Global Energy Sector – Equinor offshore wind bid wins in New York State

Source: Equinor

New York State governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced Equinor’s Empire Wind as a winner in the State’s first large-scale competitive offshore wind solicitation. 

The 816 megawatt (MW) offshore wind project will bring renewable energy to New York consumers, contribute to the State’s ambitious renewable energy development goals, and provide significant economic benefits to New York. 

Equinor’s 816 MW winning bid confirms the company’s role as a major contributor in meeting New York State’s renewable energy and climate goals including its goal of 9,000 MW of offshore wind by 2035. It also represents an important milestone for Equinor’s ambition of building an offshore wind core area on the U.S. East Coast. 

The project is expected to be developed with 60-80 wind turbines, with an installed capacity of more than 10 MW each. Total investments will be approximately $3 billion, and the project will be able to power over 500,000 homes in New York, with an expected start up in late 2024.

“Being selected in this highly competitive field of bidders shows the confidence that New York leadership has in Equinor’s capabilities of developing large offshore energy projects, delivering affordable renewable energy while also providing significant economic benefits locally. We are now looking forward to working with our partners throughout New York State to bring this project forward,” Christer af Geijerstam, President of Equinor Wind US, said.

Two years after Equinor secured an attractive 80,000-acre lease area in the New York Bight for Empire Wind, after a strong competition with other bidders, the company has been selected to negotiate a long-term contract with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for offshore wind renewable energy certificates (ORECs). The award remains subject to the execution of the OREC purchase and sale agreement, which Equinor looks forward to finalizing together with NYSERDA.

“We are proud to have been awarded this major wind project offshore New York. Empire Wind represents a breakthrough for Equinor’s global offshore wind ambitions and is an important step in our development as a broad energy company. We have demonstrated that we can be successful in fierce competition, with our first wind project outside of Europe. The project will be the biggest wind farm under contract in our portfolio so far. We are looking forward to developing Empire Wind together with local authorities, local communities and the U.S. industry,” Pål Eitrheim, executive vice president for Equinor New Energy Solutions, said.

Pål Eitrheim when New York State governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced Equinor’s Empire Wind as a winner in the State’s first large-scale competitive offshore wind solicitation.

Equinor’s Empire Wind project will help bring renewable energy to New York City while spurring statewide economic development opportunities. The project is expected to create approximately 800 local jobs during construction and operation, including through the creation of locally manufactured turbine foundations in New York’s Capital Region. More broadly, Equinor is committed to developing the nation’s first offshore wind supply chain to support the construction, installation and operation of offshore wind projects.

Equinor will also invest over $60 million in port upgrades in New York that will support future offshore wind projects and further strengthen the state’s position as the U.S. hub for offshore wind.  Further, Equinor will commit at least $4.5M to community benefits and workforce development, which will further the goals of New York’s National Offshore Wind Training Institute and Community and Workforce Benefits Fund. 

Alicia Barton, NYSERDA President and CEO said,
"Today, Governor Cuomo solidified New York’s clean energy and climate leadership status with the single greatest commitment to offshore wind by a state in U.S. The development of Empire Wind will bring significant economic and environmental benefits to New York, help affirm our position as the offshore wind hub of the Northeast and propel us even closer to achieving the Governor’s ambitious climate and energy goals."

Australia Banking Sector – Property ownership still the Great Australian Dream: Commonwealth Bank of Australia research

Source: Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Wednesday, 17 July 2019: More than 70 per cent of Australians still consider property ownership to be the Great Australian Dream, new CBA data has found.

Commonwealth Bank’s Home Own research found 75 per cent of those under the age of 30 believed property ownership to be the Great Australian Dream. Meanwhile, 69 per cent of those aged 30 and over felt the same way.

The data also found that a growing proportion of Australians now considered the dream of property ownership to be more achievable than ever before.

Australia Banking Sector – Commonwealth Bank of Australia announces first Sustainability-Linked loan

Source: Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA)

Wednesday, 17 July 2019: The operator of Gold Coast Airport will be incentivised to reduce carbon emissions under an innovative new financing agreement with Commonwealth Bank.

Commonwealth Bank has agreed to provide $150 million of debt funding to Queensland Airports Limited (QAL) for the Gold Coast Airport redevelopment, as part of a broader five-year capex facility agreed with a group of banks.

