David Lawrence is a former Shell executive with an extensive background in energy, finance, oil and gas initiatives and energy strategy and scenarios. Presently guiding Lawrence Energy Group, LLC, David Lawrence utilizes his experience at Shell to focus on targeted strategies in the energy transition, including biosequestration, natural gas, mature field redevelopment, renewable energy and energy efficient fossil fuels.
In an interview during the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit, the head of Royal Dutch Shell’s integrated gas and new energies division discussed the firm’s acquisition-driven shift to lower-carbon energy sources. A particular emphasis is on boosting the role of electricity in energy consumption a sector with significant potential to both growth transform into one that is carbon free.
While electricity’s current share of final energy consumption stands at 22 percent, Shell’s internal analysis forecasts the rate to reach more than 50 percent by 2070. The rapid increase will be attributed to significant energy consumption in industrial processes, cooking, and residential heating, and transportation.
Shell has already moved into the retail electric utility business in Britain and has growth in the United States in its sights. At the same time, it has acquired firms such as Singapore’s Cleantech Solar, which creates solar farms in Asia and Greenlots, a German startup focused on electric-vehicle charging.
A former executive vice president at Shell, David Lawrence now heads energy advisory and investment firm Lawrence Energy Group LLC. Recently, David Lawrence lauded Shell’s ongoing move into global electricity generation.
Shell is currently positioning itself to be among the top power producers in the world by 2030. Already the second largest oil producer by market volume, Shell seeks to leverage strategic partnerships and investments to grow its electricity-generation portfolio. It has already acquired the UK’s largest electricity provider, First Utility, and the UK’s biggest car charging operator, New Motion. In addition, it has invested in US solar company Silicon Ranch Group and has announced a bid for the Dutch low-carbon power utility Eneco.
Interestingly, Shell’s foray into low-carbon electricity generation is still in its early stages, with only about 5 percent of its budget dedicated to new energies. In contrast, upstream oil and gas activities account for about 50 percent of Shell’s budget. According to Maarten Wetselaar, Shell’s director of integrated gas and new energies unit, the company is moving cautiously with a plan to first prove its hypotheses before scaling up.
Besides Shell, other oil companies like BP, Total, and Equinor are also making major investments in low-carbon fuels. These international oil companies have the resources, project management, operational, engineering, and supply chain capabilities to become leaders in the global power sector.
David Lawrence, Chairman of Lawrence Energy Group LLC, is a former Shell executive who has extensive experience in the United States and international energy exploration, development and commercial spheres. Lawrence had responsibility for Shell’s Wind Energy business, Gas Monetization, Conventional and Unconventional Exploration and New Business Development in the Americas from 2009 through 2013. He has served as chairman on the Yale Climate and Energy Institute Advisory Board, as a commissioner on the Aspen Commission on the Arctic, on the board of the National Ocean Industry Association and as the University of Wyoming Energy, Law and Policy Fellow. David Lawrence presently utilizes his experience with Shell in defining pathways to sustainability utilizing technologies and resources including wind, solar power, natural gas, nuclear, CCS and biosequestration. He focuses on pragmatic solutions for the energy transition and issues of energy poverty in developing nations.
One of the most dynamic areas of growth in solar energy centers on developing countries, where technology leapfrogging offers the potential of quickly moving toward renewable energy. Solar home systems sales are rapidly increasing, with 285,000 kits sold across the African continent in the first half of 2018 alone.
An example of this push is taking place in Togo, which recently started offering its citizens subsidies that will cover the expenses associated with off-grid solar power systems. With only 40 percent of people presently connected to the national electric grid, the power market has attracted the interest of major European utilities.
UK headquartered BBOXX recently won a contract to electrify some 300,000 homes that do not have national grid access, and the consortium Soleva subsequently signed a similar deal. The programs involve the use of government-issued vouchers, with 100,000 households expected to be connected within a year and more than a half million within the next decade.
Liquefied Natural Gas
David Lawrence, formerly a research geologist for Shell, guides the energy investment and advisory firm Lawrence Energy Group LLC. With Shell experience informing next generation solutions, David Lawrence focuses on practical and commercial implications of the energy transition, conventional,and unconventional oil and gas plays around the world, harnessing renewable energy sources, as well as emissions-friendly natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG).
A recent Forbes article brought focus to a US LNG market that has repeatedly achieved record highs in recent years. With LNG exports exceeding 5 billion cubic feet per day at the end of 2018, it now provides four percent of gas consumed in the United States. The market with China is particularly vital: despite an absence of off-take agreements, the country is the third-leading purchaser of LNG after Mexico and South Korea.
LNG export capacities continue to expand, with a new Corpus Christi, Texas, LNG export facility having come online and started receiving liquefaction trains in November. With three more export facilities expected to launch in 2019, the Gulf Coast region will benefit from an estimated $20 to 25 billion inflow over the next four years. During this time, China has 15 regasification terminals that will start operations, with LNG expected to reach as much as 25 percent of the volume of US gas output by 2023.