Copper is 'the new oil' and could reach $15,000 by 2025 as the world transitions to clean energy, Goldman Sachs says

Copper will be crucial in achieving decarbonization and replacing oil with renewable energy sources, and right now, the market is facing a supply crunch that could boost the price by more than 60% in four years, Goldman Sachs said in a report on Tuesday.


Increased demand and likely low supply are set to drive up the price from the current levels of around $9,000 per ton to $15,000 per ton by 2025, the bank said. 


As a cost-effective metal, copper is majorly important in the process of creating, storing and distributing clean energy from the wind, sun and geothermal sources as it has the physical attributes needed to do so, Goldman’s team of analysts, led by Jeff Currie, said in a report titled “Copper is the new oil”.  


“Discussions of peak oil demand overlook the fact that without a surge in the use of copper and other key metals, the substitution of renewables for oil will not happen,’ the report said. 


Copper will be needed to create the new infrastructure systems required for clean energy to replace oil and gas, however there has not been enough of a focus on this so far according to the report. 


Demand will therefore significantly increase, by up to 900% to 8.7 million tons by 2030, if green technologies are adopted en masse, the bank estimates. Should this process be slower, demand will still surge to 5.4 million tons, or by almost 600%. 


Copper is a key part of sustainable technologies, including electric vehicle batteries and deriving clean energy. As the deadline of the Paris Agreement comes closer, political and economic pushes towards renewable energy and green technology are becoming stronger. 


Just two weeks ago, US President Biden announced an infrastructure package worth $2 trillion, which specifically encourages new sustainable technologies and infrastructure projects.


In its current state however, the copper market is not prepared for the increased demand, Goldman Sachs argue. The copper price has risen by about 80% in the last 12 months, but there hasn’t been a matching rise in output.


“The market is already tight as pandemic stimulus (particularly in China) have supported a resurgence in demand, set against stagnant supply conditions,” Goldman said.


The benchmark three-month copper futures price on the London Metal Exchange was last up 1.4% at around $9,022 a ton, while NYMEX copper futures were up 1.5% at $4.09 a pound. 


As the expansion of mines and creation of new copper production fields takes years, this is likely to lead to shortages of the metal. To prevent a depletion of copper supply within two years, prices must rise now to encourage investment and an expansion in output, Goldman said. 


At present, Goldman Sachs “now estimate a long-term supply gap of 8.2 million tons by 2030, twice the size of the gap that triggered the bull market in copper in the early 2000s”. 


Copper production declined in 2020 due to government restrictions and lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic. The world’s largest copper producers, Chile and Peru, were hit especially hard by the pandemic, which could impact supply until 2023, according to commodity analysts S&P Global. Last week, prices spiked following Chilean border closures related to the pandemic. 


Global copper production is however predicted to increase by 5.6% in 2021 after declining by 2.6% in 2020, according to a GlobalData report published in February.

Optimism Returns To Canada's Oil Industry

Optimism Returns To Canada’s Oil Industry

Optimism is returning to the Canadian oil industry as demand rebounds and production follows, Bloomberg has reported, citing the chief of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. “There’s no denying that we’ve been beaten, battered and wounded and industry was faced with some of the biggest challenges last year we’ve ever seen,” Tim McMillan said at the Scotiabank CAPP Energy Symposium. “Our industry still has its best days ahead of it. In fact, over the past year, our industry has rallied and we’re approaching a future with cautious optimism,” the CAPP chief executive added. Even so, things are beginning to look up for an industry that was struggling to stay profitable even before the pandemic as pipeline shortages kept costs high, and emissions-cutting plans at the federal level threatened long-term profitability. Many Canadian oil companies will remain focused on cost cuts, Bloomberg reported, citing attendees of the CAPP conference. Shareholder returns will continue to be another priority at the expense of production growth plans. As part of cost cuts, some of which have been effected through mergers and acquisitions, Canada’s oil industry is shedding jobs. Some 7,300 jobs could be lost this year, the Petroleum Labour Market Information division of Energy Safety Canada said last month. More than a thousand of these job losses will come from Suncor, which last year cut 600 jobs and said it aimed to cut 1,930 over 18 months. Cenovus is cutting between 1,720 and 2,150 jobs after its takeover of Husky Energy. According to data from PetroLMI, the oil and gas industry of Alberta has shed a total of 36,000 jobs since a peak hit in December 2013, when it employed 171,000 people. By February 2021, this had fallen to a bit over 134,000. In August 2014, before the oil price crash happened, Canada’s oil industry employed 229,000 people directly. Since then, this has fallen by 26 percent.

