We have co-invested £37 million with industry in a wide range of technology projects to unlock the full potential of the UK Continental Shelf.
Air Control Entech
Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) development
We’re working with Air Control Entech to deliver a step change in the capability and functionality of UAVs for the remote inspection of oil and gas facilities. These advanced drones could be 20 times faster than traditional inspection techniques and reduce costs by 50% in comparison to rope access methods as well as improving safety due to no man entry being required. The project has delivered three new UAVs – live stream, ultrasonic testing and 3D laser scanning – with the next phase developing a UAV for confined spaces.
Apollo and LifeTech
KnowHow and RBLX Software Development
We’re supporting Apollo and LifeTech to provide digital applications for offshore teams, by developing a tablet-based, software solution for integrity management. It delivers integrity data and decision-making across the full lifecycle of an asset, allowing for quicker and more accurate data gathering and reporting, creating a potential 20% efficiency gain
Apollo KnowHow software
Infinity Oilfield Services
Fail Force Actuator Safety Gauntlet
In partnership with Infinity Oilfield Services, we’re developing a safety solution which could save UK North Sea operators up to £320 million. The device, which includes Kevlar, would contain corroded valve equipment to eliminate the risk of an uncontrolled release of stored energy, improving safety performance and potentially extending asset life. Patent Pending status has been obtained for the product.
Fail Force Actuator Safety Gauntlet
Non-intrusive inspection (NII) of pressure vessels can deliver significant cost and safety benefits. Sonomatic’s idea is to develop the next generation of robotic NII technology, with improved speed, agility and autonomy compared with existing systems. The robot, incorporating advanced inspection technologies, will help increase production uptime, reduce costs and improve efficiency.
SPi Performance Coatings
We’re working with SPi Performance Coatings to tackle corrosion – one of the main causes of downtime – with a revolutionary protective coating that ‘eats’ rust on surfaces and self-heals when damaged. The technology has the potential to increase efficiencies and extend the life of existing assets and infrastructure. A field trial has already been completed on Total E&P UK’s Elgin platform and further field trials are planned for later in 2018.
Onshore application of EonCoat
Total, taurob and TU Darmstadt
Mobile robot for autonomous operational inspection
Robots could soon be working autonomously alongside humans on a North Sea platform as part of a world-first project from the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, Total E&P (Total) and taurob, in partnership with Technische Universitaet Darmstadt (TU Darmstadt). The 18-month project will develop and trial a mobile robot for autonomous operational inspection of facilities on Total’s onshore Shetland Gas Plant and offshore Alwyn platform.
University of Strathclyde
Robotic telepresence NDE
We’re working with the University of Strathclyde to develop a new robot crawler equipped with 3D laser scanning and non-destructive testing technology. Existing crawlers are typically deployed only when there is clear line-of-sight for the operator. The University’s solution will construct a virtual, dynamic 3D representation of the inspection site meaning it can be operated safely from a remote location.
University of Strathclyde
We’re supporting the University of Strathclyde in the use of swarms of small unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, for visual inspection offshore. Drone swarms, which are being rapidly adopted by the military and for logistics activities, could deliver a safe, flexible and cost-effective alternative to human inspection.
Material characterisation of downhole metal sealing technology
BiSN is developing a new approach to well plug and abandonment based on its Wel-lok M2M™ technology. The goal of this novel P&A technology is to reduce plugging and abandoning costs by providing a guaranteed seal with a cost-effective deployment mechanism. The Technology Centre and industry are supporting material verification tests to assist in the verification and acceptance of the technology. Validating this technology as a suitable barrier would have significant impact on abandonment costs, reducing the need for tubular removal across a large proportion of wells in the UKCS and enabling the use of an intervention vessel or platform-based activity instead of a rig.
Xclude reservoir barrier
Aubin has developed the Xclude chemical plug, which isolates flow from the reservoir by plugging the near wellbore pore space using scale precipitation. Benefits of using a chemical application for impeding well flow over traditional plugging methods include the ability to deliver the treatment through restricted or challenging access routes. Xclude will be trialled in an offshore well for the first time to demonstrate its ability to isolate flow in a deployment scenario.
