OPT, Premier Oil to probe wave technology for decom ops

Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) has signed an agreement with oil and gas company Premier Oil to study the feasibility of using its wave energy technology for decommissioning operations in the North Sea.

The contract outlines work that will determine the viability of using OPT’s PB3 PowerBuoy 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 US-based wave energy developer OPT said.

The study will also evaluate the PB3’s ability to monitor well pressures and temperatures by connecting to subsea control modules.

The 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 Premier Oil to provide regulators with higher quality information on well conditions, OPT said.

George Kirby, President and Chief Executive Officer of OPT, said: “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.”

During the study, OPT will work closely 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, according to OPT.

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. It also opens up potential future applications for intelligent, remotely controlled small field developments.”

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