Oil & Gas Innovation Centre Supports 100th Project

L-R: Mark Robertson, Project Manager at OGIC, Liam Manderson, Managing Director at Targe Environmental Consulting, Nirmalie Wiratunga, Research Professor at RGU, David Corsar, Lecturer at RGU

The Oil & Gas Innovation Centre (OGIC) has signed its 100th project, taking the total it has invested into innovative oil and gas technology to £6 million over the last five years.

The 100th project will see OGIC supporting Targe Environmental Consulting Ltd with its development of a decommissioning materials management platform. Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) the technology will greatly increase the identification of materials on oil and gas assets, pre-dismantlement, that can be re-used, this will include a multi-faced marketplace to allow the resale of usable assets and recyclable materials.

The aim of the platform is to reduce the overall cost of decommissioning and increase the principles of the circular economy by greatly increasing the amount of material which is reused and recycled across multiple industry sectors and geographic locations.

Targe will work with Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) School of Computing Science and Digital Media to develop the software. At the end of the 12-month project a fully functioning prototype of the system will have been developed.

The announcement of the 100th project follows OGIC signing agreements to support five new pieces of innovative technology which have the potential to improve efficiency and reduce costs in the oil and gas industry.

The diverse projects range from a system to detect marine mammal activity to innovative drill bit technology, a new additive manufacturing process and a research project into polymers for pipeline coatings.

Ian Phillips, chief executive officer of OGIC, said: “The signing of our 100th project is a significant milestone and is testament to the current appetite across the industry to develop both new and disruptive technology. We are increasingly seeing a recognition that the only way to make operations more efficient and cost-effective is to develop innovative ways of working.

“Our most recent projects are excellent examples of the range of applications and opportunities which exist across the sector for developing innovative technology. They also highlight the vast amount of expertise and knowledge which exists within Scottish Universities.”

The first project will see RIGOCAL working with the University of Edinburgh’s High-Performance Computing Centre (EPCC) to develop an automated solution for the detection of marine animals. During offshore operations such as seismic survey and pile driving, operators must monitor marine mammals within a 500m zone of operations. Traditionally this is carried out by Marine Mammal Observers (MMO) using binoculars and Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM).

RIGOCAL is developing an automated system which would detect marine mammal activity day and night, automatically classifying them and analysing the data. This would provide cost-savings to the industry as reliable data on wildlife activity would reduce downtime with a reduction in false mammal alerts, it would also remove the need to have on-board MMOs. Alongside the DataLab, OGIC is supporting phase two of the project which will see RIGOCAL working with the University of Edinburgh to develop the software for the detection algorithm.

TechnipFMC is working with the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Material Research Laboratory (AMRL) to develop and qualify a Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) process for its additive manufactured product range. TechnipFMC’s product range is conventionally manufactured using traditional techniques such as forging and fabrication. Depending on product complexity, lead times for large forgings can often exceed 30 weeks and the situation is broadly similar for fabricated components which is largely due to the numerous heat treatment and machining operations that are required.

The development of the WAAM process would minimise material consumption, reduce inventory and create a rapid near net shape production route for new and replacements parts. The AMRL will collaborate with key engineers and technologists from TechnipFMC to provide materials analysis and testing capability during the development, validation and full-scale production of additive manufactured products using TechnipFMC’s new WAAM facilities.

The third project will see Varel UK Limited joining forces with the University of Aberdeen to develop a new polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) drill-bit, which will combine shearing and gouging actions. This would allow drilling in hard rock and heterogeneous formations much more efficiently.

OGIC is supporting phase two of the Varel project, which will see the development of a prototype drill-bit, which can then be used in commercial drilling operations. The new drill-bit would have the capability to gouge and this way to enhance effectiveness while drilling granite and other hard heterogeneous rocks. This would also extend the life of the drill-bit by protecting the cutting elements. The project is aimed to develop a new effective method to fracture hard rock formations. It could provide a way to protect the PDC bit from detrimental impacts and shocks that result in breakages and consequently improving the efficiency of drilling operations.

The final project involves Crondall Energy partnering with Heriot-Watt University to improve the industry’s understanding of the coatings used within pipelines. This knowledge will then allow Crondall Energy to develop new polymer material for internal coatings. This presents the potential for cost-savings across the industry, including reducing the cost of subsea developments and making marginal field developments more economical.

The project with Heriot-Watt University is the first phase in this development and will involve the evaluation of modern low surface energy coatings which are applied to oil and gas pipelines. A desktop study will be carried out to determine the material’s performance, this will then be followed by laboratory testing. The information gathered by phase one of the project will then allow Crondall Energy to develop new improved polymer materials for use by the sector.



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