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Oil and Gas reinvented?

Oil & Gas Reinvented

Industry needs collaborative innovation to face future economic energy challenges.

The low oil prices have certainly had an impact on the attitudes of those in the oil and gas industry. The fact is that the movement toward new ways to do the same work – for less – has made the need for new technology undeniable. Collaboration between industries could help hasten the transition for all.

Two weeks ago, I attended a meeting of the ‘Oil and Gas Reinvented’ community in The Hague. The group is initiated by Delft-based innovation center TNO, Siemens and Shell. It has been meeting since 2013.

The goal is to bring together industry leaders, policy makers and knowledge institutes to develop ongoing innovative efforts, foster partnerships and facilitate high-level discussions on crucial issues, ranging from R&D to regulatory issues and public perception of the industry. The main objective of this particular meeting was to discuss ways to handle manpower constraints and, especially, to enable energy transition and ways to extract reserves, as companies deal with the end of easy oil and gas.

With that, there were all kinds of interesting discussions around robotics, digital oil and gas fields, offshore energy, and carbon capture and utilization storage and LNG for transport. Robotics is something that has become a bit of a catch word in many industries, however, in the oil and gas industry certain aspects are already applicable. Drones, for example, which can be used to help with maintenance by being able to take photos of flares and help monitor them. This sort of technology could not only save money, but could actually save human lives. Drones take away the need for a person to climb to such great and dangerous heights and do extensive calibrations, etc., instead, all can be checked remotely via the drone. This is also the case when it comes to sending humans into the field, often to distant and potentially dangerous areas, to replace equipment parts. Drones are also being used to inspect flares for emissions since they can see what’s being emitted in the sky.

Another interesting discussion was about carbon capture. CO2 has many helpful attributes. For instance, it can be injected under gas fields to help push up the gas and make it easier to extract. It can also be captured and used in greenhouses to help grow food to feed an ever-increasing world population.

I have discussed in previous blogs how the consortium has already been working together environmentally to integrate offshore wind and offshore oil and gas with its DemoWind project. I believe consortiums such as this one are the way forward. In the world we live in now, where changes that used to take years are happening daily, it no longer pays to walk alone. Companies of all sizes and in all areas of the oil and gas industry need to work together and communicate about how best to tackle the economic and environmental challenges that we are facing and which we will continue to face. Only then the industry can start to become as agile as it will need to become.

The Dutch have always been frontrunners when it comes to creating consensus and providing a platform for real collaboration and in this, it is no different. Collaborative innovation is the best way for the industry to succeed in the future.

Wout Last – Hint president