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Balancing the Energy Trilemma

Mads Hjelmeland, OneSubsea. Photo by Morten Sæle.
Mads Hjelmeland, OneSubsea. Photo by Morten Sæle.

The urgent need for a swift energy transition raises the critical question: who will finance it? This year’s Underwater Technology Conference (UTC) highlighted the multifaceted nature of affordable energy.

Ensuring a secure energy supply is paramount, especially during times of war and instability. This priority often competes with other aspects of the energy transition, such as sustainability and affordability.

Mads Hjelmeland from OneSubsea underscored the delicate balance required to navigate these competing demands effectively.

The Energy Gap

There is a growing disparity between rich and poorer countries in the energy transition. Wealthier nations often lead in adopting advanced energy technologies, while poorer countries struggle to keep pace.

This disparity hampers global progress and exacerbates existing inequalities. According to Mads Hjelmeland from OneSubsea, energy remains a privilege for the few, and the path to secure and sustainable energy is complex.

Energy Trilemma for Poorer Countries

For poorer countries, the energy trilemma—balancing security, sustainability, and affordability—shifts more towards immediate energy security and affordability, sometimes at the expense of sustainability.

This reality underscores the need for tailored approaches that consider the unique challenges faced by these nations.

No One-Size-Fits-All Solution

"There is no global net-zero one-size-fits-all," emphasized Mads Hjelmeland.

The energy transition must be adaptable to the diverse needs of different regions. A multifueled transition, incorporating various energy sources and technologies, is essential to address the varied challenges and opportunities globally.

Hard-to-abate sectors account for 30 percent of the world's emissions. Addressing these sectors is crucial for achieving global climate goals. However, the high cost of advanced energy solutions poses a significant challenge, especially for poorer nations.

Subsea's Role

Hjelmeland highlighted Norrway's unique position in the global energy landscape: "Norway's role is to provide energy security and develop the technology of tomorrow."

One example is subsea gas compression at Ormen Lange, significantly reducing CO2 emissions. OneSubsea delivers the world’s deepest subsea compression facility at Ormen Lange, one of Norway’s most complex and technically challenging locations.

Discovered in 1997 and producing since 2007, the field has produced about 55% of its gas reserves, needing to extend its lifetime and maximize recovery.

The Ormen Lange subsea multiphase compression project is expanding the limits of this technology. This development, powered by green hydroelectric energy, is one of the lowest-carbon-footprint projects globally.

By using subsea multiphase compression, Ormen Lange will unlock an additional 30-50 billion cubic meters of natural gas, increasing the recovery rate from 75% to 85% while halving energy consumption.

This also results in a 50% reduction in power consumption per unit volume of gas produced, compared to a conventional topside solution.

Contact Information

Kjersti Boge Christensen

Communication Manager

Kjersti Boge Christensen