AN ABERDEEN drilling firm said yesterday it had developed technology which could cut the cost of deepwater exploration.
Geoprober Drilling said it had been backed by oil giants Chevron and Statoil to design a slimmed-down version of well equipment.
After receiving £7million of funding from the companies, Geoprober said the system would be deployed in the North Sea in the second quarter of next year as part of plans to commercialise the technology.
It hopes the trial in Norwegian waters will prove the viability of its system.
The investment from Statoil and Chevron gives the companies right of first refusal when the system is available on the market, but neither firm has any stake in Geoprober.
The company was set up by technical director Tony Bamford and managing director Dick Pearce in 2004 to design equipment which would allow operators to drill an exploratory well from a floating vessel and instal the casing required at the same time.
Mr Pearce said the slimmed-down exploration system could half the cost of drilling deep water wells, which costs around £600,000 a day using a conventional rig.
He hoped next year’s tests would prove the technology was as safe and reliable as current methods and added that the backing of Statoil and Chevron would add to the system’s credibility.
“We never had any doubt that our technology had a place in the industry, but when you get major oil companies supporting you it reinforces that view,” he said.
Geoprober has also won a contract with Shell to do decommissioning work for the oil giant on its Brent Delta platform to supplement its research and development funding.