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.

Alternative truck fuels: how economic?

economics of trucking fuels

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.

Financial and CO2 Costs of Heaters, Boilers and Heat Pumps

CO2 Costs of Heating and Heat Pumps

This data-file models the costs and CO2 intensities of four different heating solutions: oil-fired furnaces, gas boilers, electric heaters and electrically-powered heat pumps.

Gas-fired boilers are most justified in gaining future market share, based on our cost data, even after paying $50/ton for CO2 offsets, to decarbonize the gas. Heat pumps are most efficient.

To compare and contrast the different solutions, you can vary oil prices, gas prices and power prices in the data-file.

Costs and efficiencies of the boilers and heat pumps are based on the specifications of products available online in 2020, which are also tabulated in the data-file.

Global hydrogen: market breakdown?

global hydrogen market by industry in MTpa

This data-file is a breakdown of the global hydrogen market, which is 110MTpa today, worth around $110bn pa at $1/kg H2 prices. Today’s hydrogen is mostly used for producing ammonia, methanol and in refining. The data-file looks industry by industry, and also covers different hydrogen production technologies, used to supply today’s 110MTpa market.

The ammonia industry uses one-third of the world’s hydrogen today, at 0.19 kg per kg of NH3. But our models suggest fertilizer prices could rise 3.5x with a switch to green H2. This raises the spectre of inflation, including for food prices, which will be a common theme.

The refining industry uses 28% of the world’s H2 to make lower-sulphur fuels via hydro-cracking (1,200 scf/bbl) and hydro-treating (400 scf/bbl). Again, switching to green H2 may increase the cost of hydro-processed fuels by $0.4/gallon, abating CO2 at about $700/ton.

The methanol industry uses 17% of the world’s H2, to make adhesives, to treat wood, for fuel additives and in industrial intermediates. Again, switching to green H2 inflates cost by 5x. We remain more excited by blue- and bio-methanol decarbonization pathways (note here). 

The other c20% of the world’s hydrogen is spread across an amazingly broad set of use cases: purifying many of the metals used in lithium ion batteries; hydrogenating fats to make 10MTpa of margarine or 300kbpd of renewable diesel; making 4.5MTpa of H2O2 for bleaching paper; or pouring out 70MTpa of ultra-smooth glass on a contaminant-free bed of molten tin.

Use of green hydrogen in transport still remains very small, across several thousand vehicles (i.e., not several million). One thing that would improve our outlook on green hydrogen might be to see its successful adoption across some of the hydrogen-using industries shown above.

Covered technologies used to generate today’s hydrogen include steam methane reforming, coal gasification (with an eye watering 25 tons of CO2 per ton of hydrogen), pyrolysis, renewable electrolysis, fuel cell electrolysis, solar photoelectrocatalysis and solar photocatalysis.

Our conclusion is that natural gas remains the most viable fuel source on a weighted basis, considering both cost and carbon emissions, It may also be easier to de-carbonise natural gas directly than via the hydrogen route.

This data-file is a global hydrogen market breakdown, disaggregating the 110MTpa market (mainly ammonia, methanol and refining), how it is met via different production technologies, and our estimates of those technologies’ costs (in $/kg) and CO2 intensities (in kg/kg or tons/ton).

Offshore Capex for Technology Leaders?

offshore capex for technology leaders

Technology leadership determines offshore capex. Specifically, this data-file measures a -88% correlation coefficient between different Major’s offshore patent filings in 2018 and their projects’ capex costs.

The details: We have tabulated the number of Offshore Patents filed in 2018, across 25 leading Majors, from our sample of 3,000 patents. We have also tabulated a dozen, recent, offshore greenfields operated by these companies, which were sanctioned in 2017-19. Investments from Aramco, BP, Equinor, Exxon, Petrobras, TOTAL and Shell are included.

The lowest-cost  projects are not “easy oil”. The most economical project in the entire sample, at $17M/kboed, has a complex gas cap with a risk of asphaltene precipitation.  Also in the ‘Top 5’ are an Arctic greenfield, an ultra-deepwater carbonate with unusually high-CO2 and an ultra-high pressure deep-water field. Economical development depends on leading technology.

To see the projects included in the analysis, please download the data-file…

Shale: Upgrade to Fiber?

DAS Quest for Idealized Completion

Completing a shale well depends on over 40 variables. Each one can be optimised using data. It follows that next-generation data could deliver next-generation shale productivity.

This note focuses on the most exciting new data methodology we have seen across the entire shale space: distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) using fiber-optic cables. It has now reached critical mass.

DAS will have six transformational effects on the shale industry. Leading operators and service companies are also assessed.

Aerial Vehicles Re-Shape Transportation Costs?

costs per passenger-kilometer for transportation

This model calculates the costs per passenger-kilometer for transportation, based on mileage, load factors, fuel prices (oil and electricity), fuel-economy, vehicle costs and maintenance costs.

Ground level vehicles are assessed using data from around the industry, on gasoline, electric, owned and taxi vehicles.

Aerial vehicles could compete with taxis as early as 2025. By the 2030s, their costs can be 60% below the level of car ownership.

This model shows all of our input assumptions and calculations.

Oil Companies Drive the Energy Transition?

Disrupt Agriculture Energy Opportunities

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.

Shale EOR: the economics

the economics of a shale-EOR

This model assesses the economics of a shale-EOR huff’n’puff project. NPVs and IRRs can be stress-tested as a function of oil prices, gas prices, production-profiles, EUR uplifts and capex costs. Our input assumptions are derived from technical papers. We think that economics are increasingly exciting, as the technology is de-risked. As more gas is stranded in key shale basins, base case IRRs rise from c15% well-level IRRs to c20%.

The World’s Great Gas Fields and Their CO2

CO2 content of gas fields

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.

Copyright: Thunder Said Energy, 2019-2023.