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Understanding the opportunities for hydrogen within the offshore oil and gas sector – including the development of marginal fields and repurposing assets

Project Summary

Hydrogen is seen as a cleaner, low carbon alternative to gas for power generation and energy storage. It also has the potential to decarbonise the transport sector and provide valuable feedstock to produce chemicals.

Supported by NZTC, Costain and Aquatera (with input from EMEC) undertook a collaborative study to identify key opportunities for hydrogen supply offshore and technically feasible scenarios for potential pilot studies. The study included a review of hydrogen generation (including an overview of the technologies) and hydrogen use, storage and transportation offshore. The outcome of the study was to inform a potential application to BEIS.

Industry value:
The study investigated the opportunities for hydrogen within the offshore oil and gas sector, including the development of marginal fields, and the re-purposing of platforms and pipelines.

Key results:
The first phase captured the status of hydrogen generation technology including:

  • Electrolysis
  • Steam methane reforming
  • Auto-thermal reforming

Applying each technology to an offshore environment was considered, with three scenarios identified as having potential, worthy of further evaluation:

  1. Power optimisation using clean energy to power subsea small pools.
  2. Hydrogen as an alternative energy export and EOR enabler which involves large scale H2 production via SMR and ‘by-product CO2’ for EOR.
  3. Replacing wires with pipelines involving producing hydrogen from ‘zero emission’ sources such as electrolysis and transporting it to shore via pipeline.

The scenarios were further developed in an industry workshop with a range of stakeholders, who input into the evaluations/screening. The process identified key requirements and expectations required to align with business opportunities, subsequently translating expectations into measurable project objectives, ranked according to their relative importance to the participants business strategies.

The chosen hydrogen generation technologies were all proven applications, albeit some technologies may not have been applied offshore – it was evident that there is good potential for partnering with potential suppliers of novel techniques and/or providing an opportunity for pilot testing promising candidates.

Lessons learned:
The three schemes identified for production of hydrogen offshore had no major technical barriers. The results were subsequently used to shape a proposal for an upcoming hydrogen project for BEIS.

Based on the results of the scenario scoring and work carried out in this study several next step opportunities were identified. These can be carried out as independent studies or as an all-encompassing study carried out to a concept appraisal level.


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