Brand gets into CNG technology

MAURICE Brand has started talking more publicly about how he plans to take the small US oil and gas minnow, revitalised as Global Energy Ventures, and transform it into a key player in the world’s compressed natural gas markets.

Brand gets into CNG technology

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Brand, who took a 4.9% shareholding in the former TTE Petroleum after leaving Liquefied Natural Gas Limited last year, believes the future is in CNG.
Yesterday morning GEV announced it had signed an agreement for the exclusive use and development co-operation with Houston-based EnerSea Transport to accelerate development of CNG using EnerSea's processes.
The exclusivity agreements cover two identified markets: Indonesia and the Indian sub-continent, which includes India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
GEV says it has identified multiple gas suppliers and potential customers in the region, and it has advanced discussions with a number of potential customers that are expected to accelerate now that it has EnerSea's technology to provide a cost-effective transport solution for natural gas to markets where LNG or pipelines are not cost effective.
"The company had carefully considered a number of CNG technologies but was attracted to EnerSea due to their significant technical accomplishments, including the granting of various patents, engineering, project management and construction planning undertaken and receipt of essential approvals from key maritime transport and other regulatory agencies," he said.
"While we have identified commercial CNG opportunities across all major gas markets, we are particularly encouraged by India where the market opportunity is significant given it is in the top 10 countries for gas consumption and top five for total energy consumption."
Brand said that while the region is still dominated by coal and declining domestic has production, but that was starting to change.
The Indian government recently outlined its Gas4India campaign aimed at promoting a gas economy, increasing the use of gas in the energy mix from 6.5% to 15%, supported by a nationwide gas grid and setting up gas infrastructure.
"India's net imports of gas will only continue to rise as the country switches to cleaner fuels. It is widely publicised that a number of gas-fired power stations remain idle as the country faces gas shortages due to high import costs for LNG," Brand said.
"We believe a delivered CNG price will be competitive against current LNG import prices. We also expect a similar growth profile for Pakistan, while countries like Sri Lanka are just getting started on gas infrastructure."
In the Indonesian archipelago, GEV has identified stranded proven gas fields that remain uneconomic due to the nature of the gas markets within Indonesia and limited transport infrastructure solutions.
"A low capital cost CNG solution that can transport smaller volumes to multiple destinations is right in our sweet spot."
EnerSea's technologies include Voltrans [Volume Optimised Transport and Storage] and Volands [Volume Optimised Land Storage], which are designed to cut the operating pressure of CNG by half, reducing costs and offering a 60% increase in gas storage efficiency despite the lower pressure and temperatures.
The ships will use carbon steel pressure vessels with conventional pressures and less steel. 
Under the terms of the deal GEV and EnerSea will finalise a technical services agreement and a master licence agreement, with the aim of finalising terms by May 31. 
"EnerSea has been developing integrated CNG projects globally with our expanded capabilities covering the full gas value chain," EnerSea's CEO Feisal Ahmed said.
"Together, the GEV and EnerSea teams bring strong technical, business development and capital market skills to execute these projects."
GEV's long-game is to identify a potential portfolio of CNG development projects that satisfy screening criteria, and execute definitive agreements with technology and project partners later this year with the aim of becoming a key link in the global energy chain.
Brand says the projects he is looking at will need to be "robust" in a $US40 per barrel world, because it is almost impossible top accurately predict the medium to long term oil price.
GEV has been trying to identify innovative lower capital cost and highly efficient energy transport solutions so it can make its mark away from more traditional energy projects with large, capital intensive requirements such as large LNG projects.
Brand's idea is a variation on the theme behind LNGL, which is still trying to develop its first LNG trains, with three projects in various states of development in Australia, the US and Canada.
The idea behind GEV is similar to that behind the early days of LNGL, which is looking at projects that can produce between 50-300 million cubic feet of gas per day, or the equivalent of 400 tonnes per annum up to 2.3Mtpa of LNG equivalent.
He wants projects that can stand on their own two feet, and which can be extremely flexible.
The initial screening work quickly led to the selection of opportunities suitable for the application of a CNG marine transport.
CNG is already a proven technology that is used on a daily basis worldwide as a fuel for cars, buses, trucks and heavy industrial uses, and in parts of the world, such as India, is entrenched in the energy mix.
In many cites there are CNG refuelling stations and pipelines, and it is an ideal fuel to open up new gas markets because it is easy to transport. 
Brand said a GEV project could use onboard compression at a gas field, with around 80% of the costs in the CNG ship, which would be re-usable, and would be similar in concept to floating LNG.
The gas could be offloaded into transportation vessels to support markets where pipelines have economic or geopolitical constraints or supply sources are not large enough to justify the high capital investment required for LNG projects.
Brand said GEV could become an off-taker from offshore production facilities, including in deep and ultra-deep waters, and could replace fuel oil or diesel with natural gas in stranded markets.
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