Of the $150 million of funds committed by Commonwealth Bank, $75 million is in the form of a Sustainability-Linked Loan (SLL), which includes the potential for a margin reduction for QAL, provided the airport meets targets linked to a reduction in carbon emissions intensity. Conversely, underperformance will trigger an increase in pricing.

The Gold Coast Airport financing is the first in Australia to be directly linked to a reduction in carbon emissions. It is also Commonwealth Bank’s first SLL transaction and the first to align to a widely adopted carbon emission industry framework, the Airport Carbon Accreditation Program.

Global Energy Sector – Equinor Announces Gudrun partners to invest in Gudrun field water injection plant

Source: Equinor

Improved recovery from Gudrun – The Gudrun partners have decided to invest in a water injection plant on the Gudrun field to improve reservoir recovery. This will extend the field life by three years compared to the original plan.

“We are pleased about the partnership’s decision to invest NOK 2.4 billion in further development of the Gudrun field. Water injection will improve recovery from the reservoir and utilize existing infrastructure on the field. This is a robust and good project,” says Tom Elseth, Equinor’s project director for Gudrun.

The water injection project will produce water from the Utsira formation and reinject it into the reservoir for pressure support and increased production. In addition, a new production well will be drilled.

Production on the Gudrun field is declining, and for that reason we have looked at ways of increasing field production together with our partners.

Tom Elseth, Equinor’s project director for Gudrun Marit Lunde, vice president for Gudrun operations in Development & Production Norway.

“This is a good example of how we secure long-term activity on the Norwegian continental shelf. Based on deeper understanding of the reservoir and technology development we are able to increase the recovery rate and value creation from the field while extending the field life to 2032, three years longer than originally scheduled in the plan for development and operation (PDO),” says Marit Lunde, vice president for Gudrun operations in Development & Production Norway.

The measures implemented to extend the field life are referred to as Gudrun phase 2.

The Gudrun PDO was approved by Norwegian authorities in 2010 and the field came on stream in 2014. Seven wells are currently in production on the field.

“The accommodation on the Gudrun platform is small. To be able to carry out offshore modifications and complete the work by 2021, we must use the Rowan Stavanger rig while it is carrying out scheduled production drilling on the field,” says Elseth.

The rig will have catering capacity for personnel involved in both drilling and installation activities.

Contract
A contract for detail engineering, fabrication, installation and start-up of the water injection plant has been awarded to the service company Aibel. The contract value is around NOK 500 million. In addition, Aibel has been awarded work with other oil wells on the Gudrun field during the same period. In total the contract value is around NOK 600 million. At peak, approximately 160 people from Aibel will be involved in the project both onshore and on the offshore installation.

Equinor and its licence partners plan to start up the water injection plant during 2021.

FACTS ABOUT THE GUDRUN LICENCE

Licensees: Equinor (operator) 36%, Neptune 25%, OMV 24%, Repsol 15%.
Gudrun is developed with a traditional steel platform resting on the seabed. The platform has capacity for partial treatment of oil and gas, before the hydrocarbons are sent via pipeline to Sleipner.
The Gudrun field holds about 184 million barrels of oil equivalent. This is a high pressure, high temperature reservoir that requires special technology. Equinor is actively using experience and technology gained from the Kvitebjørn and Kristin developments.
Oil and gas is transported from the Gudrun field to the Sleipner A platform. The gas is transported onward to the gas markets from Sleipner A. The oil is routed together with the Sleipner condensate to Kårstø for shipping.
The Gudrun field is located inn the middle of the North Sea in licence area PL025, about 55 kilometres north of the Sleipner installations.
Production started 7 April 2014.

Global Energy Sector – Production from the Trestakk subsea field in the Norwegian Sea started on 16 July – Equinor

Source: Equinor

Production from the Trestakk subsea field on Haltenbanken in the Norwegian Sea started on 16 July. Tied back to the Åsgard A floating production vessel, the field has estimated recoverable resources of 76 million barrels of oil. Field production started on time, below budget and without any serious incidents.
https://youtu.be/Y7t-kQaI9fU

“Together with our partners ExxonMobil and Vår Energi we spent ample time on maturing Trestakk, and with proper assistance by our main supplier TechnipFMC we arrived at a good and profitable concept with development costs nearly halved before the investment decision was made. This proves that it is important and correct to spend sufficient time in the early phase of a project,” says Anders Opedal, executive vice president for Technology, Projects and Drilling in Equinor.

