UK Government Minister for Scotland, Lord Dunlop, and MSP Paul Wheelhouse have opened the new £180 million ($225 million) Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) in Aberdeen.
The center, which opened on Friday, is a core part of the £250 million Aberdeen City Region Deal which aims to become the go-to center for oil and gas technology in the UK and internationally.
Also, the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, the University of Aberdeen, and Robert Gordon University signed a memorandum of understanding for a multi-million-pound joint venture to develop a Centre of Excellence for Field Life Extension and Decommissioning in Aberdeen with the goal of making the UK a global leader in this growth market.
Lord Dunlop said: “It’s great to see The Oil & Gas Technology Centre open officially today. It will have a vital role in driving innovation and diversification in our oil and gas industry.
“The opening of the Center is a significant first step in delivering the £250 million Aberdeen City Region Deal, spearheaded by the UK Government. (It) will make a huge difference to the economy of the Northeast, helping to boost jobs and increase prosperity for generations to come.”
Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation, and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, added: “With up to 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent remaining, it’s clear that a renewed focus on innovation and technology will be crucial to maximizing economic recovery.
“The £5 million Decommissioning Challenge Fund announced by the First Minister this week along with our recently published draft Energy Strategy reaffirms the Scottish Government’s strong commitment to a sustainable future for the oil and gas industry in Scotland.”
Unlocking UK North Sea potential
The Oil & Gas Technology Centre said it hopes to help in unlocking the full potential of the UK North Sea, anchoring the high-value supply chain in the northeast of Scotland and making the region a good place to invest for decades to come.
The center will co-invest with industry, technology, and academic partners, whose matched funding contribution can be both in cash and in the form of access to knowledge, expertise, assets, facilities, and equipment.
The OGTC said that it would learn from the experience of other sectors and explore how new technologies such as 3D printing, photonics, virtual reality, and robotics can be used to help maximize the economic recovery of UK offshore oil and gas.
Initial projects of the center will attempt to halve the cost of drilling wells and maintenance costs, and unlock up to three billion barrels of oil stranded in small discoveries marginal fields.
Hundreds of projects have been screened, and many are already underway. These include a field trial in 2017, which could create a step change in how wells are plugged and abandoned with the potential to save hundreds of millions of pounds.
Sir Ian Wood, Chairman of the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, said: “The Oil & Gas Technology Centre has moved quickly from concept, through business case development, to its launch today, as a standalone organization. With clear long-term global aspirations, our success will provide the magnet to encourage a significant proportion of our high-tech supply chain sector to remain in the region beyond the North Sea era.”
Colette Cohen, Chief Executive of the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, added: “We will work with industry and academic partners to inspire, accelerate and fund technology that increases efficiency and improves productivity. We have a unique opportunity to create a culture of innovation in the UK North Sea. This is our moment. We must be brave and seize the opportunity.”