Mining Giant Rio Tinto Starts Lithium Production In The U.S.

Mining Giant Rio Tinto Starts Lithium Production In The U.S.

Rio Tinto (ASX, LON, NYSE: RIO) has kicked off lithium production from waste rock at a plant located at a borates mine it controls in California. The demonstration facility is the next step in scaling up a breakthrough lithium production process developed at the Boron mine. The method allows Rio Tinto to recover the critical mineral and extract additional value out of waste piles from over 90 years of mining at the operation. An initial small-scale trial in 2019 successfully proved the process of roasting and leaching waste rock to recover high grades of the metal, vital in the production of batteries that power electric vehicles (EVs) and most high tech electronics. Rio’s discovery of lithium at Boron was a fluke. The miner was actually testing Boron’s tailings to see whether the presence of gold was significant and found instead traces of lithium at a concentration higher than domestic projects under development. “We were looking for gold… but we found something better than gold: battery-grade lithium – and the potential to produce a lot of it,” Alex Macdonald, senior engineer at the plant, said on the company’s website. The project comes at a time when the US is pushing to both encourage the electrification of vehicles and reduce the country’s dependence on China for rare earths, lithium and other minerals needed for EV batteries. The Biden administration has promised to convert the entire US government fleet — about 640,000 vehicles — to EVs. If the plan is successful, the total number of EVs in the US would increase by more than 50%. Major leagues Rio Tinto invested $10 million to build the pilot plant that will be able to produce 10 tonnes a year of lithium-carbonate. By the end of the year, and based on the trial’s results, it will decide whether or not to spend a further $50 million in an industrial-scale plant with annual capacity of 5,000 tonnes a year — enough for around 15,000 Tesla Model S batteries. The projected production would be roughly the same as the capacity of Albemarle’s Silver Peak mine in Nevada, which is currently the only lithium-carbonate producing asset in the country, according to the US Geological Survey. Until now, the global miner’s incursion in the lithium market has been mostly limited to its 100%-owned lithium and borates mineral project in Jadar, Serbia. A feasibility study for the proposed mine is expected to be complete by the end of 2021, Rio said. Rio has produced borates — a group of minerals used in soaps, cosmetics and other consumer goods — for nearly a century in the Mojave Desert, about 195 km (120 miles) north of Los Angeles. The world’s second-largest miner announced in March an agreement with renewable energy firm Heliogen to explore the deployment of solar technology at the mine. Rio Tinto is not alone in its quest to produce lithium in California. Lithium Americas (TSX, NYSE: LAC) is also advancing a major project that received final federal approval in January. The Thacker Pass lithium mine is expected to generate 20,000 tonnes a year of the battery metal, once operational in 2023. The plant at Boron is one the company’s latest attempts latest to extract valuable materials from waste rock or by-products – including scandium from titanium dioxide production, as well as anhydrite and Alextra from its aluminum operations.

U.S. renewable fuels market could face feedstock deficit

U.S. renewable fuels market could face feedstock deficit

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Demand for feedstocks from renewable fuel producers is expected to surge in the United States in coming years as companies scramble to expand output.

Energy from material that comes from plants and animals, or biomass, currently accounts for roughly 5% of U.S. energy use, slightly more than wind and solar energy. Most U.S. energy use is still based around fossil fuels like petroleum and natural gas.

The United States and other nations are attempting to reduce overall carbon emissions and cut use of high-polluting fossil fuels. Refiners, farmers and agricultural giants are hoping to gain a foothold in fuel supply through production of fuels made from biomass.

But biomass-based fuel production could face limits, as farmers need to harvest more soy and other products to meet growing demand, while companies that collect and process animal fats or spent cooking oil also would need to expand.

Fuels such as biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel draw from the same feedstock pool, and analysts have warned there might not be enough lower-carbon intensive feedstock to keep up.

GRAPHIC: Petroleum was the most used energy source in 2020

Demand for soybean oil alone is expected to far outstrip supply by 2023, according to a BMO Capital Markets report from October 2020. The financial services provider estimates an incremental demand of 8 billion pounds of soybean oil by 2023 because of an increase in renewable diesel production.

“The feedstock issue is going to be an enormous problem. Dealing with this matter is going to be hard,” said Robert Campbell, head of oil products research at Energy Aspects.

Renewable energy made up 9.11 quadrillion British thermal units, or 9.8%, of the total energy consumption in 2020, according to Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook. By 2024, that’s expected to grow to 12.23 quadrillion Btu, or 12.5%, of total energy consumption.


Biomass can make fuels such as renewable diesel, biodiesel, sustainable aviation fuel and ethanol.

Renewable diesel production capacity is expected to nearly quintuple to about 2.65 billion gallons (63 million barrels) by 2024, investment bank Goldman Sachs said in October. But that would require an additional 17 billion pounds of feedstock, creating friction between existing biodiesel and food customers, the report said.

The United States produced 533 million gallons of renewable diesel in 2020, according to a Reuters analysis of Environmental Protection Agency data.

U.S. biodiesel production is roughly 110,000 barrels per day, according to the Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook, dwarfed by oil refineries, which last year had an operable crude distillation capacity of around 19 million barrels per day, according to EIA.

GRAPHIC: Feedstock used to produce biofuels

While biodiesel requires around 7.5 pounds of feedstock per gallon, renewable diesel needs about 8.5 pounds per gallon, Goldman Sachs said. They estimate a 13-billion pound feedstock deficit by 2024 as more processing capacity starts up. Sustainable aviation fuel production will further increase demand for renewable feedstock.


Though other, lower-carbon intensive feedstocks like tallow and used cooking oil are gaining traction because of government incentives, producers still rely mostly on corn and soybeal oil to make biofuels.


GRAPHIC: Renewable diesel output vs. gasoline and crude output

It’s not uncommon to experience clanging pipes when a tap is turned off. This condition is called “water hammer”, or in technical plumbing terms “hydraulic shock”.

The bang you hear is a shockwave that results in pipes moving and striking each other or adjoining frames. The banging often gets worse if the pipes aren’t adequately supported or if the valves begin to wear out.

The trouble is that the noise isn’t just irritating. A water hammer is a key sign that damage may be occurring in your plumbing system. You must fix the cause of water hammer before it results in permanent damage. The Most Common Causes of Water hammer

To help you stop water hammer, we’ve put together this expert guide.

If you want to:

  • Diagnose what is causing your water hammer
  • Figure out how to get rid of water hammer

Or you want help knowing when to call a plumber about water hammer, then you’ll love this guide.

Let’s get started.

What Causes Water Hammer

Many of us have experienced banging pipes when a tap is turned off. This is usually caused by a mains pressure system which is at high pressure. The most common causes are:

Loose Pipes

If pipes are not secured correctly, then even the mildest shockwave can create loud bangs. Pipes must be fixed securely to a sturdy surface every couple of metres. Be aware that you may have hidden pipes that run under the floor or woodwork. Make sure to check for any loose straps, bolts or joists. The most common areas to find loose pipes are in the cellar or in an airing cupboard. Building work may also loosen water supply pipes increasing the effects of water hammer.

New Kitchen Appliances

If the banging started after installing a new washing machine or dishwasher, then it’s likely a problem with the solenoid valves. Dishwashers and washing machines have a water supply that is controlled by solenoid valves. These are electrically operated and they stop the flow of water immediately. When this happens, the water reflects back up the pipe and creates a shock wave that causes the bang.

Worn Stop Valves

The hammering may also be caused by worn stop valves. Stop valves can cause water hammer if they have loose gland packing and/or worn washers. The valves will generally be open when the water hammer shock wave travels through the pipework and the shockwave could well ‘rattle’ the valve handle and a loose jumper.

Clogged Air Chambers

If you’ve never had water hammer and one day you suddenly experience it out of the blue, then it’s likely your water system’s air chambers are blocked. These chambers often become blocked with water or residue from minerals found in water. The blockage will stop the chamber from absorbing the pressure in your system and, as a result, you will hear an occasional bang.

Water Ripples from the Tank

Another cause of hammering pipes is water ripples created by a float valve inside your water tank. When water flows into the tank, the valve float rocks up and down, constantly closing and opening the valve. This creates a “wave system” that echoes along the pipes, causing the hammering sound. Plastic water tanks can flex considerably, so they should have a reinforcing plate (metal) to stop them moving.

Fast-acting valves

A common cause of water hammer can be fast-acting valves on appliances such as washing machines or dishwashers. These valves suddenly stop the water that is moving along the pipes. A shockwave results and this causes the pipes to shudder, causing the banging. The banging gets worse as the valves are worn.

How to Stop Water Hammer

Water hammer isn’t just irritating – it can also go on to damage different components of your plumbing and pumping systems. That’s why it’s important to get rid of water hammer as soon as possible. A loose pipe or worn stop value could end up costing you thousands of pounds.

Secure Any Loose Pipes

If loose pipes are turning mild shock waves into loud bangs, you can prevent it by securing pipe straps, adding new pipe straps or tightening studs or joists.

Remember, do not mix different metals when securing pipes. A steel strap should not be used to secure a copper pipe or vice versa. Different metals can chemically react and cause corrosion of the metal.

If the problem pipes are located in hidden areas, then you will more than likely need a plumber to come out and help you find the issue.

Wrap Pipes in Foam Insulation

Another idea is to wrap pipes in foam insulation. The foam should help prevent banging by absorbing the shock waves. This can also help prevent pipes from freezing in the winter. Make sure to leave space for expansion around the pipe.

Fix Washing Machines or Dishwashers

If the banging only occurs when using the washing machine or dishwasher, then the problem is likely the solenoid valve. The solenoid valve is a component of your machine used to shut off the water supply. If the response time of the solenoid valve is too quick, then the fluid inside the valve is abruptly stopped. In this case, the fluid reflects like a wave causing a shock wave back up the pipe that you hear as a bang. The simple fix is to choose a solenoid valve or other valve type that has a slower response time.

Install a Water-Pressure Regulator

A common cause of water hammer is high water pressure. If your pressure is running near 100 psi, then it’s likely the cause of your issue. Normal pressure should be approximately 30 to 55 psi.

To solve this problem, consider installing a water pressure regulator. Installed near the mains water line, a pressure regulator monitors the moving water and controls the pressure of the water entering your home.

While water pressure regulators can be expensive, they are important as they help protect expensive water-dependent appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines and toilets.

Note: If you need to test your water pressure, you can buy a home water pressure testing gauge from most high-quality hardware stores.

Install an Air Chamber

Alternatively, if a pressure reducing valve or regulator is out of your budget, then an air chamber installed near problem valves could solve your problem.

This usually involves a qualified plumber working on-site to fabricate and then install a small vertical pipe near each of the problem valves.

In practice, when the water valves are shut off, the vertical pipes act as an air chamber, absorbing the air and preventing the bang.

The major problem with this method is that the pipe usually fills with water, stopping the chamber from working. You will then need to drain the system to fix the chamber.

Installing Mechanical Water Shock Arrestors

For a more sophisticated alternative to reducing water hammer, another option is to install “water hammer arrestors”.

Instead of installing a vertical pipe near valves to capture and absorb pressure, the arrestors use a mixture of springs and air bladders to absorb water movement and reduce shock waves.

While water arrestors will be more expensive than an air chamber, one thing to keep in mind is that you don’t have to worry about draining water from the chamber every couple of months.

Install a Grundfos UPS Circulator Pump

If your water hammer is caused by an ageing float valve or ripples in the water system, then UPS pumps could be the answer to your problem. Helping to ensure even circulation of liquids, the Grundfos circulating pump can adapt to different environments within the water system, reducing the chances of water hammer. You can also use the pump’s bleed system to remove trapped air from your water system. The Most Common Causes of Water hammer.

