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NEWS & INSIGHTS | article

Study assesses potential routes for oil and gas asset electrification

01 September 2022 3 minute read
  • The Net Zero Technology Centre, the Cygnus JV and Sealand Projects Ltd today revealed findings from their ‘Southern North Sea – Oil & Gas Asset Electrification Study’
  • The study investigated the potential for electrification of an oil and gas platform, using the Cygnus complex in the Southern North Sea as a case study
  • Four electrification options were identified and an evaluation of each was undertaken utilising technical rather than economic life of the asset
  • There remains a significant challenge in the commercial viability of electrification based on high CAPEX costs and direct impact on the levelized cost of energy (LCOE)

The Net Zero Technology Centre, the Cygnus JV – comprising Neptune Energy and Spirit Energy – and Sealand Projects Ltd have announced the findings of their ‘Southern North Sea – Oil & Gas Asset Electrification Study’ which explored the potential to electrify an offshore platform with power from offshore wind, using the Neptune-operated Cygnus platform in the UK Southern North Sea as a case study.

The Southern North Sea is home to numerous planned and existing offshore wind farms increasing the potential sources of power for platform electrification.

By 2030 there will be 6.8GW of wind power within 50km of Cygnus, increasing to 14.1GW within 100km of the asset, making it a suitable case study for the investigation of electrification using offshore wind.

The study examined four options that offer a potential pathway to electrification, including;

  1. Local offtake with a power purchase agreement
  2. Local offtake with an offshore transmission owner
  3. Reallocation of turbines
  4. Dedicated offshore wind farms serving a platform

The North Sea Transition Deal (NSTD) has set a target to reduce offshore production emissions by 50% by 2030. The majority of these emissions are a result of power generation offshore from open cycle gas turbines (OCGT). Providing this power from offshore wind has the potential to deliver a large portion of the emissions savings targeted under the NSTD.

Graeme Rogerson, Senior Project Manager, Net Zero Technology Centre commented: “The size of the prize is significant if we can establish a viable way to leverage the existing infrastructure to supply power to offshore oil and gas assets.   We have a number of barriers to overcome including regulatory challenges and establishing a way to make one of the four proposed options economically viable.  However, the engagement levels from stakeholders have been hugely promising and there is definite appetite to maximise the opportunity for electrification of oil and gas assets.”

Mungo McLeish, Director of Global Operations and Electrification at Neptune Energy said: “We continue to explore opportunities to reduce emissions as part of our commitment to store more carbon than is emitted by our operations and the use of our sold products by 2030.

“Collaboration across oil and gas and renewables sectors can improve our understanding of the opportunities and challenges associated with the electrification of assets in the Southern North Sea.”

Kenneth Cunningham, Senior project Engineer, Sealand Projects Limited said: “In seeking to achieve industry decarbonisation targets, electrification of platforms has a key part to play. Tying into a windfarm is an innovative opportunity which raises challenges, however the level of engagement across regulatory bodies and industry was hugely encouraging, and we remain thankful for the support and advice. It is through this collaboration that electrification opportunities, and ultimately the route to net-zero, can be delivered.”

UK Government Minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord said: “The electrification of offshore platforms will help to reduce emissions and facilitate the transition of the North Sea to a net-zero economy. With its wealth of expertise and experience, North East Scotland is leading the world in decarbonising the energy industry while bringing in new jobs and investment.

“The UK Government is investing £90 million in the Net Zero Technology Centre to support this and levelling up communities across Scotland with more than £2 billion.”

The Southern North Sea – Oil & Gas Asset Electrification Study can be read here

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