A more integrated offshore energy sector, with closer links between oil and gas and offshore renewables, is key to accelerating the energy transition. S&P Global’s cost estimating software, QUE$TOR®, provides the ability to model offshore floating wind farms to estimate CAPEX, OPEX, and decommissioning costs of platform electrification projects with integration of offshore wind energy.
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing our time. As the energy sector is the largest contributor to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (1), energy integration with renewable sources will play a key role in reducing the carbon footprint of operations oil and gas industries in the decades to come. On the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), approximately 70% (2) of GHG emissions from offshore oil and gas installations come from gas turbine generators located on platforms. Gas turbines are also used to directly drive compressors and pumps. Generating electricity in a more environmentally acceptable way has become vital as pressure to decarbonize global industry continues to mount.
The supply of electricity on land or from offshore renewables is known as platform electrification. Along with energy efficiency and carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), electrification is one of the measures adopted by the upstream oil and gas industry to play its part in mitigating climate change. climatic. Norwegian energy company Equinor is a pioneer in this sector. In addition to operating Hywind Scotland (3), the world’s first commercial floating wind farm, Equinor has completed the electrification of its vast Johan Sverdrup (4) oilfield, connected to the power grid by a 200 meter submarine power cable. km. Its latest project under construction, the 88 MW Hywind Tampen (5), will be the world’s largest and first floating wind farm to supply electricity to offshore oil and gas platforms, in this case the fields of Snorre and Gullfaks in the Norwegian North Sea. This will be a great result and a real test for the further development of floating wind turbine technologies, as well as new installation methods and innovative mooring simplification techniques.
The current offshore wind energy market is dominated by fixed bottom offshore wind turbines. However, most offshore oil and gas platforms are very far from shore, in deep water or in areas where the type of seabed makes fixed foundation turbines an impractical solution. The floating wind turbine can be deployed further offshore, in deeper water areas with higher wind potential, with reduced planning risks and visual impact. Higher wind potential means stronger and more constant winds and therefore increased energy production. Capacity factors of over 60% can be achieved for floating wind installations (Hywind Scotland achieved an average capacity factor of just over 57% (6) in the twelve month period to March 2020, setting a new record in the UK) compared to the average values of 45% for a fixed bottom wind farm in the North Sea.
Directly connecting offshore wind installations to oil and gas platforms will not only help decarbonise, but also support job creation and facilitate the entry of new players into the offshore renewable energy sector. Conversion of existing platforms (electrification of brownfields) will lead to reduced operating costs, while savings on investment costs for field creation projects can be achieved through simplification of equipment platforms. Understanding the technical feasibility of offshore energy integration concepts, their applicability and the economics of these projects is crucial to identify where costs can be further reduced.
To support this trend of rig electrification using offshore wind energy, S&P Global’s cost estimating tool QUE$TOR® was recently launched with the enhanced ability to model wind farms offshore floating wind turbines for the electrification of offshore oil and gas installations. The new model is based on two major floating technologies – spars and semi-submersible platforms – for applications in locations where water depths (greater than approximately 50m) are not suitable for fixed foundations, such as monopiles and the jackets. Cost estimating software offers the ability to explore the technical and financial feasibility of using wind farms as a supplemental energy source for offshore oil and gas platforms and supplying surplus energy to the grid land electricity.
Cost estimators and field development engineers using QUE$TOR® can:
- Design the optimal offshore floating wind farm configuration in terms of annual energy production (AEP), capacity factor, CAPEX and OPEX costs
- Assess the maximum amount of wind energy that can be integrated into each connected platform
- Electrifying power generation, gas compression, water injection and oil export at connected surface facilities through the selection of electric motor equipment
- Estimate the long-term operational benefits of wind power integration in terms of reduced GHG emissions and fuel cost savings
Cost surveys conducted on a sample of offshore oil and gas projects showed an appreciable decrease in fuel consumption and total emissions from the fully integrated project. Fuel savings and emission reductions are quantified in detailed reports, which are available in the app for comparison between projects.
The benefits of platform electrification using offshore wind do not stop with reduced emissions, lower operating costs for brownfield projects and lower costs investment for new concepts. The opportunity it offers extends far beyond that. There is significant potential for collaboration between the oil and gas and offshore wind industries, particularly on the repurposing of oil and gas facilities. These platforms could be modified to accommodate electrolysers for the production of hydrogen from water using wind energy. Hydrogen could be stored on the platform and then transported ashore using existing oil and gas pipelines. In an energy system characterized by a more dominant presence of offshore wind, green hydrogen could play a vital role in ensuring security of energy supply in a zero-carbon future.
To ask questions, see a demo and learn more about QUE$TOR®, please contact IHS Markit Customer Service.
1. Emissions by Sector – Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Energy: Overview – Analysis – IEA
2. UKCS Energy Integration Final Report (nstauthority.co.uk)
3. Hywind Scotland – the world’s first floating wind farm – Equinor
4. Johan Sverdrup – profitable low emission production – Equinor
5. Hywind Pad – Equinor
6. Hywind Scotland remains the best performing offshore wind farm in the UK – equinor.com
This article was published by S&P Global Commodity Insights and not by S&P Global Ratings, which is a separately managed division of S&P Global.