"We are all familiar with the greenhouse gas emissions that come from burning
fossil fuels in car engines, central heating systems and power stations. Little
discussed is the climate footprint of producing oil and gas in the first place.
Extracting, refining and distributing oil and gas requires energy. Pumps,
compressors, heaters and drilling units treat and move the fuels from many
kilometres underground using electricity typically generated by gas turbines.
Clearly, burning gas at offshore production sites will result in local
emissions of climate-heating CO₂.
The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) regulates the UK’s oil and gas
industry and has a remit to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from
UK operations. This does not, however, extend to emissions arising from the
subsequent use of that oil and gas.
With what little scope it has to reduce the industry’s emissions, the NSTA is
keen for oil and gas platforms to be electrified. In essence, converting these
offshore production sites from running on gas turbines to imported electricity
from renewable sources like wind turbines.
Conventional oil production only accounts for roughly 5-10% of the emissions
associated with the fossil fuel. By far the bulk of these emissions come from
when it is used in transport, heating and power generation.
It’s clear that, by pursuing platform electrification, the NSTA is focusing on
the wrong emissions source."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics