A PIONEERING partnership between gas platforms and windfarms could see more power generated and a cut in production costs, according to the industry regulator.

The Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) said a new concept called gas-to-wire (GTW) would involve gas being regenerated into electricity offshore and transmitted back to shore using spare capacity in subsea cabling used by windfarms.

As well as generating additional electricity for use across Scotland, the collaboration could potentially reduce operating costs by pooling logistics and guiding effective co-existence in the same geographic area.

Because of wind’s irregular nature, the annual use of the associated power infrastructure is typically around 40%, and the OGA said the spare capacity presents an alternative route for electricity generated offshore from gas fields which are currently producing.

Individual elements of GTW – such as offshore gas production, gas-fired power generation and subsea power transmission – have already been proven, but the OGA said work was still needed to bring the concept to market.

The regulator said it was continuing to collaborate with the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) in Aberdeen and others considering similar concepts.

Just one offshore GTW facility could utilise around two billion cubic feet per annum and generate enough electricity to power around 50,000 homes.

OGA area manager, Eric Marston, said: “Gas-to-wire has the potential to both help maximise the UK’s remaining gas resources whilst also boosting electricity generation offshore, with associated benefits for both gas producers and windfarm operators.

“We continue to see interest from a number of developers and operators seeking to commercialise this opportunity.”

Chris Pearson, the OGTC’s head of marginal developments, told The National he had been involved in a study of GTW working from a gas field, and an economic study which had been published in collaboration with the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.

“We can make an internal rate of return of approximately 10% on that sort of GTW project,” he said.

“We know there are different ways to make it economically viable and we’re also looking to see if we can do something in the EIS.”