What is the best way for investors to drive decarbonisation? We argue a new ‘venturing’ model is needed, to incubate better technologies. CO2 budgets can also be stretched furthest by re-allocating to gas, lower-carbon oil and lower-carbon industry. But divestment is a grave mistake.
Small, autonomous, electric vehicles are emerging. They are game-changers: rapidly delivering online purchases to customers, creating vast new economic possibilities, but also driving the energy transition. Their ascent could eliminate 500MTpa of CO2, 3.5Mboed of fossil fuels and c$3trn pa of consumer spending across the OECD. The mechanism is a re-shaping of urban consumption habits, retail and manufacturing.
Seven technology themes can save 45Mbpd of long-term oil demand. They make the difference between 2050 oil consumption surpassing 130Mbpd and our own forecasts: for a plateau in the 2020s, then a gradual descent to 87Mbpd in 2050. This is still an enormous market, equivalent to 1,000 bbls of oil consumed per second. Opportunities abound in the transition: to deliver our seven themes, improve mobility, switch oil to gas, reconfigure refineries and ensure that the world’s remaining oil needs are supplied as cleanly and efficiently as possible.
Technology leadership is crucial in energy. But it is difficult to discern. Hence, we reviewed 3,000 patents across the 25 largest companies. This note ranks the industry’s “Top 10 technology-leaders”: in upstream, offshore, deep-water, shale, LNG, gas-marketing, downstream, chemicals, digital and renewables. In each case, we profile the leading company, its edge and the proximity of the competition.
2019 has evoked resource fears in shale, after some E&Ps posted disappointing results, and implied productivity data fell 20% YoY, according to the EIA’s data.
We find the data-issues are benign. They reflect changes to completion design, as a bottlenecked industry increased its use of cube development and flowback control.
Underlying productivity continues improving at a phenomenal pace. These conclusions are derived from reviewing 350 technical papers filed by the shale industry over summer-2019.
Petrobras, Shell, TOTAL and two Chinese Majors are pushing the boundaries of deep-water technology to develop the Mero oilfield. But the distribution of possible NPV outcomes is very broad, at c$6bn. Challenges remain. The ingenuity required to overcome them should not be under-estimated. Further prizes may be unlocked in the process.
Equinor is deploying three world-class technologies to mitigate Johan Sverdrup’s decline rates, based on reviewing c115 of the company’s patents and dozens of technical papers. This 15-page note outlines how its efforts may unlock an incremental $3-5bn of value from the field, as production surprises to the upside.
E-scooters can re-shape urban mobility, eliminating 2Mbpd of oil demand by 2030, competing amidst the ascent of “electric vehicles” and re-shaping urban economies. These implications follow from e-scooters having 25-50x higher energy efficiencies, higher convenience and c50% lower costs than gasoline vehicles, over short 1-2 mile journeys. Our 12-page note explores the consequences.
Decarbonisation is often taken to mean the end of fossil fuels. But it could become more feasible simply to de-carbonise fossil fuels. This 19-page note explores two top opportunities: next-generation combustion technologies, which can meet the world’s energy needs relatively seamlessly, with zero carbon and little incremental cost. They are ‘Oxy-Combustion’ using the Allam Cycle and Chemical Looping Combustion. Leading Oil Majors support these solutions to create value advancing the energy transition.
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.