Frost & Sullivan was fortunate to enough to be invited by Globuc to speak at its GO Net Zero event in Brussels on September 20-21. The event attracted high calibre professionals from the oil & gas industry, with Total, BP, Shell and Petronas amongst those in attendance.
The core focus of the conference was examining the challenges that the industry faces in achieving next zero and concrete actions that can be taken to move the net zero agenda forward. Below are six takeaways from GO Net Zero:
- Europe faces the biggest energy challenge since the 1970s: Inevitably the implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a hot topic. Europe is now scrambling for alternative energy supplies. Equinor said it was doing what it could to ensure that Norway maximised production. The EU Commission highlighted the support packages that had been announced. Floating terminals will come online through the winter to help with supply. The weather could be critical – a very cold winter will put extreme pressure on supplies. There was also agreement that the crisis will last over several years at least, given the difficulties in changing supply and consumption dynamics.
- It’s vital to reduce demand where possible: Industrial companies have already made significant process. Local authorities are turning off lights and not heating water in showers. But much more must be done, both by industrial customers but also by consumers. Reducing peak electricity loads is vital, as this is often met by natural gas. The use of residential demand response offerings needs to be accelerated and it should not be possible to install home energy technologies that cannot interact with the grid.
- We need to build renewable energy capacity faster: After a promising start in the late 2000s, Europe has largely fallen behind in renewable investment. This now needs to be addressed and fast. Members of the financial community attending the event made it clear that there is plenty of capital available to back projects. Permitting is probably the biggest challenge to be overcome.
- Avoid, optimise, and mitigate: Dharmendra Umarnani of Shell highlighted the policy that Shell implements for its projects. Start by minimising demand where possible – for example installing variable speed drives that can operate in synergy with variable renewable loads. Then maximise electrification – Shell estimates that half of industrial fuel consumption can be electrified. Finally evaluate power supply options – can you install renewables onsite? Is energy storage viable? Digital technologies will increasingly make aspects of this journey much easier.
- Much to do on measuring and monitoring emissions: Scope 3 emissions (those which come from the consequences of activity such as use of the end product or employee travel) are the elephant in the room in that they are often the largest. Much work is being done but significant methodological challenges remain. There is a long way to go on this.
- Some level of abatement is unavoidable: Even with a concerted global effort to use low carbon technologies, there will still be a role for fossil fuels for some time – so we need to focus on abating those fuels. Significant progress is being made in CCUS (Carbon capture, utilisation, and storage) technology. Governments are becoming more favourable to storing carbon dioxide (CO2), which should improve the regulatory climate. Energy Technology companies such as Baker Hughes are poised to play a major role.