As energy bills continue to soar amid spiralling wholesale gas price hikes, many experts stressed the importance of boosting homegrown supply to slash reliance on imports. The crisis has also laid bare the urgent need to switch to renewable energy, which is normally cheaper and plays a significant role in tackling climate change.
Now, the UK’s homegrown energy supply has received a major boost with the announcement of the first North Sea oil and gas production facilities to be powered by offshore wind.
This is also part of a drive to decarbonise the oil and gas sector, which emits high levels of carbon. It could scupper the UK’s net zero target if these emissions are not slashed.
Cerulean Winds and Ping Petroleum UK struck the deal for the production facility at Ping Petroleum’s Avalon site in the Central North Sea to be mainly powered by a floating offshore wind turbine.
Cerulean Winds and its industrial partners will provide the floating offshore wind turbine that will be hooked up to Ping Petroleum’s Floating Production & Storage Offloading vessel (FPSO)l via a cable.
The FPSO is a 60-metre diameter facility which can store up to 270,000 barrels of oil.
It can also produce up to 30,000 barrels of oil each day.
The turbine will be one of the largest offshore floating wind turbines built in Britain.
The North Sea field is thought to have a total estimated recovery of around 23 million barrels of oil.
The proposed development concept for the plans have already been approved the North Sea Transition Authority (NTSA).
And later this year, a field development plan is set to be submitted.
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Cerulean claims the project will see up to 20,000 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions from the offshore production facility slashed every year.
And the partners are also looking into options to supply excess energy produced from the turbine to other nearby production facilities.
According to Cerulean, the project could drive between £80-100million of investment for the UK’s renewable supply chain.
Cerulean Winds was helped with a Government grant from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
Dan Jackson, founding director of Cerulean Winds, said: “Our partnership marks a significant milestone for the oil and gas industry in creating one of the UK’s first production facilities to be powered by clean, green and affordable offshore wind energy.
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“This innovative and pioneering project will be ‘made in the UK’ and through our delivery partners, we will be realising significant investment in UK fabrication yards and ports.
“This is a critical step in scaling the UK supply chain and building experience and a track-record to exploit future opportunities in the fabrication, assembly and servicing of offshore wind developments.
“This project will demonstrate how we can harness the power of affordable, offshore wind to deliver significant reductions in the carbon emissions of oil and gas production. The UK has a golden opportunity to make our domestic oil and gas production the cleanest in the world – scaling the green economy and creating thousands of jobs in the process.”
Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: “The North Sea oil and gas sector has been a major British industrial success story for decades. We must keep supporting production on the UK Continental Shelf for security of supply as we transition to clean, affordable, homegrown energy”