Recent conference and meeting highlight key research and industry trends
Two high-profile events have seen issues including big data, renewable energy and high pressure and high temperature (HPHT) environments take centre stage as important focus topics for researchers and oil industry operators. The events were the Scottish Oil Club Meeting, which took place in Edinburgh and the Offshore Technology Conference which took place in Houston, Texas.
“At the Scottish Oil Club, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) presented a significant talk on the transformation of operations on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS),” says Operations Director, Mark Roscoe, who attended the meeting to establish alignment between NEL’s business direction and the OGA’s future plans – its VISION 2035.
“What was particularly important to us is that the technology areas highlighted at the meeting included HPHT, heavy oil, flow assurance and high water production,” Mark adds. “These directly align with a number of research areas in which NEL is currently involved. For example, we have several projects that are looking at metering performance in HPHT environments and we are looking to develop new approaches and technologies in this area.”
Mark also reports that the OGA are “Big on Data”. In particular, the Authority is looking at ways to improve the quality of well data, to create greater transparency and to change the way in which data is used, including unlocking opportunities by applying machine learning techniques. The OGA also highlighted the National Data Repository. Backed by industry, and due to launch in early 2019, this will provide access to timely, transparent petroleum data.
The Offshore Technology Conference in Houston was attended by Managing Director, Brian Millington. “I went to the technology sessions to gain more detailed insight into key trends,” Brian says. “These centred around the digital revolution, with the digital oilfield a very high-profile topic.”
Brian reported that most of the major integrated manufacturers were offering wide-ranging digital offerings, with the key underlying drivers of reducing costs and making operations more effective through intelligent diagnostics, connected data platforms and other digital solutions.
“My overall impression is this is not a fad,” Brian says. “The cost reduction benefits were being presented by many speakers. Interestingly, the oil and gas sector is playing catch-up compared to industry sectors like aerospace.”
Brian also reported that the Conference is gradually embracing wind and other green energy technologies.
“This would have been unthinkable 10 years ago,” Brian says. “It is now gathering pace, with service players like DNV offering services to the renewable sector. In addition, modelling and simulation technical services featured much more strongly than experimental work. Again, a sign of the times.”