…But Mocímboa da Praia has changed hands more than once…
Mozambican authorities are claiming to have “conquered” a key stronghold of Al Shabab, the Islamic insurgent group whose activities have forced a hold up of Africa’s largest single gas project.
The Portuguese news agency, LUSA, citing several Mozambican official sources but not naming any, reports that a joint operation by Mozambican and Rwandan forces resulted in the occupation of the main positions of armed groups around the town of Mocímboa da Praia, the insurgents’ “headquarters”, located in the province of Cabo Delgado, in the north of the country.
“The joint force occupied the positions of the insurgents in Awasse and Diaca, in Mocímboa da Praia, having seized various war material from the rebels and killed several members of the armed groups”, LUSA reports, citing “sources, linked to the Ministry of Defence of Mozambique”.
LUSA reports that “after the joint force operations, Bernardino Rafael, General Commander of the Police of the Republic of Mozambique, visited the locality of Awasse, where he assured that the intention is to remain in the occupied points”.
Islamic insurgents have killed hundreds of people and turned thousands to refugees in towns and villages located in the Cabo Delgado province and close to the Afungi Peninsula, where the TOTALEnergies operated 13 Million Metric Tonnes Per Annum Liquefied Natural Gas project is sited.
In late March 2021, the insurgents made their most sweeping attack on the neighbouring Palma town, just when TOTALEnergies’ workers returned to site in Afungi to continue construction.
“They want to intimidate us”, President Filipe Nyusi, Moazmbique’s head of state and government said a in a speech two weeks after the incident, declaring war. “Following the attack on the town of Palma, the situation in Cabo Delgado has received a lot of national and international attention. All of this attention is legitimate,” the President said. “This town and the adjacent Afungi peninsula are close to the natural gas deposits. It is in this region where the foundations for the exploitation of this resource so important to our economy are being laid”.
General Rafael told the media:“The tendency is to improve even more in those points where the Defence and Security Forces, together with the Rwandan forces, are conquering”. He said that “the terrorists vandalised several infrastructure Bernardino Rafael told the media, with an emphasis on the electricity grid”.
The coastal town of Mocímboa da Praia, located 70 kilometres south of the gas project site, had been invaded and occupied for a day by insurgents on March 23 2020, and was the theatre of clashes between Mozambican troops and the Jihadists several times over and over up until December 2020, when the insurgents firmly held it, only to be repulsed again by government forces.
But the offensive from the state is different this time, aided, as it is, by the battle hardened, thousand strong Rwandan soldiers and police officers, fighting since the beginning of July 2021. The East African warriors, who are fighting under the auspices of a bilateral agreement between the Maputo and the Kigali, are expected to be soon joined by troops from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), consisting of contingents from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Angola and Malawi, under a mandate from a “joint force on alert” approved on June 23, at an extraordinary summit of the organization in Maputo.
With 2020 consumption in excess of 315Million standard cubic feet per day (320MMscf/d), Ghana’s domestic gas market is growing faster than was assumed by energy experts, (mostly non-Ghanaian), just three years ago.
In 2018, it wasn’t so clear if Ghana could absorb, by 2020, the entire peak gas supply (180MMscf/d) prognosed to come from the (then) newly commissioned Sankofa field, operated by ENI.
But 165MMscf/d of Sankofa field production is already accounted for in the 2020 consumption, with Nigerian gas (coming from the West Africa Gas Pipeline) delivering over 65MMsf/d, in 2020, a figure that is still short of the contracted 123MMscf/d but is at least growing. Gas from Tullow Oil operated Jubilee field and TEN clusters of fields accounted for the rest: around 85MMscf/d.
Ghana’s gas consumption increased from 115MMsscf/d in 2017 to 315MMscf/d in 2020.
