OPEC attempts to stabilise the oil & gas market
It has been reported that OPEC (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) has taken steps to stabilise the volatile oil and gas market.
In combination with efforts by the G20 and International Energy Agency, OPEC’s newly brokered deal could result in a reduction of up to 20mn barrels of oil per day (bpd) from circulation, therefore decreasing excess stockpiles and driving up prices.
This could be very positive news for an industry which has been beset by problems since the beginning of 2020. OPEC’s deal, supplemented by the as-yet-undefined efforts of the G20, could sow the seeds for restoring normality to the market.
According to reports, Russia and Saudi Arabia will each reduce their production to 8.5mn bpd (previously 12.3mn and 11.29mn bpd respectively), a significant cut in the oil industry’s history.
“[The production adjustments] are the largest in volume and the longest in duration, as they are planned to last for two years,” said H.E. Mohammed Barkindo, Secretary-General of OPEC.
“We are witnessing today the triumph of international cooperation and multilateralism which are the core of OPEC values.”
In addition to the potential for stabilising the global oil and gas market, OPEC’s deal is expected to also bring a degree of prosperity to the African continent. APPO (African Petroleum Producers' Organisation) has been following proceedings accordingly.
Among the African nations expected to benefit from OPEC’s production cuts are Nigeria, Angola and South Sudan.
Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Hon. Chief Timipre Marlin Sylva, announced in a statement that, “This [...] promises an appropriate balancing of Nigeria’s 2020 budget that has been rebased at $30 per barrel.”
Meanwhile, South Sudan’s Minister of Petroleum, Hon. Puot Kang Chol, added his support OPEC’s new deal, as well as guaranteeing its national battle against COVID-19 (coronavirus).
“We welcome all efforts to stabilize the oil market and South Sudan will continue to play its role. Our government will continue doing its utmost best in making the oil production and fighting the Coronavirus a priority and we will continue collaborating with all our partners.”
For more information on energy digital topics - please take a look at the latest edition of Energy Digital Magazine.
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.