Statoil Cuts VOC Emissions

A new plant for recovering volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has begun operating on Statoil's Norne production ship in the Norwegian Sea. This facility forms part of the group's efforts to reduce environmentally-harmful VOC emissions from oil loading and storage on fields off Norway.

The Norwegian authorities have set an initial requirement that 40 percent of offshore loading and storage operations must be free of VOC emissions by December 31, 2003. Installing the Norne plant means that Statoil has now met its part of the requirement.

A similar facility is already located on the group's Asgard A oil production ship to the south of Norne. Both fields can accordingly load and store oil without VOC emissions. Two of the shuttle tankers lifting cargoes from Statoil fields also have VOC recovery plants, and facilities are under construction for two further vessels.

The Norwegian government's long-term goal is that 95 percent of offshore oil will be loaded and stored without VOC emissions by December 31, 2006. Environment vice president Eli Aamot believes that Statoil is well placed to meet this goal. "We'll need another eight to 10 plants, and plan to build these in cooperation with license partners and shipping companies," she says.

The group's aim is to produce oil and gas without harmful emissions or discharges, she notes. Anti-VOC measures represent an important part of work to reach this target. Statoil has taken the lead in establishing a VOC collaboration between licensees in fields which export their oil by offshore loading.