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.
Formerly a Shell executive, David Lawrence is an energy advisor and investor who brings focus to oil and natural gas solutions, as well as those involving renewables such as wind and solar power. David Lawrence has a wealth of experience working with Shell, large and small independent energy companies, investors including private equity and buy and sell side analysts, government and academia that informs his efforts to strategically position energy firms and service providers at the cusp of the energy transition, including emerging green energy markets, unconventional and conventional oil and gas plays around the world, the evolving role of natural gas and comparative energy scenario outlooks.
A Windpower Engineering and Development article from early 2019 highlighted wind capacity’s emergence as a driver of new electric generating capacity. As reported by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), electric power capacity that comes online this year will come primarily from renewables. With expected capacity additions totaling 23.7 GW for 2019, capacity retirements will amount to only 8.3 GW.
Among utility-scale capacity additions, wind power leads the way at 46 percent, with natural gas reaching 34 percent and solar photovoltaics, 18 percent. The two percent remaining comes from sources such as battery storage capacity and other renewables. Major coal retirements are expected to occur during the latter half of 2019, with Navajo, which has maintained Arizona operations since the 1970s, expected to retire its 4.5 GW capacity.