GE and Statoil aim for sustainable but not renewable energy

Posted on 2 Feb 2015 by Tim Brown

GE and Statoil have announced a new collaboration to accelerate the development of more environmentally and economically sustainable energy solutions in oil and gas production.

The joint technology-focused program is aimed at driving an industrial response to some of the biggest challenges facing global oil and gas production, including flaring, CO2 and methane emissions, and water usage, while also optimizing business operations.

“In order to respond to the growing energy demands of the world, continued investments in technology and innovation are critical to helping develop long-term, low-cost and more efficient energy solutions,” said Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO of GE.

“The collaboration we are announcing today with Statoil brings together two leading technology players, and allows us to leverage our global network of engineers and technologists to make a profound impact on the development of energy solutions that reduce environmental impacts. Through this collaboration, we hope to be a model for the rest of our industry, and to inspire thinking, creativity and innovation in addressing the challenges of more sustainable energy.”

Driving Efficiency through Innovation

“The challenge of achieving more efficient and sustainable energy production is too large for one entity to address alone,” said Eldar Sætre, President and CEO of Statoil. “The private sector has a responsibility to leverage its skills and expertise to contribute to the development of new solutions. Collaboration is a key component to achieving important positive change. This initiative with GE is a good example of an innovative approach to accelerate innovation and help address the energy needs of today and for the future.”

GE and Statoil have created a joint technology-focused program to pursue industrial solutions designed to reduce environmental impact of oil and gas production.

The program will focus on developing new approaches to create efficient, low-cost technologies for oil and shale gas production while simultaneously reducing emissions. In its initial stage, the collaboration builds on a foundation of concrete projects already initiated that address key sustainability dimensions of the industry, including:

• Reduce flaring and lower CO2 intensity through the application of what GE calls CNG (compressed natural gas) In A Box as part of its Last Mile Fueling solution which provides a full-service natural gas fuelling solution for operations by capturing, compressing, and using natural gas that would be otherwise flared at well sites. CNG can be used to fuel rigs, vehicles, and other equipment, thereby reducing the use of or replacing the need for diesel.
• Reduce water usage through CO2 Stimulation: Use liquefied CO2 stimulation to both reduce water usage in fracturing operations and increase oil and gas production.
• Increase fuel efficiency through Gas Compressor Optimization: Increase performance, efficiency, and extend maintenance intervals through optimization of gas compressor components.
• Increase fuel efficiency with Turbine Online Water Wash technology: Increase performance; reduce planned and unplanned turbine downtime by cleaning turbines during operation.

The collaboration, in later phases, will also pursue work on a range of solutions, from the rapid scale-up of technologies that help address the operational needs of the industry today to longer-term solutions that can support the industry as it matures to meet tomorrow’s energy needs.

Initial estimates show that the successful execution of these first four projects plus the later phase project could result in significant combined CO2 savings. The Last Mile Fueling solution in the Williston Basin in North Dakota has the potential to reduce the equivalent of 120,000 – 200,000 tons of C02 emissions per year through reduced diesel fuel usage, while the other projects being developed hold potential for similar, or even larger, reductions. Additionally, the collaboration aims to reduce water usage as well as methane and NOX emissions, while at the same time increasing oil and gas production.

Calling All Innovators

In the spirit of this collaboration, GE and Statoil are also launching a global Open Innovation Challenge. Knowing that great ideas can be conceptualized outside of their own companies, the Challenge will invite innovators from around the world and beyond the oil and gas industry to develop potential solutions to make energy production more sustainable.

The first phase of the Open Innovation Challenge specifically aims to address the use of sand in unconventional operations. Focusing on sand – which requires thousands of truck trips to transport this proppant onto the site when drilling new wells – has the potential to reduce the environmental impacts on local communities, lessen emissions and make energy production more efficient. GE Oil & Gas and Statoil will help fund the commercial development of winning approaches.

“While the actions directly involved with producing energy have an impact on more sustainable energy production, so too do indirect operations that surround production,” said Lorenzo Simonelli, president and CEO of GE Oil & Gas. “At GE we know that some of the best ideas we have brought to life were initially conceptualized outside of our company. That’s why we’re launching the Open Innovation Challenge as part of this collaboration to solicit ideas for a most unique challenge in onshore operations. With the collaboration between GE and Statoil, we can bring scale and resources to ideas that target more sustainable energy solutions, and can help develop and implement these technologies in a way that benefits us all.”