German manufacturing company Siemens will install its BlueVault battery solution on Northern Drilling’s West Mira offshore drilling rig, creating what Siemens refer to as the “world’s first drilling rig to operate a low-emission hybrid power plant”.
Siemens’ BlueVault system is an “advanced lithium-ion battery-based solution” that has been field-proven by installation on more than 60 marine vessels, including Norwegian electric car ferry (another “world’s first”) the MF Ampere.
Siemens’ Head of Offshore Relations described the move as “an important step towards improving the environmental sustainability of the offshore oil and gas industry.”
The system to be installed on the West Mira rig consists of four converter-battery systems, which give a total maximum power of six megawatts.
The battery system will be charged by the rig’s diesel-electric generators and supply power during peak load times. It is estimated that its installation will bring about a 42% reduction in the generator’s runtime, resulting in a 15% reduction in CO2 emissions and a 12% reduction in NOx (polluting nitrogen oxides).
The BlueVault system will also be used as backup to prevent blackout situations, and to provide power to the thrusters in the event of a loss of all running machinery.