Consultants, Environmental Technology, News, Oil & Gas, Research & Development

Strength with vision

The oil and gas industry is not only the largest one in Norway; it is also a power on the world stage. With this strength comes an environmental responsibility, taken seriously by the Norwegian Government, research organizations and companies here...

It is the broad Norwegian goal to become carbon-neutral by 2030, an important success criteria driving many of the R&D activities here in this country, including the oil and gas industry. One important ongoing development programme in Norway is Demo 2000, an initiative partnered by the industry and the Norwegian Government. According to Morten Wiencke, Demo 2000 Program Director; “Demo 2000 is the result of the understanding that an ongoing cooperative effort is needed between the R&D environment and the oil and gas industry in order to bring new products and systems to a demanding market in continual development and change.”

Mirroring the goals of the Norwegian National Strategy OG21, Demo 2000’s core focus areas include subsurface activities, drilling and wells, remote processing, deepwater technology and gas utilization. With an emphasis on new technology, solutions and emphasis on environmental sustainability, Demo 2000 supports companies and institutions in bridging the gap between R&D and commercialization. During the organization’s eight years of existence, Demo 2000 has overseen project investments of nearly USD 500 million.
Recent projects selected by Demo 2000 for funding include SINTEF’s Cold Flow project; an Aibel project focusing on HT VIEC with water profiling; Ziebel’s ZipLog well-logging system using fiber optic technology; and a tracer test to measure oil saturation to be undertaken by the Institute of Energy Research (IFE). In addition, Aker Kvaerner’s Subsea Hybrid Pump, a further development of the MultiBooster™; and ODIM’s CTCU™ Fibre Rope Heavy Subsea Installation Handling System has been an important project of note.

Support in all Environments

Working hand in hand with the oil and gas industry are research organizations that include the Norwegian Institute for Air (NILU), conducting environmental research with emphasis on the sources of airborne pollution, atmospheric transport, transformation and deposition. Ensuring that the environmental aspects of the water are taken into account, the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) is Norway’s leading multi-disciplinary research institute in the field of use and protection of water bodies and water quality.
INTSOK is the member organization promoting the Norwegian oil and gas industry. One important communication channel is the staging of events that profile Norwegian R&D status and breakthroughs, including the 2008 US Norway Technology Partnership event in Houston, Texas. Presenting Norwegian companies included FMC Technology with cutting-edge subsea solutions and Den Norske Veritas life extension of old platforms. Additional presenters included Aker Kværner’s (Aker Solutions) MMO services; GE Vetco Grey subsea; ABB’s integrated operations, as well as a host of other companies that included Framo Engineering, Norse Cutting & Abandonment, GTO Subsea and StatoilHydro.

The WiVib research project is developing small autonomous sensor nodes capable of identifying abnormal vibrations in equipment.
© Gemini

The importance of these international events cannot be underestimated, according to INTSOK’s Werner Karlsson; “This communication of the R&D effort is one of the many keys to the longstanding success of the Norwegian oil and gas cluster, with an ongoing effort between the Norwegian Government, the Research Council of Norway, Innovation Norway and other organizations such as Kon-Kraft, OG21, Demo 2000 and INTSOK.”

Working Together to Increase Efficiency

Safety, continuity and effective decision-making based on correct information is essential for success in the oil and gas industry. Logistics are always a challenge, and common practice today in the industry often makes it necessary to transport personnel to check status and inconsistencies. Though some wireless solutions already exist, there is vast room for improvement, and the WiVib research project has the goal of increasing efficiency in general.
SINTEF, together with industry giants ABB and the Swedish SKF, are working to make this a reality. The WiVib research project has the potential for a wide range of applications through the use of small autonomous sensor nodes capable of identifying abnormal vibrations in equipment, then communicating them through a wireless network. Three types of sensor nodes are used in the WiVib network; sensor nodes, relay nodes, and a manager node, with rigorous tests being conducted in realistic environments.
SINTEF has developed a sensor element where the first packaging step is performed on wafer level. This means that a glass encapsulation is mounted on the top and bottom of each chip for hundreds of chips simultaneously. Since cost-effectiveness is always a premium in industry, making use of microsystem technology is a definite advantage. WiVib testing has been positive, making the technology potentially well-positioned for future mass production. SINTEF’s expertise, coupled with ABB and SKF’s vast expertise within the fields of wireless communication and vibration signal interpretation and supported by oil companies’ knowledge of practical applications, gives a prognosis for potential success that could have a future impact far beyond the stormy North Sea.

A Friend to the Environment

AGR Group is a Norwegian headquartered oil services business with a wide range of services ranging from constructing and managing drilling programmes to providing services and technologies for exploration, production and maintenance. The company is well known for its innovative R&D, with over 40 patents in commercial use, including pioneer RMR (Riserless Mud Return) technology.
Tom Hasler, General Manager AGR Drilling Services Asia Pacific, reflected on the companys innovative success using RMR; “The RMR technology is rapidly proving itself as a ‘game changing’ technology for operators undertaking offshore drilling in the Asia Pacific region. Some of our clients are utilizing the technology for the commercial benefits of saving a casing string, some to reduce the risk associated with shallow hazards, and some to perform zero discharge drilling for environmental reasons. This wide range of complimentary benefits offered by the technology is a key to its market growth. In addition, with its recently first agreed use on a jackup, the RMR’s prospective market is further expanded.”

