People in Bucharest looking for a clean, fast and secure alternative to move around the city will have the opportunity to do just that starting next week. SPARK, an international brand for e-car sharing services in Europe, will soon start its operations in the capital of Romania with a fleet entirely of electric cars.
The service will be provided by newly founded Romanian company “Spark Car Sharing SRL” that is a part of the international company “SPARK Technologies UAB” based in Lithuania. The SPARK mission is to provide better solutions for transportation in a low-cost and eco-friendly way.
Nerijus Dagilis, the founder and CEO of SPARK Technologies – “As people’s awareness increases, consumer behavior changes, so deliberate and practical use becomes more important and sharing services is more relevant. This consumer demand and successful SPARK experience in Lithuania and Bulgarian has led to the introduction of an electric car sharing network in Romania. We believe that this is one of the attributes of the future that will help a fast developing cities like Bucharest not only to become more modern, but also to solve everyday problems, which are very important for every inhabitant like congestion, air pollution and noise level. These are the reasons that determined us to choose a more cost-effective and ecological solution – the electric cars. It is an advanced vehicle that will no longer be a matter of concern and will be widely used by the majority of the country’s population. An easy-to-access opportunity for everyone to make sure of its reliability, safety and environmental friendliness.”
According to a Statista report, Bucharest placed 11th in the world in a ranking of the cities with the worst traffic congestion. On average one person living in Bucharest loses due to traffic about 103 hours per year, taking into account only the usual daily commute to the office and back.
On average one family is not utilizing their car for more than 10.000 km/year, as 96% of the time the private cars are just parked. Also, car ownership incurs additional costs and financial burdens (annual tax, maintenance fees and similar). Recent studies show that one shared car removes the need for about 14 private cars, which in turn has a beneficial effect on both traffic and parking availability in the cities (besides the decrease of noxious emissions).
Also, according to numbeo.com, Bucharest has the 6th worst pollution index among major cities in Europe. And, while vehicles are not the only air pollution cause for the city, they are among the top 5. By using electric vehicles with virtually no noxious emissions at all, our users will be directly helping to improve the air quality for everyone in the town.
Thus, by using e-car sharing services, we’ll not only help with the congestion, but we’ll also help clean up the air within the city.
As for users, current legislation provides that the use of public parking lots for electric cars is free. Electric cars are allowed to use bus lanes in Bucharest, so electric car drivers can follow quicker routes throughout the city. Also, SPARK users do not have to worry about charging the vehicles or other additional fees for using one of our vehicles as they do with their own cars that run on gas, as the SPARK fleet management team will make sure all cars have enough energy to get you where you want. You just use the car and have no further obligations.
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Crude oil prices fell on Friday as concerns over the outlook for global economic growth outweighed elevated tensions in the Middle East that could disrupt supply routes and send prices higher.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 1.1% at $56.72 per barrel by 0310 GMT. There was no settlement price on Thursday because of the Independence Day holiday in the United States.
Front-month Brent crude futures were down 0.1% at $63.25 per barrel, after closing down 0.8% on Thursday.
Analysts said oil was under pressure because fears over future demand amid trade disputes threatening global economic growth. But losses were checked by commitment to cut production from the world’s largest exporters – including members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers such as Russia, a grouping known as OPEC+.
“Global growth remains the main factor holding back crude prices,” said Alfonso Esparza, senior analyst at OANDA. “The OPEC+ deal will keep prices from falling too hard, but there must be an end to trade protectionism to assure the demand for energy products recovers.”
New orders for U.S. factory goods fell for a second straight month in May, government data showed on Wednesday, stoking economic concerns.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday reported a weekly decline of 1.1 million barrels in crude stocks, much smaller than the 5 million barrel draw reported by the American Petroleum Institute earlier in the week.
That suggests oil demand in the United States, the world’s biggest crude consumer, could be slowing amid signs of a weakening economy.
Countering the downward pressure, ongoing tensions in the Middle East also offered some support.
British Royal Marines seized a giant Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar on Thursday for trying to take oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions, a dramatic step that drew Tehran’s fury and could escalate its confrontation with the West.
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Romania’s state-owned power distribution and supply company Electrica is interested in buying the assets owned by Czech energy company CEZ in Romania, once they are put up for sale, Electrica CEO Georgeta Corina Popescu has said in an interview with Agerpres, Romania Insider reported.
In addition to eyeing CEZ’s assets in Romania, Electrica is also considering entering the energy production segment, Popescu said.
The sale of CEZ’s assets, however, seems to be a complex transaction, Popescu said. “[…] I do not know for now what is the privatization strategy CEZ will use: will it want to sell everything to a single company, will it make it under a competitive process, will it sell separately the business segments? We do not yet have any concrete information,” she added.
In Romania, the Czech company is involved in the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources, as well as in electricity distribution and sales.
CEZ’s assets in Romania include a 600 MW wind farm developed in a EUR 1.1 billion investment. The Fantanele-Cogealac wind farm in the region of Dobruja (Dobrogea) has 240 GE 2.5 MW turbines and produces 1.2 million kWh of electricity annually, according to CEZ Romania’s website.
Among other assets in Romania, CEZ also owns TMK Hydroenergy Power, which operates four hydropower plants (Grebla, Crainicel 1, Crainicel 2, and Breazova) with an installed capacity of around 22 MW.
