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Creating value through technology and innovation.

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to the opening of the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) in Aberdeen, which provides a welcomed structured approach to enabling and accelerating innovation and new technology.

It’s an ideal time to be driving innovation and technology as the last 18-24 months have been challenging and turbulent for our industry. As a collective, we need to be looking at smarter and better ways of working, from enhancing exportation and production through to cost effective life extension and decommissioning. 

Whilst there has been significant focus on decommissioning of late, and recognising that planning for the inevitable is important, there is still a huge opportunity in the North Sea which we need to maximise. Creating a culture of innovation and harnessing it is key to achieving this.

The new £180 million OGTC will enable innovation by co-funding and managing projects to accelerate technologies to deployment and commercialisation that will help reduce costs, improve efficiency and unlock potential. All encompassing, it will work with a wide range of stakeholders from operators, service companies and technology organisations to industry bodies, universities and the government. 

The Centre will also lead the other innovation and technology organisations which include the ITF, OGIC and NSRI, to ensure they are aligned in supporting the oil and gas industry to develop and deploy technology.

The OGTC will bring learnings and experience of other sectors, exploring how exciting technologies such as 3D printing, photonics, virtual reality and robotics can be used to help maximise the economic recovery of UK offshore oil and gas. To read more about the Oil and Gas Technology Centrer, you can visit the website.

So what does this mean for LRQA's clients?
We understand the challenges our clients face operating in increasingly difficult conditions and unfamiliar environments which can present unprecedented technical challenges. At any time LRQA has dozens of joint industry projects (JIP) under way which provide a rapid route to innovation and commercialisation.

We already have a number of existing projects applying digital and conventional technologies to reduce operational costs and improve efficiency, examples include:

  • Remote inspection of subsea structures and pipelines.

  • Remote inspection of platform super-structures using robotics and unmanned systems.

  • Risk assessment and repair of offshore pipelines.

  • JIP with TWI and industry partners on Additive Manufacturing (AM) for non-oil and gas components).

  • Condition monitoring of drill rigs in Gulf of Mexico.

  • Extreme wave impact simulations for both fixed and floating structures.

  • Resilience Engineering and the enhancement of safety, life and property.

  • Through technology qualification, we verify that novel technologies will function within specific limits and with an acceptable level of confidence.

There’s also a huge opportunity in relation to the data we’ve captured as an industry and how we analyse and apply findings to improve accuracy, enhance production, reduce costs and managing risk and safety – LRQA are already making great strides in this area through our data digital team.

Our strategic technology research and development is a dedicated approach to solving industry’s greatest challenges and ensuring that our futures are safe, sustainable and secure. Find out more details about our research programmes, joint industry projects and other related work.

Our technology teams and wider LRQA business will benefit greatly from the support of the OGTC’s solution centres and centres of excellence, which align to our capabilities in asset integrity, wells and reservoir engineering as well as our core themes, two of which are decommissioning and life extension. 

The prospect of Aberdeen utilising its regional expertise and skills, to become the ‘go to’ for oil and gas technology in the UK and internationally, is an exciting one. In the words of Bill Gates, “Never before in history has innovation offered promise of so much to so many in so short a time”.


Alasdair Buchanan

Group Energy Directory

London, United Kingdom

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