Oil and Gas Innovation Centre invests £230,000 in a heavy subsea development system and also in a new life-jacket design to help survivors in N. Sea ditchings

CGI of Subsea Development Systems
CGI of Subsea Development Systems

The Oil & Gas Innovation Centre has signed its thirty-first project agreement, which will see the development of a system which will allow heat from subsea pipelines to be converted to DC electrical power.

The project is one of four that have recently been agreed, signalling a £230,000 investment from OGIC (which, although it sounds similar to the nearby Oil and Gas Technology Centre, is separate from the OGTC) and will see companies developing innovative technology with direct applications across the oil and gas industry.

For the latest project, Exnics Ltd will work with Heriot-Watt University to develop a thermoelectric generator (TEG) to support its ‘hot rings’ system which works to harness the heat from subsea pipelines and convert it into DC electrical power.

This will improve the performance of the product in future deployment and will increase the range of applications where power from waste heat can be used. 

In another project, Iron Ocean Limited is developing a survival garment which will be designed to improve the chances of survival in the event of offshore workers being submerged in the sea.

The company came up with the idea in direct response to helicopter ditchings in the North Sea in 2009, which resulted in loss of life. The compression fit garment will be designed to be worn under current offshore survival suits and would improve heat retention, be slash resistant, generate heat and resist fire.

A coating will be designed to produce a thermal reaction to provide warmth to the wearer with the reaction lasting at least one hour. Iron Ocean will work with Heriot-Watt University’s School of Textiles and Design to construct a prototype which will be tested, certified and ready for use by industry within a year.

A third project will see Core Specialist Services Limited and partner Hydrophilic AS working with Strathclyde University to develop a pressure probe that will enable the estimation of the depth to the oil/water contact without drilling through it.

The knowledge of the oil/water contact is crucially important for volume and value assessment of any hydrocarbon discovery.

Also working with Strathclyde University, Subsea Deployment Systems Ltd – based in Grampian –  is working to develop a system for installing large subsea structures without a heavy lift vessel.

The Subsea Deployment System (SDS) will allow small crane vessels to install large structures in hostile environments. This will reduce the cost, extend the operating window, improve safety and reduce the environmental impact of subsea installation operations.

The SDS works through use of a fully submersible deployment vessel consisting of buoyancy modules mounted on structural steel frames, which provide enough buoyancy to make the vessel and payload neutrally buoyant. SDS Ltd is now carrying out detailed tank tests.

To date, OGIC has co-funded 31 projects valued at almost £2 million and is currently progressing more than 50 others across the exploration and production spectrum, collaborating with UK and international businesses ranging from micro start-ups to major supply chain companies.

Ian Phillips, OGIC Chief Executive, said: “Our four most recent projects all focus on very different aspects of the industry, but each has the potential to have a major cost-beneficial impact on offshore operations.”

  • Decom North Sea, the membership organisation for the N. Sea oil and gas decommissioning sector, has announced Chris Cox, Managing Director of Centrica’s Exploration & Production business, as keynote speaker for its annual conference in Aberdeen this year.


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