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Crondall Energy joins NSTA in collaborative workshop on platform electrification to cut North Sea emissions

  • Electrification can deliver substantial cuts to oil and gas production emissions

  • 11 major operators and 10 technology suppliers discuss technical solutions to improve the investment case for electrification of existing (brownfield) assets

  • Commitment from operators and collaboration with technology companies key to getting projects up and running

Platform electrification could be key to dramatically cutting emissions from oil and gas production, helping the sector reach net zero, the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) told industry colleagues today (Feb 20th).

Operators and technology companies like Crondall Energy must work together to identify technological solutions to make electrification a reality – and retain the support of the public.

Power generation made up 79% of UK offshore production emissions in 2022, so the prize for achieving large-scale power emissions reductions is huge. Electrifying new and existing platforms could deliver carbon savings of up to 22 million tonnes by 2050, nearly half of Scotland’s annual emissions.

The NSTA gathered leading operators and technology companies for a workshop in Aberdeen today (20th February) to help industry unlock brownfield projects which would enable existing platforms to run on clean electricity.

Eleven operators delivered presentations outlining the significant engineering challenges they face to convert the power systems on existing platforms while at sea. They then attended breakout sessions with technology suppliers, including Crondall Energy, to learn more about the technologies available to support the projects.

The UK’s offshore oil and gas industry committed, as part of the North Sea Transition Deal (NSTD), to invest in electrification. The NSTD also included a target for the sector to halve production emissions by 2030.

Cross-sector efforts are ongoing to map out a clear regulatory pathway for electrification schemes, which includes work on grid connections.

The NSTA provided input into Crown Estate Scotland’s Innovation and Targeted Oil and Gas Decarbonisation (INTOG) offshore wind leasing round, an example of collaboration in action.

Exclusivity agreements for seven INTOG projects aimed at decarbonising oil and gas platforms had been signed by the end of November 2023, meaning they can move into the development stage.

In the central North Sea, CNOOC International is working on plans to electrify the Buzzard platform, while a consortium of bp, Shell and TotalEnergies is focusing on installations in the Central Graben Area. Electrification options are also being explored West of Shetland.

While industry’s efforts are welcome, urgent action is needed – particularly for brownfield assets – to get projects under way and prevent the emission of as much greenhouse gas as possible. The NSTA is stewarding the sector to deliver, and recently published the draft OGA Plan, which went out for consultation last year.

The draft Plan set out that, for existing assets, operators would need to evaluate the technical and economic case for electrification – and investments must be made to electrify assets where it is reasonable to do so. The NSTA is currently considering the responses to the consultation and will publish its response in the coming months. 

Publication of the draft Plan followed a letter to operators outlining the NSTA’s expectations for investments in low carbon power schemes.

Bill Cattanach OBE, NSTA Head of Supply Chain, said: “Platform electrification is a key step on the road to net zero. The North Sea has long been a testbed for pioneering technologies and right now we need innovative solutions to crack the significant challenge of electrification, cut emissions and accelerate the transition.

This workshop has shone a light on some of the options available for brownfield electrification. Operators and technology suppliers should continue to engage and pursue appropriate solutions. The NSTA will continue to support these efforts and work to establish clear regulatory pathways.” 



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