Statoil: We’ll Reduce Emissions by 20%

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 @ 12:04 PM gHale

The goal is to decrease carbon-dioxide emissions by 20 percent within six years and Statoil expects to meet its mark at its Canadian oil-sands projects.

Statoil’s division in Alberta produces bitumen, a sticky form of oil softened before extraction with steam created in natural gas-powered generators. Norway’s biggest energy producer said in its 2013 Oil Sands report carbon intensity from its oil-sands operations rose 25 percent from a year earlier to 69.7 kilograms of carbon dioxide per barrel. The company is reacting to pressure to reduce its carbon footprint in the oil sands region.

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Statoil is applying solvents to its steam-assisted techniques and will use valves to better direct steam to areas that need it, said Staale Tungesvik, president of Canadian operations. The Stavanger-based company also is considering different drilling techniques and more efficient water-recycling processes.

“The difference between oil sands and conventional oil production is that we use gas to heat water to create steam, so the footprint of CO2 is very much out of the generation of steam,” Tungesvik said. “We believe that we have identified technologies that will help us reach our target of reducing CO2 intensity by 20 percent by 2020.”

Emissions from Alberta’s oil sands have become a focal point for opposition to Calgary-based TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry bitumen from the oil sands to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. Opponents said the line would encourage companies to exploit the world’s third-largest crude reserves, unlocking vast amounts of carbon and accelerating climate change.

The intensity of greenhouse gases in oil-sands emissions fell 7.7 percent from 2008 to 2012, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, an industry group, said in a Nov. 5 report.

Oil-sands crude is on average 9 percent more carbon intensive than the U.S. average on a wells-to-wheels basis, which measures CO2 emissions from the start of oil production through to combustion, according to the CAPP report.

Statoil’s carbon emissions from oil-sands production will likely decline this year, Tungesvik said. “With stable production and new technology, I would expect we’ll have lower numbers this year than we had last year,” he said.

By 2025, the Norwegian company has voluntarily targeted to reduce CO2 intensity at its oil-sands operations by 40 percent.

“It’s about earning more money,” Tungesvik said. “And we think that should go hand-in-hand to improve environmental impact.”

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