Offshore Energies Magazine - Issue 55 Spring 2023

Ongoing oil and gas production has been ramped up, and operators are looking at ways to maximise more value from their wells. This may mean a mix of upgrades; new engineering approaches focusing on compression and process systems, where there is declining output; and regular maintenance work as the assets are worked harder. Energy policy: wind, hydrogen & CCS Looking at how the government's approach to proposed projects is quickening with confirmed dates now in the public domain, it feels like the need to secure resources is cascading down to the operators and supply chain, Quanta is talking to several clients about this. Another focus area of the BESS is offshore wind, for which the UK, with its extensive coastline, has very good potential. As premier, Mr Johnson said he wanted the UK to become "the Saudi Arabia of wind." Mr Brett said that it is an interesting sector and he is working to understand what drives the biggest value and understand where Quanta can contribute. The government’s planned market reform might lower the prices at which wind power is sold. At the moment it rides on the coat-tails of the cost of producing the marginal kilowatt-hour, which is generally very expensive gas. But he says that there is additional value attached to energy that is produced locally and that could be factored into the price as well. The geopolitical situation, and the accompanying huge reduction in pipeline gas exports to Europe, also turned the clock back in terms of energy policy and carbon emissions reduction: there was much switching

to coal in continental Europe, for price and security of supply reasons and with its nuclear plants turned off, Germany is considering slowing down if not reversing its coal phase-out plan. "In the UK, electrification and hydrogen are the buzzwords of the transition, a large focus is blue hydrogen which requires natural gas coupled with carbon capture and storage (CCS). We need some government involvement as only it can see what is needed and go on to sanction investment," he said. "However, the 20% hydrogen-methane mix is proven to be safe in household appliances and that is at least a start, if not perfection. More work needs to be done on how turbine blades respond to much higher hydrogen concentrations. Hydrogen storage technology is also an area ripe for more investigation and testing", he said. CCS is another area that Quanta is considering developing a business team for, but using power plants, not industrial sites, as the source of emissions. The former produce purer CO2 emissions that pose less risk to hardware ( see OEUK Magazine #54 ). Unlike the US, where CCS is used to extract more oil, its value in the UK depends on the carbon price. This is still too low to move the dial on its own. Mr Brett has attended presentations by project developers such as Acorn and Hynet however, and both have the promise of government support. But the government's resources are limited: while the war continues to rage and energy supplies are tight, clean energy priorities have taken the back seat. For now, a number of major projects in that sector where EPC work will be needed have been placed on hold.

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