Electrification Competition studies underline importance of cross-industry collaboration
- North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) has published the full project reports of the three Electrification Competition winners
- Innovative concepts highlight potential for cost-effective electrification using a mix of renewable and conventional power sources
- Technical findings can be used by other projects to accelerate electrification across the UK Continental Shelf
Cost-efficient emissions reductions of up to 87% on offshore oil and gas platforms could be achieved using alternative power sources, according to the winners of a competition launched to accelerate electrification of oil and gas assets in the North Sea.
The NSTA has today published the full reports of the three winners of the Platform Electrification competition launched in September 2021.
The contest was funded by £1m provided by the UK Government as part of the North Sea Transition Deal (NSTD) signed by the UK Government and the oil and gas industry in 2021. Within the NSTD, the oil and gas industry has committed to reduce offshore emissions by 50% in 2030, a 2-3 MtCO2 per year reduction.
To achieve these goals, the NSTA is working with industry representatives to progress prospective electrification projects, including those in the Central North Sea and West of Shetland, and with the BEIS-chaired Government and Regulators Electrification Group on the wider policy and regulatory enablers that will also need to be in place
The Electrification Competition was intended to bring innovative solutions for electrification by supporting the work of oil and gas companies, windpower developers and leading technology suppliers. The three winning studies all make strong arguments in favour of cross-industry synergies, with electrification projects collectively opening up 2-4 gigawatts of windpower opportunity across the UKCS.
The studies – by Orcadian Energy and Partners, Orsted and Neptune Energy, and Katoni Engineering – demonstrated concepts which do not require power from shore, instead creating standalone power systems using renewable power, which can be easily complemented by power cables from onshore.
These solutions suggest emissions reductions of 78-87% are achievable, and highlight the importance of robust, yet cost-effective power distribution systems offshore. These power distribution facilities (or micro-grids) integrate different power sources with multiple offshore users, ensuring power continuity whilst minimising cost of modifications on the receiving platforms, hence reducing electrification costs.
The combined projects cover the building blocks of any offshore electrification scheme (power sources, transmission, distribution and platform modifications) and elements from each can be combined to assist electrification projects across the UKCS.
Scott Robertson, NSTA Director of Operations, said:
“Platform electrification is a vital part of cutting emissions in the North Sea and reaching net zero. Each of these projects contains useful, innovative thinking and we expect industry to look at these ideas, and others, as electrification projects start to become reality in the next few years.”
Notes to editors:
Orcadian Energy and Partners (Crondall, Enertechnos, NSMP, Petrofac and Wärtsilä): Microgrid electrification concept
The Orcadian-led study has designed standardised off-grid floating power distribution hubs which receive renewable power from floating offshore windfarms and combine that power with low-emission back-up power generation to deliver a low-emission continuous power supply to offshore oil and gas installations.
Each power distribution hub is placed close to the receiving installations to minimise the length of the power distribution cables. The solution is phased and scalable, and applicable across multiple regions of the UKCS.
Under certain circumstances, ‘all-in’ project costs can be up to 26% lower than comparable power from shore 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) installation without connection from shore. Two technical concepts were investigated, using subsea cables and considering concept feasibility in terms of power availability and reliability. Project Neos further considered the design modifications which would be required at the O&G installation and evidenced the need to create an offshore microgrid, including back up generation, energy storage and advanced control to stabilise the switch from renewable power to back-up power generation.
The study has demonstrated the levels of technical feasibility and which drivers can make projects more cost effective, such as maximum CAPEX related to infrastructure upgrades, and minimum remaining field life. Sensitivities to gas, electricity and carbon prices were also investigated.
Katoni Engineering: An optimised method for interfacing distributed sources of renewable generation with existing offshore oil and gas installations requiring secure sources of low emissions power ( Part 1 , Part 2)
The Katoni study has designed an optimised offshore electricity distribution network which minimises the cost of brownfield platform modifications by delivering power at, or as close to, current platform power voltages as possible. This network design results in a circa 75% reduction of modification costs vs earlier assumptions.
The network includes back-up power generation located on a centralised floating electrical distribution hub to ensure power continuity in this off-grid electrical network design. The power distribution network was designed using a power clustering methodology may include electrification of circa 20 platforms within a significant portion of the Central North Sea area.
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