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The company believes the solution is more effective and substantially less costly than cable-from-shore options for electrifying oil and gas facilities.

By Joseph Murphy

Orcadian Energy has submitted a report into electrification in the central North Sea to the UK's North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), proposing a solution that would involve powering oil and gas facilities with floating wind turbines rather than using electricity from the shore, the company said on May 9.

The "Microgrid Concept", developed by a consortium of Orcadian, Crondall Energy, Petrofac, Wartsila, Enertechnos and North Sea Midstream Partners with funding from NSTA, is "viable, reliable, off-grid option for powering North Sea platforms," Orcadian said, using floating wind turbines supported by energy efficient and highly responsive gas-powered generators with enough battery power to maintain reliable power supply.

"The directors believe this design can be more effective and cost substantially less than cable from shore solutions, with a potential to deliver an earlier and deeper cut to emissions," the company explained. "The directors also believe future operating costs can be substantially reduced with this solution, which could enable mature fields to keep producing longer and facilitate development of satellite discoveries with minimised emissions."

The approach could cut emissions from offshore facilities by up to 80%, Orcadian said, while also saving $2bn and being 25% cheaper than a solution that uses power from the UK grid, when capital and operating costs are considered over a 10-year period. Operators will be able to meet their North Sea Transition Deal commitments in a practical and fast way, and the infrastructure involved can be reused or re-deployed.

"Our concept could not only help further ensure the energy security of the UK but could also ensure that North Sea production will become amongst the lowest for carbon emissions globally, returning the North Sea to its accustomed role as a trailblazer for the industry," Orcadian CEO Steve Brown commented.