New field start-ups bump petroleum sector emissions in Norway

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) reported on Monday that the petroleum activities in 2015 generated 13.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, an increase of 400,000 tonnes (3 per cent) compared with the previous year. 

NPD said this was mostly due to start-up difficulties on the Knarr field and start-up of the Valemon and Edvard Grieg fields, which started producing in 2015.

Total CO2 emissions from producing fields that were operational before 2015 are on the same level as in 2014, NPD added.

Further, the petroleum agency said, NOx emissions are down 11 percent (5600 tonnes), primarily due to reduced drilling activity and use of mobile facilities.

The prognosis for the next five years, according to the NPD, shows that CO2 emissions will stabilize around the 2015 level, even as several new fields start production. The Johan Sverdrup field will be supplied with power from shore. Edvard Grieg, Ivar Aasen, and Gina Krog will also receive power from shore in connection with the second development stage for Johan Sverdrup.

The emissions are largely generated as a result of combustion of gas and diesel in turbines, engines, and boilers that keep the facilities operational. Safety flaring of gas also generates CO2 emissions. Ventilating and diffuse gas emissions from storage and loading of crude oil are also sources of CO2 emissions.

The NPD claims that the total volatile oil compounds and oil vapor emissions amounted to 46,500 tonnes in 2015, six per cent less than in 2014. Methane emissions (CH4) amounted to 28,900 tonnes in 2015, eight per cent less than in 2014.

The petroleum directorate noted that the authorities have a good overview of emissions from the petroleum sector in Norway. The Norwegian Oil and Gas Association has established a joint database for reporting discharges to sea and emissions to air from the activities. All operators on the Norwegian Continental Shelf report discharge and emission data directly into this database.

Emissions in the petroleum sector originate from facilities on the shelf and from the onshore facilities that are covered under the Petroleum Taxation Act. These emissions are regulated by the Petroleum Act, CO2 Tax Act, Act concerning special tax, Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading Act and the Pollution Control Act, among others.

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