Norwegian oil producer Equinor intends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from offshore fields and onshore installations in Norway by about 40% in the next decade and almost to zero by 2050.
The cuts could allow Norway, the largest oil and gas exporter in Western Europe, to continue to produce millions of barrels of oil, even though the country is committed to meeting its 2015 Paris Climate Agreement commitments to reduce domestic emissions.
Equinor and its partners plan to invest about 50 billion NOK ($ 5.7 billion) by 2030 to reduce emissions to 8 million tons per year from 13 million tons registered in 2018, the company said.
“A further reduction in ambition to 70% in 2040 and close to zero in 2050 will entail additional measures, further electrification projects, infrastructure consolidation, as well as opportunities for the development of new technologies and value chains.”
Initial reductions will occur mainly due to the replacement of electricity from gas turbines with renewable energy in major installations, including offshore wind turbines and hydroelectric power plants through submarine cables.
Oil and natural gas account for about half of Norway’s export revenue and about 25% of the country’s CO2 emissions.
Under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, nearly 200 governments agreed to reduce emissions to prevent new floods, droughts, and sea-level rise, and promised to “increase public and private sector participation” in reductions.
Equinor argues that reducing emissions from the production process should allow the company to continue to operate for decades, although final oil and gas consumption will still emit greenhouse gases.
The company said it expects oil production in Norway, based on current resources, to more than halve by 2050, but environmentalists argue that this will not be enough.
“Too little, too late. In 2050, there can be no oil production from the continental shelf of Norway, ”wrote Andreas Radoi, a member of the board of the public organization Nature and Youth.