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New study on power from land to the Norwegian continental shelf

New calculations show that the costs of measures to electrify existing facilities on the Norwegian shelf start at about NOK 1600 per tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2). The estimated costs of measures are higher than previously published estimates.

The high cost of measures is mainly due to the cost level, complexity of the modification processes and declining production from the fields.

This is the main conclusion of a report on power from land prepared by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE), the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (SFT) and the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA). The study was commissioned by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) in agreement with the Ministry of the Evironment and the Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion.

The petroleum sector accounts for about 25 per cent of Norwegian emissions of greenhouse gases. Emissions from the petroleum activities are expected to remain stabile for several years to come, but will decline before electrification can be carried out. According to the report, power from land could be supplied to parts of the Norwegian shelf in 2015, at the earliest.

At the facilities, natural gas and diesel are used both for the production of electricity and directly to power pumps and compressors. The cost of the measures and the CO2 reduction calculated in the report concern partial electrification, i.e. that equipment for production of electrical energy at the facilities is replaced by energy from land.

The analysis deals with electrification of existing facilities, while the cost of electrification of future, new developments has not been estimated. This is due to the fact that electrification will be considered for all new developments, and that the technical and economical issues related to electrification of new facilities are different from those for existing facilities.

Assessing matters pertaining to energy supply in connection with electrification of the shelf is difficult, especially when such electrification lies far into the future.

The report sketches three scenarios that illustrate the costs of electrification measures. In one scenario, power is supplied to the shelf from gas power plants with CO2 handling - built specifically for this purpose in Norway.

Two other scenarios show the costs of measures with power from the market. These scenarios calculate the costs of measures for a scenario which includes increased emissions from power production on land and a scenario where the costs of CO2 emissions abroad are included in the price of power.

The analysis shows that the Norwegian Sea has the lowest costs of measures if power is obtained from the market. The southern North Sea and parts of the northern North Sea show the best results if the power is obtained from new gas power plants. The central North Sea and parts of the northern North Sea have higher costs of measures.

The report assumes that planned reinforcements of the power grid are implemented before electrification is carried out.

The estimates are based on technology considered presently available, but the report also describes opportunities and technology which may be developed in the future. This includes e.g. energy from land for use on facilities which do not turn with the wind. In addition, work is underway on the further development of technology for transferring large amounts of energy to production ships, wind power at sea at great water depths and centralised gas power plants with CO2 capture facilities on the shelf.

The report was submitted to Minister Åslaug Haga on 4 January. The reports are in Norwegian only.

Contact persons:

  • PSA:
    Press contact Ole-Johan Faret,
    tlf + 47 51 87 67 59
  • NPD:
    Eldbjørg Vaage Melberg,
    tel. +47 51 87 61 00.
  • NVE:
    Director General Agnar Aas,
    tlf +47 951 79 164.
  • SFT:
    Director General Ellen Hambro,
    tlf + 47 22 57 34 94,
    e-post: ellen.hambro@sft.no