Firms Turning to Renewables to Power Oil & Gas Operations: IHS Markit

A new report has revealed that oil and gas field operations are beginning to be fuelled by a surprising source – renewables.

A new report has revealed that oil and gas field operations are beginning to be fuelled by a surprising source – renewables. According to new research by IHS Markit, oil and gas companies are starting to utilise such zero-carbon sources to reduce carbon emissions associated with operations, according to a new database and analysis by IHS Markit of these types of renewable energy projects.

“There is a striking pace of growth over the past few years and a dynamic commercial environment for delivering renewable energy to oil and gas operations,” said Judson Jacobs, executive director, upstream energy, IHS Markit. “Energy efficiency efforts and reductions in flaring can only do so much to lower greenhouse gas emissions, so some companies are turning to zero-carbon sources to power their upstream, midstream and downstream operations.”

While the numbers are small, they have been growing rapidly over just the past couple years. There had been fewer than 15 of these renewable energy projects from the early 2000s (when the industry first deployed such technologies) through 2017. IHS Markit now tallies more than 45 announced projects in its Oil and Gas Field-based Renewable Energy database, with 13 announcements made in 2018 and 15 made in 2019.

The report further adds that projects announced in 2018 and 2019 are expected to avert more than 3 million metric tons of annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions combined. By contrast, projects in only one prior year averted as much as 0.3 MMT. Deployments are occurring in both new developments and existing assets, with solar the most prominent renewable technology, followed by hydropower and wind. These deployments are part of companies’ broader greenhouse gas emissions management strategies that the database tracks and analyses.

Several factors beyond emissions reduction are also driving the growing interest for renewables in oil and gas operations, Jacobs said.

“Stakeholder pressure to reduce emissions is a factor,” he said. “It is also about steeply declining costs for renewables and the industry’s growing familiarity and experience with these technologies. And there are tangible improvements to operational performance that go along with using them.”

Field-based renewable installations are demonstrating reliability. And electrification—drawing renewable-generated power directly from the grid, as to offshore platforms in Norway—removes most energy generation equipment entirely, enabling fewer on-site personnel needed to operate it and smaller facility footprints. Additional benefits include reduced maintenance expenses and the elimination of fuel deliveries to the site.

“The activity in the oil and gas field–based renewable energy space is at what we call the ‘early adopter stage.’ It is a dynamic and important trend to follow,” Jacobs concluded.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at saurenergy.com and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for iamrenew.com.

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