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Refiners shifting toward renewable diesel

Refiners are shifting toward renewable diesel (RD) for higher growth.  And better returns, according to analysis from Morgan Stanley. Refiners shifting toward renewable diesel

The prospect of higher growth and better returns through renewable diesel is attracting US refiners. With a growing focus on sustainability, Morgan Stanley expects carbon reduction efforts to drive incremental demand for renewable diesel, particularly commercial usage. Project economics are robust, with returns over 30-40%, supported by government subsidies. This is compelling given that typical refining and midstream opportunities offer lower returns and less growth potential. While a niche market that will likely be reliant on policy support for the foreseeable future, renewable diesel nonetheless offers an attractive opportunity, particularly for first movers.

Renewable diesel

Renewable diesel currently makes up around 0.5% of the 430 billion gals/year global diesel market. Through a bottom-up, state-by-state forecast, Morgan Stanley sees North American demand growing 140% from 1.0 billion gals/year in 2020 to 2.4 billion gals/year by 2025. Global consumption should more than double from 2.4 billion gals/year in 2020 to 5.3 billion gals/year in 2025.

“Our bull case sees global demand reaching 6.8 billion gals/year by 2025 through faster adoption. And early sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) penetration. Growth beyond stems from more decarbonization initiatives, Brazil pushing towards renewable diesel, and higher adoption of SAF by airlines. With a current and in-construction global capacity of 3.8 billion gals/year, there is room for more supply growth, but the word is getting out. Risks include capacity overbuild, the ability to secure sustainable feedstock, competition from imports and other low carbon alternatives, and changes in government policies,” said Morgan Stanley analysts.

current situation

While Neste is a first mover, US refiners are beginning to offer growing exposure, particularly Valero. Valero currently produces 275 million gals/year in gross renewable diesel and is in the process of doubling its capacity. Phillips 66 and HollyFrontier are constructing plants, while Marathon Petroleum, Delek US Holding, and PBF Energy are evaluating opportunities. Globally integrated oil companies are also venturing into biofuel and renewable fuels.

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Fire hits: Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC) is in the process of resuming operations at its Hazira gas processing complex near Surat, Gujarat, following the plant’s shutdown in the wake of an early morning fire on Sept. 24.

The fire, which broke out shortly after 3:00 a.m. local time following a leak from a gas pipeline, was extinguished by 7:30 a.m., and all efforts are underway to restart plant operations as soon as possible, ONGC said. No injuries have been reported as a result of the incident, and the precise cause of the fire is now under investigation, according to the operator. ONGC disclosed no further details regarding the fire’s impact to equipment at the site, nor did it reveal an estimated timeline for when plant operations would resume. For More Information about Fire hits ONGC’s Gas processing complex please Contact US and Visit Us on Facebook for more


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Indonesia’s state-owned PT Pertamina has let a contract to Honeywell UOP LLC to license process technologies for projects aimed at equipping two of its existing domestic refineries to begin production of advanced renewable fuels.


As part of the contract, UOP will deliver technology licenses, basic engineering, specialty equipment, catalysts, and training for both projects, which include construction of a new biorefinery at Pertamina’s 118,000-b/d Plaju refinery in Palembang, South Sumatra, as well as the revamp of its 348,000-b/d Cilacap refinery in Central Java to enable production of biofuels, the service provider said.


Specifically, UOP will license its proprietary UOP Renewable Jet Fuel Process for the proposed Plaju biorefinery, which will process 20,000 b/d of vegetable oils and fats to produce advanced biofuels such as renewable jet fuel, renewable diesel fuel, and green LPG.


At the Cilacap refinery, UOP said it will implement its proprietary Ecofining technology as part of a revamping project that will allow the refinery to process 6,000 b/d of vegetable oils and fats to produce unspecified advanced biofuels.


The planned renewable-fuels projects at Pertamina’s Plaju and Cilacap refineries come as part of Pertamina’s strategy to meet the Indonesian government’s goals for renewable fuel production using domestic biobased feedstocks, including the requirement that more than 5% of all domestic energy must come from biofuel by 2025, according to UOP.


“The development of our biorefinery in Plaju and [revamp at] Cilacap [are] part of our plan to diversify our products while at the same time to show our commitment to sustainable energy,” said Budi Santoso Syarif, deputy chief executive officer of PT Kilang Pertamina International, the subsidiary responsible for the company’s refinery and petrochemical businesses.


