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Opinion: Taking technology from this year to the next

Dr Patrick O’Brien, chief executive of ITF
Dr Patrick O’Brien, chief executive of ITF

As a new way of supporting and promoting the technology developer community, this year we launched our Innovation Network Tech Talks to increase interaction with oil & gas operators.

Our Tech Talks provide a platform for developers to showcase innovative and leading technologies to the wider industry and it’s fair to say that they have been an overwhelming success. We have welcomed hundreds of delegates from across the sector, including key influencers from the major operators and service companies.

From talking to the developers, I know there have been several positive discussions with operators about taking a closer look at the technologies following these presentations, which ultimately could help solve costly and long-standing problems.

This was exactly the outcome we hoped for when we developed the Tech Talks. If we are going to have a sustainable industry with a lower for longer price then new technology is going to play a vital role in achieving that sustainability. We need to increase the dialogue between technology developers and key industry players.

In this environment, it is more important than ever to work together to get things moving in our industry. We need to implement current and new cost-effective technology quicker and not be afraid to challenge existing barriers.

Currently, we have 14 projects valued at over £9 million both in the North Sea and internationally. We have a vast international network of over 2500 technology providers spanning 47 countries who rapidly respond to our calls for proposals.

We are also working projects is with Akselos S.A. to investigate the potential to revolutionise asset management in the oil and gas industry. Akselos is using MIT-licenced technology to create the world’s most advanced engineering simulation technology – or digital twins. The creation of a Digital Guardian or twin of an offshore asset is a huge step forward for the oil and gas industry and will reap long-term benefits to enhance operational and cost-efficiencies as well as significantly reduce risk.

As was discussed at our most recent Tech Talk in November, government and industry support for digital innovation is vital. While the main drive to-date has been to increase performance across the whole range of planning and operational activities to deliver efficiency improvements, we believe that advancing the use of relevant digital data and analytics tools could make a further contribution to improvements in efficiency and economic performance of assets – uptake and development of these technologies will likely gain considerable pace in the years ahead.

We are now working on behalf of the Technology Leadership Board and the Oil & Gas Authority on a digital landscaping study which will look at the potential for digital technologies to significantly improve production efficiency of our offshore platforms. The findings for this will be released early next year.

Myself and all at ITF would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year as we look forward to a prosperous 2018.

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