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Low-carbon solutions: keeping CO2 out of the atmosphere

In our business there are a multitude of ways in which we can contribute to reducing carbon emissions, and we are taking concerted action in many areas to effect real change. Here’s what we’re doing. 

We’re reducing emissions from our operations and products, focusing on the storage and utilisation of CO2, decarbonisation of natural gas through hydrogen value chains, low carbon fuel transportation solutions, and electrification of platforms. 

Equinor is already one of the world’s most CO2-efficient producers of oil and gas. Our ambition is to maintain this lead. We believe a low carbon footprint will make us more competitive in the future, and we believe there are attractive business opportunities in the transition to a low carbon economy. 

The world needs energy producers that can deliver affordable energy with lower emissions. Leveraging our research and development and innovation capabilities will be key to developing new energy solutions at a competitive cost. 

Our Climate Roadmap explains how we plan to achieve this and how we will develop our business, in support of the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement.

 

Research and development 

Leveraging our research and development (R&D) and innovation capabilities will be key to developing new energy solutions at a competitive cost. 

This year, we will dedicate around 25% of our research and development expenditure to new energy solutions and energy efficiency.

We are focusing on options to maintain the competitiveness of oil and gas in a low-carbon future, with efforts in the area of storage and utilisation of CO2, decarbonisation of natural gas through hydrogen value chains, and low carbon fuel transportation solutions.

These solutions can help significantly reduce the emissions from our products (Scope 3 emissions). 

From 2020 we are devoting around 25% of research and development expenditure to new energy solutions and energy efficiency. 

 

Carbon capture and storage

One way to make sure that carbon dioxide doesn’t reach the earth’s atmosphere is to capture and store it beneath the ground. 

This technology—called CCS or CCUS—will be essential to achieving the world’s shared climate goals—and Equinor is already a world leader in this field. 

As an operator we have captured and stored more than 23 million tonnes of CO2 to date. Now we’re seeking to develop new business models to make CCS commercially viable and decarbonise our oil and gas production. 

Could hydrogen be the holy grail of decarbonising the energy system?

Hydrogen has the potential to play a key role in the transition to low-carbon energy. 

It can be used to provide electricity and heat, it can be blended with natural gas to help decarbonise existing natural gas grids, and it can be used to transport energy from renewables. 

Equinor is working on several projects to explore the potential of converting natural gas into clean-burning hydrogen with capture and storage of the CO2

With developments in hydrogen technology, the potential for business and emissions reductions is promising. Find out more about our initiatives in hydrogen here. 

Electrification of oil and gas platforms

By replacing turbines on oil and gas platforms with renewable energy, we can reduce significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. 

Today, most offshore installations produce their own electricity using gas turbines, which account for a quarter of Norway's total emissions of both NOX and CO2

Electrification of the shelf involves laying cables from the mainland to the areas where it will be most appropriate to replace the gas turbines.

Power from either renewable energy production or gas power plants with CO2 management can replace parts of today's polluting power generation on the oil platforms. Here, we explain the many initiatives we are undertaking in electrification.

What is Equinor doing to reduce carbon emissions?

Approximately 80 per cent of our greenhouse gas emissions today come from power generation on our platforms. That’s why we’re focusing on energy management and optimising operations on a daily basis, to ensure we are as carbon-efficient as possible.

So far, 370 measures to streamline and cut emissions have been introduced on the Norwegian continental shelf, some large, some small.

As a result, we have reduced our CO2 emissions from offshore installations in Norway, including the Hammerfest LNG terminal, by 1.7 million tonnes annually. This is equivalent to the emissions from roughly 850,000 cars.

On the Norwegian continental shelf these reductions have been achieved through multiple measures, for example:

  • Conversion and optimisation of compressors at Gullfaks and Oseberg 
  • Development of an air filter programme to reduce emissions from turbines
  • At Hammerfest LNG, reducing the number of gas turbines from five to four
  • Reduced use of flaring at all onshore facilities
  • Evaluation of fuel consumption in allocating new vessel contracts
  • Requirements for hybrid battery operation and onshore power connection in all new long-term contracts