ADNOC signs onshore exploration agreement with Occidental
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has signed an exploration concession agreement, awarding the exploration rights for Abu Dhabi Onshore Block 5 to Occidental, the US-based international oil and gas exploration and production company.
ADNOC says that the award has been approved by Abu Dhabi’s Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) and follows the council’s endorsement last month for the company to begin awarding exploration blocks in Abu Dhabi’s second most competitive block bid round.
The award to Occidental represents a further deepening of the UAE-USA strategic bilateral relationship, as well as the continued expansion of ADNOC’s strategic partnerships with entities that can provide technology, capabilities, capital, and access to key growth markets for the company’s crude oil and products.
Occidental will hold a 100 percent stake in the exploration phase, investing up to £104.3 million, including a participation fee, to explore for and appraise oil and gas opportunities in the block – which covers an onshore area of 4,212 square kilometres southeast of Abu Dhabi city.
New 3D seismic data has been acquired over a large part of the block, which combined with its proximity to existing onshore oil and gas fields, suggests that the concession area has promising potential, the statement adds.
Following a successful commercial discovery during the exploration phase, Occidental will have the right to a production concession to develop and produce such commercial discoveries. ADNOC has the option to hold a 60 percent stake in the production phase of the concession.
The term of the production phase is 35 years from the commencement of the exploration phase. Onshore Block 5 offers the potential to create significant in-country value for the UAE over the lifetime of the concession.
The exploration concession agreement was signed by His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and ADNOC Group CEO, and Vicki Hollub, president and CEO of Occidental.
“We are very pleased to once again collaborate with Occidental and strengthen our long-standing partnership. This concession award highlights the important role of energy cooperation in deepening the strong and deep-rooted strategic relationship between the UAE and the US," says Dr. Al Jaber.
"Crucially, the award underscores the attractiveness of Abu Dhabi’s huge untapped resource potential and ADNOC’s ability to continue to secure foreign direct investment to the UAE’s stable and trusted business environment, despite tough market conditions.
“Occidental was selected after a very competitive bid round that builds on the success of our debut bid round completed last year as part of Abu Dhabi’s block licensing strategy aimed at accelerating the exploration and development of our substantial hydrocarbon resources. This onshore block offers new areas with significant amounts of conventional oil and gas potential, and the award signals ADNOC and Abu Dhabi’s drive to remain a long-term and reliable energy provider to the world," he continues.
In addition to drilling exploration and appraisal wells, the exploration phase will see Occidental leverage and contribute financially and technically to ADNOC’s mega seismic survey, which is already acquiring seismic data within the block area.
The world’s largest 3D seismic survey is deploying industry-leading technologies to capture high-resolution 3D images of the complex geology up to 25,000 feet below the surface and will be used to identify potential hydrocarbon reservoirs, ADNOC says.
“We are honoured to partner with ADNOC on a second exploration concession contiguous to Onshore Block 3, where we have completed two exploration wells with extremely promising results. We see significant potential in Onshore Block 5 and, in partnership with ADNOC, will continue to work to help unlock the vast untapped resources in Abu Dhabi,” says Vicki Hollub.
All exploration activities in Abu Dhabi are carefully planned to mitigate any potential impacts through the implementation of protection measures, the use of advanced techniques and technologies, and stakeholder engagement to minimise drilling activities in populated or environmentally sensitive areas, ADNOC adds.
Abu Dhabi’s second competitive block bid round was launched in 2019, with the energy giant offering a set of major onshore and offshore blocks, on behalf of Abu Dhabi’s SPC. Based on existing data from detailed petroleum system studies, seismic surveys, exploration and appraisal wells data, estimates suggest the blocks in this second bid round hold multiple billion barrels of oil and multiple trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
The Occidental award comes a few weeks after the SPC announced the discovery of recoverable unconventional oil resources estimated at 22 billion stock tank barrels (STB) and an increase in conventional oil reserves of 2 billion STB which boosted the UAE’s conventional reserves to 107 billion STB.
In February 2019, Occidental was awarded an onshore block in Abu Dhabi’s first competitive bid round. Occidental continues to explore for oil and gas in the block known as Onshore Block 3 that covers an area of 5,782 square kilometres in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi.
Form Energy receives funding power for iron-air batteries
Form Energy believes it has cracked the conundrum of commercialising grid storage through iron-air batteries - and some of the biggest names in industry are backing its potential.
The startup recently announced the battery chemistry of its first commercial product and a $200 million Series D financing round led by ArcelorMittal’s XCarb innovation fund. Founded in 2017, Form Energy is backed by investors Eni Next LLC, MIT’s The Engine, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Prelude Ventures, Capricorn Investment Group and Macquarie Capital.
While solar and wind resources are the lowest marginal cost sources of electricity, the grid faces a challenge: how to manage the multi-day variability of renewable energy, even in periods of multi-day weather events, without sacrificing energy reliability or affordability.
Moreover, while Lithium-ion batteries are well suited to fast bursts of energy production, they run out of energy after just a few hours. Iron-air batteries, however, are predicted to have theoretical energy densities of more than 1,200 Wh/kg according to Renaissance of the iron-air battery (phys.org)
The active components of Form Energy's iron-air battery system are some of the cheapest, and most abundant materials: iron, water, and air. Iron-air batteries are the best solution to balance the multi-day variability of renewable energy due to their extremely low cost, safety, durability, and global scalability.
It claims its first commercial product is a rechargeable iron-air battery capable of delivering electricity for 100 hours at system costs competitive with conventional power plants and at less than 1/10th the cost of lithium-ion and can be optimised to store electricity for 100 hours at system costs competitive with legacy power plants.
"This product is our first step to tackling the biggest barrier to deep decarbonisation: making renewable energy available when and where it’s needed, even during multiple days of extreme weather, grid outages, or periods of low renewable generation," it states.
Mateo Jaramillo, CEO and Co-founder of Form Energy, said it conducted a broad review of available technologies and has reinvented the iron-air battery to optimise it for multi-day energy storage for the electric grid. "With this technology, we are tackling the biggest barrier to deep decarbonization: making renewable energy available when and where it’s needed, even during multiple days of extreme weather or grid outages," he said.
Form Energy and ArcelorMittal are working jointly on the development of iron materials which ArcelorMittal would non-exclusively supply for Form’s battery systems. Form Energy intends to source the iron domestically and manufacture the battery systems near where they will be sited. Form Energy’s first project is with Minnesota-based utility Great River Energy, located near the heart of the American Iron Range.
Greg Ludkovsky, Global Head of Research and Development at ArcelorMittal, believes Form Energy is at the leading edge of developments in the long-duration, grid-scale battery storage space. "The multi-day energy storage technology they have developed holds exciting potential to overcome the issue of intermittent supply of renewable energy."
Investors in Form Energy's November 2020 round included Energy Impact Partners, NGP Energy Technology Partners III, and Temasek.
In May 2020, it signed a contract with Minnesota-based utility Great River Energy to jointly deploy a 1MW / 150MWh pilot project to be located in Cambridge, MN. Great River Energy is Minnesota's second-largest electric utility and the fifth largest generation and transmission cooperative in the US.
Last week Helena and Energy Vault announced a strategic partnership to identify additional opportunities for Energy Vault’s waste remediation technologies as the company begins deployment of its energy storage system worldwide. It received new investment from Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV) in June.
Maoneng has revealed more details of its proposed 240MWp / 480MWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula in Australia (click here).
The BESS represents hundreds of millions of dollars of investment that will improve electricity grid reliability and network stability by drawing energy from the grid during off-peak periods for battery storage, and dispatching energy to the grid during peak periods.