Wednesday 17 July 2019

Providence's new eco arm to target greenhouse gas

Explorer’s new firm: ‘It’s an adjunct to our business, which is oil and gas,’ said John O’Sullivan
Explorer’s new firm: ‘It’s an adjunct to our business, which is oil and gas,’ said John O’Sullivan
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

PROVIDENCE Resources has set up a new company focused on renewables projects, potentially including capturing carbon dioxide from power stations and burying it under the sea bed.

The company has also been working on a project in the area of "geothermal" energy, which is derived from the heat under the planet's surface.

An entity entitled Providence Renewables Designated Activity Company has been established, according to documents filed at the Companies Registration Office.

Providence technical director John O'Sullivan said the company was looking at a potential carbon capture (or carbon sequestration) project off the south coast, where the Kinsale Head gas field is due to be decommissioned over the next couple of years.

State body Ervia has said that the area under the sea bed from which the Kinsale Gas was extracted could be used to store carbon once the natural gas is gone.

However, Providence's geothermal project - although still a long way from fruition - is more advanced.

As part of a previous drilling programme the company discovered billions of barrels of boiling water under the sea bed, where it gets heated by its proximity to the earth's crust.

The boiling water is located off the south-west coast in an area known as the Porcupine Basin.

Providence is examining whether electricity could be created by installing a so-called "heat exchanger" on the sea bed.

The boiling water would be pumped up to the sea bed, and then into the exchanger.

Once there, the heat in the water would cause a separate fluid in the heat exchanger to expand. That expansion would power a turbine, generating electricity to be sent back to shore. The water would then be pumped down again into the reservoir from which it came - meaning the electricity would be renewable.

"It is a complementary adjunct to our business, which is oil and gas. There are some really good emerging supports out there," said Mr O'Sullivan.

The project has also attracted interest from a number of industry players. Mr O'Sullivan said Providence has discovered a "couple of other targets" around the Porcupine basin, and that this could create a "cluster development for a big offshore geothermal project."

Setting up the renewables arm as a separate company gives Providence the chance to spin it out, for example as a separate listed company, if it achieves scale.

Mr O'Sullivan said there were no plans for a move like that at the moment, however.

Irish Independent

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