Danish Energy Agency - North Sea

Denmark uncovers emission reduction potential of North Sea electrification

The Danish Energy Agency has published an analysis of the potential for reducing CO2 emissions from domestic oil and gas extraction by electrifying the platforms in the North Sea.

Courtesy of Danish Energy Agency

The government agency revealed on Monday details of the analysis that describes solution concepts and figures on emission reduction potentials and economics of electrifying the platforms in the North Sea. The analysis provides a basis for the decision on whether further work should be done on the idea of supplying oil and gas installations in the Danish North Sea with electricity from an external supply source, and in order to select individual, concrete concepts for further study and maturation.

The focus was on the possibilities of electrifying the Syd Arne, Tyra, Halfdan and Dan platform complexes. This is because each of these is expected to be in operation until the 2040s and because they represent significant portions of the total CO2 emission reduction potential.

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The analysis is based on the agreement between the government and the political parties on the future of oil and gas extraction in the North Sea made in December 2020 when it was announced that the country would end all existing and future permits for oil and gas extraction by the end of December 2050.

In addition, this is when a basis was made for initiating a collaboration between the authorities and the oil and gas industry in Denmark on assessing the possibilities of electrifying relevant oil and gas platforms in the Danish part of the North Sea with the aim of reducing emissions from the existing production.

The analysis has been prepared under the leadership of the Ministry of Climate, Energy and Supply and the Danish Energy Agency with the participation of representatives from the oil and gas industry in Denmark, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Taxation and Energinet.

The plan is to supply the oil and gas platforms in the North Sea with electricity from renewable energy sources so that the current practice of operating the platforms using self-produced gas as fuel can be phased out.

The analysis shows the size of the reduction potential leading up to the extraction stop expected in 2050 as well as the socio-economic and sectoral economic consequences of the conversion to electrically powered oil and gas production. In addition, relevant regulatory frameworks and challenges in electrification have been identified.

Furthermore, the agency explained that the analysis focuses on CO2 emissions from energy production on the production platforms in the North Sea. It did not look, however, at any reduction potentials for emissions associated with flaring. Therefore, the analysis focuses on 85-90 per cent of the production emissions from the Danish oil and gas extraction, which originate from the use of self-produced gas and, to a modest extent, diesel as fuel on the production platforms.

Different solutions for electricity supply have been explored separately. The solutions fall within three overall concepts; supply from high-voltage networks on land, supply from offshore wind turbines supported by high-voltage networks on land, and supply from offshore wind turbines without support from high-voltage networks on land.

The full report is available here (in Danish only).

In 2018, the use of self-produced gas and diesel as fuel on Danish production platforms led to emissions of 1.5 million tons of CO2. This was immediately before the temporary closure of the TotalEnergies’ Tyra complex.

According to the analysis, the potential for reduction of CO2 emissions as a result of electrification is calculated to be between 0 and 0.9 million tonnes of CO2 in 2030. Furthermore, the potential for accumulated CO2 emission reductions toward the production stop in 2050 has been calculated to be between 3 and 14 million tons of CO2. The potential depends on the chosen solution concept.