10/11/2020 - Renewables
by Nicolas Moreau
The UN’s 2015 Paris Agreement rallied most of the world around the needed effort to shift from fossil fuels to low-carbon alternatives. To achieve stated goals, governments, international bodies and industry sectors are uniting to drive the transition toward renewable energies. At Vallourec, we’re using our built-in expertise to help achieve these ambitious targets.
In October 2019, we took a big step toward this goal when we launched our Energy Transition Opportunities (ETO) initiative. With knowledge in areas like corrosion, high-temperature environments, pressurized steam and steel metallurgy, we’re already playing an active role in geothermal energy and CCUS developments. And we’re quickly ramping up work in other renewable areas to create structured partnerships within these industries. We’re excited to play the role of innovator in this transition.
It can’t be denied that electrical power from renewables will see a great increase in the coming years compared to oil and coal, and that this evolution will reduce the usage of tubes. At Vallourec, we are convinced of the opportunities offered by renewable energies and ETO is the best sign of Vallourec’s ambition to move toward developing new technologies and business that will bring low-carbon projects to fruition.
Fueling the energy transition
With ETO, we’ve sought out some of the best internal and external sources we could find to start up our team of renewables experts. For now, we have created clusters around four resources: carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS); geothermal; hydrogen; and offshore wind, which complement our solar offer. We looked at each of these energies and assessed markets to figure out exactly how to best shift Vallourec fully into the mix.
We have identified many opportunities across the renewable spectrum and we are now seeking to accelerate into these new markets. Through public and private partnerships and new skills acquisition, Vallourec aims to consolidate its position as a true partner and expert within the global low-carbon community. Our goal is to contribute to turnkey renewable energy development projects all over the world.
We have the expertise…
The global energy shift won’t come easy, though. After over a hundred years of relying on fossil fuels, the world faces great challenges in bringing low-carbon energies to the fore. Infrastructure must be developed across the board, and each specific energy comes with its own set of obstacles.
Geothermal energy, for example, is a nearly unlimited clean resource that emits virtually no greenhouse gases. But it’s best captured in environments where high temperatures and corrosion can hinder extraction.
We can also offer our expertise in the transport and storage of CO2, which requires mastery over severe conditions. These can develop due to CO2 impurities, water content, or a potential sudden temperature drop to subzero levels.
Likewise, we are poised to offer transport and storage solutions for the hydrogen energy industry. As the smallest and lightest element, hydrogen requires extremely high-pressure storage to stay effective. It can also reduce the ductility and strength of metal tubing, which can lead to leakage. Our knowledge allows us to propose tubular solutions that meet these challenges.
…and tailored solutions
But we’re not just trying to copy and paste oil and gas tubes and services solutions into these new markets. Our objective is to adapt our broader knowledge to new applications. We know how to handle pressurized steam, for example. This could open up new perspectives for carbon capture services. We can adapt our tubular solutions for CO2 transport and injection and refigure our intelligent pipes for downhole monitoring and measurement, ensuring storage well integrity.
We also aim to increase our contribution in the area of hydrogen refueling stations. More than providing large pipes for storage, we can develop more complex systems required to meet future needs for safety, refueling time and competitiveness.
We’ve got a promising future in offshore wind, as well, with our PREON® MARINE solution, which reduces underwater noise and seabed damage with its “push and rotate” installation technology.
These are the areas we’re concentrating on first, regularly reevaluating to make sure we’re focusing on the energies where we can offer the best solutions. We’re exploring new opportunities all the time and thus continuously adapting our portfolio of solutions.
Last but not least, we will also leverage customer adjacencies, as many of our existing O&G and utilities customers are investing in these renewable energies. Our local presence will also help us, as we remain ever vigilant to forging partnerships leading toward a low-carbon future.
All these technical and commercial levers will help us to grow our added-value beyond pipes and related services.
Vallourec has a great deal to deliver in energy transition!
About Nicolas Moreau
Nicolas Moreau joined Vallourec in 1999 and was appointed Energy Transition Opportunities Vice-President in January 2020. In his over 20 years with Vallourec, he has held different management positions in regional subsidiaries and at division levels, both in Industry and in a range of Energies sectors. Prior to 1999, he worked for various energy companies.