Oil majors Shell, BP, TotalEnergies and independent Harbour Energy are nearing a concept selection for electrification of several North Sea platforms.
The Central North Sea Electrification (CNSe) project covers the Shell Shearwater and Gannet installations as well as the BP ETAP, TotalEnergies Elgin-Franklin and Harbour Energy Judy platforms
Arjit Guptar, energy transition leader and CNSe stakeholder manager at Shell, recently told the SPE London branch that the group is seeking to make a concept selection by July.
The team is using power from shore, integrated with offshore wind, as the “reference case” for the plans, which would include a cable from landfall at Peterhead to roughly 125 miles out to the North Sea.
Concept select in Q2 this year will be followed by pre-FEED (front-end engineering design) on two options, ahead of a final investment decision (FID) in Q2 2024 and start up targeted for Q4 2027.
Mr Guptar said the move would abate eight million tonnes of emissions – one million tonnes per annum – requiring 200 – 250 megawatts in the initial phases, with power demand declining as platforms reach cessation of production.
He said: “If I’m looking at the timeline, some of these assets are actually getting decommissioned in 2032. So the urgency of getting on with it and start delivering this is huge. So pace is critical to delivering this project.
“While our stated objective is we want to electrify or decarbonise these platforms by 2030, that’s not our true ambition, our true ambition is to electrify them by 2027.”
The move comes as operators scramble to meet government demand to cut emissions on platforms by 25% by 2027 and 50% by 2030 – the latter broadly demanding electrification to achieve.
Cable from shore and integrating that with offshore wind is among the concepts being considered.
Off-grid solutions like microgrids are also on the table.
Once a concept selection is made, the consortium will move into pre-FEED where they will mature “one to two options” ahead of full FEED work.
With cable from shore and floating wind being the reference case, Mr Guptar said the group has already received an offer for a grid connection from shore via Peterhead.
However Mr Guptar was clear about the benefits on a joint-approach of power from shore and floating wind, cutting down on costs and redundancy.
It comes as offshore wind developers are planning to submit bids for Crown Estate Scotland’s INTOG round in August; an initiative to power oil platforms via offshore wind farms.
Speaking to SPE London in May, Mr Guptar said CNSe is looking forward to liaising with developers on that.
“There is a good opportunity to share the costs of the transmission infrastructure. IF we don’t have a wind development, we will be laying a cable 200km from shore to the Peterhead substation all at the expense of the oil and gas industry. Moreover this is only short-lived, so when the assets are decommissioned the infrastructure is useless.
“Now if you integrate it with the wind the costs are shared with the two parties then also, longer term, because the wind (farm) can be there for a longer period of 25-60 years so the infrastructure doesn’t become useless when the assets are decommissioned. That’s the intent: to share the costs of the infrastructure, to enable the wind development. So it’s a win-win for both wind and the oil and gas assets and enable faster development.”