There is a continual challenge within the oil and gas sector to find and produce energy to meet global energy demands, whilst facing the challenge of easy-to-reach-oil decline and difficult to explore resources in areas of limited accessibility. The top three drivers of research are improving operational efficiency, improving safety and reducing costs. These must also take into consideration tighter environmental and safety standards. Some key areas of research include subsurface imaging; hydrocarbon production and reusing produced water; carbon capture and sequestration; well injection; water management; implications of nanotechnology; subsea production and development of remote technology for deepwater facilities. R&D claims have been made for activities undertaken during the exploration, appraisal, development (including front-end engineering design (FEED)) and production phases of a project.
Examples of eligible R&D activities:
- Developing technologies to optimise wellbore position;
- Advancing extraction techniques e.g. fracturing technology;
- Extending the operation of mature oil fields and aging reservoirs through development of new technology;
- Developing new or improved detection method to identify and/or prevent cracking or corrosion of oil pipelines;
- Extending processing techniques e.g. for lighter oils;
- Developing new technologies to increase production yield and throughput of midstream and downstream processing plants;
- Undertaking and interpreting geotechnical studies on a prospective site in a challenging environmental location to enable design, development and construction of a new plant;
- Developing tools for modelling and simulation of different fields in varying conditions over life;
- Real-time troubleshooting and diagnosis offshore and remote environments;
- Developing technology for autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) coupled with better imaging technologies to allow information on what is going on near the seafloor to be seen by operators at the surface;
- Developing software to improve interpretation and performance of reservoirs at exploratory and development stages.