Getting the most from Britain's oil and gas resources

27 Jan 2009

The Technology Strategy Board is to invest up to £5 million in innovative technologies to help maximise recovery of the UK's oil and gas resources.

Currently only about 50% of gas in place in reservoirs in the North Sea is successfully recovered, and the figure for recovery of oil is lower, at 30%.  The new competition - which opens this week - will fund research and development into new technologies that will address the challenge of doubling the recovery rate for oil to 60%, and to increase the rate for gas to 80%.

Explaining the background to the Technology Strategy Board's decision to invest in this area, its Lead Technologist for Energy Generation and Supply, Derek Allen, said: "Maximising the recovery of our indigenous hydrocarbon resources can help us to address the issue of security of supply, in the face of fluctuating world fuel prices.  But such recovery of our reserves cannot be achieved without a considerable contribution from innovative technology.  It is therefore important that promising technologies are taken through the very high-risk development and field trials stage to ensure that they are moved quickly from concept through to implementation and deployment in the field."

The competition aims to stimulate collaboration between technology developers and users such as operators, the oil and gas service sector and across the full range of industry operations and its supply chain. 

The Technology Strategy Board is inviting British companies to submit proposals involving innovative solutions that demonstrate significant benefit over existing approaches in areas such as:

• enhancing reservoir understanding and development (e.g. geophysical imaging);

• low cost technologies that will facilitate access to reservoirs; and

•  low cost, production enhancing technologies (e.g. Subsea/subsurface boosting and Subsea/subsurface water control, and enhanced oil recovery}

In particular, proposals in the above areas that will also offer improved environmental performances are encouraged.

On the timing of the new investment, Derek Allen added: "Investment in innovation must be maintained during the economic downturn, to help ensure a successful recovery and to maintain the global competitiveness of British businesses.  Innovation cannot be turned on quickly and, to secure our long term future, we need to invest properly in innovation now."

The competition closes on 30 April 2009 but the deadline for submitting initial expressions of interest is 26 February 2009.  Applicants are likely to be informed of the outcome of their application by the end of May.

Further information about the Technology Strategy Board's current research and development competitions can be found at:




Last updated on Friday 30 July 2010 at 14:21

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