An Australian company says its “unique” technology could lead to oil and gas rigs in the UK North Sea being repurposed as key infrastructure for geothermal energy – a new renewables sector.
Legacy Global Green Energy (LGGE) – led by electrical engineer Paul Cadwell – plans to open offices in Aberdeen and London as part of its mission to have abandoned installations pumping geothermal heat instead of crude in a “renewed” energy industry.
Mr Cadwell claimed decommissioning liabilities running into tens of billions of pounds would be wiped out by turning them into electricity generating platforms.
LGGE has already appointed a UK manager, Aberdeen-based Jim Ferguson, who said: “The purpose and aim of the company is to offer the oil and gas industry, and government, a novel and diverse approach to the green energy issue – and an alternative to the solar and wind generation that visually pollutes the landscape and horizons that we view daily.”
Globally, the oil and gas industry has thousands of offshore platforms that will become obsolete within 30 years.
According to LGGE the UK alone has 470 in the North Sea, and the cost of dismantling them is “estimated conservatively” to be in the region of $64 billion (£46.3bn).
Capturing the energy from geothermal hotspots under the seabed could position Aberdeen at the heart of a whole new industry, Mr Cadwell, LGGE’s managing director, said.
He added: “Aberdeen was previously known as the capital and gateway to the oil industry in the North Sea. But in recent times there has been a massive decline in the amount of operational oil and gas platforms.
“It’s been recognised by government that these abandoned or defunct platforms will have to be decommissioned at a cost of between $100 million (£72.3m) and $500m (£361.5m) each, and the cost will have to be picked up by the taxpayer.
“By utilising Legacy Global Green Energy we can do a number of things for Aberdeen. It will provide long-term employment for hundreds of local and Scottish people, feeding well-deserved revenue into the economy.
“Aberdeen will become the (geothermal) electricity source and provider to Scotland, as well as selling green, sustainable, reliable electricity to the UK and northern European countries.”
This would deliver a “win-win situation” for Aberdeen, Scotland, the UK and the environment,” Mr Cadwell said, predicting the Granite City would become renowned as an electricity generating capital of northern Europe.
Oil industry can be at the forefront of 21st Century development by reusing existing oil platforms.”
Paul Cadwell, Legacy Global Green Energy
LGGE, based in Western Australia, boasts more than 100 years’ combined experience in the energy and minerals sectors.
The company said it had created a unique geothermal capture system using current platforms to enable the oil industry to transition to greener – and profitable – energy solutions.
Mr Cadwell added: “Why is the oil industry spending upwards of $200m (£144.6m) to decommission one single rig, when for about $100m (£72.3m) it could ‘re-commission’ and repurpose the same rig for a new energy source?
“The world is looking for cleaner, greener energy sources and the oil industry can be at the forefront of 21st Century development by reusing existing oil platforms, and by pumping geothermal heat instead of crude to create a renewed energy industry.”
Geothermal energy is already generated in more than 20 countries, with the US the world’s largest producer.
In Iceland many buildings, including hotels, government facilities and even swimming pools, are heated with geothermal hot water.