Hydrocarbons imperative for energy and economic security
The world remains heavily dependent on reliable supplies of petroleum, natural gas, and coal in the face of a global energy shock, according to a Manhattan Institute report.
The report, The Energy Transition Delusion, said a shift toward renewable energy to combat climate change was not feasible.
“Two decades of aspirational policies and trillions of dollars of spending, most of it on solar, wind and battery (SWB) tech, have not yielded an ‘energy transition’ that eliminates hydrocarbons,” it said.
“The lessons of the recent decade make it clear that SWB technologies cannot be surged in times of need, are neither inherently ‘clean’, nor even independent of hydrocarbons, and are not cheap.”
It said that the only path to significantly lower energy prices while maintaining vibrant economies was to radically increase the production of hydrocarbons.
In the past decade, costs of materials needed to create renewable energy technology, such as nickel, copper, lithium, and rare earths, have skyrocketed.
The report said that energy use over the past few decades had also increased.
“Digital devices and hardware – the most complex products ever produced at scale – require, on average, about 1,000 times more energy to fabricate, pound for pound, than the products that dominated the 20th century,” the report said.
“It takes nearly as much energy to make one smartphone as it does one refrigerator, even though the latter weighs 1,000 times more.
“The global Cloud, society’s newest and biggest infrastructure, uses twice as much electricity as the entire nation of Japan.”
The International Energy Agency (IEA) said a global energy crisis was already in progress.
Its October oil market report said that the OPEC+ plan to curtail oil supplies to the market derailed the growth trajectory of oil supply over the next couple of years.
“With unrelenting inflationary pressures and interest rate hikes taking their toll, higher oil prices may prove the tipping point for a global economy already on the brink of recession,” the report said.
“The massive cut in OPEC+ supply increases energy security risks worldwide.”
The IEA’s Q3 gas market report found that energy security from natural gas wasn’t fairing much better.
“As the summer ends in the northern hemisphere on new highs for natural gas prices and volatility, and markets brace themselves for a winter of unprecedented uncertainty of supply due to Russia’s behaviour, security of energy supply has become a major priority issue for consumers and policy makers across major consuming markets,” the report said.
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Madeleine King said the Australian resources sector was an important aspect of the energy transition.
“Australia will continue to support the needs of local industry and local communities as well as support the growth in global gas demand among our important regional neighbours,” Minister King said.
“This demand is predominantly driven by Asian economies and the role of LNG as a reliable and flexible fuel in a decarbonising world.
“The sector is working hard to assist Australia in meeting its (decarbonisation) goals by shipping carbon-neutral LNG, reducing its own emissions and leading the way to deploy Carbon Capture and Storage technologies.”
Minister King said that natural gas would be a critical fuel in the decarbonisation of Australia’s economy.
“Gas provides a reliable, cost-effective energy source for peak winter heating, seasonal storage and high temperature heat for industry,” she said.
“It can also ensure long term energy security for Australian households and industry as well as our core trading partners.”
She said Australian had around $50 billion worth of investments in large offshore gas projects in the pipeline, including Scarborough, Dorado, Crux, and Browse.