Energy giant BP has confirmed it is studying the potential to power North Sea platforms with green electricity in a bid to cut carbon emissions.
Renewable power from shore via subsea cables and offshore wind are among the proposals being considered for installations in the Central North Sea (CNS) and West of Shetland, regional president Ariel Flores said on the sidelines of an energy transition event in Aberdeen yesterday.
Separate studies are being conducted for each region, looking at the sources of power for the platforms and, in tandem, assessing how current operational systems like hydraulics can be replaced with electricity.
According to Oil and Gas UK’s latest environment report, 74% of UK North Sea emissions produced last year came from combustion equipment using fuel to generate electricity.
Power from shore has been carried out in Norway on installations like Johan Sverdrup but has yet to be achieved in the UK.
Mr Flores said his company is working to bring “multiple parties together” for the proposals for the CNS.
He said: “For West of Shetland we’re doing some study work and we’re doing a separate piece of work on the Central North Sea, working with other companies around how we can look at options for it.
“It’s different because it might be a different solution which may involve power from Norway and look a bit harder at offshore wind than you would naturally get something on the Shetland Islands, as an example, for the West of Shetland that’s not offshore.
“So it is just understanding what’s plausible, the plans of others and ultimately getting multiple parties together like we’ve never done before to try to properly do the right thing for the long-term.”
Shell’s North Sea boss, Steve Phimister, also spoke at the event at P&J Live yesterday hosted by Oil and Gas UK, confirming his firm is also “studying electrification potential” for its CNS assets.
The firm is also implementing hybrid renewable power on 12 normally unmanned platforms in the Southern North Sea.
Mr Flores of BP described his company’s assessment stages as pre-FEED (front-end engineering design) and no decision has yet been taken on which options will be chosen.
The solution could involve a mix of clean energy sources.
He added: “We’re assessing where to get power from and there you’ve got multiple options. You’ve got offshore wind, you’ve got onshore wind, you’ve got cables and interconnectors being discussed between Shetland and you’ve got a Norwegian interconnector going to mainland UK.
“So the energy source is becoming much more diverse but also reliable in that if you have a cable you increase redundancy and you’re not solely dependent on any one renewable source, where intermittency becomes a challenge.
“We’re doing studies that include all type of sources and to work it more as an area, as a basin. So West of Shetland is an area where you can look at the totality of that basin.”