In an Australian-first trial, Australian oil and gas company Santos will commence converting the pumps on their oil wells to solar and battery power to reduce emissions from oil production.
On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $4.2 million in funding towards a $16 million trial that will see Santos convert 56 remote crude oil beam pumps to solar and batteries after a successful Australian first pilot installation.
3.2 Megawatts of Solar PV and batteries will be installed at the 56 oil wells across South Australia and Queensland to supply each site with 100 per cent renewable energy.
The trial is the next step towards commercialising the technology, by providing adequate scale needed to achieve supply chain and execution synergies and allowing the trial multiple suppliers to reduce unit costs.
If successful, Santos will look to convert an additional 151 pumps across the Cooper Basin to solar and batteries (by converting all 208 sites, this would save 140 barrels of oil a day currently used to fuel the pumps).
Santos Managing Director and CEO Kevin Gallagher said the solar beam pump will reduce emissions and waste from oil production, saving 140 barrels of oil per day which is required to fuel the pumps, which instead will be sold for beneficial use.
“Our own consumption of fuel in the Cooper Basin is equivalent to about five per cent of east coast domestic gas demand, so if we can extend our use of renewables to our gas operations, we can also free up more natural gas for sale, which is a good way to put downward pressure on gas prices,” he added.