Europe’s second-largest gas supplier saw 29 pct increase in sales in 2018

Norwegian state-owned giant Equinor sold natural gas for around $26 billion in total in 2018, an increase of 29 percent from 2017.

Photo from the LNG facility in Hammerfest. (Photo: Einar Aslaksen – TRY / Equinor)

As more countries prepare for the energy transition, Equinor said on Thursday it sees strong market opportunities for gas and expects global demand to grow by around 10% towards 2030.

Equinor is the largest producer of natural gas on the Norwegian continental shelf and the second-largest gas supplier to Europe. The company also has a significant gas portfolio outside Norway.

“Global energy markets are changing. The world needs more energy, but lower emissions. Natural gas is well positioned to provide secure, competitive and sustainable energy to consumers and industry: Reducing CO2 emissions by 50 percent when replacing coal, providing needed back-up to renewables and offering a long-term solution for the low carbon future if converted to hydrogen,” says Irene Rummelhoff, Equinor’s executive vice president for marketing, midstream and processing.

In addition to its own gas volumes, Equinor markets and sells the volumes of the Norwegian state’s direct financial interests (SDFI). In total, Norwegian gas provides about 25 percent of Europe’s gas. A well-developed and efficient gas infrastructure and proximity to the market make Norwegian gas highly competitive, with the United Kingdom and Germany as the largest export markets.

“The UK has successfully reduced its CO2 emissions by more than one third – to levels since the late 19th century – using gas, renewables and other measures. We are also encouraged by the policy signals from Germany on the role of gas in phasing out coal and look forward to continue working with our partners across Europe to realize the full potential of the energy transition,” says Rummelhoff.

In an energy scenario consistent with the 2-degree climate target, global gas demand would only be slightly lower than today even in 2050. That entails massive needs for investment in future gas supply in the decades to come. Equinor is actively exploring for gas on the Norwegian continental shelf.

In 2018, Equinor sold a total of 100 bcm of gas worldwide. Changing markets also introduce new commercial opportunities on the trading side. As more liquified natural gas (LNG) and intermittent renewables enter the market, Equinor is preparing to capitalize on increased price volatility.

“The traded gas markets are developing rapidly and a key to success will be agility and ability to respond quickly to price fluctuations. The demand for shorter dated indices is increasing and our response is to reflect this development in our trading,” says Tor Martin Anfinnsen, Equinor’s senior vice president for marketing and trading.

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