Producing lower-carbon barrels of oil and gas is a key decarbonisation focus for UK major BP and Norwegian energy company Equinor.
Representatives from the two companies spoke on Wednesday during a joint session on energy transition at the Offshore Technology Conference and the NAPE Summit in Houston.
BP is well into realising its vision of transforming into an integrated energy company rather than an oil and gas company, and Equinor intends to continue reducing the carbon intensity of its oil and gas.
“We’re in a transition; it’s not a switch,” said Chris Golden, US country manager for Equinor. With fossil fuels still supplying at least 80% of the world’s energy, they will be used to fuel the energy transition while carbon dioxide emissions from oil and gas production are reduced.
Decreasing carbon intensity
Equinor wants to continue decreasing the carbon intensity of its global production from the current average of 8 kilogrammes per barrel, which is less than half the global average of 17 kilogrammes per barrel, to 6 kilogrammes by 2025, Golden said.
The Norwegian company’s investments, meanwhile, will move towards renewables and low-carbon solutions, with 50% of its capital expenditure in the transition by 2030.
Likewise, BP is still involved with oil and gas production, but is focusing in on fields with high margins and lower carbon intensities.
Kimberly Krieger, chief operating officer at BPX, BP’s onshore US oil and gas business, said the company is decreasing its oil and gas portfolio, but is still investing in optimal fields that can fund the transition.
“As a result of our transformation, we no longer want to be one of the biggest oil and gas companies out there, but we want to be the best,” Krieger said.
Electric fracturing and reduced flaring
One of BP’s transition projects is its Grand Slam facility in the Permian basin in the US, focused on reducing flaring. Full electrification of the oil, gas, and water handling facility reduced its flaring intensity from 16% to just 2% in less than two years.
The company is also dipping its toes into electric fracturing and electric drilling. Krieger mentioned BP has carried out a pilot project with the technologies and has one electric drilling rig running in the field, but the company is not yet ready to share more information.
“The first pilot was very, very promising, and it’s something that we’re certainly interested in pursuing at scale,” Krieger said, with potential for more activity next year.
Hydrogen and offshore wind
Equinor’s other energy transition ventures are largely in hydrogen, with a potential US hydrogen hub in the works in the Appalachia region, and offshore wind.
Golden said the company is interested in floating wind offshore California, and it announced a partnership earlier this year with BP to produce offshore wind energy for the state of New York.
The project, which Golden says also has potential for carbon storage underneath, is BP’s first offshore wind project in the US.
As both companies move towards renewables and net-zero emissions, large companies such as Equinor have the privilege and obligation to reduce their carbon footprint.
“We’ve been very clear that we will not pursue growth for growth’s sake,” Golden said. “We’re fully committed to building a profitable renewables business... and we think we have the tools to build project returns.”