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Working with the energy solutions of the future

How do we provide the world with enough energy while reaching the climate goals at the same time? Martine, Tine and Håvard look to Arve (88) to get the answer.

"We could not have been a pioneer in renewable energy without the muscles and expertise from the oil and gas industry", says Martine Ukkelberg (27).

The world is in the middle of an energy crisis. Equinor has responded by turning every valve to secure and increase gas deliveries. However, the challenge of delivering the energy the world needs does not change the fact that we are also in a climate crisis. That calls for prompt action.

Together with Equinor colleagues Håvard Hellvik Kvadsheim (28) and Tine Jensen Fjælberg (27), Martine met at the Norwegian Petroleum Museum in Stavanger. While looking back at the company's 50-year history, they also discussed the future. How will Norway contribute to securing enough energy for Europe simultaneously as we succeed with the energy transition?

"I am proud to be part of an industry, and not least a company, which has meant so much to our history and helped to create the society we have today. It gives us a unique experience that we can bring with us in the transition to a low-carbon society", Martine says.

All three of them work with energy conversion but from different branches: Martine works with offshore wind, while Håvard is involved in developing low-carbon solutions. Tine's job is to help ensure that oil and gas production takes place with the lowest emissions possible.

What do they believe it takes to succeed in achieving the climate goals – and what role does Equinor have in this?

The legacy of Arve

Let us rewind to 1972, the year Equinor's history begins – or Statoil, as it was named then. Arve Johnsen was standing alone in the Stavanger office. He was Statoil's first CEO and the only employee, and he was told that this would be the task of his life.

The first chapter in a sensational story about welfare development had begun.

Arve Johnsen proved to be an exceptionally skilled leader – in retrospect described as a pioneer – who took Statoil from a small oil company with no experience to a company of international dimensions. His formula for success consisted of innovation, safety and development through responsible management of Norwegian natural resources. And not to mention a combination of the right people who could think great thoughts and work together.

What is net zero?

Net zero means net zero emissions - ie climate neutrality. This means that we do not emit more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than we remove or capture.

Equinor's ambition is to become climate neutral by 2050.

Equinor's history and offshore experience give us a unique position that we must take advantage of in other projects. Not least, we have financial strength.

Martine Ukkelberg

Tailwind adjustments

Name: Martine Ukkelberg (27)

Electrical power engineer

Task: Contribute to the success of Equinor's offshore wind projects

"Equinor's history and offshore experience give us a unique position that we must take advantage of in other projects. Not least, we have financial strength" says Martine Ukkelberg.

At the heart of the green transition

She is an electrical power engineer at Equinor and is currently working on the floating wind power project Hywind Tampen. With its 11 turbines, Hywind Tampen will supply the Snorre and Gullfaks oil platforms with renewable power this year. The power from the wind turbines represents about 35% of the electric power demand. This will be the world's largest floating offshore wind farm and the first to supply electricity to offshore oil and gas installations.

Offshore wind plays a vital role in the transition to a low-carbon society, and the next and decisive phase in this development is now taking place.

"With Equinor, I get the opportunity to be in the middle of the work of solving the biggest challenge we face today, the climate crisis. As a broad energy company with the ambition to take a leading role in the green transition, we have a great responsibility. I want to help make a difference and take my part of this responsibility."

High demands and critical questions

Martine believes it is crucial that Equinor now benefits from its expertise and experience. She's got high demands on both herself and others.

"To solve the climate crisis, we must act quickly, and we must act together. Those of us who are new to the industry must dare to ask critical questions and challenge the conventional ways of thinking. Then I think we will succeed."

Read more about offshore wind in Equinor
The next and decisive phase in the global transition to a low-carbon society is taking place now. Offshore wind may play a key role.
Photo: Ole Jørgen Bratland

This is an industry where you really have a great potential to make a difference – and where even small changes have a big impact.

Tine Jensen Fjælberg

Farewell to flaring

Name: Tine Jensen Fjælberg (27)

Process engineer at Gullfaks' operations team

Task: Contribute to reducing emissions in oil and gas production

This is an industry where you really have a great potential to make a difference – and where even small changes have a big impact.

As a process engineer at the Gullfaks field, she supports the day-to-day operations to ensure the installations are operated safely and optimally. An important goal is to reduce emissions.

Phase-out flaring

"In the transition to a low-carbon society, it is important that oil and gas production takes place with as little emissions as possible. We can no longer just focus on producing as much as possible; everyone must see the same picture. That makes it a lot about culture" she says.

