image showing decline of CO2

Decarbonising Deepwater Production at MCEDD London

It’s been a long time, so it was a refreshing change to start in-person attendance at conferences again after two years of virtual events. Meeting industry colleagues face to face at the MCE Deepwater Development conference in London last week has allowed us as an industry to make some real progress on the burning topics around decarbonisation of deepwater production. So what was achieved at MCE?

The technical programme was excellent and there was a huge variety of interesting presentations and panel discussions that covered a range of different approaches to decarbonisation from operator, installer, classification society, academic, and supplier perspectives. However, there were some broad themes on the approaches and technologies that will help achieve decarbonisation as quickly as possible.

1. Electrification

Electrification got much airtime. Whether this is the electrification of individual systems or entire projects, and whether this is done through batteries, green energy, or energy from onshore generation, it was clear that there are a lot of exciting innovations being developed. Several case studies which were presented showed what has already been achieved on real projects. Norway is leading the way making big savings offshore in CO2 emissions through electrification from shore (equivalent to 1 million cars worth of CO2 planned). All-electric battery-powered trees and pumps also caught the audience’s attention. It is exciting that technology to electrify oil and gas already exists and is currently in use.

2. Floating Wind

Floating wind promises to be a key technology to support decarbonisation. However, the floating wind sessions highlighted that although floating wind technology is now in the water and real, scaling this up to commercial projects or to power oil and gas projects is challenging and still needs further innovation and new equipment. We learned that currently there isn’t a single installation vessel capable of installing a 15MW turbine whose blades are too large to transport on shore. We learned that it isn’t ‘plug and play’ to install oil and gas mooring systems onto floating wind hulls. Having said that, we also learned that although challenges exist, progress is being made in storing wind energy through battery and subsea hydrogen storage. Again, Norway leads the way with Tampen, the first floating wind farm to power offshore oil and gas assets, under construction. The conference showed that the challenges are understood and solutions are being investigated which will further extend the possibilities with the floating wind.

3. Efficiency

Efficiency also had its place in supporting decarbonisation. We heard about the collaboration behind the LEAP FPSO and the benefits being achieved by subsea compression for the Ormen Lange gas field in the Norwegian Sea, but also how robotic solutions and digital technologies can all improve the efficiency of deepwater activities and reduce carbon emissions. We also heard how thermoplastic composite pipe technology from Strohm can provide environmentally efficient solutions.

4. Carbon Capture

Carbon capture had less airtime than other topics but was still recognised in the conference sessions as having a role to play. We heard many times how other decarbonisation solutions achieved percentage reductions in CO2 of 30-60% even when a range of technologies are used in combination. Carbon capture offers a solution to capture CO2 that is still produced offshore and the presentations focused on the regulatory factors and reuse of existing pipelines to facilitate injection into the ground.

The conference successfully brought together the industry in a way that just hasn’t been possible in recent times. But more importantly, the content and discussions showed that solutions to decarbonise deepwater energy production are being realised and that collaboration, innovation and strong motivation are present to help us achieve even more. It will be interesting to hear how things have progressed at MCE 2023.

To learn more about what 2H is doing in the decarbonisation space, take a look at our MCEDD 2022 presentations:

Alex Rimmer

Alex Rimmer, Director, London

Alex has 18 years’ experience in the design, analysis and delivery of shallow and deep water production, completion and drilling riser systems. Special areas of expertise include flexible, rigid and hybrid riser systems, subsea and surface wellhead systems, and minimum facility platforms. In the past five years, Alex has been involved in developing offshore renewable systems, with a particular focus on floating wind and wave energy converters.