At the annual Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) last week, I had the opportunity to meet with universities showcasing their Research & Development projects that have important potential for the oil & gas industry.
Many of the universities are looking to increase their involvement with the oil & gas industry due to its potential, and they noted how important it is to find technology solutions to improve capabilities, reliability, efficiency and safety.
The following are some of the initiatives represented at the event.
Designing for Uncertainties
The University of Michigan is working on statistical based approaches to help designers design for environmental policies and uncertainties. Much of their work so far has been based on tools to improve ship building and maintenance for better life-cycle management. For example, they factor in degradation of equipment, uncertain future regulations, technology advancements and efficiency goals to prevent unnecessary over-design.
They say their field of work can even be extended to help with the uncertainties of trade policies and that their research has potential for a variety of applications beyond ship building.
Smart Ocean Technology Research Center
The University of Connecticut and the University of Washington are launching a new Center for Smart Ocean Technology (expected in August) with the aim to integrate systems undersea “including communication, power, sensing and platforms.”
Progress could have many benefits for our industry from improved communication in downhole offshore drilling to advances in undersea robotics.
New Drilling Labs
The University of Texas at Austin has launched three new drilling labs to improve drilling operations. These labs are advancing rig simulation, drilling fluids automation and cement integrity in wells. The following link has more on Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering research initiatives at the University of Texas.
Applied Research Laboratory
Penn State University is expanding into the oil & gas industry due to increasing opportunities. The Penn State Applied Research Laboratory has a wide range of capabilities that suit our industry from high pressure testing and materials analysis to pump design and environmental acoustics.
Vulnerability Analysis for Networks and Devices
Dr. Amy Sharma, Director of Strategy at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) explained how devices linked to systems are vulnerable to attacks and the importance of improved security to protect assets and the environment. GTRI has capabilities to remediate these security vulnerabilities and intends to make progress in the oil & gas industry.
Potential Great Natural Gas Resource, Methane Hydrates
Technological advancements could lead to a huge new resource for natural gas, methane hydrate fields, and the University of Cambridge is working to help with the recovery of these fields through strategies that improve production efficiencies. The following Financial Times article provides further details on methane hydrates, FT.com: Methane Hydrates Could Be Energy of the Future.
The R&D Showcase was a lot of fun. It’s always great to learn what passionate people are doing to help with our advancing industry.
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