DNV GL urges floating wind-oil extraction prototype development

Technical advisory body DNV GL has called for development of a prototype system in which floating wind turbines are used to pump water into oil reserves and maximise extraction.

Floating wind turbines in closer proximity to oil wells could increase extraction, DNV GL believes
Floating wind turbines in closer proximity to oil wells could increase extraction, DNV GL believes

It claims that two joint industry projects have demonstrated that its wind-power water injection (Win Win) concept is both cost-efficient and technically feasible.

A study carried out between 2015 and 2016 found that using power generated from floating turbines to increase extraction is "technically feasible, capable of meeting performance targets and may offer a cost-competitive alternative to conventional solutions".

More recently, DNV GL also established the proof of concept using physical model tests at its laboratory in Arnhem, the Netherlands, between early 2017 and late 2018.

The advisory body believes the concept of using wind power to maximise oil extraction is now ready for prototype development.

"Wind power working for oil and gas, and oil and gas working for wind power, not only captures the imagination in these times of transition, but makes a lot of business sense. The question, now, is who is going to take this concept into physical reality?" said Remi Eriksen, DNV GL CEO.

Water injection is often used to further exploit oil reserves, DNV GL explained.

But the high costs and high power consumption associated with large gas or diesel generators and complicated subsea infrastructure can often inhibit this process.

Using floating wind turbines in closer proximity to the oil wells, however, would allow the injection system to operate independently and more efficiently, the certification body added.

Project director Johan Sandberg added: "As operators know too well, conventional water injection is expensive, with the power plant occupying valuable deck space and expensive flowlines running to the injection site.

"With Win Win, the power is supplied in situ at potentially much lower cost, with increased flexibility and without emissions."

DNV GL stated it would not own or operate a prototype, but would be on hand to manage, coordinate and document the project activities.

"From the start, this project has always had a commercial focus. Potentially substantial rewards await a first mover willing to build a prototype to increase technology readiness and optimise system integration," Sandberg added.

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