“Gas demand in Ghana will be driven by the rise in electricity generation”, says Mike Fulwood, a senior research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OEIS). “Based on a 45% increase by 2026, this would see a rise in gas demand from the 2020 level” of around 310MMscf/d to some 455MMsf/d. Fullwood says that the power plants in the Takoradi area (in Ghana’s western region) operated at a higher utilization rate in 2020 than those in the Tema area (a port town close to Accra in the east), at around 52% to 41% – for those plants fully operational. “Some of the older plants in the Takoradi area have had operational issues but the newer ones, including the Karpowership, are operating at high utilization rates and are very much baseload plants. “Over time we assume that the utilization of the Takoradi plants rises to some 60% but that any new power generation capacity is added at Tema”, Mr. Fulwood reports.
Still, while Ghana’s gas consumption is expected to keep increasing as electricity production and consumption increases, Fulwood doesn’t see the economic value in the country’s plan to import Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). The LNG Terminal facility, already sited at Tema, received its floating regasification unit (FRU), built by Jiangnan Shipbuilding, in January 2021. The LNG FRU is designed for a regasification capacity of around 1.7Million Tonnes Per Annum (1.7MMTPA)tpa and is contracted to operate for approximately 20 years. The FRU will work in conjunction with a dedicated storage vessel (FSU), which is the newbuild 180,000cubic metres Vasant 1, and arrived at Tema port on May 26, 2021, having delivered just one cargo from Darwin in Australia to Yung An in Taiwan in February. The Vasant 1 is on a charter until July 1, 2022, and will then be replaced with an alternative FSU.
Fulwood cautions: “Ghana’s desire to import LNG is very different from other countries who are recent new LNG importers such as Malta, Gibraltar, and Myanmar. All these countries have dedicated power plants linked to the LNG imports so LNG is baseload and the economics can make sense. For Ghana, it is more diversity of supply, which is not a bad thing but can be expensive. The Vasant 1 FSU is on a charter until July 2022, reportedly at a charter rate in the low $20,000 a day– significantly below current market levels, especially given it is a new-build vessel. It is understood the lower rate is linked to the vessel’s speed limitation of 12 knots, making it less attractive on the standard market. The FRU also has to be paid for or chartered and if that was at a similar rate then a total of $50,000 a day would amount to some $18Million/year. Around 6 cargoes/year are needed to get the cost/MMBTU down to $1, which is reasonably cost-effective. At 2 cargoes/year, the effective cost is over $3/MMBTU, which is starting to make LNG look very expensive, once the commodity cost of LNG is included – currently $9 or $10 – and whatever costs are charged for the upgraded port facilities and the pipeline connections to the power plants”.
Advance teams from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have arrived in Mozambique to support the battle against the Islamist terrorist groups, known locally as “Al-Shabaab”.
Colonel Omar Saranga, the Ministry’s spokesperson dismissed the news that the regional bloc’s full Standby Force, was already in the country.
The advance teams, he explained, are in Maputo and in Palma (a town in the province of Cabo Delgado), to prepare the deployment of the main force.
Saranga confirmed that General Xolani Mankayi, head of South Africa’s 43 Brigade, the rapid intervention unit of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), will command the SADC Full Standby Force. Mankayi is already in Mozambique, “and he has been received by the Defence Minister and by the Chief of Staff of the Mozambican Armed Forces. He has received a briefing on the situation”, Saranga said. Last August, the energy press speculated that General Manyi had instructed the 43 Brigade to begin an intensive training programme for possible action in Cabo Delgado if President Cyril Ramaphosa decides to intervene. “Questions of command have been outlined in the combined planning”, Saranga offered. “Right now, what is important to say is not who will command or cease to command. The troops will be led by their respective commands, but the chief coordinator is the Republic of Mozambique”.
Islamic insurgents have killed hundreds of people and turned thousands to refugees in towns and villages located in the province and close to the Afungi Peninsula, where the TOTALEnergies operated 13 Million Metric Tonnes Per Annum Liquefied Natural Gas project is sited.
In late March 2021, just when TOTALEnergies’ workers returned to site in Afungi to continue construction, Islamic insurgents made their most sweeping attack on the neighboring Palma town.
