North Sea producers BP, Equinor and Ithaca Energy on Tuesday signed an agreement to study the electrification of oil and gasoffshore production facilities in West of Shetland area.
The initiative focuses on three of the North Sea’s largest fields – the BP-operated Clair field, and the Equinor-operated Rosebank and Ithaca-operated Cambo, two large discoveries that are earmarked for development.
Representatives of the three companies signed a memorandum of understanding to “explore electrification options for their West of Shetland oil and gas interests,” according to a joint statement.
Electrifying offshore platforms would mark an important step towards reaching Britain’s targets to slash greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades.
But electrifying the West of Shetland region would be complex and expensive due to rough weather conditions and the platforms’ long distance from shore.
Electrification could involve accessing power from shore, possibly using onshore wind, or from offshore wind. Full electrification of the fields would require around 200 megawatts of power, according to the statement.
The future of North Sea oil and gas production was dealt a blow after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government increased a windfall tax on oil and gas producers, raising total taxes the sector pays in Britain to 75%, one of the highest rates in the world.