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Off at the Bloomberg New Energy London Summit ... #BNEFSummit

image credit: Bloomberg New Energy Finance
Kevin O'Donovan's picture
Technology Evangelist, A Bit of This and That

Technology Evangelist, #EnergyTransition Advisor. Bit of a Storyteller. Got a #digitaltwin in the #Metaverse.  Kevin is the founder of the boutique technology consultancy company, A Bit of This...

  • Member since 2012
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  • Oct 26, 2020

Thanks to BloombergNEF, I had the opportunity to attend their London Summit again this year. This year it was a 'virtual' event, and as per usual, there was a lot of great discussions and food for thought over the 2 days.

As per usual, I was keeping an eye out for info I found interesting in relation to the latest & greatest technologies or innovations across the Industry, and any other interesting bits and pieces I came across.

Each day I did a #2minTakeaway video blog. Now my usual disclaimer … given each day had a lot of great content & chats, my 2 minute summary does not do justice to all info I came across. But one has to start somewhere, so below are my key takeaways, here in 'text' format, with the original video clips at the end of the article.

#BNEFSummit Day 1 - Oil & Gas focus

The first day had a big focus on the Oil & Gas side of the Energy Industry, so my three takeaways from Day 1 were;

1. When to Pivot

It was Richard Chatterton from Bloomberg New Energy Finance delivered a good dose of reality in terms of the challenges facing Oil and Gas companies today. As they move forward towards their energy transition and move away from fossil fuels, the challenge is, when do they do it? When should they pivot.

Richard called out three categories of Oil & Gas companies today. Those that are doing nothing and simply prolonging their existing business model. This includes most of the US majors. The 2nd category includes most Oil and Gas companies worldwide that are starting to make their transition, making some investments and planning their strategy. And then the final category, are companies that have already made the pivot, like Orsted here in Europe.

Richard explained the dilemma those in the 1st and 2nd categories are facing, as they're still in oil and gas business, they need to continue to invest in order to meet that demand that will be there over the next 20 or 30 years. But when do they stop investing in their traditional business and begin to pivot away from fossil fuels. They will still need the cash flow coming from the oil and gas so they can make the new investments as they pivot. It's a tough one. When to pivot without going bust.

2 . Blue Hydrogen

Massimo Mondazzi from Eni called out the role that blue hydrogen can play. Now, blue hydrogen is basically grey hydrogen, it comes from natural gas, but you capture the CO2 that's created in the process. And it’s tech like steam methane reforming that’s used to create the hydrogen from natural gas, and then you employ some CCS tech.

Now I need to go off and look at that, because to be quite honest, the way it was presented was that that kind of technology is ready. Now that leads me onto the third one.

3. Carbon Capture

Bob Dudley from the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative called out, as did many of the oil and gas execs from Shell, ENI, Repsol, BP etc; they all called out the need that as oil and gas is not going to go away, we need carbon capture technologies to reduce emissions now.

We do. We actually do...

And the day's best 'fact' (in my opinion 😉...)

During the Bloomberg NEO 2020 update, Seb Henbest made the comment that as the demand for coal drops worldwide, then the amount of ‘energy’ currently being used transporting coal by rail will drop significantly. For example over 50% of the rail freight in China is due to shipping coal, 40% in India and 31% in the US.  Talk about a win-win.


#BNEFSummit Day 2 

1. Distribution grid investment

It was the CEO of EON, Johannes Teyssen called out the fact that for the energy transition to work, we need to have the local distribution grid looking after itself, being able to solve it's own problems, it’s own balancing, almost autonomously . One can call it a microgird, or a community based grid at the edge of the Distribution Grid. He made the point that while there has been a huge amount of investment and there are a lot of ‘smarts’ already added to the distribution grids across Europe, there are still a lot of places where the distribution grid is not that ‘smart’.

And for all our plans to work, the Distribution Grid have to be smart, and that includes completing the deployment of smartmeters. If you can’t measure it today, how can you ‘manage’ it tomorrow. And all this is going to take a lot more investment in the coming years.

2. Building stock

There were a couple of good sessions on the impact of the recent EU Directives and Incentives around making Europe's Buildings far more energy efficient, more zero emissions etc. Philip Delorme from Schneider Electric made the point that of all the buildings we see around us today, be they commercial or residential, 90 percent of these buildings will still be here in 2050. So it's not all about new ‘builds’ that will make everything energy efficient. It's about retrofitting all the buildings we have. And that's a huge challenge.

3. Energy Density

It was Tifenn Brandily from Bloomberg New Energy Finance that a great session on the relative energy densities of different fuel stocks. Now fossil fuels, for all their faults, they're incredibly good at having a high energy density. So as we start replacing fossil fuels in things like shipping, then what will be the alternative, hydrogen, ammonia? Hydrogen has a pretty low energy density. So he called out LNG as a potential fuel for shipping, and made some interesting predictions about the use of LNG in shipping in the future. 

Now Mitsubishi also called out that they are looking at Ammonia, to power shipping via Ammonia in power the ships turbines, and they also called out a project they have around carbon capture of the emission on a large container ship today.


Thanks again to all the BloombergNEF team and all the speakers and panellists for another very informative and thought provoking 2 days off at the #BNEFSummit. 


The links to the #2minTakeaway video's

#2minTakeaway video blog from Day 1

#2minTakeaway video blog from Day 2

And just for reference, for the 'longer' version of what I found interesting throughout day one, have a look at this #Twittermoment for all my 'notes' ...


Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 26, 2020

Thanks for sharing your reports from 'the ground' there, Kevin! I see CC and hydrogen as major topics and I can't help but think that it looks like the oil industries aren't looking to pivot so much as find ways to maintain their relevancy beyond what the current trends are showing. Are you seeing any evidence from the presentations of a true pivot and investment in alternative energies that aren't just ways to preserve the fossil fuel market share? 

Kevin O'Donovan's picture
Kevin O'Donovan on Oct 28, 2020

Hi Matt,

There are a few tradititonal Oil & Gas here in Europe that have pivoted, like Orsted ... most others here (BP, Shell, Total etc) have plans, made announcements and are investing in Hydrogen, Off shore Wind etc but there are not giving up on Fossil Fuels. 

And all the US Majors are seen as doing almost nothing. Business as usual ... 

Lets see what changes (if any) come about in the US after next weeks election ...


Kevin O'Donovan's picture
Thank Kevin for the Post!
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