Analytical Instrumentation

  • How Is Orkney Converting Oil Rigs?

How Is Orkney Converting Oil Rigs?

Dec 10 2019 Read 313 Times

In a bid to convert North Sea platforms into hydrogen producers, the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) has spearheaded a consortium and is seeking additional partners. The focus is currently on the Flotta Oil Terminal, an offshore rig in Orkney. If the hydrogen offshore production (HOP) project goes ahead, the group will construct a test centre to trial different types of technologies, with the objective to deploy them at other offshore rigs.

As a clean fuel with very little environmental impact, hydrogen has emerged as a lucrative opportunity for the oil and gas industry, as it vies to prove its relevance in a net-zero emissions future. Converting the Flotta Oil Terminal into an offshore hydrogen hub could kickstart the HOP revolution and offer serious returns for consortium partners.

High-profile energy giants join forces

While the concept of converting North Sea platforms into hydrogen hubs failed to win millions of pounds in support from a recent UK government funding bid, the OGTC is now exploring other “funding stream opportunities” in conjunction with a consortium. The OGTC is joined by a number of high-profile energy companies, including Aquatera, Cranfield University, Doosan, NOV, EMEC Hydrogen and Repsol Sinopec Resources UK (RSRUK), operator of the Flotta Oil Terminal.

The consortium has already completed conceptual studies exploring several different hydrogen production technologies, including electrolysis powered by offshore wind and methane reforming. The project is now moving towards phase two, which will see the hydrogen test site constructed at the Flotta Oil Terminal. Phase two will also see the consortium carry out pilot studies, as well as fast-track the development of front-end engineering equipment and technologies.

HOPs marketed as solution to net-zero targets

Despite failure to secure additional government funding, the HOP consortium is confident the project will go ahead and is currently seeking out more external partners. For OGTC engineer Hayleigh Pearson, the project marks a significant step forward for the “national challenge” of harnessing a low carbon energy supply and meeting net-zero targets. She also sees the HOP project as a savvy way to repurpose existing oil and gas infrastructure, as well as create British jobs and boost the national economy.

“Significant renewable energy potential exists in Orkney and existing infrastructure already supports our philosophy of reuse and repurpose," says Chris Pearson, marginal developments solution centre manager at the OGTC. “There is demand for hydrogen over a broad range of applications from domestic boilers in our homes to all forms of transportation including cars, heavy haulage and aircraft, through to agriculture and marine industries.”

From converting oil rigs into hydrogen hubs, to transforming hydrogen processing industry (HPI) processes, the energy industry is continually on the search for new ways to innovate. For a glimpse of the next generation of PGC, don't miss 'Eclipse - Welcome to the future of Process Gas Chromatography.'

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