Photo: Ocergy

In focus: Piecing together the energy transition puzzle

The multifaceted offshore energy sector is currently going through a major change with the energy transition and sustainability as a driving force.

Offshore Energy website has been delivering news coverage from seven different industry sectors under one roof for over a year now. Although different, all these sectors have one common element, and that is energy transition.

This is why we have decided to launch a weekly snapshot containing the most relevant items from each of these markets as part of our new In focus column.

In our first In focus edition, you will learn how two major fossil fuels companies are developing a carbon capture and storage project in the UK as well as the potential of this major energy transition element in the maritime industry. 

As reported by the Fossil Energy market, oil giants Shell and Harbour Energy, together with Storegga, have now become equal partners in what is considered one of the largest and most mature UK CCS and hydrogen projects, the Acorn carbon, capture and storage project.

The project is decarbonising the energy system by taking North Sea natural gas and reforming it into clean-burning hydrogen, with the associated CO2 emissions captured and stored under the sea.

Over in the Green Marine sector, TECO 2030 and AVL List GmbH have joined forces on a feasibility study on the potential of carbon capture and storage in the maritime industry, focusing on the vessel capabilities and robustness of the technology.

Stian Aakre, CEO of TECO 2030, said: “The carbon capture and storage is very attractive for shipowners who seek to future proof their vessels to meet GHG regulations and strategies”.

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Oil companies are now also getting on board the renewable projects train with one U.S. major announcing an investment in offshore wind technology.

While Chevron shareholders are expected to vote on climate change and emissions targets, the company has revealed it is entering the offshore wind with an investment in Ocergy.

Ocergy is a developer of a low-cost floating wind foundation and a multi-disciplinary environmental monitoring buoy, the Offshore Wind market reported this week.

While many European oil and gas players – including BP, Shell, Total, Eni, and Equinor – are already involved in wind projects as part of their strategies to become net-zero companies and be in line with the energy transition goals, this is the first one for Chevron.

Speaking of wind-related projects, the Subsea market has recently reported on relevant updates related to a ‘green cable’ project for exchanging German wind energy with Norwegian hydropower.

Namely, the NordLink high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system between Norway and Germany has transitioned from the trial to the operational phase.

The project, also known as the ‘green cable’, is meant for exchanging German wind energy with Norwegian hydropower and it is expected to supply around 3.6 million households with climate-neutral energy.

“NordLink is now in the operation phase – this is good news for the European energy transition”, said Markus Scheer, member of the management board of KfW IPEX-Bank, one of the partners in the project.

Another important element of the energy transition is hydrogen and there are now plans in Germany for a feasibility study for the development of a national hydrogen hub while a Dutch offshore vessels and services provider is exploring a new type of hydrogen-fuelled vessel as part of a push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Hydrogen technology has a significant potential to enable the transition to clean, low-carbon energy and German energy company Uniper has decided to explore it by considering the development of a hydrogen hub in Wilhelmshaven instead of the planned LNG import terminal.

As reported by our Clean Fuel market, the generated hydrogen will be used primarily to supply local industry, but it will also be possible to feed it into the national hydrogen network.

This approach will help solve one of the key problems of energy transition, the security of supply, but it will also help Germany and Europe to remain industrial powerhouses by using hydrogen to power sectors such as steel production, the chemicals industry, freight, shipping, and air transport.

When it comes to hydrogen as a fuel, the Dredging market has recently reported that the Dutch energy services provider Royal IHC has received an ‘approval in principle’ for its hydrogen-fuelled trailing suction hopper dredger (TSHD).

This new type of vessel is being referred to as the LEAF, a low energy adaptive fuel, hopper. It will be used to maintain the Dutch coastline, contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as well as harmful exhaust gas emissions near the coast and coastal cities.

Meanwhile, with marine energy on the cusp of significant growth, the United States has set its new and bold deployment targets.

As reported by our Marine Energy market, the U.S. has unveiled new industry deployment targets of 50MW by 2025, 500MW by 2030, and 1GW by 2035.

The industry is urging the U.S. government to accelerate the commercialization of marine energy technologies, including wave, tidal, ocean current, ocean thermal, and riverine.

Malcolm Woolf, the National Hydropower Association (NHA) president and CEO, said: “Marine energy could be the missing link for meeting our nation’s clean energy goals and decarbonizing our electricity grid, which is why, as an industry, we are setting the bold and achievable deployment target of 1 GW by 2035”.