TOTALEnergies pulled out its workers after that attack and Mozambique has since been looking for a way to permanently root out renewed attacks. Part of the effort was to call on member countries of the Southern African Development Commission (SADC) to provide military assistance.
Saranga waved aside questions regarding combat operations of Rwandan troops who arrived in the week of July 12, 2021. The questions referenced report by the independent newssheet “Carta de Mocambique, that soldiers of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) left their base on the Afungi Peninsula to patrol a forested area close to the town of Palma. They reportedly found a terrorist group in the Quionga administrative post, retreating towards the Tanzanian border, engaged them and killed 30 terrorists. Saranga said that questions about Rwandan forces “are operational question and I can’t answer it. It’s the force commander who can answer. The enemy may be watching our actions to see what direction we are going to take”. But he volunteered that the SADC member states who will take part in the Standby Force are South Africa, Tanzania, Angola, and Botswana, “and we are confident that, during the operations, more countries may express an interest in supporting Mozambique”.
“The SADC heads of state summit, held in Maputo on 23 June, approved a mandate for the deployment of the Standby Force”, Col. Saranga told reporters. “The objective was to support the national efforts to fight against terrorism in Cabo Delgado. Following up this mandate, in late June there was a joint planning conference, and this event outlined the next steps that should be taken to deploy the force”.
“What is happening right now is the implementation of this plan”, he continued. “The mandate envisaged that the deployment of the force should happen as from 15 July. So from 15 July to now, activities have been undertaken in order to receive this force, which is rather substantial. Steps are being taken so that it can be received and carry out its work. That means there are advance teams that are working with our troops on the ground to receive the force.
Owners of intercity and intracity buses in Egypt will be able to swap their gasoline powered minibuses for natural gas powered ones, in the first phase of the government’s natural gas vehicle swap scheme starting July, 2021.
A key requirement for this phase is that the vehicles must be older than 20 years old. The scheme will initially be rolled out in Cairo, Giza, Qalyubia, Alexandria, Suez, Port Said, and the Red Sea.
The vehicle swap programme entails private transport companies getting brand new natural gas-powered vehicles for their old mini buses.
The government has also announced that 2,300 Public Buses (owned by governorates and municipalitities) in Cairo and Alexandria will be converted to run on natural gas at a total cost of $77Million (or EGP 1.2Billion), under a joint agreement signed between the ministries of petroleum, local development and military production as well as the public transport authorities of both cities.
Egypt’s plan to displace gasoline and diesel with natural gas, as the country’s default fuel of transportation, had initially scheduled 15,000 minibuses (Egypt’s equivalent of Kenya’s Matatus and Nigeria’s Danfos).
But outside the pulic transport system, the government has now scaled up the planed number of cars to be converted to run on natural gas by 2023, from 250,000 to 450,000 cars.
Egypt’s finance ministry is backing the effort of Taqa Arabia, the country’s largest private sector energy distribution company, in the natural gas conversion scheme. The company, last week, announced the receipt of a $58Million loan from the National Bank of Egypt to help finance the construction of natural gas filling stations. Master Gas, a subsidiary of Taqa Arabia, will use the finance to build 40 new filling stations in a number of governorates, to support the growing shift to natural gas vehicles. Taqa Arabia has indicated it would invest $231Million (or EGP 3.6Billion) in expanding its number of natural gas stations to 180 by 2023. The company says it will spend $51 (EGP 800Million) to construct 40 stations in 2021, $77Million (or EGP 1.2Billion) on 60 stations in 2022 and $102Million (or EGP 1.6Billion) on 80 stations in 2023. Taqa currently operates 23 natural gas stations.
