Wind-Powered Oil Recovery?

Wind-powered water injection concept moves closer to implementation

DNV GL, the world’s largest technical consultancy to the renewable energy, oil and gas industries, recently announced that its WIN WIN project completed its first phase of development and is now moving into phase two. WIN WIN — short for WINd powered Water INjection — seeks to bring wind power to the oil recovery process. The WIN WIN concept calls for a floating wind turbine to power a standalone water injection system that includes both pumping and basic water treatment.

DNV GL led the first phase of the project, with additional participation from ExxonMobil and ENI Norge. Phase one determined that the WIN WIN concept is indeed “technically feasible, capable of meeting performance targets, and cost-competitive with conventional water injection solutions,” according to a DNV GL press release. Phase two focuses on extensive laboratory testing at the DNV GL power laboratories in Arnhem, the Netherlands, with the added participation of the Norwegian Research Council.

“In this next phase of the project, we’ll use a small scale physical set-up to conduct tests on the systems,” said project manager Johan Slätte. “We aim to instill confidence in the industry that the system and components in this configuration will perform well over time with a variable power input. While phase one was a desktop study, this phase is a natural step before going into piloting with real prototypes. The second phase of WIN WIN is expected to run over the course of one to two years and will result in an application guideline document for the industry. If all tests are successful, a realistic timeline for a first full scale prototype could be around 2020.”

Project sponsor Johan Sandberg shined some light on the dual meaning of the WIN WIN name. The project “has shown great potential for the oil and gas industry to lower costs and increase efficiency, while also reducing its environmental footprint,” he said. “Proving that large-scale renewable units can be integrated well into oil and gas systems will also expand the industry’s toolbox of technology solutions. It is a win for society with regards to emissions, and for the oil companies who can lower their costs on both equipment and operations.”

Wind turbines already account for 8% of U.S. electricity generating capacity, “more than any other renewable technology,” according to the Energy Information Administration.

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