Deloitte: embrace a digital workplace culture
Creating a structured roadmap for digitalisation to transform who carries out work and how holds the potential to unlock new operational gains, effectively manage a distributed workforce and virtualise the entire business model through technology-enabled, human-driven decision making, according to a new Deloitte study.
The Future of Work in Oil, Gas and Chemicals: Opportunity in the time of change explores the opportunities today's changed environment presents organisations to transform themselves and bolster their earlier appeal with current and prospective employees.
The industry's reputation as a reliable employer has been challenged following big layoffs - 107,000 lost their jobs between March and August - and heightened cyclicality in employment triggered by recent subsequent downturns and the COVID-19 pandemic. The study highlights that 70 percent of jobs lost during the pandemic may not return by the end of 2021, assuming oil stays around $45 per barrel oil.
Four levers of transformation
The report highlights four levers of transformation - energy transition, integrated human-machine collaboration, recoded careers, and organizational agility - which could push OG&C organizations into the future.
- With only 1-2 percent of oil and gas capex spent on new green energy projects, there is nearly "unlimited scope" for companies to transform their traditional hydrocarbon model.
- The power of digital transformation lies in a structured road map that extends structural changes from an individual asset level to the entire organization and creates a platform for innovation and collaboration. The human-machine collaboration model is one such road map.
- Renewing the focus on the workforce lies at the very center of the talent puzzle, and the time has perhaps come to revisit the traditional talent life cycle.
- With dwindling gains from the usual performance levers in the near term, it is time for organizations to now challenge their traditional way of functioning, including how they have set up their core and support functions, and how they manage resources and work with partners. Put simply, organisational agility is the way forward with fndamental changes needed across each element of the income statement and balance sheet.
Duane Dickson, Vice chairman and U.S. oil, gas and chemicals leader, Deloitte LLP, said: "Companies that choose to see the coming decade as an opportunity for transformation will likely not just outlive this compression but may even lead the industry into the future of work. By putting people at the core of business transformation strategies, the industry may hopefully regain its appeal and position itself for what's expected to be a much different landscape in the future."
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.