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Rising NatGas Supplies Boost Global Turbine Markets

A combination of coal's retreat in power generation and booming natural gas supplies led by U.S. shales is driving up the market for natural gas and steam turbines worldwide, according to a report from the global consulting firm Frost & Sullivan (F&S).

A report by F&S's Harald Thaler concluded that projected coal-fired generation plant retirements and the expanding oil/gas industry are driving up demand for gas turbines and, to a lesser degree, steam turbines.

Gas turbine market revenues are estimated to grow from $18 billion last year to $26.07 billion in 2020, Thaler said.

Thaler said the gas turbine market is driven by a combination of factors:

  • Replacement of aging coal plants with modern gas-fired power stations;
  • The growing availability and usage of natural gas in power generation;
  • Strong expansion of the global oil/gas industry; and
  • The rising need for more flexible generating assets linked to the growth of intermittent power generation based on renewable energy sources.

The F&S analysis forecasts a rise of global gas turbine orders from 58,364 MW last year to 81,530 MW in 2020. "The market will expand significantly, with order levels rising in excess of 5% annually from 2015 onward," Thaler said.

From now to 2020, he estimates that 556 GW of gas turbines will be ordered. Small- to medium-size gas turbines are expected to grow the most rapidly, with power utilities and independent power producers (IPP) representing the bulk of the orders.

"Going forward, both the mechanical drive and industrial segments will expand more rapidly than the utility/IPP segment," Thaler said.

The steam turbine market represents a smaller and slower growing global sector. It will grow from $14.5 billion last year to $17.4 billion by 2020, averaging about 2.6% in annual growth. the F&S report said.

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