Working remotely: the economics, the opportunity?

We quantify the economic benefits of working remotely between $5-16k per employee per year, as a function of income levels, looking line-by-line across time savings, productivity gains, office costs and energy costs. The model allows you to flex these input assumptions and test your own scenarios.

Based on our research, we think the proportion of remote work could step up from 2009 and 2017 levels (quantified in the file) to displace 30% of all commutes by 2030. This conclusion is justified, by summarizing an excellent technical paper, and a granular breakdown of jobs around the US economy, looking profession-by-profession.

Carbon Funds to Decarbonize Natural Gas

This economic model illustrates a carbon fund to decarbonize natural gas by planting new forests, while also generating passable economics, attracting investment and incentivizing CO2 savings.

The mechanics are that the fund collects carbon credits, which are bundled into the contractual sales price of natural gas (typically costing less than $1/mcf). Part of the carbon credits are used to plant forests. The remainder are kept as financial reserves, to ensure the fund can meet its future offset obligations. Once these obligations have been met, the financial reserves can be disbursed to the fund’s limited partners.

Please download the data-file to stress-test forestry costs, carbon pricing, gas pricing and optimisation opportunities.

Fully subsea offshore projects: the economics?

This model presents the economic impacts of developing a typical, 625Mboe offshore  gas condensate field using a fully subsea solution, compared against installing a new production facility.

Both projects are modelled out fully, to illstrate production profiles, per-barrel economics, capex metrics, NPVs, IRRs and sensitivity to oil and gas prices (e.g. breakevens).

The result of a fully offshore project is lower capex, lower opex, faster development and higher uptime, generating a c4% uplift in IRRs, a 50% uplift in NPV6 (below) and a 33% reduction in the project’s gas-breakeven price.

Please download the model to interrogate the numbers and input assumptions.

Oxy-combustion: economics of zero-carbon gas?

Oxy-combustion is a next-generation power technology, burning fossil fuels in an inert atmosphere of CO2 and oxygen. It is easy to sequester CO2 from its exhaust gases, helping heat and power to decarbonise. The mechanics are described here. We model that IRRs can compete with conventional gas-fired power plants.

This is our model of the economics. It is constructed from technical disclosures. For example, Occidental petroleum and McDermott have already invested in one of the technology-leaders, NET Power, which constructed a demonstration plant in LaPorte Texas, starting up in 2018.

A review of recent project progress has also been added to the data-file in early-2020.  Details remain relatively secretive. But we find 9 potential deployments which are being moved towards commerciality. The details we have found are summarized in the data-file.

Should fuel retail stations sell carbon credits: the economics?

This model calculates the uplift in FCF and NPV for a fuel-retail station that offers CO2-offsets at the point of sale, alongside selling fuel. The rationale, and the different models that could be employed are outlined in our recent deep-dive research note.

In both models shown above, annual FCF can be uplifted by 15-30%, while fuel retail stations’ NPV can be uplifted by 15-25%, depending on the portion of consumer that purchase the carbon credits.

Gross profits from selling $50/ton carbon credits may be around 3x the typical EBIT margins of retail stations, hence we explore a particular sales model that can at least double fuel retail NPVs.

Forests to offset CO2: the economics?

This model quantifies the economics and carbon-costs of a US-based forestry project, purchasing pasture, and converting it into forest-land over a 40-year period.

Our base case is for a 10% IRR at a $50/ton carbon price. You can stress test the economics by flexing land prices, capex, opex, growth rates, timber prices, pre-commercial thinning rates and other more granular details.

Utility-scale solar power: the economics?

This model indicates the economics of a typical utility-scale solar project, as a function of a dozen economic inputs: capex costs per MW, power prices, solar insolation, panel efficienccy, curtailment, opex, DD&A, loan metrics and tax rates.

Our base case calculations show utility scale can be extremely economic on a standalone basis, with 10% levered returns achieved at 4-7c/kWh input prices.

However, it is interesting to note how quickly the economics deteriorate: by c3-5c/kWh in areas where solar penetration is already high; and by 5-7c/kWh in less sunny locations.

Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells: CCS plus Power? The Economics?

Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells could be extremely promising, generating electrical power from natural gas as an input, while also capturing CO2 from industrial flue gases through an electrochemical process.

We model competitive economics can be achieved, under our base case assumptions, making it possible to retrofit units next to carbon-intensive industrial facilities, while also helping to power them.

Our full model runs off 18 input variables, which you can flex, to stress test your own assumptions.

Battery Storage Costs: the economics?

This model shows the full-cycle cost of storing a kWh of electricity, across ten different technologies that have been proposed to backstop renewables.

The model allows you to flex input assumptions, such as the costs of each battery, its useful life and the frequency of charge/discharge cycles.

Pumped storage currently screens as most economical for backstopping renewables, by a factor of 3x, under our base case assumptions.

Backstopping solar also looks about 3x easier than backstopping wind, as smaller batteries are needed, and costs are a function of system size. But no battery can truly backstop renewables.

Covered storage technologies include pumped storage, compressed air storage, lithium ion batteries, redox flow batteries, four other battery types, flywheels and ultra-capacitors.

Fuel Cell Power Project Economics

This data-file models the economics of constructing a new fuel-cell power project, generating electricity from grey, blue or green hydrogen, based on technical papers and past projects around the industry.

A dozen input variables can be flexed in the model, to stress test economic sensitivity to: hydrogen prices, power prices, carbon price, distribution costs, conversion efficiency, capex costs, opex costs, utilization and tax rates.

Indicative inputs, and sensible ranges, are suggested for each of these input variables in the data-file.

Economics continue to look more challenged for hydrogen power, compared with simply decarbonizing or carbon offsetting natural gas power. Our base case estimate is a 24c/kWh incentive price for blue hydrogen power.