Chinese state-owned oil firm Cnooc is cracking on with plans to electrify one of its key North Sea assets.
A contract worth over £25 million is being put together to gauge the current state of the offshore cabling market, with a view to reducing emissions from the Buzzard field.
According to the North Sea Transition Authority’s energy pathfinder portal, it will be put out to tender on August 1.
Cnooc (TSX: CNU) is still evaluating “several potential layout solutions” to electrification.
Buzzard has a base load of 70 megawatts (MW), but the company is looking at the potential for using the complex to supply power to other assets.
Under that scenario, the base load of the field could increase to 300MW.
Cable availability, cost and size may “drive the project decision making”, Cnooc said, and it is “important to fully understand the market and market led” solutions and opportunities.
The firm is currently engaged in a request for information (RFI) questionnaire for electrifying Buzzard, around 62 miles north-east of Aberdeen.
The purpose of the study is to understand the market availability of electrical cable, including end fittings and technical specifications available timescales – Cnooc is aiming for cable installation by 2027 or sooner.
The company also aims to establish provisional milestones, preferred installation methods, and whether there is a chance for accelerated delivery of cable, should ther orders be cancelled.
A long future
Production from the £500m Buzzard Phase 2 project, designed to extend the life of the huge North Sea field, got underway last year.
According to Cnooc, it will take Buzzard’s total production to 80,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boepd) in total.
On announcing production start-up in November, the company said it was progressing a “comprehensive range” of near and medium-term emissions reduction opportunities.
That included investigating options to decarbonise Buzzard’s electrical power by working collaboratively with other nearby operators.
And in December Cnooc announced it had teamed up with Edinburgh-headquartered Flotation Energy to develop the Green Volt offshore wind farm.
Under current plans, up to 30 floating turbines, located on a brownfield site around 46 miles off Aberdeenshire, would supply power to Buzzard and the National Grid.
Floatation Energy is behind the Kincardine Floating Offshore Wind Farm, located between Aberdeen and Stonehaven.
Axing emissions from oil and gas production is a key facet of the North Sea Transition Deal, a pact between industry and government agreed last year.
It included a target for the sector to reduce its carbon releases by 50% by 2030.