Baker Hughes, a GE company
Multi-barrier wellbore integrity inspection system
We’re working with Baker Hughes, a GE company to develop a technology that delivers cement logging through multiple casing strings, improving on existing solutions which deliver logging behind only one casing or tubular. The advantage of this technology is that it could eliminate the requirement to remove tubing to verify barrier integrity. Leaving tubing downhole to access critical well conditions prior to abandonment would reduce uncertainty, enabling optimised planning of abandonment campaigns, reducing cost and time through unlocking more rigless opportunities.
Deepwater Oil Tools
We’re working with Deepwater Oil Tools to develop and field trial, ArticuLock, a special articulated joint within the drillpipe running string used when deploying subsea equipment through the drilling rig during well construction. The technology will enable drilling operations to run equipment even in rough weather conditions, resulting in a reduction in waiting on weather time (WOW), a multi-million pound issue annually to the drilling industry. Independent studies have demonstrated that ArticuLock could increase the operating weather window by 30-35%, having a significant impact on reducing WOW time.
A multiscale modelling approach to optimise well plug and abandonment operations
Based on the outputs from an industry-led workshop, Heriot-Watt University is developing a new modelling framework to predict the potential for flow of hydrocarbons to surface as part of well isolation design in well plug and abandonment. The model would help evaluate and manage risk, increase efficiency and enhance decision-making. This could deliver cost and time savings through reduced scope, reduced remediation and support the deployment of new technology, such as alternative plugging solutions using fewer barriers, different barrier locations, or different barrier materials.
We’re working with Interwell and Spirit Energy to field-trial a well plugging and abandonment technology that could deliver up to £100 million cost-savings per year. Interwell’s thermite tool melts materials in the wellbore, forming an impermeable seal in the well, which may lead to future use as a barrier for abandonment. This simplifies well abandonment and with further testing and development, may provide an alternative to traditional abandonment techniques. The results will be shared within a collaboration group that has been initiated amongst UK operators committed to sharing deployment information and working together to establish testing and verification requirements to gain regulator acceptance for the technology as a permanent barrier.
Acoustic Telemetry System
We’re supporting Raptor Oil to transform the transmission of downhole drilling data to the surface. The company’s acoustic telemetry technology could increase the speed and capacity of data communication helping to drive efficiency, reduce costs and enable better decision-making. Industry is supporting this technology as a critical element to developing fully automated operations where data drives the automated decision-making process.
A successful blind test of Raptor's high data rate downhole wireless telemetry system
University of Strathclyde
Mirco-annuli and migration pathway sealing technology
The University of Strathclyde’s project uses enzymes to repair or improve cement barriers to block the migration pathways, preventing the flow of hydrocarbons to surface in wells that have been plugged and abandoned. It’s low viscosity and nanoparticle size enables it to penetrate and seal the smallest of spaces, which cement grouts can struggle to achieve. The technology, currently being developed for other industries, will be assessed in typical downhole conditions to gather critical data on its performance and applicability as a well abandonment material.
Subsea Power Hub
We are working with EC-OG on their Subsea Power Hub (SPH) project, which overcomes the problem of providing electrical power to remote subsea infrastructure locations. The device extracts energy from ocean currents and using its intelligent energy management and battery system makes it available for the powering of control systems, sensors and communications. This technology has the potential to support bringing stranded wells back on line and also support the removal of the power/comms/hydraulic umbilical for new subsea developments, which may provide a cost effective and reusable solution.
Subsea Flow Surveillance
Exnics is developing a low cost, low power, non-intrusive and retrofittable subsea tool for determining multi-phase production flowrates from subsea wells. The system is installed onto a production spool and utilizes a low power laser to monitor minute variances in the pipe from which the flow parameters are determined. With no current non-intrusive technologies on the market, when proven the Exnics Subsea Flow Surveillance System could be the first. This presents significant CAPEX reduction over existing metering technologies.
