Two days before publishing its 2016 full-year results, oil and gas giant Shell is making moves to greatly reduce its debts. In a deal with Chrysaor worth an estimated $3.8bn, Shell has sold a significant portion of its North Sea Oil fields. Meanwhile, in an attempt to improve the efficiency of on-site oil and gas monitoring, robot technology is drawing the attention of oil and gas executives. As technology shifts, so does the focus of LNG exporters. With European gas prices continuing to sky rocket, exporters have refocused attention from Asia to Southern Europe. Europe is also making changes, switching from coal to gas-fired generation to significantly reduce CO2 emissions across its power sector.
Shell sells more than half of its North Sea oil and gas fields for $3.8bn
Shell has sold a large part of its North Sea oil fields for $3.8bn (£3bn) to private equity-backed oil group Chrysaor – chaired by Linda Cook, a former Shell employee known as the first lady of oil and gas.
The assets on sale accounted for more than half of Shell’s North Sea oil production last year and includes fields gained after Shell acquired gas giant BG Group for £47bn. The move takes place two days before Shell is due to publish its 2016 full-year results and is part of its programme to reduce its debts by divesting $30bn of assets by 2018. The sale also comes shortly before the group is expected to submit its formal plan to government for dismantling its rigs at Brent, a field which has produced about 10% of total North Sea production over four decades.
More and more robots are being used in the oil and gas industry
The Oil & Gas Industry looks to robots to carry out on-site monitoring and improve the safety of daily tasks. A 2015 survey from Microsoft and Accenture found that 62% of oil and gas executives worldwide plan to invest more in digital solutions.
The Iron Roughneck – a robot manufactured by National Oilwell Varco Inc – handles the dangerous task of connecting segments of drill piping as they are laid through miles of ocean and rock. Robots have the capability to make certain industries safer and this is one of the prime reasons fuelling adoption. Companies could even reduce costs by delegating off routine tasks to robots.
U.S. LNG exports shift to Europe from Asia
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporters have shifted their focus from Asia to Southern Europe as cold weather and problems with Algerian gas supply drive Europe’s gas prices higher.
Consumers cranked up their heaters as cold weather hit the region, pushing up demand for gas. As demand has risen, supply from Algeria has been reduced due to problems at Sonatrach’s Skikda LNG export terminal.
European gas prices are now at their highest premiums – compared to U.S. gas prices – for more than three years. Several cargoes have already made their way to Europe, and analysts expect even more to come.
‘Huge’ coal-to-gas switch drives down EU power emissions
According to a new analysis from thinktanks Sandbag and Agora Energiewende, Europe’s power-sector CO2 emissions fell 4.5% in 2016 after a “huge” switch from coal to gas-fired generation. Figures showed coal generation across the EU is now falling by 94 terawatt hours (TWh), down 12% from 2015. While gas output was up 101TWh, a 20% increase.
The coal-to-gas switch was enough to reduce EU power-sector CO2 emissions by 4.5%, to 1,018m tonnes of CO2 in 2016. With almost half of the decrease in coal generation, and half of the increase in gas, taking place in the UK.