Premier Oil Testing PB3 PowerBuoy in the North Sea

US-based ocean energy solutions company Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) said it has deployed a PB3 PowerBuoy to serve as an autonomous intelligent platform to provide communications and remote monitoring services for its customer Premier Oil at the Huntington field in the UK sector of the central North Sea.

During the deployment, Premier will demonstrate the PB3 PowerBuoy capabilities, its ability to monitor the local environment and alert ships of the field’s safety zone as a potential solution to help with their future decommissioning related operations, OPT said.

This deployment begins a nine months lease, subject to meeting a number of acceptance criteria in the first three months. The lease also includes an option to extend the initial nine-month lease, as well as a purchase option. The project is backed by the Aberdeen-based Oil & Gas Technology Center (OGTC), which has provided co-funding, support and technical input to the monitoring requirements for the buoy

OPT’s PB3 can act as an Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) which constantly recharges itself by harvesting energy from the waves. It is ocean-deployed, moored and floats over the point of use and can operate in any ocean depth over 20 meters and up to 3,000 meters.

The PB3 PowerBuoy supplies power continuously to on-board payloads or equipment located on the seabed while also providing real time data transfer and communication to remote shore facilities. The PB3 is sized and designed to store sufficient electric energy to provide reliable “ride through” power in extended periods of flat-calm seas.

The conversion of wave energy into electric power is carried out through a direct drive generator that continuously charges an on-board battery pack (Energy Storage System). Power from the battery is delivered to meet application and end-user needs.

Paul Williams, UK Business Unit Manager at Premier, said the PB3 PowerBuoy trial is “a great opportunity to prove new technology which will enable us to minimize the environmental impact of our decommissioning programs, whilst maintaining flexibility to deliver maximum economic recovery from our fields.

“Assuming success, we will look at the potential to deploy this technology on other assets and for different purposes, both in the UK and further afield,” Williams added.

OPT president and CEO, George H. Kirby, said, “We are excited to be supporting Premier in their decommissioning activities with our PB3 PowerBuoy, which delivers a reliable autonomous solution for surveillance and monitoring. This deployment is the culmination of the tremendous effort and dedication of the entire OPT team in close collaboration with Premier. The process of deployment went very smoothly, with the PB3 PowerBuoy reaching its destination on schedule and at full operational readiness. We look forward to demonstrating the superior operational effectiveness of the PB3 PowerBuoy to the world, demonstrating that the PB3 PowerBuoy can become the preferred solution for topside surveillance during decommissioning, and subsea well monitoring.”

Premier Oil is operator and 100% owner of the Huntington development, which consists of four producer wells and two water injectors tied back to a floating production, storage and offloading unit (FPSO). The field is currently producing over 6,000 boepd, according to Premier’s website.


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