CEZ in deal to sell Bulgarian assets for EUR 335 million
On June 21, CEZ Group signed a contract with holding company Eurohold Bulgaria for the sale of its assets in Bulgaria. Eurohold will pay EUR 335 million for CEZ’s Bulgarian assets.
The contract on the sale of CEZ’s assets in Bulgaria to Eurohold is subject to regulatory approvals of the Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition (KZK) and the Bulgarian Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (KEVR).
CEZ’s previous attempt to sell its Bulgarian assets to Inercom Bulgaria did not receive regulatory approval.
In Bulgaria, the CEZ group distributes and sells electricity in the western part of the country and generates electricity, mostly in a coal-fired power plant, according to its website.
CEZ’s assets in Bulgaria, subject to the sale, comprise power utility CEZ Distribution Bulgaria, power supplier CEZ Electro Bulgaria, licensed electricity trader CEZ Trade Bulgaria, IT services company CEZ ICT Bulgaria, solar park Free Energy Project Oreshetz, biomass-fired power plant Bara Group and CEZ Bulgaria.
Israel-focused gas driller Energean said on Thursday it will buy Italian energy group Edison’s oil and natural gas unit for an initial consideration of $750 million.
The acquisition would significantly expand Energean’s operations in the growing eastern Mediterranean gas hub, with a significant presence in Egypt’s offshore basin.
Energean said it will likely pay an additional $100 million after gas production from the Cassiopea field in offshore Italy begins, which is expected in 2022.
Reuters reported on Wednesday that Energean was the frontrunner to acquire these assets.
Energean expects the expanded group to produce over 140 kilobarrels of oil equivalent per day (kboed/d) in 2021 when the Karish and Tanin development projects come onstream.
The London-listed driller said Edison’s portfolio, which includes assets in Italy, Algeria, Croatia, the British and Norwegian North Sea as well as Greece, adds net working interest production of 69 kboed/d.
Energean said it will finance the initial consideration for the deal through a short-term loan facility of $600 million and up to $265 million through equity financing.
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The death of Opec, the oil-producers cartel, has been predicted many times in the past, but rarely from a member of the club which is why this time it might be correct.
So, when Iran’s Oil Minister, Bijan Zanganeh, warned earlier this week on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries that a private production deal negotiated between Russia and Saudi Arabia “threatened the existence of Opec” he was not exaggerating.
What particularly annoyed Zanganeh was what he called unilateralism, the teaming of two big oil producers to effectively decide what all Opec members should do.
Not A Happy Club
Adding insult to injury was the fact that one of the countries deciding oil production quotas for the next nine months is not a member of Opec (Russia is classified as an observer) while the other, Saudi Arabia is a regional enemy.
But, behind the latest oil production and price-rigging exercise is an alarming development that no-one in Opec is prepared to admit and that’s the fact that the cartel and its friends have ceded control of oil to the U.S. and will struggle to get it back before the renewable energy revolution hits full steam.
The best way to demonstrate the transfer of oil-control to the U.S. (or should that be return of control) is to consider two questions: which country has the greatest demand for oil and which country is the biggest producer?
U.S. Control Of Supply And Demand
To both questions the answer is the U.S., and while there might be an argument over the precise numbers because of Opec’s artificial production controls the reality is that the U.S. has stormed back into global oil production leadership courtesy of output from shale and other hard rocks which have been tamed by modern technologies such as directional drilling and rock fracturing.
The U.S. is also the leader in total oil and gas demand, with China a close competitor in a global economy which is showing signs of slowing which will further reduce demand for oil.
This is Opec’s ultimate problem because while the cartel’s members might believe they control the oil market, and can increase and decrease production to manipulate the price, the reality is that the game has changed from a time when a small group of oil producers could hold the world to ransom.
Having a supply competitor in the U.S. is a bad enough for Opec, but having a rival which is also the world’s major oil user is double trouble, especially as the reason the U.S. has reclaimed is oil leadership is not simply a matter of having the right geology, it’s more about having the right technology — and that technology is transferable from one oil-rich location to another.
Opec Cuts Matched By A U.S. Increase
The latest production cuts by Opec and Russia might have the desired effect of boosting the oil price though in doing that it also encourages increased U.S. shale output.
In a way, Opec is simply subsidizing U.S. shale-oil production as its members try to get the price to a level where they can balance their budgets.
The irony of what’s happening can best be seen in comments from the Saudi oil minister, Khalid al-Falih, who said after the Opec meeting that U.S. shale oil would one day peak and go the same way as every other oil basin.
“It will peak, plateau and then decline,” al-Falih said.
Even Saudi Oil Will Decline
He’s absolutely right because that’s what happens to every oilfield, and mine, over time.
But what he neglected to add is that the same process of peaking, plateauing and declining is what will also happen to Saudi and Russian oilfields.
What will last a lot longer than the geology of those fields is the technology to extract difficult or unconventional oil and gas in the U.S. and the rest of the world as the technology is mastered and exported.
Opec might not be dead but it’s certainly a club with some anxious members who are starting to worry how long they can stick together.
Source: Forbes/Tim Treadgold
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The heat wave that hit Romania and the rest of Europe during the past days has pushed up the electricity consumption up to 8,000 MW during the peak hours which resulted in considerably higher price of the electricity traded on the spot (day-ahead) market. The daily average price of the electricity on the DAM jumped for the first time this summer above RON 300 (EUR 63) per MWh, Profit.ro reported.
