Premier Oil inks contract to study the use of the PB3 PowerBuoy for offshore decommissioning operations
Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. (OPT) said it has signed an agreement with an international oil and gas company Premier Oil to conduct a three-month study into the feasibility of using OPT’s PB3 PowerBuoy for decommissioning operations in the North Sea.
The PB3 PowerBuoy uses ocean waves to provide clean, reliable and persistent electric power and real-time communications for remote offshore applications.
The contract outlines work that will determine the viability of using the PB3 for monitoring and guarding remaining wells and subsea equipment after removal of a floating production, storage and offloading vessel and prior to subsea decommissioning and/or well plugging and abandonment operations.
The PB3 would primarily be used to provide site monitoring and surveillance to prevent vessel intrusion and disturbance of 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, while also enabling PMO to provide regulators with higher quality information on well conditions, OPT said.
During the study, OPT will work with Premier Oil’s other subsea equipment suppliers to produce a design to integrate their equipment into the PB3. If the feasibility study is successful, the next step could be to prove the solution through a North Sea trial deployment in 2018.
“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,” said George H. Kirby, president and chief executive officer of OPT. “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.”
Pieter voor de Poorte, Subsea Decommissioning Lead, of Premier Oil, said, “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.”
Kirby added, “We believe the Premier Oil project could lead to other applications including pipeline integrity assurance and the charging of underwater unmanned vehicles, as well as Metocean data collection. We also hope to leverage this work to further expand the use of our PB3 PowerBuoy throughout our other service areas including security, defense and telecommunications.”