The pathway to Net-Zero: Why 2024 looks promising

The pathway to Net-Zero: Why 2024 looks promising

January 26, 2024
Time to read: 8 minutes
Jan Gerhard Norstrøm

The Net Zero concept was considered to be far, far into the future before the pandemic. Next week, I am attending The Global Summit on Net Zero Energy Production in Amsterdam.  The conference is about how the oil industry will reach Net Zero. Thankfully, both low environmental footprint production and carbon capture and storage (CCS) are supported by the technology we supply and that we will further enhance via R&D.

It is first when there is a lack of something you are used to that human nature realizes the consequences of not having it. When Europe had an energy crisis due to the war in Ukraine, it was a wake-up call for the importance of energy security. The energy trilemma where security trumps sustainability in the short term was obvious. 2022 was the year we achieved a balanced discussion about the energy trilemma and its importance, and words came into action, both in terms of security and energy transition.

In 2019, Repsol set the standard by being the first company in the Energy sector to set the challenge of becoming a net zero emissions company by 2050. Soon after, there was a chain reaction from the largest energy companies worldwide. BP, Shell, TotalEnergies, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil. They were all on board.

During 2023, the oil and gas industry has gone all in for CCS, and they also realized the cost savings of using simulation technology. No one needs to build expensive pilots when they can simulate on a computer instead and then design and build the facility. This is how one develops oil and gas fields, which this industry knows well.

From the Norwegian cement fabric Brevik building the first full-scale carbon capture plant at a cement factory planned to be completed in 2024, to Hydro’s roadmap to zero-emission aluminum production, to the Northern Lights project – Norway’s first license for CO₂ storage on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.
2023 was the year we saw and experienced investments by the energy companies. If everyone delivers on promises during 2024, the power of our joint action with a common goal will be tremendous. The energy sector holds the key to unlocking the global climate challenge.

Accelerating Net Zero with the LedaFlow simulator

A year ago, I wrote: This time next year, I would love to be talking about even more companies seizing the opportunity to join us”.

It’s a great pleasure to say that Ledaflow’s CO2 Flow project has gotten three more companies joining since I wrote that sentence. The Brazilian oil company Petrobras (the world’s third-largest oil company), the German oil and gas producer Wintershall Dea, and the Norwegian player AkerBP.

The CO2Flow project (link) now has 7 energy companies participating in R&D to enhance simulator technology for transportation and injection of CO2 at lowest possible cost. They work closely together with the suppliers Kongsberg Digital, SINTEF Energy, SINTEF Industry, and LedaFlow Technologies. We believe 2024 will be an exciting year with new technology that will be put straight into use on CCS projects. We are still open for new participants in the CO2Flow project that is planned to complete in 2026 with improvements to simulator technology every year going forward.

New technology can make an immediate impact on our carbon footprint.  By using simulation when designing new Oil and Gas facilities, you can significantly decrease uncertainty in design and allow developments with reduced emissions.

Reaching Net Zero is more than carbon capture technology and renewables

Reaching the noble goal of becoming net zero requires more than just deploying CCS and developing renewable energy. We need to be mindful of the material consumption (e.g., steel, copper, nickel, cobalt, etc.) that we use to develop, build, and operate future energy production.

The future oil and gas production is no exception. Low emission production will be needed and LedaFlow can contribute by improving simulator technology to meet this.

Why should developing tieback oil fields be limited by 30 to 60km instead of 100 km? Imagine how this will bring down the footprint voiding FPSOs, tank- and supply ships, and manned installations. This requires continued research of simulator technology together with physics and experimental setups to test new ways of securing oil production over longer distances.

Digitalization and optimization using AI are useful for many things, e.g., to optimize when data and knowledge are available. But to deliver on this would rather be a combination of experimental physics, testing of materials, chemicals, etc., and further development of modern simulator technology to understand the impacts. What we have done with our simulator for the last 20 years for oil and gas production must be further developed, even perfectioned.

We need to continuously keep pushing design limits and break barriers to reach new milestones. This eventually will provide new opportunities to reduce the footprint in future production. This, I believe, is required to go net zero.

Together with David Baumley, I will address ongoing research and visions for LedaFlow during my talk at the Global Summit on Net Zero Energy Production in Amsterdam next week – hope to see you there!

About the author

The pathway to Net-Zero: Why 2024 looks promising

Jan Gerhard Norstrøm

Managing Director, The LedaFlowTechnologies Joint Venture

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