Onshore/Offshore Facilities

First Gas Flows at Shell’s New Wind- and Solar-Powered Platform

The platform is Shell's first in the region to be fully supplied by both wind and solar power generation.

Gorek, which achieved first gas in May 2020, is Shell's first fully solar energy-powered platform offshore Malaysia.
Source: Shell.

Powered by wind and solar systems, Shell’s new Timi wellhead platform has produced first gas offshore Malaysia, the company said in a recent announcement.

The London-based supermajor said using renewable energy along with other design modifications resulted in the Timi platform achieving a nearly 60% reduction in weight compared with the conventional gas turbine-powered platforms it uses elsewhere in Malaysia.

The integration of both wind and solar energy in the Timi platform offers several benefits, according to Shell.

It not only shrinks the battery size but also ensures consistent battery charging, especially during the night or adverse weather conditions. This hybrid concept subsequently trims down the overall costs associated with constructing and maintaining such offshore facilities. 

Located almost 250 km north-west of Bintulu, Sarawak, Timi is a sweet gas field that was discovered in 2018. Its new host platform is expected to produce up to 50,000 BOEPD at peak and is transporting gas via an 80-km subsea pipeline connected to an existing production hub.

Building for Wind and Sun

Previous to Timi, Shell has deployed other renewable-powered platforms in the North Sea, and in 2020 commissioned its first solar-powered platform offshore Malaysia.

But as it moved to build its first hybrid-power project in the region, Shell had to take a deeper look at the location’s specific weather patterns.

Changes from prior concepts included locating sensitive power systems such as batteries and control devices in a shaded area under the main deck to mitigate damage from direct sunlight.

Shell also selected higher-efficiency solar panels to achieve a reduced footprint. Accounting for the location’s proximity to the equator, the company installed the panels at a slightly flatter angle than its usual practice—a 5° tilt instead of 15° tilt—to capture more of the available sunlight.

Despite Malaysia's historical lack of offshore wind power development due to its typically low wind speeds, Shell recognized the potential of new advanced turbine technology designs for low-speed operation which are gradually gaining traction in oil and gas facilities across Southeast Asia.

The addition of wind power has also helped slim down the platform’s battery requirements. Shell said the clouds that come with monsoon season usually demand at least 5 days of battery backup for solar-powered units in the region. But monsoon season also brings higher winds which meant Shell was comfortable with installing enough battery backup power for just 4 days.

As a last resort, the Timi platform can also turn to a standby diesel generator which automatically starts if the batteries run low and will recharge them while powering the platform.

Timi is being developed as part of a production-sharing contract with Shell’s local subsidiary as operator holding a 75% interest. The other partners are Petronas Carigali (15%) and Brunei Energy Exploration (10%).

In 2022, Shell reached a final investment decision on the Rosmari-Marjoram area deepwater sour gas fields offshore Sarawak which are planned to be developed with a platform that will rely on solar power.