Quorum: modernising the oil and gas industry
Leading software company Quorum has released a new report, wherein it shares insights into the modern oil and gas industry and how it can modernise.
Released at a crucial time for the sector, which is continuing to experience a downturn in fortunes as a combined result of the price war and the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that the wider industry will need to reconsider its future to stay viable.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned energy companies to prepare for some of the most unfavourable trading conditions in recent memory:
“Even assuming that travel restrictions are eased in the second half of the year, we expect that global oil demand in 2020 will fall by 9.3m barrels a day versus 2019, erasing almost a decade of growth,” it commented.
As such, the agility and efficiency of operations could never be of more critical importance and it is on these topics which Quorum seeks to provide guidance on.
Bringing technology up to speed
The crucial takeaways from Quorum’s research indicate that oil and gas companies, on average, suffer from a notable lack of technological sophistication in their everyday operations: approximately one-third of polled decision-makers agreed with this sentiment.
More concerning, however, is the statistic that 90% of IT decision-makers find that their jobs are made actively more difficult because of outdated technology.
This is an issue clearly not lost on oil and gas executives, 80% of which believe sub-standard operating equipment could lead to employees leaving the company, although 60% also worry that fixing the problem would ultimately prove too costly.
Despite this, 90% of oil and gas decision-makers believe that further investment in technology would yield greater success in the future. Quorum’s report is hoped to incentivise spending in the short-term to bolster the sector’s future prospects.
“Businesses don’t need to overhaul and disrupt their current status quo, they need to modernise it,” stated Gene Austin, CEO.
“As the industry enters a new era, we’re excited to help companies innovate with new technologies that not only optimise their current operations but directly impact their bottom lines.”
A vision of the future
Building a new vision for the oil and gas industry requires a new operating philosophy, one which is informed by contemporary, successful tech trends and the way in which they’ve been implemented.
These include: adaptable software, a focus on flexibility and innovation, faster data feeds, robotic process automation (RPA), usage of data analytics, and talent succession planning.
In addition, Quorum recommends investment in four core technologies to structure the necessary framework: cloud, mobile, IoT (internet of things) and data analytics.
Properly integrated, these four aspects can link together to form a self-improving cycle which enables maximum opportunities for operational optimisation; an agile stream of data from multiple sources can be assessed and fed back to decision-makers, allowing real-time improvements and reducing costs significantly.
Kang Chen, CIO of Concho Resources, believes that establishing this system was essential to the company’s digital transformation.
“The data quality side was an ongoing challenge and organisations were spending 95-97% of their time cleaning up the data, and only 3-5% of time analyzing the data,” he said.
“[Concho] only leveraged 10 to 20% of the data we owned or acquired; this research opened our eyes to the inherent value of our own data which was not being effectively applied.”
Chen’s testimony emphasises the value that other oil and gas companies could extract from Quorum’s research. By appreciating and implementing new technological changes, it is possible to empower workers, shorten delivery cycles, understand assets, lower costs and increase efficiency.
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.