When the project was approved by the authorities in 2017, the investments were estimated at NOK 5.5 billion (current). On field start-up the final costs are expected to be NOK 5 billion.

“The project has managed to maintain its focus on cost efficiency after the investment decision was made, freeing up capital that we and our partners can use on other projects,” says Opedal.

Trestakk field development covers a subsea template with four well slots and one satellite well. A total of five wells will be drilled: three for production and two for gas injection. Trestakk is tied back to the Åsgard A floating production vessel, which has been modified to receive the production from Trestakk.

The original life time of Åsgard A was until 2019, however, last winter the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway and the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate approved the application for extending the life time of the installation to 2031.

“The Trestakk volumes are important for us to maintain profitable operation of Åsgard A and to recover more of the original Åsgard volumes. Our draft for development of the Norwegian continental shelf points to the need for new reserves, and this is the kind of projects we would like to see many more of in the years to come,” says Arne Sigve Nylund, executive vice president for Development and Production Norway.

When Trestakk comes on stream it will produce around 22,000 barrels of oil per day (3,500 sm3). Peak production will be around 44,000 barrels of oil per day (7,000 sm3). Trestakk field production is expected to last for 12 years.

FACTS ABOUT TRESTAKK

Trestakk licensees: Equinor Energy AS (operator) 59.1%, ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Norway AS 33%, Vår Energi AS 7.9%.
Location: Approx. 20 kilometres south of the Åsgard field
Water depth: Around 300 metres.
The reservoir is located at a depth of around 3,900 metres.

Australian University Research – Bee sting trial holds promise against allergic reactions

Source: Flinders University

Most people have probably been stung by a bee and while it can be painful, it’s especially dangerous for those at risk of suffering a life threatening allergic reaction.

Researchers have successfully completed a human trial on a vaccine designed to eliminate the risk of a severe allergic reaction to European honeybee stings.

The clinical trial at Flinders University and the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia included 27 adults with a history of allergic reactions to bee stings.

The vaccine contained a unique sugar-based ingredient called an adjuvant, developed in Adelaide, which is designed to help the body neutralise the bee venom at a faster rate.

“Our technology is like adding a turbocharger to a car and in this case makes the bee allergy vaccine much more powerful, allowing the immune system to better neutralise the bee venom and prevent allergic symptoms,” says Professor Nikolai Petrovsky.

Dr Anthony Smith, an investigator in the trial, says while a commercial bee venom therapy is already available, it requires patients to have over 50  injections over a 3 year period to build up their immune system.

Global Infrastructure Sector – Macquarie Infrastructure Corporation Announces Repayment of 2.875% Convertible Senior Notes

Source: Macquarie Infrastructure Corporation (MIC)

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jul. 15, 2019– Macquarie Infrastructure Corporation (NYSE: MIC) announced that it has repaid in full its 2.875% Convertible Senior Notes due July 15, 2019. The Notes were repaid using cash on hand.

About MIC

MIC owns and operates a diversified group of businesses providing basic services to customers in the United States. Its businesses consist of a bulk liquid terminals business, International-Matex Tank Terminals, an airport services business, Atlantic Aviation, and entities comprising an energy services, production and distribution segment, MIC Hawaii. For additional information, please visit the MIC website at www.macquarie.com/mic. MIC-G

MIC is not an authorized deposit-taking institution for the purposes of the Banking Act 1959 (Commonwealth of Australia). The obligations of MIC do not represent deposits or other liabilities of Macquarie Bank Limited ABN 46 008 583 542 (MBL). MBL does not guarantee or otherwise provide assurance in respect of the obligations of MIC.

Africa Energy Sector – South African Energy Minister: Stable, predictable policy and regulatory framework must be created

SOURCE: Africa Oil Week

Announcing a budget of R7.44 billion for energy, the Minister noted that the sector had contributed negatively to overall economic growth in the first quarter of 2019

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, July 12, 2019/ — A stable, predictable policy and regulatory framework must be created that will lead to investment and growth in South Africa's energy sector, says the country's Mineral Resources and Energy Minister, Gwede Mantashe.

Minister Mantashe was delivering his first energy budget speech in Parliament since the merging of his mineral resources portfolio with that of energy following South Africa's general election in May this year.

