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New Energy World magazine logo
New Energy World magazine logo
ISSN 2753-7757 (Online)

Norway leads the way with emissions intensity and electrification projects


Johan Sverdrup field at sunset Photo: Daniel Ashby and Anders Håheim, Equinor
Electrification of Johan Sverdrup has created one of the most carbon efficient oil and gas field operations in the world

Photo: Daniel Ashby and Anders Håheim, Equinor

Norway has one of the lowest offshore CO2 emissions intensity values in the world. Recent analysis by Westwood Global Energy Group predicts a 2022 emissions intensity of 7 kgCO2/boe, a figure that is expected to continue to decline as more platforms are electrified.

Troll A was the first platform on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) to utilise power from shore, back in 1996, and the region has continued with a number of ‘firsts’ ever since. Gjøa was the first floating production platform in the North Sea to be powered from shore. Martin Linge is powered from shore with what at the time was the world’s longest alternating current (AC) cable. While electrification of Johan Sverdrup has created one of the most carbon efficient oil and gas field operations in the world.


At present, six NCS platforms are fully or partially electrified from shore – Troll, Johan Sverdrup, Martin Linge, Valhall, Goliat and Gjøa. Combined, these six hubs account for nearly 40% of Norway’s 2022 production, but only 10% of the region’s CO2 emissions, with an average emissions intensity of 1.7 kgCO2/boe.


Norway’s low emissions intensity is not solely the result of these electrified hubs. The remaining non-electrified hubs in Norway still boast an average emissions intensity of 10.5 kgCO2/boe, notes the market analyst, lower than the global average and well below its UKCS forecast of 20.9 kgCO2/boe for 2022.


There are a number of factors that contribute towards Norway’s emissions performance and why electrification projects will continue to progress, according to Westwood. These include:

  • A regulatory framework that includes a longstanding ban on routine flaring.
  • The financial impact of emissions charges – oil and gas operators must account for both the Norwegian carbon tax and the European Union’s emissions trading scheme (EU ETS), with the former historically being higher.
  • The relative maturity of infrastructure and fields means existing hubs operate more efficiently with higher ullage, while the high number of large, long-life fields is key to ensuring the investment required for electrification projects makes economic sense.
  • Power from shore provides a secure supply of renewable energy, with 92% of power generated from hydro in 2020 and 6% from wind. Historically this has also come at a lower cost relative to other European countries.
  • Norway has relatively few operators and stakeholders and there is often some commonality in ownership. This means electrification projects can benefit from shared infrastructure.


Outlook shows electrification on the up
Westwood predicts that a further seven hubs will be electrified by 2025. The Utsira High Phase 2 project is due online by 2023. The initial proposal was to electrify Gina Krog, Ivar Aasen and Edvard Grieg with power from shore, but an additional power cable from Gina Krog to Sleipner will now be installed which will also allow partial electrification of the Sleipner hub and indirectly Gudrun, with an existing power cable already being available between the two. The Hywind Tampen floating offshore wind farm will be used to partially electrify the Snorre and Gullfaks platforms by 2023, while Troll B and Draugen are also expected to be electrified by 2025.


As a result, over 50% of Norway’s production in 2025 will come from fully or partially electrified platforms, bringing the country’s emissions intensity close to 6 kgCO2/boe.


Further announcements are expected as the region continues to electrify, with Trollvind being the most recent project to be evaluated. The project is aiming to construct a 1 GW floating offshore wind farm which would not only supply power to the Bergen region but could also support the electrification of Troll and Oseberg through an onshore connection point, with potential start-up in 2027.


In Westwood’s current emissions model, Oseberg is the largest CO2 emitter in the region by 2028. However, partial electrification of Oseberg has the potential to nearly half the platform’s emissions, reducing CO2 emissions by over 300,000 tonnes of CO2 and reducing the emissions intensity from 16.8 kgCO2/boe to 9.7 kgCO2/boe.


The report concludes that with more electrification projects undoubtedly in the pipeline, Norway will continue to have one of the lowest offshore emissions intensity values in the world for many years to come.