Oil Majors Seek Sustainable Power for North Sea Projects
North Sea operators BP, Shell, and Total have begun an effort to fuel their platforms using sustainable power sources through a connection with Norway’s onshore power grid, which is driven almost wholly by renewable energy.
According to a letter sent by BP to the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, the majors propose a connection to the grid by a 300-km-long subsea cable that would power BP’s Eastern Trough Area Project, Shell’s Shearwater development, and Total’s Elgin-Franklin development.
The letter indicated that the cable could be operational by 2023. BP, which has stated a goal of achieving a net-zero emissions status by 2050, said that the installations would require 100–200 MW in power capacity from the grid. Required investments were estimated at $760 to $977 million.
While several Norwegian platforms on the continental shelf are connected to the onshore grid, the letter marks the first such effort on behalf of foreign-operated platforms. The proposal follows an announcement last December that Norwegian energy firm BKK planned to build an offshore power grid in the North Sea in a $2-billion project to help the country's industry cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The initiatives echo an industrywide search for more-sustainable power sources and a reduction in carbon emissions driven by global concerns about climate change.