On Tuesday, October 10, the Offshore Energy Exhibition & Conference (OEEC) hosted an Industry Panel where representatives from the oil and gas industry discussed the transition to a low carbon energy mix.
The theme of the panel was Energy transition: Distinguishing facts from fiction when it comes to both fossil and renewable energy sources, their deployment and what it takes for societies to switch to a new energy system.
The session was moderated by Dirk van Dorsselaer from the Nederlands Debat Instituut.
The first speaker at the session was Sonja Indrebø, Vice President Strategy and Innovation at Statoil’s New Energy Solutions, the company’s new business area established to drive profitable growth in renewable energy and other low-carbon solutions.
“Change is the only constant.”
“For us it’s important to keep an open mind with regards to what the future will bring,” Indrebø said.
“The importance of this is not really to try to predict the future but it is really to try to see what could happen and how could things evolve so that we are prepared,” she added.
She also noted that change is the only constant and that it’s important to be open minded with the future.
Talking about her company’s vision, she said: “Our vision as a company is to shape the future of energy and that is actually very interesting because it’s much more dynamic than just be part of whatever happens. But it’s actually about being in the forefront and making the future happens through the work we do. For us, it means that we need to stay competitive at all times and the reason is that financial robustness is necessary in order to transform and that is important even when we’re looking at the good things but also of course when things are more challenging.”
Looking ahead, Indrebø said that there will be a demand for oil and gas but that it needs to be delivered with an always evolving lower carbon footprint.
Talking about Statoil’s key skills, which are important when evolving into new areas, Indrebø noted that safety is the first priority. “It’s also about doing things right the first time so it’s actually cost-saving too.”
In addition to being the world’s largest offshore oil operator, Statoil also recently decided to go into its first solar project. Namely, the Norwegian oil company made an agreement to buy a 40% share in the construction ready 162MW Apodi solar asset in Brazil from Scatec Solar, a Norwegian independent solar power producer. The project will provide approximately 160,000 households with electricity.
Pointing out that Statoil has always worked on technology and innovation, she also got into what Statoil does in the offshore wind and that the company is developing new solutions that are now also being used in oil and gas.
“So this is not just about a one-way street from oil and gas to offshore wind; it’s actually offshore wind improvements into oil and gas.”
In addition to oil and gas, wind and solar, Indrebø mentioned that Statoil is also working on CO2 value chains. Indrebø pointed out that, while we all need energy, we’d rather have it without the CO2.
Statoil has been working since 1996 on storing the CO2 under the seabed. The Statoil-operated Sleipner field has since 1996 performed removal of CO2 from produced gas, and injected and stored more than 16 million tonnes of CO2 in the Utsira formation.
“It’s about being part of the transformation.”
Also, the Norwegian government has decided to invest in the CO2 value chain and recently two other oil majors, Shell and Total, have joined Statoil in an agreement to mature the development of carbon storage on the Norwegian continental shelf. Indrebø believes this is great news because the project needs an industrial approach to this more than a company by company solution.
“For us it’s about being part of the transformation, it’s about looking for opportunities and it’s about finding these in collaboration with others. So it’s not just about sitting and waiting for something to happen and we believe the future demands the mix of solutions so it’s not about just providing one,” she said.
“The transformation of the global energy system means that we need to look at tomorrow’s solutions and we also believe that the companies that will win are the ones that are able to take part in the transformation,” Indrebø concluded.
When asked by the moderator to predict the movement of the oil price, Indrebø commented it’s important to be resilient and robust for the outcome of different scenarios without betting on the oil price.
‘CO2 emissions have to be reduced’
Following Indrebø’s speech, next up on the stage was Gertjan Lankhorst, Chairman at VEMW, the interest group and knowledge center for non-domestic energy and water consumers in The Netherlands.
“What I wanted to discuss with you is what is the perspective for everything that you will produce in the North Sea, is there a market for it and how will that market develop itself.”
Mentioning the Paris climate agreement from 2016 where countries across the world committed to holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C, Lankhorst said that in order to make that a reality the CO2 emissions have to be reduced by 80-95%.
He believes that the Netherlands will not be able to reduce its emissions in time and enough so the CO2 needs to be stored one way or another. Reduction of the CO2 emissions in the entire Dutch industry needs to become a reality, he said.
Referring to the earlier oil price discussion with the previous speaker, Lankhorst said that he does not know the answer to the question either but what he does know is that it will fluctuate and that there will be no fixed price for oil in the future. However, he noted that the price of the renewable power will only get cheaper in time.
“Never bet against energy.”
The next speaker that took the stage was Peter Sanders, Director at Deloitte, who leads the oil and gas offshore service team. Sanders examined the topic of the panel from a global perspective.
Talking about the long-term energy outlook, he said: “Never bet against energy.”
Sanders also said that the demand is actually increasing and that is important because in the long run the total energy industry is a growth market.
Offshore Energy Today Staff