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Offshore floating wind scheme aims to cut UKCS CO2 emissions by half from 2025
Cerulean Winds has named NOV as the first of its delivery partners for the fabrication of its proposed integrated 200-turbine floating wind and hydrogen development off the coast of Scotland. The arrangement would establish NOV as the exclusive provider of floating and mooring systems in support of the venture, which would have the capacity to accelerate the decarbonisation of oil and gas assets in the UKCS by more than halving by 2025 the 18mn tonnes of CO2 emissions they currently produce.
Targets set out in the recently published North Sea Transition Deal call for a reduction in offshore emissions by 10% by 2025 and 25% by 2027. To achieve that, preparatory work must begin now if those targets are to be met. Failure to do so undermines the objectives of the deal, reports Cerulean Winds. It claims that if it gets the go-ahead, the £10bn project has the capacity to generate enough power to electrify the majority of assets in the UKCS to meet and exceed those targets within the timescale.
However, the timing involved in gaining approvals for the project is critical. Cerulean Winds has submitted a formal request to Marine Scotland for seabed leases and says these must be granted by Q3Q2021 to target financial close in 1Q2022 and to begin construction soon after so that the infrastructure is in place by 2024–2026. The venture is calling on the Scottish and UK governments for their support.
‘The UK has set world leading targets to progress the energy transition, but to achieve them there must be a greater sense of urgency and joined-up thinking,’ says Cerulean Winds’ Founding Director Dan Jackson. ‘If assets don’t reduce their CO2 emissions by the mid-2020s, increased emissions penalties through carbon taxes will see many North Sea fields become uneconomical and move them towards decommissioning by the end of the decade at the cost of thousands of jobs.’
He continues: ‘That would seriously compromise the UK oil and gas industry’s role in homegrown energy security. It must remain a vital element in the transition journey for decades to come, but emissions have to be cut significantly to make the production greener. This project will accelerate that process enabling assets to not only cut their emissions in line with targets but to greatly exceed them. There are no other proposals currently in the pipeline with the scale and capacity to deliver that result. But to achieve it, the process must begin now, which is why a favourable decision on seabed leases by 3Q2021 is essential.’
The proposed development involves over 200 of the largest floating turbines at sites West of Shetland and in the Central North Sea with 3 GWh of capacity, feeding power to the offshore facilities and some 1.5 GWh of excess power to onshore green hydrogen plants. Aiming to electrify the majority of current UKCS assets as well as future production potential from 2024 to reduce emissions well ahead of abatement targets, the project is targeting 100% availability of green power to offshore platforms, at a price below current gas turbine generation, through a self-sustained scheme with no upfront cost to operators. The development is also looking to develop green hydrogen at scale and sees £1bn hydrogen export potential.
Illustration of a floating wind turbine
Photo: Cerulean Winds