GREEN ECONOMY

Abu Dhabi 2019 | ENVIRONMENT & GREEN ENERGY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Neri Askland, Vice President of Middle East and UAE Country Manager of Statoil, on its efforts to help reduce its carbon footprint, opportunities for R&D in the area, and its collaboration with Masdar.

Neri Askland
BIOGRAPHY
Neri Askland took up the position of Vice President Middle East – Development and Production International in 2012. Prior to that, he was Country Manager for the GCC region from 2010-2012. He came from the position of Vice President of Manufacturing and Marketing, which he held from 2007-2010, and held several senior positions in project development and business development prior to that. Askland holds a MBA from BI in Norway and NTU in Singapore. He joined Statoil ASA in 1997, prior to which he worked 10 years in the contracting industry (Kvaerner, Fabricom, and Aker).

What is your opinion of the restructuring of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), and what will it mean for Statoil's operations?

The journey ADNOC started on is a transformation that is truly impressive. Its newly unified brand, bringing together all its subsidiary companies under one common identity, highlights the scale of its business and strengthens its position locally and internationally. It was a great decision to rebrand ADNOC following the restructuring of its organization and having sharpened its strategies. By doing that, it will be easier for ADNOC to excel and deliver on its future targets and be well positioned to support long-term economic growth.

What policies and regulations are required to address green energy issues moving forward?

For Statoil, our CO2 emissions are extremely important. In Norway, we produce oil and gas with half of the CO2 emissions per produced unit compared with the global industry average. We are currently at around 9kg per barrel, while the industry average is around 18kg. Our goal is to maintain our industry leadership in producing oil and gas with lower emissions. It is essential that we take strong and effective actions to meet the challenges associated with man-made climate change and realize the important goals set in the Paris Agreement. We are pleased that Abu Dhabi has initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions. Targeted efforts are underway throughout our business. We are working on a wide range of measures, from major CO2 initiatives to minor actions that will help reduce our carbon footprint. There is also more research being done on methods to minimize and sharpen the use of energy in the most efficient manner to get the CO2 pressure down from the operations.

What further R&D would you like to see in this area?

There will be a reduction of CO2 in operations through energy efficiency in the way facilities are operated. With less movement of vehicles and people using technology, energy demand will be reduced. In addition, the use of CO2 in EOR will continue. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is an important area for future research, and it is still far from reaching the level we want to see at this stage, since it is still expensive to capture CO2 and challenging to store it in areas close to people. In the North Sea, we use seismic tools to map CO2 storage and document where we have stored it underground. This becomes important in dense locations in terms of safety and security. Oil and gas will stay here for many years to come, as will coal—the most CO2-intensive form of energy. Having research and a focus on CCS is extremely important; furthermore, capturing research has stood still without any groundbreaking technology, especially from exhaust gases. It is demanding to capture CO2 from exhaust gasses, and we have test plants in Norway that show it remains expensive and demanding. We need to radically focus new ways of capturing CO2.

Can you tell us about the Hywind project in Scotland and your plans for future collaborations with Abu Dhabi companies?

The Hywind project is the first floating wind park in the world. We have been researching floating wind in Norway for many years; it is the next wave in renewable energy, and within the next decade, we aim to make floating wind a competitive renewable energy. Hywind is considered commercially viable wherever sea depths are too great for conventional fixed offshore wind power. Also, from a production point of view, the floating wind park creates opportunities as there are no limitations on assembly methods. It eliminates the need for vessels and creates an unlimited size of generator capacity. We are collaborating with Masdar on this project, and we have recently signed a further agreement with Masdar on Batwind project, where we combine wind with battery technology to store energy.