The average price of electricity delivered on Tuesday, July 2 rose by 7.7% compared to the previous day, reaching almost EUR 65, or RON 303.2 per MWh, an advance of 86.6% a day. The electricity delivered during the peak hours hit RON 396.2 per MWh for the energy supplied on Tuesday 4PM to 5PM.
The previous record this summer was on June 27, when the average daily electricity price on the DAM market was RON 265 lei or EUR 56.1 per MWh.
The hydro power plants increased their output to 3400 MW, contributing the largest part to the domestic output. The coal-fired power plants generated about 1,700 MW while Nucleaelctrica operated at its full capacity (1,400 MW). The gas-fired plants, including the one operated by OMV Petrom at Brazi, produced electricity close to the currently available maximum of 1,200 MW. Solar power generation has reached 750 MW, but the wind farms’ output was very small due to the adverse natural circumstances.
Despite the high consumption, with little exceptions, Romania has recently been a net exporter of electricity, which means that the price pressure came from abroad, from Hungary. The other two markets interconnected with Romania, those of Czech Republic and Slovakia, posted prices EUR 20 euro per MWh lower than in Romania and Hungary on Tuesday, after the spread was only EUR 12 on Monday.
The Bloomberg agency has made a ranking of countries according to the price of the gasoline A-95.Bulgaria has the cheapest but at the same time the most inaccessible fuel in the whole European Union, according to Econ.bg.
Bulgaria has the cheapest fuel in the EU with an average price of A-95 of $ 1.33 per liter, which means the country ranks 25th in the world.
It is most expensive to fill the car tank in Hong Kong, where the liter costs $ 2.10.
In the Accessibility Index, however, Bulgaria lags behind all European countries, even those outside the EU, and ranks 53th out of a total of 61 countries. According to the agency, the average Bulgarian should spend as much as 5.46% of his daily wage of 24.26 dollars in order to afford a liter of petrol.
Bloomberg summarized the situation in Bulgaria as follows: “Ask the Bulgarians whether gasoline is expensive and they will most likely shake their heads because that means ”yes” in Bulgaria. Low incomes and moderate gasoline prices make it difficult for Bulgarians to fill the tank. ”
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Greece’s biggest electricity utility Public Power Corp. (PPC) posted a wider loss on Friday for the first quarter, as higher costs for carbon emission rights and the sale of power to alternative producers at below-cost prices were hurting profit.
PPC, with 77 percent of the domestic retail market, is seen as being key to the country’s energy security. A large loss it reported for 2018 and about 2.4 billion euros of arrears from unpaid bills accumulated during the Greek debt crisis have raised concerns over its finances.
The utility, which is 51 percent state owned, reported a net loss of 205 million euros (184 million pounds) for the first three months of the year versus a loss of 12.6 million euros for the same period last year.
Under a post-bailout arrangement with its lenders to help open up the electricity market, PPC needs to sell specific quantities of power to alternative producers at below-cost prices.
PPC’s shares plunged last week after a media report said the utility was in need of fresh funds to avert banks from calling in loans.
But chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis said on Thursday that the utility is not collapsing and that its problems can be addressed.
“First quarter 2019 financial results, following the respective figures for Q4 2018, reflect the negative
impact of exogenous factors, beyond the control of the Company”, Panagiotakis said in a statement.
He said that PPC will take additional actions to collect its arrears “in the next few days”.
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The Commission has published its assessment of Member States’ draft plans to implement the EU’s Energy Union objectives, and in particular the agreed EU 2030 energy and climate targets.
The Commission’s assessment finds that the national plans already represent significant efforts but points to several areas where there is room for improvement, notably as concerns targeted and individualised policies to ensure the delivery of the 2030 targets and to stay on the path towards climate neutrality in the longer term. The European Union is the first major economy to put in place a legally binding framework to deliver on its pledges under the Paris Agreement and this is the first time that Member States have prepared draft integrated national energy and climate plans (NECPs). Yet, with plans currently falling short both in terms of renewables and energy efficiency contributions, reaching the EU’s overall climate and energy goals will require a collective step up of ambition.
Vice-President for the Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič said: ”These first national energy and climate plans bring the Energy Union to the national level: like the EU, Member States all present policies for the climate and energy transition in an integrated way and with a ten-year perspective. Member States have all produced impressive drafts in a relatively short time, but no draft is perfect. Final plans are due by the end of the year and our recommendations show where more effort is needed: for example, stronger ambition, more policy detail, better specified investment needs, or more work on social fairness. Clarity and predictability are a real competitive advantage for the European energy and climate policy. So let’s make the best of this opportunity and give the national plans a solid final push.”
Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete said: “Last November we proposed that the European Union should become climate neutral by 2050. We have shown and led the way forward. It is good to see that a growing number of Member States are following our lead and working towards that goal. Having evaluated Member States draft national plans, I am positive about the significant efforts that have been made. However, in the final plans even more ambition is needed to set the EU on the right track in fighting climate change and modernising our economy. I invite the Council to open a debate around the main priorities identified by the Commission and help ensure that the final plans contain an adequate level of ambition.”
The EU is committed to delivering on its commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to delivering secure, affordable and sustainable energy for its citizens. We have created a unique system of energy and climate governance where both the Union and its Member States plan together and deliver collectively on our 2030 targets and on a socially-fair and cost-effective transition to a climate neutral economy by 2050.
