DOB Editor’s Monthly Note To Subscribers: Emerging Opportunities

Good afternoon. We hope you are keeping warm!

While Joe Biden’s Keystone XL cancellation dominated mainstream headlines during the latter part of January, the DOB continued highlighting innovation and emerging opportunities in the oil and gas industry throughout the month. This work is setting up the industry for a bright future — despite the vituperative political environment, particularly in the United States.

A case in point on the new-opportunity side is the nascent petrolithium industry.

Western Canada has the resources, workforce and technical expertise to help meet both current and future lithium demand, according to a paper recently published in the Journal of Energy and Natural Resources Law. But in order to flourish, a lithium extraction industry still requires strong political appetite in Alberta and other western provinces, noted an article we ran in late January by the DOB’s Carter Haydu.

The ‘new energy’ and ‘cleantech’ streams have received increasing attention in our ongoing coverage. It’s concomitantly a growing area of focus for the industry, as noted recently by Suncor’s president and CEO Mark Little.

In the fourth quarter of 2020, Enerkem, Suncor and other partners announced construction plans for the Varennes Carbon Recycling facility, a biofuel plant in Varennes, Que., that is designed to convert commercial and industrial non-recyclable waste into biofuels and renewable chemicals.

Suncor believes this investment complements its existing biofuels business and renewables portfolio and further demonstrates its active involvement in the global energy transition, with low-carbon investments aligned with the company’s current business.

“We’re still working through our strategy. We’re planning on a virtual investor conference coming up in May where we’re going to walk through this in some level of detail, and where are the areas that we think we can play,” Little said when asked about future plans for “low carbon energy” projects. “I mean, obviously, it’s fairly early days.

“But in the electrical markets, we already use cogen and export it to the market to drive down coal power generation in the province of Alberta, which is the target of this investment. We’re already in biofuels, with the ethanol plant that we have.

“And energy efficiency is one that pays all day long for the shareholders. If you have an economic return, obviously, that’s going to be a key area. So, I think … we’ll get into a little bit more detail when we get to May.”

This is also a key subject area for young people in the industry, as highlighted by the Avatar Program.

Participants are being tasked with solving and building business cases for 10 pressing energy challenges involving hydrogen, carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) and secondary carbon markets, methane emissions reductions, renewable natural gas and sustainable fuels, digitization, long-duration storage, geothermal, bitumen beyond combustion, nature-based climate solutions, as well as energy advocacy and policy.

Stay tuned for more coverage about this in the DOB in the weeks and months ahead.

Thank you for reading the Bulletin, and we hope you find the information we provide valuable to your organization.

If you have any technological innovations or other emerging opportunities for the oil and gas industry that you think we should be highlighting, send your ideas to:

Richard Macedo, DOB editor

Have a great month, and we’ll see you again in early March.

Hydrogen economy faces challenges, opportunities, and need for next steps: ISSP panel

Money alone cannot give rise to a hydrogen economy, says Peter Tertzakian, deputy director of the ARC Energy Research Institute.

Western Canada pipeline network offers significant hydrogen transportation opportunities, study finds

With its vast network of oil and natural gas pipelines, Western Canada is well positioned to benefit from the growing interest in hydrogen as an alternative energy source, says the head of a Calgary-based infrastructure information provider.  

DOB’s technology coverage over the past month

In January, we also highlighted several pieces focusing on low emissions or environmental-related tech. Here’s a collection of that content.

Course listings

JWN Energy is currently offering the following e-learning courses. Click on the links for more information, and to register:

DOB analysis from January

A selection of analysis that appeared in the DOB over the past month:

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