West African Oil Trade Affected by Piracy
Pirates will continue to prey on the lucrative West African oil trade, with more piracy and hijacking incidents expected in the Gulf of Guinea, as long as the political complexities surrounding naval presence in territorial waters continue, says an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.
According to Jeffrey Kerr, GlobalData’s managing analyst covering Downstream Oil & Gas, most of the pirates in the West African region are believed to be part of its countries’ thriving black market for crude oil and refined products.
“The Gulf of Guinea accounts for about 10 percent of the world’s crude oil exports, as well as many other products such as cocoa and metals, which are highly sought by the generally armed pirates on West African waters,” Kerr says.
“Furthermore, many of the ships in West Africa are too large to move into port and must be moored offshore, making them easy targets for armed pirates, while the region’s shipping rules, which state that crews cannot be armed, deems defense even more difficult,” he adds.
A recent published study found that in the first half of 2013, there were 31 reported piracy incidents and one hijacking in West Africa, compared to nine incidents and two hijackings offshore Somalia, the former world hotspot for such activities.
Another reason for the decline in piracy in Eastern Africa, according to Kerr, is because of an international naval presence that has armed crews on the ships offshore Somalia. Other measures, such as trying and convicting pirates in U.S. courts, have also forced them to seek other locations.
In order to counter the problem of piracy on the west coast of Africa, the African Union member countries agreed to set up a regional center in Cameroon to study the issue and adopt a code of conduct. However, significant hurdles remain regarding naval presence on West African waters.
“Those countries won’t allow each other’s navies into their territorial waters. The pirates are well aware of this and are able to exploit it,” adds Kerr.
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.