In early August, the UK’s National Subsea Research Initiative (NSRI) – a body whose work InnovOil has discussed on several occasions – unveiled a new roadmap for overcoming the challenges of subsea storage.
Specifically, its report concerns “Maximising Economic Recovery from Small Pool Developments,” and represents the output of a recent workshop involving innovators from across the UK and Norway. This session aimed to identify ways to stimulate investment in and encourage the development of emerging technologies which will speed up the shift from costly surface platforms to lower-cost, standalone facilities.
Commenting on the report, NSRI project director Dr Gordon Drummond noted: “Subsea storage will play an important part in the future of the industry, when there will be less need for surface platforms and ‘subsea factories’ and autonomous, low-cost production buoys are likely to become a more common solution. This will allow us to recover resources from smaller oil and gas fields and access hard-to-reach fields.”
The release of this analysis was a timely coincidence, given our choice of cover story this month. We had not long before sat down for an in-depth conversation with SeaCaptaur managing director and co-founder Alan Roberts to discuss the company’s technology – an innovative production, storage and offload system aimed specifically at unlocking small pools. The 45,000 bbl tank which adorns our front cover is an appropriate indication of the scale of the challenge – and indeed, the opportunity, if innovation can overcome it.
New subsea infrastructure will also require power – and perhaps even more of it than has been needed in the past. One Aberdeen-based firm, EC-OG, is developing a turbine to help prolong the life of batteries and equipment on the seabed and make subsea developments more economical. We explore their efforts inside.
A team from Heriot Watt is looking even further towards the future. Over the summer we spoke with Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer, whose work group is beginning a new research programme to 3-D print porous rock cores with embedded sensors, enabling tests on pressure, pH and fluid flow of hydrocarbons on a level of detail never seen before. Indeed, if it proves successful, in future a producer may be able understand how fluid and gas behave in its reservoir before drilling has even begun.
This month, we also examine the latest innovations from the oilfield chemicals and fluids sector. Manufacturer AkzoNobel explains how the changing economics of the industry have led to a corresponding change in its business strategy in order to serve its customers better. We also speak to services firm TETRA Technologies about how its Innovation Group collaborates with customers, and researchers from the Universities of Houston and Chengdu investigating how graphene nanosheets can aid tertiary recovery.
All this, as well as LNG icebreakers, high-pressure water drilling, 3-D smartphone sensors and more.
We are pleased to present the September issue of InnovOil.