Swift Acceptance of Innovative Technologies Will Reap Rewards
- David Liddle (Industry Technology Facilitator)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- March 2011
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 18 - 20
- 2011. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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It is a hard fact that it is tougher to bring new technology to market in the oil and gas industry than any other, excluding only space exploration. It can take on average up to 16 years from concept to full field deployment, which is almost twice as long as most other sectors. Greater collaboration is a key to breaking down some of the barriers that will help address the many challenges our industry faces.
The common drivers of how to find new resources, maximize recovery of existing reserves, operate fields safely, and ultimately, do it cost effectively will never change, but the mechanisms to propel us forward as an industry will need to. This will require a much bigger investment in research and development to enable ground-breaking technologies.
New technology can make mature fields more cost effective and allow small field developments to become economically viable. The importance of innovation cannot be stressed enough in helping organizations deal more efficiently with a volatile economy. That is why the rate of implementation of proven new technologies needs to be increased.
Full-scale tests must, of course, be completed before a technology can gain market acceptance. Commercializing technology in the oil and gas market place can be costly and time intensive. With many technologies destined for hostile and sometimes remote environments, such as deep waters or high-pressure/high-temperature wells, new developments need to undergo extensive testing and field trials to prove their capability.
Over the past few decades there has been a definite shift in the source of new technology. In the 1980s major oil and gas companies began to decrease their research and development (R&D) spending driven in the main by a decision to “buy versus build.” As a result, service companies stepped in to partially fill the gap by increasing their R&D spend. Nevertheless, it was only a few years ago that the oil and gas industry was at the top of the league for increased R&D spend, but the recession in the global economy put a dramatic dampener on that position.
The UK Continental Shelf is recognized globally for its excellence in mature province value realization through the accelerated development and use of new technology and innovative practice. There is a strong need to maintain that position through knowledge and skills retention, and stimulation of the innovative community to maintain a creative environment. Also, there exists in the UK an opportunity to transfer some of these skills to other energy industries that should be realized to ensure that the industry capture the ambition of becoming an energy hub now and beyond oil and gas.
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