In its analysis of the draft national plans, the Commission looked at their aggregated contribution to meeting the EU’s Energy Union objectives and 2030 targets. As they stand, the draft NECPs fall short both in terms of renewables and energy efficiency contributions. For renewables, the gap could be as big as 1.6 percentage points. For energy efficiency, the gap can be as big as 6.2 percentage points (if considering primary energy consumption) or 6 percentage points (if considering final energy consumption).
The good news is that Member States now have 6 months to raise their national level of ambition. The Commission’s recommendations and detailed assessments aim to help Member States finalise their plans by the end of 2019, and to implement them effectively in the years to come. The national plans should provide clarity and predictability for businesses and the financial sector to stimulate necessary private investments. The plans will also facilitate Member States’ programming of funding from the next multi-annual financial framework 2021-2027.
The EU’s Energy Union laws require Member States to take due account of the Commission’s recommendations or make public their reasons not to. Member States are also required to involve the public in the preparation of the final plans by the end of the year.
The deadline for submitting the final plans is set for 31 December 2019. Today’s recommendations and the Commission’s Communication are part of a back and forth process with Member States that will ensure that by then the final versions of the NECPs are sufficiently detailed, robust and ambitious.
The Commission stands ready to support Member States in their efforts to finalise their NECPs by the end of 2019, building on the excellent cooperative process to date.
Member States are required, under the new Regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union and climate action (part of the Clean energy for all Europeans package), which entered into force on 24 December 2018, to establish a 10-year national energy and climate plan for the period from 2021 to 2030.
Member States were required to submit their draft NECPs by the end of 2018, which would then be the subject of an in-depth assessment by the Commission. The Regulation states that if the draft NECPs do not sufficiently contribute to reaching the Energy Union’s objectives – individually and/or collectively – then the Commission may, by the end of June 2019, make recommendations for Member States to amend their draft plans.
The final NECPs for the period 2021-2030 must be submitted by Member States by the end of 2019.
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The European Commission has published (21/6) a series of recommendations on the modernisation of buildings, specifying how Member States should implement the revised building modernisation aspects of the Energy performance of buildings directive (EPBD) 2018/844 to national law. The recommendations come as a response to requests from Member States, and include guidance on building automation and controls, e-mobility and inspections.
The building sector is the single largest energy consumer in the EU and 75% of the EU’s buildings are energy inefficient. A modernised and refurbished building stock therefore has a key role to play in the transition to a smarter, renewable-intensive and decarbonised energy system and, in the longer term, to a climate neutral economy.
The EPBD is the main legislative instrument for the promotion of energy performance improvements in buildings within the EU, and these recommendations on building modernisation follows the recommendations on building renovation that was published on 16 May 2019. Taken together, the two series of recommendations aim to ensure a uniform understanding across Member States in the preparation of their transposition measures, keeping in mind that this does not alter the legal effects of the directive itself.
The revisions to the EPBD was the first dossier in the Clean energy for all Europeans package to be adopted, entering into force on 9 July 2018. Member States have until 10 March 2020 to transpose the new and revised provisions of the directive into national law.
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The liquefied natural gas (LNG) market is changing with the introduction of new technology and advent of new demand sources. How will evolving business models and new technologies shape the LNG market of tomorrow?
The global natural gas supply industry is shifting from conventional business practices due to increased resource availability, technological omnipotence, and new demand sources. This has triggered the emergence of new business models that are impacting the market. These changing dynamics has led to the rise of small-scale buyers and sellers, portfolio companies, and tolling liquefiers, while long-term contracts still make up the bulk of current trade. To assess this impact, Deloitte conducted a survey of LNG market executives from across the world and value chain, including producers, traders, buyers, and conducted interviews with industry thought leaders.
This report expands on our initial analysis in, Work in progress: How can business models adapt to evolving LNG markets, and includes an overview of the shifting LNG landscape, the key trends, evolving supply and demand conditions, and the impact of new technologies. It also highlights the major technologies and trends that will drive this evolution in LNG.
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EU environment ministers met on Wednesday (26 June) to take stock of how a landmark climate deal fell short of a final agreement last week. Signs now suggest that the European Council will stick to its end-of-year deadline and Poland will finally get on board.
Twenty-four member states swung behind a climate agreement for 2050 last Thursday (20 June) but the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary and Poland stopped short of backing a plan that needs unanimous support.
A “vast majority” of countries now agree that the EU economy should slash emissions to a net-zero level by 2050, in order to keep up the bloc’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. But the unwilling four were left unconvinced by the deadline.
At an environment council in Luxembourg on Wednesday, the climate plan was on the agenda and the four hold-outs explained why they were not able to give their blessing last week.
Poland, labelled by EU diplomats as “the ringleader” of the four countries, said at the meeting that it is “ready to work intensively in the coming months” to ensure a deal can be brokered by the end of the year.
In the Council conclusions from last week, member states agreed to finish all their preparatory work in 2019 so that an agreement can be reached in “early 2020”.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters after last week’s summit that he had vetoed the deal to “protect Poland’s businesses and citizens”. Some of the country’s media reported that Morawiecki had saved them from a German-led scheme to sell clean energy tech.
Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Friday (28 June) in Osaka at the G20 that the climate neutrality plan is “good for the planet, it is good for business”.
But at the Luxembourg meeting, Poland’s representative also suggested that a “compensation mechanism” must be established to help out countries hit by the “deep economic and social changes”. That is likely to be the proposed ‘Just Transition Fund’.
MEPs want nearly €5 billion of the EU’s next multiannual financial framework (MFF) to be allocated to the fund. MFF talks are still ongoing, so the Poles will be keen to use their leverage during the negotiations.
On Thursday (27 June), undersecretary of state for energy Tomasz Dąbrowski said at an event in London that “we will probably subscribe to this target [net-zero emissions by 2050], it’s just we need to know what the cost will be, and in what way we can mitigate the social impact of the whole transformation”.
Dąbrowski added that his services estimate that Poland will need €900bn to ditch coal completely from its energy system without massive disruptions. “If you compare these two numbers [the €5bn transition fund and €900bn], you see a huge gap.”
Poland’s excuses were mirrored at the Luxembourg meeting by the Czech Republic, which has also looked to highlight the massive endeavour that will be required by the 2050 strategy.
A €26bn war chest will also be available over the next decade for modernisation efforts. The money will be sourced by selling carbon permits from the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary and Poland will all be eligible to draw from it.
Hungary also insisted at the Luxembourg meeting that the climate debate must continue at the highest level. Heads of state and government will next meet in October, a month after a UN summit in New York that was touted as the EU’s moment to shine.
Budapest was expected to support the climate push after announcing before the Council summit that it was in favour of carbon neutrality by 2050. Its one caveat, though, was that the energy transition should be based on nuclear power.
That stance was reflected in its environment council contribution, which insisted that “technological neutrality” must be taken into account. Nuclear power is currently on course to be excluded from the EU’s green investment label scheme.
Estonia, the other hold-out, revealed that it does indeed support the principle of climate neutrality and agreed with countries like France, the Netherlands and Spain that the 2050 plan is an opportunity “not a burden”.
Work is currently ongoing in Tallinn to analyse how the plan can actually be implemented. Commission sources told EURACTIV that the Luxembourg meeting was a positive course correction in that regard after last week’s disappointment.
EU climate chief Miguel Arias Cañete told ministers that the Commission will now prepare the enabling framework around the plan, in order to show other countries how climate neutrality can be achieved.
Many of the 24 countries now converted to the 2050 cause reiterated arguments that have already been made about climate damages – an eventual boost to GDP and jobs, as well as reduced health costs and improved air quality.
Portugal also mentioned risks like desertification, forest fires and coastal erosion. Spain is currently battling a massive blaze in the northeast of the country, with 500 firefighters dispatched to the area.
Strong winds and high temperatures have fanned flames that have burned through 5,000 hectares and could destroy a total of 20,000. Hundreds of farm animals have reportedly died in the inferno so far.
Investors in energy projects, particularly those in renewable energy projects, have been urging Romania’s authorities since 2012 to enable them to trade electricity yet to be produced by their future power plants, according to the report, which cited Profit.ro.
Currently, only producers licensed as such by the market regulator ANRE can trade on the electricity market managed by the Romanian Power Exchange (OPCOM), the report recalled.
The draft law should introduce an exception to this rule, which would allow investors developing an electricity production capacity to sell power to be produced in the future on a dedicated market platform, in what would enable them to obtain bank guarantees needed to obtain financing.
The draft law also envisages more flexible contracts on the already existing wholesale market. Another important innovation of the draft concerns capacity mechanisms, under which certain generation units, particularly coal-fired plants, would receive subsidies to maintain their capacity for emergency situations or peak hours, according to the report.Licenses for plants with combined capacity of 8 GW to be revoked
Earlier this year, Doru Visan, State Secretary at the Romanian Energy Ministry, announced that the Romanian government would cancel operating licensed for power production facilities with a combined capacity of some 8,000 MW, out of the country’s total 24,000 MW, according to the Romanian media.
The capacities in question are outdated and practically can no longer be used due to financial, environmental, and other reasons, and revoking their licenses is necessary to encourage investors to build new energy facilities, Visan said.
The move is seen as important for ensuring Romania does not lose its energy independence in the future.
Although Romania has an official installed capacity of 22 GW, the average capacity used to deliver to the system is around 7 GW, according to data from the CEE Bankwatch Network.
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A brief look at the causes and effects of high temperatures across the continent.
Is this a record-breaking heatwave?
Temperature records for this time of year have already been broken, or look likely to be broken imminently, across much of Europe including Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland and Austria. The weather in June is usually slightly cooler in Europe, building up to highs later in the summer. However, there was also a June heatwave last year, with prolonged high temperatures across much of the northern hemisphere, accompanied by a drought in many areas.
Will it carry on for long?
In the UK, temperatures have reached the high 20s in Scotland, Wales and south-west England, and may top 30C in some parts, according to the Met Office. On Saturday, temperatures will rise further in parts of central and eastern England, with 30C to 34C possible. But a cold front will reach the country on Sunday, lowering temperatures again.
Why is it so hot?
Warm air is rising across Europe from north Africa, bringing high temperatures right across the continent. The UK has remained cooler, partly as a result of being further from the source of the warm air and partly because of the cooling effects of the North Sea, Met Office experts said.
Is this heatwave a result of climate breakdown?
