Jul 31, 2020

Fujitsu: reimagining energy’s portfolio optimisation

Asset portfolio optimisation
William Girling
3 min
Fujitsu logo
In our previous article, we explored Fujitsu’s recently released whitepaper to ascertain how it’s enabling the energy sector’s digital transformat...

In our previous article, we explored Fujitsu’s recently released whitepaper to ascertain how it’s enabling the energy sector’s digital transformation.

The company elucidated that COVID-19 had emphasised the necessity of agility and flexibility to drive optimal performance in the deployment of workers and resources, as well as the possibilities of quantum-inspired computing to improve profit, save costs, mitigate delays and generate new revenue streams.

Now, we explore how Fujitsu is helping energy companies maximise their asset portfolio optimisation and forging an economically more sustainable industry in the process.

Optimising asset portfolios

In an effort to enhance forecasting and decision-making, improvements within the industry focused on developing greater visibility or a ‘single pane of glass’ perspective across various asset silos were already under consideration before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yet these updates were hampered by industry investment focused disproportionately on production. Furthermore, manually-driven processes were typically overly complicated and lacked the surety of data-centric computer-driven systems.

In fact, a recent article by Total highlighted that recent weaknesses in hydrocarbon investment exacerbated by the pandemic, the drop in oil prices and other factors have reaped an “exceptional asset impairment charge of $2.6bn” in Q2 of 2020.

Referencing the numerous inefficiencies that were present in the energy industry, Fujitsu’s whitepaper says, “As long as companies could deploy enough people and equipment to keep producing, there was little urgency for more fundamental change.”

However, in the wake of COVID-19, companies have reassessed their approach; large asset portfolios do not inherently result in competitive differentiation. Instead, a shift from ‘production’ to ‘dividends’ has refocused the industry on asset balancing and maximising stakeholder ROI. This could include:

  • Grouping assets into manageable divisions of shared risk factors
  • More careful consideration of when and where to invest
  • Establishing a commitment to data-driven, technologically-advanced processes

Well-placement optimisation

For oil and gas companies, it should be noted that exploration-phase wells have improved markedly in the last half-century. However, this is not to say that the potential for greater optimisation doesn’t exist. 

Indeed, challenges surrounding finding the optimal drilling location and well sequencing persist, problems which are compounded by increasingly complex asset/resource interdependencies. 

Fujitsu’s quantum-inspired Digital Annealer (which we explored in our last article) is a prime example of a tech-based solution that can drive transformational results for well optimisation: “the solution can evaluate multiple potential options simultaneously and deliver lightning-fast insights.”

Fujitsu: advocating true sustainability

In many ways, well optimisation encapsulates the fact that inefficiency within energy isn’t just a monetary detriment but an environmental one too, as each failed operation expends CO2. Thus, Fujitsu states, sustainability should be fully considered in every sense moving forward.

With new asset types projected to “increase at a 50% growth rate” up to 2050 and escalating hunger for renewable energy sources to become more prevalent (Fujitsu estimates only 4% of global power is generated via solar or wind at this time), the industry must critically evaluate itself regarding modern geopolitical changes, regulatory restrictions and the increased viability of clean-energy alternatives.

“We offer a combination of next-generation technology assets and services, deep domain expertise and industry-leading commitment to building a sustainable society that few other companies can match,” says the whitepaper. 

“We can help you harness new digital capabilities to optimise your operations and accelerate your path to renewable energy sources. You can move your business to a more sustainable footing—for your shareholders, your employees, and society at large.”

Image sourced from Fujitsu Media Portal

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Jun 7, 2021

Trafigura and Yara International explore clean ammonia usage

Dominic Ellis
2 min
Commodity trading company Trafigura and Yara International sign MoU to explore developing ammonia as a clean fuel in shipping

Independent commodity trading company Trafigura and Yara International have signed an MoU to explore developing ammonia as a clean fuel in shipping and ammonia fuel infrastructure.

Reducing shipping emissions is a vital component of the fight against global climate change, yet Greenhouse Gas emissions from the global maritime sector are increasing - and at odds with the IMO's strategy to cut absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2050. 

How more than 70,000 ships can decrease their reliance on carbon-based sources is one of transport's most pressing decarbonisation challenges.

Yara and Trafigura intend to collaborate on initiatives that will establish themselves in the clean ammonia value chain. Under the MoU announced today, Trafigura and Yara intend to work together in the following areas:

  • The supply of clean ammonia by Yara to Trafigura Group companies
  • Exploration of joint R&D initiatives for clean ammonia application as a marine fuel
  • Development of new clean ammonia assets including marine fuel infrastructure and market opportunities

Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, President of Yara Clean Ammonia, said the agreement is a good example of cross-industry collaboration to develop and promote zero-emission fuel in the form of clean ammonia for the shipping industry. "Building clean ammonia value chains is critical to facilitate the transition to zero emission fuels by enabling the hydrogen economy – not least within trade and distribution where both Yara and Trafigura have leading capabilities. Demand and supply of clean ammonia need to be developed in tandem," he said.  

There is a growing consensus that hydrogen-based fuels will ultimately be the shipping fuels of the future, but clear and comprehensive regulation is essential, according to Jose Maria Larocca, Executive Director and Co-Head of Oil Trading for Trafigura.

Ammonia has a number of properties that require "further investigation," according to Wartsila. "It ignites and burns poorly compared to other fuels and is toxic and corrosive, making safe handling and storage important. Burning ammonia could also lead to higher NOx emissions unless controlled either by aftertreatment or by optimising the combustion process," it notes.

Trafigura has co-sponsored the R&D of MAN Energy Solutions’ ammonia-fuelled engine for maritime vessels, has performed in-depth studies of transport fuels with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and has published a white paper on the need for a global carbon levy for shipping fuels to be introduced by International Maritime Organization.

Oslo-based Yara produces roughly 8.5 million tonnes of ammonia annually and employs a fleet of 11 ammonia carriers, including 5 fully owned ships, and owns 18 marine ammonia terminals with 580 kt of storage capacity – enabling it to produce and deliver ammonia across the globe.

It recently established a new clean ammonia unit to capture growth opportunities in emission-free fuel for shipping and power, carbon-free fertilizer and ammonia for industrial applications.

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