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Energy / West of Shetland oil and gas companies to explore electrification options

The Clair Ridge platform west of Shetland. Photo: BP

BP, Equinor and Ithaca Energy have announced they have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to explore electrification options for their West of Shetland oil and gas interests.

It follows formation of the West of Shetland Electrification (WoSE) group, acting on behalf of the joint venture partners of the Clair, Rosebank and Cambo fields.

Graham Stuart MP, minister of state for energy and climate change, witnessed the signing of the MoU during a reception earlier today (Tuesday) attended by representatives of the three companies.

He said: “I am delighted to host the signing of today’s agreement between bp, Equinor and Ithaca to explore the possibilities of electrifying oil and gas production in the UK.

“This signing is an important step for industry towards reducing their emissions, while protecting jobs and delivering on the commitments in the landmark North Sea Transition Deal.”

Electrification solutions could include power from shore (potentially from onshore wind) or from offshore wind.

Full electrification would require in the region of 200 megawatts of power.

In order to become some of the first oil and gas developments on the UK continental shelf to be powered by electricity, the project is seeking to overcome technical challenges presented by the remote and deep-water locations of the fields, as well as some commercial, regulatory and consenting hurdles.

The WoSE group’s objective to evaluate options for a hub electrification concept is aligned with the North Sea Transition Authority’s and UK Government’s aim of supporting domestic oil and gas production with the lowest carbon footprint possible.

It also supports the North Sea sector’s ambitions to become a net zero basin and the North Sea Transition Deal agreed between the UK government and the offshore oil and gas industry in March 2021.

A spokesperson for the WoSE group said: “This initiative seeks to evaluate the technical, commercial, and regulatory challenges of various low-carbon power hub solutions to recommend a technically and commercially viable option that can meet the requirements of the three field owners within the respective project timeframes.

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“Continued production from the West of Shetland supports the UK Government’s drive for home-grown oil and gas with a lower carbon footprint while protecting the jobs, skills and supply chain needed to drive the energy transition. Each of the companies in the WoSE group is proud to be playing its part.”

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