Announcing a budget of R7.44 billion for energy, the Minister noted that the sector had contributed negatively to overall economic growth in the first quarter of 2019, declining by 6.9% and making a 0.1% contribution to an overall GDP decline of 3.2%.

"Despite the present economic climate and stringent allocations, we must ascertain a secure and sustainable provision of energy," he said.

"In this context, (we must) utilise diverse energy resources in sustainable quantities at affordable prices, and mindful of environmental requirements, to support economic growth and development."

Legislation

The Minister re-iterated his announcement in recent weeks that work is under way to develop the Petroleum Resources Development Bill "to ensure we provide policy certainty for the upstream petroleum sector that is relatively new to our economy yet with great potential to grow GDP, contribute to the fiscus and create much needed jobs".

The Gas Amendment Bill, he said, intends to leverage available gas resources such as those in the Karoo and the recent discoveries in the Brulpadda field, assisting in the implementation of gas-to-power projects.

Integrated Resource Plan (IRP)

The IRP, which considers a diversified energy mix that includes all forms of energy technology such as cleaner coal, gas, hydro, renewables and battery storage, is in the process of being finalised at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) and will be tabled before Cabinet for approval in September, the Minister said.

"As a country, we must avoid the currently polarised debate on energy, pitted as coal against renewables. The debate should be about the effective use of all of the energy sources at our disposal, to achieve security of supply."

Development of a gas industry

To mitigate the impact of rising electricity prices on the cost of doing business in South Africa, greater use of natural gas is being explored, the Minister said.

While most of the country's current supply of natural gas is from imports via the pipeline of the Mozambique Pipeline Investment Company (ROMPCO), more economical options need to be explored, including acceleration of South Africa's own natural gas exploration activities.

Meantime, Mozambique will be engaged on the possibility of increasing and extending the supply of gas beyond 2023 and the importation of liquified natural gas (LNG) via the Coega Industrial Development Zone will be implemented.

Charting a successful way forward for South Africa's oil and gas sector, building on the excitement of the Brulpadda Discovery, local content and increased gas to power potential will be at the forefront of discussions at the South Africa Showcase, a new feature for Africa Oil Week 2019 (Africa-OilWeek.com).

The full text of the Minister's speech can be accessed by clicking herehttp://bit.ly/30zhirh

About Africa Oil Week:
Africa Oil Week (Africa-OilWeek.com) is the leading oil and gas event for the continent, with over 1500 key executives attending from around the world to broker new deals. The global E&P community – government, NOC's, international oil companies, independents, investors and service providers – is brought together here like no other event. This unique event is a hub for deal making and building networks with senior decision-makers.

Africa Peace Sector – Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) contributes to the work of the African Union Commission (AU) in mediation, preventive diplomacy, and dialogue interventions

SOURCE: Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre (KAIPTC)

This engagement is part of the Centre's vision to support the African Union in its mandate to promote peace, human security and development in Africa

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, July 12, 2019/ — The Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) (www.KAIPTC.org) has contributed to the work of the African Union Commission (AUC) by participating in the validation workshop for the Advanced Mediation Training Curriculum organized on 18th and 19th June, 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

This engagement is part of the Centre's vision to support the African Union in its mandate to promote peace, human security and development in Africa; it is also in line with KAIPTC's overall goal "to become the trusted partners of ECOWAS, AU, UN, RECs and member states in the development of their capacity to ensure peace and security in Africa",  and also with its vision "to become the leading and preferred international Centre for training, education and research that are focused on ensuring a peaceful and secure Africa".

The main objective of the workshop was to validate the curriculum and manual to be used to develop/strengthen participants' advanced understanding and skills required for the design, conduct and evaluation of mediation interventions. This intervention is within the framework the AU Standard Operating Procedures for Mediation Support and the AU Mediation Support Handbook.

Speaking on KAIPTC's support to the AUC, the Commandant noted that; "KAIPTC & AUC have signed an MoU to strengthen their mutual commitment to the promotion of peace, human security, democracy, good governance and development, conflict prevention, management and peacebuilding in Africa. In light of this agreement, KAIPTC partners the AUC in the provision of technical support, capacity building, joint initiatives, research, and other activities to solidify conflict prevention, peace building including support to multi-dimensional peace operations", he stated.

