The founders of a specialist reservoir engineering company and hydrogen storage firm based in Aberdeen have launched a Hydrogen Reservoir Engineering division, thought to be the first of its kind in the world.
Laurent Schirrer and Isabelle Vervoort, who created Oilgen in 2002 and Hydrenor in 2019, have established the HRE group as a new branch of Oilgen. HRE will combine the specialist expertise of both companies to provide geological, reservoir simulation and economic feasibility studies applied to the future flow and reactions of hydrogen in rock formations and the conversion of depleted oil or gas fields into large hydrogen storage.
HRE experts will also tailor and deliver courses at its Aberdeen base for reservoir engineers to give a better understanding of the new technical discipline.
The move comes in line with the EU Commission and UK Government’s plans to implement a hydrogen infrastructure on time for net zero targets by 2050, with the first commercial storage anticipated to be in place by 2030.
Oilgen specialises in high-tech reservoir studies to forecast and improve oil and gas production and its team of experts have more than 20 years’ extensive expertise in compositional gas storage simulation; PVT, thermodynamics; gas storage; and geological modelling. The firm is also a gas storage and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) compositional simulation specialist.
Sister company Hydrenor was established to provide specialist projects related to the development of new renewable, clean and sustainable energy, with respect to methane emission abatement, hydrogen use and other innovative technologies, ultimately creating a low carbon future. In September 2019, it was the first in the UK to specialise in subsurface hydrogen storage and its associated technologies. Through Hydrenor, HRE is a Board Advisor on the HyStorPor project, an ambitious three-year initiative headed by Edinburgh University, studying hydrogen storage in porous formations.
HRE has appointed Jonathan Scafidi, also a PhD researcher at the University of Edinburgh, as Hydrogen Consultant. Mr Scafidi, a geoscientist who studied on the CCS MSc at Edinburgh University, previously published a paper in the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control. His current research, co-financed by Hydrenor, investigates storing hydrogen underground in porous rocks using computer simulations.
Plans are also in place to employ engineers and geoscientists with experience in the Oil & Gas sector as HRE grows in the future.
Oilgen and Hydrenor managing director, Laurent Schirrer, said: “Oilgen and our sister company, Hydrenor, have identified that there will be demand for large-scale underground storage facilities in the near future. Working together to create HRE allows us to pioneer the reservoir simulation of hydrogen, participating to the development of a clean new hydrogen economy.
“Hydrogen will be produced from renewable sources and will flow in pipelines, and the new energy commodity will see the creation of strategic storage methods to meet supply and demand.
“Quantities will be huge, and the ramp up will happen in this decade. I predict that by 2030 hydrogen will grow in capacity and infrastructure, not only in the UK but also across Europe and in other parts of the world. From 2030 to 2045 there will be a ramp up of this commodity in Scotland.
“Hydrogen reservoir engineering is a new discipline we are proud to participate launching. Its aim is the expert modelling of seasonal storage and flow of hydrogen in porous rocks that comprise of a caprock, mainly for the purpose of storing it underground in the future.
“To date, the steady growth of the hydrogen economy has been due to the important part it plays as an energy vector for the forthcoming transition, and with the current pandemic causing a downturn in the oil and gas sector, major companies and investors are now backing plans for the future.
“For this reason, site-specific research and development studies need to take place upfront and this is the mission of HRE. We believe we are the first centre of its kind providing reservoir engineering services for hydrogen, and our ambition is to be an active partner in the Aberdeen Transition Zone, fostering collaboration across public and private sectors.
“HRE invites Oil & Gas companies currently rationalising or repurposing their assets to contact us to assess hydrogen options. HRE will work internationally with private clients, Governments and academia to pioneer the hydrogen reservoir engineering science.”
Read the latest issue of the OGV Energy magazine HERE.