Europe moves closer to shale production
It has been 10 years since there were more unconventional than conventional wells being drilled annually in the United States, but hydraulic fracturing has yet to make an impact elsewhere in the world, where operators continue to face environmental worries and logistical challenges, say analysts with research and consulting firm GlobalData.
According to Matthew Ingham, GlobalData’s lead analyst covering North Sea and Western Europe Upstream, and Gustavo Bianchotti, GlobalData’s senior analyst for Europe, Middle East and North African Upstream, countries must consider the significant impact that increasing supplies of unconventional gas have had in the U.S., where natural gas prices stand at less than half of those in Europe.
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“Russian gas exports to Europe grew to a record of 15.6 billion cubic feet per day last year. While domestic production from countries such as France, Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine cannot fully replace this supply, it can reduce expensive long-term Russian contracts and cushion volatile North African supplies, creating a more favorable price environment for the general public,” Ingham says.
In November 2013, Chevron signed a $10 billion shale gas Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) with the Ukrainian government to develop the western Olesska field, followed by a similar shale gas agreement with Shell. Although political, exploratory and commercial risks remain in Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland, the analysts say that shale production is inching closer.
However, fracking continues to lack public approval. Public disclosure of fracking constituents in the U.S. has done little to bring peace of mind, and ‘fracktivists’ from 26 countries are currently scheduling worldwide protests.
“Mitigation programs will be vital to the successful development of a well-rounded shale gas program and will facilitate acceptance of shale gas exploration and development in Europe,” Bianchotti says.
“Some governments are more effective at progressing development. With continued appraisal of reserves while fiscal and regulatory framework is devised, infrastructure is developed and advances in technology can drive down costs. The European region, including the UK, Ukraine, and Poland, could see production within the next three to four years, whilst it may take longer for other countries,” Bianchotti says.
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.