One of the main tasks for Tine's team is to avoid flaring – the flame you can occasionally see on offshore installations. Flaring produces significant CO₂ emissions, and in Norway, it is prohibited to flare when it's not applied to safety considerations. Equinor's goal is to stop all use of flaring by 2030. At the Gullfaks field, the flames on two platforms have been put out, with the last one to follow later this year.

"Flaring is used to reduce the pressure when we start up a well or a compressor. By spending more time on this start-up, we can avoid a large pressure build-up, avoiding the flaring" Tine says.

Experience and innovation

Emissions have been significantly reduced with better coordination of the energy consumption on the three Gulfaks platforms. And when the offshore wind farm Hywind Tampen is ready later this year, it will provide clean energy and remove large amounts of CO₂ emissions.

Tine makes no secret of the fact that it will be challenging to find ways to cover the world's great energy needs through renewable solutions.

"We have both an important role in the energy transition and a responsibility to the world. We have extensive experience in and knowledge of the energy sector. We are in the driver's seat on innovation and new technology. In my opinion, it is very effective to combine experience with younger forces."

The energy transition we are in the middle of is something that concerns all of humanity. Therefore, our goal is not the highest possible profit, but to create solutions that work for everyone – so everyone wins something

Håvard Hellvik Kvadsheim

Adds hydrogen to the toolbox

Name: Håvard Hellvik Kvadsheim (28)

Project manager in the British low-carbon project H2H Saltend

Task: Contribute to the development of low-carbon solutions for the heavy industry

"The energy transition we are in the middle of is something that concerns all of humanity. Therefore, our goal is not the highest possible profit but to create solutions that work for everyone. That way, everyone wins something" says Håvard Hellvik Kvadsheim.

The world needs many solutions

He is the commercial project manager for Equinor's British low-carbon project H2H Saltend. This involves developing a hydrogen plant that will produce blue hydrogen using carbon capture and storage. This way, the industry and others who need large amounts of energy will have a perfect alternative to the oil and natural gas used today.

"The main goal of this project is to make the energy transition possible. Hydrogen and CCS are particularly relevant for energy-intensive industries that cannot be decarbonised using renewable energy" Håvard says. He adds:

"There is not one single energy solution that suits everyone, which makes it important that we use the entire toolbox to get to the goal."

Low Carbon Solutions (CCS):

  • CCS is the process of carbon capture and storage. This technology involves capturing CO₂ and storing it, so it is not released into the atmosphere.
  • Equinor is already one of the world's most carbon-efficient oil and gas producers and works purposefully with low-carbon solutions.
  • Around 25 per cent of Equinor's investments go to research and development of new energy solutions and energy efficiency.

Hydrogen:

  • Hydrogen is an efficient and environmentally friendly energy carrier and will be an essential contribution to sustainable energy development.
  • Blue hydrogen is hydrogen that is produced using natural gas, where CO₂ emitted during production is captured and stored.

Great opportunities to influence

The H2H Saltend project alone will store up to one million tonnes of CO₂ annually. In addition, it will help kick-start the hydrogen economy in the UK and other nations.

"To succeed, everyone involved – Equinor, the authorities, infrastructure developers, the supply chain and customers – must work together to find intelligent and cost-effective solutions. We must have an open dialogue and work towards the same goal" Håvard says.

Read more about renewables in Equinor

Talent shaping the future

Tine, Martine and Håvard sit at the drilling deck at the Petroleum Museum. It illustrates in many ways the development that has always been part of the industry.

While the drilling operations in the past involved noise, shoving, oil spills and drilling mud, this work is now automated, digital, safer and more efficient. Great minds are constantly finding new solutions that take us further in the right direction, utilising resources in new and better ways.

"It is exciting to look back at history and see how wise people built up an industry relatively quickly. It gives even more motivation for the transition ahead of us, which we now have an opportunity to influence." Håvard says.

As it says on the wall a few meters away from the drilling installation: "The sea is there – it will always offer new opportunities".

Photos: Einar Aslaksen

What is the "green shift" and the energy transition?

  • The green shift is about the transition to a low-emission society – the energy transition is part of this.
  • It involves transitioning from a fossil-based energy system to a global one based on renewable energy and low-carbon solutions.
  • This includes much more efficient use of energy, technologies to prevent CO₂ from being released into the atmosphere (such as carbon capture and storage) and a sharp increase in electrification.

This is one of many stories from our first 50 years. It is also part of the story of how we will succeed with the energy transition.

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