discussion: Equinor It presented plans for a giant new investment in offshore wind and other green industries, at a cost of NOK 350 billion over 10 years.
The company’s ambitions as a broad energy company, along with the goal of reducing emissions, are unrealistic and invite debate.
The International Standardization Organization ISO has prepared rules for climate accounting, where Class 3 means that carbon dioxide emissions from products sold by the company must be excluded by the company.
For oil/gas companies, this means that the CO2 emitted from the oil and gas sold must be offset by various measures.
Equinor currently sells approximately 100 million tons of oil equivalent (oil and gas) annually. If we assume that production is halved by 2050, the average in the period up to 2050 could be about 75 million TOE (tons of oil equivalent) per year, which means CO2 emissions in the order of 200 million tons.
Why should Equinor invest NOK oil in high-quality electricity production, which Europe does not need?
Wind energy development should be doubled
To offset this emissions, one simple consideration would be to produce zero-emissions electricity, equivalent to the amount of primary energy in the amount of oil and gas sold. If this were to happen with offshore wind (which Equinor would prefer), it would mean at least having to redouble Equinor’s existing plans for wind power development.
Equinor’s emissions calculations also include the impact of lower emissions on oil and gas production, hydrogen from natural gas and carbon sequestration, but overall, this is likely to make only marginal contributions, into the big picture.
So the conclusion about net zero emissions in 2050 for Equinor should be that this is a very unrealistic ambition.
Equinor should keep reading
The world will need oil and gas for the foreseeable future, and Equinor will better serve Norway and the world by continuing to produce oil and gas as green as possible.
However, the company is sitting in a large cash bag, constantly replenished from the Norwegian shelf, and it is clear that the management is free to invest in the green transformation, at any cost.
Overproduction of random/variable electricity with respect to constant/controllable capacity is now a growing problem in Europe, which is also affecting the Norwegian electricity market.
However, the EU Commission’s mantra remains that the recipe is to increase production of variable energy.
Equinor is following this up by releasing plans for how offshore winds from the Norwegian continental shelf will connect both the main Norwegian grid and the continent directly.
The question to ask is: why should Equinor invest NOK oil in producing secondary-quality electricity, which Europe does not need?
There is a general consensus that large-scale electrification is the key to achieving a reduction in CO2 emissions. This requires phasing out fossil energy (particularly coal energy) and replacing it with zero-emissions energy.
Here there is scope for the alternating current of wind and sun, but the ratio must be limited, perhaps max. 30 percent. Many “authorities” claim that the energy supply may consist of 70-80 percent of solar and wind energy, but this is mostly a theory, which lacks concrete evidence.
Don’t wrap around nuclear power
In order to make the Solitaire game about an increasingly stable, zero-emissions energy source soar, we’re not going to dodge the new nuclear power. The European Commission will not realize this yet, but it is hoped that France, which holds the presidency next year, will come forward with its experiences.
Investing in the next generation of nuclear energy is a unique opportunity for the world’s leading oil/gas companies to become true energy companies, with the opportunity to have stable, large-scale, carbon-neutral electricity and heating in their portfolio.
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