Premier Oil has inked a deal with Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) for a North Sea decommissioning feasibility study to assess the viability of implementing a monitoring and guarding buoy.
The PB3 PowerBuoy will be deployed on the Huntington field, with the project expected to start in October.
It would look to assess the effectiveness of preventing vessel intrusion while it monitored and guarded the remaining well and subsea equipment after removal of a floating production, storage and offloading vessel and before decommissioning or well abandonment operations.
OPT claim the device would allow “more precise planning and prioritization of plugging and abandonment activities by giving accurate real-time information on well integrity”, while also providing regulators with higher quality information on well conditions.
The PB3 would provide Premier Oil with real-time information on well integrity while also assessing well conditions.
Pieter voor de Poorte, subsea decommissioning lead of Premier Oil, said: “This technology aligns with our goals of increasing safety, efficiency and operational effectiveness through the development and utilization of the most advanced technologies that support our oil and gas activities. 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.”
George Kirby, president and chief executive officer of OPT, said: “We are excited about this new relationship and look forward to helping Premier Oil further enhance its operations. We believe our PowerBuoy could enable Premier Oil and other Operators to enhance the decommissioning planning process and at the same time ensure the safety of other users of the sea. The PB3 could potentially serve as an alternative to an on-site guard vessel, aiming to improve health, safety and environmental statistics and reducing operational costs while incorporating clean power into their offshore operations.”
During the study, OPT will work closely with Premier Oil’s other subsea equipment suppliers to produce a design to integrate their equipment into the PB3 PowerBuoy.
If the feasibility study is successful, the next step could be to prove the solution through a North Sea trial deployment in 2018.
Mr Kirby added: “We believe the Premier Oil project could lead to other applications including pipeline integrity assurance and the charging of underwater unmanned vehicles, as well as Metocean data collection. We also hope to leverage this work to further expand the use of our PB3 PowerBuoy throughout our other service areas including security, defense and telecommunications.”