Automated pipe end preparation
This project demonstrates an alternative to the current available manual solutions for Pipe End Preparation, which have limitations regarding productivity and/or ease of use in production. Subsea 7 is conducting a feasibility study to demonstrate automated pipe preparation and its acceptability. We are providing support for the design of the application and to develop sensor array required to locate and confirm acceptability of the completed process/ product. The technology has the potential to release personnel to other significant tasks where appropriate, improve safety, quality and consistency.
SEER statistical common root cause analysis
Intelligent Plant is developing and testing an alarm root cause analyse (RCA) capability through data analytics methods and a cloud-based application (SEER) for use in diagnosis of the major equipment trips, which will allow the end user to modify operational, maintenance or engineering practice to potentially monitor and prevent future failures. The current inability to prevent trips has been identified as a major cause of downtime, so the success of the project would mitigate this and increase production efficiency and provide significant cost savings.
Intelligent Plant's SEER analysis
Intelligent Plant are developing technology that addresses a challenge in the industry around optimisation of production from complex facilities. Currently wells are tested individually, however this new technology creates an opportunity to utilise data and machine learning to optimise the whole system. This creates an opportunity to potentially increase production by more than 1% of each field that the technology is applied to.
Intelligent Plant's Well Intelligence software
Asset healthcare and diligence assessment
OPEX, with our support, are developing and trialling a new data analytics driven assurance service that utilises historical operational and OEM data to provide a detailed quantitative assessment of an asset’s health and condition. This will overcome the challenge for Operators buying or inheriting legacy assets who do not have a comprehensive understanding of the health, condition and/or level of operational risk within the topside facilities. This technology will be a repeatable service, providing quick and cost-effective visibility of the health of an asset and allow them to optimise the management and maintenance of any risks, generating substantial cost savings.
Identifying human risk in the oil and gas industry
We're working with OPEX to strengthen efforts in the field of safety in offshore operations through the application of predictive technologies. By using behavioural diagnostics, psychology and advanced data analysis techniques, the project will establish whether predictive technologies and data science can accurately identify, measure and predict areas of behavioural risk in the offshore environment. This is currently an untapped opportunity and if successful, has the potential for significant mitigation of the human risks that exist in the offshore workplace and greatly strengthen the safety and predictability of offshore operations
Sharecat Solutions Ltd
Sharecat Solutions have, with some of the UKCS’s leading operators and contractors, co-developed a concept ‘UK Hub’. The Hub will create business efficiencies and generate cost reductions by the centralisation and standardisation of a single unique set of supplier data to be used by all operators, contractors and suppliers. The Hub will enable greater collaboration between companies in the UKCS Oil and Gas Industry by collecting, validating and maintaining data and documents for equipment and parts once during the procurement process in a standard format. This will create a single source of equipment information that can be shared across the industry. By enabling the re-use of supplier information, the Hub will dramatically reduce duplication of effort and as standardisation is ensured, information can be used to support many big data industry initiatives including joint inventories, surplus stock trading and maintenance trends etc. The validated information can also feed directly into a company’s existing functions such as asset integrity, engineering and ERP systems.
C-Beaver Phase 1- Technical, Economic, Legal, Operational and Scheduling (‘TELOS’) study
3-Sci Ltd is finalising their ‘TELOS’ feasibility study, with our support. The study, which is being conducted over a 14-week period, will explore a new method of removing subsea metallic structures, by a technique of accelerated corrosion, which can cut or fully dissolve steel, alleviating the unwanted costs and environmental impacts of leaving quantities of steel subsea or returning them to shore. The technology has the potential to increase the rate at which steel is currently eliminated, creating a reduction in time and cost efficiency.
Small water-tank tests of accelerated corrosion
Jacket buoyancy recovery
We are supporting Ardent’s development efforts to apply their best practices in removing Jacket structures using Buoyancy Systems to float-off and tow jacket structures, to a reception facility for disposal. The buoyancy float and tow techniques successfully applied in the marine sector, are being further refined to be suitable for the oil and gas industry and allow onshore demolition at UK decommissioning yards, with draft limited quaysides. This technology could have significant potential cost efficiencies in the removal of jacket structures, across the North Sea and other regions where decommissioning activities are planned.
Buoyancy system for jacket removal