The UK’s Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) has launched a new initiative called ‘Facility of the Future’ to potentially halve the development and operation costs of oil and gas facilities by using smart facilities that can be operated remotely.


Image: Facility of the Future initiative could reduce developing and operating costs by 50%, says OGTC. Photo: courtesy of The Oil & Gas Technology Centre.

The industry-backed Facility of the Future is also expected to help the industry unlock over 3.5 billion barrels of reserves across marginal discoveries on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

According to OGTC, more than 360 marginal discoveries are present on the UKCS with each of them holding anywhere between 3-50 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Developing the discoveries through existing approaches like a fixed platform or floating vessel, is not economical, and quite a lot of them are not within economic tieback distance of already available infrastructure, said the industry-led research and knowledge organization.

The Facility of the Future initiative is expected to address the issues by developing lower-cost, reusable, smart facilities that are remotely operated remotely from onshore control centers.

The smart facilities will be equipped with the latest automation technology and for minimal use of manpower, said the organization. It will also cut down the need for people to work in the hazardous offshore environment while opening up new, skilled onshore jobs.

OGTC marginal discoveries solution centre manager Chris Pearson said: “New, smarter and more automated ways of developing oil and gas fields are required if we’re to fully unlock marginal discoveries and maximise economic recovery from the UKCS.

“The Facility of the Future initiative will help to significantly reduce life-cycle costs and strengthen the investment case for both marginal discoveries and more traditional reservoirs.”

Facility of the Future has been initiated with a multi-partner study for developing a floating facility concept that widens the capabilities of fixed normally unattended installations (NUIs), which are usually used for shallow water gas fields.

The study will be led by Buoyant Production Technologies, a subsidiary of Crondall Energy and co-funded by the Technology Centre and collaborating partners.

Recently, OGTC announced a new project in partnership with Premier Oil and OPEX Group with an aim to deploy predictive technologies, data science and psychology to help organizations gain a clear picture of the levels of behavioral risk across their workforce and operations.