The tumultuous challenges of COVID-19, collapsing energy demand, plummeting oil prices, and record oil production cutbacks have certainly been dramatic, putting lives and livelihoods in an existential bind. The recently announced Pfizer BioNTech vaccine gives us a glimmer of hope of going back to a ‘new normality’ even if we are unsure what that is. But this hope on the horizon also gives us optimism that for 2021; and the opportunity to right some of the ills and build back better.
Since we opened our doors in 2017, OGTC has been supported by our people, members and partners to evaluate more than 1,000 technologies, invest in more than 250 projects, deliver more than 50 field trials, grow more than 25 new companies and deliver more than 20 commercialised technologies.
As I write, OGTC is celebrating isol8’s success having deployed, set and tested the world’s first bonded-alloy barrier in a UKCS well. As a result of its technology, we are one enormous step closer to the 50% saving prize for well P&A costs. For us this is a keen reminder of why we were set up and the mission we still have ahead of us – net zero.
As we move forward as an industry, we need to reach net zero targets together. OGTC will continue looking at technology through a net zero lens; and supporting the industry through the transition by finding key technologies to support. We will use three core programmes to achieve our goals - they are:
- Emissions Reduction – We’re investing in technology to help reduce oil and gas operational emissions. This will cover key areas in terms of detection and venting/flaring mitigation. We will also be targeting reducing carbon footprint of field development, logistics and decommissioning are priorities, and where appropriate electrification.
- Energy System Integration – We’re committed to creating an integrated offshore energy system, essential to deliver net zero, which combines oil and gas delivery with the innovation needed to reduce the cost of carbon capture, storage & utilisation, and also the new solutions to unlock blue and green hydrogen production as a priority.
- Offshore Industry 4.0 – We’re focused on enabling remotely controlled operations empowered by data, robotics, autonomous systems allowing us to created smart fully digitised assets with low cost and high efficiency.
At OGTC, we are already excited by the possibilities and technologies that can support the industry. Efficiency saving is one of the key incremental areas available in the short-term to reduce emissions. For example, OGTC funded a project with Deltatek to develop, test and certify ArticuLock® - a special articulated joint within the drill pipe running string. The technology enables drilling operations in rough weather conditions, reducing waiting on weather time. This can reduce fuel consumption, which is a multi-million pound issue annually to the drilling industry as well as reducing emissions.
Technology has allowed all of us to adapt to the lockdown. Technology is the key to emergent hope against the pandemic in terms of a new vaccine. Technology will help us deliver an affordable net zero North Sea.
I’d like to thank everyone that has worked with us over this time, we have already come so far and created great prospects for the area and our industry. This is an incredibly exciting period we are entering and now it’s time to say: