Group sets aims for gas rejuvenation
- Credit: Archant
Companies tapping gas from the Southern North Sea off Norfolk and Suffolk could use wind farm infrastructure to make use of low-pressure wells which were previously deemed unviable.
The idea is one of three that will be examined by the new Rejuvenation Special Interest Group set up to find ways of getting energy from reserves that were too tricky and expensive to exploit economically.
The initiative has been launched by the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA), and Oil & Gas UK.
Under the idea – known as gas-to-wire – gas from low-pressure wells would be extracted and turned into electricity offshore, before being returned to land via wind-farm cabling. The low pressure in the wells prevents the gas being pumped back on shore as normal.
The group also wants to explore other ways of collaborating with renewables operators, by sharing resources such as boats and helicopters,
Other priorities are finding cost reductions in the extraction of 'tight gas' – that which is expensive to extract and hard to reach – and bringing into line the practical differences between the Dutch and UK members of the group, including cost bases and working practices.
EEEGR chief executive Simon Gray said: 'The meeting exceeded our expectations, with three work streams which will make a difference quite quickly.'
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OGA area manager Eric Marston said that collaboration was key to the future of the SNS, adding: 'There is a perception the SNS is played out, but there is a lot of potential – though it is difficult to access.'
After 40 years of operation, the Southern North Sea is now at a pivotal phase because of a mix of decreasing resources, ageing infrastructure, and falling gas prices.
The SIG will meet again in February to discuss progress, and will report to EEEGR's annual SNS conference at the Norfolk Showground, which will be based around the theme of 'transition'.
The session, held at EEEGR head office in Great Yarmouth, heard there were still significant reserves lying beneath the SNS seabed stretching from Teeside to Norfolk – another 3.7 trillion cubic feet (tcf) from existing fields and a further 5tcf from further drilling in current sites combined with undeveloped fields.
Members of the SIG group are Shell, Oranje-Nassau Energie, Premier Oil, ENGIE E&P UK, Centrica, ODE, Aker Solutions, James Fisher & Sons, DNVGL, Sembmarine SLP, Baker Hughes, Lloyds Register, Fraser Well Management, Acteon, SSE and Statoil.