Bay of Bengal oil bids disappoint
Offshore blocks offered in Bangladesh’s Bay of Bengal have attracted a disappointing level of interest from license-holders; however, anticipated improvements to the terms governing the country’s oil and gas industry could entice investors, says research and consulting firm GlobalData.
According to the company’s latest report, only one extra bid is thought to have been received for the shallow-water blocks during the extension of Bangladesh’s 2012 bidding round, adding to the three already received. As a result, more attractive fiscal terms are likely to be implemented in upcoming rounds, although the next one is unlikely to commence until 2015.
The fiscal terms for Bangladesh’s deepwater blocks were amended significantly, with a number of new incentives, mid-round in 2013; however, no such improvements were applied to the terms for the shallow-water area, despite increasing demand for natural gas.
Jonathan Lacouture, GlobalData’s Lead Analyst for the Asia-Pacific region, cites this lack of incentives as a reason for the low number of bids.
“Bangladesh faces fierce competition from India and Myanmar for exploration investment in the Bay of Bengal,” says Lacouture. “Incentives are needed to make the Bangladeshi blocks stand out, especially considering the substantial turnout which Myanmar recently experienced in its own licensing round.”
Indeed, Bangladesh’s upstream oil and gas sector is further clouded by ongoing uncertainty over the status of certain blocks in the shallow-water area. Following a clash with Myanmar over maritime boundaries, a similar dispute with India now remains unresolved, and arbitration on this dispute is not expected until June 2014.
“If the ruling on this issue favors India, then it would threaten the integrity of the six offshore blocks on the western edge of the exclusive economic zone, which are currently claimed by Bangladesh,” Lacouture says. “This arbitration means that the next bidding round will probably not happen until 2015 and the delay will only increase authorities’ urgency to attract investors.”
Will Scargill, fiscal analyst for GlobalData, suggests that future incentives are most likely to be offered through either a higher-cost recovery limit, or an improved gas-pricing framework.
“Given the level of domestic demand, export provisions are unlikely to be offered,” Scargill says. “The 2008 model contract permitted exports, and it was precisely for this reason that there was a lot of political opposition to the contract.”
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.