The sources of funding available to development projects are considerable Most are linked to government, however, it is possible with an interesting programme and the potential of a ‘technical or financial return’ to obtain funds through operating companies in the offshore industry.

The development of Hydra-Lok has made use of various sources of funding, and some experience has been gained on the type of projects that are attractive to the various types of funding organizations. The following paper illustrates, through the development of Hydra-Lok, various aspects of funded research and development, including

  1. how to fund a project, and the levels of funding available,

  2. the way funding was applied to Hydra-Lok,

  3. the advantages and disadvantages of funding a successful project (The advantages of funding an unsuccessful project should be clear)

SOURCES AND LEVELS OF FUNDING AVAILABLE

BUE Hydra-Lok have obtained funding for the development of the Hydra-Lok system from a number of sources We have applied to, and obtained funding at one time or another from, each of the following sources

  1. UK Department of Energy-OETB (Offshore Supplies Office sponsored),

  2. UK Department of Energy-OETB (PED sponsored),

  3. EEC-Community projects in the hydrocarbons sector,

  4. operators of the oil industry-single- and multiple-sponsored projects

The availability of funding from these various sources depends upon the specific project, the level of prior development, and clearly the level of interest that can be raised within the sponsoring organization The levels of funding can vary from as little as 10% to 100% in exceptional circumstances. In general, most sponsoring organizations look most favourably at projects where there is apparent parity between the contribution of the sponsor and sponsored.

It has also been our experience that it is easier to obtain ‘government cash’ (OETBIEEC), rather than industrial sponsorship at an early stage of the development, whereas, although this cash is equally available for later ‘precommercial development’ it may only be available subject to other industrial sponsorship This is consistent with the opportunities available regarding industrial sponsorship, which is more readily available when the light at the end of the tunnel is becoming brighter In other words, it can be said that the higher the level of ‘R’ in the project the less interest there is from industrial sponsors, whereas the higher the level of ‘D’, the more readily obtainable is government funding in conjunction with industrial support.

The ability to obtain funding depends entirely on the ability of the company to prepare a suitable ‘proposal’, which sells the ‘embryonic product or service’ to the sponsoring organization A proposal, in order to be successful, should address the following points

  1. The concept has a sound basis and has been thoroughly thought out

  2. The potential pitfalls have been identified and the appropriate investigations Proposed

  3. The development project will produce a ‘product or service’ that the industry will use and there is a clear technical and commercial advantage to be made, and hence a ready market

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