A large portion of Norway’s climate emissions are from petroleum activity on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS). Climate scientists agree that petroleum will play an important role on the path to a zero-emissions society. Decarbonization of offshore activities can also help achieve Norway’s climate goals. Electrification of the NCS by clean energy is a complex and novel problem that requires innovation to ensure the benefits outweigh the socioeconomic costs. In the long-term, the petroleum sector's unique position in geo-energy resources can also be leveraged in the green transition.
The Centre for Sustainable Subsurface Resources (CSSR) will provide needed research to meet the challenges and explore promising opportunities of reservoir operations in a zero-emissions future. Intermittency of renewable power and the transition to H2/CO2 storage place new demands on how petroleum reservoirs are understood and managed. CSSR will perform research within three focus areas.
(1) Subsurface understanding for energy-efficient and effective operations. Research will determine if energy stability is always required, or energy use can be reduced during periods of energy shortage by allowing for cyclical fluctuations in the reservoir. Developing the subsurface for energy storage will also be explored as part of the total zero-emissions energy solution.
(2) Digitalization for science-based decision making in the green transition. Research will re-examine the software and algorithms in regular use for reservoir management and seek new updates to make them faster and better suited for a supply-driven and highly variable energy system.
(3) Ensure long-term value for the petroleum industry in the energy transition. Research will improve screening of depleted fields for re-use as H2/CO2 storage. Knowledge will be integrated for realistic field cases to demonstrate how CSSR research contributes to a viable business model under zero-emissions scenarios.
The project was launched in 2022. The CSSR team has been active in presenting the goals and ambitions of the research program to many different stakeholders, with more than 30 presentations at academic seminars, educational workshops, industrial meetings and in the public forum. CSSR has received interest from the media for providing expert opinions on CCS as well as showcasing the importance industry-academic collaboration in Norway. Scientific results include already one prototyped software to address the optimization of reservoir operations connected to wind energy.
The Centre for Sustainable Subsurface Resources (CSSR) addresses the broader challenges of electrification of oil and gas production necessary to reach goals of drastic GHG emissions cuts by 2030 and near-zero petroleum production by 2050. Provided research will meet the essential subsurface understanding and improved digital methods needed for effective, energy-efficient management and science-based decision-making for petroleum reservoirs powered by renewable energy.
It is important to establish a tighter connection between reservoir operations and variable power supply, develop local subsurface energy storage options and provide tools for efficient, reliable data integration into digital reservoir management workflows. The main research challenges that will be addressed by the centre include:
1) improving understanding of the impact of variable flow on effective reservoir drainage and the potential for gaining energy efficiency under a intermittent power supply,
2) identifying and characterizing the main processes critical for developing local subsurface energy storage options,
3) developing reservoir management tools including variable power and local energy backup, use of data-driven methods in physics-based simulation to accelerate management workflows,
4) develop advanced coupling strategies to improve the interlinkage of conventional reservoir modeling with simulation demands arising from new use of petroleum reservoirs.
New subsurface understanding and improved digital workflows for operations in an electrified scenario will also add screening criteria for future use of reservoirs for carbon and hydrogen storage and allow for better reservoir appraisal for late conversion of fields to new value streams. The centre aims at showcasing developed models and methods on realistic field cases and to perform system level studies to assess the techno-economic potential in use of energy efficient reservoir operations combined with subsurface energy storage.