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DTU Offshore Contract

DTU Offshore was established in 2014, from a partnership between DTU and Mærsk Olie og Gas, Shell, Chevron and Nordsøfonden, among others. The contract regarding the agreement on the funding, establishment and operation of the Danish hydrocarbon research & technology centre can be found here.

In 2020, TotalEnergies took over Mærsk´s share. This addendum to the contract can be found here. The original contract has a validity of 10 years and will run out in 2024.

The aim of the partnership is stated multiple times throughout the text, such as:

  • Section 2.1: “Long term strategy for further optimisation of oil and gas recovery from the Danish North Sea on a commercial basis”

  • Section 3.1: “New technological and conceptual solutions for increased Oil and Gas recovery”

  • Section 3.2: “Establish new or strengthen underdeveloped areas of research as the basis for innovative and commercially feasible solutions for increasing recovery from the Danish oil and gas fields in the North Sea, and [c]reate focus on the oil and gas industry amongst students and scholar to secure qualified researchers and potential employees essential for sustaining and further increasing the recovery of Danish oil and gas resources”

  • Section 4.1: “All Projects have a link to increased recovery and/or production of oil and gas”

  • Section 4.2: “Enhanced oil & gas recovery processes and concepts”

  • Section 10.2: “A workgroup shall be established ("Technology Application Workgroup") that shall supervise that all Projects have […] a clear line of sight to increased oil and gas recovery/production”

The funding is regulated in Section 18.1: "DUC will grant DKK 1 billion in funding to the establishment and operation of the Centre", where DUC is the Dansk Undergrunds Consortium (Danish Underground Consortium), consisting of the previously mentioned companies.

We are against this collaboration which results in greater amounts of oil and gas being extracted from the ground. We draw on a letter signed by 500 academics in March 2022 (find the letter here) urging universities to reject fossil fuel money for research, even if the research is aimed at developing green and low-carbon technology. Accepting this money represents “an inherent conflict of interest” and could “taint” essential research and “compromise” academic freedom. For the companies, it is a chance to “greenwash” their reputations and skew the findings of research in a way favorable to them.

DTU Offshore Scientific Framework

Research at DTU Offshore (previously “Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Centre,” DHRTC) takes place within four core scientific themes, which are:

  1. Reservoir characterization
  2. Enhanced Oil & Gas Recovery Processes
  3. Drilling & Production Technology Concepts
  4. Production Facilities, Material Research & Design

These themes are elaborated in greater detail in the scientific framework guiding the research carried out at DTU Offshore. Particularly interesting is Theme 2, which focuses on the introduction of new concepts to increase the amount of hydrocarbons extracted from reservoirs.

Other highlights from the document:

“Research activities at the Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Centre (…) have direct influence on hydrocarbon recovery efficiency and associated cost and therefore also on the total amount of oil and gas which can be produced from the existing fields and discoveries in the Danish North Sea.” (page 1)

“All financed projects must have the potential to improve current concepts and practices in field development and operations in the Danish North Sea, leading to improved oil or gas recovery from existing fields or unlock hydrocarbon bearing intervals” (page 1)

“Research activities at DHRTC can focus on both IOR [Improved Oil Recovery] and EOR [Enhanced Oil Recovery] relevant topics, which potentially can deliver economically attractive incremental reserves with an overall neutral or improved environmental footprint for the asset” (page 4)


DTU is collaborating with a company that is going to increase its oil and gas production by 18.4% from 2020 to 2030 – even though production should be scaled down by 38% to comply with the IEA´s Net Zero scenario. This is according to Reclaim Finance´s report from March 2022. Investments in renewables are not nearly high enough, and in 2030 up to 85% of TotalEnergies energy mix will be coming from fossil fuels. This means, TotalEnergies will be producing five to six times more fossil fuels than renewables.

The Oil and Gas giant Total, despite rebranding as TotalEnergies, remains heavily centered on fossil fuel extraction causing climate collapse. TotalEnergies is set to exceed its share of greenhouse gas emissions by over 30% than what is authorized under a 1.5 °C scenario. The overshoot of this budget can happen as soon as 2035. Overall, between 2018 and 2030, TotalEnergies is estimated to account for about 1% of the global 1.5 °C carbon budget

Total has long been downplaying the threat posed by the climate crisis, if not outright denying its existence. As this study shows, “[Total] became more fully informed of the [catastrophic global warming] issue in the 1980s, began promoting doubt regarding the scientific basis for global warming by the late 1980s, and ultimately settled on a position in the late 1990s of publicly accepting climate science while promoting policy delay or policies peripheral to fossil fuel control.”