Wave power deployed to monitor decommissioning project in industry first

Ocean Power Technologies’ PowerBuoy will be deployed in the Huntington Field in the Central North Sea. Image: Ocean Power Technologies, Inc.

Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. has signed a contract with Premier Oil to supply a PowerBuoy for a deployment in the Huntington Field, one of Premier Oil’s offshore fields in the Central North Sea.

The OPT PowerBuoy will serve as a self-sustaining intelligent platform to provide communications and remote monitoring services. During the deployment, Premier Oil will explore the PowerBuoy capabilities and its ability to monitor the local environment and alert shipping of its position.

The project represents the first time that a wave power device is being deployed on the UKCS on an oil and gas development.

The contract calls for a nine-month lease including an initial three-month trial, followed by a six-month extension upon successful completion of the initial trial. The contract also includes an option to extend the initial nine-month lease. Deployment is anticipated in October.

The project is backed by the Aberdeen-based Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC), which has provided co-funding, support and technical input to the monitoring requirements for the buoy.

“The PowerBuoy is an exciting technology and the project represents the first time that a wave power device is being deployed on the United Kingdom Continental Shelf on an oil and gas development. The system can provide monitoring to safeguard subsea safety zones and generate power with a view to operate subsea assets, meaning it fits well with our focus on reducing the cost of decommissioning and unlocking small pools,” Chris Pearson, Small Pools Solution Centre manager for the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, said in a statement.

It is the second time in less than four months that OPT has signed a contract for the lease of a PowerBuoy in the offshore oil and gas market, added George H. Kirby, OPT president and chief executive officer.

“This commercial contract is a breakthrough for OPT and reflects our continuing commitment to support customers where decommissioning activities can benefit from an autonomous solution for surveillance and monitoring,” said Kirby.

“We think this technology has a lot of potential and it aligns well with our goals of increasing safety, efficiency and operational effectiveness. The PowerBuoy system will deliver on all these aspects and offer a step change in our decommissioning planning processes. It also opens up potential future applications for intelligent, remotely controlled small field developments,” said Pieter voor de Poorte, Premier Oil’s Subsea Decommissioning lead.