Equinor Launching Maritime Climate Ambitions: Developing New Zero-Emission Fuels for Ships, such as Hydrogen, Ammonia

By June 23, 2020 5   min read  (907 words)

June 23, 2020 |

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On the UN’s World Oceans Day, Equinor said it will be launching its ambitions for reducing its 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 (NCS), we will develop new solutions contributing to substantial emission reductions together with the maritime industry in Norway and internationally,” says Irene Rummelhoff, Equinor’s executive vice president for Marketing, Midstream and Processing (MMP).

Equinor has set the following ambition for its maritime activity:

  • By 2030: Halving maritime emissions in Norway compared to 2005 emissions.
  • By 2050: Halving global emissions compared to 2008 emissions.

Our ambitions for the maritime activity are in line with the goals of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for global shipping and the goals set by Norwegian authorities.

As a supplier of fuel to the maritime sector, Equinor’s ambition is as follows:

  • By 2030: Escalating its production and use of low-carbon fuels.
  • By 2050: Strongly increase production and use of zero-emission fuels.

Equinor 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 liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a fuel, and during 2021 we will introduce large-scale use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as a fuel.

A new hybrid battery system has been introduced for 19 supply vessels on contract with Equinor on the NCS, 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.

Equinor will continue supporting the development of low-carbon fuels for the industry. In an intermediate phase we will introduce batteries, hybrid solutions as well as LNG and LPG solutions. Our 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,” says 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,” says 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,” says Johnsen.

  • From 2015, Equinor has gradually renewed its tanker fleet. Long-term contracts have been signed for around 30 state-of-the-art energy-efficient ships with several Norwegian and international shipowners. We have also entered into agreements for long-term use of additional ten ships that will come into operation in the period 2020-2022.
  • Four of the ships are the latest generation of shuttle tankers running on LNG. The ships can also run on liquid volatile organic compounds (LVOC) combined with LNG. This is innovative technology that will be used for the first time in the world by these ships.
  • Seven of the ships are to be used for LPG transport (very large gas carriers, VLGC, and medium gas carriers, MGC) and fuel. Coming into operation in 2021-2022, the LPG ships will be among the first in the world in this field.
  • By introducing ships running on gas (LNG, LPG and LVOC) we are also paving the way for using other low-carbon fuels, such as ammonia and biogas, at a later stage.
  • Since 2011, Equinor has reduced CO2 emissions from its logistical operations for the NCS by 600,000 tonnes. Our ambition is to halve emissions in the NCS supply chain by 2030.
  • Equinor has signed an agreement with the shipowner Eidesvik Offshore for converting the Viking Energy supply vessel to run on ammonia. Viking Energy could be the first supply vessel in the world to run on ammonia for long distances, without any greenhouse gas emissions. The vessel will supply installations on the NCS.


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