The Anonymous Widower

Neptune Energy, Ørsted And Goal7 Explore Powering Integrated Energy Hubs With Offshore Wind

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Neptune Energy.

These four paragraphs outline the agreement.

Neptune Energy today announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ørsted and Goal7 to explore powering new integrated energy hubs in the UK North Sea with offshore wind-generated electricity.

Integrated energy hubs have the potential to combine multiple energy systems, including existing oil and gas production assets, carbon storage and hydrogen production facilities. They could extend the life of producing fields and support the economic case for electrification with renewable energy, to keep carbon emissions low.

The agreement will see the companies examine the potential to supply renewable electricity from Ørsted’s Hornsea offshore windfarm projects to power future Neptune-operated hubs in the UK North Sea.

Goal7 will provide project management support and technical input.

Note.

  1. Neptune Energy has three oil and gas fields in the UK North Sea; Cygnus (operational), Isabella (exploration) and Seagull (development)
  2. Gas from Cygnus comes ashore at the Bacton Gas Terminal.
  3. Ørsted owns the Hornsea wind farm, which when fully developed will have a capacity of around 6.5 GW.
  4. Cygnus and Hornsea could be not much further than 50 km apart.
  5. Seagull and Isabella are further to the North and East of Aberdeen.
  6. Ørsted has an interest in the Broadshore wind farm, which was numbered 8 in the ScotWind Leasing round.

These are my thoughts.

The Cygnus Gas Field And The Hornsea Wind Farm

This could be like one of those stories where boy meets the girl next door and they hit it off from the first day.

This page on the Neptune web site says this about the Cygnus gas field.

The biggest natural gas discovery in the southern North Sea in over 30 years is now the largest single producing gas field in the UK, typically exporting over 250 million standard cubic feet of gas daily. Cygnus contributes six per cent of UK gas demand, supplying energy to the equivalent of 1.5 million UK homes. It has a field life of over 20 years.

Two drilling centres target ten wells. Cygnus Alpha consists of three bridge-linked platforms: a wellhead drilling centre, a processing/utilities unit and living quarters/central control room. Cygnus Bravo, an unmanned satellite platform, is approximately seven kilometres northwest of Cygnus Alpha.

In 2022, we plan to drill two new production wells at Cygnus, with the first of these expected to come onstream in 4Q. The second well is due to be drilled in the fourth quarter and is expected onstream in the first quarter of 2023, with both wells helping to maintain production from the field and offset natural decline.

Gas is exported via a 55 km pipeline. Cygnus connects via the Esmond Transmission System (ETS) pipeline to the gas-treatment terminal at Bacton, Norfolk. Neptune Energy has a 25% minority interest in ETS.

Note.

  1. Cygnus with a twenty year life could be one of the ways that we bridge the gap until we have the two Cs (Hinckley Point and Sizewell) and a few tens of offshore wind gigawatts online.
  2. The two extra wells at Cygnus will help bridge the gap.
  3. The gas field has a pipeline to Bacton.

So what can the gas field and the wind farm, do for each other?

Hornsea Can Supply The Power Needs Of Cygnus

Typically, ten percent of the gas extracted from the wells connected to a gas platform, will be converted into electricity using one or more gas-turbine engines; which will then be used to power the platform.

So, if electricity from the Hornsea wind farm, is used to power the platform, there are two benefits.

  • More gas will be sent through the pipeline to Bacton.
  • Less carbon dioxide will be emitted in recovering the gas.

Effectively, electricity has been turned into gas.

Electricity Can Be Stored On The Sea-Bed

The Hornsea One wind farm has an area in the order of 150 square miles and it is only one wind farm of four, that make up the Hornsea wind farm.

I would argue that there is plenty of space between the turbines and the wells of the Cygnus gas field to install some form of zero-carbon underwater battery to store electricity.

But does this technology exist?

Not yet! But in UK Cleantech Consortium Awarded Funding For Energy Storage Technology Integrated With Floating Wind, I described a technique called Marine Pumped Hydro, which is being developed by the STORE Consortium.

  • Energy is stored as pressurised water in 3D-printed hollow concrete spheres fitted with a hydraulic turbine and pump.
  • The spheres sit on the sea-bed.
  • This page on the STORE Consortium web site, describes the technology in detail.
  • The technology is has all been used before, but not together.

I think it is excellent technology and the UK government has backed it with £150,000 of taxpayers’ money.

I also believe that Marine Pumped Hydro or something like it, could be the solution to the intermittency of wind farms.

Excess Electricity Can Be Converted Into Hydrogen

Any spare electricity from the wind farm can drive an electrolyser to convert it into hydrogen.

The electrolyser could be mounted on one of the Cygnus platforms, or it could even float.

The hydrogen produced would be blended with the gas and sent to Bacton.

Carbon Dioxide Can Be Stored In The Depleted Cygnus Gas Field

As the gas field empties of natural gas, the gas pipes to the Cygnus gas field can be reversed and used to bring carbon dioxide to the gas field to be stored.

The Cygnus gas field has gone full circle from providing gas to storing the same amount of carbon that the gas has produced in its use.

These are two paragraphs from the press release.

Neptune Energy’s Director of New Energy, Pierre Girard, said: “The development of integrated energy hubs is an important part of Neptune’s strategy to store more carbon than is emitted from our operations and the use of our sold products by 2030.

“Neptune has submitted three applications under the recent Carbon Dioxide Appraisal and Storage Licensing Round, and securing the licences would enable us to develop future proposals for integrated energy hubs in the UK North Sea.

I can envisage a large gas-fired power-station with carbon capture being built in Norfolk, which will do the following.

  • Take a supply of natural gas from the Cygnus gas field via the Bacton gas terminal.
  • Convert the hydrogen in the gas into electricity.
  • Convert the carbon in the gas into carbon dioxide.
  • Store the carbon dioxide in the Cygnus gas field via Bacton.
  • I also suspect, that if a Norfolk farmer, manufacturer or entrepreneur has a use for thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide, they would be welcomed with open arms.

Would the ultra-greens of this world, accept this power station as zero-carbon?

The Isabella And Seagull Gas Fields And The Broadshore Wind Farm

Could a similar set of projects be applied to the Isabella and Seagull gas fields, using the Broadshore wind farm?

I don’t see why not and they could work with the Peterhead power stations.

December 30, 2022 - Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Is the ultimate answer to build the power stations at the gas fields with carbon capture and pump that gas back into the field so it pushes out the methane?

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | December 31, 2022 | Reply

    • I feel that scientists will find so many sensible uses for carbon dioxide, that we’ll need to build factories and greenhouses around the power stations.

      But I feel that I’ve read somewhere, that carbon dioxide is used to maximise well production.

      Would there be a manpower logistics problem, if gas fired power stations were fifty miles offshore?

      Comment by AnonW | December 31, 2022 | Reply


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