Technology transfer or acceptance is difficult in every industry; however, the oil & gas industry has had it especially hard with volatile commodity prices, variability of technology sources and the regulatory uncertainty. In 1994 in a paper entitled, "Development of a Model Technology Transfer Program to Assist Independent Operators"5 the authors outline a model for independent operators to embrace and utilize new technology with an aim of reducing well abandonment common at the time and increasing overall production for the long term. This paper seeks to expand upon that work updating its methodology for today's more challenging operating environments. It sets the course for companies to continue to take advantage of technology and best practices in ways that optimize operations, improve economics and secure production far into the future.
This paper describes a program that any operator can utilize to get quick access to technology without significant costs while increasing oil production and decreasing operating expenses. This technology transfer program utilizes methods from other technology based industries yet is focused and builds upon past principals established by technology transfer programs like the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) and the Petroleum Technology Transfer Council (PTTC). This paper contains several fundamental components including: 1) Technology Leadership guided by industry to initiate and manage the technology transfer process, 2) Problem Identification activities that help create a two-way dialogue between industry and leadership organization, 3) Documented Demonstration Projects rooted in findings from problem identification activities 4) Focused Technology Workshops serving to disseminate demonstration project findings and 5) Regional Resource Centers with Outreach Resources serving as local and online repositories for easy future access by industry.
Additionally, this paper identifies various sources of research and technology development funding illustrating how an effective technology transfer process can improve the time between idea and technology commercialization. In the last few years the landscape of the oil and gas industry has changed dramatically in relation to technology. Many operators, out of necessity, have adopted a manufacturing or mass production mentality regarding their wells while disregarding optimization and the use of technology for long-term production.
This paper specifically addresses the needs of the modern oil and gas operator who does not have, or has limited access to industry research labs, government funding and university programs. It provides a step by step process designed to help operators become engaged in technology transfer in a cost-effective manner with a goal of improving their individual businesses as well as the industry at large.