I’ve been with the Oil & Gas Technology Centre in Aberdeen as Decommissioning Solution Centre Manager for a couple of months now, and it’s fair to say that a lot has happened in that time.
It’s been a whirlwind start meeting many organisations, stakeholders and even our new Energy Minister, looking at innovative technology ideas and potential projects, sharing and validating our key focus areas with industry and taking to the mic at our Christmas party (the less said about that the better).
So, what I have learned so far? From technology developers to operators, there is a real commitment to delivering the industry target of a minimum 35% cost reduction in decommissioning. There is a huge prize at stake and it’s a rightly bold target. However, I’m under no illusions about the magnitude of work involved in achieving this.
Developing and deploying technology is at the heart of this - new solutions that are needed by our industry, can make a difference, reduce costs and drive productivity gains. This is not just technology for technology’s sake – it has to deliver against a specific industry need. Our decommissioning ‘Call for Ideas’ is one example of how we’re doing this.
We’re looking for innovative ideas and concepts for how to power an asset and it utilities during decommissioning. Developing alternative ‘life support’ solutions will give operators greater flexibility on the complete asset removal strategy, scope and timing, in turn, has the potential to drive significant cost-reductions.
A frequently asked question is about the intellectual property for your idea. Well, the good news is that it remains with you - we’re here to speed up the development and deployment process for the projects we approve.
So, we only need an idea or concept at this stage, not a fully costed proposal and we welcome submissions for inside and outside the oil and gas industry. Companies working in other industries may have the answer and these may come from renewables, the military supply chain, salvage or nuclear, but we want to hear from as many alternative sources as we can.
The Calls are just one way that we reach out to the wider technology community and I encourage you to get in touch with us at any time if you have an idea. We need to build our pipeline of decommissioning technology projects and I’m already seeing the Technology Centre’s other Solution Centres as being key to this.
We’re working closely with our Wells team on plugging and abandonment, and there is a real opportunity to harness the digital revolution when it comes to late life & decommissioning. If we can open up data on platforms and well infrastructure, we could see a supply chain able to develop new solutions to specific challenges.
It’s been an exciting start and the response from those I’ve met has been very positive, but I’m not getting carried away. We’re still at the beginning of the decommissioning journey and there’s lots to do, but that also means we have a great opportunity.
We have chance to fix the industry of today, maximise economic recovery and transform tomorrow. So, if you have a technology idea or want to trial a new solution, please get in touch – we want to hear your ideas and match it to an industry problem.