Diamond Offshore taking steps to unlock energy in more sustainable manner
As climate change woes propel the energy transition to low-carbon and green sources forward, Diamond Offshore Drilling, an offshore drilling contractor, reveals the progress it made on its sustainability quest to curb its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while working to meet global energy demand.
Within its sustainability report for 2022, Diamond Offshore reflects on its progress in “responsibly unlocking energy and contributing to a world in which affordable energy is delivered safely from the deepest waters.” Despite the focus on climate risks and the need to move towards a more sustainable energy supply, the offshore drilling player explains that there will be “a foreseeable continuing need for a significant hydrocarbon supply during the lengthy transition,” as the world progresses towards reducing GHG emissions to limit the impacts of climate change.
In line with this, the company is seeking to support hydrocarbon development in the most responsible manner possible, as it believes that its business of delivering hydrocarbon wells contributes to global demand for secure and affordable energy as part of the mix of energy supply during the transition towards sustainable energy.
Bernie Wolford, Diamond Offshore’s President and CEO, commented: “I believe sustainability is central to our core values and behaviours that are critical for our continued success. We recognise that the decisions we make can leave a lasting impact on the world. It is our responsibility, as a leader in the offshore market, to leave future generations with a world better than we found it.”
Diamond Offshore highlights the importance of finding the balance between ensuring energy security and accelerating energy transition, as its clients will look to prioritise the lowest cost and least carbon-intensive sources of hydrocarbons. As a result, the firm focuses on deepwater oil and gas developments, since it considers these to have one of the lowest carbon intensities per boe produced when compared to onshore developments.
“As we embark on our journey through the next energy era, we reaffirm our commitments to the health and safety of our workers, operational excellence, and responsibility to the environment. We are enhancing Diamond’s culture and taking action to improve our energy efficiency while supporting energy security. The preparations we make today will pave the way to addressing the challenges of tomorrow,” underlined Wolford.
In lieu of its purpose to “responsibly unlock energy,” the offshore drilling giant recently instituted an energy policy, confirming its long-term commitment to enhance energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions from its operations to minimise its impact on the environment. The firm is of the opinion that reducing GHG emissions starts with energy efficiency improvements and a continual drive to use less energy and conduct operations in the most efficient manner possible.
The rig owner is adamant that the most significant action it can take in the near term is to operate its rigs with the minimum number of engines online to meet safe operational load requirements. According to Diamond Offshore, the excessive operation of engines online will reduce engine fuel efficiency and thereby increase GHG emissions.
Bearing this in mind, the offshore driller made improvements on all its largest dynamic positioning (DP) rigs that were designed to support closed bus electrical plant operations, which enables a more optimal number of engines to be online when compared to comparable open bus operations.
Recently, the company also analysed historical fuel usage for its Blackship class DP rigs, recognising a 20 per cent fuel savings in closed bus operating mode when compared to similar open bus operations. Due to this, the firm continues to work closely with its clients to maximise time in close bus configurations to reduce fuel usage and GHG emissions.
In addition, the engine configuration of two large 18-cylinder engines and four smaller half 9-cylinder operations provides the rigs with – what the firm deems to be – a better opportunity to match the number of engines online to the electrical load needs. In light of this, a Blackship operating with one big and two half engines online has 33 per cent less engine cylinder volume and thus fuel usage at the same electrical load compared to a rig with a more typical three 16-cylinder engine online.
Diamond Offshore claims that its Ocean Endeavor rig led the way in using energy more efficiently and reducing GHG emissions in 2022, as the crew started each well operation by reviewing the electrical needs of each operation’s phase to plan the best number of engines to be online.
The company points out that early results have shown a reduction of 16 per cent in CO2 emissions for recent drilling operations due to implementing an engine management plan for each phase of operations and making engine performance visible to the end user. This reduction is equivalent to 2.3 million miles of fuel burned by an average car.
“The next phase of our strategy is to use our gathered data to develop reduction plans and monitor progress. Starting with the largest fuel users in our fleet, we are adding Energy Awareness Dashboards to increase awareness of the factors that drive fuel and electricity usage,” revealed the rig owner.
Furthermore, Diamond Offshore is working with Stepwise to monitor these data trends, reduce the carbon footprint of its rig fleet and improve energy efficiency. To this end, the company plans to establish a baseline for fuel usage and GHG emissions by factoring in the influence of weather and the impact on its customer well operations.
The offshore drilling contractor sees the use of biofuels as “a major opportunity” for a reduction in GHG emissions in its business since the ones made up of bio-waste projects can potentially reduce lifecycle GHG emissions by 20 per cent or more. Diamond Offshore underscores that limited supply distribution in the areas it operates in and logistics are the biggest barriers to biofuels.
John H. Hollowell, Chairperson of Nominating, Governance, and Sustainability Committee, remarked: “To date, the focus has primarily been on reducing emissions from our own operations as well as aligning with our customers on their ESG efforts with good progress made. The board looks forward to continued dialogue with management in this area as we continue to make important progress in this journey going forward.”
Diamond Offshore’s peers are also working on curbing emissions, as illustrated by a hybrid system upgrade, which Odfjell Drilling carried out on one of its semi-submersible drilling rigs. In addition, Noble recently achieved a new milestone in the fleetwide rollout of a digital emission-monitoring solution, which is now available on 20 rigs in its fleet.