Owners investing in hybrid-battery technology are being rewarded by charterers with long-term contracts
Recent collaboration between charterers and OSV owners on reducing CO2 emissions from offshore oil and gas operations will see the upgrade of a 14-year-old service operation vessel (SOV) and a seven-year-old construction support vessel (CSV), yielding long-term charters. In the case of the later, the collaboration extends to a multi-phase effort to install hydrogen fuel cells.
Norwegian OSV owner Solstad Offshore will upgrade the CSV Normand Ocean with a large battery installation for a long-term charter from DeepOcean for subsea inspection, maintenance and repair work in the North Sea to the end of 2023. An option could extend the charter to the end of 2024.
“Upgrading the vessel to battery-hybrid and shore power was key to get the new contract,” Solstad Offshore chief executive Lars Peder Solstad tells OSJ. The investment advances both companies’ ambitions around reducing their carbon footprints, Mr Solstad says.
“Same as Solstad, DeepOcean has clear targets on CO2 emission reductions for their fleet of partly owned and chartered construction vessels,” he says. However, both Norwegian companies won’t stop there. “As a part of the contract, Solstad and DeepOcean have jointly agreed to work further with new technology to reduce emissions even more on Normand Ocean using hydrogen-based fuels. This will be a natural phase 2 of the upgrade project,” says Mr Solstad, adding, “Presently we are in the planning stages of this process, but we target to start a project together later this year.”
Solstad Offshore has selected Seam (former Westcon P&A) in Norway as its main supplier for the 1 MWh battery conversion project of Normand Ocean. The project will take place in Norway sometime this coming winter, according to Mr Solstad.
Solstad will install the 1-MWh battery system and deploy a shore-power connection for recharging for the upgrade of the 2014-built MT 6022-design CSV.
“Upgrading to battery-hybrid and shore power was key to the new contract”
A collaborative study between Solstad and DeepOcean will be launched “to evaluate further enhancement to the vessel to include hydrogen fuel cells. This will be the first step in trialing alternative fuels in our operations,” said DeepOcean.
With the upgrade of Normand Ocean, DeepOcean will have five hybrid vessels in its fleet. Additionally, digitalisation will play a critical role in underpinning the Norwegian subsea services provider’s sustainability goals. Using its Remote Operations Centre and specialised drone technologies, DeepOcean wants to reduce CO2 emissions by 45% by 2030 and have net-zero emissions by 2050.
Saving 1,000 tonnes of CO2
Similar sustainability goals are behind battery-hybrid propulsion upgrades by Eidesvik Offshore. The Norwegian OSV owner is upgrading Acergy Viking with a battery pack and hybrid propulsion solution. Once the refit is completed in H1 2022, three-quarters of Eidesvik’s fleet will operate with hybrid-battery propulsion.
With hybrid propulsion, the 14-year-old SOV is expected to reduce MGO consumption by up to 350 tonnes annually, with a corresponding reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 1,000 tonnes per year.
Earlier this year, Siemens Gamesa extended the contract with Acergy Viking until 2027, meaning the SOV will sail for the renewable energy giant for at least another six years.
Under the Enova-backed ShipFC project, Eidesvik Offshore hopes to prove that an OSV can operate 70% emissions free using a fuel cell powered by green ammonia. Plans call for 2MW of fuel-cell modules to be installed on board Viking Energy in 2024 under a long-term charter with Equinor.
“For the last 20 years, our strategy has been to be and remain a spearhead within climate and environmental emissions,” Eidesvik Offshore chief executive said Jan Frederik Meling in a corporate video.
Noting that others might think operating emission-free by 2050 is a “lofty goal”, Mr Meling said: “As long as we have the ability and the will, we will make it happen.”