Transitioning offshore oil independent Lundin Energy has launched new qa research and development initiative with marine renewables outfit Ocean Harvesting Technologies (OHT) to explore using wave energy converters (WECs) to help slash emissions from oil and gas production at sea.

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The one-year project, which would gather data to project scope electrification of “major” offshore oil and gas complexes in the northern seas with wave power, is the latest step by Lundin — which last year changed its name to Lundin Energy from Lundin Petroleum — in a wider decarbonisation campaign that targets carbon-neutral operations inside four years.

“In a future aligned with a 2 degrees Celsius pathway [as set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement], oil still plays an important role and is estimated to account for around 23% of the global energy mix in 2040, compared to 31% today,” the partners said in a statement.

“But in order to meet both future energy demand and climate targets, it is critical to decarbonise the production of oil and gas as much as possible.”

Kristin Faerovik, managing director of Lundin Energy Norway, said: “Our assets are already highly efficient and low-carbon. However, the challenges to the wider sector in decarbonising production can be significant, especially offshore.”

Mikael Sidenmark, chief executive of OHT, added: “This case study, aiming to develop a specification and system design for a wave power installation at an oil and gas platform, will provide valuable input… in better understanding the requirements for such an installation.

“The project will guide us through the early validation stages of our commercialisation.”

OHT’s InfinityWEC is a modular, piston-like ‘point absorbing’ WEC design said to be “highly efficient in capturing energy through its ability to adjust to the sea state, and robust enough to operate reliably and survive the harshest marine conditions”.

Lundin claims carbon intensity per barrel of oil produced from its operations that is “a sixth of the industry world average”.

The company has been advancing other offshore oil decarbonisation projects, including one testing the idea of a hybrid floating wind-and-wave power concept.

The idea of employing WECs as a standalone ancillary clean-power source for late-life oil and gas projects as well in a hybrid set-up with to floating wind arrays is enjoying something of a renaissance after early designs failed to engage investor interest, a fact broadly seen as reflecting the match-up between the cost-reduction success in offshore wind in recent years and progress made in wave energy technology with the pressure growing on oil and gas companies to decarbonise.

(This article first appeared in Upstream's sister renewable energy publication Recharge on 28 April, 2021.)