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BP targets availability of two new biofuels by 2014

by Bloomberg

BP Plc (BP/) is testing two advanced biofuels that could be commercially available by 2014, said Philip New, chief executive officer of the U.K. petroleum company’s biofuels unit.

The company is planting energy grasses to feed a 36 million gallon-a-year cellulosic ethanol plant planned in Florida, he said in an interview in London today. A demonstration biobutanol plant in Hull, England, is operating, New said. A bioethanol plant in the same location should be producing by the end of this year, he said.

Biofuels could account for 9 percent of global transport fuels used by 2030, up from 3 percent now, according to BP. Drivers include climate-change targets in the U.S. and Europe, energy security concerns and the possibility the fuels may be a lucrative crop for ailing rural communities, New said.

“If you believe that demand for transport fuels is going to grow significantly, if you believe that for the foreseeable future we’re going to carry on using internal combustion engines and liquid fuels, then biofuels are going to be the only complement to crude oil that’s out there,” he said.

Cellulosic ethanol uses micro-organisms to break down fibrous plants, making it possible to produce fuel from energy grasses. Unlike sugar cane, which flourishes around the equator, the grasses can be grown anywhere.

Biobutanol is produced by fermenting plant sugars and can be blended with gasoline at higher concentrations. Existing bioethanol can be retrofitted to produce biobutanol, New said. Biobutanol is a type of alcohol that’s used as a fuel.

BP is looking at sites in Texas, Florida and Louisiana where it could farm energy grasses and build new plants, he said. The company is targeting a cost of $60 to $80 a barrel by 2024 from $140 to $150 a barrel today, New said.
The two fuels and a new sugar-to-diesel product will be trialled in 100 vehicles during the London Olympic Games.

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Aker Solutions to Build Umbilical Plant in Malaysia

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Aker Solutions will build a new state-of-of-the-art umbilical manufacturing plant in Pekan, Malaysia, to meet the anticipated growth and the needs of their Asia Pacific customers. The total investment of USD 60 million will expand Aker Solutions’ manufacturing capacity and strengthen their position as a leading producer of steel tube umbilicals.

The new manufacturing facility close to Kuantan, on the east coast of Malaysia, will complement the existing umbilicals manufacturing plants located in Moss, Norway, and Mobile, Alabama, US.

“I am very excited about the opportunities that will be created by our new manufacturing plant in Malaysia and the added capabilities it ensures. This new plant increases Aker Solutions’ footprint in Asia and our capability to serve customers in the Asia Pacific region,” says Tove Roskaft, head of Aker Solutions’ umbilical business.

She adds: “The umbilical market has robust fundamentals and this strong growth is expected to continue. This investment gives us a strategic advantage in the already booming oil and gas market in the region. As a technology and market leader, we are now ready to take on the opportunity of having umbilical manufacturing hubs in three major oil and gas regions of the world.”

Over the past few years, Aker Solutions has invested heavily in Malaysia, which is the company’s hub for the Asia Pacific region. This includes their first-class manufacturing centre for subsea production technologies and drilling risers in Port Klang, close to Kuala Lumpur. The company also has a 600-strong front-end, design and engineering hub in Kuala Lumpur.

Subsea umbilicals are deployed on the seabed to supply necessary controls and chemicals to subsea oil and gas wells, subsea manifolds and any subsea system requiring a remote control. Over the past 15 years, Aker Solutions has delivered more than 400 umbilicals to some of the world’s most challenging fields, from harsh environment to ultra-deep, high-pressure water conditions.

Aker Solutions has already opened its regional head office for umbilicals in downtown Kuala Lumpur managed by Mr. Crawford Tennant who is an industry veteran and former head of the Aker Solutions facility in Port Klang. The Pekan facility is scheduled to begin operations in the fourth quarter of 2013.

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