Lifetime of oil and gas reserves to be extended through wave energy

Cameron McNatt in Rosyth

A groundbreaking pilot project could take place in UK waters within two years, which would see wave energy being used to tap new reserves from well-used oil and gas infrastructure.

The joint industry plan involves wave energy specialists Mocean Energy and offshore energy enabler Aker Solutions Subsea, who have committed to exploring how locally generated wave energy can extend the lifetime of existing oil and gas hubs by accessing stranded reserves together.

 The two companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) pledging to combine their expertise in wave energy conversion and subsea integrated solutions to develop a reliable, cost-effective means of powering subsea infrastructure.

 The MoU includes undertaking feasibility, front-end engineering and design and concept studies for wave-powered tiebacks. 

The studies will aim to identify the most economically and environmentally efficient solutions to develop marginal reserves, especially in combination with energy storage. 

 Using wave energy and subsea energy storage to tie back stranded reserves could extend the life of existing subsea production assets, reducing the need for new oilfield developments.

 Morten Pedersen, SVP systems and products, of Aker Solutions, said: “Today there are remote, marginal pockets within aging fields that could potentially be powered with this technology at a lower lifetime cost than installing new umbilical cables. 

“If our pilot project proves feasible, this solution will benefit mature regions such as UKCS and NCS (the UK and Norwegian continental shelves), enabling operators to maximise economic extraction from declining brownfields and reduce the need for new oil and gas development, a vital step in the transition to net zero. 

“This collaboration could be highly beneficial for the industry globally.”

Mocean Energy is already a participant in a collaborative industry initiative — Renewables for Subsea Power — which is currently proving the concept of powering subsea equipment with wave power and intelligent subsea energy storage.   

The £2m initiative, which is currently operational in Orkney, has connected Mocean Energy’s Blue X wave energy converter with a Halo underwater battery developed by Aberdeen intelligent energy management specialists, Verlume.

Cameron McNatt, managing director of Mocean Energy said: “We are delighted to be working with Aker Solutions, a recognised industry leader in subsea technology and decarbonization. 

"Our collaboration will provide customers with a complete solution to their power and communications needs that is reliable and low carbon.”

The partners will target the development of at least one concept study into a pilot project at sea, through various routes, including multi-customer joint industry projects. 

Aker Solutions will supply the complete ocean-power system — including overall subsea system integration, system engineering support and subsea equipment plans. 

Mocean Energy will supply the wave energy technology, wave-energy specific project engineering and energy analysis for remote power delivery. 

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