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Editor's note: This article appears in the special OTC edition of the E&P newsletter. Subscribe here.

Equinor and bp recently announced their partnership to develop offshore wind further in the U.S. with "deliverable milestones" to accomplish over the next four to 30 years to reduce and eventually meet net-zero emission goals. 

With operators making efforts to transition to forms of renewable energy, the move to cleaner fuels is something that both Equinor and bp “have a great responsibility to do together,” said Chris Golden, U.S. country manager with Equinor ASA.

During the "OTC + NAPE Joint Session: Synergy in Energy" discussion on Aug. 18, Golden was joined by Kim Krieger, bpx Energy's COO for production, for a fireside chat about the energy transition journey.

“It's great that we have a long-standing relationship with bp going back to the bp and Heritage, pre-Equinor Statoil strategic alliance, and international E&P all the way from the early 1990s,” Golden said. “We think it's a great partnership, because bp is clearly committed to growing a profitable renewable business just like Equinor. I think, and we think, partnering puts Equinor and bp in a better position to take a leading role in U.S. offshore wind.”

Both Equinor and bp’s individual company goals include setting manageable checkpoints to accomplish before reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. Equinor’s strategy consists of “continuing to hone in and reduce the carbon intensity of our global productions” by reducing emissions to 6 kg per barrel by 2025, Golden said.

“It's really leveraging our offshore oil and gas competence to become a global offshore wind major and developing a world-class offshore wind portfolio, focusing on those regions where we can build projects at scale and [apply] real synergies to maximize value,” Golden said.

Similarly, bp intends to cut emissions in the global oil and gas operations by 20% while increasing their renewable energy production to 20 GW, both by 2025.

“It's the adage of how do you eat elephant? And you eat it in bites at a time,” Krieger said. “So we've cleverly broken down that big goal into deliverable milestones by 2025 and 2030 timeframe.”

New tech advances

For all the new plans the companies have in place, they need to have new advanced technologies to bring their goals into fruition. bp has been shifting toward using more electric fields, giving them access to electric rigs and experimentation with electric frac spreads. In addition, their new dynamic field twin technology “models the whole thing from reservoir through to subsea pipeline network, to the entire systems on the platform.”

“The digital twin concept allows [a] platform to come to the experts for more real-time collaboration, for bigger opportunity unlocking,” Krieger said.

“We're all sort of focused and talking about the new shiny objects, and they're important on the renewable side, but there's a lot of exciting things happening in our hydrocarbon portfolio too that I think our audience might enjoy hearing about,” she added. “From production operations, we're able to transform the emissions profile of a barrel through this electrification strategy. Well, guess what? We're not done with that.”

While bp focuses most of its attention on the electric field aspect of the renewable front, Equinor has focused on the importance of developing technologies for hydrogen and floating offshore wind.

“It's very important technology for reducing emissions, and that can be applied across the energy systems,” Golden said. “We've been developing this technology for more than 20 years as an operator. We've captured and stored more than 23 million tons of COto date in Europe. And that's a technology that is transferable.”

Meeting expectations

In terms of its investors and stockholders, both companies are adapting to accommodate their expectations. However, Krieger mentioned they are transitioning their energy not only to suit investors but also to meet the wants of the people they serve.

“Thinking broadly about society, [it] wants and needs us to change,” Krieger said. “And the world does have a finite carbon budget and people are starting to really recognize and press in on that. And we see this as an enormous business opportunity for companies like ours, and Equinor, that are taking the leap. To truly meet the Paris goals, we have to go where the emissions are.”

Despite all the importance placed on the energy transition, Golden holds to the belief that oil and gas will not be completely eradicated.

“We're in a transition. It's not a switch right now,” Golden said. “Renewables are growing at a significant rate, but we see oil and gas will continue to be a very vital part of the world's energy mix for years to come. We believe there's a role for oil and gas in our portfolio.”