OGA Launches Decarbonization Competition

OGA Launches Decarbonization Competition
The UK Oil and Gas Authority has launched a $1.3 million competition to help decarbonize offshore oil and gas production.

The UK Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has announced that it has launched a $1.3 million (GBP 1 million) competition to help decarbonize offshore oil and gas production.

The competition is designed to advance the widespread electrification of offshore installations on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), which are powered by gas or diesel, the OGA noted. The organization is looking for studies that will bring electrification projects a step closer to reality, with winning ideas set to be allocated a share of the prize fund to complete proposed work by March 31, 2022.

The OGA highlighted that the competition follows the UK government’s commitment in the North Sea Transition Deal to support funding for early-stage offshore electrification studies by the end of 2021. Key results from the studies will be published for others to benefit from and build on the ideas generated, the OGA said.

An information webinar to illustrate the initiative and answer industry questions is being organized for October 4. Invites will be sent by September 30 to individuals registering on the OGA site who have downloaded the competition information documents.

“Electrification of oil and gas installations is a vital part of industry’s license to operate and to meet its North Sea Transition Deal emissions reduction targets,” OGA Chief Executive Andy Samuel said in an organization statement.

“This is also a big opportunity for industry to support offshore wind expansion, with lasting infrastructure that will provide benefits beyond oil and gas, long into the future,” he added in the statement.

Recently appointed Energy & Climate Change Minister Greg Hands said, “through our landmark North Sea Transition Deal, we are supporting the UK’s oil and gas industry in the transition to a lower carbon future”.

“This GBP 1 million [$1.3 million] investment for electrification projects demonstrates how we are delivering on these commitments, enabling the industry to develop the infrastructure it needs to decarbonize North Sea production,” he added.

“Not only will this help the oil and gas sector to reduce their emissions, this can also support new offshore wind capacity to help grow the UK’s offshore wind sector, supporting the shift to green technology and renewable energy in the UK,” Hands went on to say.

Power Generation Emissions

According to the OGA, power generation accounts for around two thirds of oil and gas production emissions. It is anticipated that powering installations using electricity, either from a cable to the shore or from a nearby windfarm, could lead to 2-3 million tons per annum of CO2 emissions reductions, the OGA highlighted, adding that this is equivalent to the annual carbon emissions from households in a city the size of Liverpool.

The OGA noted that it has been actively progressing electrification opportunities in areas including the Central North Sea and West of Shetland, bringing operators together, hosting workshops with the power sector and pressing operators for more pace on project delivery. The organization says that platform electrification is a key component of its vision for an integrated energy basin.

The North Sea Transition Deal, which was announced back in March, commits the oil and gas industry to drive down emissions reduction targets to achieve cleaner production. This includes a 10 percent reduction by 2025, a 25 percent reduction by 2027, a 50 percent reduction by 2030 and net zero by 2050. In a statement published at the time, the UK government vowed that high-skilled oil and gas workers and the supply chain would not be left behind in the transition to a low carbon future.

The OGA notes on its website that it is fully committed to enabling the achievement of the UK government's commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Ahead of COP26 in 2021, the OGA has challenged the offshore oil and gas industry to perform several actions, including committing to clear measurable greenhouse gas targets, showing progress on carbon capture and storage and demonstrating measurable progress on energy integration opportunities.

According to its website, the OGA’s role is to work with the industry and government on economic recovery of the UK’s oil and gas resources, while also supporting the move to net zero carbon by 2050. The OGA is largely funded by an industry levy introduced in October 2015.

To contact the author, email andreas.exarheas@rigzone.com

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