Marking the UN’s World Oceans Day, Norwegian energy company Equinor laid out its ambitious plans for decarbonising its operations and shipping as a whole
Equinor’s maritime climate ambitions are embedded in the company’s climate roadmap launched in February. Equinor said its climate roadmap aims to ensure a competitive and resilient business model fit for long-term value creation and in line with the Paris Agreement.
“As a producer and user of maritime fuel, Equinor has a good opportunity to help decarbonise shipping,” said Equinor executive vice president for marketing, midstream and processing Irene Rummelhoff. “From our position on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS), we will develop new solutions contributing to substantial emissions reductions together with the maritime industry in Norway and internationally,” she added.
About 6% of total greenhouse gas emissions in Norway are generated by the maritime sector, while international shipping is responsible for 2.2% of CO2 emissions.
As a charterer, Equinor has around 175 vessels on contract with the company at any time.
Aligning its goals with those of IMO and Norwegian authorities, Equinor’s aim as a charterer and operator is to cut its maritime emissions in Norway by 50% as compared with 2005 levels. By 2050, it plans to cut its global emissions by 50% as compared to 2008 levels.
As a supplier of fuel to the maritime sector, Equinor plans to ramp up its production and use of low-carbon fuels by 2030 and, by 2050, ‘strongly increase’ production and use of zero-emissions fuels.
To date, Equinor has worked systematically on reducing its carbon intensity by developing new types of vessels and using alternative fuels in close collaboration with the industry. Working with Norwegian OSV owner Eidesvik Offshore, Equinor was a pioneer in using liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a fuel, deploying the platform supply vessel Viking Energy and later in 2016, the first OSV with hybrid battery power. In 2021, Equinor plans to introduce the large-scale use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as a fuel.
A new hybrid battery system has been introduced for 19 supply vessels on contract with Equinor on the NCS, and the next generation of dual-fuel vessels is being introduced to the fleet continuously.
Once again, Viking Energy will play a role in a ground-breaking effort by Equinor. Working with NCE Maritime Cleantech, Eidesvik Offshore, Wärtsilä and Prototech, Equinor has begun developing Viking Energy as the world’s first vessel to run on zero-emissions ammonia. Wärtsilä will deliver the power technology and ammonia storage and distribution systems. Prototech will deliver the fuel cell system. The vessel will debut in 2024.
“Equinor will play an important role in developing new zero-emissions fuels for ships, such as hydrogen and ammonia, in combination with carbon capture and storage,” said Ms Rummelhoff. “As a major maritime player and a producer of maritime fuels we can help establish new value chains in the sector, for example by pilot projects together with other players,” she said. “We see this as an exciting business opportunity that fits the company’s strategy and technological advantages as well as Norway’s role as a laboratory for new maritime technology,” added Ms Rummelhoff.
To support the uptake of zero-emissions fuels, Equinor plans to increase the share of biofuel in marine fuels and develop ammonia and hydrogen from natural gas in combination with carbon capture and storage or by electrolysis of water from renewable power.
“A successful development of zero-emissions fuels for the maritime sector will require close collaboration between the industry, shipowners, technology suppliers, international organisations and authorities,” pointed out Equinor vice president for the shipping, ship technology and vetting unit Kjetil Johnsen. “If we succeed, we will achieve a zero-emissions shipping industry and contribute to a more sustainable use of the world oceans,” he added.
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