It is not possible to pin the current heatwave definitively on climate change, because the weather varies so much naturally. Moreover, the likely effects of climate change are not simple. For example, heavy rain and cloudy weather across swathes of northern Europe, including the UK, are likely to become more common as a result of the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causing the jet stream weather system to become fixed in position.
However, this year’s weather is certainly in line with the predictions scientists have made of rising temperatures, more heatwaves and prolonged droughts interspersed with periods of heavy flooding in some areas.
Shouldn’t we be enjoying it?
Heatwaves can have pleasant effects, with long sunny days encouraging people into parks and on to beaches, and they certainly bring a smile to the faces of ice-cream sellers.
However, the body’s ability to regulate its own temperature is crucial; babies are less well able to regulate their temperature and must be kept in well-ventilated conditions. Older people also lose their regulating abilities as they age and can quickly overheat.
In the European heatwave of 2003, there were about 70,000 excess deaths attributed to the long hot spell. People with underlying illnesses can also have problems, and even those who are fit and healthy can experience difficulty sleeping and discomfort, so people are advised to stay hydrated and wear loose clothing at night.
Maintenance at Norway’s three main plants, Nyhamna, Kollsnes and Kaarstoe, is conducted annually and the country’s gas output, vital for British and central European customers, is reduced as a result, affecting fuel prices around the continent.
The new robots gather information that Gassco can use to optimize its maintenance plans, while inspection robots can replace time-consuming and costly inspections by humans and significantly cut downtime for certain plant assets.
“The pre-work and after-work you need to do to prepare the vessel to be safe and send an inspector in there take time and are costly … Now we have reduced this time by 50-80%,” said Haakon Hilmar Ferkingstad, senior engineer at Gassco.
The new equipment includes Bike, a small magnetic robot that Gassco has started using at Kaarstoe’s and Nyhamna’s pressure vessels, and the snake-like machine, which will inspect pipelines at Nyhamna later this year.
The robots were invented by a European Union co-funded program called Petrobot and adapted for Gassco’s needs by General Electric.
Norway last year piped 114.2 bcm of gas to Europe, the second highest level on record.
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Thordon Bearings Inc. reported that its water-lubricated SXL turbine guide bearings installed as part of the re-powering of Norway’s Raanaasfoss 1 hydro plant have experienced almost zero wear after 23,887 hours of continuous operation on the first installed unit.
During routine inspections of the 13.5 MW turbines, commissioned by Voith Hydro in 2013, the guide bearings – the operator’s first experience with water-lubricated bearings – showed “almost no wear at all”, with a measured diametric bearing clearance less than 0.30mm (0.012”) on the longest running Unit 1. All remaining turbines (Units 2 to 6) had very low measured diametric clearances of between 0.30 and 0.50mm (0.012” and 0.020”).
When first installed, the SXL turbine guide bearings had an initial design clearance of 0.65mm (0.026”), allowing for up to 0.33mm (0.013”) of water absorption into the bearing material, expected over the first months of operation. The fact that the measured clearance values are now lower than the starting clearances, confirms that the water absorption has taken place as predicted, and bearing wear from normal turbine operations is negligible.
Bjørnar Petersen, Mechanical Engineer, Akershus Energy, said: “We are very pleased with the performance of the Thordon technology, our first water-lubricated guide bearings. It’s still early days, but we have noticed there is considerably less maintenance and monitoring to do compared with oil-lubricated systems. Operational costs have also been reduced as we no longer have to purchase lubricating oils.”
When Akershus Energy embarked on a project to update the 1922-built plant, the first to provide electricity to the city of Oslo, water-lubricated bearings were not initially considered.
“The Thordon technology was presented by Voith and we thought this was a good solution, not least for environmental reasons. We are pleased they recommended the system to us,” said Petersen.
While turbine performance was a key driver in the decision to re-turbine, environmental consideration was also high on the agenda.
“The operator wanted the most environmentally-safe turbines possible,” said Tommy Holmgren, Sales Director – Duwel Group, Thordon Bearings’ Norwegian distributor. “The selection of a water-lubricated solution for the lower guide bearing instead of the more traditional oil-lubricated design allowed the bearing to be cooled and lubricated with the same river water that is powering the Voith turbine.”
The water-lubricated bearings completely eliminate the risk of oil leakage contaminating the turbine’s discharge or tail water, as can happen with older oil/Babitt bearing assemblies. Not only does a water-lubricated bearing help protect the environment, it also delivers operational and maintenance advantages over original oil-lubricated bearing systems.
“The reduced maintenance requirement is largely due to the unique tapered keyset feature of the Thordon bearing, which reduces downtime during bearing inspection or replacement as it facilitates easy removal of the polymer bearing shells without removing the shaft or bearing housing,” said Holmgren.
Greg Auger, Business Development Manager, Clean Power Generation, Thordon Bearings said: “We are delighted that Akershus Energy’s first use of water-lubricated turbine guide bearings has proven a positive experience, commercially, technically and environmentally. The SXL bearings installed in the plant are currently showing extremely low wear rates and will hopefully be able to last even longer than the oil bearing designs in the original configuration.”
Based on the bearing installation projects Thordon has been involved with to date, operators that have converted to a hydrodynamic water-lubricated main guide bearing have not only taken the environmental lead over competitors but found that the solution pays commercially.
