A new £180million centre aimed at developing shelved, under-developed and early-stage oil and gas technology opens in Aberdeen today.
The Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) aims to bridge the gap between a bright idea and the finished end product.
The middle ‘testing and production’ stage, often referred to as the ‘valley of death’ for many products, is where many designs end up beached.
But this new centre, which will focus on several specific areas of development, aiming to bring these ideas to life through collaborative investment.
The centre is a core part of Aberdeen’s £250million city deal and part of an overarching aim to anchor the industry supply chain and decommissioning business in Scotland.
It will co-invest alongside industry, technology and academic partners, whose matched funding contribution can be both cash and in-kind.
Once fully established this will give investors access to knowledge, expertise, assets, facilities and equipment. The long term goal is to set up a testing facility and several ‘centres of excellence’ relating to different sectors of the industry.
Investors can choose to share the IP through collaborative groups of co-investors or hold onto the licences themselves for distribution.
Under Secretary of State for Scotland Lord Dunlop and Paul Wheelhouse MSP, the Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, are set to open the centre.
Lord Dunlop, is expected to say: “The opening of the centre is a really significant first step in delivering the £250 million Aberdeen City Region Deal, spearheaded by the UK Government.
“It will have a vital role in driving innovation and diversification in our oil and gas industry.
“The deal will make a huge difference to the economy of the north east, helping to boost jobs and increase prosperity for generations to come.”
Oil tycoon Sir Ian Wood has been appointed the chairman of the OGTC.
He said increasing the development and deployment of technology is vital to the recovery of the 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent that could remain on the UK Continental Shelf.
Sir Ian added: “The Oil & Gas Technology Centre has moved quickly from concept, through business case development, to its launch today, as a standalone organisation.
“With clear long-term global aspirations, our success will provide the magnet to encourage a significant proportion of our high tech supply chain sector to remain in the region beyond the North Sea era.”
Colette Cohen, chief executive said: “The Oil & Gas Technology Centre will help unlock the full potential of the UK North Sea, anchor the supply chain in the north-east of Scotland and make the region a great place to live, work and invest for decades to come.
“We will work with industry and academic partners to inspire, accelerate and fund technology that increases efficiency and improves productivity. We have a unique opportunity to create culture of innovation in the UK North Sea. This is our moment. We must be brave and seize the opportunity.”
In a further announcement, the Oil & Gas Technology Centre and Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University signed a memorandum of understanding for a multi-million pound joint venture to develop a Centre of Excellence for Field Life Extension and Decommissioning.
The aim of the partnership is to drive the technology and innovation needed to maximise economic recovery from the UK North Sea.
This includes work to make sure that facilities are decommissioned efficiently and to help the UK become a world leader in this growth market.
Initial projects will help halve the cost of drilling wells, reduce maintenance costs by up to 50%, and unlock up to 3 billion barrels of oil currently stranded in small discoveries. Digital and decommissioning are also important early themes.
The OGTC has already screened hundreds of opportunities and many projects are underway.
These include a field trial in 2017, which could create a step change in how we plug and abandon wells, with the potential to save hundreds of millions of pounds.
An additional £174.1 million has to be generated in matched funding from industry, university or others as part of the Centre’s long-term funding.
Deirdre Michie, chief executive, Oil & Gas UK is to be at today’s launch.
She said: “As our industry focuses on maximising economic recovery from the UK Continental Shelf, technology must play a pivotal role in helping the sector improve its global competitiveness by tackling some key challenges that the industry continues to face.
“Oil & Gas UK very much welcomes the creation of the Oil & Gas Technology Centre and the opportunity to work with it in establishing a world class centre of innovation and expertise.”