Expert sees value in LNG option for Bermuda
Massive changes in the energy industry could be good for Bermuda as the island looks to reduce its reliance on oil-fired electricity generation.
And the growth of liquefied natural gas as a fuel, combined with huge reserves in North America, makes it the ideal fuel to replace old oil-burning technology, according to Mary Hemmingsen, global LNG leader at professional services firm KPMG.
But Ms Hemmingsen said that efficient energy production depended on a variety of sources — including green generation like solar, wind and sea — being integrated into an overall policy not dependent on one source of power.
Ms Hemmingsen, who is based in KPMG’s Calgary office in Canada, said: “There is so much cheap gas in North American reserves — in Canada, they have 350 years beyond their needs and the US has similar reserves, but they have more population, so the years are much less.
“The other factor is an overall movement to decarbonisation.”
She explained that LNG was a cleaner fuel than the heavy oil at present used in Bermuda, while the cost of capital and fuel with LNG was “more evenly balanced — relatively, it’s a small footprint cost to put the capital in and pay for the fuel as you go.”
Ms Hemmingsen was speaking on a visit to the firm’s offices in Bermuda as utility company Belco looks to replace ageing oil-burning plant with a new cleaner and cheaper source of power.
She said: “In Bermuda, you obviously have wonderful sunshine but it doesn’t shine 24 hours a day. Batteries are still relatively expensive as a back-up for the renewable resource.
“Our future energy systems are going to need everything we’ve got. It’s going to need renewables, batteries and gas.”
And Ms Hemmingsen added: “Gas has a really significant role as an immediate resource and it’s available at an attractive price.
“This is an evolution — a perfect time for all these factors to come together.”
Lori Rockhead, a senior manager in the Bermuda office specialising in public service operations, said there was “a tidal wave of adoption” of electric cars around the world.
She added: “It’s really happening very rapidly and that’s the challenge governments and regulators face in regulating this change — not impeding it, while also preserving their revenues from taxation.
Ms Rockhead said: “It’s really part of a bigger system everybody has to think about.
“More and more, it’s about partnerships to bring the right capabilities and synergies together in an ideal solution.”
Ms Hemmingsen added that the LNG industry in the past was based on bulk, with large liquification plants and long-term large-volume contracts.
But she said there had been a move away to “break bulk — the capability to offer up smaller volumes on shorter terms”, while the cost of LNG has been declining.
Ms Hemmingsen added: “I do think it would work for Bermuda and I think with a partnership around the receiving infrastructure and what’s being offered by the LNG market, it’s evolved into suppliers’ trading portfolios. They can come to Bermuda with a fairly attractive price.”
Ms Hemmingsen is a regular author on the LNG industry and speaker, moderator and chairwoman at LNG conferences around the world.
She has more than 25 years of experience as an energy business leader, in asset management and related business development, which includes leadership in the development and delivery of policy and strategy, initiatives.
In addition, Ms Hemmingsen advises a number of the largest LNG global players on their interests in development, contracting and portfolio management.
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