Floating wind power, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen will be looked to to spearhead the Norwegian oil & gas industry’s transition as it targets cutting its emissions by 40% by the end of the decade and to “near zero” by 2050, according to a new climate strategy report from cross-sector body KonKraft.
The plan, developed by industry bodies Norwegian Oil & Gas, the Norwegian Shipowners Association (NSA), the Federation of Norwegian Industries (FNI) and a number of the country’s unions, will major on greenhouse gas reductions — from offshore platforms and coastal refineries but also from the fleet of service vessels supporting offshore operations on the Norwegian continental shelf — while shaping a “forward-looking energy industry” increasingly focused on renewable energy projects.
“The expertise and technological innovativeness in the Norwegian petroleum industry, its operators, suppliers and the maritime sector, are part of the solution to the global challenges of the 21st century,” said the KonKraft report authors. “They will contribute to meeting the Paris agreement’s targets and the UN sustainable development goals.
“Long-term efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have ensured that oil & gas production in Norway has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world. Nevertheless, this is not enough. The Norwegian petroleum industry sees the need for a change of pace in the work to reduce global warming.”
The combination of Norway’s world-class wind resources – gusts travel over the country’s water at an average of 10 metres per second – and the country’s long-established maritime, offshore and land-based industrial industries, in KonKraft’s view, mean sea-based wind “will become a large and important new [domestic] industry”.
“The oil & gas sector will work to ensure that this strong position is further developed and that Norway takes a leading role in developing floating wind farms as well as securing larger market shares for bottom-fixed offshore wind power.”
KonKraft sees “big synergies” between the petroleum sector and offshore wind power, pointing at contractor Aker Solutions’ investment in floating wind technology developer Principle Power and rival Kværner’s expertise with concrete structures transferring to spar hulls, and Aibel and ABB jointly developing offshore wind converter stations.
In concert with the offshore wind sector – which will get steel in the water first with the 88MW Hywind Tampen floating array that will power an emissions-reduction pilot on the Snorre-Gullfaks oil & gas field – the KonKraft strategy involves the Norwegian oil & gas industry progressing the role of CCS, the demonstration of hydrogen as a fuel in shipping, and the use of this gas for electricity generation “over the coming decade”.
“The Norwegian oil & gas industry has acquired particular expertise and experience where carbon storage is concerned. Such technology has been used in full scale on both the Sleipner and Snøhvit fields since 1996 and 2007 respectively, with a total of 25 million tonnes of CO2 injected for secure storage in geological formations beneath the seabed,” said KonKraft.
The report authors highlight the CCS technology advances at Norcem Heidelberg’s cement plant in Brevik, Fortum’s energy recovery plant in Oslo, and the Northern Lights project, a collaboration project between the oil giants Equinor, Shell and Total piloting transport, handling and permanent storage of CO2 in a geological formation beneath the northern North Sea as examples of the role to be played by carbon capture.
The offshore energy transition spelled out in the KonKraft strategy report would also have hydrogen demonstrated as a fuel in shipping by 2025.
A 40% drop in Norwegian oil sector emissions by 2030 would equal an absolute reduction of 5.4 million tonnes of CO2 from levels in 2005, which corresponds to 10% of the country’s total emissions in 2018.
“To realise these goals, the industry will work to build a culture where good ideas are encouraged, picked up and adopted,” said KonKraft. “Oil and gas produced with a low [greenhouse gas] footprint in Norway will have a competitive advantage in the future, and its ambitious climate targets will help the petroleum sector to continue creating major value for Norwegian society.”
KonKraft said the NSA, FNI, Norwegian Oil & Gas and the unions will in 2020 jointly establish “specific quantitative targets” for emission reductions by 2030, and publish an updated climate strategy for the oil & gas industry in Norway “no later than 2025”.
The KonKraft plans mirrors that of the part-state-owned energy company Equinor, which is striving for a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from its domestic offshore oil & 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.