A Saudi-Iran oil war could break up OPEC


When OPEC and Russia shook on increasing crude oil production by a million barrels daily to stop the oil price climb that had begun getting uncomfortable for consumers from Asia to the United States, there was no sign of what was to come just two months later: slowing demand in Asia, ample supply, and a brewing price war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.


‘Mistake’ to overlook hydrogen electrolysis in clean energy drive


As a proponent of hydrogen being a very significant component in the UK’s atmospheric decarbonisation drive, I read with interest two recent reports; Delivering Clean Growth, CCUS Cost Challenge Task Force, July 2018 and Reducing UK Emissions, Committee on Climate Change, June 2018.


OPINION: Protecting the energy sector from cyberattacks


When the Die Hard movie franchise got a reboot in 2007 the plot revolved around an attack on New York’s infrastructure, with our hero John McClane up against a gang of cybercriminals intent on gaining access to critical energy, water and transport control systems to wreak chaos and (naturally) make off with a load of cash. Fast forward less than a decade and the situation went from movie plot to stark reality, as in 2015 Ukraine battled a Russian-orchestrated cyberattack on its electricity control centre that caused massive power outages in the depths of winter. When an enemy can turn your lights off when you need them most, that’s a powerful statement of their disruptive potential. The concern for the energy sector is not just that it is under attack, it’s that the enemy is already inside its networks, gaining persistence and waiting for the opportunity to strike. Let’s take a look at the situation and how the sector can harden its systems to make sure we keep the searchlight squarely on our adversaries.


Safety first for Hudson co-pilot


Like those who operate in the energy sector, flying passenger planes is a profession in which safety is of the highest priority, writes Jeff Skiles.


OPINION: CO2 use – or just more hot air?


A new report has just been published by the Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) Cost Challenge Taskforce promoting the virtues of carbon, its capture and potential usage in other things.


OPINION: Are we nearly there yet?


We all know what happened. We also know how difficult the last three years have been, not only in local oil and gas communities but also globally. It has been a very tough few years.


China’s LNG policies and their increasing worldwide impact


China’s growing demand for non-contractual liquefied natural gas (LNG) will change the landscape in the next few years, influencing the global market, LNG prices, international LNG supply agreements and China’s domestic gas industry.


Opinion: One man’s surplus can be another man’s treasure


Imagine if just a fraction of the pre-owned equipment, inventory and spares sitting idle in the yards and warehouses of the world’s oil towns today could be re-used. What would this do to the industry’s balance sheet, the need for new capital and the economics of projects where the re-use of pre-owned equipment made sense?


Opinion: No, Halliburton’s world isn’t really ending


The phrase “temporary efficiency drags will create headwinds for additional upward pricing in the third quarter” may cause your eyes to glaze over. For shareholders of Halliburton Co. — whose CEO uttered those unfortunate words on Monday — it induced sudden nausea. The stock collapsed 8 percent, its biggest one-day drop since November 2014, when OPEC’s surprise decision to keep pumping sent oil into a tailspin.


How to solve Europe’s energy trilemma


Recent events in the UK and Europe have highlighted important questions surrounding the provision and types of energy that will be required to fuel our future needs.


Standardising specifications: a new approach


In any large project in the oil and gas industry, the preparatory work that goes on at infrastructure design stage can often become a significant resource sink. The specifying of components, be it pipelines, flanges, valves or other ancillary equipment, can drag on in an iterative and often inefficient process that distorts initial cost and revenue projections.


OPINION: Are Electric Vehicles changing BP’s business model?


BP has announced the purchase of the UK’s largest charge point supplier and operator, Chargemaster. It is the latest in a string of acquisitions in the battle for the Electric Vehicle (EV) customer and BP appears to follow in the footsteps of Shell, its key oil major rival. What then does the EV business mean for the business model of an oil major?


OPINION: Time to take pumped storage hydro seriously


There’s no mystery about the biggest problem with wind power. It is, quite simply, that the wind does not always blow and when it doesn’t, other sources of generation have to be available to provide the back-up.


Riding the waves of Scottish energy innovation


EY’s latest attractiveness survey reveals that foreign direct investment (FDI) into Scotland is up 7 per cent - a faster rate of growth than in the UK as a whole.


OPEC decision: how much more oil will this bring the market?


OPEC have agreed to keep the current total limit, but will now attempt to comply with it. Oddly enough, low compliance with cuts has been from members and non-OPEC signatories to the cuts producing too little rather than too much. This has not come about through want to of trying, but because some signatories (most notably Venezuela) have been unable to reach their quotas. Clearly the only way 100% compliance with the total can be achieved when some countries cannot pump any more, is by those with spare capacity doing the job for them. The UAE oil minister, Suhail Al Mazrouei who did the talking, was asked repeatedly in the press conference about how the allocation would work. He always gave the same answer - the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC - a committee formed of OPEC and non-OPEC members to monitor the implementation of cuts) will figure it out. As yet there is no plan as to how the limits will be reallocated. Presumably we will need to wait until the JMMC has met to agree on this.


OPINION: Microsoft data centres – why Orkney?


Amongst the blizzard of publicity around the deployment of the Microsoft data centre in the water at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) a question kept coming up in interviews ‘…. er … why do it in Orkney of all places?’