Equinor sets ambition to reduce net carbon intensity by at least 50% by 2050

February 6, 2020 07:09 CET
Illustration of CCS, wind turbine, oil and gas platform

Equinor today launches a new climate roadmap aiming to ensure a competitive and resilient business model in the energy transition, fit for long term value creation and in line with the Paris Agreement.

Equinor aims to:

  • reduce the net carbon intensity, from initial production to final consumption, of energy produced by at least 50% by 2050, 
  • grow renewable energy capacity tenfold by 2026, developing as a global offshore wind major, and 
  • strengthen its industry leading position on carbon efficient production, aiming to reach carbon neutral global operations by 2030.

“Today we are setting new short-, mid- and long-term ambitions to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions and to shape our portfolio in line with the Paris Agreement. It is a good business strategy to ensure competitiveness and drive change towards a low carbon future, based on a strong commitment to value creation for our shareholders,” says Eldar Sætre, president and CEO of Equinor.

“We are now looking 30 years into the future, and it is not possible to predict an exact shape and pace of the transition. Not for society and not for us. But we know there will have to be significant changes in the energy markets, and our portfolio will change accordingly to remain competitive. We will produce less oil in a low carbon future, but value creation from oil and gas will still be high, and renewables give significant new opportunities to create attractive returns and growth,” says Sætre.

“Equinor’s strategic direction is clear. We are developing as a broad energy company, leveraging the strong synergies between oil, gas, renewables, CCUS and hydrogen. We will continue addressing our own emissions in line with the emitter pays principle. But, we can and will do much more. As part of the energy industry, we must be part of the solution to combat climate change and address decarbonisation more broadly in line with changes in society,” says Sætre. 

The ambition to reduce net carbon intensity by at least 50% by 2050 takes into account scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, from initial production to final consumption. By 2050 each unit of energy produced will, on average, have less than half of the emissions compared to today. The ambition is expected to be met primarily through significant growth in renewables and changes in the scale and composition of the oil and gas portfolio. Operational efficiency, CCUS and hydrogen will also be important, and recognised offset mechanisms and natural sinks may be used as a supplement. 

In 2026, Equinor expects a production capacity from renewable projects of 4 to 6 GW, Equinor share, mainly based on the current project portfolio. This is around 10 times higher than today’s capacity, implying an annual average growth rate of more than 30%. Towards 2035, Equinor expects to increase installed renewables capacity further to 12 to 16 GW, dependent on availability of attractive project opportunities.

Portrait of CEO Eldar Sætre
Eldar Sætre, president and CEO of Equinor.

“In order to combat climate change, governments, business and society must find new and sustainable solutions together. As a pioneer in CCUS, Equinor is engaged in building a European value chain, capturing and storing CO2 from third-party industrial sites. This, combined with a strong position within natural gas, makes Equinor prepared for future growth in hydrogen, which offers large scale opportunities for zero emission energy,” adds Sætre.

The scale and composition of Equinor’s oil and gas portfolio, and the efficiency of its operations, will play a key role in achieving Equinor’s net carbon intensity ambition. Carbon efficient production of oil and gas will increasingly be a competitive advantage, and Equinor will seek to ensure a high value and robust oil and gas portfolio.

In January 2020, Equinor announced an unprecedented set of ambitions to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions from its operated offshore fields and onshore plants in Norway by 40% by 2030, 70% by 2040 and towards near zero by 2050. The ambition can be realised through electrification projects, energy efficiency measures and new value chains such as carbon capture and storage and hydrogen.

Equinor is aiming to reduce the CO2 intensity of its globally operated oil and gas production to below 8 kg per barrel of oil equivalent by 2025, five years earlier than the previous ambition. The current global industry average is 18 kg CO2 per barrel1 .

Equinor sets a new ambition to reach carbon neutral global operations by 2030. The main priority will be to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from own operations. Remaining emissions will be compensated either through quota trading systems, such as EU ETS, or high-quality offset mechanisms. By setting this ambition, Equinor demonstrates its long-standing support to carbon pricing and the establishment of global carbon market mechanisms as outlined in the Paris Agreement.

Equinor’s low methane emissions are industry leading at around 10% of the global industry average. The climate roadmap includes ambitions to keep methane emissions at near zero and to eliminate routine flaring before 2030.

“The new climate roadmap illustrates our pathway to be a shaper in the energy transition and the future of energy. It is also an invitation to our partners, customers, suppliers and governments to work together on the necessary actions to combat climate change,” concludes Eldar Sætre.

1IOGP (the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers): Environmental Performance Data 2018

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Equinor’s new climate ambitions in short:

  • Reduce the net carbon intensity, from initial production to final consumption, of the energy produced with at least 50% by 2050.
  • Grow renewable energy capacity tenfold to between 4 to 6 GW by 2026, developing as a global offshore wind major. 
  • Reduce absolute emissions from operated offshore fields and onshore plants in Norway by 40% by 2030, 70% by 2040 and towards near zero by 2050.
  • Reduce CO2-emissions per barrel oil and gas produced to below 8 kg by 2025 from operated fields.
  • Carbon neutral operations globally by 2030.
  • Eliminate routine flaring before 2030.
  • Maintain methane emissions near zero.
  • Continue to apply an internal price on CO2-emission of at least USD 55 per tonne in all our investment decisions.
  • Continued support to the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT

This release contains certain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. In some cases, we use words such as “aim”, “ambition”, “continue”, “expect”, “may”, “strategy”, “will”, “in line with”, and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include all statements other than statements of historical fact, including, among others, statements regarding Equinor’s ambitions, plans, intentions, aims and expectations with respect to Equinor’s new climate roadmap, including with respect to its net carbon intensity, carbon efficiency, methane emissions and flaring reductions, renewable energy capacity, carbon-neutral global operations, internal carbon price on investment decisions, future levels of, and expected value creation from, oil and gas production, scale and composition of the oil and gas portfolio, development of CCUS and hydrogen businesses, use of offset mechanisms and natural sinks and support of TCFD recommendations.

These forward-looking statements reflect current views about future events and are, by their nature, subject to significant risks and uncertainties because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that will occur in the future and are beyond Equinor’s control and are difficult to predict. There are a number of factors that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements, including societal shifts in consumer demand and technological advancements, levels of industry product supply, demand and pricing; price and availability of alternative fuels; the political and economic policies of Norway and other jurisdictions where we have assets; general economic conditions; political and social stability and economic growth in relevant areas of the world; global political events and actions; changes in, or non-compliance with, laws and governmental regulations; the timing of bringing new projects on stream; an inability to exploit growth or investment opportunities; adverse changes in tax regimes; the development and use of new technology; geological or technical difficulties; operational problems; issues with transportation infrastructure; the actions of competitors; the actions of governments (including the Norwegian state as majority shareholder); natural disasters and adverse weather conditions and other changes to business conditions; an inability to attract and retain skilled personnel; relevant governmental approvals; labour relations and industrial actions by workers and other factors discussed elsewhere in Equinor’s publications, any of which could impair Equinor’s ability to meet its climate ambitions. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot assure you that future results will meet these expectations. Additional information, including information on factors that may affect Equinor’s business, is contained in Equinor’s latest Annual Report and Form 20-F, filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (and section Risk review – Risk factors thereof), which is available at Equinor’s website (www.equinor.com).

You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements for many reasons. Equinor does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of any forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which such statement is made. Unless required by law, we will not necessarily update any of these statements.

Equinor is including the emissions from a customer’s product use in its calculation of its net carbon intensity solely as a means to (i) more accurately evaluate the emission lifecycle of what we produce and (ii) to respond to the potential business opportunities arising from shifting consumer demands. Including these emissions in the calculation should in no way be construed as an acceptance by Equinor of responsibility for the emissions caused by such use.