BCP turns to Norway in quest to curb CO2

BCP turns to Norway in quest to curb CO2

Thai firm wants to learn new technology, writes Lamonphet Apisitniran

A petroleum platform at Draugen in the Norwegian Sea will become more eco-friendly under a plan to use electricity from solar farms.
A petroleum platform at Draugen in the Norwegian Sea will become more eco-friendly under a plan to use electricity from solar farms.

An investment in petroleum production in Norway by Bangchak Corporation Plc (BCP) gives the energy conglomerate a foothold to grow its upstream petroleum business.

The company sees an opportunity to learn the Norwegian way to curb carbon dioxide emissions, which are blamed for causing global warming, from various activities such as oil and gas drilling, industrial production and vehicle exhaust.

Various methods have been initiated to support the global campaign against climate change, ranging from adopting carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to using clean energy at the petroleum platform at Draugen field, a block operated by Norway-based Okea ASA in the Norwegian Sea.

BCP is a major shareholder in this oil and gas drilling firm, having acquired a 45.7% share in the company in 2018.

"Fossil fuel releases carbon dioxide into the air. We have to study and find ways to reduce emissions to maintain a healthy environment," said Chaiwat Kovavisarach, chief executive of BCP and and chairman of Okea.

BCP not only aims to expand its business through Okea, but it also wants to learn how to curb carbon dioxide emissions from experts, including those specialising in CCS, in order to apply the new knowledge to its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.

NORTHERN LIGHTS

Norway is pushing ahead with the Northern Lights project, the world's first initiative to carry carbon dioxide, emitted by companies drilling for oil and gas in the North Sea, in order to store it under the seabed by using CCS.

The investment budget for this project is estimated at €2.7 billion.

"This project is supported by the Norwegian government and petroleum companies such as Equinor, which agreed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions," said Nicola Marsh, manager of the Norwegian CCS Research Centre under SINTEF Energy Research.

Carbon dioxide will be changed into liquid, then carried through a pipeline to a storage facility built under the seabed.

Workers are constructing the pipeline that stretches from Germany to Norway, with a distance of 900 kilometres, said Ms Marsh.

"Norway will sign agreements with countries participating in Northern Lights and start carrying liquefied carbon first via ships in 2024, then through the pipeline by 2030," she said.

The CCS-based Northern Lights project will work in tandem with the cap-and-trade measure, which is designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Under cap-and-trade, a cap is set on a certain amount of carbon dioxide that can be emitted by entrepreneurs. They buy or receive these permits, which can also be traded.

The cap is lowered over time to further reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Ms Marsh said CCS has the potential to generate huge demand from companies such as cement manufacturers that are looking for technology to support their campaigns to reduce carbon dioxide.

Mr Chaiwat said he believes CCS will play an essential part in helping energy firms better control carbon dioxide emissions when they produce oil and gas to ensure energy security.

ECO-FRIENDLY ENERGY

Okea also plans to use more renewable energy as it joins the Norwegian government in an effort to slow global warming.

The company plans to use electricity from renewable energy sources such as onshore solar farms. The electricity can be sent through power cables directly to Draugen.

Okea is committed to minimising its carbon footprint from petroleum production under its decarbonisation strategy, setting a greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 50% by 2030. This target is in line with levels set by Norwegian industry.

Clean energy usage has gained support from the Norwegian government.

Hydropower currently makes up 91.8% of clean fuels in the nation, followed by wind power (6.4%) and geothermal energy (1.7%).

Norwegian authorities also support the enforcement of a carbon tax charged at €80 per tonne of carbon dioxide. They plan to increase the rate to €200 per tonne in 2030.

GREEN ENDEAVOUR

Efforts to increase usage of clean energy must be ramped up to prevent more severe impacts from climate change, even as much of the world still depends on fossil fuels, said Mr Chaiwat.

He said BCP plans to increase the proportion of its investment in renewable energy to 50% of the total investment budget by 2030, up from 30% at present.

"We try to strike a balance between fossil fuels and renewable energy," said Mr Chaiwat.

BCP announced earlier plans to achieve carbon neutrality and net-zero goals by 2030 and 2050, respectively, which is faster than the time frame set by the Thai government. Bangkok set 2050 as a target for carbon neutrality and 2065 for the net-zero goal.

Carbon neutrality refers to the balance between carbon dioxide emissions and absorption, while the net-zero target is a campaign to strike a balance between greenhouse gas emissions and absorption.



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