Equinor says it is considering the possibility of powering oil and gas platforms on the Norwegian continental shelf with offshore wind energy.
The energy company – formerly known as Statoil – is investigating the development of an 88 MW floating wind farm at the Gullfaks and Snorre oil fields.
It says that the proposed project could represent the first time that an offshore wind farm is directly connected to oil and gas platforms.
Equinor has performed an “extensive study” evaluating which oil and gas installations on the NCS are suited for power supply from a floating offshore wind farm. The Snorre and Gullfaks fields in the Tampen area in the northern North Sea are the best match, it says.
“Reducing the use of gas turbines by supplying platforms with power from floating offshore wind is a challenging and innovative project. It may also facilitate new industrial opportunities for Norway,” said Equinor’s executive vice president for New Energy Solutions, Pal Eitrheim. “The Hywind Tampen project is contributing to further developing floating offshore wind technology, reducing costs and making the solutions more competitive.”
Equinor’s proposed solution is a wind farm consisting of 11 wind turbines based on the firm’s Hywind floating offshore wind concept. The 88 MW facility would meet around 35 per cent of the annual power demand of the Snorre A and B, and Gullfaks A, B and C platforms.
“In order to maintain profitable operations on the Norwegian continental shelf in the long term, it is essential that we do our utmost to further reduce the carbon footprint from our activities,” said Equinor executive vice president for Development and Production Norway, Arne Sigve. “The Tampen project will make a considerable contribution to the industry’s ambition to reduce CO2 emissions on the Norwegian continental shelf by 2.5 million tonnes per year from 2020 to 2030.”
The preliminary capital and development expenditures of the project amount to about NOK 5 billion, and the project aims at further cost reductions. The industry’s NOx fund is providing up to NOK 566 million in investment support for the project.
Equinor and its project partners also plan to apply for funding from a government initiative aimed at supporting innovative offshore wind projects associated with the oil and gas industry.
Equinor is aiming to make an investment decision on the project in 2019.