Three winners named for GBP 1 million offshore electrification competition

Source: press release, 6 December 2021

The competition supports a key commitment of the North Sea Transition Deal
The competition supports a key commitment of the North Sea Transition Deal (illustration: OGA)

Three winners are sharing a GBP 1 million prize for ideas that could help cut greenhouse gas emissions by moving forward the drive to electrify platforms in the North Sea.

The Decarbonisation competition for the electrification of offshore oil and gas installations was launched by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), working with BEIS, to fund technical and commercial studies on offshore electrification in the UK North Sea as part of the North Sea Transition Deal outcomes.

The following winning applications look at various ideas that could speed up essential electrification projects. The three companies must now complete work on their studies by 31 March 2022, with project reports to be published in Q2 2022:

  • Orcadian Energy (project lead): Innovative concepts for the electrification of offshore installations in the Central Graben (Award: GBP 466,667).
  • Ørsted (project lead): Addressing technical and commercial requirements of windfarm connections with offshore installations (Award: GBP 239,360).
  • Katoni Engineering: An optimised interface for distributed offshore renewable sources supplying existing offshore installations with secure and low-emissions power (Award: GBP 335,280).

Dr Andy Samuel, OGA Chief Executive, says, “Rapid progress on platform electrification is vital to ensure that production emissions are halved by 2030, in line with agreed targets. This competition has sparked significant interest from a broad cross section of industry with an impressive range of innovative proposals. The investment and infrastructure to move projects forward now will be beneficial long into the future, enabling network grid and offshore wind expansion.”

Energy & Climate Change Minister Greg Hands says, “Through our landmark North Sea Transition Deal, we are ensuring the UK’s oil and gas industry’s highly-skilled workers and supply chain are protected as we shift to a lower carbon future. These projects, supported with GBP 1 million government funding, will drive forward plans for platform electrification, a key step in supporting the industry to decarbonise oil and gas production.”

Carlo Procaccini, OGA Head of Technology, says, “Decarbonisation of oil and gas operations is an industry imperative over the next decade, and platform electrification from renewable sources will be an effective way to achieve that. We were delighted with the strong industry interest in the £1m BEIS/OGA electrification competition and the quality of the winners’ submissions. The three chosen projects will assess innovative solutions to kickstart oil and gas electrification in the North Sea.”

Power generation accounts for over 70% of oil and gas production emissions. It is anticipated that powering installations using electricity, from a cable to the shore or from a nearby windfarm, could lead to a reduction of 2-3 million tonnes of CO2 a year – equivalent to the annual carbon emissions from households in a city the size of Liverpool.

The OGA has been encouraging electrification opportunities in the Central North Sea and West of Shetland by bringing Operators together, hosting workshops with the power sector, and pressing Operators to move more quickly to deliver projects.

Platform electrification plays an important role in the OGA’s vision for an integrated energy vision. The OGA’s Energy Integration Report found that the UK Continental Shelf could, through a mix of offshore electrification, carbon capture and storage, offshore windpower, and hydrogen, absorb up to 60% of the UK’s entire greenhouse gas reduction needed to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.