In A Class of its Own

The WiVib research project is developing small autonomous sensor nodes capable of identifying abnormal vibrations in equipment.
© Gemini

StatoilHydro is globally respected for its ability to turn R&D activities into commercial success – all the time with an environmental focus. Three major R&D centres cover a wide range of programmes that include New Energy and New Ideas, on the front lines in the battle against climate change. Recognizing the need to continually develop new sources of energy, this programme focuses on management projects related to CO2, Water Resources, HSE Management and others. All these projects demand – and receive – the excellence that StatoilHydro R&D provides.

The New Development Solutions programme draws in part upon technology developments from Tordis, Snøhvit, Tyrihans, Ormen Lange and other Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) installations, setting the stage for future R&D breakthroughs. This cutting-edge technology is related to increased oil recovery, integrated operations, deep water, offshore heavy oil and arctic areas through technology areas that include subsea processing, deep water risers and operations and solutions for sustainable development and operation in the Arctic.
StatoilHydro places great emphasis on the oil and gas value chain. An excellent example is its LNG (liquefied natural gas) activities taking place at the company’s Melkøya facilities. This crucial technology development has been made possible through long and close cooperation with among others scientists from NTNU and SINTEF.

No one does it Better

Although the current recovery factor of StatoilHydro’s fields is among the best in the world, the company has ambitious goals to increase that even further. The company’s impressive R&D assets are focused on three main goals related to Oil Recovery; identifying the remaining oil, improving efficient drainage of reservoirs and integrating people, processes and technology. Specific projects within the StatoilHydro Oil Recovery Program include areas as new recovery methods, methods for identification of small pockets of remaining oil, real time production optimization, next generation well construction as well as future drilling and intervention.

The WiVib research project is developing small autonomous sensor nodes capable of identifying abnormal vibrations in equipment.
© Gemini

Cooperation with other Norwegian companies that provide added-value technology is important to the company, including a major collaboration with WellDynamics, a leading provider of intelligent completion technology to the upstream oil industry. WellDynamics has been awarded two frame agreements for work in the North Sea, contracted to install electronic Venturi flowmeters, electronic pressure/temperature gauges in wells with WellDynamics’ SmartWell completions, and additional electronic pressure/temperature gauges in wells where WellDynamics’ flowmeters are installed. The terms of this contract will cover an eight-year period with deliveries totalling nearly USD 200 million.

Where Few Have Gone Before

StatoilHydro’s Exploration programme include major projects related to developing new tools and technology, as well as others concentrating on the most actual basins, plays and prospects in Statoil-Hydro’s portfolio. These areas of exploration include Imaging and Visualization, Geophysical Techniques, Global Exploration Concepts; Cost-Efficient Exploration Drilling, Petroleum Systems Analysis;,Carbonates, and Deep-Water Basins such as the Gulf of Mexico.
Deep-water depositional exploration in the Gulf of Mexico basin is a region where the company is applying its technology where conditions can be the most demanding on earth. Challenges include water depth, hurricanes, strong underwater currents, deep reservoirs with extremely high pressure, and layers of salt on the gulf floor that measure up to 4000 metres in thickness – making seismic measurement next to impossible. Working closely together with companies such as Mobil, Aker-Kværner, FMC and others, company technology successfully evolved on the NCS is now being put to good use in the Gulf in operative areas such as subsea solutions, FPSOs and long distance tiebacks.

Solutions All Around

Norwegians are of nature a practical people, thus Norwegian efforts seek R&D solutions that can be applied in practical applications. Aker Kværner, now known as Aker Solutions, is a company that emphasizes both theoretical as well as practical R&D – using its vast international operational experience to develop process and systems that have made it a leader within a number of industry sectors, including maintenance and operations in the oil and gas industry. A subsidiary company, Aker Kvaerner Process Systems (AKPS), offers wellstream separation and oil treatment systems, water treatment systems for desanding and oil/water clean-up, solids handling systems, gas processing systems, MEG regeneration and desalting systems, as well as utility systems for a wide range of operational applications.
Peak Well Solutions is a dynamic Norwegian company known for finding real-time solutions within that include well construction, temporary abandonment, Completion/ intervention and casing accessories. An ongoing commitment to R&D investment with a focus on innovative solutions has helped the company attain their status as a world leader within barrier plugs and cementing valves for annulus barrier according to ISO V0 and NORSOK D10 standards. By reinvesting of 10% of its gross revenue in R&D to further develop new technology, PWS commitment results in continued customer satisfaction.
One of the company’s most valued products is the Peak VMB Plug, recently installed at a record depth of nearly seven kilometres under the surface of the North Sea at Oseberg Sør for StatoilHydro. One of the world’s leading companies within ISO 14310 VO tested Retrievable Mechanical Casing Plugs with more than 350 successful runs, mainly in North Sea wells and in Nigerian deep water, PWS success is based on solid R&D development in areas such as cost saving products and new technologies.
Clavis Technology is another Norwegian company having a consistent emphasis on R&D, with a wide range of successful, and creative, products that include propulsion systems based on the nature’s own efficient method, the fish tail. Research at Clavis Technology has turned this principle into a credible alternative to conventional methods. In addition, products including impulse pumps offer excellent potential for increased oil recovery. The advantages and efficiency of the impulse pumps include reduced power consumption, increased profitability for customers, and reduced effect on the environment in general.