Angola’s hydrocarbon industry regulator, the National Agency of Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels (ANPG), as an National Concessionaire, announces, under the terms of Articles 6 and 7 of Presidential Decree No. 86/18, of 2 April, the opening of the Public Tender for the bidding of new oil blocks, namely:
• Terrestrial Basin of the Lower Congo (CON 1, CON 5 and CON 6);
• Terrestrial Kwanza Basin (KON 5, KON 6, KON 8, KON 9, KON 17 and KON 20)
This announcement is located within the scope of the General Strategy for the Attribution of Petroleum Concessions for the period 2019-2025, approved by Presidential Decree no. 52/19, of 18 February
For each of the blocks mentioned above, the proposals to be submitted must comply with the following requirements:
I. TENDER RULES
1. Proposals must be submitted in Portuguese or, if in another language, accompanied by an official translation into Portuguese;
2. Proposals must indicate the company’s interest in being an operator or non-operator, as well as the participation it intends to obtain in the block (s) to which it competes;
3. The form of contract to be signed between the National Concessionaire and its Associates, will be the Production Sharing Contract (CPP);
4. The blocks that are the object of bidding are inserted in the maps available on the ANPG portal;
5. Companies, national or foreign, small, medium or large, may compete individually or in consortium;
6. In case of submission of proposals in a consortium, each of the companies that make up the consortium will be evaluated individually for the purposes of their qualification;
7. Companies competing for the position of operator or non-operator must pay a participation fee (Entry Fee) in the amount of $ US 1 000 000,00 (OneMillion United States Dollars) , which grants access the data package for the Lower Congo and Kwanza Terrestrial Basins;
8. The application and proposal submission models reproduced here will be published on the ANPG portal (www.anpg.co.ao);
9. Proposals must be delivered by 17:30 (GMT + 1) on 9 June 2021 in a closed and sealed envelope. All proposals submitted after this date will be considered invalid;
10. All proposals must be sent to the following address:
Torres do Carmo Building – Tower II
Rua Lopes de Lima, Municipality of Luanda
Luanda – Republic of Angola
Telephone: 22-64-28550 / 931-793-204
Att .: Hermenegildo Buila, Director of Negotiations at ANPG
Ref .: Proposal – Bidding Round 2020
All proposals will be opened in a Public Act, to be held on June 10, 2021, at a time and place to be announced in due time, in the most popular newspaper in Angola, on the ANPG portal and in at least one international publication of scope worldwide;
11. For the evaluation of the competing companies, the weighting of the proposals will be used, as presented in the attached Terms of Reference, and the evaluation of the technical and financial capacity of the companies will also be taken into account;
12. Pursuant to Presidential Legislative Decree No. 3/12, of 16 March, national companies are only exempt from the payment of the Signature Bonus and Contributions for Social Projects, and must participate, according to their share in the respective Group. Contractor, in the payment of the Contribution for Environmental Protection;
13. Companies covered by Presidential Legislative Decree No. 3/12, of 16 March, which compete as operators must submit proposals for all terms in the tender, including the elements that are exempt from payment, as referred to in the preceding paragraph.
II. REQUIREMENTS FOR NON-OPERATOR CONCESSIONAIRE ASSOCIATE
The competing entities that intend to assume the role of non-operator must prove their suitability and financial capacity, by presenting the following information:
a) Your business name or company name;
b) The place of incorporation, registration and the address of its headquarters;
c) The main activities carried out;
d) Detailed information on its equity structure, namely, the values of equity, realizable assets and fixed assets, as well as liabilities payable;
e) Letter of comfort from reputable banking institutions, which pay their financial capacity;
f) The annual reports of the activity carried out, including the balance sheet and accounts for the last 3 (three) years, or since its constitution, if the investing entity was established less than three years ago, audited by an audit entity independent and with proven experience;
g) Detailed information on his experience in oil research and production, including details of reserves and production;
h) The number of employees employed and the professional experience of management personnel in the area of research and production of hydrocarbons;
i) Detailed information on the legal and arbitration disputes that have existed against the company in the last five years (Declaration of Responsibility);
j) Detailed information on advance plans, future obligations, including work programs or risks that may impact on your ability to comply with the work program that is established for the Angolan concessions of which you will be a part;
k) Detailed information on the business activity carried out in Angola until the date of submission of the application (if applicable).
