Kuala Lumpur, 20 July - A memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing ceremony was held today between Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) and PetroEdge Pte. Ltd. (AsiaEdge Pte. Ltd.) and NrgEdge Pte. Ltd. for the development of student digital learning and career progress in the energy industry. The event was held at UTP’s Centre for Advanced and Professional Education (CAPE), Kuala Lumpur.
This international MOU marks UTP as being one of the earliest adopters to such strategic partnership in this region.
The collaboration between UTP and PetroEdge, a specialist in oil and gas training provider entity of AsiaEdge Pte. Ltd., and NrgEdge Pte. Ltd., a professional networking platform for the energy industry, will be in effect for three years. It aims to establish a formal collaboration between the companies in providing training and networking opportunities specifically within the oil and gas, energy industry.
This will allow UTP students and lecturers to network with various worldwide recognised organisations in seeking internships and jobs, participate in online forums and discussions, as well as immerse themselves in digital technical learning such as webinars and virtual reality modules through the company’s dedicated learning platform at www.nrgedge.net/learning.
The MOU was signed by Datuk Ir (Dr) Abdul Rahim Hashim, Vice Chancellor of UTP and Malina Raman, Director of AsiaEdge Pte. Ltd. and NrgEdge Pte. Ltd., Singapore. The signing was witnessed by Associate Professor Dr Fawnizu Azmadi Hussin, Director of Strategic Alliances Office, UTP and Mohammad Khalid, Chief Technology Officer, NrgEdge Pte. Ltd.
About Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) was established in 1997 and has grown to be one of the most prominent private universities in Malaysia. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the university. UTP offers a wide range of industry-relevant engineering, science and technology programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and aims to produce well-rounded graduates with excellent leadership qualities and communication abilities. UTP has produced more than 14,000 graduates and currently has an enrollment of over 1,200 foundation, 6,000 undergraduates and 1,200 postgraduates from more than 66 countries around the world. The university conducts extensive research activities in collaboration with PETRONAS and other institutions and industries locally and abroad focusing on nine niche areas. They are Enhanced Oil Recovery, Carbon Dioxide Management, Deepwater Technology, Nanotechnology, Green Technology, Biomedical Technology, Hybrid Energy Systems, Intelligent Cities and Sustainable Resources. UTP is the first and only private university to be awarded a six-star rating (the highest performance level) by Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia for its research, development and commercialisation efforts. For more information, visit www.utp.edu.my.
About AsiaEdge and NrgEdge
AsiaEdge Pte. Ltd. is the holding company of PetroEdge. PetroEdge is the training entity in the AsiaEdge group for the oil and gas industry. NrgEdge is a professional networking platform dedicated to the energy industry. NrgEdge has about 15,000 members and growing daily. It is available on iOS and Android applications besides its dedicated website www.nrgedge.net.
PetroEdge and NrgEdge collaboration with UTP
PetroEdge and NrgEdge hope that their collaboration with UTP will allow students to better themselves through various learning and networking opportunities and explore the energy industry beyond this region. As part of this objective, NrgEdge will select two students from UTP to be NrgEdge Ambassadors.
The NrgEdge Ambassador programme aims to encourage students to volunteer and learn networking skills while they are still pursuing their education. The NrgEdge Ambassador will play the role as a campus influencer, channelling information about the energy industry and career development opportunities to their cohort. The Ambassador programme will help students enhance their soft skills development from on-site volunteering opportunities at networking events and speaking engagements sessions. The Ambassadors will also be able to access premium career coaching with our internal talent advisory faculty for their future undertakings.
PetroEdge Pte. Ltd. (AsiaEdge Pte. Ltd.)
& NrgEdge Pte. Ltd.
+65 6741 9927
University Teknologi PETRONAS
+6 05 368 8000
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Two acquisitions in the energy sector were announced in the last week that illustrate the growing divergence in approaching the future of oil and gas between Europe and the USA. In France, Total announced that it had bought Fonroche Biogaz, the market leader in the production of renewable gas in France. In North America, ConocoPhillips completed its acquisition of Concho Resources, deepening the upstream major’s foothold into the lucrative Permian Basin and its shale riches. One is heading towards renewables, and the other is doubling down on conventional oil and gas.
What does this say about the direction of the energy industry?
Total’s move is unsurprising. Like almost all of its European peers operating in the oil and gas sector, Total has announced ambitious targets to become carbon-neutral by 2050. It is an ambition supported by the European population and pushed for by European governments, so in that sense, Total is following the wishes of its investors and stakeholders – just like BP, Shell, Repsol, Eni and others are doing. Fonroche Biogaz is therefore a canny acquisition. The company designs, builds and operates anaerobic digestion units that convert organic waste such as farming manure into biomethane to serve a gas feedstock for power generation. Fonroche Biogaz already has close to 500 GWh of installed capacity through seven power generation units with four in the pipeline. This feeds into Total’s recent moves to expand its renewable power generation capacity, with the stated intention of increasing the group’s biomethane capacity to 1.5 terawatts per hour (TWh) by 2025. Through this, Total vaults into a leading position within the renewable gas market in Europe, which is already active through affiliates such as Méthanergy, PitPoint and Clean Energy.
