Gas and oil producers have slashed overheads by a third since 2014 and are finding deeper reductions harder to come by, according to energy consultants Wood Mackenzie. That’s spurring them to rewrite supply contracts, build mobile liquefied natural gas terminals and take more prosaic steps like fixing leaky pipes.
“This is about getting affordable energy out,” said Jens Okland, executive vice president of marketing, midstream and processing at Equinor ASA, Norway’s biggest energy company. “A lot of these LNG projects are huge. You need to make them cheaper, quite simply.”
Keeping gas affordable is a crucial ingredient of the world’s effort to shift toward less-polluting forms of energy, since it’s gas-fired power generators that can start and stop quickly, helping smooth fluctuations in supply coming from wind and solar farms. Its costs have to fall as cheaper wind turbines and solar panels make utilities scale back their most-expensive traditional power plants.
And gas has plenty of competition even before the rise of renewables. For example, to compete with coal in Asia, gas imports need to land there at about $4 to $6 per million British thermal units. That’s about half the cost of reported contracts, according to the International Gas Union trade lobby. In Germany, solar and onshore wind power are already comparable to gas based on the value of electricity the assets generate over their lifetime, Bloomberg New Energy Finance data show.
Read more at Bloomberg.