Energy Transition

Adnoc starts chase for huge ‘lightning project’ subsea power deal

Project aims to develop and operate region’s first high-voltage, direct current subsea transmission system

Source: Upstream by Nishant Ugal

Leading international players are said to be queuing up for a huge subsea power transmission project from Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) and compatriot Abu Dhabi Power Corporation (ADPower) involving multiple offshore platforms, which the state-owned giant hopes will drive down its carbon footprint.

At least three people familiar with the tender process told Upstream that leading service providers are lining up for the mega contract that has been termed the “lightning project”.

The joint tender by Adnoc and ADPower aims to “develop and operate the region’s first high-voltage, direct current (HVDC) subsea transmission system, that will connect Adnoc’s offshore production facilities to ADPower’s onshore electricity grid”.

Adnoc said in April that it has launched the joint tender exercise for the power transmission project along with ADPower.

The preferred player will be responsible to develop the project on a “build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) basis,” it said at that time.

“The successful bidders, alongside Adnoc and ADPower, will develop and operate the transmission system, with the full project being returned to Adnoc at the end of the transmission agreement,” the Abu Dhabi state giant said.

One person with knowledge of the tender process pointed out that hundreds of kilometres of subsea cables are likely to involved.

Some of the leading players that are believed to be eyeing the power transmission job include Italy’s Terna, French player Engie, Spain’s Elecnor and Cobra, Japan’s Marubeni and Kansai Electric, China Southern Power Grid, China State Grid and Germany’s Siemens.

However, the participation of each of these players could not be confirmed by Upstream.

One person said that some additional players could also be in the fray.

Leading international offshore engineering, procurement, construction and installation players, such as Saipem, Subsea 7 and Abu Dhabi’s own National Petroleum Construction Company, could also be interested in some of the installation work for the mega power transmission project, observers said.

Adnoc said earlier this year that it had sent requests for proposals to international companies that have the requisite experience to partner with Adnoc and ADPower for the scheme.

he transmission system will comprise two independent sub-sea HVDC transmission links and converter stations that will connect to ADPower’s onshore electricity grid and provide a total installed capacity of 3200 megawatts, Adnoc said.

This project is likely to be operational by 2025 and will be funded through a special-purpose vehicle jointly owned by Adnoc and ADPower each with 30%, and the selected developers and investors with 40%, Adnoc said.

According to Adnoc, the offshore power transmission project “is expected to reduce the carbon footprint” of the company’s offshore facilities by up to 30% and would optimise power supply cost for the company’s offshore facilities.

The project will be “replacing the existing offshore localised gas turbine generators with diverse, more efficient and environmentally sustainable sources of energy, including renewable and nuclear power”, Adnoc said.

Adnoc had claimed that the project would allow it to utilise its rich gas — currently used to power the offshore facilities — for higher-value purposes, which could generate more revenues for the company.

Yaser Saeed Al Mazrouei, Adnoc’s upstream executive director, said in April that the “project will meet its future offshore power needs, even as the fields mature, using diverse and sustainable sources”.


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