The industry’s built-in desire to deliver over-engineered solutions has to end if the North Sea is to enjoy a long and profitable future, a leading industry figure has claimed.
The North Sea has many profitable years ahead if the industry uses the hard lessons being learned in the current oil price downturn and rid itself of the “middle-aged flab” to becomes fitter and leaner, said David Lamont, chief executive of engineering technology firm Proserv.
He added the industry must adopt a more collaborative and efficient business approach.
He said: “Despite talk in recent years of the urgent need to act and collaborate, even before the oil price crash, the industry as a whole still has a long way to go.
“Everyone knows what needs to be done but the inertia in the industry is of great concern.”
Lamont said: “We must stop over-engineering.”
“Realising the value of the huge number of marginal fields in the UKCS will only be possible if we can, as an industry, collaborate and cooperate to make the most of the existing infrastructure.”
He said the way the North Sea infrastructure is owned and relatively high levels of tariffs to transport oil ashore made it difficult for small producers to get their oil to market and this one area where the Oil and Gas Authority could look at improving.
Lamont said he was optimistic that lessons were being learned and cited Proserv’s relationship with clients EnQuest and Mol as examples where operators and service companies were working well together.
“While we are seeing real efforts and actions to collaborate, it’s still the exception rather than the rule,” he said.
“Too many people are still holding their breath for a return to the good old days of $100 oil, which simply won’t happen.”
Lamont said the industry needed to adopt a “brain surgery” mindset to precisely tackling specific engineering issues, that can deliver less expensive, more efficient solutions.
The oil industry veteran was speaking at Offshore Europe. Earlier this week Proserv announced the acquisition of Aberdeen-based subsea acoustic specialist Nautronix.