Highest Paid Workforce Drives Aussie Developers to Sea
As Australia builds up its liquefied natural gas plants, energy workers are reaping the benefits with the highest salaries in the world—but not for long. As the country's resource boom inflates costs and threatens onshore developments, developers are turning to the sea for billions of dollars in savings, reports Bloomberg.
Australia's oil and gas workers currently earn an average annual salary of $163,600—35 percent higher than employees in the US (double the global average), according to Hays Plc and Oil and Gas Job Search.
Shell is pursuing the first LNG facility in the world and Exxon Mobil Corp is preparing to use the world's largest ship to turn gas into liquid at an onshore field, avoiding the cost of pipelines and port facilities. Woodside Petroleum Ltd is looking into sea-based technology, dodging an onshore plant for its Browse project. Both moves is expected to save the companies nearly 20 percent what they would pay onshore.
Many developers are turning to Asian-built floating projects to keep Australia competitive with the suppliers in North America and East Africa.
“A lot of people have been saying Australian LNG is now over, it’s going to be priced out of the market by U.S. LNG exports and competition from Canada and East Africa,” Mark Greenwood, a Sydney-based analyst at Citigroup Inc., told Bloomberg. “In our view, we are going to see continued investment in Australia, just a different sort.”
As the demand for LNG skyrockets, especially in nearby Asian markets, developing Australia's resources is critical in meeting growing energy needs.
“Of the 90 million tons a year of new projects that need to be approved globally in the next three years to satisfy LNG demand by the end of the decade, as much as a third of that may come from proposed floating LNG plants and expansions of onshore developments in Australia,” Neil Beveridge, an analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co, told Bloomberg.
There are currently six onshore projects under construction in Australia, three already operating.
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.