As we prepared this month for one of the biggest events in the European oil industry calendar, September’s SPE Offshore Europe 2017, it seemed prudent to reflect on the changes of the past two years. In 2015, keynote chairman Michael Engell-Jensen discussed how innovation could improve safety and costs in an industry feeling the severe bite of low oil prices.
Priorities may have changed since then – efficiency and cost reduction have to some extent overtaken other concerns – but other forecasts for technical innovation have been heeded.
Ahead of the 2015 conference, technical chairman Charles Woodburn told InnovOil of the importance of “cost-effective, life-of-field subsea well intervention. There is currently a large gap in the market for this technology.” It is therefore promising that we cover an example of just such a technology in this month’s issue.
In another sign of shifting priorities, the conference’s deepwater zone has now given way to the decommissioning zone, a reflection of a sector now facing up to the realities of dismantling and removing assets, rather than prolonging them indefinitely. In this month’s issue, we speak with several members of the “Decom North Sea: Global Late Life and Decommissioning Practitioners” panel to get their insight into how technology can deliver necessary cost reductions.
Given the changed backdrop of the past two years, this year’s delegates will assemble under the fitting banner of ‘Embracing New Realities: Reinventing our Industry.” In her welcoming letter to the 2017 conference, this year’s conference chair, Schlumberger Drilling Group president Catherine MacGregor, notes: “Learning the lessons from the most severe downturn in the industry for the past 30 years, there is no doubt that the industry has to reinvent itself… The current situation is an opportunity for the industry to rethink beyond just cost efficiency and embrace new technologies, new types of collaborations and business models, as well as different ways of working that lead to new, sustainable outcomes.”
I look forward to meeting the InnovOil readers and technology developers at the forefront of this reinvention in Aberdeen this month.
Despite our focus on Europe, we also pay attention to a number of technical innovations from across the globe. In the US, for example, new advances in LiDAR have allowed Ball Aerospace & Technology to map methane emissions on the ground from a fixed-wing aircraft – faster and at a lower cost than the helicopter or ground surveys used today. Meanwhile, in Australia, Inpex’s Venturer FPSO has set sail for its mission in the Browse Basin. All this and much more is inside.
We are pleased to present the September issue of InnovOil.