III. MEMBER REQUIREMENTS OF THE NATIONAL OPERATOR CONCESSIONAIRE
Entities wishing to assume the role of operator must, in addition to presenting the elements referred to in the requirements for non-operator, provide proof of the following requirements:
a) Be the holder of competence and experience in the management and execution of petroleum operations;
b) Have technical and operational competence;
c) Have an efficient organizational structure;
d) Present information that he considers relevant about his experience in the execution of petroleum operations, in order to enhance his candidacy, namely in the fields of safety, environmental protection, prevention of pollution and employment situations, integration and training of Angolan personnel .
IV. QUALITY, HEALTH, SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENT REQUIREMENTS (QSSA)
The entities must additionally present the following requirements:
a) Demonstrate the respective Quality, Health, Safety and Environment Policy where the commitment to the Prevention of damage to Health, the Prevention of Environmental Pollution, the Protection of Heritage and continuous improvement is evident;
b) Comply with applicable laws and regulations;
c) Demonstrate that its employees have the necessary skills to guarantee compliance with Quality, Health, Safety and Environment aspects;
d) Demonstrate the mechanisms used to assess and manage Quality, Health, Safety and Environment risks;
e) Highlight the use of methodologies that eliminate the causes of non-conformities in order to avoid repetition, and eliminate the causes of potential non-conformities;
f) Demonstrate that it has the competence to implement and maintain Quality, Health, Safety and Environment Management Systems in oil and gas exploration and production operations;
g) To present the methods to be used to control and respond to emergencies and fight spills;
h) Present the Management Indicators of the last six months and the mechanisms to be used to assess the performance of Quality, Health, Safety and Environment.
British supermajor BP has commissioned the Raven gas field in Egypt’s West Nile Delta, producing 600Million standard cubic feet per day (600MMscf/d) into the country’s natural gas grid for a start.
The field produces into a new onshore processing facility, alongside the existing West Nile Delta onshore processing plant.
At its peak, Raven has the potential to produce 900MMsscf/d and 30,000 barrels per day of condensate.
Raven is the third of three projects in BP’s West Nile Delta (WND) development off the Mediterranean coast of Egypt. It follows the Taurus/Libra and Giza/Fayoum projects, which started production in 2017 and 2019 respectively.
The approximately $9Billion WND development includes five gas fields across the North Alexandria and West Mediterranean Deepwater offshore concession blocks in the Mediterranean Sea. BP and its partners, working with the Ministry of Petroleum, have developed the WND in three stages.
Egypt is Africa’s most absorptive market for natural gas, consuming over 6Billion standard cubic feet per day (6Bscf/d), most of it in its 55,000MW electricity generation market.
Bernard Looney, BP’s chief executive, says that the WNDprojects “will make an important contribution to meeting Egypt’s growing energy needs by providing a cost-competitive and resilient gas supply from the country’s own resources.”
French major TOTAL has declared a Force Majeure on the 12.8Million Metric Tonne Per Annum (12.8MMTA) Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project in Afungi, in Mozambique’s north easternmost province of Cabo Delgado.
“Considering the evolution of the security situation in the north of the Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique, TOTAL confirms the withdrawal of all Mozambique LNG project personnel from the Afungi site”, the company says in a brifing released Monday, April 26, 2021. “This situation leads TOTAL, as operator of Mozambique LNG project, to declare force majeure”, the company explains.
The Cabo Delgado province has suffered debilitating attacks by Islamic insurgents. The attacks have led to deaths of dozens of people and s displacements of thousands more.
“TOTAL expresses its solidarity with the government and people of Mozambique and wishes that the actions carried out by the government of Mozambique and its regional and international partners will enable the restoration of security and stability in Cabo Delgado province in a sustained manner”, the company says.
“TOTAL E&P Mozambique Area 1 Limitada, a wholly owned subsidiary of Total SE, operates Mozambique LNG with a 26.5% participating interest alongside ENH Rovuma Área Um, S.A. (15%), Mitsui E&P Mozambique Area1 Limited (20%), ONGC Videsh Rovuma Limited (10%), Beas Rovuma Energy Mozambique Limited (10%), BPRL Ventures Mozambique B.V. (10%), and PTTEP Mozambique Area 1 Limited (8.5%)”.
