Equinor Reduces Emissions from Mature Field Using Heat Recovery

offshore oil platform
Statfjord C which has been in production for 38 years will use heat recovery to reduce emissions (Harald Pettersen photo courtesy of Equinor)

Published Aug 22, 2023 8:00 PM by The Maritime Executive

Equinor and partners are planning to use heat recovery to produce electric power and reduce emissions marking the first time the technology has been applied to a mature field in production. The Statfjord C platform which has been in service for 38 years looks to cut total annual CO2 emissions by 25 percent while becoming more efficient in its operations.

“Heat recovery for electric power production has been used on new fields, both on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) and internationally. Now, for the first time, the solution is introduced on a mature field in production. This is possible due to the development of low-weight solutions,” said Ketil Rongved, Equinor’s vice president for FLX projects.

A new steam turbine will be installed on the platform that will replace two gas turbines. The new installation will produce electricity based on surplus heat from two gas compressors. According to Equinor, the new steam turbine will give cost-effective emission cuts and is being implemented by the Field Life eXtension (FLX) unit that is responsible for late-life fields. Its purpose is to optimize the fields’ operations and economy through new ways of working.

“This is the first time this solution is used on an operated field at the (NCS),” said Camilla Salthe, Equinor’s senior vice president for Field Life eXtension. “I am proud of employees and suppliers that have worked in an innovative way to streamline the energy being used at the platform. This is an important contribution to extend the field’s life to 2040.” 

The project also involves electrification of water injection and emission cuts related to other energy-intensive processes on Statfjord C. The solution is known as low weight bottoming cycle and critically does not require a power supply from shore. The notes that a heat recovery unit on Statfjord B has cut CO2 emissions by 20,000 tonnes every year since 2021.

Statfjord C is a large platform located on the Norwegian portion of the field in the North Sea. It has a topside weight of 50,000 tons and a storage volume of 302,000 cbm, 1.9 million barrels of oil. It has accommodations for 345 people. The unit started production in June 1985 making it a mature operation producing oil and gas alongside the A and B platforms which have been in operation since 1979 and 1982.

This project is the latest in a series of efforts that Equinor is exploring to lower emissions from offshore oil and gas platforms. In 2022, the company commissioned Hywind Tampen is the world's first floating wind farm built specifically to power offshore oil and gas installations. Located nearly 90 miles off the west coast of Norway, the wind farm began power production in November and provides up to 8.6 MW which was projected to meet about 35 percent of the electricity demand for two fields. The wind farm is expected to cut CO2 emissions from the fields by about 200,000 tons per year.