As part of the operator's efforts to combat climate change going forward, the operator intends to reduce annual emissions from its oil and gas operations on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) by 40% within 2030, and to near zero by 2050. To achieve these emission reduction targets, the operator pursues energy efficiency measures, flaring elimination, electrification, floating offshore wind farms and other low-carbon solutions.
Johan Sverdrup coming on stream plays a key role in the operator's ability to deliver on its international climate commitments. With recoverable resources of 2.7 billion barrels and a field lifetime of more than 50 years, identifying solutions for the Johan Sverdrup field development that minimize emissions from production was key to the concept selection process.
The national regulatory and policy context in Norway also played a role. Norway was one of the first countries in the world to introduce a carbon tax, in 1991, and has been a member of the ‘cap and trade’ European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) since 2008, which in effect puts a relatively steep price on carbon emissions from the petroleum sector. In addition, Norway's international climate commitments, with a target to reduce green-house gas emissions by 30% in 2020 relative to 1990 levels, also set clear expectations (even requirements for phase II of the development) for minimizing emissions from the Johan Sverdrup field. The result is a field with one of the lowest carbon emissions from production worldwide, with less than 1kg CO2 per barrel of oil equivalent produced.
This paper starts by elaborating on the context and the strategic, regulatory and technical drivers for minimizing emissions from production from the Johan Sverdrup field. It then explores technologies and solutions chosen to minimize emissions – including, primarily, electrification by means of an HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current) power-from-shore solution but also energy-efficiency measures to optimize the utilization of the available power. The paper concludes by attempting to summarize lessons-learned of relevance for other oil and gas fields, also outside of the regulatory context of the Norwegian continental shelf.