Transforming the Norwegian Continental Shelf

Tuesday 28 August 2018

On 28th August 2018, Equinor is presenting plans for transforming the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) for continued high value creation and low emissions for the coming decades.

Equinor is on track to maintain profitable production from the NCS at current level towards 2030. After 2030 the NCS will enter a more mature phase. It is therefore necessary to introduce new measures to tackle the future challenges of declining production from the big fields, ageing installations and the need for reduced CO2 emissions.

Specific activities to renew the NCS include:

- Drill up to 3000 wells during the coming decades

- Extend the lifetime of more than 20 installations

- Drill 20-30 exploration wells annually and actively explore for gas

- Explore the possibilities of floating offshore wind and electrification as means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

- Increase the pace of digitalisation and use of new technology

- Strengthen and renew the competence in own workforce within traditional and new disciplines and conduct targeted recruitment to ensure new competence

Record number of wells and lifetime extensions

Over the coming decades Equinor plans to drill up to 3000 production and exploration wells. This is almost as many wells as the company has drilled since it was established close to 50 years ago.

The drilling will yield ripple effects by utilising existing fields, pipelines, bases and onshore facilities along the entire coast of Norway.

The company’s plans for the next decades also call for a lifetime extension of more than 20 fields. The production lifetime of Equinor’s NCS fields is already two to three times longer than assumed in original plans.

Exploring for gas

There is still substantial remaining oil and gas resources on the NCS. Some of these resources are near existing infrastructure, while other resources are difficult to find or located in smaller deposits requiring further technology development to become profitable.

The plan is to drill around 20-30 exploration wells every year for the coming years.

Gas exploration is important to solve the climate challenge since gas can replace coal, and to maintain Norway’s position as a long-term gas supplier to Europe.

Investing in renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Equinor and its partners are also presenting their decision to explore the possibilities of powering the Gullfaks and Snorre fields by use of floating offshore wind turbines. The ambition is to build the world’s first floating offshore wind turbines, supplying clean renewable electricity to the oil installations. The industry’s NOx fund has decided to provide up to 566 million NOK in investment support for the project. The Snorre and Gullfaks partners have also applied for support from Enova’s programme for full-scale innovative energy and climate measures to realise the project.

Equinor intends to keep its ambition of being a world leader in production of oil and gas with low carbon emissions. To achieve this ambition Equinor aims to remove every fourth gas turbine on the NCS platforms through energy efficiency and electrification in the years to come, which will also strengthen profitability on the fields.

Investing in digitalisation and new technology

Up to 2020 Equinor expects to invest NOK 1-2 billion in digital technology. This year Equinor is opening two new digital support centres that will help increase NCS production.

Innovation, digitalisation and use of new technology will be important tools to be able to recover resources that are not profitable today. Rapid development in areas such as robotics, drones and use of 3D will ensure safer and more efficient field developments going forward.

Strengthening and renewing competence

Equinor’s plans call for new skilled workers and strengthening of own competence in the years ahead. In 2030 around half of today’s Equinor employees will have retired.