Electrified Statoil oilfield to produce 30 times lower CO2 emissions than average

The last module of the Johan Sverdrup riser platform is lifted into place. Image: Roar Lindefjeld/Bo Randulff/Statoil

The laying of the cable supplying the offshore Johan Sverdrup development with power from shore started will help make the North Sea giant one of the oil and gas fields with the lowest CO2 emissions worldwide.

Last week the cable-laying vessel NKT Victoria began laying the cables that will supply the Johan Sverdrup field with power from shore. The starting point was the Johan Sverdrup converter station at Haugsneset near Kårstø, and by the end of May the vessel will have laid nearly 200 kilometres of power cables out to the field.

Bundled with the power cables, a fibre-optic cable will once installed ensure good communication and enable monitoring, and when required, remote control of parts of the Johan Sverdrup field’s operations from shore.

“We are now laying the very lifeline of the Johan Sverdrup field, which will supply the field with power from shore for more than 50 years,” Trond Bokn, senior vice-president for Johan Sverdrup, said in a statement.

The power cables will help make Johan Sverdrup one of the most carbon-efficient oil and gas fields in the world. Estimated at just 0.5 kilograms of CO2 per barrel, the emissions from Johan Sverdrup are about 20 times lower than the average on the Norwegian continental shelf, and 30 times lower than the international average.

Climate-friendly evolution

That makes Johan Sverdrup a key project to help deliver on Statoil’s ambition of reducing annual carbon emissions by three million tonnes by 2030, compared with the estimated emissions.

“The world is facing considerable challenges ensuring access to enough energy while doing so in a more climate-friendly way. Here Johan Sverdrup will play an important role: over the next 50 years, the field’s considerable reserves will be used to produce significant amounts of energy with low CO2 emissions,” said Bokn.

The CO2 emissions avoided as a result of Johan Sverdrup using power from shore add up to more than 400,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to the emissions of some 200,000 cars each year. It will save almost 20 million tonnes of CO2 emissions over the life of the field, said Statoil, which is changing its 46-year-old name to Equinor in recognition of its evolution away from oil to low-emissions renewable power production.

Additional measures

Several additional measures have been implemented to further reduce emissions during development. The cable-laying vessel NKT Victoria was designed to be supplied with power from shore while in harbour.

The mobile accommodation vessel Haven, in use at the field from June onwards, has also been modified to utilize power from shore while in service at the Johan Sverdrup field. And based on current plans, the Johan Sverdrup field will be powered from shore already this autumn so that all the field’s power needs during the remaining hook-up and finalization phase will be met with electricity supplied from shore.

“We’ve worked systematically to take advantage of the opportunities which the power from shore solution has given us. As a result, I believe we’ve been able to reduce the carbon emissions from the field to the minimum,” said Geir Bjaanes, responsible for subsea, power and pipelines for the Johan Sverdrup project.

After the start-up of the second phase of the development in 2022, the Johan Sverdrup field will also enable power from shore to reach the remaining fields on the Utsira High – Edvard Grieg, Gina Krog and Ivar Aasen.

Johan Sverdrup is one of the five biggest oil fields on the Norwegian continental shelf. With expected recoverable resources of between 2.1-3.1 billion barrels of oil equivalent, it will be one of the most important industrial projects in Norway over the next 50 years.

Partners include operator Statoil (40.0267 per cent), Lundin Norway 22.6 per cent, Petoro 17,36 per cent, Aker BP 11.5733 per cent and Maersk Oil (a Total company) 8.44 per cent.