Carbon storage and offshore wind farms are important components of the transition to a sustainable energy mix. Both are key to curb CO2 emissions. Geothermal and marine mineral developments will eventually follow suit, as part of the energy transition.
All these activities carry subsurface risks, with challenges related to the identification of suitable sites and subsequent monitoring of operations. Reliable geophysical data will be needed to quantify and mitigate these risks.
Dedicated, Reliable Pioneer
PGS has established a new energy business unit, headed by Executive Vice President Berit Osnes. The unit will assess market needs and business opportunities, leverage the company’s geophysical and operational capabilities to develop solutions internally, and build external partnerships to support energy transition as a preferred partner to the industry.
PGS’ vast worldwide data library and geophysical competence will be valuable resources in the new energy market, and PGS will develop new imaging solutions and related data services to help extract maximum value from existing data for new energy applications.
Where the existing coverage is insufficient, PGS will offer efficient data acquisition solutions tailored for new energy applications, drawing on its unparalleled track record of implementing new technology offshore. Ingenious differentiated solutions for ship design, in-sea equipment, and towing logistics over 30 years have earned PGS’ an excellent reputation in this field.
“PGS has planned and managed complex projects in a variety of offshore settings, and we are ready to help the industry identify solutions for tapping into new energy resources. We believe our collaboration, innovation, and risk management skills are highly applicable to new energy projects and PGS is ready to take a hands-on role in the development process beyond data delivery,” says Berit Osnes.
Carbon Storage | Capacity, Containment, Injectivity
Over five billion tonnes of CO2 emissions must be removed from the atmosphere every year to achieve the UN climate goals.
Carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS) will be essential to reduce global emissions of carbon dioxide from industrial processes. Three projects in northern Europe – Northern Lights, Northern Endurance, and Acorn aim to capture over 30 million tonnes per year with more developments to follow. Analysts predict CO2 storage capacity of as much as 170 million tonnes per annum to be developed in the next five years alone.
There is broad consensus that there is an abundance of geological storage in the form of depleted oil and gas fields and saline aquifers. However, reliable geophysical data is fundamental in the selection of specific sites for CO2 storage, and may not be readily available as saline aquifers are under-explored and lack well-data.
PGS’ has an extensive global data library comprising modern, broadband 3D GeoStreamer seismic data. GeoStreamer data is especially well-suited to reliably determine subsurface properties, even in the absence of well-data. Combined with PGS expertise in characterizing the subsurface, these data can help minimize uncertainty and reduce risk when selecting CO2 storage sites.
The three key attributes of safe and efficient CO2 storage developments are capacity, containment, and injectivity. Using GeoStreamer data, quantitative measures of reservoir quality can be determined to provide robust estimates of geological constraints and control on containment and injectivity. Similarly, a reliable characterization of the relatively shallow overburden is required to ensure the distribution of geological faults in each area is well understood and does not present an undue containment risk.
Offshore Wind | Development at Scale
Worldwide interest in wind energy is growing and production at an industrial scale is regarded as key to the energy transition. Seismic data can provide subsurface information to facilitate the selection and planning of new installations. The US has an offshore wind goal of 30 GW by 2030, backed up by energy transition incentives. Oil majors such as Equinor and BP have announced major offshore contracts. News of a licensing round for offshore wind is anticipated in Norway.
One of the challenges for offshore wind is the growing geographical size of windfarm licenses and leases that could increase the time and cost of wind energy development projects. Many of the new license areas will be close to (or are larger than) 1000 square kilometers.
At this scale, detailed seabed and shallow subsurface modeling will be required over areas comparable to those found in hydrocarbon exploration. Today, even the highest resolution windfarm site surveys typically use 2D profiles, limiting severely the reliability of subsurface information to plan and profile the location. In the oil and gas industry, PGS pioneered efficient solutions for subsurface mapping with the introduction of large-scale 3D broadband seismic. Offshore wind energy projects will benefit greatly from similar efficiency gains, using proven broadband seismic such as PGS’ GeoStreamer.
Marine Minerals | Sustainability
Harvesting seabed metals for improved battery technologies is generating both growing momentum and debate. The energy sector’s overall appetite for critical minerals could grow six-fold by 2040, according to a recent IEA World Energy Report. PGS is participating in an industry consortium in Norway, under the research organization SINTEF, that hopes to define best practices to characterize, quantify, and understand uncertainty for seabed mineral resource exploration. Seismic acquisition tests may include data to establish an environmental baseline.
Geothermal energy is regarded by many as one of the most reliable resources, as well as one of the least exploited. Projects exist in Europe, north and south America, and central and east Asia.
Like many renewable energy sources, onshore production at scale is expected to meet resistance, and geothermal feasibility projects are looking at offshore alternatives. Such a move would likely generate fewer conflicts on land use and esthetics. The UK government is funding research to evaluate power generation from hot water produced by mature North Sea oil fields.
Collaboration Partner for Energy Transition
“PGS aims to become a preferred partner in each of the above areas. By providing high-quality geophysical data to effectively deal with subsurface risks, PGS will enable customers to execute on energy transition goals safely and efficiently,” says Osnes.
“Seismic data will be a fundamental requirement in many of these areas and our aim is to create the solutions of the future, in collaboration with partners. Our extensive data library and expertise in big-data processing and imaging offer unique value for new applications from the get-go. For some projects, new measurements and new sensors may be required. For others, we may need to develop radically new offshore solutions from scratch. PGS is organizing itself to address the changing needs of customers and is fully committed to supporting the energy industry in this important transition,” she adds.
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