Shangai based LONGi Solar, is partnering with ARTsolar, a South African manufacturer based in Durban, to launch a new, state-of-the-art, 500 MW per year, solar PV panel assembly facility.
The plant is expected to commence assembly and stockpiling of panels in August 2021, for delivery starting in the first quarter of 2022.
A second 500 MW capacity assembly line is planned to follow shortly after the first commences operation, bringing ARTsolar’s new capacity to 1,000MW (1 GW) per year.
ARTsolar, an 11-year-old, 100% South African-owned company, currently runs a PV panel production line designed for a capacity of 300 MW a year. But the plant has struggled in the last five years, operating significantly below this level, largely due to the halt of the country’s renewable energy bid programme between 2015 and 2019.
The partnership between LONGi Solar and ArtSolar is, however, enabled by the return of the South African government to the renewable energy space. On March 19 2021, Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Energy, announced preferred bidders for the Risk Mitigation IPP Procurement (RMIPPP) programme, which alone will require some 2,2Million solar PV panels with a total capacity of about 1300 MW for delivery of power into the grid by the end of August 2022. To achieve this ambitious target, the projects must reach financial closure by the end of July 2021.
Two more procurement rounds of green energy from solar PV projects, each with a capacity of 1000 MW, are expected to commence in 2021, facilitated by the IPP Office of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy for South Africa’s Renewable Energy IPP Procurement (REIPPP) programme in terms of the national Integrated Resource Plan for electricity, IRP 2019.
LONGi, a Tier 1 solar PV manufacturer listed on the Shanghai stock exchange, supplies more than 30 GW of high-efficiency solar wafers and PV panels worldwide annually, which comprises about a quarter of global market demand.
LONGi and ARTsolar have ambitions to be the major supplier of locally made solar PV panels for the RMIPPP and REIPPP programmes, and for subsequent procurements of solar power in South Africa and the region, for mainly utility-scale PV power plants.
A consortium of financiers have signed a $ 114Million financing package with a Saudi energy developer for the construction of the largest private solar plant in Egypt.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the OPEC Fund), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and Arab Bank on April 22, 2021 signed the funding package with ACWA Power, owned by Saudi businessmen and focused on solar projects in North Africa and the Middle East.
EBRD will provide the largest chunk of the financing, with up to $36Million in contribution. $ 23.8Million is expected from the GCF; the OPEC Fund contributes $18Million; $18Million from Arab Bank and the AfDB $ 17.8Million. Equity bridge loans of up to $14Million are coming from fEBRD with $ 33.5Million of similar facility from Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation.
The development of the Kom Ombo solar plant will add 200 MW of energy capacity, increasing the share of renewable energy in Egypt’s energy mix and further promoting private-sector participation in the Egyptian power sector.
The new Kom Ombo plant will be located less than 20 km from Africa’s biggest solar park, the 1.8 GW Benban complex. Once operational, the new utility-scale plant will serve 130,000 households.
ACWA Power submitted the lowest tariff in what was the first solar photovoltaic (PV) tender in Egypt. The provision of solar energy through a public tendering process aims to achieve a competitive tariff and promote the growth of solar energy as an affordable alternative to conventional energy sources.
Private-sector participation in the Kom Ombo project is the result of successful policy dialogue with the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy and the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC), as well as a $3.6Million technical assistance programme, co-funded by the EBRD and the GCF, to support the EETC in administering competitive renewable energy tenders. In addition, the project has also benefitted from broader energy-sector reforms supported by the AfDB in recent years to scale up the involvement of the private sector.
The Kom Ombo plant will contribute to the Egyptian government’s target to generate 42 per cent of the country’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2035 while delivering one of the lowest generation tariffs on the continent.
Citibank’s review of falling oil reserves for the oil majors
Europe’s emerging hydrogen economy and
Wood Mackenzie’s AET-2 energy scenario for the end of the 21st century.
