A Hybrid Solution First On Semi-Submersible Drilling Rig

By Jack Burke13 December 2018

West Mira, a sixth-generation, ultra-deepwater semi-submersible drilling rig will be the world’s first modern drilling rig to operate a low-emission hybrid (diesel-electric) power plant using lithium-ion energy storage, Siemens said.

BlueVault, Siemens lithium-ion battery-based solution, will be installed the Northern Drilling Ltd.’s drilling rig that will operate in the North Sea’s Nova Field, approximately 120 km northwest of Bergen. The solution consists of four converter-battery systems for a total maximum power of six MW.

“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,” said Bjørn Einar Brath, head of Offshore Solutions in Siemens. “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 optimized combustion level. This ultimately leads to lower emissions.”

The installation of 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. The West Mira, which was designed by Moss Maritime, has eight 12H32 Hyundai HiMSEN engines each rated 8200 hp.

Seadrill Norway Operations Ltd. 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 the first quarter of 2022. In the coming months, Siemens said it will continue to work closely 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 has been installed in more than 60 marine vessels worldwide, including the world’s first electric car ferry, MF Ampere, in Norway. As part of a strategy to continue providing low-emissions solutions for harsh offshore operating environments, Siemens said it opened a fully robotized and digitalized plant in Norway that will develop and manufacture energy storage technologies for both marine and offshore oil and gas applications.

“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,” Brath said. “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.”

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