bp records $18.1 billion loss in 2020
The collapse in oil prices coupled with the impact of the pandemic which hit transport, demand and margins have been attributed to bp's $18.1 billion loss in 2020, its first loss in a decade.
An underlying profit of $115 million for Q4 was the one bright spot, rising from $86 million in Q3, though commentators said this fell short of analysts' expectations. The impact of COVID-19 is most tangible when you consider the company recorded a $3.5 billion profit in 2019.
CEO Bernard Looney said it was a pivotal year, launching a net zero ambition, setting a new strategy to become an integrated energy company and creating an offshore wind business in the US.
bp and Equinor recently completed the formation of their strategic US offshore wind partnership, which includes bp’s $1.1 billion purchase from Equinor of a 50% stake in two major lease areas off the US East Coast (click here).
Looney said it began the process of "reinventing bp" with nearly 10,000 staff being laid off. Its global divestment continues with bp selling its 20% interest in Oman’s Block 61 to PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited (PTTEP) of Thailand for $2.6 billion yesterday, though it retains a 40% stake.
"We strengthened our finances – taking out costs and closing major divestments. And through all of this, the underlying operations of the company remained safe – one of our safest years – and reliable, and major new projects were brought on line," he said.
"I appreciate our team’s commitment to deliver the energy the world needed and am grateful for the support we received from investors and the communities where we work. We expect much better days ahead for all of us in 2021."
Together with Eni, Equinor, National Grid, Shell and Total, it has formed the Northern Endurance Partnership (NEP) to develop the offshore infrastructure to transport and store millions of tonnes of CO2 emissions safely in the UK North Sea.
With bp as operator, the infrastructure will serve the proposed Net Zero Teesside and Zero Carbon Humber projects that aim to establish decarbonized industrial clusters in Teesside and Humberside.
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.