Siemens supplies ‘world’s first’ lithium-ion battery solution for offshore drilling rig11 December 2018

Image credit: Seadrill

Siemens is claiming a world first by supplying an energy storage solution (ESS) to an offshore drilling rig.

Siemens advanced lithium-ion battery-based solution, BlueVault, will be installed on Northern Drilling’s West Mira offshore drilling rig that will operate in the North Sea’s Nova Field, approximately 120 km northwest of Bergen.

West Mira is a sixth-generation, ultra-deepwater semi-submersible designed by Moss Maritime and will operate a low-emission hybrid (diesel-electric) power plant using lithium-ion energy storage. The solution consists of four converter-battery systems for a total maximum power of six megawatts.

Bjørn Einar Brath, head of offshore solutions at Siemens, explains: “The integration of energy storage with the power supply and distribution system of a drilling rig represents an important step towards improving the environmental sustainability of the offshore oil and gas industry. Offshore rigs have highly variable power consumption for drilling and dynamic positioning. By incorporating energy storage, it is possible to reduce the runtime of diesel engines and also keep them operating on an optimised combustion level. This ultimately leads to lower emissions.”

It is hoped that installing BlueVault on West Mira will result in an estimated 42% reduction in the runtime of on-platform diesel engines, reducing CO2 emissions by 15% and NOx emissions by 12%.

The batteries will be charged from the rig’s diesel-electric generators and used for supplying power during peak load times. In addition, they will serve as backup to prevent blackout situations and provide power to the thrusters in the unlikely event of loss of all running machinery.

Seadrill Norway Operations will operate the West Mira rig on behalf of Northern Drilling. Wintershall has contracted the facility for six wells in their Nova field. The contract includes options for early commencement starting in Q3 of 2019, as well as follow-on options. Should all options be exercised, West Mira is expected to be contracted to Wintershall until Q1 2022.

In the coming months, Siemens will continue to work with Seadrill to ensure that the hybrid power solution meets the performance and reliability requirements of the facility. The energy storage solution that will be supplied to West Mira is based on technology that has already been installed in more than 60 marine vessels worldwide, including electric car ferry, MF Ampere, in Norway.

Brath concludes: “We expect this market to grow significantly, and consequently have invested heavily in the development of safe and reliable ESS solutions by establishing a production facility for battery modules in Trondheim, Norway. The facility will play an important role in helping Siemens meet the global demand for more efficient drilling operations, with the ultimate goal of reducing the offshore industry’s carbon footprint.”

Adam Offord

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