A new study to identify processes and technologies that can be used to lower costs and share best practice in maintaining ageing N. Sea oil and gas production platforms and infrastructure has been set up Oil and Gas UK.
The study is the first part of an asset integrity project which is targeting advances in process vessel inspection and managing corrosion under insulation which could unlock £1 billion of revenue in the North Sea through improved production efficiency and cost savings.
Lockheed Martin has been commissioned to carry out the research by the industry’s Technology Leadership Board (TLB) as part of the maximising economic recovery (MER) agenda set out in the Wood Report.
The project is the result of partnership working between the Technology Leadership Board, Oil & Gas UK, Oil & Gas Authority, Oil & Gas Innovation Centre (OGIC) and Industry Technology Facilitator (ITF). It is being led by Total E&P UK and Amec Foster Wheeler with support from OGIC and ITF.
The N. Sea industry is challenged by a combination of rising production costs, falling oil prices and ageing facilities that require increasingly expensive maintenance. The project seeks to ensure that inspection and maintenance is safer, quicker, easier and cheaper to carry out, which will translate into less production downtime offshore.
The Lockheed Martin study will map out all the existing technologies and companies for maintenance and inspection and identify relevant technologies and processes that are new or not used offshore. Results of the study will be published in February 2016.
Alec Harley, Energy Sector Director at Lockheed Martin, said: “Partnering with the oil and gas industry to take on such an ambitious goal of reducing costs to the industry by £1 billion is a challenge we are proud to tackle.”
The prolonged slump in North Sea crude oil prices has led to a virtual standstill in the sector, with growth of just 0.1% in the last quarter, according to the latest report by Scotland’s Chief Economist, Dr Gary Gillespie.