Citibank’s recent report “Falling IOC Reserves A Looming Challenge” states that the International Oil Companies (IOCs) have seen their average reserves of oil decrease by 25% since 2015.
Citi said there were two clear groups forming across the oil sector, with six IOCs tightly grouped around reserve life of around 10.5 years. They are: TOTAL, BP, Chevron, ENI, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil. There are three IOCs in another group (Repsol, Equinor and Shell) which have reserves of around eight years.
While this may make good headlines it is also an indication how little the underlying energy transition is understood. Firstly, it is rather surprising that Citibank should publish such naive utterances and this from a bank that professes to have a semblance of understanding the basic tenents of the energy transition.
Secondly, what is also surprising is that the financial press have picked up on this story and repeat in chorus what Citibank has told us: oil company reserves are down. Woe be me!
A small history lesson to better understand the shortcomings of the Citibank report.
Given the extreme importance to understand the profound implications for the oil and gas sector, a portion of the USA-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) ’s explanation and analysis is discussed.
In short, how the Society of Petroleum Engineer’s Classification System has come to lie in ruins:
“Yet it opened a Pandora’s box that could change the way the industry thinks about its core business model—and point the way towards a new path to financial success in the energy sector.”
“While it wrote off some weak assets, it did something else: TOTAL began to sketch a blueprint for how to transition an oil company into an energy company. A major has translated its renewable energy portfolio into barrels of oil equivalent”. Patrick Pouyanné, TOTAL’s chairman and chief executive, now says that by 2030 the company “will grow by one-third, roughly from 3Million BOE/D (Barrels of Oil Equivalent per Day) to 4Million BOE/D, half from LNG, half from electricity, mainly from renewables.”
“This is the first time that any major energy company has translated its renewable energy portolio into barrels of oil equivalent. So, at the same time that the company has slashed “proved” oil and gas from its books, it has added renewable power as a new form of reserves.”
Writing off reserves
“Each of the oil and gas majors spilled red ink last year, and most took significant write-downs. But TOTAL’s tar sands impairments were different. The company wrote off “proved reserves,” or oil and gas that the company had previously deemed all-but-certain to be produced.”
“Proved reserves long stood as the Holy-of-Holies for the oil industry’s finances—the key indicator of whether a company was prepared for the future. For decades, investors equated proved reserves with wealth and a harbinger of long-term profits.”
“Because reserves were so important, the Reserve Replacement Ratio, or RRR—the share of a company’s production that it replaced each year with new reserves—became a bellwether for oil company performance. The RRR metric was adopted by both the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. An annual RRR of 100% became the norm.”
“But TOTAL’s write-off showed that even “proved” reserves are no sure thing, and that adding reserves doesn’t necessarily mean adding value. The implications are devastating, upending the oil industry’s entire reserve classification system, as well as decades of financial analysis.”
“How did TOTAL reach the conclusion that “proved” reserves had no economic value? Simply put, reserves are only reserves if they’re profitable. The prices paid by customers must exceed the cost of production. Given current forecasts that prices would remain lower for longer, TOTAL’s financial team decided those resources could never be developed at a profit.“
“TOTAL’s renewable investments will add ballast, keeping it afloat.
The company hasn’t abandoned oil and gas, and its hydrocarbon investments may prove problematic over the long term. But its renewable investments will add ballast to the company’s balance sheets, keeping it afloat as it carefully chooses investments, including oil and gas projects, with a high economic return.”
“Meanwhile, its competitors that stick to the old oil industry business model will have no choice but to continue to develop hydrocarbons—even if their “proved” reserves ultimately prove to be financial duds.”
Europe’s Hydrogen Backbone
A new business model is already in the make. By 2040 Europe could devote 40,000 km (24,800 miles) of natural gas pipelines to hydrogen once production and imports become fully implemented.
Daniel Muthmann, head of corporate development, strategy, policy and communication at Open Grid Europe(OGE), stated at a recent webcast “that it is technically possible and economically feasible to use the existing gas infrastructure to create this hydrogen backbone”. The European Hydrogen Backbone study is supported by 23 gas infrastructure companies from 21 European countries.
