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Norwegian company envisions wind energy role for oil production

A multilateral group looking at ways to facilitate offshore oil production using wind energy.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Norwegian company envisions wind energy role for oil production
A multilateral research project aims to examine ways to help offshore oil production using wind energy. Photo courtesy of DNV GL.

April 19 (UPI) -- A Norwegian energy company said it was moving to the next phase of testing for a project that would use wind power to facilitate offshore oil production.

DNV GL is leading a joint research project that includes the Norwegian Research Council, the regional subsidiary of Italian energy company ENI and U.S. supermajor Exxon Mobil as its partners. The partnership is testing whether or not wind power could be used to help push water into offshore fields to increase reservoir pressure and stimulate production.

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The first phase of the wind-powered water injection project, which DNV dubbed WIN-WIN, determined that the design could be used as envisioned. The consortium said it was now moving into a second phase to refine and test the electrical systems.

"We aim to instill confidence in the industry that the system and components in this configuration will perform well over time with a variable power input," project manager Johan Slatte said in a statement. "If all tests are successful, a realistic timeline for a first full scale prototype could be around 2020."

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The concept calls for floating wind turbine installations tied to offshore production facilities. The companies behind it said it helps balance a global economy dependent on fossil fuels while addressing some of the concerns associated with carbon emissions and the changing climate.

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The wind-powered concept parallels a solar project envisioned by GlassPoint Solar that could replace natural gas with concentrated solar power for enhanced oil recovery for heavier crude oil grades. According to Glasspoint, solar power could generate as much as 80 percent of the steam necessary to aid in the recovery over heavy oils.

Glasspoint is developing a thermal project in Oman and has a commercial operation in service in California, which counts on enhanced oil recovery for about half of its oil production.

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