Aberdeen hosted from the 3rd to the 6th of September SPE Offshore Europe 2019, the biennial event recognised by Offshore E&P Professionals as Europe’s leading E&P gathering.
This year’s theme of the event was “Breakthrough to Excellence—Our Licence to Operate.”
Thousands of attendees had the opportunity to speak to experts and industry professionals from over 900 suppliers, from leading companies on the market to innovative tech firms venturing into the oil and gas business.
Dozens of round tables, discussions, demonstrations, keynote speeches, panels and panellists discussed the future of the offshore industry not only in Europe but all around the world. Many firms held demonstrations, presented papers and case studies to showcase their experience and expertise in the offshore oil and gas industry.
The speakers included the top Managers from leading Oil and Gas E&P Companies and suppliers in the Offshore Industry’s supply chain.
Digitalisation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), subsea operations optimisation, process safety, reservoir analytics, data analytics and computing, decommissioning opportunities, and the path to a low-carbon future were all featured at various panels and discussions at SPE Offshore Europe this year.
Exhibitors at the event showed new solutions in digitalisation, cloud-based technologies helping the offshore industry, real-time production monitoring technology, remotely activated technology for deepwater well completion, tools for surveys in real-time, and advanced materials used in new technology.
SPE Offshore Europe was held at a time when offshore activity is on the rise. Confidence is returning not only to operators; it is also slowly returning to the supply chain, says Hari Vamadevan, Sr. V.P. & Regional Manager, UK & West Africa, at DNV GL–Oil & Gas.
According to DNV’s Industry Outlook 2019, confidence in the outlook for the UK Oil and Gas Sector quadrupled in two years, from 18 per cent to 71 per cent. At the same time, a total of 68 per cent of senior professionals in the sector expected to raise or maintain capital expenditure (Capex) in 2019.
“Just as mobile technologies have changed dramatically in a short timeframe, offshore operations will evolve,” Vamadevan said.
“Companies will gain much more from their data and the ability to control things remotely. These changes create real value for the industry and its people, who, with the right tools and training, will use technology as an enabler and be less risk-averse in the future,” DNV’s manager highlighted.
Coinciding with the event, Rystad Energy issued an outlook on the subsea market, saying that Norway and the UK will lead the global subsea industry with a new wave of greenfield projects. A growing number of greenfield projects in the North Sea offshore Norway and the UK will lead to a rapid rise in subsea tree installations through 2021, according to Rystad, which expects the number of final investment decisions (FIDs) to further rise in 2020 and 2021, from an already fairly high number.
A total of 67 per cent of offshore projects expected to be committed to offshore Norway and the UK over the next three years will be subsea tie-backs, higher than the historical average of 47 per cent between 2000 and 2014.
“This shift in market share demonstrates a greater preference by E&Ps for subsea tie-back solutions in Norway and the UK, post-downturn. The trend fits well with the overall direction we observe in offshore developments, which shows increasing numbers of scaled down projects, phased solutions and accelerated developments,” Rystad reckons.
To stay relevant and to be ready for what will come next, the industry needs to pay attention to collaboration, to digitalisation and the way it is being done, to the opportunities that decommissioning would open for a mature basin such as the North Sea, and to the energy transition, delegates and keynote speakers at the event said.
To be better prepared for the future, the industry needs greater collaboration, Total’s Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanné told delegates at SPE Offshore Europe.
“There are a lot of stakeholders today, who look at us as dinosaurs… The only way not to become a dinosaur is to act, to invest, to progress together,” Pouyanné said.
A collaborative technology programme to accelerate energy start-ups was officially launched at SPE Offshore Europe 2019. Tech Xchange is a partnership between Aberdeen, Houston, and Perth, Australia, to provide global market-access and investment opportunities for start-ups.
“We’re delighted to have both Station Houston and NERA onboard for the next stage of TechX. This is only the beginning – it’s already proven to be a successful partnership, and we will continue to work with the global teams to promote cross-industry investment opportunities for our start-ups,” said David Millar, TechX Director at the Oil & Gas Technology Centre’s (OGTC).
In digitalisation, opportunities are there to improve efficiency and safety and reduce costs. One obstacle to greater AI and machine learning adoption is the quality of data, as well as its storage, usage, and sharing, experts say. Here, greater co-operation is also essential, according to Chrysaor’s CEO Phil Kirk.
Companies need specific data strategies and strong data governance before embarking on initiatives in digitalisation, experts from the oil majors Shell, Equinor, and BP said, adding that connectivity and improved data platforms are also an essential part of the path to greater digitalisation in the industry.
In decommissioning, Subsea UK hosted a session to discuss how operators and stakeholders develop strategies and technologies to manage the late-life of subsea systems in the North Sea.
“Due to the maturity of North Sea, the UKCS is leading the way globally in life extension and our session at Offshore Europe presents an opportunity to hear from the companies at the forefront of developing innovative technology and operations which have the capacity to extend the life of fields and maximise economic recovery,” said Neil Gordon, Chief Executive of Subsea UK.
In energy transition, the OGTC launched at Offshore Europe the Net Zero Solution Centre to accelerate the development and deployment of technologies to decarbonise offshore operations.
The centre enjoys the backing of operators including BP, Chrysaor, CNOOC International, Equinor, Ineos, Shell, and Total, plus contractors Aker Solutions, Siemens, and Wood. The first few projects under the programme are likely to be announced by the end of this year, alongside a high-level plan for 2020.
“To transform the UKCS into a net-zero oil and gas basin, the Centre will champion the creation of an integrated offshore energy system, partnering with companies to accelerate the development of carbon capture, utilisation and storage, hydrogen capability and other net-zero technologies,” the OGTC said in a statement.
Sir Ian Wood, Chairman of economic development body Opportunity North East, a partner of the OGTC, said, “I believe the North East of Scotland is on its way to becoming a global energy capital, applying our significant oil and gas capabilities and innovative technologies to reduce carbon emissions. We have the skills, knowledge and strong track record to convert the challenge of climate change into an opportunity, creating new technical solutions in the UK and globally.”
Andy Samuel, Chief Executive of the Oil and Gas Authority said, commenting on the programme:
“We believe the oil and gas industry, with its long history of engineering excellence, infrastructure, subsurface expertise and world-class supply chain, should play a leading role in the drive to Net Zero.”
Encompassing all topical issues in the offshore industry and its future path, SPE Offshore Europe 2019 reaffirmed itself as Europe’s leading E&P event. Michael Borrell, Conference Chair and Total’s Senior V.P., North Sea and Russia, summed up the mood in just one sentence:
“It is important to talk about keeping our costs low, pushing the boundaries of innovation, and focusing on excellence in our operations.”