A Lloyd’s Register survey of exhibitors at OTC Houston 2016 revealed more than 43% of respondents consider adoption of new technologies including additive manufacturing (or 3D Printing) and the use of unmanned robotics to be the primary issue.
Using new technologies from other industries (17%); Better collaboration within the industry (16%); Data rationalization and interpretation techniques (13%); and Education initiatives for graduates and new industry entrants (11%), were also seen to be important issues.
So what can industry do? The answer lies in a sharper focus on driving excellence by collaborating and increasing the interconnected global network of knowledge across the energy and marine industries.
“It is widely accepted that excellence through innovation is key to safe and profitable growth across industry – and that collaboration can accelerate the development of innovative new technologies to help support better and cheaper ways of extracting and supplying energy,” says Teril Smith, Senior Vice President of Lloyd’s Register Energy in Houston, Texas.
According to its annual 2015-16 Oil & Gas Technology Radar survey, which researches the latest opinion of oil and gas executives across the world, “operational efficiency” is now the top driver for innovation investment. “Improving access to potential reserves” and “increasing the life span of assets” also rated more highly as innovation drivers this year compared to the previous 12 months, suggesting that, as well as nudging down the bottom line, companies are looking to push up the top line by extracting maximum value from resources.
The company believes its role in developing partnerships between industry and academia is important to help nurture collaboration and innovation, shown recently by its Global Technology Centre based out of Singapore, which is driving research in to how data can be used to improve integrity; the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems for faster and cost-effective inspection, plus its leading joint industry projects such as the role additive manufacturing can have in the manufacture of quality engineered components used in the energy and marine industries.
The company confirms that the offshore sector is rapidly realigning in response to the low oil price environment and other challenging dynamics. The issues appear to be well-understood, aided by good-quality dialogue and increased collaborative efforts.
“In this environment, staying afloat requires a new type of inventiveness and open mindedness; an eager and proactive search for novel technologies, approaches and ways of working,” highlights Smith.