Why have OPEC revenues plunged?
Last week, a report released by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) found that, in 2015, OPEC members’ net oil export revenue declined 46 percent from the $753 billion earned in 2014.
These figures put OPEC members’ net oil export revenues at their lowest level since 2004. But is the decline in crude oil prices solely responsible for the drop in the petroleum exporters’ income?
In short, the cost of Brent crude has a lot to do with the OPEC members’ misfortunes, but there are other contributing factors. The EIA reports that the monthly average Brent spot price dropped from $112 per barrel in June 2014 to $38 per barrel in December 2015.
Earlier this year, the World Economic Forum predicted that the current drop in oil prices has been caused by both a glut in supply and a drop in demand. However, slowing growth in emerging markets, like China, has led to a global slump in commodity prices more generally.
Unplanned production outages are the other primary cause of falling OPEC revenues. Some of these shutdowns have been due to armed conflict, particularly in countries like Libya and Nigeria. The former has struggled to maintain oil production since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime five years ago and Libyan oil terminals have largely been contested ever since. Militant attacks in Nigeria have also damaged production there.
Production has been shut down in Iran and Venezuela due to respective sanctions and ongoing payment issues with the state-owned oil company.
The EIA reports that OPEC member countries which are already in good financial shape — particularly the Persian Gulf States — will be less affected by the revenue fall than others, like Iraq or Nigeria, which don’t have large financial reserves.
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.