Fuels: Faib – price dynamics makes the transition more difficult

  EXHIBITION, Oil&nonOil 2021 Verona

The economic crisis in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, increased energy prices and ecological transition methods are causing operators in the sector serious difficulties. Approximately 2,000 fuel distribution stations closed in 2021

Faib, the association of fuel station managers, and Confesercenti Energia & Ambiente presented on 24 November, during the16th Oil&nonOil exhibition in Verona, a study investigating the reasons for the increase in fuel prices and outlined prospects for electric vehicles, before concluding with a snapshot of the Italian energy system and the ecological transition measures envisaged by the Italian Government.

The economic crisis in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and increased energy prices, on the one hand, as well as uncertainties deriving from the health crisis and ecological transition methods, on the other, are causing serious difficulties for energy and transport operators. A clear signal in this context is the closure of about 2,000 fuel distribution stations in 2021 – a decrease of about 10% – in a network that is still over-structured, with an annual cost in terms of inefficiency estimated at 200 million euros. The study suggests that energy prices may well continue to increase in the long term, alongside growth population from the 7 billion today to 9.5 in 2045. It is estimated that demand for oil will increase from 82.5 mboe/d (million barrels of oil equivalent per day) today to 99 by 2045, as will gas, from 64.2 mboe/d today to 85.7, while coal will decline from 72.9 mboe/d to 61.3. At the same time, according to Opec sources, it is expected that over the next 25 years there will be strong growth in the use of renewable sources (from 6.8 mboe/d to 36.6), biomass (from 27.2 to 37), hydroelectric (from 7.5 to 10.5), and even nuclear (from 14.3 to 22). In the short term, the price rises are explained by increased demand following the global economic recovery (5.6% of global GDP in 2021 and 4.2% in 2022) and the difficulty of oil and gas producers to resume production rates after the 15% drop recorded in 2020, joined by logistics difficulties for recovering previous operations.

As regards the transition to electric mobility, the study highlights how the IEA (International Energy Agency) estimates that the 10 million electric cars used in the world today (4.5 million in China, 3.2 in Europe, 1.7 in the USA and 800,000 in the rest of the world), equal to 1% of the car fleet, should reach 145 million in 2030 (7% of cars in circulation). This figure could even reach 230 millions (12% of all cars) if governments accelerate towards the ecological transition. The spread of electric vehicles will require a significant increase in public recharging points for electric cars, standing today at 1.3 million world-wide, and should reach 16.3 millions by 2030 (2.3 fast recharging types), while private charging points are expected to expand from 9.5 millions at present to 105 by 2030.

The Faib-Confesercenti study therefore indicates the likely scenarios in which energy and transport sector operators will have to move, and in this regard Giuseppe Sperduto, President of Faib, said: “Our sector is experiencing a difficult transition phase, which will endure for many years, during which on the one hand we must ensure refuelling for users of conventional cars and, on the other, install systems for distributing new sources of energy and super-fast charging points to enable long-range mobility with electric vehicles. Inasmuch, our service station will have to make a further leap in quality, moving on from the current multi-service dimension to a multi-energy approach. To achieve this, the sector needs reform action and training processes for managers as well as investments and therefore commitments by state and oil and energy companies.”