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Wind power play for oil

Floating turbines could power extraction, says DNV GL-led study

Wind power play for oil image

The technical feasibility of using wind power to assist in offshore oil extraction has been established in the first phase of a new project.

The venture, led by DNV GL and involving ExxonMobil and Eni, found that wind could be used to power water injection in a manner that is cost competitive with conventional extraction methods.

The process involves using a floating wind turbine to power an injecting process capable of sufficiently pressurising reservoirs to encourage oil extraction.

The second phase of the project will involve lab testing of the electrical systems at DNV GL laboratories in the Netherlands.

"While phase one was a desk top study, this phase is a natural step before going into piloting with real prototypes," project manager Johan Slätte said. 

Phase 2 is expected to run for between one and two years, with a first full-scale prototype due around 2020.

Exxon and Eni both hailed the project as an opportunity to lower costs and shrink their carbon footprints.

"Recent advancements in wind technology, particularly in offshore oil and gas applications, are improving economic feasibility and allowing for wind to contribute to the overall energy mix at a time when demand continues to rise," ExxonMobil Upstream  Research Company president Tom Schuessler said.

Image: a concept diagram of the process (DNV GL)

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