Alternative energy sources could eliminate 87% of

Alternative energy sources could reduce emissions on offshore oil and gas platforms by up to 87% in a cost-effective way.

That’s according to the winners of a platform electrification competition launched in September 2021 by what was then called the Oil and Gas Authority (The OGA). The OGA recently changed its name to the North Sea Transition Authority.

The NSTA on Thursday released the full project reports of the three winners of the electrification competition: Orcadian Energy and Partners; Ørsted, Neptune Energy and Goal 7; and Katoni Engineering.

The competition was funded by £1 million provided by the UK government under the North Sea Transition Deal (NSTD) signed by the UK government and the oil and gas industry in 2021. Within the NSTD, the industry oil and gas company has committed to reducing offshore emissions by 50% by 2030, a reduction of 2 to 3 MtCO2 per year.

“The electrification competition aimed to provide innovative solutions for electrification by supporting the work of oil and gas companies, wind energy developers and leading technology providers. The three winning studies all present strong arguments in favor of cross-sector synergies, with electrification projects collectively unlocking 2 to 4 gigawatts of wind energy opportunities across the UK,” the NSTA said.



“The studies – by Orcadian Energy and Partners, Orsted and Neptune Energy and Katoni Engineering – have demonstrated concepts that do not require shore power, instead creating stand-alone power systems using renewable energy, which can be easily supplemented with shore power cables,” the NSTA said.

According to the NSTA, the solutions suggest emissions reductions of 78-87% are achievable, “and underscore the importance of robust yet cost-effective offshore power distribution systems.”

“These power distribution facilities (or micro-grids) integrate different energy sources with multiple offshore users, ensuring continuity of supply while minimizing the cost of modifications to receiving platforms, thereby reducing electrification costs,” the offshore regulator said.

“Combined projects cover the basic elements of any offshore electrification program (power sources, transmission, distribution and platform modifications) and elements from each can be combined to help electrification projects across the UKCS,” the NSTA said.
Scott RobertsonNSTA’s Director of Operations, said: “The electrification of the platform is a critical part of reducing emissions in the North Sea and reaching net zero. Each of these projects contains useful and innovative thinking and we look forward to industry that it is considering these ideas, and others, as electrification projects begin to become a reality in the coming years.



The winning projects

Orcadian Energy and Partners (Crondall, Enertechnos, NSMP, Petrofac and Wärtsilä): microgrid electrification concept

The Orcadian-led study designed standardized off-grid floating power distribution centers that receive renewable energy from floating offshore wind farms and combine that energy with low-emission backup power generation to provide continuous low-emission electrical power to offshore oil and gas installations.

Each power distribution hub is placed close to receiving facilities to minimize the length of power distribution cables. The solution is phased and scalable, and applicable across multiple UKCS regions.

Under certain circumstances, the “all-in” project costs can be up to 26% lower than comparable electricity from onshore electrification.

Ørsted, Neptune Energy and Goal 7: Project Neos – electrification of offshore oil and gas assets using renewable offshore wind energy

This Pre-Front End Engineering Design (pre-FEED) study investigated the technical and commercial aspects of an electrical connection between an Offshore Wind Farm (OWF) and an Offshore Oil and Gas (O&G) facility with no connection from shore.

Two technical concepts were studied, using submarine cables and taking into account the feasibility of the concept in terms of power availability and reliability. The Neos project also considered the design changes that would be required at the O&G facility and highlighted the need for an offshore microgrid including backup generation, energy storage and control advanced to stabilize the transition from renewable energy to emergency power generation.

The study demonstrated levels of technical feasibility and factors that can make projects more profitable, such as maximum CAPEX related to infrastructure upgrades and minimum remaining life in the field. Sensitivities to gas, electricity and carbon prices were also studied.

Katoni Engineering: an optimized method for interfacing distributed sources of renewable energy generation with existing offshore oil and gas installations requiring secure sources of low-emission power

The Katoni study designed an optimized offshore power distribution network that minimizes the cost of brownfield platform modifications by supplying power at or as close to the platform’s current supply voltage. as possible of it. This network design results in approximately a 75% reduction in change costs compared to previous assumptions.

The grid includes backup power generation located on a centralized floating power distribution hub to ensure power continuity in this off-grid power grid design. The electricity distribution network has been designed using an electricity aggregation methodology which may include the electrification of around 20 platforms in a significant part of the central North Sea area.

Rosemary C. Kearney