LNG plant footprints: compaction costs?

This data file tabulates the acreage footprints and peak worker counts at c20 recent LNG projects. It is interesting how these variables are likely to change over time, to lower costs and due to COVID.

International LNG occupies c50-acres per MTpa and 1,000 peak workers per MTpa of capacity. This means that largest facilities can have over 20,000 workers on site at any one time, which will be challenging amidst COVID.

US LNG projects have been smaller, at c30-acres per MTpa, as high-quality input gas requires less pre-processing; and worker counts are as much as 4x lower, due to phased, modular construction designs (see below).

FLNG is c20x more compact than typical international projects but and has the highest density of workers. Modules which typically have large exclusion zones are congested. This will require extremely cautious operation. It could impact economics, through higher costs and lower up-times.

In principle, smaller plants should achieve cost advantages over larger plants. To reap these benefits, we are excited by novel “liquefaction” technologies, which are also tabulated in the file.

The Top Public Companies for an Energy Transition

This data-file compiles all of our insights into publicly listed companies and their edge in the energy transition: commercialising economic technologies that advance the world towards ‘net zero’ CO2 by 2050.

Each insight is a differentiated conclusion, derived from a specific piece of research, data-analysis or modelling on the TSE web portal; summarized alongside links to our work. Next, the data-file ranks each insight according to its economic implications, technical readiness, its ability to accelerate the energy transition and the edge it confers on the company in question.

Each company can then be assessed by adding up the number of differentiated insights that feature in our work, and the average ‘score’ of each insight. The file is intended as a summary of our differentiated views on each company.

The screen is updated monthly. At the latest update, in October-2020, it contains 180 differentiated views on 90 public companies.

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, in the 2020s in the US, in the 2020s in Europe and incorporating deflation in the 2040s.

Hydrogen still screens as an expensive alternative. We estimate full cycle freight costs will be c30% higher for hydrogen vehicles than diesels in Europe, and as much as 2x higher in the US. The data-file contains a breakdown of hydrogen truck concepts and their operating parameters.

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. Mild environmental positives of gas are also offset by mild operational challenges.

The Top Technologies in Energy

What are the top technologies to transform the global energy industry and the world? This data-file summarises where we have conducted differentiated analysis, across c80 technologies (and counting).

For each technology, we summarise the opportunity in two-lines. Then we score its economic impact, its technical maturity (TRL), and the depth of our work to-date. The output is a ranking of the top technologies, by category; and a “cost curve” for the total costs to decarbonise global energy.

Download this data-file and you will also receive updates for a year, as we add more technologies; and we will also be happy to dig into any technologies you would like to see added to the list.

LNG: deep disruptions?

The last oil industry crisis, in 2014-16, slowed down LNG project progress, setting the stage for 20-60MTpa of under-supply in 2021-23. The current COVID-crisis could cause a further 15-45MTpa of supply-disruptions, after looking line-by-line through our database of 120 projects. The result is a potential 100MTpa shortfall in 2024-26. This is negative for energy transition, but positive for LNG incumbents.

Shell: the future of LNG plants?

Shell is revolutionizing LNG project design, based on reviewing 40 of the company’s gas-focused patents from 2019. The innovations can lower LNG facilities’ capex by 70% and opex by 50%; conferring a $4bn NPV and 4% IRR advantage over industry standard greenfields. Smaller-scale LNG, modular LNG and highly digitized facilities are particularly abetted. This note reviews Shell’s operational improvements, revolutionary greenfield concepts, and their economic consequences.

Illustrative LNG Economic Model

This simple, illustrative model for an LNG project’s economics, facilitates stress-testing of economic assumptions, and their impact on IRRs and NPVs.

The InputsOutputs tab allows you to flex key variables such as: LNG sales price, Capex/tpa, Opex/mcf, Utilization, Thermal Efficiency, LNG shipping distance, LNG tanker rates, and liquids cuts.

A base LNG case project is likely to earn a c7% real, unlevered IRR. The economics are most sensitive to gas pricing and capex; and somewhat less sensitive to the other variables.

European Natural Gas Demand Model

This model estimates European gas demand in the 2020s, as a function of a dozen input assumptions, which you can flex. They include: renewables’ growth, the rise of electric vehicles, the phase out of coal and nuclear, industrial activity, efficiency gains and LNG-transport fuel.

Our conclusion is that European gas demand will likely grow at its fastest pace since the early-2000s, largely driven by the electricity sector.

The data-file also contains granular data, decomposing gas demand across 8 major categories, plus 13 industrial segments, going back to 1990 (albeit some of the latest data-points are lagged).

Please download the model to run your own scenarios…

 

 

Global Flaring Intensity by Country

This data-file tabulates global flaring intensity in 16 countries of interest: in absolute terms (bcm per year), per barrel of oil production (mcf/bbl) and as a contribution to CO2 emissions (kg/boe).

Flaring intensity has reduced by c20% in the past quarter-century, from 0.25mcf/bbl and 12.5kg of CO2/bbl in the early 1990s to 0.2mcf/bbl and 10kg/bbl in 2019. However, total flaring rose 3.5% YoY in 2019 and is now flat on 2009, accounting for c300MTpa of global CO2 emissions. This is 1/6th of total oil industry CO2.

Industry leaders, with the lowest flaring include Saudi Arabia and the US. Laggards include West Africa, North Africa, Iran/Iraq and Venezuela (which has shown the worst deterioration in the database, since the late 1990s).

LNG’s positive role in reducing flaring stands out from the data. LNG exports were 94% correlated with Nigeria’s flaring reduction since NLNG started up in 1999. Angola has also reduced flaring by 80% since 1998, with Angola LNG “starting up” in 2013. Finally, Equatorial Guinea now has 80% lower flaring than its neighbor, Gabon, since starting up EGLNG in 2007.

The Ascent of Small Scale LNG?

Large LNG projects make large headlines. But we are excited by the ascent of smaller-scale LNG. At <1MTpa each, these facilities can be harder to track, which is the objective of this data-file.

There is currently c13MTpa of small-scale LNG liquefaction capacity online, across 70 facilities, of which c50 are in China and c10 in the US. A further c12MTpa pipeline is in progress, for a 100% increase.

We estimate small-scale LNG supplied c0.2MTpa of shipping fuel in 2017, compared to c260MT of total liquid shipping fuels. Dedicated LNG shipping fuels capacity should rise 20x, to 4MTpa by the end of 2021; and total shipping fuels could reach 40MTpa by 2040.

Exciting projects are currently ramping up: in Russia, Novatek’s Vyotsk (1.1MTpa) and Gazprom’s Portovaya are both devoted to Baltic shipping fuels (1.5MTpa) and sourced from the same input gas as Nord Stream; followed in the US Gulf, by Florida’s Eagle LNG (0.9MTpa) and in Louisiana.

Small-scale LNG growth is particularly exciting around European markets, where by 2022 there will be 5x more port-side facilities than a decade prior.

For all the underlying data, please download this data-file. For our research on this theme, please see the note, ‘LNG in transport: scaling up by scaling down’.