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Wind-powered oil extraction moves one step closer

Phase one of a DNV GL-led joint industry product has recently been completed, establishing the technical feasibility of using wind to power offshore water injection for oil extraction.

The WIN WIN (WINd-powered Water INjection) project includes using a floating wind turbine to power the processes of a water injection system, which typically includes basic water treatment and pumping. The project’s first phase has established that such a system can compete with traditional water systems on cost while still achieving performance targets. A self-contained system like this will not only expand the industry’s toolbox, but will also appeal to oil companies looking to reduce their carbon footprints.

Commenting about the development, Tom Schuessler, president of ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, said:

“Recent advancements in wind technology, particularly in offshore oil and gas applications, are improving the economic feasibility and allowing for wind to contribute to the overall energy mix at a time when demand continues to rise.”

The partners in the first phase of the study were DNV GL, ENI Norge and ExxonMobil, which also makes lubricants like Mobilith SHC 220 for the wind power industry. They will be joined by the Norwegian Research Council for phase two of the project, which will focus on rigorously testing the electrical systems under lab conditions at Arnhem, Netherlands. It will also look at how wind and other renewables could be reliably applied in other complex, off-grid situations.

If all goes well, a full-scale prototype of the system could be operational in 2020.

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