U.S. INTEREST RATE TRADERS expect the Federal Reserve to raise its federal funds target for longer to peak at a higher level and sustain them at a higher rate than before, following a warning by the central bank’s chief. Policy-controlled interest rates are expected to continue rising until they peak at 5.00-5.25% in May 2023, up from 3.75-4.00% at present, and still be at 4.00-4.25% at the end of 2024:
U.S. PETROLEUM INVENTORIES including the strategic reserve fell by -3 million barrels in the week to October 28. Stocks have depleted in 90 of the last 122 weeks by a total of -494 million barrels since the start of July 2020:
¹ This article seems to be merging the related but separate concepts of rotating power cuts to cope with possible electricity shortages caused by insufficient gas-fired and renewable generation this winter with restarting the grid after a total failure such as might be caused by an accident or sabotage.
“Yarrow” sounds like a plan for a “black start” of generation, transmission and distribution systems following complete failure. Electricity network managers in the United Kingdom and other countries have planned for a black start for decades. It is one of those remote “high impact low probability” risks commonly used in scenario planning.
The United Kingdom has never had to undertake a nationwide black start though a regional one was necessary in parts of the southeast following damage caused by the Great Storm of October 1987.
Black starts involve a complicated series of steps and would take several days to complete. Designated generating units would have to be started up autonomously, following by limited energisation of the transmission grid, first regionally and then nationally.
Black start sites often have auxiliary diesel-fired generators maintained at a high state of readiness that can restart without external power. The auxiliary generator is then used to start one or more main generators (usually oil, coal or gas-fired) on the same site which are then reconnected to the grid.
Progressively more generators would be started up and synchronised to the network, which would start to provide limited power to the local distribution systems. Protected sites would start to receive power and then more customers as sufficient power becomes available.
The process could take up to 5-7 days in the event of total failure. In the meantime most customers would receive no power or be subject to rotating power cuts to limit demand while generation is restored gradually.
The complexity and time needed for a full black start explains why grid managers attempt to avoid them at all costs. Temporary but controlled load-shedding directed by grid managers is preferable to uncontrolled cascading failure of the power grid leading to collapse and forcing a black start.
Black start should be a very remote risk in a well-run grid. But the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines has focused attention on the risks of deliberate attacks on energy infrastructure and will make black start a higher priority for emergency planners.
EUROZONE manufacturers reported an accelerating decline in activity last month as the region’s economy was hit by inflation, soaring energy prices, supply chain problems, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the EU sanctions imposed in response. The composite purchasing managers’ index slipped to 46.2 in October (12th percentile for all months since 2006) from 48.4 in September (24th percentile) and 58.3 in October 2021 (92nd percentile). The composite index has been below the 50-point threshold dividing expanding activity from a contraction for four months running, confirming the zone’s economy is entering a recession:
U.S. CENTRAL BANK is now expected to raise rates earlier and more aggressively to bring inflation under control, with traders anticipating rates will peak around the end of the first quarter or the start of the second quarter of 2023. By implication, the business cycle is expected to slow significantly by the end of this year, creating conditions for inflation to moderate and the central bank to begin easing interest rates a few months later by the second quarter of 2023:
U.S. MANUFACTURERS reported much slower growth last month. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM)’s purchasing managers’ index slid to 53.0 in June (45th percentile since 1980) from 56.1 in May (76th percentile) and 60.9 a year ago (97th percentile):
U.S. MANUFACTURERS reported a decline in new orders for the first time since the first wave of the pandemic in 2020. The ISM new orders index slumped to 49.2 in June (18th percentile) from 55.1 in May (45th percentile):
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* The IMF’s usual response to a balance of payments crisis is to recommend a “structural adjustment programme” with higher taxes/charges and lower government spending/subsidies to reduce internal demand and shore up the budget combined with a devaluation of the exchange rate to boost exports and reduce imports. Some external lending can be provided to smooth the adjustment. Because IMF loans are “conditional” they are also designed to encourage the adoption of unpopular policies and perseverance with them.
FREEPORT LNG’s statement on incident at its export terminal and likely resumption of operations – key items:
* incident … resulted in the release of LNG, leading to the formation and ignition of a natural gas vapor cloud, and subsequent fire at the facility
* LNG vapor cloud dispersion and ignition thereof were at all times contained within the fence line of the liquefaction facility, lasting approximately 10 seconds
* fire and associated smoke visible thereafter were from the burning of materials in and around the location where the incident occurred, such as piping insulation and cabling
* incident occurred in pipe racks that support the transfer of LNG from the facility’s LNG storage tank area to the terminal’s dock facilities
* none of the liquefaction trains, LNG storage tanks, dock facilities, or LNG process areas were impacted
* preliminary observations suggest that the incident resulted from the overpressure and rupture of a segment of an LNG transfer line, leading to the rapid flashing of LNG and the release and ignition of the vapor cloud
* completion of all necessary repairs and a return to full plant operations is not expected until late 2022. Given the relatively contained area of the … incident, a resumption of partial operations is targeted to be achieved in approximately 90 days
FREEPORT’s updated timeline for the resumption of exports is more delayed than traders initially anticipated. The premium for gas delivered in Northwest Europe compared with Louisiana’s Henry Hub has widened to €77/MWh up from €50 before the incident, with the adjustment coming via upward pressure on European prices and downward pressure on prices in the United States:
TEXAS temperatures and therefore air-conditioning and refrigeration demand remain much higher than normal. Temperatures have been at or above average on 56 of the 74 days since the start of April. Cumulative cooling demand since the start of the year has been almost 36% higher than the long-term average:
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CHINA’s coal production climbed by almost +12% in the first four months of the year compared with the same period in 2021, as the government ordered miners to maximise output to reduce the risk of electricity shortages and cut dependence on imports from Australia:
U.S. TRANSPORTATION SERVICES (freight, post and passengers) prices increased at an annualised rate of almost +47% in the three months from January to April – as the supply chain remained under pressure and fuel costs surged after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sanctions imposed in response:
U.S. CONSUMER SENTIMENT has weakened sharply this month and has fallen to levels consistent with a recession in the past:
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China calls for elderly to get vaccinated (trans.)
U.K. REAL GDP declined in both February and March, a sign growth was stalling even before the rise in utility prices and payroll taxes took effect in April:
TEXAS power consumption has surged to a near-record as the state is hit by a sustained period of much higher than normal temperatures for the time of year:
U.S. PETROLEUM inventories increased by +3 million bbl to 1,699 million bbl last week (SPR crude -7 million; commercial crude +8 million; gasoline -4 million; distillate -1 million; and jet +2 million):
U.S. DISTILLATE inventories fell -1 million bbl to 104 million bbl. Distillate availability shows no improvement but it is not deteriorating either at present:
U.S. GASOLINE inventories depleted by -4 million bbl to 225 million bbl last week, the lowest for the time of year since 2014, as distillate shortages bleed across into gasoline: