Here’s why electrification is an important climate measure
To make effective reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, large-scale point sources such as offshore installations and process plants must reduce emissions significantly. Electrification means replacing fossil power sources with renewable energy, which will contribute to a reduction in GHG emissions.
Electrification is now happening all over society, whether it be when we switch from fossil fuel-powered cars to electric cars, or electrify power-intensive industrial processes currently powered by gas.
Why are we electrifying some of our plants and platforms?
The transition to a low-carbon society will require strong growth in renewable energy, but even in the most optimistic future scenarios for the energy transition, the world will be dependent on oil and gas for a long time to come. It is therefore important that oil and gas are produced with as low carbon footprints as possible.
Norwegian petroleum operations maintain a high environmental and climate standard compared to other countries. Oil and gas production are very energy-intensive processes. Today, most facilities produce their own energy through the use of gas turbines, which account for a quarter of Norway’s total emissions of CO2 and NOX.
In Equinor, we are working systematically to cut our emissions. The goal is to find the most technically and economically effective measures that contribute the most, whether they be large or small. Most of our measures are linked to energy efficiency.
Electrification of plants that are already in operation requires major rebuilding and is only economical for plants with long lifespans. For such facilities, electrification will provide the greatest reductions in CO2 emissions per krone spent.
Electrification involves laying cables from the power grid on the mainland to the areas where replacing the gas turbines is most effective.
Questions and answers about electrification
planned reduction in our emissions from the NCS by 2040
emissions from our oil & gas production on the NCS by 2050
reduction in Norway’s overall emissions by 2030
Facts and figures about electrification of the Norwegian continental shelf
- Oil and gas installations on the NCS emit approximately 13 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents
- Over 160 gas turbines used for power generation on the platforms as well as flaring account for 90.6% of total CO2 emissions from the Norwegian continental shelf
- In 2022, petroleum activities on the NCS accounted for 22% of Norway's total greenhouse gas emissions
- Operators on the NCS pay taxes on emissions. In addition to climate quotas, which cost between EUR €80 and €100 per tonne in 2023, operators must pay a separate fee of approx. NOK 740 per tonne, meaning that in practice it costs about NOK 1600-1800 for every tonne of carbon dioxide emissions
- Electrification is an investment in both the climate and the sustainable future of the oil industry
- Electrification of the NCS is an expensive but profitable climate measure
- Our Johan Sverdrup field has CO2 emissions of just 0.67 kg per barrel, compared with an average of 9 kg, thanks to electrification.
Sources: Equinor, Bellona, Enerwe, University of Bergen
What is Equinor doing in electrification?
The oil and gas industry is largely run on electricity generated on site using gas turbines and currently accounts for approximately one quarter of Norway’s total carbon emissions.
Troll A was the first platform on the Norwegian continental shelf to be electrified, back in 1996.
The Gjøa field was electrified from the very outset. As development operator, Equinor lay a 100 km long cable from Mongstad out to the Gjøa field – the longest alternating current cable in the world at that time.
In 2018, Martin Linge was prepared for electrification through the laying of a 163 km long cable from Kollsnes. Production from the Martin Linge field is scheduled to start in 2021.
The Johan Sverdrup field has been electrified by means of power from land, helping ensure record-low emissions from production. Johan Sverdrup has CO2 emissions of just 0.67 kg per barrel, compared with an average of some 9 kg on the Norwegian continental shelf and 15 kg globally.
Sverdrup phase 2 will also supply other fields on the Utsira High with power from shore, including Gina Krog, Sleipner field centre and Gudrun.
Another technological milestone was the opening of Hywind Tampen, the largest floating offshore wind farm in the world, in August 2023. It supplies the Gullfaks and Snorre platforms with wind power.
The government has also approved the Snøhvit partners' plans for the future operation of Snøhvit and Hammerfest LNG, with some conditions. The approval involves land compression from 2028 and electrification of the facility from 2030.
In addition, the government has approved the plans for power supply from land to the platforms on Troll B and C and to the Oseberg field. There will be more such projects in the coming years.