Heriot Watt University wins Queen’s Anniversary prize after helping Shell to save £10m a year

Heriot Watt James Watt Statue bannerHeriot-Watt University’s ground-breaking work in the oil and gas sector has been recognised with a Queen’s Anniversary Prize.

Heriot-Watt University’s Institute of Petroleum Engineering carries out research and innovation work across a number of areas including oil and gas exploration, reservoir appraisal and development to production technology.

The Institute has spearheaded joint industry partnerships, knowledge transfer and successfully launched spin-out companies and products.

Principal Prof. Richard Williams, said, “Heriot-Watt University has a long heritage of leadership in innovation. Receiving the Queen’s Anniversary Award, one of the UK’s most prestigious national prizes for world leading research, is a great honour for the staff, students and alumni at the University and a very special accolade in this 40th year since the founding of the Institute of Petroleum Engineering.”

Director of the Institute of Petroleum Engineering, Prof Dorrik Stow added:

“The Insitute has been a pioneering research facility since oil first flowed ashore from the North Sea.Our research has provided advances to technology central to the oil and gas industry, but it has also opened up new directions including the world of medicine.

The quality of our work has attracted interest from around the world, and we have a global reputation for innovation.

“Current examples attracting interest from the oil and gas sector include our work on reducing oilfield scale and also into the nature and behaviour of gas hydrates. The work we do helps to extend the life of existing wells and reduces operating costs as well as increasing safety in an industry that faces some of the toughest working environments imaginable.”

Mineral scale build-up is a major problem in the oil industry, and the Institute has been finding ways to minimise its development for more than 20 years. A Flow and Scale Assurance Team (FAST) was set up and has developed entirely new systems for oilfield scale management which are trusted throughout the industry. Coordinating a joint industry project, FAST developed industry standard software, comprehensive training and operating procedures.

“We have specialised laboratory equipment within Heriot-Watt and can carry out field condition experiments,” Prof Stow said.

“Our software can model scale at the level of pore, core, well and field. For Shell alone, using our software has led to savings of more than £10 million a year by allowing them to carry out descaling treatment annually instead of every six months.”

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