Energy Conversion and Management, Vol.186, 556-569, 2019
Electricity supply to offshore oil and gas platforms from renewable ocean wave energy: Overview and case study analysis
Offshore oil and gas platforms have very high-power demands, being the electric power supply usually provided by gas turbines operating with natural gas extracted from the field. Since fields are ageing, the amount of gas available for electric power production is declining. One common alternative is to feed those gas turbines with fuel diesel, which is an expensive solution at remote locations and has a high carbon footprint. Since oil and gas platforms often operate in deep waters and are exposed to energetic wave climates, ocean wave energy can be used in their electrification. Even though wave energy is not yet cost competitive for suppling onshore grids, power supplying remote oil and gas platforms might be the niche market enabler to launch commercially the sector, due to the high cost of the electricity produced in those offshore facilities and the abundance of wave resource at most of their locations. This paper proposes a new techno-economic model to assess and scale wave energy converters to match the local wave climate at their deployment site, while maximizing the income of the wave farm and accounting for their life cycle costs. At the same time, the economic feasibility of providing electricity from ocean waves to remote offshore oil and gas facilities is analysed using as case study an oil and gas platform in operation at the North Sea. Seven wave energy converters were assessed at the case study site and it was proved that its hydrodynamic performance is not directly linked to its economics attractiveness. The values of the levelized cost of energy ranged from 188 to 471 (Sic)/MWh and were benchmarked against reference values. The feasibility of providing electricity from waves to offshore oil and gas facilities is also demonstrated and the exploration of this untapped market advocated.