Oil & Gas decommissioning Power Buoy could be useful in renewables industry

The buoy supports an extended heave plate to control the buoy motions and inside the buoy is a float that moves up and down with the wave motion The buoy supports an extended heave plate to control the buoy motions and inside the buoy is a float that moves up and down with the wave motion

US company Ocean Power Technologies has signed an agreement with the British oil company Premier Oil to study the feasibility of using the PB3 Power Buoy for decommissioning operations in the North Sea. The system could also have application in the wind and wave power generation sectors.

The contract outlines work that will determine the viability of using the PB3 for both monitoring and guarding legacy wells and subsea equipment left after the removal of a floating production, storage and offloading vessel or prior to subsea decommissioning and/or well plugging & abandonment operations.

The PB3 would primarily be used to provide site monitoring and surveillance designed to prevent vessel intrusion and any disturbance of the remaining subsea infrastructure.  The study will also evaluate the PB3’s ability to monitor well pressures and temperatures by connecting to subsea control modules. This added functionality could allow more precise planning and prioritization of plugging and abandonment activities by giving accurate real-time information on well integrity.

George H. Kirby, President of OPT, said, “We are excited about this new relationship and look forward to helping Premier Oil further enhance its operations.  We believe our PowerBuoy could enable Premier Oil and other Operators to enhance the decommissioning planning process and at the same time ensure the safety of other users of the sea. The PB3 could potentially serve as an alternative to an on-site guard vessel, aiming to improve health, safety and environmental statistics and reducing operational costs while incorporating clean power into their offshore operations.” If the trial is successful the next step could be to prove the solution through a North Sea trial deployment in this year.

The PB3 PowerBuoy uses the movement of ocean waves to provide clean, reliable electric power. The buoy supports an extended heave plate to control the buoy motions and inside the buoy is a float that moves up and down with the wave motion. This vertical movement is converted into a rotary action that drives the generator. The PB3 can produce up to 3 kW enough to power a wide range of instruments including radar and a larger version the PB15 is under development that will produce up to 15 kW.

Pieter voor de Poorte, the Subsea Decommissioning Lead of Premier Oil commented, “This technology aligns with our goals of increasing safety, efficiency and operational effectiveness through the development and utilization of the most advanced technologies that support our oil and gas activities.  The PowerBuoy system will deliver on all these aspects and offer a step change in our decommissioning planning processes.  It also opens up potential future applications for intelligent, remotely controlled small field developments,”

By Dag Pike

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