The winds of change

Kseniya Pak portrait
Renewable energy is the future and 26-year-old master’s student Kseniya Pak its face and brains.

Kseniya Pak, from Uzbekistan, recently defended her master's thesis "Offshore wind as alternative to traditional energy supply for arctic petroleum installations – The case of Johan Castberg oil and gas field" at Nord University Business School. She did it with flying colours.

Pak´s thesis won best master's thesis in High North/Energy, awarded by Evgeny Nanyukov of Rosneft Nordic Oil AS, with Pak scooping up the associated cash prize of 10,000 Norwegian kroner.

Times are changing. The way we think about energy consumption likewise. In about 50 years, oil will no longer be the world's most preferred source of energy. Cars will be electric. Wind and water constitute clean, sustainable and, not least, accessible energy sources. In the meantime, we need a transitional system, and this is where Pak's thesis steps in.

– I wanted to develop a model to embed renewable solutions into the fossil fuel sector, which could trigger green transformation of the industry, says the award-winning student.

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Kseniya Pak won the Business School's coveted award for "Best master's thesis in High North / Energy" - Summer is saved, laughs the master's student.

Passionate about wind power

– I am passionate about wind as a renewable energy source and I wanted to find a way to combine wind and oil, explains Pak.

Traditionally, offshore oil and gas projects utilize gas turbines to meet energy requirements, and developers must assess whether it is possible to use electricity supplied by cable from land. Pak set out to investigate the possibility of using wind power as an alternative energy source.

She used the Johan Castberg oil field, under development by Equinor (formerly Statoil), in the Barents Sea, to study the potential environmental and economic impacts of using an alternative, sustainable source of electricity.

– Offshore oil and gas potential in Arctic Norway is expanding deeper into the Barents Sea. This negatively impacts the fragile Arctic environment by producing significant amounts of greenhouse gases. It turns out that oil and gas companies primarily use gas turbines for energy supply to offshore platforms. In order to fulfil the requirements of international agreements on climate change, it is necessary to develop alternative, renewable, reliable sources of energy.

The last oil generation

– I have studied both traditional and renewable energy and I have developed a flexible model that companies can adjust according to their context, says the master's student.

A native of Uzbekistan, Pak says she fell in love with Bodø and the quiet, simple life of the Arctic. She is hoping to continue to develop her model further as part of doctoral studies.  Pak's generation just might be the last to rely on fossil resources. In order to avoid become a fossil itself, the energy industry must change.

The socioeconomic assessments presented in Pak's thesis highlight potential conflict between governmental environmental requirements and profitability. The thesis evaluates two different alternatives: sole use of wind turbines and a combination of gas and wind turbines. The downside is that neither of the options is profitable with today's technology and market prices. This explains Equinor's choice of gas turbines on the Johan Castberg oil field.

Reliable sources

Pak is prepared to put some more work into her model to meet future needs in the oil field and other energy enterprises.

– The Arctic and Bodø are windy places and perfect for windmills. Wind is the most reliable source of energy we have, says Pak passionately, pointing out how improved technological solutions will make wind turbines more attractive.

When presenting Pak with her award, Rosneft's representative highlighted the relevance of the thesis for both regulators and commercial bodies seeking better ways to measure profitability.

Kseniya Pak smiles and tosses her long, black hair. Bodø might be one of the windiest places she has ever been, but she doesn't mind. That is the future blowing on her cheeks.

Energy Management: International Governance and Business (Master of Science)

This study programme from Nord University and MGIMO University in Moscow provides candidates with academic breadth as well in-demand, future-oriented expertise within energy management.

> Go to the programme description