Alternative truck fuels: how economic?

This data-file compares different trucking fuels — diesel, CNG, LNG, LPG and Hydrogen — across 35 variables. Most important are the economics, which are fully modelled.

Natural Gas can be close to competitive. On an energy-equivalent basis, $3/mcf gas is 4x more economical than $3/gal diesel. However, the advantages are offset by higher vehicle costs, operational costs and logistical costs. Overall, CNG ends up 10% more expensive, and LNG ends up 30% more expensive versus diesel-trucking. Mild environmental positives of gas are also offset by mild operational challenges.

Hydrogen still screens as an expensive alternative. We estimate vehicle costs are 2x higher than diesel trucks, while $15/kg hydrogen is 4x more expensive than diesel as a fuel.

Greenfield LNG: Does Exxon have an edge?

For large-scale capital projects in a commodity industry, harnessing better technologies tends to unlock better returns.

Hence this 7-page note evaluates ExxonMobil’s technology for constructing greenfield LNG plants, particularly in remote geographies. Its technical leadership stands out from our analysis of 3,000 patents across the industry. This matters as Exxon progresses new LNG investments in Mozambique, PNG and the US.

ExxonMobil has leading LNG technology for extra-large trains using the APX process, modular LNG units that minimise on-site construction costs, pressure-swing absorption to remove gas-contaminants and efficient gas turbines.

Opportunities should arise for investors in Exxon’s LNG projects, and for its partners, resource-owners and other stakeholders, to ensure that value is maximised.

China’s Shale Challenge?

China’s future gas production, and thus its need for LNG imports, depends heavily on its prospects in shale: Technically recoverable resources have been assessed at a vast 31.6TCM by the EIA.

But >50% shortfalls are looming against the 2016 target to produce 30bcm by 2020. Production ran at just 11bcm last year. And many Majors have now exited. So what are the main challenges, hindering development?

In order to answer this question, we have summarised ten recent technical paper on the Chinese shale gas industry.

This data-file tabulates the most-cited challenges, and the solutions that are suggested to combat them. It also includes our “top ten conclusions” on Chinese shale gas.

Oil Companies Drive the Energy Transition?

There is only one way to decarbonise the energy system: leading companies must find economic opportunities in better technologies. No other route can source sufficient capital to re-shape such a vast industry that spends c$2trn per annum. We outline seven game-changing opportunities. Leading energy Majors are already pursuing them in their portfolios, patents and venturing. Others must follow suit.

The World’s Great Gas Fields and Their CO2

The CO2 content of gas fields is going to matter increasingly, for future gas development decisions: CO2 must be lowered to 50ppm before gas can be liquefied, adding cost. Moreover, it is no longer acceptable to vent the separated CO2 into the atmosphere.

Large, low-CO2 resources like the Permian, Marcellus and Mozambique are well-positioned to dominate future LNG growth.

This data-file tabulates 30 major gas resources around the world, their volumes, their CO2 content and how the CO2 is handled.

Small-Scale LNG liquefaction Costs: New Opportunities?

Cutting-edge LNG technologies can deliver 15% pre-tax IRRs, taking in $3/mcf gas and selling $10/mcf LNG: even after scaling down to nano-sized 4kTpa units. This data-file shows our workings, across six tabs.

The model tabulates our best-estimates into the costs of typical small-scale LNG projects (SMR and Nitrogen Expansion, below).

We also present and contrast a novel small-scale LNG technology, Galileo’s Cryobox, including economic sensitivities (below).

LNG in transport: scaling up by scaling down?

Next-generation technology in small-scale LNG has potential to reshape the global shipping-fuels industry. Especially after IMO 2020 sulphur regulations, LNG should compete with diesel. This note outlines the technologies, economics and opportunities for LNG as a transport fuel.

How do LNG costs vary with plant size?

This data-file tabulates a dozen data-points on LNG plant opex, from company disclosures, the technical literature and academic papers. Opex is a function of plant size, and tends to fall by $0.3/mcf for each 10x change in plant capacity.

LNG as a Shipping Fuel: the Economics

This model provides line-by-line cost estimates for LNG as a shipping fuel, compared against diesel. We used industry data and academic studies to estimate the all-in costs for (a) trucking LNG (b) small-scale LNG and (c) LNG bunkering, to supply a relatively fuel-intensive shipping route.

After IMO 2020 regulations buoy diesel pricing, it should be economical to fuel newbuild ships with small-scale LNG; and in the US it should be economical to convert pre-existing ships to run on small-scale LNG.

Fast-charge the electric vehicles with gas?

When electric vehicles are widespread, how will we fuel them? Our model shows the economics can be compelling for powering fast-chargers using gas turbines.

The electricity would cost 13c/kWh, at $3/mcf input gas (e.g., in the US), 20% utilisation of the infrastructure and a c7.5% pre-tax IRR.

Carbon emissions are lowered by c70% compared to oil-fired vehicles. And the grid is spared the strain of sudden demand surges.

Is upside suggested for gas? Utilisation of the fast-charging infrastructure is much more important to the overall economics than the gas price. This means that greater EV adoption can accommodate considerably higher gas prices.

Our model is constructed as a sensitivity analysis, based on economic data from gas turbines (chart below), so you can flex the assumptions.