The imperative to reduce emissions is driven by the North Sea Transition Deal agreed between industry and the government in March of 2021. As a result, the North Sea Transition Authority launched "The Decarbonisation competition for the electrification of offshore oil and gas installations", working with BEIS, to fund technical and commercial studies on offshore electrification in the UK North Sea. With the benefit of this support, the Orcadian consortium has developed an off-grid, or microgrid, approach to platform electrification.
The microgrid solution proposed by Orcadian delivers a practical and achievable solution, which will enable Operators to exceed the emission reduction commitments outlined in the North Sea Transition Deal. The key benefits of the Orcadian solution are:
- Emissions reductions - approaching an 80% reduction for offshore facilities.
- Lower costs - saving almost $2 billion and more than 25% cheaper than the power from the UK grid option, when capital and ten years of operating costs are included, for a subset of platforms.
- A practical way for operators to meet their North Sea Transition Deal commitments in terms of both the emission reduction targets and timeframe.
- Deliverable quickly, and in phases, which allows a staged deployment with a steadily improving reduction in emissions.
- Opportunities for re-use or redeployment - provides legacy infrastructure for the grid and/or other users.
This study set out to design and describe a viable, reliable, off-grid option for powering North Sea platforms. We believe the scenario we describe can be more effective and cost substantially less than a cable from shore: it will deliver an earlier, deeper cut to emissions and may enable mature fields to keep producing longer, maximising recovery, and enhancing energy security.
We have included a comparison of the costs of the microgrid solution we propose, with a power from shore option for a cluster of Central Graben fields. However, we appreciate that making a direct comparison is difficult given the limited information we have on those platforms operations.