The UK Oil and Gas Authority’s director of E&P Gunther Newcombe noted in March that “asset integrity is at the heart of the oil and gas industry.” While he is certainly correct, for all of the integrity-centric talk in the industry, many conversations around the subject in oil and gas remain behind the times.
A new report from Lockheed Martin UK highlights the extent of some of this unexplored potential. In looking at new and developing technologies from other industries, its recent landscape report for the Oil and Gas Innovation Centre (OGIC) included everything from NASA-backed technology to training dogs to sniff out corrosion. You can read more about its findings inside this month’s issue.
Similarly, coatings supplier Hempel explains the innovative chemistry and engineering behind its range of corrosion-resistant products, and how they can help protect asset integrity.
It is also interesting to note how times have changed in the corporate world. Doing some background reading on one of our features this month – an interesting new arrangement between GE Oil & Gas and Diamond Offshore, which will see the operator pay GE only while its blowout preventers (BOPs) are working – I came across an article from around five years ago. In it, a perfect storm of rig shortages, post-Macondo safety spending and a push to bring wells on line faster resulted in billions of dollars in backlogs and an industry that could not manufacture equipment fast enough.
At the time of the article, drillers had begun to double-up on US$45 million BOPs in order to work longer and reduce potential downtime. In 2012, it was predicted that as many as half of all new builds would be fitted with two BOPs. Now it seems that operators are struggling to justify paying for the equipment itself.
But as in the case of GE and Diamond Drilling, innovative thinking can offer a new perspective. That was certainly one of the major themes put forward at the Industry Technology Facilitator’s Technology Showcase in early March. One of the best technology-focused events in Europe (nay the world?), its greatest success lies in putting technology providers and operators together in the same room, giving equal balance to the workshop and the boardroom. This year also saw ITF director Paddy O’Brien urge the industry to increase the speed at which it adopts new innovation. There remain no easy solutions around how to achieve this; the task should be helped – in the UK at least – by the creation of the Oil and gas Technology Centre (OGTC) in Aberdeen. You can read more about the project and the event inside.
As well as innovative events, this month sees us discuss AUVs making increasingly autonomous decisions, a high-tech refinery upgrading project, a roundup of subsea JIPs and a nifty micro-ROV from Deep Trekker.
Heeding the words of groups like ITF, this month’s InnovOil also includes our newest regular feature, which aims to keep you up-to-date with some of the more intriguing and impressive innovations from outside the world of oil and gas. Stay tuned for more.
All our features are also available through our brand new website.
For now, however, the team and I are pleased to present the April edition of InnovOil.