Energy transition

Tracking the Energy Transition: Industry Players Explore New LNG, Hydrogen, and Biofuel Projects

Trying to stay up to date about developments aimed at energy transition efforts in our industry? This roundup of newsmakers is a sampler of some recent announcements.

A new collaboration between ExxonMobil and Porsche is exploring the deployment of lower-emission biofuels and other new transportation products.
Source: ExxonMobil.

Trying to stay up to date about developments aimed at energy transition efforts in our industry? This roundup of newsmakers is a sampler of some recent announcements.

Asian Oil Giants Explore Hydrogen, LNG, and Renewable-Energy Opportunities

These include blue and green hydrogen, LNG to fuel ships, and utility-scale renewable energy projects. Sinopec wants to pivot from gray to blue hydrogen and develop green hydrogen made with wind power. Petronas is teaming up with China National Offshore Oil Corporation to combine forces on renewables and to increase the use of natural gas as a cleaner marine fuel through LNG bunkering. Petronas and Middle East renewables developer Masdar have agreed to look for joint opportunities for low-carbon and utility-scale renewable energy, including Asian offshore wind, green hydrogen, and the floating solar sector.

US LNG Exports Continued To Grow in 2020 Despite the Pandemic

According to the US Department of Energy, LNG exports averaged 6.6 Bcf/D in 2020, increasing 32 % over 2019. They hit an all-time high in December, averaging 9.8 Bcf/D. Asia overtook Europe as the primary destination for US LNG as economic recovery from the pandemic drove demand in China, India, and Japan. US exports to Asia increased by more than two-thirds from 2019 levels, receiving almost half the LNG shipped from the US.

Big Oil Tilts to Carbon Pricing

In a video conference meeting in late March with Biden administration officials, executives from 10 of the largest oil companies, including Chevron CEO Mike Wirth, Exxon CEO Darren Woods, and Shell US President Gretchen Watkins, offered support for putting a price on carbon emissions. The meeting focused on emissions of methane from oil and gas production and on the industry's role in the administration's plans to decarbonize the US economy.

BP Moves Ahead To Build the UK’s Largest Blue Hydrogen Facility in Teesside

The 1-GW project could feasibly meet one-fifth of Britain’s hydrogen production target. The Teesside region has an existing hydrogen infrastructure, including the UK’s top 25 emitters of carbon dioxide, according to BP, who said the H2Teesside project will contribute 2 million tons of CO2/year for subsea storage, which will help Britain meet its goal of 5 GW of hydrogen production capacity by 2030.

BP To Join BMW Group and Daimler Mobility To Improve Electric-Vehicle Charging

BP will become a 33.3% partner alongside BMW Group and Daimler Mobility AG in Digital Charging Solutions GmbH, one of Europe’s developers of digital charging solutions for automotive manufacturers and vehicle fleet operators. The terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

The World’s First Hydrogen-Fueled Cargo Vessel To Begin Commercial Transport

Destined to transport cargo along the river Siene in Paris, the vessel is scheduled for delivery in September as part of the European Flagships project to demonstrate how vessels operating on green hydrogen can decarbonize Europe’s inland waterways. It will operate on compressed hydrogen produced from electrolysis and provided by suppliers in the Paris region. It is expected to be operational before the end of the year.

ExxonMobil and Porsche Test Lower-Carbon Racing Fuel

Esso Renewable Racing Fuel—a blend of primarily advanced biofuels specially formulated by ExxonMobil—will be tested in race conditions with Porsche’s high-performance engines during the 2021 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup race series. The two companies’ collaboration will also focus on eFuels, which are synthetic fuels made from hydrogen and captured carbon dioxide. As early as 2022, the companies plan to test the second iteration of Esso Renewable Racing Fuel, which will contain eFuel components. The eFuel is anticipated to achieve greenhouse-gas emissions reduction of up to 85% when blended to current market fuel standards for passenger vehicles.

GreenFire Energy and Energy Development Corporation To Revive an Idle Geothermal Well in the Philippines

The two companies have agreed to perform a commercial retrofit using GreenFire’s GreenLoop closed-loop geothermal energy system to restore and generate steam from an idle geothermal well held by EDC in the Philippines that has been unusable because of the high level of noncondensable gases produced from the well when flowing. The heat-mining system will correct this and meet its surface-system pressure requirements once it is installed and commissioned in late 2021. The data and experience gathered as part of the collaborative efforts will be used to evaluate the feasibility of using the technology in other EDC-held wells.

Growth Expected in the Net-Zero LNG Trade

According to S&P Global, the net-zero trade, which typically involves companies offsetting emissions, is expected to grow as investors increasingly consider environmental, social, and governing (ESG) factors before committing to invest in new LNG projects. LNG can produce about 50% less emissions than carbon-intense fuels such as coal. However, the demand destruction during the coronavirus pandemic has encouraged a shift by some players from fossil fuels directly to renewables. To protect its LNG trade, Gazprom has delivered its first carbon-neutral shipment of LNG to Europe. Cheniere Energy, the largest US LNG producer, has said it will provide greenhouse-gas emissions data associated with each cargo to customers beginning in 2022. In the meantime, some counterparties are stepping back from new projects, and an S&P Global spokesperson said, “It is unlikely that all LNG projects that got permits will get off the ground.”

TC Energy Is Looking To Invest $1 Billion in Wind Energy for Its US Pipeline Business

The Calgary-based company, which owns North America’s largest natural gas pipeline network and operates the Keystone oil pipeline, has requested information from 100 renewable development companies to identify wind energy opportunities. It is aiming for the generation of 620 MW of electricity for its US pipeline business. TC Energy also has a Canadian power business with a 4,200-MW capacity, and cited opportunities to grow in that business. The company’s president of power and storage said it is also looking at ways to invest directly in renewable projects.

Wabash Valley Resources Selects Honeywell UOP for CO2 CCS, Hydrogen Energy Project

Wabash Valley Resources will use Honeywell UOP technologies to capture and sequester up to 1.65 million tons of CO2 annually from a repurposed gasification plant in West Terre Haute, Indiana, and produce clean hydrogen energy. The project is expected to be one of largest carbon-sequestration initiatives in the US to date. Fractionation technology will produce a high-purity liquid CO2 stream while separating a hydrogen-rich stream that will be purified using a pressure-swing adsorption unit. The CO2 stream will be sent for permanent geological storage while the hydrogen stream can fuel a turbine to generate electrical power. The hydrogen stream can also be used in chemical synthesis or marketed as a clean transportation fuel.

TechnipFMC Leads Consortium in Pilot Project for Offshore Green Hydrogen Energy

The system will use offshore wind energy to produce hydrogen from seawater, with the hydrogen stored subsea for later use to provide renewable energy on demand. Innovation Norway has pledged $11 million to the pilot, which the consortium will use to prepare the system for large-scale offshore commercial use. The program also covers development and testing of a control and advisory system and a dynamic process simulator. In addition to TechnipFMC, the consortium includes Vattenfall, Repsol, ABB, NEL, DNV, UMOE, and Slåttland.