Norway’s oil and gas carbon emissions targets look difficult to reach

The Norwegian oil and gas industry’s goal of a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and net zero in 2050 is still possible, but will be difficult to reach, according to a new report.

It has become difficult as a result of increased costs, a squeezed supplier market, a more demanding power situation and challenges with sufficient grid capacity, according to the 2023 status report on the industry’s climate strategy, released on Thursday.

Emissions were stable in 2022 despite Norway increasing gas deliveries to Europe to the second highest level ever, and were 11% less compared with the reference year of 2005.

The report was compiled by the KonKraft group, comprising the NHO, LO, Offshore Norway, Norwegian Industry, Industri Energi, Fellesforbundet and Shipowners’ Confederation.

The report said electrification of Norway’s offshore oil and gas infrastructure is the most cost-effective way of reducing emissions; this means getting power from the onshore grid.

“Until 2030, power from land is the absolute most important measure to reduce emissions, and it is important for the industry that politicians facilitate predictability and stable framework conditions to achieve the climate goals,” Offshore Norway’s director of climate and environment Benedicte Solaas said.

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Apart from power from land, energy efficiency and reduced gas flaring represent the greatest potential for emission reductions.

However, power from shore is a rather controversial subject and has stirred plenty of public debate over the effects on electricity consumers, power prices, competition for available power and abatement costs.

Carbon capture and storage as a future business is also an opportunity for Norway to reduce emissions.

The report said there was the potential for increased annual carbon dioxide storage on the Norwegian continental shelf from 2026, and a total storage potential in 2030 of between 40 million and 50 million tonnes, which is almost as much as Norway’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Plans for large-scale offshore wind development offshore Norway are also under way for further scaling up, and new areas must be announced quickly.