A common quest for smarter solutions


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Smarter solutions and increased efficiency in the international oil and gas industry were topics on the agenda for the 10th annual IO Conference in Trondheim, Norway this week.

Almost 300 participants from several countries participated at the conference, hosted by the Center for Integrated Operations in the Petroleum Industry (IO Centre), from September 30-October 1, 2014.

In the international oil and gas industry, Integrated Operations is focusing on the cross discipline cooperation between reservoir management, drilling, production optimization, operation and maintenance, logistics and HSE. It further includes seamless cooperation between different parts of the organization (offshore/onshore, oil company/supplier).

The IO Centre was founded eight years ago, and received the status as “Center for research-based Innovation” by the Norwegian Research Council, including a funding of 10 million NOK a year from the Norwegian state. The Centre has 13 industrial partners who also provide about 30 million NOK a year, and the total investments made so far is 320 million NOK. Petrobras is one of the industrial partners, as is Statoil, Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, ENI, GdF Sues and Total. The IO Center currently engages about 70 researchers and PhD candidates from NTNU, SINTEF, IFE and collaborating international universities, and since the beginning, a yearly conference has been organized for the involved parties.

This year the Norwegian minister of Petroleum and Energy, Mr. Tord Lien, Statoil CEO Helge Lund and Mrs. Cristina Pinho, E&P Executive Manager of Petrobras, were among the keynote speakers at the event, and the conference has become an international meeting place for business and science.

To see the program and presentations, click here

Integrated operations has been a hot topic in the oil and gas industry for the last ten years. BP calls it the «Fields of the Future»  and Shell calls it «Smart Fields». Chon Fui Chai, General Manager Smart Fields, Shell, was also among the keynote speakers at the event. In Norway it is called integrated operations, and integrated operations is a top priority to Petrobras.

Positive results
A group of 20 Petrobras delegates travelled to Norway for this years conference.

«Petrobras has been an industrial partner of the IO Centre since 2010, and I believe their involvement is among the very best examples of concrete collaboration on research between Norway and Brazil. Last year, an MOU on research collaboration, called BN21, was signed between our two countries.  The IO Center cooperation is a very good example of collaboration that has given concrete results on several important topics», says Conference Chair, Mr. Arild N. Nystad (in the photo), at IO Center/NTNU.

«The heavy Petrobras participation demonstrates that Petrobras is satisfied with the cooperation and the way we organize the projects we work on», Mr. Nystad says. One example is the SmartX project on the Marlin field, located in the North-Eastern part of the Campos Basin, where researchers have succeeded in optimizing production by 1,5 percent.

To read more about this business case, click here. 

«Petrobras appreciates our collaboration and sees that this is bearing fruit», Mr. Nystad explains and continues:

«There are several similarities between the Norwegian and the Brazilian continental shelves. The same international companies are present in both countries, and we share the same challenges. There are of course differences as well, Brazil has deeper waters, a salt layer in Santos Basin and heavier oil on some fields. But the opportunities are huge and we still have a lot to gain by working together. Brazilian and Norwegian stakeholders see this and there are frequent visits both in Brazil as well as in Norway. I believe that Rio de Janeiro will become the biggest research hub in the world within five years because of the significant R&D investments made by the international industry in addition to the Brazilian research at CENPES and at the universities, and Brazil has exceptional competence and very skillful researchers that the Norwegian industry will also benefit from.»

The list of speakers from international oil and gas companies, service industry, R&D companies and universities for this year´s IO COnference was impressive, an all time high according to Mr. Nystad.

«This demonstrates the importance of the conference. The oil and gas industry is facing a cool-down, and this is only the beginning. Job cuts will become reality, and this is something we will discuss during the conference this year. The solution is of course to increase profitability by developing and applying new technology. This is the core of what we are doing. The industry urgently needs to rethink strategy and technology. In both Norway and Brazil, drilling and wells is about 50 percent of the total cost spent. Drilling technology has changed very little in 20 years. 25 percent of the costs are spent on waiting. There is obviously a great room for improvements, for smart solutions that we are discussing in this conference», Mr. Nystad says.


For more on the IO14 Conference, click here.


By Runa Hestmann, NBCC journalist