Electric car growth causes coal, natural gas demand to surge; Record Ohio gas production spurs processing facilities; SABIC to become Clariant’s largest shareholder

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More electric cars mean increased demand for coal and natural gas. Image: Tesla

Electric car growth causes coal, natural gas demand to surge

Electric car demand is growing rapidly and driving the massive increase in global electricity consumption as well as a surge in the most vital sources of electricity: coal and natural gas.

In 2017, electric car sales in the U.S. were up nearly 30%, to about 200,000 units. 

“By 2040, 54% of new car sales and 33% of the global car fleet will be electric,” according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Falling battery prices will bring price competitive electric vehicles to all major light duty vehicle segments before 2030, Bloomberg continued.

Electrification of the U.S. fleet will drive demand for electricity. The electricity is mostly generated by the combustion of coal and natural gas both in the U.S. and around the world.

“Both in the U.S. and around the world, for every ten times an electric car goes to power up, it will be depending on coal and natural gas almost 6.5 of those times,” according to Forbes. 

Record Ohio gas production spurs processing and generation facilities

Ohio’s natural gas production reached a new high of 5.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in October 2017, doubling its May 2015 values, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Most of Ohio’s natural gas production growth has come from the development of the Utica shale play, and Ohio currently represents 6% of total U.S. production. 

As the state’s natural gas production expands, Ohio’s natural gas processing capacity and natural gas-fired electric generation capacity have grown as well. With additional projects scheduled to come online in the coming years, growth in capacity for making use of Ohio’s natural gas and its products is expected to continue.

At the end of 2017, Ohio had about 4.2 Bcf/d of natural gas processing capacity, up from nearly 3.4 Bcf/d in 2014. Two projects are scheduled to come online in 2018 and will add an additional 0.4 Bcf/d to Ohio’s natural gas processing capacity, according to IHS Markit. Both projects have capacities of 0.2 Bcf/d.

SABIC to become Clariant’s largest shareholder

Sabic has agreed to acquire approximately 83 million shares, a 24.9% stake, in Clariant. The acquisition will make Sabic the largest Clariant shareholder, Sabic said.

“This acquisition is part of Sabic's long-term growth strategy to remain committed to product differentiation and creating value for its customers,” Sabic said in a press release. “Clariant is complementary to Sabic's existing specialties business and is well in line with Sabic’s strategy of opening up new growth opportunities in specialty chemicals.”

Sabic currently has no plans to launch or otherwise effect a full takeover of Clariant.

Sabic and Clariant have already had a successful relationship in their joint venture, Scientific Design, a process technology and catalyst development company. 
The closing of the transaction is subject to completing regulatory approvals.