Offshore Floating Wind Turbines - Green Electricity for O&G Platforms

Izleeena Md Iqbar, Technology Manager, Petronas
The vastness of free space offshore and its abundance of energy resources have long attracted significant investment in the sector. The majority of offshore platform developments have strong roots in the oil and gas industry where the energy density in terms of hydrocarbon production per platform has generally been justifiably high. The offshore industry has evolved around the cost structures and supply chain ecosystem at a level afforded by the Return on Investment from extracting seabed hydrocarbon. Recently, the rise of awareness on climate change has imparted positive pressure for the world to pivot towards a cleaner energy mix, in part manifested via expansion into offshore renewable energies such as offshore wind farms for power-to-grid.

Generally, the economics of offshore wind turbines are more challenging than their oil and gas counterparts as they are not supported by often lucrative sales of oil and/or gas. This is challenged further when a small number of wind turbines are deployed to power remote oil and gas development as oil companies make the energy transition at their producing assets. There is hence a need for significant cost reductions in terms of CAPEX, OPEX and ABEX for offshore wind turbines to be techno-economically viable for such applications.

This paper presents the development of a scalable, self-contained and low cost floating wind turbine solution that has been developed during a technology partnership between GICON and PETRONAS to provide power for operations to offshore oil and gas assets. A case study on potential reductions in CO2 emissions from offshore hydrocarbon production is also presented. Additionally, the working concept of a microgrid that has been assimilated with existing brownfield conventional offshore power production will be highlighted.