KAIPTC supports the AUC's mandate through a variety of initiatives that relate to areas of mutual interests. The Centre's participation in the validation of the curriculum/manual of the AUC's Advanced Mediation Training was one of the areas of support. Some of the topics discussed during the validation workshop include preparing for mediation, negotiating in a mediation session, coordinating the mediation intervention and closing the mediation etc.

The African Union Commission (AUC) has established and begun to operationalize a Mediation Support Unit (MSU) in order to institutionalise its conflict management approaches in a more systematic manner, in particular preventive diplomacy, mediation and dialogue interventions which are approaches widely used by the AUC to prevent the escalation of violence, foster dialogue and negotiation, as well as the management and resolution of conflicts and disputes across the African continent. The MSU is located within the Crisis Management and Post Conflict Reconstruction and Development (CM-PCRD) Division of the Peace and Security Department (PSD).

About the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre:
The Ghana Ministry of Defence (MoD) established the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) (www.KAIPTC.org) in 1998 and commissioned it in 2004. The purpose was to build upon and share Ghana's five decades of internationally acclaimed experience and competence in peace operations with other states in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region and the rest of Africa. This was in recognition of the need for training military, police and civilian men and women to meet the changing demands of multidimensional peace operations. The Centre is one of the three (3) Peacekeeping Training Centres of Excellence mandated by the ECOWAS to offer training in peacekeeping and peace support operations (PSO) in Africa.

The Centre delivers training courses in in three thematic areas; Peace Support Operations, Conflict Management and Peace and Security Studies and also runs Masters and PhD programmes in same. The KAIPTC has a world-class research department that undertakes research in the thematic areas in Peace and Security. Located in Accra, Ghana, the KAIPTC is an internationally-recognized institution and has till date trained and tutored over 21, 496 participants and students since its inception.

KAIPTC is a gender sensitive organization and committed to gender equality. Following the launch of its Gender policy in 2014, the Centre has mainstreamed gender into its policies and programmes, and integrates same in its focal areas, namely training, research and post-graduate education. The Centre has developed a Sexual Harassment policy and fully oriented employees on same. It has also provided a Nursing and Childcare Centre and instituted a paternity leave policy, all with the aim to create a conducive work environment at KAIPTC.

For further information, please contact the Corporate Affairs Unit of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) on +233302-718200 ext 1104/1203 or +233 550 303030. You can find the KAIPTC on facebook and twitter as: @Kaiptcgh. You can further find out more about the KAIPTC on our website: www.KAIPTC.org.

Africa Energy Sector – Oil Executives Join African Energy Chamber in visit to the Famous Slave Hub of Goree Island, Senegal

SOURCE: African Energy Chamber

Goree Island was a huge slave holding facility and at the centre of the European slave trade from the sixteenth century until 1848

DAKAR, Senegal, July 15, 2019/ — Led by the African Energy Chamber (EnergyChamber.org) and its Executive Chairman Nj Ayuk, several oil executives went on a symbolic visit to Senegal’s Goree Island today, southeast of the capital Dakar.

Goree Island was a huge slave holding facility and at the centre of the European slave trade from the sixteenth century until 1848, when France abolished slavery. Countless African slaves passed through the island for centuries on their way to US, Haiti and Cuba. The oldest building on the island, the House of Slaves, is a reminder of the inhuman conditions in which African slaves were treated for over three centuries. The whole island was inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage list in 1978.

“Slavery was a sin and a crime against humanity. The Chamber is looking forward to working with various African civil society groups to fight issues of modern-day slavery. It starts with us creating an environment where all is treated with fairness, love and equity,” said NJ Ayuk CEO of Centurion Law Group and Executive Chair of the African Energy Chamber during the visit.

Oil executives were told how slaves were chained at the neck and arms with a heavy iron ball attached. Many of the slaves were released just once a day from their cells which measured just 2.6m by 2.6m, each containing between 15 to 20 men. The ill and the dead were thrown into the sea for the sharks to feed on.

Families were split up with women and children each being kept in a separate part of the slave house. For young women, there was one means of escape. Any that became pregnant by the slave masters were released either on the island or in the town of Saint Louis.

 “Visiting Goree Island should remind us that slavery continues when we shrink civic freedoms, encourage legislation that stifle dissent, stand idle by on rising populism that has stirred xenophobia, limit opportunities for Africans and women in oil and gas and put a blind eye on African families that continue to earn unworthy wages,” added Ayuk.