May 17, 2020

Australia to Overtake Qatar as Global LNG Leader

energy digital
Australia
Qatar
LNG
Admin
3 min
Australia to become the top LNG exporter
Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) has been embraced as a commercially attractive and eco-friendly fossil fuel, and the global industry is set to see the eme...

 

Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) has been embraced as a commercially attractive and eco-friendly fossil fuel, and the global industry is set to see the emergence of new gas giants, with Australia competing against traditional LNG exporters such as Qatar, states new research by energy experts GBI Research.

The report states that natural gas has experienced growing demand worldwide, having earned a reputation as a clean, safe and cheap source of energy, which is cost-efficient to transport as LNG and available in abundant reserves.

The LNG industry of Australia is currently the most promising market in the world, and is expected to attain market dominance in the next five years. Recent offshore discoveries have found a huge abundance of reserves in the country, and the Australian government is providing strong support to the industry, in the form of encouraging regulatory structure and initiatives. Asia-Pacific acts as a big customer for LNG imports, fueled by the region’s growing economies, and neighboring Australia is ideally positioned to become an LNG export hub meeting this need.

In contrast, Qatar is currently the world’s largest LNG exporter, but risks stagnation, as the country shows no plans for capacity additions in the near future. Qatar boasted a liquefaction capacity of 77.5 million tons in 2011, but this doesn’t look to change significantly, whereas Australia’s modest liquefaction capacity of 20 million tons in 2011 is expected to reach 124 million tons by 2017.

Floating Liquified Natural Gas (FLNG) terminals are expected to be a technology game-changer in the future LNG industry, due to enormous advantages, despite the technology still being in development stages and yet to commence commercial operation. In the near future it is expected that 10% of LNG produced globally will be a product of natural gas extracted from offshore basins, which is around 40% less expensive than that from onshore natural gas projects.

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Australia has shown its ambitions as a LNG hub through their FLNG activity. After spending many years in R&D and investing over US$500m, Dutch major Shell announced its Final Investment Decision (FID) to construct a floating LNG project at Australia's Prelude field in May 2011. The project is expected to start by 2017, with a processing capacity of 3.6 million tons.

As of 2011, total LNG trade among 25 active countries stood at 233.1 million tons, from trade of only 157.6 million tons in 2006, when a mere 16 countries were involved in the export of LNG. As of 2011, Qatar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia and Nigeria are the top five LNG exporting countries, contributing to around 151 million tons of LNG exports to their major importers. Similarly, Japan, Korea, Spain, UK and China are the top five LNG importing countries, contributing to around 163 million tons of LNG imports from their major exporters. Investments in LNG projects are set to steadily increase during the immediate future, with global capital expenditure for upcoming LNG projects estimated to exceed US$200 billion over the 2012–2017 period.

SOURCE: GBI Research

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Jul 13, 2021

Technology revolution for water retailers

Utilities
technology
IoT
digitaltransformation
Paul Williams
4 min
Paul Williams, Chief Technology Officer at Everflow Tech, reflects on privatisation, industry complexities and future for utilities in a digital world

In April 2017, the UK’s water retail market in the world opened for business – the single biggest change to the water sector since privatisation. This development allowed businesses, charities and public sector organisations to shop around for the best deal.
However, like any industry, this change hasn’t been without its sticking points; here, Paul Williams, CTO at Everflow Tech (pictured far right), discusses how retailers can harness technology to their advantage

Our CEO, Josh Gill, set up independent retailer Everflow Water in 2015, and Everflow Tech is his response to the difficulties it faced.

Quotations could take up to a week to produce, billing software had to be manually updated and brokers were unable to manage the complete customer journey in one place – all of which took time, cost money and allowed for human error.

The more complexity that was involved in billing or quoting, the more contact end customers needed to have with their retailers, pushing up the cost to serve for every SPID. This meant retailers – ourselves included – found themselves in a situation where profits were simply eaten up by service costs.

We also note that it can traditionally be hard for retailers to stay on top of balancing what they are charging their customers with what they are being charged by the market. To further exacerbate this, the longer a change goes unnoticed, the more trouble it can be to balance the issue.

It was these issues that Josh and his (at the time) small team wanted to ameliorate, creating their own technology in the absence of anything else.

This technology evolved into our award-winning retail sales, billing and customer management platform for the water retail market, and Everflow Tech was launched as a standalone venture in 2018, selling the software externally for other water retailers and their customers to benefit from.

What retailers want

As a relatively new entrant to the world of utilities competition, the water market could be seen to be lagging behind, particularly when it comes to innovation.

In fact, as recently as 2019, Ofwat said it expected the industry to be making technological advances and to be working with a culture of innovation, collaborating with companies both within and outside of the sector.

And with cost-savings for consumers traditionally lower than for other utilities, retailers need to be offering something more – whether that’s better support, energy-efficiency advice or more accurate data.

What’s more, consumers have had a taste of the power of technology, and they’ve come to expect nothing less from retailers across the board.

Another key issue – thrown into sharp relief during the past 12 months (and counting) of a pandemic – is rising levels of arrears, which are likely to increase bad debt beyond margins that retailers originally allowed for when the market was created.

In such a low-margin industry, there is a limit to the amount of debt retailers can take on, especially as recovering costs can be a very slow process. Ofwat has signalled that this issue could be addressed as early as this year, with a mechanism for recovering bad debt to be established during 2021/22. 

The market needs simple solutions to better serve the end user, and we were perfectly placed to develop those solutions. At Everflow, our software is designed for the water retail market, by the water retail market.

As well as simple billing, clear-to-understand workflows, and a revenue assurance system to allow retailers to quickly compare market charges, Everflow has also introduced a complete debt solution, allowing missed payment dates to drive late payment charges and escalations automatically.

Retailers are able to design and put out their own bill and quotes, tailoring customer journey and overall experience – whatever the circumstances.

What does the future hold?

Automation is key to any industry; we’re heading into an age of driverless cars and smart homes, and this drive for tech will filter through to our industry, and we need to catch up. 

The Internet of Things – a network of physical objects connected to each other – means human error (and effort) can effectively be removed from many everyday tasks, which goes for meter readings too. However, in the 21st century, the water market is still not leveraging previously emerged technology in the form of smart meters to provide accurate billing. 

Consumers are also becoming more empowered, both to ask for information and change their preferences if they don’t like what they learn. Retailers need to be armed with this information, not next week, not tomorrow, but now – and, at Everflow Tech, we’re putting that information at their fingertips.

But the retailers themselves need to speak up too, and we will always work with them to get the best ideas on what needs to be developed and when.

Our strong bond with Everflow Water, along with other key customers, means we have a direct interest in making sure our systems serve the water market in the best way they can. 

For us, the goal is to make sure retailers on our platform can grow as much as possible, leaving behind laborious daily processes to focus on their own strategic growth and, most importantly, helping their customers.

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