Indeed, Bjørnar Petersen acknowledged that the re-powering project of Raanaasfoss 1 came under budget by about NOK10 million (USD1.15 million), due to “the smoothness of the installation”. The first unit was commissioned in December 2013, with the sixth and final unit following in spring 2016.
Thordon Bearings is now discussing projects to retrofit the turbine guide and wicket gate bearings of other hydro plants in the Akershus Energy portfolio.
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Razvan Nicolescu, newly appointed partner with the Consulting practice of Deloitte Romania, also takes on a regional role, by becoming Central Europe leader for gas, oil and chemicals sector.
“Becoming a partner is the highest accolade in one’s career in professional services as it acknowledges the ultimate level of technical expertise, client service and talent development. I welcome Razvan in our partners group and I am confident his professionalism, determination and international exposure will contribute substantially to the value we bring to our clients in the energy field,” said Alexandru Reff, Country Managing Partner, Deloitte Romania and Republic of Moldova.
In his new role of Central Europe Sector Leader, Razvan Nicolescu will focus on large oil, gas and chemicals companies, by serving both local companies and multi-national clients. He will also drive the development of sector-specific service offerings to help clients address urgent needs such as cyber security, regulatory change and digitalization of processes.
“I congratulate Razvan for stepping up to a regional sector leadership role soon after becoming a partner and I believe he will contribute to the consolidation of Deloitte’s regional leadership position in the energy sector. The role of the sector leader is to bring Deloitte expertise from around the world to our clients as they face challenges deriving from the energy transition, digitalization and tougher competition,” said Alastair Teare, CEO, Deloitte Central Europe.
Razvan Nicolescu joined Deloitte in 2015 and soon thereafter became the leader for the energy and resources practice in Deloitte Romania, providing strategic direction and facilitating the cooperation of dozens of Deloitte professionals who specialize in this critical industry. Razvan is a highly respected and widely recognized expert in energy field, with solid experience in both the private and the public sectors. He has served as regulatory affairs director of OMV Petrom, as the Chairman of the Board of the European Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, as the Romanian Energy Attaché to the European Union and Romanian minister for energy without political affiliation.
Razvan graduated from the Polytechnic University of Bucharest with the specialization in electrical engineering. He also graduated the MBA program of the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management and attended several executives programs at Harvard Business School.
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European Union states were at loggerheads on Monday over starting talks with Albania and North Macedonia to enter the bloc, while Cyprus threatened to veto any agreement on future enlargement unless the EU toughens its line on Turkish drilling.
EU ministers from the bloc’s 28 states meet in Luxembourg on Tuesday to discuss starting formal membership negotiations with the two Balkan countries a year after France and the Netherlands had blocked it, demanding more reforms in the fear of upsetting their parliaments and voters at home.
North Macedonia has since sealed a landmark deal with Greece, ending a decades-old name dispute and prompting a dozen EU states to publicly call to reward Skopje.
At stake is also the EU’s own credibility and the bloc’s willingness to act against what it sees as growing influence by Russia and other foreign powers in the region still scarred by wars fought along religious and ethnic lines in the 1990s.
But national diplomats preparing the Tuesday meeting failed to reach an agreement on a joint legal statement, which needs unanimous backing of all EU states to be approved.
“There has been a massive disagreement and it’s not sure at all that ministers tomorrow will be able to find an agreement,” an EU diplomat said.
Rifts persisted on the latest draft text, including where it would say that enlargement would also depend on the EU’s ability to reform itself and effectively integrate any new members.
The latest – but still disputed – draft, which was seen by Reuters, would push any decision on North Macedonia and Albania to October and after the German parliament is due to look into the matter.
Complicating matters further, Cyprus has threatened to block the whole text on the future prospects of countries willing to join the EU – a group that also includes Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Balkans.
Diplomats said Nicosia was demanding a tougher EU line on Turkey over offshore drilling in eastern Mediterranean, which the Greek Cypriot government says violates its exclusive commercial area.
Cyprus and Greece said they could seek EU sanctions against Turkey, though the bloc is not seen acting on that for now.
EU ministers meeting on Tuesday – as well as the EU’s national leaders due to meet in Brussels on Thursday and Friday – would, however, issue a warning to Ankara.
The current language of the draft ministerial statement says Turkey “continues to move further away from the European Union” and calls on Ankara to stop “illegal” drilling. Turkey says the area is on its own continental shelf.
Diplomats said Cyprus was seeking a clearer threat that, should Ankara not change tack, the EU could formally end talks on upgrading its customs union with Turkey and on the right for visa-free travel for Turkish citizens traveling to the EU, as well as cutting funds for the key NATO ally.
The EU formally halted Turkey’s long-stalled membership bid over President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s sweeping crackdown on critics following a failed 2016 coup. While the relationship is tense, the EU still depends on Turkey on security issues, as well as migration.
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Two oil tankers were attacked on Thursday and left adrift in the Gulf of Oman, driving up oil prices and stoking fears of a new confrontation between Iran and the United States.
The White House said President Donald Trump had been briefed and that the U.S. government would continue to assess the situation. Washington accused Tehran of being behind a similar attack on May 12 on four tankers in the same area, a vital shipping route through which much of the world’s oil passes.
Tensions between Iran and the United States, along with its allies including Saudi Arabia, have risen since Washington pulled out of a deal last year between Iran and global powers that aimed to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
Iran has repeatedly warned it would block the Strait of Hormuz, near where the attacks happened, if it cannot sell its oil due to U.S. sanctions.
