Maersk Drilling is Building a Hybrid-Powered Offshore Rig

Maersk Intrepid (file image courtesy Maersk Drilling)

By The Maritime Executive 05-08-2019 05:36:54

Maersk Drilling is building the Prius of offshore drilling rigs by upgrading the jack-up Maersk Intrepid with hybrid power and advanced electronics. 

According to the firm, the energy use on board a rig is characterized by high peak loads. With battery energy storage - a hybrid power system - the rig will have peak power instantly available when needed. This means its baseline energy requirements can be met by fewer engines running at higher load, rather than keeping more engines online to meet occasional peak power needs. This is more fuel-efficient and reduces CO2 emissions.

In addition, Maersk Drilling's Energy Emission Efficiency (EEE) software uses real-time data to monitor all energy use on board the rig, which allows for continuous optimization, including switching off engines when they are not needed. Live tests of EEE have demonstrated a double-digit energy saving potential, the company says. 

Maersk Drilling will also be installing SCR systems to treat generator exhaust and reduce NOx emissions. All in all, the company hopes to set a new standard for low-emission drilling on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (and quite possibly the rest of the world). 

State oil company Equinor, the Maersk Intrepid's charterer, is partially underwriting the project with a compensation scheme to reward emissions reductions. The project makes good business sense for everyone, according to Maersk Drilling. "It should be noted that the upgrades will not only produce a low-emission profile for the rig; they will also result in cost savings for our customer due to lower energy consumption, so this is business and low-emission targets working hand in hand,” said Maersk Drilling chief commercial and innovation officer Morten Kelstrup.

Maersk Drilling was the offshore drilling division of Maersk Group until last month, when it was spun off as an independently-listed entity. Two private holding companies with connections to Maersk Group (A.P. Møller og Hustru Chastine Mc-Kinney Møllers Familiefond and APMH Invest) still hold a majority stake in Maersk Drilling.