Oil and gas (O&G) operations are often located in sparsely inhabited, remote areas, ranging from the iced arctic, to the hot deserts, to extreme offshore environments. In many cases, these sites do not have connection to grid power while might benefit from highly available renewable resources.
The progressive electrification has mainly been achieved through installation of diesel generators (DGs) and, to a lesser extent, via solar PhotoVoltaic (PV) stand-alone systems.
A Diesel Generator is a well proven and reliable technology for electricity production but has not negligible operation&maintenance costs and causes GreenHouse Gases (GHG) emissions; meanwhile solar PV systems are based on the renewable and clean solar energy resource but are intermittent, thus requiring the storage of the energy excess.
To offset the constrains of both technologies, eni has designed and built an innovative solar/fossil hybrid plant in the Egyptian Western Desert: a PV system (110 kWp) was installed to save fuel from DG (200 kW) in supplying power to 3 Oil Pumps (113 kW). A patented Power Management System (PMS) is able to couple and manage the electric power production by a common DG and a PV solar plant.
This hybrid plant has been successfully tested over more than 8000 hours during 2013 in very challenging conditions (without both grid connection and battery bank) and in harsh climatic conditions (high daily temperatures, sudden temperature decreases during night, sand storms). Savings of diesel fuel and CO2 avoided emissions (about 12') have been quantified.
The demonstration of the system has been successfully concluded and the technology is now ready for further deployment on a worldwide basis.