GE O&G '17: "The future is not what it used to be"

By Adrienne Blume, Editor, Gas Processing and Executive Editor, Hydrocarbon Processing

FLORENCE, ITALY—Changes in the energy mix were on top of the agenda of the first day of GE Oil & Gas' Annual Meeting 2017. We covered viewpoints from key executives and leaders from GE, the IEA and Total, as well as the CEO of BP.

Another speaker to address the energy transition to renewables in the oil and gas industry was eni's Energy Solutions Executive Vice President Luca Cosentino.

"A transition process is occurring in the energy sector," Mr. Cosentino said. "The future is full of uncertainties, but also opportunities, as trillions of dollars will be spent in the next decade during this transition process."

"So, we can say that 'the future is not what it used to be,'" the VP said, quoting French poet and philosopher Paul Valéry.

Climate, renewable energy opportunities. "We all know we have climate change challenges in front of us, and so we have to close the loop we opened 200 years ago" with the unchecked, emissions-heavy use of coal and oil, Mr. Cosentino said.

The VP noted that a number of uncertainties exist in the forms of oil demand, pricing and carbon emissions. "We know we have to reduce CO2 emissions, but the current forecast is not very good for us," the VP explained.

Photo by Adrienne Blume.
Photo by Adrienne Blume.

"We all know that CO2 emissions will be emitted into the future." This fact is inescapable due to the nature of hydrocarbon processing and use, which is necessary to meet the world's energy needs.

Mr. Cosentino noted that eni started renewable energy production 35 years ago. In 2015, the company established a new energy solutions department at eni. The renewables segment is considered a core part of eni's business. Current projects include waste to fuel, energy storage, hybrid solutions, conventional solar energy, concentrated solar power, and others (Fig. 1).

Greenfield and brownfield renewables project contracts have been signed between eni and Ghana (Tema Oil), Tunisia, Algeria, Pakistan and Egypt. Additionally, a partnership between eni and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is ongoing.

Italy-wide renewable energy initiative. Project Italy (i.e., Progetto Italia) is eni's large project across Italy to use reclaimed land for renewables production. The green energy produced will be used for the company's operations and for the Italian industrial grid.

Progetto Italia initiatives include two new photovoltaic plants, as part of 15 total projects in the pipeline. These ambitious plans will be carried out between 2017 and 2030. "The idea is to create synergies" through these opportunities with our partners, such as GE, Mr. Cosentino noted.

Greenfield LNG at lowest possible cost. Carrying on the theme of alternative visions for the future, Martin Houston, Executive Vice Chairman of Tellurian Investments Inc., spoke about Tellurian's goal to create the lowest-cost greenfield LNG project possible.

Photo by Adrienne Blume.
Photo by Adrienne Blume.

With partners GE, Bechtel and Chart, Tellurian—under its subsidiary, Driftwood LNG LLC—seeks to build an LNG export terminal along the west bank of the Calcasieu River, south of St. Charles, Louisiana (Fig. 2).

The terminal would be designed to produce up to 26 metric MMtpy of LNG for delivery to customers around the world. Key guiding principles for Tellurian's project include:

  • Understand the market being served, and maintain clear objectives
  • Build only what is needed, and fit the design for the project purpose
  • Share goals with key contractors and trust them; minimize oversight when possible
  • Allocate risk accordingly, and keep in mind its costs
  • Safety is always a priority, but do not make it an excuse
  • Allow engineers to design, innovate and optimize—not just replicate.

"In short," Mr. Houston said, "Our success has been a discipline and a mindset, and more of a how than a what."

Stay tuned for more coverage. More coverage of key speaker presentations and technology sessions from the GE Oil & Gas Annual Meeting is forthcoming. Keep an eye on this space for updates!

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