On the road to decarbonisation, European policymakers aim for the region to produce, transport and market green hydrogen from renewable energy via electrolysis to replace “grey” hydrogen from gas, and to substitute oil products across manufacturing industries and in heating and transport.
Costing could be more than $50Billion. Approximately 70% of the proposed hydrogen network would consist of upgraded natural gas pipelines; the remaining 30% would be needed to connect future hydrogen consumers in countries with currently few gas grids, but foreseeable high hydrogen demand and production.
The Copernican revolution
Wood Mackenzie has just released an accelerated energy transition scenario (AET-2) to 2050: “ the energy market would be progressively electrified and the most polluting hydrocarbons squeezed out. Prices would come under pressure as demand falls and, in a ‘Copernican revolution’, the traditional relationship between oil and gas prices would be turned upside down.”
According to Wood Mackenzie the AET-2 scenario the world is on course for near 3 °C warming because of renewed energy demands and the challenge of reducing CO2 emissions.
“The AET-2 scenario is based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change carbon budget allocation for the next eight decades, to 2100. It sets out our view of how the world can limit the average rise in global temperatures to 2 °C compared with pre-industrial times, examining potential policy drivers, cost reductions and technological innovations. Electrification and low-carbon fuels are central to meeting the 2 °C limit. .. we estimate that electricity meets 47% of total final energy consumption globally in 2050 compared with 20% today. Three key assumptions underlie our AET-2 scenario:
rapid electrification in all sectors;
the decarbonisation of the power sector through the penetration of renewables and storage and coal-to-gas switching ;
the large-scale development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) – 5 billion tonnes (Bt) by 2050 – and low-carbon hydrogen – 380 million tonnes (Mt) by 2050 – in hard-to-decarbonise sectors.
AET-2 has massive implications for oil and gas demand in 2050: 70% lower than today. From 2023 onward oil demand drops with year-on-year fall of around 2 million barrels per day (bpd). Total oil demand by 2050 is down to 35 million bpd.
Natural gas demands, in contrast, remains resilient to about 2050. Large scale CCS in the industrial and power sectors will support gas while the deployment of blue hydrogen (135Mt by 2050) is a growth sector. Growth will come primarily from Asia, especially China and India.
Under AET-2 the assumption is that as many as 80% of new vehicles sold are electric, either battery-driven or hybrid. Heavy transport- ships and trains- are electric or hydrogen driven. Non-combustion liquid petro-chemical demand for plastics is damped by higher rates of recycling.
Wood Mackenzie’s AET-2’s scenario draws the following conclusions:
World needs no new supply of oil…”core function is to maintain current commercial production by going into full harvest mode”…
Market power slips from OPEC to giant gas producers such as USA, Russia and Qatar.
Downstream suffers death by a thousand cuts. By 2050 the refining sector will have withered to 1/3 of its current capacity with less than 150 of the current sites in operation.
Era of carbon-neutral gas is born. AET-2 would require $300Billion to support Liquified Natural Gas growth globally and $700Billion to support dry gas development in North America. Blue hydrogen and ammonia emerge as new market products.
Currently no International Oil Company nor National Oil Company is prepared for the scale of decline envisaged in this scenario.
The contrasts between the visions of Citibank, Europe’s Hydrogen Vision, and Wood Mackenzie’s AET-2’s are startling to say the least and provide Africa sufficient food for thought. Africa is part of the global energy network and regardless of what it does or does not do, the energy transition will have massive implications for Africa in the coming years.
Gerard Kreeft, BA (Calvin University, Grand Rapids, USA) and MA (Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada), Energy Transition Adviser, was founder and owner of EnergyWise. He has managed and implemented energy conferences, seminars and university master classes in Alaska, Angola, Brazil, Canada, India, Libya, Kazakhstan, Russia and throughout Europe. Kreeft has Dutch and Canadian citizenship and resides in the Netherlands.He writes on a regular basis for Africa Oil + Gas Report.