UOP, however, disclosed no further details regarding the proposed projects.


As the world’s fourth most populous nation, with 250 million people, Indonesia imports about 1.5 million b/d of refined products, roughly 30 percent more than its domestic production capacity, according to UOP.


The additional biofuel production capacity to be provided by the Plaju and Cilacap refineries will help to reduce the nation’s reliance on imported petroleum products—particularly low-sulfur fuels—while simultaneously supporting the local bioeconomy and rural employment opportunities in agriculture, the service provider said.


Ongoing renewables development

Despite its recent award for biofuel production projects at Plaju and Cilacap, Pertamina’s transition to production of renewable fuels via coprocessing, standalone units, and existing unit conversions has been under way for some time now, both at its Plaju and Cilacap refineries, as well as at its 170,000-b/d Dumai refinery in Riau, according to a series of recent Indonesian-language releases from the operator.


In July, the Dumai refinery began 1,000-b/d production of green diesel (D-100) using 100% refined, bleached, and deodorized palm oil (RBDPO) following a pilot program that began at the site in December 2014 and entered official production in December 2018 with gradual injection of varying percentages of RBDPO and help of the Merah Putih catalyst made by the Research & Technology Center of Pertamina and Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB), Pertamina said in releases dated Aug. 16, 2020 and July 23, 2020.


The Plaju refinery’s production of D-100—which is mixed with biosolar environmentally friendly fuel (B-20) and vegetable oil, or fatty acid methyl ester (FAME)—is proven to produce higher-quality diesel fuel with a higher cetane number, according to Pertamina.


Production of green gasoline from 20% injection of RBDPO also has been successfully tested at the Plaju and Cilacap refineries in 2019-20, said Nicke Widawati, Pertamina’s managing director, adding that—while other companies have processing palm oil into green diesel—Pertamina is the first to accomplish the feat for green gasoline production.


Regarding the newly awarded technology licensing contract award to UOP for the proposed Plaju and Cilacap biofuel projects, Widawati said Pertamina’s plan is to build a standalone biorefinery at both the existing Plaju and Cilacap refineries. The two new standalone refineries will produce both green diesel and green aviation fuel from 100% vegetable oil, Widawati confirmed.


The current UOP contract award for the Cilacap refinery likely covers only the proposed revamp of a single unit at the site. Part of Pertamina’s renewables-production-by-conversion-of-existing-equipment schema, the planned project entails modifying an idled unit at Cilacap to enable processing of 100% palm oil into green diesel, Joshua Nababan, Permamina’s senior vice-president for business development said in a Mar. 17, 2020, release.


The operator has yet to reveal details about the proposed standalone biorefinery at Cilacap.


Pertamina, however, also is currently preparing the Cilacap refinery by yearend 2020 to be able to test production of green aviation fuel via coprocessing injection of 3% RBDPO, according to Widawati. Details of that project also have yet to be disclosed.


Targeted for completion in 2024, Pertamina’s Green Refinery program comes as part of the company’s effort to realize Nawacita, which entails maximizing use of all of Indonesia’s domestic natural resources—including its abundant palm oil resources—to build national energy security, independence, and sovereignty, the operator said.


Widawati said, in the future, plans to develop green energy not only from palm oil but also from other resources such as algae, wheat, sorghum, and more, in line with expectations that growth of new and renewable energy will exceed that of traditional fossil energy by 2030.


RDMP update

Alongside its ongoing development of renewables-based fuels, Pertamina’s refining division is continuing to execute mix of brownfield and grassroots projects across its existing system as part of its Refining Development Master Plan (RDMP) (OGJ Online, Jan. 24, 2020).


In its latest update on the program, Pertamina said it is currently executing site preparation activities, selecting licensors, and revising basic engineering design on its Cilacap RDMP project, which aims to increase capacity of the refinery to 400,000-b/d from 348,000 b/d as well as improve quality of finished products to Euro 5-quality standards from their present Euro 2-quality specifications.


Scheduled to be completed in 2025, the Cilacap RDMP project is slated to be on stream in 2026, Pertamina said in its latest annual report.