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Editorial comment

Woodside Energy has recently made headlines with the ambitious announcement that it plans to develop the Trion oilfield, located in the Gulf of Mexico, without impacting its emissions reductions targets.1 The company will invest US$7.2 billion to recover 479 million boe, with the drilling of 24 planned wells to commence in 2026 and first oil scheduled for 2028. Despite being met with some scepticism, Woodside maintains that its plans are consistent with limiting global temperature rise to less than 1.5°C. Wood Mackenzie’s Emission Benchmarking Tool also suggests that the project will have a low emission intensity compared to other oil resource projects. At an average intensity of 12 tCO2e/1000 boe, the project is set to fall below the deepwater average.2 An analyst at the company noted that emission intensity is largely attributed to production and processing infrastructure, and that “Woodside will implement reduction initiatives such as high-efficiency compressors, heat recovery mechanisms, and low-pressure vapour capture.”

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Industry trends show that Woodside is not alone in its pursuit of more responsible and sustainable operations. As Wood Mackenzie reiterates in this issue’s Regional Report on the upstream sector in Continental Europe, decarbonisation and emissions cuts are a key focal point for operators and new projects awaiting approval, and rightly so, according to a recent report from the IEA. The report outlines the immediate steps that the industry needs to take to allow energy and climate goals to be met, claiming that in 2022, production, transport and processing of oil and gas emitted the equivalent of 5.1 billion t of CO2.3 As part of the IEA’s Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario, the emissions intensity of the former must fall by 50% by 2030.

One avenue that the industry is exploring on the journey to net zero is the leveraging of software and artificial intelligence to enhance operational efficiency, reduce emissions, and drive positive change, all of which are themes underpinning this issue of Oilfield Technology; on P.31 for example, Freewave Technologies discusses the possibility of IoT sensors monitoring how operations are affecting the environment, allowing companies to improve their performance and minimise environmental damages. Also within the issue, Rajant Corporation highlights the importance of investing in new equipment and technologies to be best placed for greener processes, while GlobalLogic considers how the upstream industry can remain profitable and competitive, and simultaneously move towards sustainable business models. This is an undeniably tricky balancing act, however GlobalLogic sums it up well by saying: “The demand for energy and the demand for greener operations do not need to be at odds.” Instead, advances in technology can be leveraged to help reshape the upstream industry’s environmental landscape.


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