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Driving oil and gas innovation

Oilfield Technology,

Findings from a new industry opinion survey from Lloyd’s Register Energy, The Technology Radar survey, have been released. The survey has looked at technical innovation in the oil and gas sector and has also examined future investment drivers. These were revealed as:

  • Safety improvements.
  • Improving operational efficiency.
  • Reducing costs.
  • Accessing new reserves.
  • Increasing asset lifespan.

Key findings

The survey highlighted the following as key findings:

  • Innovation is drawing on a range of technologies, rather than any single breakthrough.
  • A variety of technologies look set to have a high impact in the coming years relating to extending the life of existing assets.
  • Near term impact, automation, remote and subsea operation is identified as firms seek to cope with challenging environments.
  • High pressure, high temperature (HPHT) drilling and multi stage fracking are also expected to have a major impact, but are expected to be fully deployed from 2020.
  • 73% of respondents believe that the rate of innovation in the sector is increasing.
  • 68% intend to increase their research and development budgets in the next two years.
  • 58% agree that future breakthroughs involve bits and bytes, rather than physical hardware.
  • In the last two years, 46% of breakthroughs have been driven by international oil companies and 31% by exploration and production companies.
  • In the next two years, two thirds surveyed expect NOCs to increase spend on R&D significantly, supporting their drive for greater international growth, and increasingly operating like IOCs.
  • Continued risk aversion in the sector, especially in the deployment of new technologies, is however, a major brake on innovation. Only one quarter of oil and gas companies consider themselves to be early adopters.
  • Given the link between innovation and competitive advantage, in the last two years, in house research has been the most widespread approach to developing innovation. Joint ventures with external partners are set to become more common.


John Wishard, Director, Lloyd’s Register Energy said, ‘this 2014 Lloyd’s Register Energy Technology Radar synthesises the oil and gas sector’s view of which technologies harbour the greatest potential beneficial impact, and when that technology is likely to go mainstream.

‘Through in depth interviews and supported by a survey of more than 250 sector professionals, we have developed a clear and illustrative overview. Given the vast range of innovation underway, this study focuses on 25 specific technologies; technologies that help extend the life of current assets, or improve uptime and efficiency, are setting the greatest prioritisation today.

‘In the near term, automation and EOR are expected to have the greatest impact on the sector; in the medium term, it is high pressure, high temperature drilling and multi stage hydraulic fraturing; from 2025 and beyond, subsea robotics is seen as most promising.

‘This research provides evidence from which we can better understand and explain the trends which we are beginning to see across the oil and gas industry. The Technology Radar survey is one of the largest and latest independent polls on the issue of technology and innovation in the oil and gas industry.

‘Through this independent survey we are sharing to a global industry the view from industry, and we believe the results will help to guide future energy policy and the development of industry growth plans. With rising energy costs, the oil and gas sector will benefit from a clearer understanding of the potential innovation scenarios to meet future energy demands and providing robust energy supply.

‘Initiatives that nurture technical innovation can no longer be an afterthought for business or government; they must be central to any organisation’s strategy for sustainable growth and leadership. They are central to our growth too. Adapting that sort of thinking into what we do is going to be a very interesting part of how we move forward. We are driving the development of new concepts and technologies through collaborative R&D, and our focus is firmly on innovation, to benefit our clients and society’s future.’

Edited from press release by Claira Lloyd

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