Renewable energy to power Norwegian gas platforms

15 June 2018 (Last Updated June 15th, 2018 10:52)

Norwegian energy company Equinor, alongside its partners, is looking to supply power from renewable land sources to three platforms currently powered by gas turbines.

Renewable energy to power Norwegian gas platforms
The Sleipner field Credit: Equinor

Norwegian energy company Equinor, alongside its partners, is looking to supply power from renewable land sources to three platforms currently powered by gas turbines.

The platforms under consideration are Troll C and the Sleipner field centre, the latter of which includes the Gudrun tie-in platform in the North Sea. The sites were identified as the most suitable electrification candidates in a mapping study Equinor made of own-operated Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) fields.

The scheme will seek to utilise and expand existing land infrastructure to power the sites by renewable energy sources such as offshore wind and solar.

Equinor executive vice-president for the NCS Arne Sigve Nylund said the company’s motivation was to “maintain [their] position as one of the world’s most carbon-efficient oil and gas producers”.

Indeed, the move could cut CO2 emissions from Troll C and the Sleipner area by more than 600,000t per year.

Platform electrification of Troll C alone has a CO2 emission reduction potential of 365,000t per year, while electrification of the Sleipner field centre and Gudrun has the potential to reduce emissions by 250,000t per year.

Electrification of these platforms could also lead to annual NOx emission reductions of around 2,500t.

Nyland also said there is “the potential for cutting more than 1.3 million tonnes (Mt) of CO2 in total per year”, if the proposed scheme is seen in combination with reductions achieved by choosing land-based power supply for the Johan Sverdrup, Gina Krog and Martin Linge oil and gas fields. This number is equivalent to the annual emissions from more than 650,000 cars.

Often, the adoption of renewable energy by offshore oil and gas sites proves a difficult task as the remote nature of many installations means it’s not possible to connect them to a land-based power supply.

However, Troll C and the Sleipner field centre were deemed suitable as they can use existing power supply infrastructure, both being in areas that already receive power from land.

Equinor has said it plans to tie Troll C to the same power solution used by the Troll A gas platform by a power cable from the Kollsnes plant by Bergen. The Troll A platform has been powered by land sources since it came on-stream in 1996.

Extending the power supply from the Gina Krog field is also under consideration by Equinor, with the aim of connecting the Sleipner field centre and the Gudrun platform to the land-based power supply.

The plans come as part of Equinor’s attempts to significantly reduce its carbon emissions. Last year, the company achieved its target of reducing annual NCS CO2 emissions by 1.2Mt, almost three years ahead of schedule. Following the success Equinor raised its goal, seeking to reduce CO2 emissions from its offshore operations by a further 2Mt per year by 2030.