OTC: BP’s Dupree outlines new model for offshore technology development

Operators are changing their approach to offshore technology development because of its increasing scale and pace, said James Dupree, BP’s chief operating officer, reservoir development technology.

Greater collaboration to collapse timescales, improved analytics of massive amounts of data, and novel materials to cope with high pressures and temperatures will highlight future development, he said at an Offshore Technology Conference industry breakfast on May 4 in Houston.

New collaboration partners

Dupree looks for new ideas from outside the industry as well as within. BP has adopted seismic technology from the military and sensor technology from the Norwegian fishing industry, to name two sources. In the future, there will be greater collaboration with Silicon Valley.

Collaboration with academia will be important as well. Dupree has found, however, that there is a misunderstanding in academia of the technological needs of the oil and gas industry. Educating those in education should be a priority in coming years.

Analyzing data

Technologies that help store, manage, and analyze data will be critical to ensuring the right data gets in front of the right person at the right moment.

As offshore technologies move to the seabed and become untethered to the surface, remote communication will add another layer of information to manage.

BP is experimenting now with Google Glass to help drillers in the field work with large amounts of streaming data.

Materials, chemistry

With more sea-floor facilities and longer tie-backs from deeper water, new materials to handle high pressure and temperature will be at the forefront in coming years, said Dupree. BP has committed to developing systems that operate autonomously at 20,000 psi.

Breakthroughs in materials will be required to make this a reality. These breakthroughs are sped up by digital simulations that can determine the stresses a material can absorb in a given environment or a corrosive event may occur.

Understanding what is happening in the rock pores is important as well. Computing allows a mere chip of well rock to be analyzed with results as comprehensive as a core sample in a lab. Soon the rock chip won’t even be necessary, said Dupree, as permeability will be determined before a single trip downhole, helping set expectations for a given well.

Contact Michael T. Slocum at michaels@ogjonline.com.

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