DNV GL taps wind for oil recovery

International classification body DNV GL has unveiled a new hybrid concept that marries floating wind turbines with water injection technology to lower the cost of so-called enhanced oil recovery (EOR) projects on ageing offshore fields.

Completed DNV GL studies suggest retrofittable wind-powered injection systems, used to increase reservoir pressure and boost oil production, could slash both capital and operating costs at offshore developments.

The launch coincides with kick-off of the Wind-powered Water Injection (Win-Win) joint industry project (JIP) being shepherded by the Oslo-headquartered organisation.

“We want to take this concept further together with both the wind energy and [oil and gas] industries and invite them to participate in a JIP to carry out an in-depth study [to test whether] a combination of the two technologies can open up an era of synergies and mutual benefit for both industries,” says DNV GL Offshore Renewable Energy service line leader Johan Sandberg.

“I see this as an important part of the oil and gas industry’s work to reduce cost and with less emissions as a positive effect.”

Floating wind turbines, seen by DNV GL as “one of the most interesting sources for offshore power generation, allowing relatively stable production, and flexibility regarding locations and water depths”, could be used to power a variety of water injection technologies.

They range from straight raw seawater injection to a reverse osmosis process that pumps LowSal (low salinity) water into declining oil reservoirs.

“Our studies show that such a stand-alone system can quickly become cost competitive to traditional solutions for injection wells far from the platform, and even more when one considers the retrofitting water injection equipment into an existing facility and cope with the disruptions that this modification can have on production,” notes DNV GL Oil & Gas subsea business development leader Christian Markussen.

“Operators can obtain a new and cost-efficient way to develop marginal reservoirs and enhance production in mature fields.”

The hybrid concept would also be mobile, meaning it could be moved to new EOR project sites after an oil field had been fully exploited.