the two 405 MWe Kozloduy reactors (units 3&4) – Bulgaria’s National Electricity Company (NEK) produced 45.8 TWh gross and exported 7.8 TWh (net) of this to Greece, Turkey, Serbia and Macedonia. (Bulgaria was vital in supplying power for the 2004 Athens Olympic games.) Of the total generation in 2006, nuclear supplied 19.5 billion kWh (42%). In 2007 – the year after the closure of Kozloduy 3&4 – gross electricity production was 43.3 billion kWh, of which 14.6 billion kWh (34%) was from nuclear. Net exports in 2007 were about 4.5 billion kWh (10%) – down from the 14% average of the preceding years.

TPP on coal are the main share producers of energy in SEE countries

Throughout global crisis and instability of the power market, coal has remained a competitive source of energy. It is particularly favoured for electricity generation by developing economies. As far as EU energy policy, the future of coal is often linked to the CO2 market and the development of the carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. To enable the coal industry to contribute to climate protection, modernisation of existing installations and the construction of new state-of-the-art power plants, as well as the proving of new power plant designs with efficiencies over 50 %, have to be pushed forward. Investment will be needed in both generation and network assets, including conventional power plants, renewable generation, as well as “smart” transmission and distribution grids. In order to promote these developments, policymakers should embrace incentives for energy efficiency improvements along the whole electricity supply chain. As far as the issue of coal is concerned, it is currently the second most important primary energy source, behind oil. Coal has a rapid growth of use which has affected its international trade substantially during the years. As this growth has been considerably stronger for some regions than the others, the coal market has changed. Apart from the spike in the price of coal in 2007-2008, prices have been relatively stable and are predicted to remain so for the foreseeable future despite the growth of consumption. As for any technology choice, there are a number of pros and cons whether to invest in coal generation or not. The drawback regarding this type of technology is its highly unfavourable environmental impact. There are a number of critics claiming that coal-fired electricity generation is facing strong headwinds that will in close future lead to abandoning this type of generation in favour of environmentally more acceptable technologies. Another concern and closely related to the environmental impact is the social acceptability issue. In addition to these two issues, the unpredictable nature of the carbon market might also present a deal-breaker for this type of projects. Requirements for environmental protection and economic viability make high efficiency and operating flexibility a natural matter of course not only in the EU, but also around the world.

Despite problems, there is a number of coal projects currently planned, in the tender process or under construction not only around the world, but also in the EU. Europe’s choice today doesn’t seem to be “either coal or renewables” but “coal and renewables”. This can be confirmed by observing the analysis provided by the World Resources Institute (WRI). Their analysis claims there are currently 1,199 new coal-fired plants, with a total installed capacity of 1,401,278 megawatts (MW), being proposed on a global scale. These projects are spread across 59 countries. It should be noted, however, that the new rising economies of China and India together account for 76 percent of the mentioned proposed new coal power capacities (WRI, 2012). As far as Europe is concerned, it is planning to build 40 GW of new coal-generation plants to replace its ageing coal fleet. In Europe today, there are over 15 GW of coal-fired generation power plants under construction, most of which are in Germany. In addition, Central/Southern Europe is planning to add another 20 GW of new coal-fired generation plants by 2020. Eastern Europe and the Balkans should contribute with an important role in the future of coal power generation is planning to build more than 10 GW of new coal-fired generating plants (Datamonitor, 2013). However, all these should be taken with a certain dose of reserve. First of all, European energy utilities are simply replacing, or planning to replace, their ageing coal-fired generation power plants with newer and higher-efficiency coal plants – not building new capacities. Secondly, the already mentioned difficulties regarding investments in coal-fired power plants proved to be too challenging for a number of projects as several of them have encountered problems that led to delays or even abandonment due to technical, legal and/or financial/economic matters. Taking everything into consideration, the future of coal based electricity generation is uncertain, but at present, it plays an important role in broadening the energy mix and providing for a safe source of supply. What might prove to be of crucial significance is the speed of technological progress of coal based technology. Work is being undertaken in EU, Japan, USA, India and China to develop high temperature (700-720˚C) and high pressure (350-375 bar) systems to increase the efficiency of generation to around 50% LHV and to reduce CO2 emissions (Bugge et al., 2006). Commercialisation at 48% LHV efficiency might be expected around 2020. Whether this transition to high steam temperatures is economical depends not only on the choice of main steam pressure, reheat pressure and feedwater temperature, but also on the range of fuel.

Natural gas become in last 10 years one of the alternative sources to replace the coal like an energy supplement for TPP. This process is most developed in Croatia and Slovenia, where the high and low pressure pipeline net is well developed.

Croatian Plinacro frenetically welcomed the meeting simultaneously with glee as the strong nuclear lobby in this country for a moment caught in his intentions, and reminded them that it will not prevent that in five years, when the gasification word, they arrive at the European summit because in addition to the existing 1670 have another 1,000 newly built highways and regional gas pipeline. According to earlier statements of representatives of Plinacro, the company plans to own the gas system to the highest level and to enable Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania to connect to Croatia’s gas pipeline network.

LNG, which is transported by tankers in the future may exempt the European Union from dependence on imports of Russian gas to EU member coming through the pipeline, reported the “EU Observer”. Recall, the aforementioned pipelines have just caused chaos and New Year with Russian gas. Russia has in fact decided to continue selling gas to Ukraine at a much higher price, after the former Soviet republic orange revolution broke away from Moscow’s sphere of influence. The problem is that a large part of Russian gas deliveries to the EU reaches gas pipelines through Ukraine, which has usurped the part of consignments destined for Europe. So the European Union found itself wedged due to staged or real brawl Kiev and the Kremlin.

That the European Union heavily on liquefied natural gas was confirmed by a spokesman for the European Commission on the issue of energy Fernando Espana.

LNG leaves a number of options for supply and no longer depend on Russia or Kazakhstan, tankers to be delivered from the Middle East, from Venezuela, from all over the world.  The Russians, however, are not much shaken because of this notice. For a simple reason – their Gazprom is already preparing for the largest LNG project, while natural gas will gain from Stokmanovog fields, whose capacity ten times higher, for example, of Norway in the Barents Sea, in which the EU most accounts.

Macedonia hopes accelerated gasification of the country with the blessing of the World Bank, as well as new power potential.

Bulgaria Oil and Natural Gas

An enormous number of geological works for oil and gas deposits prospecting and research have been carried out in the territory of Bulgaria, localized mainly in the territory of North Bulgaria, and in recent years they have also covered part of the Bulgarian aquatory of the Black Sea. As a result, 6 oil and gas-oil deposits, 8 gas deposits and a few deposits of semi-industrial local importance were found.

The main quantities of natural gas for the needs of the users in Bulgaria are from imports, and the only source of supply is the Russian Federation.

The quantity of production of oil in Bulgaria is insignificant. It is carried out by the Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Company in Dolni Dubnik town, privatized in 2004. The company is a concessionaire under 12 concession contracts for the production of oil and/or natural gas in the territory of Bulgaria. The annual output of the developed deposits is about 25,000 tons of crude oil and 6.7 million cu m natural gas, which are completely sold out in the domestic market.

The country’s needs of oil are met mainly by imports. Lukoil Neftochim Bourgas AD is the main importer and processor of oil.

The market of oil and oil products of the country is completely liberalized. The biggest oil refinery of the Balkan Peninsula operates on Bulgaria.