Clean energy to power oil and gas rigs?

Oil rigs could be powered by renewable energy and battery power in the near future. The industry’s regulator, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), is planning to build closer ties between the oil producers and renewable energy developers.

This £900,000 project is said to run for a year until spring 2020, and will aid the North Sea in playing its part in the low carbon energy transition. The new proposals will look at the range of energy sources and storage solutions needed for a low carbon economy, including powering rigs via nearby wind farms, utilising existing gas pipelines for transporting carbon emissions to submerged storage caverns and producing and storing clean-burning hydrogen from offshore rigs’ natural gas reserves.

OGA has said it is working with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, The Crown Estate, Ofgem and other partners to check for possible technical and regulatory opportunities.

OGA Chief Executive Dr Andy Samuel said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to advance the energy transition agenda, looking at practical steps that can be taken and how we as regulators can support that. Oil and gas will be required to power our economy and heat our homes for the foreseeable future but to me it is clear there are great opportunities now to more closely link up all forms of offshore energy production to generate power more cleanly and efficiently.”

The Crown Estate head of energy development Will Apps said: “As managers of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, we are pleased to be working with the Oil & Gas Authority and other partners to support this project, helping to pave the way for greater market innovation in the critical area of energy integration, and support the UK’s ongoing transition to a low carbon energy mix.”