Oil major Equinor is striving for a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from its domestic offshore oil and gas field operations and onshore plants in Norway by 40% by 2030 when compared to 2005 levels, by 70% by 2040, and to ‘near zero’ by 2050.

The climate ambitions in the long run – mostly after 2030 - will also require solutions based on offshore wind, carbon capture and storage and green hydrogen, which are currently being tested by the oil major.

The emissions reduction target does not cover the Norwegian state-owned company’s vast oil and gas exploration operations outside Norway, nor emissions from the actual use of using fossil fuels in transport, heating or industry.

“We are now launching an unprecedented set of ambitions for forceful industrial action and substantial absolute emission reductions in Norway, aiming towards near zero in 2050. This is in line with society’s climate targets and our strategy to create high value with low emissions,” said Equinor chief executive Eldar Sætre.

“We plan investments in the order of 50 billion Norwegian kroner ($5.66bn) together with our partners by 2030 to cut emissions in order to strengthen the long-term competitiveness for our fields and plants. In setting these ambitions Equinor has assumed stable framework conditions and necessary investments in the electricity grid.”

The plan until 2030 implies annual emission reductions of more than 5 million tonnes, Equinor said, which corresponds to around 10% of Norway’s total CO2 emissions.

The company’s operated fields and plants in 2018 emitted 13 million tonnes, about the same level as in 2005 – which is used as a baseline for emission reductions (and not 1990, which is used as base year in the EU’s emission reduction targets).

The reduction by 2030 will be realised through large scale industrial measures, including energy efficiency, digitalisation and the launch of several electrification projects at key fields and plants, including the Troll and Oseberg offshore fields and the Hammerfest LNG plant.

Further cuts towards 70% by 2040 and close to zero by 2050 will entail additional measures, further electrification projects and ‘new technologies and value chains’ the company doesn’t define further.

Equinor in its announcement mentioned offshore wind as a technology in the long run, but didn’t enter into any specifics.

Norway’s government in August 2019 had approved funding to support the world’s first floating wind farm – the 88MW Hywind Tampen project – which is slated to supply renewable power to offshore oil and gas installations in the country.

Hywind Tampen is expected to provide a third of the electricity five oil and gas platforms the Gullfaks and Snorre fields in Norway’s continental shelf will require.

No other oil and gas company in the world has gone as far in its attempts to at least provide its upstream activities with renewable power.

But Norway and Equinor so far have not announced plans to expand those activities, nor to also test them abroad.

Equinor said it expects Norwegian oil and gas production in 2050 to be less than half of current levels.

The company at a capital markets update in February is slated to present new corporate climate ambitions and a ‘holistic climate platform,’ including an approach to decarbonisation and life cycle emissions.

The ambitions to be announced in February will also include a "global perspective," an Equinor press official told Recharge.