New N. Sea Decommissioning Centre launched as £180m Oil and Gas Technology Centre opens in Aberdeen

The new £180 million Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) – created to support the struggling N. Sea oil and gas industry – has opened in Aberdeen.

The centre has a catalytic role to play in moving the Grampian region from an oil and gas offshore operations centre to a global hub for oil and gas innovation, which will help retain more of the supply chain in the region, retaining high value jobs and cementing the area’s position as an export hub.

The OGTC has been developed with and is supported by industry stakeholders including the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA), Oil & Gas UK (OGUK), the Technology Leadership Board (TLB), Opportunity North East (ONE), the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University.

The Industry Technology Facilitator (ITF) and Oil and Gas Innovation Centre (OGIC) will also have a role to play in supporting OGTC activities.

In a further announcement, The Oil & Gas Technology Centre, Aberdeen University and Robert Gordon University signed a memorandum of understanding for a multi-million pound joint venture to develop a Centre of Excellence for Field Life Extension and Decommissioning in Aberdeen.

This partnership aims to drive technology innovation needed to Maximise Economic Recovery, make sure that facilities are decommissioned efficiently and help the UK become a global leader in this growth market.

Meanwhile, the Oil & Gas Technology Centre will try to learn from the experience of other sectors, exploring how technologies such as 3D printing, photonics, virtual reality and robotics can be used to help maximise the economic recovery of N. Sea oil and gas.

Initial projects will help to halve the cost of drilling wells, reduce maintenance costs by up to 50%, and unlock up to three billion barrels of oil currently stranded in small discoveries marginal fields.

The centre has already screened hundreds of opportunities and many projects are underway. These include a field trial in 2017, which could create a step change in how wells are plugged and abandoned with the potential to save hundreds of millions of pounds.

Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse, MSP, said: “The opening of The Oil and Gas Technology Centre demonstrates that Scotland’s oil and gas industry has a bright future and confirms Aberdeen’s position as the world’s leading location for oil and gas technology development.

“With up to 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent remaining, it’s clear that a renewed focus on innovation and technology will be crucial to maximising economic recovery.”

Sir Ian
Sir Ian

Sir Ian Wood, Chairman of the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, said: “Substantially increasing the development and deployment of technology is vital if we are to recover as many of the 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent that could remain on the UK Continental Shelf. The Oil & Gas Technology Centre has moved quickly from concept, through business case development, to its launch today, as a standalone organisation.

“With clear long-term global aspirations, our success will provide the magnet to encourage a significant proportion of our high-tech supply chain sector to remain in the region beyond the North Sea era.” 

MSP Alexander Burnett, Scottish Conservative Energy spokesman, added:  “The speed with which this project has got off the ground is testament to the leadership shown by Sir Ian Wood during the city deal process. 

“Given the changing face of the North Sea in recent years, with more smaller operators coming in and the majors taking a step back, there is a clear gap to be filled in terms of investment in research and development. This facility will help to bridge that divide.

“The future for Aberdeen, which is already a well-established operational hub for oil and gas, is to cement its reputation as a global centre for excellence in oil and gas technology.

“The OGTC will help to keep Aberdeen, and indeed the UK itself, at the forefront of innovation in the sector for years to come.”

Paul Thomas, VP Product Development at Petrotechnics, commented: “We welcome the opening of the new Oil and Gas Technology centre.

“At a time the North Sea operating environment is going through one of its most challenging periods, with costs still too high, ageing assets and a difficult production environment leading to a decline in operational efficiency, this has never been more important.

“We also know that the development of these technologies is a difficult and expensive process, this centre will help to accelerate that process for further new technologies that can help the industry to seize the many opportunities the North Sea still has to offer.”

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