Santos is all set to convert the beam pumps on its oil wells in the Cooper Basin in South Australia and Queensland to solar and battery power in a move to cut down emissions from oil production.
The project to be launched by Santos in this connection will be implemented at 56 locations. It will cost a little over A$16m ($11.52) and will be helped by a grant of A$4.2m ($3.02m) from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
The grant is being awarded under ARENA’s Advancing Renewables Program that supports a wide range of development, demonstration and pre-commercial deployment projects which can potentially deliver affordable and reliable renewable energy in Australia.
The project follows the success of a pilot solar beam pump, which has been operating continuously since August. According to Santos, the pilot solar beam pump has demonstrated that solar PV and batteries can sustain both reliability and availability in the harsh environment of the Cooper Basin.
The Australian oil and gas producer said that the project is the next step towards the commercialization of the technology by giving adequate scale to achieve supply chain and execution synergies and evaluate various vendors to cut down unit costs.
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, and 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.”
Santos said that it will explore the conversion of all 208 beam pumps in its Cooper Basin operations to solar and batteries if the initial launch turns out to be successful in commercializing the technology. The conversion of all the beam pumps is expected to save 140 barrels of oil a day that are otherwise used for fueling them, said ARENA.