In parallel to this move, Total also announced that it has decided not to renew its membership in the American Petroleum Institute for 2021. Citing that it is only ‘partially aligned’ with the API on climate change issues in the past, Total has now decided that those positions have now ‘diverged’ particularly on rolling back methane emission regulations, carbon pricing and decarbonising transport. The French supermajor is not alone in its stance. BP, which has ditched the supermajor moniker in favour of turning itself into a clean energy giant, has also expressed reservations over the API’s stance over climate issues, and may very well choose to resign from the trade group as well. Other European upstream players might follow suit.
However, the core of the API will remain American energy firms. And the stance among these companies remains pro-oil and gas, despite shareholder pressure to bring climate issues and clean energy to the forefront. While the likes of ExxonMobil and Chevron have balanced significant investments into prolific shale patches in North America with public overtures to embrace renewables, no major US firm has made a public commitment to a carbon-neutral future as their European counterparts have. And so ConocoPhillips acquisition of Concho Resources, which boosts its value to some US$60 billion is not an outlier, but a preview of the ongoing consolidation happening in US shale as the free-for-all days give way to big boy acquisitions following the price-upheaval there since 2019.
That could change. In fact, it will change. The incoming Biden administration marks a significant break from the Trump administration’s embrace of oil and gas. Instead of opening of protected federal lands to exploration, especially in Alaska and sensitive coastal areas and loosening environmental regulations, the US will now pivot to putting climate change at the top of the agenda. Although political realities may water it down, the progressive faction of the Democrats are pushing for a Green New Deal embracing sustainability as the future for the US. Biden has already hinted that he may cancel the controversial and long-running Keystone XL pipeline via executive order on his first day in the office. His nominees for key positions including the Department of the Interior, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency and Council on Environmental Quality suggest that there will be a major push on low-carbon and renewable initiatives, at least for the next 4 years. A pledge to reach net zero fossil fuel emissions from the power sector by 2035 has been mooted. More will come.
The landscape is changing. But the two approaches still apply, the aggressive acceleration adopted by European majors, and the slower movement favoured by US firms. Political changes in the USA might hasten the change, but it is unlikely that convergence will happen anytime soon. There is room in the world for both approaches for now, but the future seems inevitable. It just depends on how energy companies want to get there.
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In its January Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects global demand for petroleum liquids will be greater than global supply in 2021, especially during the first quarter, leading to inventory draws. As a result, EIA expects the price of Brent crude oil to increase from its December 2020 average of $50 per barrel (b) to an average of $56/b in the first quarter of 2021. The Brent price is then expected to average between $51/b and $54/b on a quarterly basis through 2022.
EIA expects that growth in crude oil production from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and partner countries (OPEC+) will be limited because of a multilateral agreement to limit production. Saudi Arabia announced that it would voluntarily cut production by an additional 1.0 million b/d during February and March. Even with this cut, EIA expects OPEC to produce more oil than it did last year, forecasting that crude oil production from OPEC will average 27.2 million b/d in 2021, up from an estimated 25.6 million b/d in 2020.
EIA forecasts that U.S. crude oil production in the Lower 48 states—excluding the Gulf of Mexico—will decline in the first quarter of 2021 before increasing through the end of 2022. In 2021, EIA expects crude oil production in this region will average 8.9 million b/d and total U.S. crude oil production will average 11.1 million b/d, which is less than 2020 production.
EIA expects that responses to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases will continue to limit global oil demand in the first half of 2021. Based on global macroeconomic forecasts from Oxford Economics, however, EIA forecasts that global gross domestic product will grow by 5.4% in 2021 and by 4.3% in 2022, leading to energy consumption growth. EIA forecasts that global consumption of liquid fuels will average 97.8 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2021 and 101.1 million b/d in 2022, only slightly less than the 2019 average of 101.2 million b/d.
EIA expects global inventory draws will contribute to forecast rising crude oil prices in the first quarter of 2021. Despite rising forecast crude oil prices in early 2021, EIA expects upward price pressure will be limited through the forecast period because of high global oil inventory, surplus crude oil production capacity, and stock draws decreasing after the first quarter of 2021. EIA forecasts Brent crude oil prices will average $53/b in both 2021 and 2022.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO)
You can find more information on EIA’s expectations for changes in global petroleum liquids production, consumption, and crude oil prices in EIA’s latest This Week in Petroleum article and its January STEO.
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