Working in tandem: reducing carbon emissions in-house and for clients One of Vallourec’s top priorities is to lower its CO2 emissions. This is important in order to mitigate climate change and protect the environment.

10/06/2022 - Energy transition

One of Vallourec’s top priorities is to lower its CO2 emissions. This is important in order to mitigate climate change and protect the environment. The Group has taken this challenge to heart not only internally, but also in the ways it supports its clients. Vallourec continues to develop innovative solutions and services for established and emerging energy transition markets that will help customers improve their own carbon footprint.

Ulrika Wising, Senior Vice President, Energy Transition, and Corinne Willecomme, Sustainable Development Group Director, discuss how they collaborate to lower CO2 emissions internally and for customers around the world.

It’s a real challenge for an energy-intensive industry like ours to decarbonize our own operations. But it's a subject we've been tackling for some years now.

Ulrika Wising Senior Vice President Energy Transition

Vallourec took the first major step along its decarbonization journey almost 15 years ago, in 2008, with the launch of its GreenHouse project. The Group’s current climate roadmap was validated by the stringent Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and aims to reduce its Group-wide CO2 emissions by 25% by 2025, compared to 2017 (click here to read more about Vallourec’s carbon trajectory). Today the Group is working on extending these ambitions to 2030 and beyond.

Vallourec is very clearly ahead of its direct competitors in our field right now – and that has been recognized externally. The Group met the high standards set by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and for 2021 is part of the A list, which includes only 200 companies in the world.

Corinne Willecomme Sustainable Development Group Director

A comprehensive internal roadmap on the journey to CO2 reduction

Vallourec has set in motion a range of measures to reduce its impact. “We already practice very low-carbon steel manufacturing,” Ulrika says.

We have an electric arc furnace in the US that utilizes recycled steel,” Corinne explains. “And our blast furnace in Brazil uses biomass charcoal that we produce ourselves from our eucalyptus forest.”

The Group has also increased the use of greener electricity through renewable energy options in Brazil and low-carbon energy in the US, where it has a certificate for nuclear electricity in Ohio. Additionally, Vallourec has installed solar panels in its Chuzhou and Changzhou sites in China.

Upstream, we’re working with our steel suppliers to help them lower their own carbon footprint,” Corinne says. “This in turn helps us reduce our Scope 3 CO2 emissions.

Pioneers in “low CO2 footprint” tubes

We can see the results of our efforts to reduce energy in our mills directly in the footprint of our products,” Corinne says. The average footprint for Vallourec’s tubes is 1.79 tons of CO2 per ton produced compared to an average of 2 tons for its competitors. “And if we look at our OCTG tubes, that number goes down to 1.71.

The Group is working to reduce its emissions even further,” Ulrika adds. “We're looking at a variety of different solutions. These include installing carbon capture and using hydrogen. We are also deploying a patented technology in Brazil to reduce methane emissions from biomass charcoal production.

Ever further, ever higher

Vallourec is now working on a new roadmap that will lay out the Group’s plans to 2025, 2030, 2035 and beyond to transform and adapt the Group to a low-carbon economy. This project, backed by Chairman and CEO Philippe Guillemot, aims to transform Vallourec’s activities, products and operations. It will be conducted under Ulrika’sponsorship, in collaboration with Vallourec’s Climate Committee, which is supervised by Corinne.

To accompany Vallourec’s transformation and be better positioned in the energy transition markets, the Group is grouping its offers for the energy transition under one commercial name, Vallourec® New Energies.

Vallourec launches Vallourec® New Energies: its portfolio of solutions for the energy transition - Read the article
Ulrika Wising presents the Vallourec® New Energies offer - Watch the interview

Supporting customers with a range of renewable energy solutions

Vallourec’s commitment to reducing its own impact is mirrored by its efforts to help its customers do the same for theirs. Natural synergies abound between Vallourec’s core business – tubes and connectors – and the energy transition.

«Geothermal, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage are the three main areas that we have identified as those already using our seamless tubes.» 
Ulrika Wising

The Group has supported geothermal projects for over a decade with products including pipes and connections that meets operators’ specific challenges, such as high temperature and collapse. It is also a leading player in advancing this industry by moving to new technologies such as advanced geothermal with closed-loop systems.

We’re working with GreenFire, an American start-up,” Ulrika says. “Our insulated seamless tubes are optimal for their innovative closed-loop system.

Carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) is a newer and growing market, with applications moving toward larger scale projects, particularly in North America. “A lot of Oil & Gas (O&G) companies see the value in CCUS,” Ulrika says. “It can help lower the carbon footprint of their existing products and services. It’s a really important step.”

Vallourec offers solutions suitable for both transportation – especially of contaminated CO2, where its expertise in corrosion is an undeniable asset – and storage. “Our customers are looking at large-scale storage of CO2, using former or new wells,” Ulrika says. “This requires tough tubular solutions that can withstand the specific conditions of CCUS, including corrosion and extreme temperature fluctuations in the pipes. Our products already work well in this area, so we’re able to help the O&G industry in this regard. We’ve got a strong R&D team working to provide even more support for the industry in the future.

While still a nascent industry, hydrogen is also set to gain traction in the coming years. “Everybody is talking about hydrogen and green hydrogen,” Ulrika notes. Vallourec’s VAM® connections have already been qualified for hydrogen storage and transport and can meet the specific challenges of this field, namely embrittlement and leakage. “We’ve also submitted a patent for medium-size storage solutions for hydrogen. We are continuously developing our offer, as we see a great future need at different locations for industry, hydrogen production, hydrogen refueling stations, and within future hydrogen pipe network systems.

Vallourec intends to continue supporting these growing sectors with extensive research that will enable it to provide both new and existing solutions.

Turning clients into partners: no one can go it alone

"On this path to lower CO2 emissions, however, no one can go it alone. Close collaboration between clients and suppliers is of the essence. And that mutual support can take many forms. As we decarbonize our production, we help clients reduce their own Scope 3 emissions; everything a supplier does has a tangible knock-on effect for clients.Ulrika Wising

The creation of Vallourec Tubos para Indústria (VTI), a joint venture with the Açotubo Group in Brazil, stands as an example of its commitment to working closely with key allies for the benefit of the solar energy industry. VTI is producing welded structures to support solar panel installation companies, such as US-based Nextracker, doing business in Brazil.

"This is an exciting time, and we are all conscious that we are witnessing a pivotal moment in the history of our planet,” Corinne says. “Vallourec is proud to be part of the change we want to see in the world, and to help shape the future of the energy industry." Corinne Willecomme

Visit the Group's Solutions site to discover Vallourec's portfolio of solutions dedicated to the energy transition

Learn more about sustainable development at Vallourec