Equinor unveils future fuel plans on World Ocean Day

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 09 June 2020


Norwegian state-owned oil and gas company Equinor chose yesterday’s World Ocean day to launch its ambitions for reducing own emissions from ships and how the company will contribute to decarbonising shipping.

Equinor’s maritime climate ambitions are embedded in the company’s climate roadmap launched on 6 February 2020. The climate roadmap aims to ensure a competitive and resilient business model fit for long-term value creation and in line with the Paris agreement.

The maritime sector represents 6% of total greenhouse gas emissions in Norway and 2–3% of global emissions. Being both a producer and a supplier of fuel to the maritime sector, Equinor has extensive maritime activity around the world, including around 175 vessels on contract with the company at any time.

“As a producer and user of maritime fuel, Equinor has a good opportunity to help decarbonise shipping. From our position on the Norwegian continental shelf, we will develop new solutions contributing to substantial emission reductions together with the maritime industry in Norway and internationally,” said Irene Rummelhoff, Equinor’s executive vice president for Marketing, Midstream and Processing.

Equinor has adopted similar ambitions for its maritime activity as those of the IMO and looks to halve maritime emissions in Norway by 2030 compared to 2005 and globally by 2050 compared to 2008.

As a supplier of fuel to the maritime sector, Equinor’s ambition is to escalate production and use of low-carbon fuels by 2030 and strongly increase production and use of zero-emission fuels by 2050.

Equinor says it has worked systematically on reducing its carbon intensity by developing new types of vessels and using alternative fuels in close collaboration with the industry. Equinor has been a pioneer in using LNG as a fuel, and during 2021 will introduce large-scale use of LPG as a fuel. A new hybrid battery system has been introduced for 19 supply vessels on contract with Equinor on the Norwegian Continental Shelf and the next generation of dual-fuel vessels is being introduced to the fleet continuously. The company has also, in collaboration with the maritime industry, started developing the world’s first supply vessel to run on zero-emission ammonia.

The company plans to continue supporting the development of low-carbon fuels for the industry. In an intermediate phase it will introduce batteries, hybrid solutions as well as LNG and LPG solutions. The longer-term ambition is to develop value chains for zero-emission fuels to the maritime sector that will gradually replace low-carbon fuels.

“Equinor will play an important role in developing new zero-emission fuels for ships, such as hydrogen and ammonia, in combination with carbon capture and storage. As a major maritime player and a producer of maritime fuels we can help establish new value chains in the sector, for example by pilot projects together with other players. We see this as an exciting business opportunity that fits the company’s strategy and technological advantages as well as Norway’s role as a laboratory for new maritime technology,” said Rummelhoff.

Equinor has identified the following areas for developing zero-emission fuels for the maritime sector:

  • Increasing the share of biofuel in marine fuels
  • Developing ammonia and hydrogen from natural gas in combination with carbon capture and storage or by electrolysis of water from renewable power.

“A successful development of zero-emission fuels for the maritime sector will require close collaboration between the industry, shipowners, technology suppliers, international organizations and authorities. If we succeed, we will achieve a zero-emission shipping industry and contribute to a more sustainable use of the world oceans,” said Kjetil Johnsen, vice president for the shipping, ship technology and vetting unit. “From 2015, Equinor has gradually renewed its tanker fleet, which is an important contribution to reaching Equinor’s ambitions. We expect the total carbon intensity for the tanker fleet to be reduced by 45% in 2025, compared to 2008,” he added.

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