The UK Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has hosted the first of a series of workshops on offshore power generation integration intended to bring the oil and gas industry and windfarm power industry together to seek practical ways of cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Operators and representatives of the power generation, oil and gas, and windfarm sectors discussed the feasibility of projects such as platform electrification, power supply from windfarms and transmission infrastructure, sharing and identifying technical issues which need to be resolved for projects to go forward.
This workshop also included Crown Estate Scotland as a key stakeholder in the regulatory and consent process in future development. It is planned to follow through with further workshop sessions to include potential investors, including infrastructure operators, in transmission concepts and windfarms as well as supply chain companies.
The workshop builds on the OGA’s recent publication of its UKCS Energy Integration report and Annexes which established that the integration of offshore energy systems including oil and gas, renewables, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage could contribute to deliver around 30% of the UK’s total carbon reduction requirements needed to meet the 2050 net zero target.
The same work also looked specifically at oil and gas platform electrification and noted that it is both essential for cutting oil and gas sector production emissions in the near term and critical to preserving the industry’s social licence to operate.
It calculated that electrification could abate UKCS oil and gas operational emissions by 2-3 Mt CO2 p.a. by 2030, which is the equivalent of reducing 20% of today’s production emissions, rising to 40% by 2030.
To achieve this vision, the industry should deliver at least two operational electrification projects by the mid-2020s, with the most significant opportunities being:
- Windpower supply and transmission link with the mainland enabling electrification of new oil and gas projects West of Shetland.
- Existing oil and gas facilities in the Outer Moray Firth could be electrified through connection to windpower developments in the area, and ScotWind Leasing opportunities.
- Electrification of Central North Sea platforms at a greater distance from the UK shore could potentially benefit from a cross-border power supply (e.g. Norway) and floating wind.
- Several cross-industry opportunities in the Southern North Sea, due to closer proximity between windfarms and oil and gas operations, and Windfarm licence Round 4 as future expansion.
The Energy Integration project work also identified potential synergies between the oil and gas and renewables industries which would be critical for the economic delivery of electrification opportunities, including:
- Oil and gas access to lower-cost electricity directly from offshore windfarms, creating commercial opportunity for wind developers to expand.
- Sharing of investment in transmission infrastructure between oil/gas and renewables (and potentially also with interconnector projects).
- Reuse oil and gas infrastructure (platforms for electricity transmission equipment, and onshore terminals as onshore bases).
- Gas-to-wire to potentially help balancing electricity supply and increase cables utilisation.
Scott Robertson, OGA Director of Operations, says, “Platform electrification is a vital part of the industry’s contribution towards the net zero by 2050 target and an important deliverable to help the oil and gas sector maintain its social licence to operate. It is already a tried and tested technology, readily deployed in the Norwegian sector.”
“We are very pleased to see real engagement on this from operators, and collaboration with the power sector and investors and are keen to see activity move at pace. The OGA is doing a number of things to support increased pace, including facilitating introductions to develop a critical mass of participants and collaboration across oil/gas, wind and power sectors and identifying barriers where the OGA can play a role in finding enablers,” continues Robertson.
For more details on the workshops, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.