No one has claimed Thursday’s attacks and no one has specifically blamed them on any party.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to deliver remarks to the media at 1815 GMT, the State Department said without elaborating.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the incidents as “suspicious” on Twitter and called for regional dialogue. Tehran has denied responsibility for the May 12 attacks.
The Saudi-led military coalition, which is battling the Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen, described Thursday’s events as a “major escalation”.
Russia, one of Iran’s main allies, was quick to urge caution, saying no one should rush to conclusions about the incident or use it to put pressure on Tehran.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States: “Facts must be established and responsibilities clarified.”
He warned that the world cannot afford “a major confrontation in the Gulf region”.
Council diplomats said the United States told them it planned to raise the issue of “safety and freedom of navigation” in the Gulf during a closed-door meeting of the Security Council later on Thursday.
“It’s unacceptable for any party to attack commercial shipping and today’s attacks on ships in the Gulf of Oman raise very serious concerns,” acting U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Jonathan Cohen told the U.N. meeting.
Crude prices climbed as much as 4% after the attacks near the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial shipping artery for Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, and other Gulf energy producers.
“We need to remember that some 30% of the world’s (seaborne) crude oil passes through the straits. If the waters are becoming unsafe, the supply to the entire Western world could be at risk,” said Paolo d’Amico, chairman of INTERTANKO tanker association.
The crew of the Norwegian-owned Front Altair abandoned ship in waters between Gulf Arab states and Iran after a blast that a source said might have been from a magnetic mine. The ship was ablaze, sending a huge plume of smoke into the air.
The crew were picked up by a passing ship and handed to an Iranian rescue boat.
The second ship, a Japanese-owned tanker, was hit by a suspected torpedo, the firm that chartered the ship said. Its crew were also picked up safely. However, a person with knowledge of the matter said the attacks did not use torpedoes.
The Bahrain-based U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet said it had assisted the two tankers after receiving distress calls.
Iran has not openly acted on its threat to close the Strait of Hormuz even though U.S. sanctions have seen its oil exports drop from 2.5 million barrels per day in April last year to around 400,000 bpd in May.
Both sides have said they want to avoid war.
Bob McNally, president of the U.S. consultancy Rapidan Energy Group, said “we see this as Iran trying to get negotiating leverage it doesn’t have”, and described the attacks as “upping the ante but not going all in”.
“I don’t think it tips us over into direct military confrontation. It is still deniable and denied. This is still going to be like the attack last month – everyone is denying it. It’s a blunt message.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was visiting Tehran when Thursday’s attacks occurred, carrying a message for Iran from Trump, who has demanded that the Islamic Republic curb its military programmes and its influence in the Middle East.
Abe, whose country was a big importer of Iranian oil until Washington ratcheted up sanctions, urged all sides not to let tensions in the area escalate.
Iran said it would not respond to Trump’s overture, the substance of which was not made public.
Britain said it was “deeply concerned” about the attacks. Germany, which like Britain remains a signatory to the nuclear pact with Iran, said the “situation is dangerous” and all sides needed to avoid an escalation.
The Arab League said some parties were “trying to instigate fires in the region”, without naming a particular party.
Oman and the United Arab Emirates, which have coastlines on the Gulf of Oman, did not immediately issue any public comment.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE, both majority Sunni Muslim nations that have a long-running rivalry with predominantly Shi’ite Iran, have previously said attacks on oil assets in the Gulf pose a risk to global oil supplies and regional security.
Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement said the Japanese tanker Kokuka Courageous was damaged in a “suspected attack” that breached the hull above the water line while transporting methanol from Saudi Arabia to Singapore.
Japan’s Kokuka Sangyo, owner of the Kokuka Courageous, said the ship was hit twice over a three-hour period.
A shipping broker said the vessel might have been struck by a magnetic mine. “Kokuka Courageous is adrift without any crew on board,” the source said.
The crew of about 21 or 22 people was picked up by the Coastal Ace vessel, Denis Bross of Acta Marine in the Netherlands told Reuters. He said they were handed to a U.S. Navy vessel.
Taiwan’s state oil refiner CPC said the Front Altair, owned by Norway’s Frontline, was “suspected of being hit by a torpedo” around 0400 GMT carrying a Taiwan-bound cargo of 75,000 tonnes of petrochemical feedstock naphtha, which Refinitiv Eikon data showed had been picked up from Ruwais in the UAE.
Frontline said its vessel was on fire but afloat, denying a report by the Iranian news agency IRNA that the vessel had sunk.
Front Altair’s 23-member crew abandoned ship after the blast and were picked up by the nearby Hyundai Dubai vessel. The crew was then passed to an Iranian rescue boat, Hyundai Merchant Marine said in a statement.
Iran’s IRNA reported that Iranian search and rescue teams picked up 44 sailors from the two damaged tankers and took them to the Iranian port of Jask. The numbers in the Iranian media report could not be independently confirmed.
Iran’s state television showed what it said was a video of rescued crew members in Jask, showing them sitting on sofa, chatting and watching TV. There was one woman among them.
Thursday’s attacks came a day after Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis fired a missile on an airport in Saudi Arabia, injuring 26 people. The Houthis also claimed an armed drone strike last month on Saudi oil pumping stations.
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