How Offshore Drilling Companies are Tackling Sustainability 

How Offshore Drilling Companies are Tackling Sustainability 

Offshore drilling has long been scrutinised for its environmental impact, but recent initiatives by leading companies in the industry are paving the way towards a more sustainable future.  

According to a McKinsey report, the Oil, Gas, and Energy industry contributes to combined scope 1/2/3 emissions exceeding 42% of the global GHG emissions, with extraction and drilling accounting for 10% of scope 1 emissions. With this significant environmental impact, offshore drilling companies are implementing various measures to reduce their carbon footprint. 

As the demand for exploration and production is predicted to increase by 2035, it is crucial to understand how these companies are working to mitigate their carbon footprint and adopt more sustainable practices.  

Industry-Wide Practices to Reduce Carbon Footprint 

Energy Efficiency: Companies are adopting energy management systems, such as ISO 50001 certification, to monitor and improve energy efficiency across their operations. 

Emission Reduction: Implementing carbon capture and storage projects, electrifying oilfield infrastructure, and reducing flaring are some of the strategies used to lower emissions. 

Hybrid Technologies: Introduction of hybrid rigs and the use of shore power are becoming more common, aiming to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. 

Methane Emission Control: Tackling methane leaks, which are a major component of greenhouse gas emissions, is critical. Technologies such as continuous methane monitoring and leak detection are being deployed to minimise these emissions. 

Electrification and Renewable Integration: Electrifying offshore platforms with renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and wave energy can significantly reduce carbon footprints. For example, platforms in the North Sea and Norwegian sectors have introduced zero-carbon power sources. 

Optimised Fuel Consumption: Utilising energy storage systems (ESS) and hybrid power plants can drastically reduce diesel consumption. Companies like Transocean and Seadrill have implemented these technologies, resulting in significant fuel savings and emission reductions​. 

Sustainable Design: Implementing sustainable design practices in the construction and operation of offshore rigs helps in reducing emissions intensity. This includes modular and unmanned installations which lower energy use and improve efficiency​​. 

Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) Systems: These systems use ammonia injection to convert NOx emissions into harmless water and nitrogen, achieving up to a 98% reduction in NOx emissions. Several rigs have been equipped with SCR systems, demonstrating a significant reduction in harmful emissions 

Technological Innovations Enhancing Sustainability 

Technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing the sustainability of offshore drilling. Advances in Offshore Drilling Technological Innovations are helping companies improve efficiency and reduce their environmental impact. Here are some key technological developments: 

Top Offshore Drilling Companies’ Sustainability Efforts 

Several top offshore drilling companies have set ambitious goals and are leading the way in sustainability: 

Maersk Drilling 

Maersk Drilling aims to reduce its CO2 emissions from drilling operations by 50% by 2030. They are introducing hybrid rigs and using shore power for their operations. Additionally, Maersk Drilling is involved in carbon capture and storage projects in Denmark. Their strategy includes both efficiency gains from current operations and investments in innovative technologies. 

Stena Drilling 

Stena Drilling has received ISO 50001 certification for its energy management system, which helps monitor and improve energy efficiency. They use digital smart meters to track fuel consumption and emissions and have installed new reverse osmosis units and variable frequency drives to reduce fuel usage. These measures have resulted in significant CO2 reductions across their fleet. 


Schlumberger has committed to becoming net-zero by 2050, with interim goals of reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 30% by 2025 and by 50% by 2030. They are rolling out their Transition Technologies Portfolio, which includes solutions to enhance drilling efficiency, reduce flaring, and electrify oilfield infrastructure (ESG Review). 

Overcoming Challenges and Ensuring Safety 

While embracing sustainability, overcoming offshore drilling challenges and ensuring safety remains a top priority for offshore drilling companies. Implementing robust offshore drilling safety protocols is essential to prevent accidents and minimise environmental impact.  

These protocols include regular safety drills, real-time monitoring of drilling operations, and stringent compliance with environmental regulations. 


Offshore drilling companies are making significant strides in tackling sustainability through energy efficiency, technological innovations, and ambitious emission reduction goals. As the industry continues to evolve, the adoption of sustainable practices will be crucial in mitigating environmental impacts and ensuring a greener future for offshore drilling. 

By highlighting these efforts, we can better appreciate the progress being made in the industry and encourage further advancements in sustainability. 

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