Portugal's REN Boosts Flows, Earnings
Portugal’s energy infrastructure operator REN reported strong profit growth in 2017 with the country's natural gas consumption reaching record levels. Conversely, one weekend this month Portugal needed no fossil-fuel generation at all.
REN's financial results for 2017 on March 15 included a net profit of €125.9mn up by 25.7% year-on-year. Pre-tax earnings (Ebitda) reached €487.5mn, up 2.4% compared to 2016.
Last year, Portugal had seen a new all-time high in natural gas consumption of 69.7TWh (6.5bn m3), up 24.8% year-on-year and 21% above the previous record in 2010. The record level was chiefly due to its unprecedented use of gas in electricity generation.
The REN-operated Sines LNG Terminal also reached a new record unloading 42 cargoes into the national gas grid, a 91% increase compared to the previous record set in 2009 of 22 cargoes unloaded. REN said in a statement that “these results demonstrate the essential role of the national infrastructures of natural gas and electricity” in order to guarantee supply for consumption and “meet coincidental demands of consumers”.
Last weekend without coal or gas-fired power
Renewable energy supplied a significant 40% of Portugal's 2017 consumption: of which wind farms 23%, hydroelectric 11%, with biomass and photovoltaic 5% and 1.6% respectively. This year REN recorded a new all-time high in Portuguese daily wind production of 101 GWh on March 11, surpassing the previous 96.7 GWh record set January 2 2017. Moreover from 8.30pm March 9 until 12pm March 12, renewables (mainly wind and hydro) completely met Portugal's power consumption needs, so coal and gas-fired plants stopped generating that weekend.
REN also realised two major acquisitions last year: in February it purchased a 42.5% stake at Chile’s pipeline operator Electrogas, which operates a reversible gas pipeline network of 165.6km between the Quintero LNG import terminal and the capital Santiago, from Enel Generacion Chile, for $180mn; and in 4Q2017 REN also concluded the deal to purchase EDP Gas, the second largest natural gas distributor in Portugal with a 4,460 km network in the country’s northern region.