The offshore oil and gas industry could significantly reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by sourcing power for its UKCS platforms either from the shore or from offshore renewables. This is known as platform electrification.
Note: on 23 September 2021 a platform electrification competition opened and winners were announced on 6 December – further details can be found here.
The NSTA's UKCS Energy Integration Report and Annexes - published in August 2020 - considered oil and gas platform electrification in depth. The report noted that platform electrification 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 2-3MtCO2 p.a. by 2030, which is the equivalent of reducing 20% of today’s production emissions, rising to 40% by 2030.
In addition, supplying energy to oil and gas platforms could represent a commercial opportunity for renewable power developers today, and co-investing in transmission infrastructure and leveraging O&G deep-water technologies could support growth.
To achieve a 2-3MtCO2 p.a. reduction in oil and gas operational emissions by 2030, 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 (eg. 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
To support the drive towards platform electrification , the NSTA hosted 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.
The first, which was was held on 20 August, saw real engagement from Operators and an eagerness from parties to see tangible activity. The second workshop involved Operators and potential lenders and investors and once again saw equally impressive engagement.
Further details can be viewed here.