By Anders Lorenzen
We know from the science of climate change that if we are to have a chance of staying below a 2-degree temperature increase from pre-industrial levels, the globally and scientifically agreed target, then we must start rapidly decreasing our fossil fuel addiction. Therefore it is widely accepted that our electricity sector should be fully decarbonised by 2030. This, as you will have noted, is in less than 12 years. To get there Europe has been leading the way by setting ambitious climate targets and ramping it’s renewable energy ambitions.
But, according to research from Global Data – a data and analytics company that specialises in the energy industry – between 2018 and 2025, 81 new oil and gas projects are moving ahead in Europe alone. It is estimated that by 2025 they will be in full production and will contribute around 1.5 million barrels per day (mbd) to global oil production and close to 4.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) to global gas production.
Of these 81 projects, 45 have been classed as in the early stages of development while 36 new projects have progressed to well-defined development plans. On top of that five have been classified as heavy oil projects.
These projects are coming from a vast number of different countries in Western and Eastern Europe, even the so-called climate leaders from Denmark are in on the list.
The UK will lead with a total of 37 projects, followed by Norway with 28 and Italy with six. Norway will drive natural gas production, contributing 1.6 bcfd to the region’s gas production by 2025. The Scandinavian country will also be responsible for the largest contribution to oil and condensate production with the country’s upcoming projects adding 1,072 mbd over the eight-year period.
Amongst the companies participating in this dash for new oil and gas is Norway’s Statoil, who tops the chart and is probably the most well-known company as well. They have in recent years shown interest in clean energy projects by investing in a pioneering floating offshore wind project, off the coast of Scotland. But this data confirms they’re still very much betting on an oil and gas future. The company will see the highest contribution to its oil and condensate production from upcoming fields with 409.2 mbd by 2025. And on the gas side, the company will see 579 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) brought in by new projects by 2025. Meaning the company is by far the largest player in all these new projects.
Aside from the risk of climate change, there are environmental concerns, as many of these projects will be offshore projects carried out on deepwater fields making the risk of incidents higher.
However, Luis Pereira, Energy Analyst at GlobalData, does not believe the projects would make a meaningful contribution to carbon emissions: “Even with 81 new projects, oil and gas production in Europe is forecast to decline by 2025. To ensure their energy security, European countries will continue to diversify their supplies with the US-originated LNG, pipeline gas from Azerbaijan, and wind farms in the North Sea.”