Wave power technology developer Mocean Energy and energy storage outfit EC-OG have joined a group of North Sea oil players to pilot a clean-energy system that would run subsea equipment on offshore fields, in the latest example of the emerging market for renewables-powered hydrocarbon production.
The 10kW demonstrator, funding for which has been spilt 50/50 between the technology development body OGTC and project partners Chrysaor, Modus and Baker Hughes, will be switched on at a facility in Aberdeen, Scotland, this summer, with sea-trials “later in the year”.
“The decarbonisation of oil & gas operations is essential for the energy transition. Our technology uses renewable energy from waves to deliver low carbon power for subsea equipment, including tiebacks and future fleets of autonomous underwater vehicles,” said Cameron McNatt, Mocean Energy’s managing director.
“In this programme, we will demonstrate – [first] in onshore conditions – how our wave device will deliver power and communication to subsea equipment.”
The Blue X prototype has a nameplate rating of 10kW, with plans for the commercial Blue Star machine to be 15kW.
“According to the UK Oil & Gas Authority, clean-energy power sources offshore could offset the 21TWh of electricity produced by fossil fuel-power generators off Britain each year that emits 10 million tonnes of CO2. Globally, this would equates to 75 million tonnes a year, a £14bn ($19.5bn) market.
John Kerr, subsea technology director at Baker Hughes Oilfield Equipment, said: “Many subsea oilfield production systems will transition to all electric operations in the not too distant future, which will increase operational performance while simultaneously lowering the carbon footprint of the solution.
“We are excited to be part of this project as we will be able to simulate the ability of the system to power and communicate with the equivalent of a four-well Baker Hughes all electric subsea production system.”
The oil & gas industry sees potential to use such wave power systems for a “more environmentally and economically viable” range of subsea applications, including remediation of faulty umbilical cables, fast track solutions for single-well tiebacks and ultra-long “step out” wells set greater than 200km from offshore platforms.
Last year Mocean Energy raised £850,000 from a number of private investors to fund its growth plans, following on from a £3.3m grant from Wave Energy Scotland to build and test the technology at sea.