A floating wind-fuelled mobile power concept that promises to cut emissions from offshore oil & gas operations by as much as 70% has received a technical seal of approval from classification body DNV.

Odfjell Oceanwind’s WindGrid concept, which knits floating ‘mobile offshore wind units’ (MOWUs) with in-built energy storage and converters together as a microgrid, would make it possible to shut down gas turbine generation during peak wind power periods, accounting for 60-70% of yearly CO2.

“This feasibility verification report marks an important milestone for [us],” said Odfjell Oceanwind CEO Per Lund. “It demonstrates that MOWUs can offer an attractive alternative for the oil & gas industry as it strives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The flexibility of the MOWUs, combined with emission cuts exceeding the industry’s 2030 ambitions, means that the industry can deliver on the green shift faster and more cost effectively than any other alternative that exists today, including power from shore.”

Erik Henriksen, director of business development in offshore classification at DNV Maritime, said: “Solutions like WindGrid in the new floating wind sector can make a large impact on the speed of the energy transition.”

DNV’s review included a technical assessment of all technology components, hazards to successful implementation, and a verification of the wind power profiles and linked CO2 reductions for the oil & gas installation connected to a WindGrid system.

Earlier this month, Odfjell Oceanwind signed a deal German industrial conglomerate Siemens to harness their technologies for its MOWUs, with Siemens Gamesa set to deliver its 11MW and 14MW wind turbines for the floating foundations, and Siemens Energy supplying energy storage and power control systems.

Floating wind-powered oil & gas production is not a new concept. A pioneering project called Win-Win was launched in 2013 but met with a mixed reaction in the energy industry, with pragmatists seeing it as a means to reducing emissions from ageing petroleum assets while further field-proving floating wind technology, while purists viewed it as a gateway to the ‘dirtification’ of wind.

Global markets have in the last year shifted opinion with Norwegian energy giant Equinor on track to build Hywind Tampen, an 88MW floating wind array to be wired into the Snorre-Gullfaks complex in the North Sea, and several other projects now bubbling away for similar schemes in off Europe, in the US Gulf, off Southeast Asia and even off Canada.