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  • Phil Penfold

Baker Hughes Annual Meeting 2023 Key Takeaways


It was great to see the in person Baker Hughes 2023 Annual Meeting in Florence, Italy back last week. Nearly 2,200 participants attended over the two days with 25 technology sessions and over 50 speakers. Here are some of the key takeaways from the io attendees.


Overview


The need for a just transition and to balance the energy trilemma, delivering sustainable, affordable and resilience within our complex energy systems, dominated BHAM2023. While recognising we must maintain the momentum necessary to achieve net zero by 2050, it was acknowledged that we are in an energy transition not an energy switch. Hydrocarbons, both oil & particularly gas, will be critical to ensure we collectively deliver a just transition and we must recognise this while striving to make them net zero. However, this optimism was tempered by some truly staggering facts, including that we are currently at “peak coal” and 300 new mines will be required within the next 10-20 years to support demand for rare earth metals and minerals including Lithium and Nickel, that will help "fuel" electrification. Despite these significant challenges the key themes, of "balance" and "momentum" were all well-made and understood by all.


io is a project architect and systems engineer, and our purpose is aligned with these ambitions. We understand the need to continue to develop our oil & gas resources with much lower carbon and methane intensity, whilst maintaining the momentum towards net zero. To support this ambition, we bring our systems thinking skills to enable projects in all aspects of the energy transition, including hydrocarbons, energy storage, CCUS, power to x, emissions management and many others.


Emissions Management


A great couple of days at the BHAM2023 discussing how io can help companies to reduce their emissions and improve energy efficiency. io’s Tim Highfield presented two lightening talks with Stephane Gomes on how digital solutions can be used to estimate emissions and perform energy efficiency calculations in near real time to help clients identify areas for improvement in a facility. It was also amazing to see Cordant announced as we continue to work alongside the Baker Hughes team to develop the emissions and energy efficiency components with the suite of solutions. Tim also participated in a Tech Talk with Matt Boerlage and Enric Arderiu Serra discussing how bespoke abatement solutions are needed due to the different regulatory and fiscal regimes around the world and how we can utilise carbon credits to enhance the economics of some projects. The MACC tool displayed by Baker Hughes was certainly a conversation starter for a lot of discussions with Baker Hughes and with their clients. We look forward to further collaboration with both Baker Hughes and Mercuria Energy Trading to help clients realise projects within their decarbonisation journey.


There was a desire to discuss how we can collaborate to help clients understand their emissions and energy efficiency across multiple industrial sectors. There are many technologies and skillsets that can be utilised across the industrial sectors and energy intensive industries to help everyone benefit in emissions reduction and energy efficiency. It was also encouraging to discuss how small modifications can be implemented quickly with minimal or no capital expenditure. We are looking forward to 2023 and the opportunities which lie ahead for the io Emissions Management team to work with both new and current clients.


Clean Energy


The need for clean power solutions was a key takeaway from the BHAM2023, with panel discussions and keynote speakers highlighting the need to significantly increase our renewables and alternative fuel infrastructure but also the importance and necessity of fossil fuels, which will play a crucial part in our lives as we navigate the energy transition over the coming decades . The re-frame that, “carbon is not the enemy, emissions are”, played centre stage and that the correct use of technology is paramount to removing and reducing emissions to achieve our climate goals.


One of the technologies, showcased at the BHAM2023, that perfectly fits this re-frame, was NET Power’s oxy-combustion power generation technology, where Baker Hughes has become a key investor. Baker Hughes is helping advance the technology development of the NET Power platform through leveraging on their technology capabilities in turbo-expansion, pumping and compression. Within the industry this technology is quickly gaining support as a potential “game changer” offering power generation from natural gas but with inherent CO2 capture and zero NOX and SOX particles. We at io agree, this technology has enormous potential and a clear place within the energy transition, and we look forward to supporting Baker Hughes on their journey with NET Power.


Hydrogen


Several key messages were echoed across the plenary and technology sessions. We are in an energy transition, not an energy switch. Therefore, we need to decarbonise existing and new hydrocarbon projects in addition to deploying new greener technologies. There is no perfect solution, if we want to limit the impacts of climate change we must act now and utilise the range of technologies that are available, while improving and developing solutions for the future. In order to enable projects to progress partnerships are required to combine skills, resources and technologies to help build the momentum required for the transition.

These messages were at the core of the technical session on Technologies and Partnerships to Accelerate the Hydrogen Economy where a range of technologies were discussed such as; Thyssenkrupp’s electrolysers to produce green hydrogen, Ekona’s pyrolysis technology to produce turquoise hydrogen and carbon black which can be utilised or disposed and Baker Hughes’ hydrogen compressors and gas turbines that will be used to help process or convert stored hydrogen back into power. This collaborative panel demonstrated the importance of these partnerships and the range of available technologies. At io, we agree that there is no perfect solution that can be deployed everywhere, that is why we use systems modelling to evaluate the range of solutions to help our clients identify the optimum solution for their projects to help them get the momentum required to execute their projects.


It was fascinating to see technologies in person that can be utilised to help decarbonise hydrocarbon services such as Baker Hughes’ integrated compressor that io has utilised on net-zero projects to minimise fugitive emissions from gas compressors, and to see the future technologies that will help us move towards greener solutions such as the Nova-LT turbines which can operate with 100% hydrogen.


CCUS


Deployment of large-scale carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) projects is building momentum, but we are well short of the scale required to achieve net-zero: we need a 100-fold increase in the installed capacity of CCUS by 2050 to meet our climate goals. The challenge is to accelerate from millions of tonnes of CO2 captured and stored each year, to billions.


Although a daunting challenge, the collective message from the BHAM2023 CCUS corner is that we can do it if we work together. The broad range of companies, technologies, projects, ideas and discussions around CCUS at the event demonstrated the fantastic collaboration potential that exists, with everyone eager to get on and do it: governments to put in place supportive policy and drive public engagement, the financial sector to provide capital and the private sector to de-risk, build and operate.


Four CCUS sector players stood out amongst the crowd: OGCI Climate Investments, Carbon Collectors, Heidelberg Cement and the Baker Hughes technology teams themselves. OGCI Climate Investments (CI) is a $1B+ fund that invests in solutions to decarbonize sectors like oil & gas, industrials and commercial transport. CI is actively investing in CCUS across the value chain and specifically promoting CCUS Hubs through a dedicated platform that includes interactive maps, playbooks and case studies.


Heidelberg Cement and Carbon Collectors, both companies that io has supported with consulting and design services, are CCUS forerunners. Heidelberg Cement has a portfolio of eight large-scale CCUS initiatives, most of which are in the US, and Carbon Collectors provides a CO2 transport and offshore storage service in Western Europe. Finally, Baker Hughes itself has 50 years of experience in CO2 compression and transport technology and has been investing and partnering in capture and utilisation technologies to cover the entire CCUS value chain.


These companies, along with many others at the event, are great examples of CCUS stakeholders coming together to tackle the scale and pace challenge of CCUS, by sharing deep domain expertise at in-person events such as BHAM2023.


On reflection, the two day event was hugely positive and the enthusiasm of both the Baker Hughes team and guests to move together in the right direction was evident. Our team though it was a great event to learn and participate. At io, we are also looking forward to 2023 and taking another stride forward in the transition.


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